Rub of the green

Maybe it’s a peculiarity to me but I thought that yesterday’s 4-2 win over Aston Villa was an incredibly fun match. It had everything: come from behind win (twice), Saka worldie, Zinchenko debutant goal, Martinez own goal, Martinez disobeying the manager and going up on a corner kick so that Martinelli can finally get a goal, and a brilliant MF performance from Jorginho. Oh and I nearly forgot; Man City losing to Forest in the late game and Pep’s post match interview alone – he’s such a sour old fuck – made yesterday a great day.

I don’t think anyone has been questioning Arsenal’s effort over the last three weeks. And I think most of us would say that we’ve been a bit unlucky what with the deflected goals and referees forgetting to draw lines and whatnot. That’s not to say that Arsenal didn’t “deserve” to drop points this month, just that football is a game of millimeters and sometimes those tiny margins go for you, and sometimes they go against you, and they all went against us until yesterday.

I mean, that own goal by Martinez? Lol.



  1. It was Karma. Martinez has been working so hard at sh!thousery since he left the Arsenal that the whole house of sh!t finally fell upon his head in yesterday’s extra time at Villa Park.

  2. We missed all the sitters and scored all the screamers. The memory of those plus Emi Martinez wrecking himself plus City melting down at the first hint of table topping (they “just know” how to win the league my foot) will bring warmth in less excellent times.

  3. I understand why City dropping points might feel like a loss, but they actually *drew* with Forest yesterday 😉

    That aside, I echo your sentiments!

  4. If we could embed media, this would be where the Nelson Muntz HaHa clip would be used.
    He’s a pretty good keeper. And he’d still be one if he backed the antics and timewasting down some.
    I’ll admit that I was a tiny bit concerned at that corner that this was going to be one for the record books…a goalie scoring at both ends in injury time. Glad that didn’t happen.

  5. Few know that Emi Martinez’s given name is actually Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky (better known by his stage name, Krusty the Clown).

  6. i’m in the minority as i love the personality from martinez. i love the trash-talking on penalties. i love the big bravado. i love the talent. he’s a copa america winner. he’s a world cup winner. and, lest we forget, an fa cup winner.

    big up to eddie nketiah. it’s plain to see why arteta loves him so much. he put the disastrous man city performance behind him, put his head down, and worked his socks off. on another day, he would have had a brace and an assist. unlucky that his diving header was pushed onto the post by tyrone mings size 13.5 boot. then the header where he jumped out of the gym but was unlucky to striker the crossbar again. lastly, after those disappointments, he chased down a lost cause to pressure and disposes martinez only for marty odegaard to jam up a sitter. a+ for eddie on the effort front.

    zinchenko had an awful game but what a goal. watching him play invokes the same thoughts that i had watching thomas vermaelen in his first season. he was so exciting but i just never trusted vermaelen; jury’s still out.

    btw, jorginho was magisterial on the day; in my ray hudson voice. for the record, i said he was good against man city as well, just mistakes in critical moments. as far as he and partey in the same midfield…..i don’t know how you do that. as a coach, it’d be fun to try. he look like he’s been born again in arsenal red. every time arteta talks about “jorgi”, he has this grin.

    1. I also love Emi and was sad when he left; I would have kept him over Leno. But kicking consecutive goal kicks out of touch would not get him far under Arteta. In any case, he did Arsenal a favor yesterday by gifting Martinelli a breakaway goal, so no complaints.

      1. Yes, the lad clearly loves Arsenal still. Scores a brilliant diving header to give us the lead, and then leaves his goal empty so Martinelli can break his scoring drought. IF we win the league, he should get an honorary medal.

        Raymond is right on. Martinez would have been an elite keeper in the 90’s. Today though, his kicking means he’s midtable material, if that.

  7. Game of margins indeed..Leicester should have had a couple of goals before utd got one from their first shot on target. Don’t think it’ll be an easy next match against them.

  8. Tim gets it exactly right. In a low scoring sport, the better team loses much more often than they should, so in individual matches, little moments like the ball cannoning back off the crossbar and deflecting back into the goal off the keeper’s head matter more than the 200+ non-goal actions that preceded it. That maddening unpredictability is part of the beauty of football. Without the endless repetition and perfecting of those hundreds of coordinated, carefully timed actions though, a team is much less likely to win games over a longer period of time. That’s why results based analysis is terrible, yet that’s the stock and trade of most pundits on TV, because it’s easy. Jorginho isn’t suddenly an awesome threat from the edge of the box. What matters is he took responsibility and did what the team needed in that moment, and it happened to pay off. It was the right decision to shoot from there, even if he skied it.

    Success over a season is the ability to replicate your most ideal self as often as possible on the pitch. That’s a metaphor for life too, but it’s even harder to pull of as a coordinated behavior of 11 different individuals over 90 high pressure minutes. Arsenal have done that more than any other team this year, and that’s why we deserve to be at the top of the table. Even in the games we’ve lost, most of the moments that went against us were not down to a problem with the system or with a lack of individual quality. We should have more points than we do, and PGMOL has admitted as much. But it boggles the mind to think we were not given penalties for good shouts against Newcastle and Everton, Martinelli’s goal against MU was wrongly chalked off, we basically presented victory to City through individual errors, and we STILL lead by two points and a game in hand.

    It’s even more incredible because we shouldn’t be here. This team was built to win top 4, not the whole league. It never had the depth, especially after we lost ESR, and still doesn’t. It doesn’t have the experience of battling for the top prize either, though Jesus, Zinny and Jorginho help with that. Yes, some of the other traditional powers have creaked and cracked, but they’ve had to play the same teams we have. What’s their excuse again? And City are still the 800 pound gorilla in the league. They installed the best coach of his generation, bought him all the players he wants, and given him several years to embed his playing style. I wont talk about David vs. Goliath in the same way after reading Gladwell’s Goliath, so let’s call it Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed: The upstart against the champ. That’s not to give us an inferiority complex, but to put it into perspective. If we lose the league this year to City, it’s not because we’re bottlers, it’s because they are a juggernaut and we are not.

    Speaking of Jorgi: watch the buildup of our first goal again. His ball retention on the edge of the box before the BW cross is unbelievable. He’s surrounded by Villa players and not only manages to keep possession but to play an incisive pass. There’s also a comp of him doing the rounds for interceptions he’s made in the past two games. His anticipation in those situations is outstanding. What a signing.

  9. And because the Jorginho goal could have been ruled out for players offside in the keeper’s eyeline. Win some, lose some.

    1. If you give the United goals where Rashford begins in an offside position but chases the ball in the second phase ( as has been done at least twice), you have to conclude being in the keeper’s line of sight no longer counts as interference.

  10. Great post @Doc
    Cue your points on Jorginho

    Zinny was rendering Xhaka redundant, I think jorginho is about to bury him. Jorginho & Xhaka has same strengths & weaknesses. One advantage is Xhaka’s size (which he uses in error most times).
    Jorginho seems to get away with more fouls & does Xhaka strengths a tad faster than Xhaka.

    I think trossard isn’t great on the wing. He has technical ability to retain the ball but not stamina (like martinelli)
    to beat his man for pace.
    He should either replace Xhaka or start over Eddie as a technically secure false 9. (Eddie’s 1st touch is mostly hampering his game).

    Eddie was better compared to city game (Rated 8.03 as per whoscored).

    1. This is why I was kind of flat on Trossard when we signed him. He does a lot of nice things in a lot of positions but he also has big deficiencies in all of them, mainly physically. He’s a nice depth piece, no more, no less. He’s much more of a direct replacement for Saka than Martinelli stylistically, but Bukayo is so important he basically never comes out. So that leaves CF or LW as options for playing Trossard. I really don’t see him as a midfield option. I want him in the final 3rd using his best trait, his two-footed ball striking, to put in shots and create chances.

      Between LW and CF, I prefer him at LW because he would be too easily bullied physically by CBs (think Arshavin…) and if he drops too deep too often then we could lose our foothold in the opponent’s half. The fundamental issue at LW is that he plays on the same flank as Zinchenko, who plays in the same spaces that Trossard wants to use. They are too similar. Zinny pairs well with Martinelli who is very direct, and Trossard pairs well with Tierney, who is also very direct but from FB. Zinny and Trossard both want runners around them.

      I think we’ve been seeing Arteta use Trossard the way he has because he sees that as the least disruptive to the team’s overall shape, and the ballstriking talent with Arsenal’s usual dominance means he will still make contributions even if his fit is less than ideal sometimes.

  11. Trossard should not ever start as central striker over Eddie. Sounds crazy to me. You play a false 9, and you bury the already faltering confidence of your striker, by using in his spot someone whose job it isnt to play there. Newsflash… even when Jesus returns, he will take time to get back up to speed. We also need to be able to sub him out of games, and despite Martinelli not being perfect in the role, he’d be a good temporary solution there. How many central striker type goals does the lad have to score to convince his doubters that he can play a temporary role?

    Trossard will be needed on both flanks… where he plays now, on the right when Saka needs resting, or is ridiculously suspended for his accumulation of yellow (foul Bokayo, nothing; he commits some trifling error, caution. it has become absurd).

    Eddie need to score (preferably against a paccoo team), and his sharpness will come back. Needs to work on his heading on the training ground, because he has missed 3 decent headed chances in 2 games. Not the tallest lad, but his teammates have created good chances for him.

    Besides Eddie’s chances, he laid one on a plate for Ode against Villa, and he missed criminally

  12. How quickly we forget. This season, Nelli has scored with left foot, right foot, long range, tap in, head. Let him job share with Eddie. If Eddie is struggling, move Nelli centrally on the hour and sub on Trossard. Or if Trosssard is starting, sub Nelli on in place of Eddie. He’s going to be a run in behind type striker (like Auba), or one who takes his chances well in the box. He will get you goals playing there.

    Arsene, too was loath to take off certain players, because of the probability of scoring a goal in agame were were chasing, even if they were not being productive. I suspect it’s also psychological. Eddie is The Man. In for a penny, and in for a pound.

    1. I’ve been wondering if Arteta has been tempted to use Martinelli centrally. Maybe they’ve even tried it in training. My sense is that Gabi M gets swallowed up physically in a way Eddie doesn’t as much anymore, and doesn’t have much experience playing with his back to goal. I do see a big potential for him in that central role though and Gabi J is a fabulous role model he can use to sculpt his game.

      1. Martinelli shouldn’t start centrally. But we should use him there in a tweaked formation late in games, if need be. He’ll get goals. The last thing that tiring legs want is that fit an athlete running at them as hard in Minute 96, and he did in Minute 1. And he has more to his game than he given credit for. He picked the right option in rolling the pass to Jorginho for THAT hit. Sure Jorgi was begging for it, but he still had to pick out the right option.

        And here’s something that hasnt been mentioned yet. The quality and coolness of his finishing is pretty good. That’s of great value in hurlyburly in the box, where you have a split second to take your chance.

        Here’s thing about Gabi M. He meets his challenges. Tite said that he looked the best player on the pitch in a game against Liverpool, and that’s why he was on a plane to Qatar instead of Firmino. Once there, he passed Rodrygo and Antony is the subs queue in one of Brazil’s latter matches. Dont sleep on this kid.

        1. I don’t want to come across as too dickish but I’m really not sure why people are so eager to put Martinelli through the middle. I think we tried that once or twice and it didn’t work because he’s just not able to make the ball stick and bang with the big CBs in the League. We tried him against Chelsea and it was one of the worst matches of last season, I think.

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