Back at it

Today is international trans day of awareness and I want to start by saying that trans lives matter, that trans rights are human rights, and that I support trans rights on this site.

Good morning to you all and welcome back to the Premier League title race. Early tomorrow morning, Man City will host Liverpool and I speak for every Arsenal supporter when I say “come on you reds!” After that, Arsenal will host Leeds at the Emirates and once again the match will not be televised, in the UK. Where UK laws prevent broadcasters from showing ANY football between 1445 and 1715 on Saturdays.

It’s a crazy old law, honestly. I get what the point of it was – to increase attendance at lower league games – but the attendance in Germany (where they televise all matches) is 90%, the same as in England. So, there are other factors at work. I don’t know if the UK will change their laws but it is a weird situation where ironically, if you live near Arsenal, you will miss quite a few matches or only get to hear them broadcast on the radio (there is also a weird TV thing where they show people watching a match but you can’t see the match itself). This is especially true now that demand for tickets is at an all time high, so high that the club are actually cracking down on touts and doing nearly everything in their power to make the system fairer for fans who want to go to matches.

A quick word on that. If you go to England to see the Arsenal, whatever you do, don’t use touts or those websites which purport to offer tickets. Touts are criminals and I know quite a few people who have been ripped off by touts – either flat out taking people’s money or selling them fake tickets. The websites are doing the exact same thing, but on a bigger scale. Work with your local supporters group (for example, Arsenal America is able to help get tickets) or try your luck as a red member when the general sales start. I know it’s frustrating but this is just the way it is.

As for the match this weekend, I’m seeing quite a few nervous posts on Twitter. I get it. We are getting down to brass tacks as they say. There are 10 matches left and Arsenal have just an 8 point lead (City have a game in hand). We also have a few injuries. It hasn’t been announced officially but Saliba was absent from the training ground pictures and that means Rob Holding will probably start at RCB. Kieran Tierney was also removed during Scotland’s historic 2-0 win over Spain and Tomiyasu is also out. There was some worry over Ødegaard after he was kicked by Rodri but he was featured prominently in the club’s training ground photos.

Still, it’s a pretty thin squad at the moment and some nerves are natural. However, to help calm the nerves a bit, Leeds do have five pretty big injuries themselves; Adams, Gnonto, Wober, Foreshaw, and Dallas. I know that every team can beat every other team “on any given Saturday” and that Leeds will have a devil may care attitude but I like what Ramsdale said in his pre-match interview:

“I think with these games, it’s more about your concentration and your preparation before the game and then hopefully on the pitch, you take care of the performance.”

And finally, huge congratulations to Arsene Wenger on his induction to the football hall of fame. It was, of course, a no-brainer. He is a legend in the game not only for the Invincibles season but also for making me a fan of football – lol. No but seriously, that Invincibles season and the pivot to building the new stadium that we have, the teams he put together during those lean years, and then coming back at the end to be the FA Cup’s winningest all time manager, it’s just an incredible honor to have been a part of that ride. Merci Arsene.

His statue is LONG overdue.



  1. I know quite a few people who became Arsenal fans because of Arsene Wenger. Personally, I started following Arsenal in 1998-1999 because of a certain guy by the name of Dennis Bergkamp but I always admired Le Prof who graced EPL for 22 years. Truly The Man, The Myth, The LEGEND. As a side note, for the longest time my wife was convinced that Arsenal was actually named after him. She was disappointed when she found out that wasn’t the case.

    1. HA!

      There are a lot of cases like that where people make that joke about Arsene/Arsenal. Also Arson/Arsene. I think there’s a famous one where something burned down and the person said it was “arson” and someone thought they meant Arsene.

    2. Some parallels, it was the same season I discovered club football on moving to UK & chose to follow Arsenal because of a Flying Dutch man – Overmars (because of his, for me relatable, small stature and non flying Dutch man was an obvious favourite too!).

      Obviously many of us Arsenal fans (& even the sensible rival fans & neutrals) found Wenger a class act & inspiration. Ofcourse a (ManU supporting) close friend thought Arsenal was named after the then manager.

      Agree with Tim that Wenger should be represented at the club, my two cents is to name a stand after him.

  2. Hear, hear, Maestro. Thank you for using your platform to support marginalized persons. Although it shouldn’t be necessary, every voice helps.

    Kindness costs nothing.


  3. I don’t understand hate in general (why can’t we all just along, man?!?!) and I certainly don’t understand trans-hate.

    There are so many, many serious and seemingly intractable problems in the world to worry about and try to do something about, and some want to hate people on a journey to self-actualizing and becoming their true selves? F$%k off.

    I want to take a moment to raise a toast to Arsenal Women for seeing off Bayern in style. Frida Maanam’s goal? Thunderous wonder strike into to the top corner. Check it out if you missed it. We have Blackstenius, we have Foord, No Little, no Miedema, no Mead, no problem. These women are going places.

    Back to the men. I hate thinking about how thin we are right now. Takehiro is out for the run-in. Also no Saliba and no Partey for Leeds tomorrow. To have 10 games left and to run out of players would be soul-destroying. We’re going to need help, so I’m there with Tim in being a Scouser for a couple of hours.

    LFC are so horribly inconsistent it’s impossible to know which team is going to turn up. They are capable of anything: beating any side or collapsing completely.

    I predict that both Arsenal and MCFC will both drop points but we have City, Liverpool and Newcastle United to play away from home, and the pressure is on us as we are now considered favourites to win the title.

    If it comes down to the City away match on April 26th I will need a defibrillator, an EMT and a bottle of Highland Park single malt all nearby.

    What a season.

    1. Yes, that was a great goal from Frida in the women’s match. They have pulled it together despite an injury list that is starting to look like a top class 11.
      Partey I think is supposed to be back. We should have enough to beat Leeds comfortably at home, especially as they have their own significant injury list. A win tomorrow and a favor from the Reds would really put the heat on City. Fingers crossed.
      Hope we have Saliba back after that though, as the rest of April looks tough.

    2. Trans-hate is fascism 101. Fascists always need an “other” to demonize, someone that they can use to rally the troops around. In Nazi Germany this was the Jews internally. Trans hate relies on a number of fascist tropes: the potential destruction of “society”, the weakening of masculinity, protecting children, and protecting women. And this demonized other must be both weak and also existentially powerful – they need to be both easy to destroy/stop but also capable of destroying the entire nation. So, trans people are painted as something that is capable of destroying the nation (along with other abstract concepts like men, women, and children) and something that is a disease on society (hence the use of “groomers”, saying that trans women are going to rape women in the bathrooms, etc.).

      This creates a pipeline from otherwise reasonable people straight into support for fascism. Who, after all, isn’t worried about “groomers”? Who would possibly support “trans women raping in bathrooms”? Or who would want trans athletes? And who wouldn’t be worried about children getting powerful drugs like testosterone? This is what’s happened to some very famous people who would otherwise normally disagree with openly fascist right-wing pundits and yet who have started, recently, to glad-hand each other and buddy up.

      This is also why we are seeing all of the legislation lately. They are trying to destroy being trans at all.

      1. Some people who never lived through fascism, communism or any actual authoritarianism throw that around *way* too lightly. I only had to endure it as a child, but my parents lived it, and they only a diluted, latter day form of it. It still surpassed anything we are witnessing in the US today by orders of magnitude. There was no freedom of the press. You could not openly discuss or criticize public figures. Your participation in public pro-regime rallies was not only mandatory but scrutinized. Your children were forced to learn not only Russian but a bastardized, pro-regime form of history and any Western literature, music, customs or fashion was not only discouraged but actively destroyed. Party leaders could destroy national monuments at a whim and erect statues to Stalin where they wished. You couldn’t travel beyond the iron curtain except with permission from party officials and then you could barely bring enough cash with you to survive. There were like 2 kinds of cars available for purchase, both terrible quality, and usually only in 1 color. There was no meritocracy and advancement was based solely on your loyalty to the party. You could even disappear from one day to the next (as my great-great grandfather did) and nobody would ever find out why. This experience is by no means unique but I do think it serves to illustrate a larger point. We Americans are VERY well off, and very fortunate, and as dysfunctional as the government can be, and as stupid as some people are and will remain, we at least still have the freedom of being able to say what we want to say and do what we want to do and be what we can be. We are not living in fascism and we are not living among fascists.

        The essence of democracy , I always thought, was tolerance towards others despite different beliefs. The essence of kindness, I always thought, was kindness to all, not just select groups. I support the rights of people to do what they want to do and be who they want to be within the boundaries of the law. I also support an intelligent and facts based discussion of complex societal issues that impact more people than just the group in question. Throwing fascism around only sets up an us vs them seige mentality. If you really want people to come towards you on this or any issue, try understanding them first before you preach fire and brimstone at them.

        1. “We are not living in fascism and we are not living among fascists”

          Please don’t lecture me on the realities of a fascist state. I’m well aware of the economic and political hardships of Russian Communism, North Korean Communism, and early Chinese Communism. I not only lived through that era, I have studied them along with capitalist fascism. Economic prosperity is ALWAYS held up as a win for fascists, just look at what’s happening in El Salvador.

          Also don’t lecture me on tolerance. I’m an incredibly tolerant person but tolerance, in order to exist, must have limits. Tolerant people cannot tolerate intolerant people because the intolerant will use tolerance to eradicate the people that they hate. Can I tolerate a KKK member who wants to disenfranchise, strip them of their rights, or kill all minorities? How can I tolerate someone who wants my son not to exist? Or who wants to force my son to be something he doesn’t want to be? You ask me for tolerance of the intolerant and it is impossible.

          I also don’t need to “see their point of view” another of these ridiculous “intellectual” arguments that people often pose. I lived their point of view. I was raised in a deeply homophobic, misogynist, and racist family and I believed that nonsense for a long time. I still have a lot of family members who hate trans people, Mexicans, blacks, and women, who believe that 9-11 was an inside job, and are huge Qanon conspiracy folks. But for some random things that happened to me, and perhaps a little bit of biological luck (that I was born with compassion and empathy), I’d have definitely been a Trump supporter and probably openly calling for a fascist state – like my family members. So let’s not bring up the idea that I can’t “see their side of the argument”. Seeing the other side of the argument does not mean agreeing with it. I see their side of the argument and I reject it as an incomplete, hateful, internally inconsistent, white power, racist, misogynist, anti-rights point of view.

          We are not quite a fascist state but are well on our way and we absolutely live among fascists. You only need to be a minority or have an ounce of compassion for them to understand what’s happening in this country and who many of our fellow countrymen are. What’s holding them back at the moment is that good people are standing up to them but the poll numbers are very bad, Doc.

          Now, when are YOU going to start to see the other side?

          Also, let’s drop the pretense that your arguments are in the “abstract” headspace. That’s another annoying trope that supposed intellectuals deploy “I’m just talking about ideas!” Those ideas have real world effects like we are seeing all over the country where young black men are being murdered by cops (and white nationalists) and getting away with it. Where women no longer have the right to make their own medical decisions and the state is now forcing pregnancy. Where more books than ever before have been banned. Where people are disenfranchised at an alarming rate AND THE LAST PRESIDENT LITERALLY STAGED A COUP. Where a minority of the country literally rules the majority. Where social media is absolutely not a free speech arena and ideas are being suppressed. And where trans rights are being trampled as if by herds of elephants. In the abstract it’s great that I can buy cars from 10 different multinational conglomerates (why do all the 4-door sedans look the same though?) or that I am able to live comfortably (because the USA is the wealthiest nation on earth, thanks to the threat that we could annihilate everyone) but down here in the real world? Things aren’t great.

  4. When I was in junior high there was this Scouser kid (this was in the middle east) who was pretty weird but also wickedly funny, he had a stretchy arsene Wenger toy he used to bring to school and kick around. I felt sorry for the poor chap Arsene, didn’t know who he was at the time.

    Before, after or around the same time (my memory is weak), I fell hard for the dutch and french teams in both the 2002 world cup. 1998, too. And so when I discovered a load of them played on the same team, this team called freaking ARSENAL (no other team had such a cool name) and this Wenger guy was their manager, well, that did it for me.

    I supported them from a distance. It was only when I moved to the UK for college that I got to watch them. That was 04/05, so I missed the big one. I’ve never seen Arsenal win the PL trophy. I started watching regularly literally the year after. Folks who became hardcore supporters the year I did have literally suffered longer than any other cohort.

    Arteta, fix it!

  5. i just don’t “get” Liverpool. They dominated English football in the 70s and 80s, I have friends and acquaintances and family who are die-hard supporters (are there any other kind?) but I was never remotely interested in followed this club.

    No doubt many Scousers feel the same way about the mighty Arsenal. Their loss.

    Stevie G, Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Robby Fowler? Yawn…

    I don’t hate them, like I do Man U. Their time had passed by the time I became a Gooner. I hear Anfield is hole, too. Never been there, thankfully.

    1. 9 games to go but we have way tougher away fixtures left. Still we did the business today, and in style. Can’t ask for anything more. Too bad the deflection off Zinchenko spoiled the clean sheet. MCFC still have better goal difference by +2.

      1. The team seem quite aware this might come down to goal difference – bringing on Saka at 3-0 up was a real power move.

  6. Some thoughts Ars v Leeds:

    1) We don’t have great depth on the right. Trossard did a few blind alley runs but performed way better when he moved mid. At one point , Martinelli moved right as well. No joy either. There is likely a new RW coming in during the summer.
    2) That being said, Trossard is magnificent up top. He is a bit more “technically secure” and risk averse than Jesus (pretty much what Willian was supposed to be), while Jesus has that chaotic flair element to his play. They are rotating, which means less game time for Eddie.
    3) When Potter inevitably gets sacked, next Chelsea manager is likely Emery. Eddie feels exactly like an Emery striker and Chelsea is lacking a finisher. I like having Eddie around the squad but I don’t think Arsenal will turn down a solid bid from Chelsea for him.
    4) We lost quite a bit of control when Jorginho came on. Jorginho is such a situationally specific player actually. I suppose he is great if Ars is down 0-2 to 11 men behind the ball and we need to switch play rapidly left to right to probe. But he doesn’t press hard nor track back quickly, plenty of hard work getting into positions to receive the ball, but just not suited to our defensive game.
    5) With Liverpool out of the way, Man City’s run in is so much easier than ours. The only team that can reasonably take points of them is… Arsenal. And we haven’t won there in years.
    6) 9 more games, 8 points up, 1st in table. Still looking good!

    1. Overall, a professional display with cutting edge in the right moments.

      I had forgotten how much Gabriel Jesus levels this team up in an attacking sense. This wasn’t immediately obvious in the first half hour because Leeds’ gameplan was working to perfection. It was a 4-3-3 with a very narrow front 3, and the midfielders were man-marking our interiors, Odegaard and Xhaka, and immediately doubling up on the wingers if they received the ball out wide. We moved the ball too slowly and didn’t do enough rotation initially to counter this. On the other end, they went long to negate our press and tried to make the game into a scrappy duels based affair. It was a carbon copy of the Everton gameplan but with suboptimal personnel. They also tried to isolate Holding against Summerville every time they could and it almost resulted in a goal. Some of their final third interplay was really good.

      The first goal seems fortuitous at first glance, but that situation only developed due to some really clever movement and positioning by Arsenal. Initially, Martinelli gains the entry and tries to bounce a pass off Xhaka for a 1-2, but his run is covered, so Xhaka just rolls it over to Jesus on the left side of the D. It doesn’t look like there is much on. Leeds are in a great position with numbers back. Suddenly, the Arsenal players begin to move. Zinchenko comes bursting to offer the overlap (and is untracked, a lapse by Sinisterra). Odegaard crashes the box. Martinelli recycles his run and takes up a CF position where Trossard was, who in turn moves toward the near post to offer himself for another 1-2. Xhaka stands his ground on the left edge of the D, awaiting the cutback. Jesus is faced by Kristansen but he only has Ayling to back him up because the CBs are occupied by Odegaard and Martinelli, Roca is minding Trossard, and the forwards Aaronson and Sinisterra are ball watching. Isolated against Kristansen, he feints to shoot on his right and the defender bites, so he chops back on his left. One defender down. Now faced with Ayling, he feints to run past him and the big left back goes to ground. Jesus chops back again but the momentum results in contact on his knee, and he goes down. 1-0 to the Arsenal! Jesus’ close control was magnificent, but he only had the space because of the movement of his team mates. Leeds’ defenders had to cover so many angles, so many possibilities, and Jesus proved too tricky for Kristansen and Ayling, who aren’t the quickest.

      The goal lifted the pressure as it always does and we began to play with more conviction and freedom. The speed and frequency with which we rotated forward positions became irresistable. This was typified by the third goal, a jawdropping piece of skill from Trossard, having been initially played into a CF position by Jesus, who had dropped into Odegaard’s position to play the pass, then timed his run perfectly to finish Trossard’s center, as if they two of them had been playing together for years instead of sharing the pitch in the same colors for the first time. It was a joy to watch.

      1. Thanks doc. I always enjoy reading your game analysis.

        That Summerville kid is pretty good. Incisive and quick. Saliba would have chewed him up though.

        Jesus+Trossard is simply wow. The stuff of defender nightmares. If only there was a way to fit Jesus+Trossard+Martinelli+Saka in a line-up

Comments are closed.

Related articles