MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – THE MOST IMPORTANT 3 POINTS OF THE SEASON

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Let’s have a little pep talk before we get into this blog.

You… yes YOU need to pick yourself up off of the ground.

All this crying on the internet that you think we’re going have a bad day is weak sauce. It’s low-fat mayonnaise on a plant-based-meat alternative kebab. It’s asking the Doner Operator to box it up so you can have it for lunch tomorrow.

I will not tolerate this type of meekness today.

Arsenal are in control of top 4 with two games to go. It doesn’t matter that Spurs have taken points off big teams, it doesn’t matter that the mainstream media are slobbering over Antonio Conte, no one gives a fuck what G.Nev thinks.

The simple arithmetic is this: We need to beat two sides we have outperformed all season then top 4 is ours.

We are better than Newcastle.

We are better than Everton.

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GEORDIE CUP FINAL

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Welcome to Saturday; let’s talk about some things.

I do find it quite incredible that there is a certain section of the fanbase that think refereeing decisions aren’t of interest and shouldn’t be part of the conversation.

The referee that sent off Rob Holding for a shoulder barge, let Harry Kane get away with this.

Does that challenge look like Harry Kane playing the dark-arts with ninja like subtlety? I don’t think so.

Simple fact with referees this season is that shocking decisions go against us more often than they do other teams. Some call it a conspiracy theory chatter, I’d say just look at how we’ve been treated, look at the mad decisions that have gone against us, and tell me how 1 soft penalty against United makes it better?

The reffing has been so bad for us this season we’ve actually had moments when the refs have invented new ways to fuck us… remember Martinelli getting two yellows in the same passage of play? How about Tomi getting his face stamped on with no action? How about Palace booting Saka in the air? How about the Xhaka sending off? The list goes on. We are treated differently.

If Rob Holding is sent off for standing his ground on 26 minutes, then Son should be sent off for throwing an elbow. The main difference seems to be that Bob Holding doesn’t scream like he’s been hit with a wet towel in the snow.

Paul Tierney had to really want to ruin that game to do what he did and the only people who think differently on that seem to have a history of wanting to see this Arsenal team fail this season. Embarrassing.

Ok, I’m done moaning.

Let’s take a moment to accept where we are right now: IN CONTROL OF TOP 4.

My view is that if we beat Newcastle, Champions League is ours.

The Geordies are THE banana skin game.

Eddie Howe will ask questions of us.

We have to treat this like our Cup Final.

They are no mugs in 2022. Below is the half-season table. It looks pretty close to what we did last season.

The positives we can take from this is their 3 tough games against Liverpool, Spurs and City have seen them beaten. They conceded 10 between Spurs and City alone.

The negative is this is their last home game of the season, it’ll be under the floodlights, their players will want to sign off in style, they have nothing to play for, so they’ll fly into us to put on a show.

The hope is that the news from the medical team is positive. Our players have been quite good at tapping themselves out early this season. Ben White sat on the bench at Spurs which was smart. Gabriel is quite robust, hopefully he took himself off the same way Bukayo did in the game prior. Having actual centre backs feels like an important part of the day… The thought of Tomiyasu and Big Mo in the middle with Lord Of Chaos starting fires on the left makes feel a little queezy I have to say.

The other worry I have is around fatigue. Saka looked blitzed the other night. A few of our players looked tired. 10 men for 65 minutes isn’t ideal. If we go to Newcastle tired, they’ll use their freshness to rattle into us. All the great managers say tiredness is part of the job, our young men need to find their inner Red Bull, crack it open, and let the wings carry them through the 90.

Ok, I apologise for that last line. Not my best.

If we play with the mindset we started the Spurs game with; we’ll be in good shape come the end of the 90. The absolute key is to not let the moment get to us, like it did Rob Holding. We need to control our emotions and manage the moments. Make it to half time without conceding and we’ll be in a solid spot to take the game from there. Arsenal away fans will be huge, I just hope they are prepared to suffer for a chunk of the game.

My pragmatic view of Top 4 is that if we can’t be Newcastle, we just weren’t ready to take the club to the Champions League this season.

If that happens, there will be recriminations with weirdo fans that have been gagging for a bit of bad news, but the reality is, we are at the start of this project and we know VERY clearly what we have to do to get better.

I thought this comment from Pep was really good as some preparation if things don’t go well.

‘Character’ and ‘bottle job’ comments at these players cannot be sitting in people’s drafts. The Premier League is the highest standard of football on the planet. What this squad of players has done this season has been exceptional. We can still finish with 72 points, with an average age of 23 years old. That is a marvel. If we make Champions League, it is a huge overachievement, if we don’t make it, it’s just a learning XP moment for a young squad of players with an outrageously high ceiling.

Being in control at this moment shows character, delivering on Monday merely demonstrates we got it right on the day, no broad-brush slander is going to land however things go.

I’m feeling bullish about the game. If we can put out a well-balanced side and the team can channel their grievances in a productive manner, we’ll exit with a win.

If we exit with a win, then we have to beat an Everton that will be safe, and properly on the beach.

Let’s see what the boys have got. We’ll be doing a BEFORE THE WHISTLE tomorrow after the Spurs win against Burnley. So be sure to tune in… but before, check out the Spurs post-game analysis.

Give us a 5* rating as well. x


REF DESTROYS GAME – BUT ARSENAL STILL IN DRIVING SEAT FOR TOP 4

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There’s no other way to analyse the occasion.

Arsenal were the better side for the opening stages of the game.

The referee then gave one of the most ridiculous penalties of the season, refused to check to see if he’s made a mistake.

The referee then goes super bold and sends off Rob Holding after 26 minutes in a ‘I WANT TO DO THIS’ decision of pettiness.

I don’t really have time for the crowd that wants to pretend we weren’t totally fucked over by an overzealous attention-seeking referee.

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ARSENAL GO TO WAR

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I don’t think it is an understatement to say that this is one of the most important games of the last 5 years.

This is bigger than a Europa League final. This is more important than an FA Cup. This game represents bragging rights for the next year and it is probably the most consequential game we’ll have from a future-facing perspective in a long time.

For Spurs, this game is mission-critical. If they lose, things might unravel fast. Antonio Conte could exit, a new manager will need funds to rebuild, that will likely mean major sales and a lot of short-term pain.

For Arsenal, we’re in good shape however the season ends, but really, you want Arsenal to be kicking on with 3 games to go. The upside is tremendous. The confidence of taking something from a beastly away game will be immeasurable, and our extremely young squad will be able to fast-track the learning experience in the toughest competition in the world next season.

Let’s be real though, this game won’t be easy, we could be sending out a starting 11 that is missing 4 key player in Ben White, Bukayo Saka, and Kieran Tierney. That is some serious spine missing from our squad and the fact no one is really talking about how damaging that could be shows you how far we’ve come. I’m expecting us to be very competitive tonight with Tomi at left back, Big Mo in midfield, Eddie up front, and The Smith, Odegaard, and Martinelli supporting.

The psychology of the game is tantalizing.

Every Arsenal fan I speak to is predicting doom.

Every Spurs fan that contacts me is predicting doom.

We are all a bag is nerves and fear.

We are a joke.

I have no predictions.

My strategy would be to sit deep, counter the Harry Kane midfield problem, make them come at us.

The worst thing that can happen is an early goal for them.

The longer the game goes, the more openings we’ll get, this is a test of patience… and nerves. Spurs has more experience than us.

So we’ll see where we go!

IT IS WITH THE GODS NOW!

ENJOY.

ON THE WHISTLE AFTER x


ARSENAL TRANSFER RUMOURS HEAT UP

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Well GOOD morning to you all.

It is a MONSTER week for the club.

We have a Cup Final of sorts and the prize on offer is the Champions League.

Arsenal will want to win that game, create a moment in Spurs house, and finish out the season with a rum and coke in hand.

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EDDIE KRUEGER: NIGHTMARE ON N5, CAN HE TAKE IT TO SEVEN SISTERS?

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Eddie Nkeitiah has put the world of Arsenal fandom in a spin; he seemed to be floating out the door in unspectacular fashion, then Lacazette landed the London Plague.

‘IT’S OVER FOR ARSENAL’

‘EDDIE IS LEAGUE ONE’

‘HE AIN’T IT’

5 starts.

4 goals.

Arsenal fans revisiting past assessments.

The solution to our striker problem has been sitting on the bench since August. Most young players can’t impress a diet of 6 minutes here and there, they need a run of games, they need the confidence trust gives them. Eddie was dining out of bins, then he was given access to the chefs’ table, now he’s gorging.

Eddie runs the channels, he wins balls back, scores goals, brings our wide players into the game, works an absolute shift, and my-oh-my, does he get under the skin of anyone he plays against.

Matt Kandela reckons he could be the new Andy Cole, I think he could be our Sylvain Wiltord.

Eddie was the difference against Leeds.

His first goal came from his hounding of the Leeds keeper. The English striker forced an error, nicked the ball, and poked home from a yard.

‘Very Eddie’

Indeed. It’s a feature of his game that he rumbles defenders and keepers. They don’t see him coming, realise how quick he is, nor understand that he doesn’t care about their careers.

Meslier was totally rattled. Eddie Krueger took a nightmare into the real world. He left their keeper muttering to himself.

Eddie Krueger was not finished.

Martinelli did some excellent work down the left, bullied his way into the box, cut back to Eddie who had to do all sorts to reshape his body to sweep home his second.

Two up after 10 minutes.

Eddie doing a hatchet job on a club that treated him like shit.

Wondering how his stats compare to the rest of Europe? Take a look.

Those percentiles are from the top 5 leagues. That is a very complete set of numbers for a striker people said would struggle two divisions lower in England.

His stats compare favourably to Jota, Havertz, Firmino, and Nkunku. More on what to do next a bit later.

I can’t be arsed to go too deep on the rest of the game, but in short, we battered Leeds, conceded their first attempt at our goal, and looked a bit rattled. That is a worrying pattern, our defence has been weird, Ramsdale isn’t invincible now, we need to sharpen up for Thursday.

… there are some mitigating circumstances for the shakiness tho:

Arsenal is inexperienced. What these kids are doing is ridiculous, they stand up to the pressure of the fans and experiences they’ve never had, but it’s not easy. Manchester City score two goals and they know how to go for the kill, and end games with 5. Arsenal are babies, we play with our food, and sometimes the meal escapes. We had 19 shots, 9 found the target, we were not ruthless enough. We cruised in second half then stalled when we needed to find 3rd gear.

Leeds scored and we couldn’t play out of the weirdness of knowing we were in total control but at risk of doing something very dim. We could have drawn 2-2 or won 5-1 in that final 20.

There’s also the chance that the halftime marching orders were built around preserving energy in the 2nd half. It might not have even been an instruction, unspoken perhaps, sometimes players just decide there’s something more important on the horizon. That was dangerous, it was risky, but we got away with it.

We all FELT like it was close, maybe it was, but if I told you before the game Leeds would have 3 attempts at our goal with 2 shots on targets, you’d be happy with that. January 2020, they had 19 shots, 6 on target. As fans, we’re not used to challenging for something at the end of a season, it’s jittery, and sometimes the emotion of those jitters makes us think the game was more in danger more than it was.

Still, our reality is this: We took the 3 points.

Nothing.

Else.

Matters.

The table is looking favourable.

Spurs have to beat us.

If they lose, we’ve created a historical reference point in their house before they have.

If they draw, we’ll need to win one more game. Everton will likely be safe after Wednesday (Watford), their players won’t give a shit when they come to play Arsenal because Frank Lampard will have the company credit card out and he’ll be showing the young whippersnappers what the Ayia Napa days were all about with some BIG nights out in the North West. Newcastle, for all their positive results, have had far too much praise for beating shit teams of late. Before City, the last time they played someone good, it was Spurs, who scored five. City also scored 5. Arsenal fans who love Bruno are too keen to call them a top 4 side when they are just a Jonjo Shelvey vessel of misery.

Even if we are b****n by Sp*rs, the top 4 race is in our hands.

Pivot your thinking for a moment.

Imagine Spurs were closer to 3rd than 4th. Imagine they were coming to our house, knowing a win would end our top 4 chances and a draw wouldn’t be good enough.

How would you feel?

The Conte masterclass of ‘lump it to Kane and Son’ + ‘put 11 behind the ball,’ isn’t going to be good enough for them.

They have to play.

When Spurs have to play, they struggle.

Brighton is the team most similar to Arsenal in the league outside City. They man-marked Kane, stopped him dropping deep, didn’t register a shot on target all game, and they were beaten.

Brentford battered Spurs. Spurs didn’t have it in them to play against a deep block and they had rings run around them.

They are shit. But it doesn’t matter in a NLD. All rules go out the window. It is MASSIVE.

So who knows what will happen.

We always imagine the players are going to be deeply entrenched in the emotions of the history, the fandom, the future.

They won’t.

We don’t want them to be.

They need to be relaxed.

When the players think about the magnitude of who they are playing, this side in particular, tends to get walloped.

Liverpool, City (home game), too much respect for Cristiano, are just 3 examples.

I don’t think our boys will do that on Thursday.

Harry Kane, though clearly the best striker in the world, is not an enigma to a group of players that have eaten dinner with him and possibly had to deal with him as a member of their team on a quiz night.

Spurs don’t have prestige like Liverpool. They’re the mob down the road. Our players know what beating them means.

This game is a toss of a coin. If we can surprise Conte, make them come at us, and attack the space for the first goal, it’ll be very exciting.

It is a HUGE win for Arsenal to be in a position this good. We are in overachievement territory right now. We have the same points that secured top 4 last season. We have the same amount of wins that 2nd place United achieved last season. There are 75 points to play for, which would be a massive top 4 haul.

Very exciting stuff.

Before I go, I think Eddie will sign a new deal, and that is the right thing for him to do.

For Eddie:

  • Only Newcastle can offer him more money than Arsenal. He wanted Β£90k a week-ish. He’s worth it.
    • Germany is step down in prestige AND money
  • Go to Newcastle, you might be fighting MBappe for a position next season.
  • Go to any club in the league, bar Brighton, you are fighting other players for a start
    • Palace: Edouard
    • West Ham: Antonio
    • Newcastle: Barnes / Some mega signing
  • We have Europe, we need two strikers, he is now a worthy 2nd striker
  • You only leave to go to Brighton as a stepping stone to get to an Arsenal. If you are doing it at Arsenal, and you fired them to Europe, why leave?
  • DON’T BE A ZAHA. He left United, banged at Palace, took the big-money deal, then wasn’t allowed to leave, now he’s 29 and he’s wasted his best years
    • One year left on his deal this summer. Could be good CL squad filler
  • YOUR MATES ARE HERE

For Arsenal:

  • Arteta knows he did a bad. There’s no second striker in Europe we know more about than Eddie bar Jesus. Β£40m for a player who, up until 2 weeks ago, had 5 goals after 1500 minutes? Please.
  • We don’t have a lot of money to spend – keep your powder dry, spend that on another position
  • You won’t lose on Eddie, he has shown he can do it at the highest level, if he has a bad season post-deal, there will always be another Prem club that needs an English player and Β£90k is easy money for any Prem team
  • Eddie is 22, he has 4 in 5 starts in the EPL, he has 10 g/a… he has a better England U21 record than Tammy. Why would we let him slip the net?

It’s a no-brainer for both parties. Hopefully, Eddie’s agent, who has a bit of a rep, will do the deal.

As for the fans that blew-up all my feeds with ‘YOU HAVE GOT THIS WRONG’, when are we going to have some accountability here? The talent ID in the noisy part of the fanbase has been cataclysmically wrong this season. Time for certain people to just sit out the opinion game.

As for Agenda FC?

  • We’ve seen off the xG pearl-clutchers
  • We’ve seen off the ‘Arteta is cone boy’ crew with a new 3 year deal
  • We’ve seen off the ‘THE FANS WILL BE BOOING BY NOVEMBER’ folk with the fans embracing Arteta HARD
  • We’ve seen off the League One Eddie’s
  • We’ve probably seen of the ‘PEPE NEEDS MORE GAMES’ crowd as well
  • Finally, most are ready to admit… Arteta has sauce.

But now, we move into a phase of shared agenda ownership: Beating Spurs.

We all want it.

No one is any doubt it will be tough.

So let’s do something like, unite around Louis Dunford’s new anthem, and crack on with beating that lot on Thursday


But before I go, check out our podcast: And please, in the upfront, accept my apologies for the sound issues, that was on me. I’ll have it fixed for the next one.



xG TABLE FLAMED + RACE FOR TOP 3 GETS SPICY

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GOOD MORNING TO YOU ALL!

It’s a huge day for our shared agenda.

Spurs go to Anfield.

Liverpool needs to keep their title fight alive.

Spurs need to take at least a point to keep Thursday spicy and open.

The Premier League this season does not give a fuck about what you think will happen, it works to its own beat, so don’t write of Antonio Conte. He’s a lucky manager, Spurs have been lucky all season, they could easily walk away with 3 points from 1 shot all game, such is the qualidee of Son and Harry Kane.

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