Arsenal first out the gate

“I like to think that the paying fan wakes up the morning of the game and thinks ‘ah yes, my team is playing today’ and he will be transported to a more beautiful world than his daily routine. I like to set myself the ambition to give him this hope, this excitement about coming to see the team play – even if I know I will let him down sometimes.” – Arsene Wenger

Arsenal this summer was an exercise in optimism. Warm Florida days, new players coming in and playing good football, winning games with little to no trouble, tactical flexibility, smiling fans, beating Chelsea, and most importantly Ray Parlour telling us what his favorite sandwich is (bacon roll or ham and salad). And given the natural state of the Arsenal supporter, naturally that optimism would turn quickly into worry as Arsenal opened the 2022/23 Premier League season away to their “bogey team” Crystal Palace.

The worry was that Arteta might switch up the starting lineup that had worked so well this summer, that maybe Jesus was just a flat track bully, that Saliba was maybe too good to be true, or that Crystal Palace might be out-coached by a former Arsenal legend who does seem to have a point to prove. But those fear were quickly put to rest when Arteta fielded a back four of White-Saliba-Gabriel-Zinchenko with Xhaka-5-Ødegaard in front of them and an attacking three of Martinelli-Jesus-Saka. In other words: Arteta stuck with what had worked this summer.

And it worked. In the third minute of the game, Gabriel Jesus dribbled past two Palace defenders, the ball sticking to him like it was fastened there with a hot glue gun, takes a shot into some poor fool’s face, and Martinelli gets the ricochet in tons of space only to screw the shot wide. You have to think that sometime in the middle of the season, that’s going to be a goal.

A few minutes later it’s Zinchenko on the same side as Martinelli, getting the open shot. This time set up by Xhaka playing incredibly high up the pitch and making the final ball look easy.

Those shots were a shock to the system for Palace and they seemed to wake up and remember their game plan. From that point on, they got touch tight with Arsenal, and put in a number of crunching tackles to stop Arsenal from playing. Ayew in particular seemed to get away with a free pass with shirt tugs and studs up challenges – in the 16th minute he went in wildly with his studs up and “won the ball”.

But one thing we learned about Arsenal last season is that they spent the money on a set piece coach and that it paid dividends. And so in the 19th minute Saka ballooned a cross, Zinchenko made a free run and headed it back across the box, and Martinelli scored. One from the training grounds as they say.

Palace didn’t let the goal get them down and kept pressing and harassing Arsenal. Ramsdale could have given away a goal with a pass that deflected off Odsonne Eduoard. It was a moment of madness from Ramsdale, one which he doubled a minute later when he was nearly caught in possession and needed a clearance from Gabriel to save him his blushes.

Palace looked to exploit Ben White on the left, clipping passes to Zaha who was charged with trying to get past Arsenal’s English defender. It was a mixed bag for Zaha. He was able to get around White a few times but he also met still opposition when he did: Saka tracked back numerous times and on the few times there was any danger it was snuffed out by Man of the Match William Saliba.

I’m going to take a second to break from the character above and just say that I’m happy you all (including Arteta) finally got to see William Saliba play football. Yesterday’s performance is exactly what we saw from day one last year while he was at Marseille. He is an assured passer, confident dribbler, and almost always a pin-point-perfect tackler. He also has incredible footspeed and a great sense of awareness in defense. There were a few moments where he hung on to the ball a bit too long and made me nervous, but he has done that in every single match I’ve seen him play. The bottom, line is that he was ready to play for Arsenal last year but I’m glad that he got a Champions League qualifying campaign under his belt. We need experienced players like Saliba in this team. Ok, back to the match report…

A few minutes later it was Saliba to the rescue again. Gabriel seemed to handle the ball (which somehow got ME grief on twitter??) and the whole Arsenal team switched off waiting for referee Anthony Taylor to make the call. Well, if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that Taylor isn’t going to make any call that anyone thinks he’s going to make. Saliba, however, stayed switched on and cleaned up with another perfect tackle in the 18 yard box.

Palace would get a big chance six minutes later. Taylor had been allowing shirt pulls all day but then Ben White pulled Zaha’s shirt and he fell over and Taylor gave the free kick. Eze put in a great kick, it was headed back across and then a free header right at Ramsdale for the save. White was at fault here for not tracking his man.

Xhaka tried to get a penalty and Taylor was having none of it, giving the Arsenal man his first yellow card of the season. And to show that he’s matured, Xhaka didn’t get sent off, despite Lee Dixon willing it into existence for most of the rest of the game.

The final action of the first half was a tremendous block by Saliba on a shot by Odsonne’s Local 151 Behind the Firehouse. Odsonne took the follow up shot and blazed over the bar. Some of you who watched on TV in America will say that White got the block but it was Saliba, the commentators seemed to miss the actual block and then give credit to White when Odsonne missed.

Palace started the 2nd half on the front foot. Ebereche Eze caught Ødegaard sleeping and ghosted in for a wide open shot, Ramsdale smothered. A minute later, Zaha got free in the box and required another perfect tackle from Saliba. It looked like Arsenal just couldn’t quite get to grips with the game, and Ben White showed it when he got a yellow card for pulling Zaha’s shirt.

It was all sort of coming apart for Arsenal at this point and there were shades of Arsenal over the last three seasons – too defensive, unable to handle pressure, unable to get the ball into the opposition final third. Palace supporters booed Arsenal’s #5 every time he touched the ball, adding to the nerves that seemed to be building.

Palace sensed it. Ayew got past Zin way too easily and put in a dangerous cross to Zaha but he was closed down and the shot blocked. Palace then started targeting White (on a yellow) with Zaha again and Arsenal just couldn’t seem to get the ball back. Zaha beat white far too easily in the 78th minute and put in the cross of the game. Fortune smiled, however, as none of the Palace players reacted and the result was just a non-shot big chance for Palace.

That would be pretty much the last good moment for Palace. Arsenal mustered a rare moment of verticality from the back, Saka collected the ball wide and played in a cross which really wouldn’t have amounted to much but the reason you make those crosses is because defenders sometimes make mistakes. And that’s exactly what happened when Palace defender Marc Guehi tipped the ball into his own goal.

Before kickoff, Arsenal supporters were 80% sure of a win. Proving the highly optimistic mood among the fans. And if we look at the final score we might say that they were justified. But the scoreline was far from the whole story – stats never tell the whole story – as Palace gave Arsenal one hell of a game yesterday, pushing them all the way until the own goal in the 85th minute.

But that’s what it’s going to take if Arsenal want to finish this season in the Champions League places: scrappy wins that go down to the wire. 37 more to go.



  1. The only logical reason why I think 5 is still being picked is because frankly he’ irreplaceable. Unless Arsenal go back into the market I think 5 just has to start, allegations be damned.

    1. Honestly, Arsenal is not in an easy place. As far as I know, the player is currently only under investigation, nothing is certain yet. If a club just suspends a player and if he is somehow innocent, it’d be very problematic. I’m sure the moment the situation escalates, such as the person getting charged, the team will drop him like other teams (I believe City still played Mendy a few times after the case broke out before he was eventually charged).

      I’m not trying to say if he’s innocent or guilty, there’s no way for me to know for sure, I’m just saying that suspending a player just like that is not an easy decision to make. The case is currently, at best, a ‘he said she said’, though currently I personally am leaning on believing the accuser.

        1. imagine if it were you as a player and you knew you were innocent of these claims but your manager dropped you. if you were arteta, how would you treat your player? imagine if it were your brother, your friend, your child, etc. there’s a human side to all of this that we as fans don’t have to manage; it’s all hypothetical to us. it’s real to them.

          imagine being arteta and having a decision to make with managing that player, managing the team without that player, managing owner expectations, managing your obligations to the game, and managing the fan base. imagine, after dropping partey, if arsenal had failed to win and the media scrutiny behind the decision to not include partey. even if arsenal had won, the media wouldn’t even want to talk about anything else. the decision to drop partey when you have no ramifications to consider is an easy one. that’s us; no ramifications. without thinking too hard, i can tell you that arteta had plenty to consider.

          i didn’t want to talk about this, but for me, the allegations against partey are not so clear. i’m unnerved by the specificity of her text messages. they imply she had every intention, not to resolve an issue with an acquaintance, but to publicly humiliate this man; she knew she was going to release those texts before she sent them. she’s, literally, narrating the story she wants to tell the world…..likely so that she can get money or fame. that’s disgraceful and should give everyone cause to pause. it’s reminiscent of the way giroud let that wannabe model set him up. it’s treacherous terrain to navigate being a millionaire footballer. some folks are scandalous and i think this woman is one of those folks.

          1. Imagine if it was your sister, your mom, your wife, raising the allegations? Imagine if someone you loved was a victim who had never been believed. Imagine if all of the women in the stadium who have been victimized have to sit there and watch their beloved club play a player who has very serious and public accusations leveled against them and a bunch of men in their lives are all saying “yeah but we have to think of him”.

            It’s an empathy question. Which person can you empathize more with? And what I find with most men is that they can see themselves more likely to be accused of assault than to be the victim. Thus the ardent defenses.

            Now, imagine yourself as one of his teammates. Some are going to be on his side but surely not every player will think he’s innocent. And what then? What happens when – not if – this starts to hurt the club?

            As for dropping a player, players get dropped for showing up late to work. I think dropping a player because he’s been credibly accused of sexual assault three times can easily be justified as “removing a distraction.”

            After all, Mason Greenwood and Gylfi Suggurdson have been dropped. Neither of them found guilty.

            Ultimately, for me it comes down to a moral question.

          2. This is exactly why women can’t win. She goes public because she feels the UK justice system has let her down. If she brings no receipts, people say she’s lying and got no evidence. If she brings ALL the receipts – likely gathered and produced over the last year as part of the police investigation – first people look for inconsistencies and fraud to the nth degree, then they actually start to manufacture inconsistencies (yep, people were faking screenshots and such), and finally, they accuse her of intent to benefit from this somehow.

            How? She already signed an NDA, got paid, and now violated it. She put her name out there. You can look her up on LinkedIn, it’s all there. Who does that?

            It says a LOT that folks – and I don’t exclude you from this, Joshuad – would twist themselves into knots and bend over backwards to NOT draw the simple conclusion where all the evidence seems to point.

            I am not saying whether the player is innocent or guilty. I am saying the evidence she has produced is persuasive, and I am inclined to believe her. Shocking, I know, I must be a terrible fan.

  2. I thought BW had a good game defensively, just watching him against Zaha, seemed to frustrate him particularly in the first half. Won 8/10 tackles (led everyone), 4 clearances, 1 interception, dribbled twice. Not bad given he’s not even supposed to be a RB. His 74% pass rate is not great, but Zin on the other flank was only 82%. Indicative that Arsenal were on the back foot for much of this game.

    I agree this was a closer game than the score makes it look. The tough thing for me about it was that I thought we were going to blow the doors down in the first 20 minutes, but then we went back into our shell and invited Palace on to us. Some of that was down to them, but a lot has to be down to us too because I remember us doing something similar too often last season, including at home against Palace when we went up 1-0 and ended up clawing back to 2-2. We seem to have a “leading” tactical setup that is more conservative and maybe we get too comfortable with that, and before we know it we are under pressure. I think the players were also dealing with some yips from it being opening day and how we got spanked in the same fixture a few months back.

    Overall though, I’m hugely encouraged by the offensive flair and defensive resilience we showed at either end of this fixture, respectively, and by the quality of our summer additions.

  3. It was a thrilling win, no doubt.

    Also no doubt for me, was that Palace bossed the game from 35 minutes to about 80 minutes. They are very good against us, and handily out pressed our press for long portions of the match.

    But we hung on and kept working it and our graft eventually paid off with Saka doing what Saka does. They’ll have to repair all the burn marks on the right side of Selhurst Park pitch after his bombing up and down all night!

    Ramsdale almost handed them the match on a couple of occassions but he was as effervescent and confident as ever and just seemed to get stuck in as the minutes were on.

    I was astounded by William Saliba’s quality because I haven’t paid a lot of attention to his development. Three years is a long time. His clearances were fantastic, his tackles inch perfect. This guy looks to be our Virgil. (Ha, ha LFC, eking out a draw at Craven Cottage!)

    Couldn’t be happier right now, all things considered. I might even have to splurge for one of those cool gold on black warm up jerseys, once they’re back in stock…

  4. Great result – loved Jesus putting The Fear in them early on and White pocketing Zaha.

    Martin! Shoot!

    That Zaha through ball was something else. Was he doing that a season ago?

    100 points to whoever can make sense of bringing on Lokonga with 30 seconds to play.

    1. sambi came on to make him feel part of the team. maybe he has clauses in his contract that say he need x appearances to collect a bonus. maybe it was a note to odegaard that he wasn’t cutting the mustard that day; maybe martin had a knock. maybe it was a clock management thing. there are a ton of reasons and we could all take ten guesses and still get it wrong. the best answer is “who knows?”.

      1. Bit early in the season for bonus generosity, but who knows indeed. Agree with your comment on Sallba – it was a ridiculously assured debut.

  5. Arteta takes far too long to change things up. We were under pressure for a good hour and he didn’t make subs till 80′. Why not bring on Nketieh sooner to run behind when Jesus couldn’t keep the ball or influence things?

  6. Tough game and Crystal Palace had the better of chances. Zinchenko being picked on by Palace wasn’t surprising, that’s the risk we take when he is played. Tierney came in and locked down that vulnerability. Though Saka’s efforts lacked end product, it was evident that the threat he poses has gone up. One good fullback can’t cover him anymore.
    I will be remiss if I don’t mention Saliba and how good he looked. Tim, you’ve been on this for quite a while and you’ve been vindicated. Two things can be true, he could have helped us mightily last season and his experience playing for Marseille helped him mightily.

  7. tim, this is probably your best game review. are you actually getting better…..or do i just miss you?

    what more can be said about saliba? the kid was imperious on his debut. arsenal are better with him. there’s no way back for ben white.

    speaking of white, folks have all sang his praises but i agree with tim; i thought he did alright. sure, the primary matchup was he against zaha but i give credit for his success to arteta. arsenal had a sound strategy to attenuate the affect of zaha, using saka, partey, saliba, and even odegaard to help out.

    i’ve always wondered about zinchenko as a fullback. he got exposed a bit but tierney came on and let everybody know who was the arsenal #3. great substitution by arteta to get him a few minutes.

    odegaard was a bit off the pace and that’s troublesome. i still recall the newcastle game arsenal lost and how terrified he, as captain, looked in the tunnel. after that game, granit xhaka came out saying some people were scared and the look on ødegaard in that tunnel at st. james’ park flooded my head. to win the league, we need him performing away from home; yes, i said win the league. the ball jesus played to odegaard in the box, emile would have buried that, hence settling the game sooner. we’ll continue to monitor his away performances at hostile grounds.

    ramsdale saved our bacon with some good saves he had no business making. i hope he can sty fit to play every game.

    i liked the look of that doucoure kid for palace. sure, he got megged when jesus did that run early in the game but, overall, he did well. he absolutely crushed odegaard in one challenge and was pretty solid throughout. i can see why arsenal were linked. he’s definitely worth the money.

  8. So on this incident with our #5, I thought I would add an extra perspective on the different views on the incident. Josh is right that false claims occur and are very common. Tim is right that the accusations happen and people with money and fame have used those to sheild themselves from consequence for centuries. I have different point as well.

    I spoke to my mother about this whole situation and her reaction was very insightful. She read the texts and listened to those who have been explaining the whole situation. Her reaction? She didn’t even touch on the actual incident. She asked far more questions on the accuser’s character. She asked “why is she giving herself to a man who she isn’t in a relationship with?”, “Does her family know about him and her?”, “Why is she going to a different country with a stranger?”, “Why did she go somewhere alone with a man without both families getting together?”, “Why is she drunk and passing out around a man she has no assurances from?” and “Why is she sharing all of this with the world?”.

    What I learned from her, the woman who has raised me to take responsibility for injustice around me, and do everything within my power to protect those that are being victimized.

    I learned that opinions on anything to do with something as huge as ARSENAL in public spaces like social media will be coming from various different cultural perspectives.

    In western cultures, those questions she raised are not part of your daily lives and thus the incident can be viewed in isolation. For other parts of the world, the are so many red flags that come up way before the alleged incident that they can’t even fathom the outrage. So it is tough for most to even consider those accusations coming from their sister, wife, mother or women they know because cultural practices have shaped them into women that wouldn’t even consider Partey touching their hand, let alone leaving with him for holiday. Someone actually said to me that it was like a prostitute being assaulted, nobody cares.

    The problem is now that with Arsenal as a global brand that tries to represent a certain global audience, where is the correct stance? Does Arsenal take their own stances on issues from now on and push parts of its fanbase away? We saw after the Ozil situation that Arsenal’s stance on BLM was ridiculed. What balance can be struck between abiding by the law, social consciousness, squad harmony and profitability?

    The accusations are very serious and horrible, and should be taken as such. But the conversation on morals becomes a problem when you realise how different we all are. I live in a place that is plagued by these issues, probably more than any other place in the world. I try to do my part, as much as I can. I have the scars to show for it.

    But I can assure you, most are not feeling ANY empathy for her, even if it did happen. Not because the accusations are not serious, but the situation around the whole thing is bafflingly irresponsible and lacking any self respect to so many people out there around the world. I get why it would be hard for them to feel anything.

    I don’t think it’s a moral thing. It’s only a moral thing if around people of the same culture.

    1. What I’m getting from this is she acted like a harlot and deserves no sympathy, at least in the eyes of many around you. Is that right?

      I too come from a culture with a heavy dollop of this sort of attitude. A “what did she expect, dressed like that” perspective. I know it well, and had to leave all that sh!t behind when I started to use my brain.

      People hide behind culture. In conservative cultures such as the one I am from and possibly the one you describe, men are protectors, gatekeepers, controllers of women. Women are infantilized, or controlled. These are not good things, and are not justifiable in the name of culture.

      Perhaps the accused did not realize his actions were wrong – though I find that hard to believe. More likely, he either didn’t care, or knew the power imbalance was so great that he wouldn’t really be touched anyway.

      1. “What I’m getting from this is she acted like a harlot and deserves no sympathy, at least in the eyes of many around you. Is that right?”

        Nope. Missed the whole mark.

        The point is that those questions she asked are what is used to protect women where I am from. Where I am from, my behaviour as a man towards my woman does not only paint a picture of who I am, but the people who raised me.They have to assure her family of my character and promise that I will take care of her, will not harm or allow any harm to come upon her. My mother’s words are of a woman who is surprised that she could be comfortable with a man without those kind of assurances.

        I have no idea where you are from and the things that happen where you are from, but you are proving another point I forgot to put there in my post.

        One thing about the world is that the differences are beyond what you can imagine. In my own country we have 11 official languages and over 25 different cultures that uphold different values. Conservative means completely different things to different people. There are varrying degrees for everyone and people can hide behind culture to do bad, but also use culture to do good. Those stereotypes of conservatism are not relevant in a global context because they are not only limited, but lacking in flexibility to represent what culture actually means. They are excuses for painting culture as a way of living for those who do not think.

        For example, Ubuntu. Which roughly means “Humaness”. Ubuntu teaches that “My humanity only exists if I extend your humanity to you”. “I am because you are”.

        But for every culture, there will always be a line where people draw and say we can tolerate up to here. Beyond this, you are on your own. That point will depend on the people, their environment and their economic circumstances.

        I believe for every culture people will push away what doesn’t work for them and keep what does. I am a deeply traditional man and very proud of my culture, and as a thinking man, I understand that culture does not have to be a prison for us to live by. It is instead a guide for us to push not only our people, but our way of living forward into the modern world.

        1. All its best a football club can be a force of cultural change. So Yes. All of this is true. But are Arsenal doing the pushing or are they being conservative? Neither. They are being selfish at best. Cowards at worst.

          Which is ok too. I don’t have a problem with it. Just don’t grandstand about non negotiables.

          Btw, Wenger and Arsenal stood by RVP when he was accused of a similar crime and even spent some time in jail. Maybe the lack of MeToo and Twitter made it easier for them to. Or maybe they conducted their own investigation and also decided on basis of their personal relationship.

          On a tangent. I watched the AON documentary and the amount of times Arteta says I will protect you to the players, i find jarring. I can’t imagine Wenger ever felt the need to reiterate this in team talks. It was just a fact.

          1. Good point on RVP, Shard. My guess is those were different times. The world is in a much better place now with regards to these kinds of things.

  9. I haven’t wanted to weigh in on the 5 situation, but let me say this. Suspending or standing down a player until the issue is resolved is standard workplace response in responsibly run organisations in 2022. Yes, s/he could be innocent, but it’s still a standard response to a difficult and tricky to navigate situation.

    And it’s fanciful to suppose that it suddenly become a weapon for making teams drop players. This isn’t new among high profile athletes, and this nightmare reaction hasn’t occurred. Stand Thomas down, and get the matter legally expedited. From the point of view of an Arsenal supporter, that’s a bloody pain. Outside of that, I’d say it was unfortunate but necessary. This is bigger than the football.

    In the midst of the club’s loud and pious expulsion of Aubameyang, I said that his alleged crime was nowhere close to Mason Greenwood’s alleged crime. Turns out that we have someone accused of just such a thing. And the club isn’t so high-horsey.

    Non negotiables my ass. It seems to be about your usefulness at any given time.

    p.s. Devlin, what you wrote about the woman’s character is the main reason why victims don’t come forward. I have no problem with rich young athletes going out to get laid, or the women who seek them out.

    1. Heck, even the po-pos do it (paid administrative leave), and you know they will do everything they can to avoid charging their own. If we’re worse than American police forces then you know something is effed.

      1. Her accusations are serious, and she brought receipts. They cannot be dismissed easily. OTOH, it is extremely injurious to Thomas, reputationally and psychologically. Justice and fairness cuts both ways.

        What does not seem to be disputable is that (barring material omissions and misleading edits) the encounter went down in the way that she showed it to. He might genuinely see nothing reproachful about the way that they allegedly interacted. There are all kinds of shades to he said/she said. Text exchanges in black and white are another matter.

        How does a responsible workplace react in the age of Me Too, in a way that serves justice and fairness? Not like we have so far, though Arsenal are almost certainly acting under legal advice. There is where HR managers and the lawyers who advise them earn their money.

        We talk transfers… about what we bought, and what we don’t have. Seems like cover for our prime pivot should be the priority signing.

        1. careful. it may be true that things happened similar to the way she said. however, that could be their established normal behavior. i know that i’ve had women friends who’ve reacted favorably to things i’ve done or said that other women may react to with disgust.

    2. That’s my point Josh. That most cultures put certain conditions before even entertaining any accusations.

      I don’t think it’s a moral thing, just that there are people who can’t fathom the outrage because of the circumstances sarrounding the whole thing.

      Sometimes it’s just as simple as “you behave out of cultural norms, when something happens, don’t come to us”. I have seen that many times before.

  10. UNITED: lol

    Have to love Brighton. They sell their talent on their terms — absurdly high prices — and then reinvest and move on as if they got better, if anything.

    CITY: Haaland is big, fast and frightening. I love Jesus, but man, have they upgraded big time.

  11. Having watched the first three episodes of All or Nothing, some insights:

    Episode 1: I forgot just how ragged those teams were that lined up against Brentford, Chelsea and City. Our back 4 at one point was Cedric, Holding, Mari and Tavares. I think Kolasinac even started one of those. Made me grateful for our settled preseason and early transfer business this time around, not to mention a helpful lack of COVID in the team.

    Watching Tomiyasu start in place of Cedric and the difference that made to the team made me think we miss him still. His uncompromising physicality and selfless dedication are both hugely important to the balance of the team. I wondered if BW might usurp that place for himself but no, if Tomi is fit I want him out there.

    Episode 2: By the time we got ready for the NLD, the back 4 was Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney. Partey and Xhaka were back in midfield. Chalk and cheese to the beginning of the season, so perhaps the result shouldn’t have been as shocking as it felt at the time. That pregame speech from McFarlane was an ace though and got the team so fired up.

    Smith Rowe was heavily profiled and I was surprised how shy he is. Interesting bit about his dad being a rabid Spurs fan and how it gets “toxic” at home for derbies. The fact he set his stall out for Arsenal despite his dad speaks volumes about his mental toughness, or stubbornness or both. Good thing too or we would be watching him in a Spurs shirt.

    Episode 3: Arteta clearly still had some personal demons about Anfield and I felt they got the better of him in some ways. He put too much emphasis on the atmosphere and sharing that episode when he stopped playing in a 5-1 defeat was probably not helpful. Still his team fought them well until that touchline fracas with Klopp raised the energy and then they ran away with it. I hope he learns form that. I wouldn’t have given them any special aura or power in the buildup beyond recognizing their obvious strengths, and then I wouldn’t have give them any reason to feel up for it any more than usual.

    There was an obvious change in the tone and tenor of the team dynamics after that game as well and it sucked to see the feel good bubble from the NLD be so rudely burst. That was also around the time that Auba started to go off the boil and started getting subbed off and then dropped altogether. In hindsight it’s an especially shocking fall from grace following hot on the heels of his Statue Moment, one of his pinnacles in an Arsenal shirt.

    My overall sense on Arteta is that he is much better at the cerebral than the emotional part of the game. He is trying to connect to his players, trying really hard, but doesn’t always reach them. Perhaps he is trying too hard at times. There’s even a little scene where I think Edu and Steve Round talk about that. The simple, direct and heartfelt team talk from McFarlane is the kind of thing people really respond to and Mikel is just not a natural when it comes to that; but then again, few are.

    1. That’s the management part many feels Mikel falls short of,Wenger had that in abundance so could make you die for him.also it helps connect with hothead guendozi,help Tavares even keep auba in line.

      1. My hot take on this is that Arteta struggles because he’s pretending. Once he accepts he’s more Mourinho he might even find a true connection instead of having to draw a heart and a brain and talking about his heart surgery as high performance.

        1. Wasn’t Mourinho a players’ coach? I remember his players being fiercely loyal to him. As I recall he excelled in creating an “us against the world” siege mentality that his players bought into over and over again. Plus he’s never one to beat around the bush, with the media or otherwise, a heart on sleeve kind of guy, even if the heart was kind of black and bluish and covered in thorns. With Mourinho it was always emotional first, always about the chip on his shoulder and about how he’s been slighted, and tactical second.

          I see Arteta as a very different personality, much less driven by emotional insecurity and much more a relentless perfectionist who struggles to understand why everyone doesn’t work as hard as he does. In that way, he is very much like Arsene. He tries to inject emotion into his players because he knows how important it is intellectually but struggles to do so in a convincing way, because you can’t really engineer emotion. He gets off on the tactical/intellectual side of the game but very few other people are energized by that like he is. I almost think he needs to hire a coach who is good at the emotional side and that would allow him to stick to what he does best. His players, over and over again, talk about his eye for detail and his ability to spot things that no other coaches have ever done for them before. That’s his comfort zone and that’s where he is elite. His other main strength is leading by example, working hard and modeling how he wants his players to carry himself. Those are the traits that made him captain at Everton and Arsenal and that kind of credibility goes a long way with players.

          1. your assessment of arteta is very accurate. it’s why i think he’s better suited as an assistant coach. fyi, i said the same thing about emery and his strategic genius.

            if a player makes it to arsenal, they’re clearly special. however, not everyone has the same drive towards perfection like arteta and he’s simply never respected that fact. there’s still exceptional talent in players that are different but he seems loathe to respect someone else’s talent if it’s not equipped with his mentality.

            i’d say the same thing about a coach that was a brilliant player. they typically don’t make good managers. brilliant players, like maradona, can just make magic from nothing. it’s often tough for them to understand why others can’t do that or how to maximize what others can do. zidane is the exception and, perhaps, his track is the ideal track for a manager like arteta. zidane had to work with youth players before becoming the #2 at real madrid. as a youth coach, he couldn’t just change players out willy-nilly. learning to take those talented players who are probably nothing like you and maximize their abilities would have helped arteta. hell, even guardiola had to earn his stripes with coaching at the youth level.

            the biggest thing i’ve learned with being a manager is allowing people there freedom to express themselves and to showcase their own brand of excellence; respecting that it may not be the same as yours and yet being okay with that.

  12. I am not on social media. So I have absolutely no idea whats going on about 5 and the allegations beyond the occasional sprinklings on websites.

    But isn’t the whole point that we shouldn’t have trial by twitter? Hence the light dusting on sites.

    But then again I get the impression that the trial is happening because of twitter.

  13. i grew up raised by a single mother with three sisters. i have a wife and a daughter that i’d readily go to prison for if someone did harm to any of these women in my family. while in the army, i also worked as an equal opportunity and sexual harassment/assault response and prevention officer. during that time, i learned very clearly that a woman can do what’s opposite of what most women are taught to do, which is to protect themselves from compromising situations. this means despite this woman doing something absolutely foolish, i still have empathy for her becoming a victim.

    on the flip side, when i was 22, i was falsely accused of sexual assault. imagine that. everyone at work just assumed that it was true. i was no longer referred to as joshua but some version of “5”. this woman was walking around crying real fucking tears. it is, to this day, the most terrifying ordeal i’ve ever experienced; more terrifying than being shot at in combat. i thought i might go to prison for an assault that never happened. the only thing that saved me was that i was never alone with that woman; meaning someone should have been able corroborate her story. when no one stepped up to sign a sworn statement saying they saw what she claimed, tears suddenly dried up and things were, according to her “blown out of proportion”. lucky for me, i had a female commander who saw right through her bullshit in a way i lacked the knack for. it wasn’t any less terrifying for me. although exonerated, i still had folks looking at me funny. luckily, i wasn’t there much longer.

    i’m not at all dismissing this woman’s claim against partey. they may be true. i’m saying that, to me, it doesn’t pass the smell test. those texts were not normal discussion, rather a narration; people don’t talk like that via text. it seems to me, her intent was to set him up. that’s why i’m not so quick to take action against partey. if more definitive evidence comes out, i’m open to changing my mind. i’m sure arsenal did some sort of internal investigation into this and are satisfied with their decision to allow him to continue as a part of the team. as far as a decision to drop him; for how long?

    as for gunnerdom, it’s unfair to put partey in the same bucket as sigurdsson, mendy and greenwood. the police had enough evidence to arrest those gentlemen. partey has not even been questioned, let alone arrested. we’ll see what happens.

    1. multiple women have accused him. if it was just one woman and just these texts then maybe I could see your point but her currently has two additional charges from a totally different woman which the police are looking at,

      Partey has been arrested and is out on bail while police investigate. This is the exact same thing that happened to Greenwood and Siggurdson.

      1. Wasn’t Greenwood charged with assault?
        The woman in question had pictures of injuries.
        Tim, I am not aware of the other charges, but in this case I have to say I’m on the side of Partey here for the time being. Innocent until proven guilty has to stay true, no matter what the allegations.

        From what I can see, as others have said, it all looks a bit too fabricated from the woman’s side. Never mind she kept the receipts for a few flights and a villa, that doesn’t prove anything in my book. While the texts are too long, too wordy, and read like a set up. She lays everything out before it happens, then proceeds to pass out. You can’t act so responsibly on the one hand then behave like a teenager on the other. Her actions are not consistent, and this is a big red flag for me.

        A similar thing happened with Neymar a few years ago. Only his laptop camera came to his rescue as she was proven on film to have lied about rape and initiated the entire fight. Looking to purely extort money from him. With Neymar himself doing nothing.

        I’m not saying Partey is innocent for sure, but it wouldn’t be past the realms of possibility, that this woman sees a young rich black guy and sees an opportunity to get rich quick, and make a name for herself. Likely spurred on by the injustice of having to arrange this trip, and women, for him and his mates. She has plenty of motivation before the act even occurs.

        My suspicion is 50% of this story is true and 50% is embellished, to gain traction and leverage. 2 plus 2 can become 22 very fast when you have prior motivations.

        Neymar’s assaltant got off scot-free and walks the streets free to this day despite fabricating the story out of thin air.
        There are two sides to everything, and man or woman, we should not paint anyone as the devil until it’s been legally proven.

        1. The woman on twitter is the 2nd person. The player has two additional charges against him both of which he was arrested for.

          Hiding behind “innocent until proven guilty” is a position which lacks any morals in my opinion. After all we know plenty of men who are walking the streets free after raping dozens of women, for example Bill Cosby.

          And if we start charging women for “making false claims” then women will never want to come forward which would be the worst possible world to live in.

          1. In addition, the FBI reports that only 8% of allegations of rape are false and it’s estimated that 65% of sexual assaults are unreported.

          2. Agreed, but we also can’t take the stance that all women are saints. Anyone, male or female, can twist the truth to their advantage.

            I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to share a personal story with you. I was involved in a situation with a female flatmate who made false claims about me and my behaviour, for a year. Blaming me for everything and anything in the house without a shred of evidence. Blaming me for things I had in-fact fixed and even blaming me for problems she had initiated herself. At this point, I didn’t know I was being set up.

            She would wind me up so much and then video my reaction, weekly, as if to provoke more from me. So it came to the point where I just had enough, I reached for her phone to take it away and in doing so my finger touched her elbow. Period.

            The next thing I know the police are at my door and she’s charging me with assault. Saying I laid two hands on her neck and pushed her to the ground. It’s almost as if this was her end-game, she just needed to provoke me enough.

            Honestly, I have never been so shocked in my life. Not only was I just standing up for myself, for the truth, and the right to not be filmed without consent. But she lied directly to the police’s face while I was present, in order to get me a criminal record.

            Thankfully they calmed the situation and assured me these ‘videos’ were not evidence and I would not be charged. As all it showed was your standard tit for tat domestic argument. I managed to convince them that I had done nothing of the sort, and would never do so. It didn’t help her case that she was consistently paranoid, addicted to smoking pot and being a total waster. She could not be trusted one inch, and they could tell.

            I remember vividly that day, she just talked and talked and talked, not listening to a word the police would say. As if she was the only one in the room, the only one with a point to prove. Her concern was not the truth by that point, that had long gone, clouded over and forgotten. Her only concern by then was to get me kicked out and locked up. To hell with reality.

            That is not in the same league as this Partey stuff, he may well be as guilty as all the evil men of the past. But just a note to remember that we cannot go too far the other direction when it comes to pinning the blame onto men without a fair trial. As a victim of consistent harassment, lies and blackmail myself, we need to find a middle ground.

    1. imagine being a mexican-american kid being falsely accused of raping a white girl in rural south carolina.

  14. I agree with Josh here. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone feels the need to make determinations about the player, the accuser or the Club based on the meager information that’s trickled out so far. I don’t presume to know nearly enough to judge anyone involved. I am predisposed to believe the accusers in all rape cases. My mother, 3 sisters, wife and 2 daughters (all of whom are strong feminists) would more or less disown me if I didn’t. But as Devlin points out, cultural factors are at play here, as may be the laws of other countries and provinces. There are also player’s contracts which may have clauses that dictate what clubs can and can’t do. There’s evidence presented in the courts. There are the histories of the player and the accusers. To assume that one knows all of these issues and is absolutely certain of the right course of action for the player or the club is just absurd. And while the text thread looks damning, any 10 year old knows how to curate, edit and photoshop one to make their case more compelling.

    Let’s put down the pitchforks. Trial by Twitter does all of us a disservice. Rapists are scum that deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law. People that fabricate or manipulate charges against others are morally repugnant. There could be both, neither or something in between in this case. If we learn the club has dragged its feet or in any way supported a player whose guilt was clear, they should feel our wrath.

    Rightly or wrongly, I already look at the player in a very different light. At minimum, he is guilty of very poor judgment in his relations with women.

  15. Everyone is praising Zinchenko but I thought he had a really poor game apart from the assist. They kept lobbing the ball over him and he misjudged it continuously.

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