Arsenal 1-2 Man City: Injustice for All

For the first 56 minutes Arsenal were the better team. Arsenal’s plan to press high, and take the game to Manchester City was paying off. And but for a big miss by Martinelli and two crazy calls by Stuart Attwell, Arsenal would have won this game. And would have won it deservedly, because they were the superior team.

Arsenal traded early blows with City. They created a few chances in the first five minutes, with Raheem Sterling looking to get past Arsenal’s Tomiyasu. But the japan international managed to hold his ground and win a few crucial challenges, to keep Arsenal’s hopes alive. And then Aaron Ramsdale sent a huge kick up to Martinelli – who plucked the ball out of the air like a ripe cherry and then drove at the defense – and suddenly Man City looked very shaky. He passed the ball to Lacazette, who moved the ball on to Ødegaard, and the Danish midfielder just couldn’t get a shot off. But as he collected the ball and tried to turn in the box to see his options, City’s Ederson came flying out and made a rash tackle in the box, upending the Arsenal man. It looked a nailed on penalty for everyone with a brain but Stuart Attwell and the VAR referee didn’t see it the same way and Arsenal’s penalty appeal was denied.

But then credit to Arsenal for not letting that decision get under their skin. Arsenal started pressing in packs, led by Ødegaard – who was waving his teammates on – and forced Manchester City into numerous high turnovers which they were able to convert into dangerous chances. City were hemmed into their own half. It was the best football I’ve ever seen from an Arteta-coached Arsenal side. They were proactively winning the ball back, their counter attacks were rapier-like, and they were snuffing out every City chance.

It is a testament to Arsenal’s play that from the 18th and 56th minute, Manchester City had zero shots. Not zero shots on target. Zero shots.

And it was a bit of good defending which Arsenal turned into a counter which provided the go-ahead goal. Ben White nipped in and took the ball off de Bruyne, he then marched up and passed the ball to Tierney – a delightful big switch – and Tierney drove at the City defense before picking out a pass to Saka, who scored a jaw-dropping goal. I had been expecting a ball to Laca, followed by a couple more passes but Saka seemed to just want the goal and he ghosted around Lacazette’s screen and one-touch scored.

I’ve been keeping a notebook again this season, like many others, and one thing I decided this year was to keep track of all the controversial referee decisions. I try to be as objective as possible, though the laws of the game aren’t objective and I’m also obviously a Gooner so that’s not likely, but as an example of how I see these games: I noted three big calls in the first half that I thought the referees got wrong: the penalty, Xhaka’s wild tackle from behind on Sterling (it was so bad he missed everything, even the man, so I guess it’s not really a foul), and Xhaka’s intentional handball (no card).

Obviously the penalty is the big miss and these things aren’t equivalent but the point I’m getting at here is that this referee was having a nightmare the entire match. That continued in the 2nd half. Partey was lucky not to get a yellow for a poor tackle on Joan and Rodri wasn’t even called for a foul when he two-footed Martinelli in the act of shooting. The Rodri challenge was so dangerous that it could have been red. I know that he “slipped” but the reason he slipped was because he jumped in to block a shot with both feet.

And then the Nard dog made what, on first glance, looked like a hilarious dive in the 52nd minute. Attwell even vehemently waved Bernardo to “get up” before the VAR official decided that “uhh no actually, you should go look at the video.”

Attwell went to the TV and saw that Xhaka had made contact and awarded the penalty. The question here is why did he go to the video for that call and not the earlier one on Ødegaard? Wouldn’t it be better if the referee had not even seen the VAR at all? Either the referee gives neither penalty (no VAR intervention) or he should be going to the video for both calls. If us fans at home can see that Ederson clearly kicked Ødegaard, how come VAR can’t? And how come Attwell isn’t asked to go look? It’s infuriating but we see it every week with almost every game.

From that point on things unraveled for Arsenal.

Gabriel was incensed and ran over to Attwell and said something, for that he got a yellow card. They scored, the game was level.

I was listening to the BBC football daily podcast a few weeks ago when one of the presenters – a former pro – said something which surprised me: he said that he always made a point of being extra friendly to the referees before and after the games and that he thought it gave him an advantage. We would like to believe that referees are completely impartial but they are human beings and in a game where what constitutes a fouls and a card is completely up to the judgement of that human being, it’s a smart bit of gamesmanship to keep the refs on your side. As far as I can tell, you’re never going to convince a referee to change his mind by yelling at him, clapping at him when he makes a decision you disagree with, or being ultra confrontational. Judging by Mike Dean’s record with Arsene Wenger, I’d say it was just the opposite.

Xhaka also went into a rage at this point and I was surprised that Attwell didn’t give him a card. Instead, Attwell called the captains over and told them to calm the players down.

But the game was still a good contest at this point. Arsenal were still pressing and looking to go ahead. A nice chip over for Saka required Nathan Aké to clear off the line to save an own goal. And Martinelli should have scored on the follow-up because the goal was gaping, but he missed badly.

And just 20 seconds later, what was unravelling turned into a pile of string as Gabriel was sent off for a second yellow. I guess he can’t really complain about that call, after all attwell was bound to get one call right all day. Just for good measure Attwell also gave Saka a yellow card a minute later when Lacazette was fouled. I guess for asking for a yellow card for that foul.

Manchester City already have a huge advantage. They have a team which is valued at over £1bn and routinely spend £100m on players that they don’t even really start. Once you also give them a penalty and a man advantage, the odds of Arsenal getting anything from the match become incredibly small.

But credit to the coaching staff and the players. They played their hearts out for a point and nearly made it. In the end, Rodri got a bit lucky and shinned in the winner.

It was a heartbreaking result. But on the bight side, Arsenal outplayed the presumptive League champions for huge portions of this match and but for a lucky final goal and three huge referee decisions, plus one bad miss, Arsenal would have taken something from this match.

We should all get the frustration out, complain about the injustice of this match, but also keep an eye on how well we played. Arteta seems to have struck on a combination of players up top which give Arsenal real threat: the wide men are taking on the opponents now and they have huge goal-threat; the false nine and false ten have formed a nice mini-team in the middle of the pitch; Thomas Partey had his best game in an Arsenal shirt. Some familiar problems are still there but largely the team looks settled and ready to show what they can do.



  1. We were unlucky on both penalty calls. They were both marginal, and both went against us.
    That said, we certainly still could have won it. While Xhaka is getting the predictable amount of stick on comment boards, Gabriel’s two yellows were much more inexcusable. There was a pretty clear replay showing him scuffing the penalty spot, and there was no need for him to commit a foul like that on halfway when already on a yellow. If he doesn’t do those things and we stay 11v11, decent chance we win. But he’s young and generally has been very good. Hopefully a learning experience for him.
    That said, enough complaining. I wasn’t sure about getting up at 5:30AM after having been up late, but it was worth it. That first 50 minutes was super impressive. For long stretches, we looking like Liverpool at their pressing best. Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli were all good. And agree that was Partey’s best game. If he can stay at that level, and we can keep key players healthy, we certainly have a good chance at top 4 based on that match.

    Happy New Year everyone.

    1. Happy new year everyone.

      Although a loss to start the year & I’m frustrated with the referee played such a big part, what a way to start the year – with hope!

      I don’t watch Liverpool (or any other unless playing against us) but always felt Laca > Firmino.

  2. While the refereeing was dubious, I can’t help but feel we threw this game away. The Gabriel red was especially bone headed. We simply lost our heads after that penalty call, and buy the time the nerves were calmed, the damage had already been done.
    The less said about Xhaka, the better.

    Having said that, what came before was glorious. We have two gems in Saka and Martinelli, who have proved they can perform on the biggest of stages. There is no holding back Martinelli now, that left side should be his for the foreseeable future.

    Replace Xhaka and Lacazette/ Aubameyang properly, and there are few weaknesses in this squad.

    1. 100% agreed with every word.

      It sounds so simple – we have only 2 positions to fill. Both kind of crucial ones though and going to require some luck, some money or both.

      Ps @ Tim, kudos for either getting up or staying up to watch the match and then for writing and posting this so quickly after. May your 2022 start with a well earned afternoon nap!

  3. Was astounded how well the team played the first part of the game, best I have seen from us against one of the best teams in the world in over 2 years!

    But, I just knew it would not last. Sterling’s dive right before the penalty did not even get a wiff of a yellow, and silVa’s dive when he lost control of the ball, was already going to ground before Xhaka made contact, was the proverbial nail in the coffin for our momentum.

    Of course it was going to go man $h*tTy’s way. They were called for only 5 fouls all game.

    This was at home, at the Emirates, how the hell am I supposed to believe we will ever get any calls at their crappy stadium, answer- we are not.

    Not the way I wanted to start the new year after the crappy year the entire world had last year.
    Chin up, I guess, and look forward to attacking futbol, the way it is supposed to be played.

  4. Arsenal were terrific. Standing ovation for that performance. A couple of days ago, this was how I felt…

    “I expect City to beat us on NYD. But the beauty and romance of sport is that we can dream of a day where we nail our tactics and execution and beat the giant (I always go into a game thinking, against my pragmatic self, that we can win).”

    We nearly did. But for a bad miss from Martinelli (all the other circumstances excepted), we might have, or at least taken a point. Not to detract from it in any way, but getting a rest because of the cancelled game against Wolves looked like a big deal, especially with the festive congestion.

    I suspect that these will be unpopular takes, but on both penalty incidents, the right decision was arrived at. If Xhaka does not do his patented sly tug on Bernardo’s shirt, the ref’s monitor review would probably have resulted in yellow for simulation for Silva. In other words, on a blatant dive, Xhaka managed to find a way to commit a foul on a player halfway to the ground. 99% of those dont get called in real time. But the ref had the benefit of slo mo replay. Xhaka gave the ref a decision, where the only one should have been whether to caution the Portuguese or not. Penalty, in my view.

    Odegaard’s foot deliberately overshot the football (in my view) looking for the contact. No penalty, and correct call. Where I would criticise the match officials is in not being consistent and having the dismal Attwell look at both incidents. A lot of refs would have exercised discretion on either of Gabriel’s yellows.

    But man oh man, were we excellent that first hour or what? If this is Artetaball, I’m buying. Repeat…Saka is the best right sided attacking player in the league right now, and he showed it against a team that had a couple on show today.

    The Spuds beat Watford. Not what we needed. But hey, savour this performance.

    p.s. There were 3 Brazilians in the outfield (not counting their keeper), all named Gabriel.

    1. Xhaka was also looking for a fight and getting sent off in that penalty scuffle. He had to be pushed away from the situation. Unbelievable

      Can we ever be safe with a lead or a draw as long as Xhaka is on the pitch ? He is the embodiment of the ‘banter era’

      Our first business in the summer should be to get rid of this man.

      1. He’s been on a PR charm offensive in the media of late. Softening us up for a return to the captaincy next summer (and hoping that we have short memories?). Perhaps. I dont know. But in those moments of perceived burning injustice, Arsenal needed a player to calm passions, not light fuses. Tim makes an excellent point about refs being human, and why it’s smart to not get in their faces.

        But let’s be fair to Granit. He has played really well of late. Read somewhere that his return to the team has coincided with us balling out.

        From the way he carries himself on the field, I can see why Odegaard, for a player so young, captains his country. He’d be my pick for the job long term (even though I largely agree with Josh on wanting a captain who can see the whole field)

        1. To be an elite sportsperson you need a combination of physical, mental and emotional excellence. Xhaka funks the emotional part every time. It was such a Xhaka foul. He got skinned because of his lack of athleticism so he did the Xhaka shirt tug thing and half arsed tackle. It’s indefensible.

    2. Agree about pens, both correct decisions. The Xhaka one was was about the knee not the pull. He’s just too slow for the prem. Sad that he has an exemption to the non-negotiables.

      The Ode one was 50/50 so right to go with refs decision.

      Good new is we find a partner for Partey and we can justifiably consider ourselves a top-4 contender.

  5. I honestly can’t remember the last time the home support was that massively involved. If they ( and the squad ) keep it up, Ashburton Grove will be an absolute nightmare for visiting teams.


    Can see your point of view, however vaR is $h*te!

    One can slow any event down to a single frame and everything looks like a foul.
    The question remains, how many camera views are there for these solitary movements, there are not many, and these views slowed to a single frame do not tell you the physical force of the movement and how it may or may not influence a decision.

    Stand by what I have always said, vaR makes the game worse, and will continue to do so until those that are making the calls are consistent, human behavior and interpretation, are as objective as possible, and not down to a single vote. Yet, this still only convolutes and slows the game down even more. Almost makes games unwatchable, as this type of nonsense will only magnify what each foul is even more in the future.

    So, what is a foul? Better get out the rulebook and have the clowns try and interpret them.

  7. Arsenal played like one of the best teams in the world. It’s been a while City hasn’t been dominated like that. And, even better, this game was the expected continuation of a stream of improving and convincing performances. It really looks like we have a team, an organisation and a soul. These kids are confident, fearless. A bit of Xhaka typical clumsiness, a bit of a lack of self control on Gabriel’s side and a lucky last gasp goal undid all that brilliance but the fact remains: we are very good.
    As far as the refereeing is concerned, I have no complains. The Odegaard thing is 50/50. On some images it seems like the goalkeeper gets on the ball first, on other images it is less obvious. The no penalty decision is acceptable. And Xhaka grabbing Silva’s shirt in the bow after having been passed is a clear (and stupid) penalty. The referee also forgot another clear penalty against us (foul by Partey in the first half).
    This defeat should actually grow our confidence even further.

  8. So much to like about that performance. Fight, organisation, confidence. Comfortably the best performance under Arteta. Should have been 3 points.

    Someone recently said ‘Xhaka now feels like a loveable bonehead instead of a walking landmine’. Xhaka cost Arsenal 2 points today. A shirt pull and half trip gave the officials two chances to make a decision.

    All the big refereeing decisions were correct. VAR looked at the Odergaard incident for a long time and concluded Ederson got there just. Gabriel’s first yellow was for scuffing the penalty spot. His second was a rash mistake.

    It was a bug game, under control but I feel some of the players let the occasion get to them. Something for the coaching team to work on.

    Chins up. Sometimes you learn more from a loss. This team playing like that has nothing to fear.

  9. I’m less bothered by the officiating. I thought the calls were borderline, like Claude. I am still buzzing over the way we played. That is football that I can get behind. We took it to arguably the best team in European football and got the better of them for the majority of the match. That pressing style, backed by aggressive defending and masterful midfield play by Thomas makes Arsenal fun again. We made a statement with this game. We belong with the best. We will challenge anyone and play our way and even if you are at the top of your game you will need a lot of luck to beat us. I can’t ask for much more than that. Just excited to see if we can find a Xhaka replacement sooner than later!

  10. Completely agree with ClaudeIvan about both penalty decisions.You can blame the ref and VAR all you want but truth of a matter is that Arsenal lost this game rather than City winning it. Martinelli’s horrible miss aside which can be forgiven given his overall play and contribution not just today but in recent weeks, it was down to Gabriel and our biggest offender, Xhaka. Gabriel was an idiot, especially for getting the second yellow card in a manner he did but everything was predetermined by Xhaka and the foul/penalty he gave away a minute or two earlier. Slow, dumb, and aggressive is a very dangerous combination and that is exactly what Xhaka is. Arleta has to share some blame as well because he’s the one who picks him week in and week out. I’ve lost count how many points Xhaka cost us over the years and I can’t believe he still hasn’t been shown the door. I’ve started to enjoy our football again recently but I will be on Mikel’s case until he continues to persist with Xhaka in our midfield.

  11. I don’t know if you people saw the Brit coverage but the studio, especially Rio Ferdinand, outraged about the failure to give us a penalty and the different way in which VAR treated the two incidents.

    It seemed to boil down to, absurdly, that while the crowd could see that Xhaka pulled a shirt, you needed slow mo to see the foul on Odeguard. Surely, you might think, that is what VAR is for. No, the reason given by the tame referee in the studio, was that as the ref in game had no access to slow mo in real,time, then his mistake was not ‘clear and obvious’.

    At this point Ferdinand threw his hands in the air and said said that that reason “was doing his head in”. One has to ask, what is VAR for in that case.

    Apparently it could not intervene. However, in the other instance, despite the ref not giving the penalty in real time, it actively intervened and directed the ref to the slo mo replay.

    We was robbed. Absurd.

  12. By the way. I do not believe that the fault lay with Arsenal or Xhaka in particular in this game. Everything we did was punished harshly. City not so. Pulling a shirt? Don’t make me laugh. No var check on penalties that need slo mo, really?

  13. Can someone name 10-15 players better than Xhaka who can do what he does well, without the bone-headedness? I assume there are quite a few more than that. We should just…get one, like. The good can be good, and it’s taken a while to admit that, but the bad comes out every other game. It’s too much.

  14. The Odegaard penalty wasn’t sufficiently clear, while the Xhaka one sadly was.
    Great performance but I think VAR got it right and Gabriel lost his head.
    And both the 90th minute outcomes in today’s games sucked!

  15. That was, and still is, very hard to take. If a pull on a shirt is clear and obvious error, where was VAR at ManU when (McGuire?) pulled on Tomi’s? If Xakha’s lunge in the first game was red, why wasn’t Rodri’s (or the one the Spuds player committed today, or Kane’s)?

    Refereeing is a hard and thankless job, but when the same players / teams benefit (or are harmed) consistently by calls, inconsistency begins to look less like incompetence than and more like bias, or worse.

    The good: The way we played. The fans standing with the players. The roar that announced us, I hope and believe, as a force to be recond with. Maybe even the knowledge that City players now have that they were very, very, very lucky, divy, boys, with a ref/VAR who to gave them every benefit of the doubt and themselves, at best, had a very tough day at the office.

  16. The Swiss Tractor might be OK for planting spuds, but that’s about it. He can’t tackle. He’s got no balance and just gets it all wrong. To compensate for this he uses his arms, loses his temper and fouls. When those fouls are in the penalty area, then it is a penalty. When he does it often enough, he gets a card. We’ve know this for years and yet he seems to be viewed as a key member of the team. He’s basically a liability and should have been moved on ages ago.
    Disappointed with Gabriel. His sending off, more than anything else, swung the game completely in City’s favour. Playing the Mancs with 11 players is taxing enough. Down to 10? Forget it. I thought we did well to hang on for as long as we did. Good players don’t lose their temper during a football match. I don’t know how he faced the rest of the team in the dressing room. There were some fans in the stadium yesterday who actually applauded him as he left the pitch. If that isn’t stupid, then I don’t know what is.
    I was so angry. We played them off the pitch for most of the game and then completely blow it in a 5 minute spell of complete and utter brainlessness.

      1. Do Saka, ESR, Odegaard, Ben White, Tomiyasu, Maitland-Niles, Tavares, Lokonga, Nketiah lose their tempers?
        I don’t think so, or perhaps I missed it.
        Since when are Xhaka and Gabriel “inexperienced”?

  17. I vaguely remember an interview with a Liverpool player (Ian Rush maybe?) back in the days when they totally dominated the first division and he said the team was instructed to be really friendly with the ref and complement his decisions, even the ones that went against them, and time after time the really big calls would be given in Liverpools favour. makes you wonder if Xhakas apoplectic blustering is really the right approach for helping Arsenals cause.

    1. I’m convinced it’s not. Evidence I have is merely experiential so feel free to discount.

      1. Well, l think most people tend to respond poorly to abuse and why would referees be any different, even more so if there’s already a bias against the team (and l often feel there is).

  18. I had family commitments so I only saw the first half, and thought we were excellent. I was surprised but not that disappointed to discover we lost, because City are always dangerous.

    Finding out the manner of the defeat though was pretty annoying. They didn’t beat us, we surrendered because we self-destructed, again. This has been a theme for so long now that we should call it being Arsenaly, it’s the same as being Spursy only stupider and angrier. It’s so frustrating given how well we played, and given that beating City is where we want to be as a club, and we had it right there on a plate.

    Xhaka is a hothead but at least he was legitimately beaten by a piece of skill and he didn’t get himself sent off. Gabriel was the chief architect of that defeat, but again I don’t blame him as an individual – he was the one who crossed the line but others were ready to. There’s a clear line for me between passion and intensity, which you can’t win without, and lack of control, which will make you lose.

    I’ve said in the past that I just wanted us to play good football, well yesterday I loved the football we played, and now I want us to be winners again. I guess I’m impossible to please.

    The problem for me with the complaints about the refereeing, some of which I agree with, is that it fuels a sense of injustice which also fuels this lack of control, and in the end it will continue to undermine anything good we do with the ball. I don’t know what to do about that.

  19. The dominant response to the injustice of yesterday here is to bang the same old media drum of Arsenal imploding. That is past it’s sell by date and is very unfair to the current crop of Arsenal players. It is also unfair to Xhaka yesterday who was immense.

    They fought like tigers. Every transgression received castigation by the referee team, not so for City. We made 13 fouls and had 5 bookings. Really? Did we endanger anyone? When Rhodri cleaned our Saka two footed we didn’t even get a free kick, just a corner. Any even handed approach to officiating the game and they would have surely been clear winners.

    Maybe Timothy’s long standing dislike of Arteta as manager has coloured your word view. To see Arsenal fans blame our players for defeat after yesterday’s performance is just contrary.

    Very disappointing.

    1. Yesterday
      Arteta, where was he ?
      Not distracting on the sidelines too.
      We have to understand that truth sometimes when needs to be told too often, we should not object

    2. As usual, both things are true. I too think it’s harsh on the players who gave their all and were generally excellent. I can also understand the decisions that were given, even though it could’ve gone either way and seemed to always go against us. It’s a tough pill to swallow. For me it just shows how difficult it is to win against the very best. An excellent 90 minutes isn’t enough. It has to be an excellent 95 or however long the referee decides the game is. There is literally no room for mistakes or any kind. You cannot even give the referee a chance to spoil your day, though there’s only so much you can do about that. I think these players are mature enough to take the right sort of message away from this game. They were almost there, just missing that extra 5% that ultimately decided this contest. That’s a marker of their immense quality and immense progress as a group and, at this stage of the evolution of the squad, that has to be encouraging.

      Some people will never be satisfied but that’s up to them. Ultimately you have to remember that the people posting online are a small vocal minority and 7am is an even smaller community. Even here though you’ll see a mix of opinions. We tend to attract the analytic sorts as well as perfectionists and idealists, people who love Tim’s unique content. It’s a niche group to be sure but I’ve found a home here and I’ve leaned to accept that people will disagree with me and that that’s ok.

    3. The ref had a bad game. Coming up to 90 minutes, we had roughly about 5 cautions and City had none. That’s not the game any of us saw.

      But unless you think a video review by him would have given Odeggaard a penalty (I dont think it was, and the professional analysts are divided on it) the big incidents of the game did not constitute an injustice. Granit fouled Bernardo in the box. He likely would have been given the benefit of the doubt on contact, if he hadn’t had a handful of the fella’s shirt. Where is the injustice?

      That was one incident on which the game turned. The other was Gabriel’s. Already on yellow whether you want to call it questionable or not, his body check on Jesus was a clear, deliberate foul. Some refs MIGHT have hesitated to give him a second yellow, but by the latter of the law, you can’t argue with the caution. The player was stupid.

      Rodri, yes, should have been cautioned for that wild tackle on Martinelli.

      I wouldn’t say our loss was due to our imploding — I agree with you there — but I dont think that Arsenal suffered an injustice. In both of the two key incidents, the Arsenal players were at fault. Overall, the cautions were unfairly skewed. I know it’s hard to see both of those things as true, but they are.

      And I dont see an anti-Arteta screed in this analysis.

    4. I agree that Xhaka had a pretty good game otherwise, but the simple fact is that his complete and utter brainlessness at some point of the game will, more often than not, costs us points. You can’t carry players like that. And yes, for those few minutes, we did implode. I sat and watched it and could see what was coming. Forget the media.

  20. When ESR came on thought ESR and Martineli should have switched. Found ESR plodding in unfamiliar territory, plus he is currently the better striker of the ball. Martineli is good in the wings too plus defensively not worse than ESR.
    Plus wtf Elneny, when ANM would have provided better defensive stability commensurate to his attention span

  21. I can’t stop drooling over Saka’s shot, hit first time and with the confidence and technical ability of an elite striker. Superb run and assist from Tierney too.

    Listen, gooners. This kid Saka is special. We need to lock him down. Re-sign him and double his wages or something. He’s clearly enjoying his football at Arsenal, but you never know who’s going to try to poach him.

    Loving this young group. Dont sleep on Tomi. What a player. Gave Sterling nothing.

    The one with whom I’m slightly frustrated is Martinelli. Let’s leave aside his miss. Every striker misses. He’s a great talent, but some of his decision making isn’t good, because he doesn’t raise his head enough. Yesterday, on a cut in from the wing he tried to score at the near post, through a non existent gap with the outside of his left foot. Someone — i cant remember who — was open centrally and tearing his hair out. Come on, Gaby. The goalie had cut down the angle. Youre not scoring that from there. Raise your head and assess the options better. He did the exact same thing against United, this time cutting in from the right wing, and trying to shoot past de Gea in a non existent near post gap. Gaby`s energy and workrate is next level. His skill is undeniable. But this is something I’m sure he’ll work on. Greed is good in a striker, but sometimes you have to pass the ball.

    Ben White’s smart interception led to our goal, but he and Rob Holding made a mess of the de Bruyne cross that led to Rodri`s winning goal. Holding, instead of heading the ball out, headed it right into the centre of our box and White, not for the first time, was caught ball watching on an opposition goal. Its hard to be critical when the team played so well and valiantly, be we can’t unsee these errors.

    On a more positive note, this was Partey`s coming out game. Understatedly brilliant, against one of the best midfields in the world.

    Pep admitted what was clear. We were the better team yesterday. And yes, the rest from the Wolves game made a difference. It was tactically smart of the Arsenal coaching team, which would surely have included Mikel by zoom or something, to take the game to them, despite their being one of the best teams in the world. And that for me was one of the most pleasing things. We played the circumstances, not the reputation, and we did so without fearing them. Onwards.

    1. Loved Saka. Loved Partey. Loved most of the performances.

      Overall I’m very happy with everything so the fact we still lost is like a big pointy stone in an otherwise luxurious pair of slippers.

      But what’s also great is a gut feeling that as soon as this group of players learn how to manage games they will be very, very scary for opposing teams.

  22. I had so much hope at minute 50 and then xhaka was stupid and then Gabriel was stupid and then he was stupid again and arsenal pulled an Arsenal. Xhaka is a dog who can’t stop pooping on the carpet.

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