Mutton 0-2 Arsenal

Arsenal continued their run in the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over non-League Sutton. Here are the highlights.

First we were treated to the usual “he works as a part time teacher” lines whenever a player’s name was  mentioned. I find this to be patronizing. For example, no one ever mentions that Theo Walcott works as a part time children’s author or that Alexis Sanchez is a full time Dogfather.

We were also treated to the endearing sight of Craig Eastmond. You probably should remember Eastmond for his one and only Champions League match, a 2-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk. He scored an own goal. He was taken off in the 59th minute for Carlos Vela. That was in 2010. Arsenal were just so bad in the Champions League that year. Oh man, that was such a bad team. Here was the starting lineup:

21 Fabianski
18 Squillaci
20 Djourou
22 Clichy
27 Eboue yellow card
40 Eastmond (Vela 59)
07 Rosicky
08 Nasri
14 Walcott (Emmanuel-Thomas 82)
19 Wilshere
52 Bendtner (Chamakh 73)
53 Szczesny, 03 Sagna, 06 Koscielny, 41 Emmanuel-Thomas, 46 Lansbury, 11 Vela, 29 Chamakh

I can’t understand why Fabregas left that team for Barcelona…

Eastmond did his best to play the part of “former Arsenal player who wants to show us what we were missing” by clattering into Elneny in the 3rd minute of the match. Elneny was injured in that tackle, apparently, but played on until the 45th minute when he was swapped for Oxlade-Chamberlain. I looked at the tackle and Eastmond did pin Elneny’s ankle with his trailing leg but it looked pretty tame. Still, we all wait to see what the damage is.

What’s fascinating about Elneny going off is that Arsenal started the season with too many midfielders. For the first time in forever, Arsenal had an abundance of center mids. But Arsenal can’t keep any of them healthy or keep them from getting red cards. So, we finished the match with a midfield of Ox and Xhaka. It was OK against the non-League Sutton. But it’s funny that Arsenal having no midfielders was the reason Arsenal played Eastmond in that Champions League match 6 years ago.

Sutton’s other star attraction was another former Arsenal player Roarie Deacon. Deacon showed flashes of skill, hitting deadly crosses and even rattling the bar with a powerful strike. Clearly a talented player, I wonder what happened to him? He had the talent, he had the opportunity, that he didn’t go further usually indicates a lack of application. That’s Wenger’s T.A.O.

Arsenal spent much of the match adjusting to the speed of the artificial turf. As a Sounders fan, and someone who has played on these pitches, I know what artificial turf does to a game. The ball is… harder? It’s just more active. Like a normal pass is slightly harder to control. The ball also bounces funny, it’s extra bouncy. So, any bobble on the ball and it’s likely to jump up on you. That explains why Arsenal spent a lot of time trying to find their passing rhythm. In the second half things got better.

Iwobi was the biggest victim of the yips in passing. He had a terrible night. I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

Sutton was a bit physical and there were a few clearly ugly tackles in the match but Arsenal persevered.

Walcott scored his 100th goal and I will probably do a piece on his 100 goals over on Arseblog News. Look for that later this week.

The Sutton reserve keeper ate a sandwich. It was funny.

Arsenal go on to the next round and we got a good draw, playing another non-League team, Lincoln. It would probably be a tougher matchup, but it’s going to be played at the Emirates Stadium. So, we should be able to prevail and move on.




The magic of the cup is well and truly alive.


  1. Two comments on this:

    1. That CL team list reads like a graveyard of wasted talent, either through injury or lack of application. Sad. Henri Lansbury is apparently on Aston Villa now as they plummet towards relegation from the second tier. He scored an own goal vs. Newcastle yesterday. Still, his career panned out a lot better than Eastmond’s or Deacon’s, though their stars are probably on the rise a little bit after all this exposure. Still, shocking how far down the totem pole they fell.

    2. The highlight of the night, besides the giraffe headed streaker, was clearly the goalkeeper’s coach (the man is morbidly obese, no way he keeps goal for anyone) wolfing down a pie (not a sandwich!) in slow motion because he just couldn’t be arsed to wait until the game ended. I also enjoyed how the announcers informed that he was seen at the bar at halftime.

    1. Oh and the speculation on the nature of the beverage enjoyed with said pie was particularly edifying.

  2. ‘Sutton United have accepted the resignation of reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw, who is under investigation for potentially breaching betting rules.

    The Gambling Commission and Football Association are investigating if there was a breach of betting regulations after the 46-year-old ate a pie during Monday’s FA Cup loss to Arsenal.

    A bookmaker had offered odds of 8-1 that Shaw would eat a pie on camera.’

    From the BBC website

    1. The bookmaker in question was the same one who paid Sutton to sponsor their shirts for this one game, which is why a conspiracy isn’t too far-fetched.

  3. “Mutton yesterday, mutton today, and blimey, if it don’t look like mutton again tomorrow,”

  4. There’s a lot to be said about Wenger and his fault, but his gesture and respect towards Sutton and their fans sure is classy. I just can’t picture any other manager do those kind of thing like playing Alexis for the home supporters and help the donations for their clubs. Hope it will help them and the community.

  5. Looking at that team from 2010, I realise we’ve come a long way
    just to finish at the exact same League position as them.

    1. They finished 3rd in 09/10 and 4th in 10/11. We were 2nd in 15/16, so I don’t understand this comment, though strangely it seems to have garnered traction.

      1. To add to the absurdity, that team was a mish-mash of reserves and youth for and not representative of the best team we had back then. The first XI that season was probably as good or better than what we have now: They hammered that qualification group, including eventual group winners Shaktar 5-1 at the Emirates, and even beat Barcelona in the home leg of the round of 16. It was probably the closest we got to knocking out one of the elite teams in that competition. They finished 4th but 3 points from 2nd placed Chelsea who they beat 3-1 earlier in the season. That was the season of the famous 4-4 at Newcastle but it was also the John Terry eats grass game and featured a 3-0 away to City. Close but no cigar. Not laughing stocks.

        1. To be honest, it was written intentionally over the top and mainly for shits and giggles,
          but you probably understood the point.

          And when it comes to judging our progress, I always tend to look at it through the number of points, since every season you are pitted against 19 other teams and your mission is to gather as much points as possible.

          Imagine this as an experiment: at the beginning of each season, you only know the points your team has and you have no idea how the other teams are doing. Further more, you have no idea which team Arsenal is playing next. Would you still obsess over being fourth on October 16th or second on January 24th?

          Or better yet, what if for the first half of the season, you only play at home and you start with the worst teams. You could be first at the table in December, and then finish 10th at the end of the season when the other half of your games are away.

          So, my point is that I’ve stopped giving that much significance at the actual table and I like to evaluate the team mostly on the number of points they managed to win during the fight against those nameless 19 clubs. And it is astonishing that every season we have better players than before, and we are doing worst on the table when it comes to the times they managed to win against the other 19 clubs.

    2. Ok. So we currently sit in fourth, but let’s wait till May to see if the joke has TRUE resonance, ok? 😉

      Not that there’s much in it. Last season’s team, with Ozil, Sanchez, Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny, finished 3 points better off than that lamentable team. With an identical goal difference.

      1. True, we should wait until May, but my crystal ball tells me 4th, and yes, I do think this will be the year that St Totteringham’s Day, an ancient tradition, will not be celebrated.

      2. My point exactly, Orm. I think this current team has more depth and less “deadwood” but its first XI is quite comparable in quality to the 10/11 team with Cesc, Nasri, Arshavin and RVP perhaps representing a better cluster of top tier individual quality than we have currently.

  6. 11 whole days before our next match at Anfield. One can only hope the time off will have a positive effect on the team. Not like we had any kind of momentum going into this break.

    My first ever real English pie was at Piebury Corner on Holloway Rd. One of the best meals I had on that particular trip. Yum!

  7. I was reading the blog and this comment made me happy:

    There’s a lot to be said about Wenger and his fault, but his gesture and respect towards Sutton and their fans sure is classy. I just can’t picture any other manager do those kind of thing like playing Alexis for the home supporters and help the donations for their clubs. Hope it will help them and the community.

    Then the very next comment made me sad:

    Looking at that team from 2010, I realise we’ve come a long way
    just to finish at the exact same League position as them.

    I believe relationship problems would be easier than Arsenal problems. 😂

  8. Wow Tim, your filter must be made in Utah, I wrote “sh**s and giggles” in a reply and I guess it’s still waiting for approval.

  9. A team we could have put out that year was actually very good in my opinion.
    Sczney..Sagna…Verm….Kos..Clichy..Song…Nasri..Rosicky..Fabregas…Arshavin…Van P

    As Doc said, I think the team Tim mentions played because we’d already sown up the group.

    1. Agreed that was a good team. One could even argue that we would have won a pie eating contest vs Sutton as we had Arshavin.

  10. Have to say I’m proud of the club after their generosity to Sutton and the post-match visit to the dressing room by the gaffer and some of the lads.

    A scholar and a gentleman? Long no farther than beyond a certain tall and lanky Frenchman. Pure class, that one.

    1. Talent, Application and Opportunity. Tim wrote an excellent piece about Arsene Wengers thoughts on young talented players that get seen and given a chance (opportunity) and then it’s down to the player to apply themselves to reach their potential. If I recall correctly quotes may have come from Amy Lawrensons book about Arsene.

  11. I know people joke about how far we haven’t come in 10 years(4th place etc)but that progress doesn’t happen in a vacuum and in order to do better whatever progress we do make has to also be greater than the progress of teams with more resources like United, City and Chelsea who are also similarly trying to improve every year. And we’ve bettered each of those teams numerous times (final league position) in the last decade. We even bettered all 3 of them last year but of course Leicester happened.
    I think you also have to take into account how little room we have to improve (league position wise).

    How many premier league teams can say they’ve really improved their position much over the last 10 years and don’t generally finish in the same place every year give or take a position?

    Genuine question.

  12. I just want to add that i’ve no problem admitting something’s been missing recently and things are far from perfect. Just referring to the ‘we used to finish 4th and now we still only finish 4th’ kind of thing.

Comments are closed.

Related articles