Gloom and doom

Good morning everyone. It’s gloomy here in Washington, sunset is at 7 (will be an hour earlier soon) and sunrise is also at 7. That means most of my daylight hours are spent at work and I’d rather be outside: playing disc golf, walking the dog, checking out birds, you know middle age white guy stuff. Washington State doubles down on the gloom at this time of year* by adding in overcast and rainy skies. The good news is that it’s supposed to be nice this weekend so we will be able to get out and do something fun on one of the last weekend’s before the long, dark, Autumn/Winter/Spring really sets in.

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll probably recognize this post. I make it pretty much every year around this time because it’s just how I feel. It struck me a bit hard yesterday because I wanted to go practice disc golf with Clyde but by the time we got home from shopping and ate dinner (which was pretty quick, we just had Gardein burgers) it was already 1830 and the sun would set at 1855. Basically before we even got to the practice field. Hopefully we get a chance to throw tonight.

I’ve stopped using twitter, for the most part, and am focusing on Bluesky. I have an invite if you would like one. It’s a very different community from Twitter: almost no Nazis, the owner isn’t openly courting rapists, reality is reality, there are almost no bots and scams, and the site doesn’t host CSAM. It’s a pretty cool place.

The reason I mention twitter is because since I’ve stopped using it, I’ve started just going to for my news. It’s a delightfully old fashioned way to get news on something you want news on: go to the source!

When I first started blogging all the Arsenal blogs were aggregated on a feed on “NEWS NOW” (which is still a thing, I believe). I used the service for a while but it was so utterly full of trash that I quickly stopped using it and even pulled my site’s syndication on the service. The same thing happened on Twitter, though I was able to filter out quite a bit of the trash by aggressively blocking and muting accounts and turning off retweets or completely unfollowing people who posted the worst stuff. I still got all the Arsenal content I wanted (which is very little outside of a few friends’ posts, the Guardian, and the official site) and very little of the content I didn’t want. It was surprisingly easy to stay tuned to what was really happening at Arsenal that way and tune out the garbage that people think or wish was happening.

Anyway, my visit to the dot com today was to check up on the injury news ahead of the match tomorrow (7am kickoff!) and oh boy we have a lot of guys out or who aren’t fully fit. I can do my best to summarize what he said because it’s a bit messy but here are the people who haven’t practiced yet this week:

Rice, Saka, Martinelli, and Trossard.

Players who may have a knock:

Saliba, Jorginho, and Vieira

So that’s seven players possibly out, plus long term injuries to the constantly crocked Thomas Partey. We also have the following players returning from injury and regaining fitness:

Jesus, Tomiyasu, Smith Rowe, and he even mentioned Nelson.

The gloomy part of me sees all of this and bemoans the lack of depth at Arsenal. I started this season out praising our depth and now here we are and even with almost two people in every position, I’m looking at that list and biting my nails.

However, the sun came out this morning on the way to work and flipping this around, we have a lot of players available still and it is literally no use talking about or celebrating that depth in June if we aren’t going to use them in September. I still think Arteta has options, even if all 7 of the injured players miss this match. To wit:

If all the injuries stay the same we will probably play a back line of Zin, Gabriel, Tomi, and White with a keeper who’s last name starts with R in goal. In the middle we will probably see Elneny flanked by Havertz and Ode. I know some of you will be worried but I’ve watched a few Bournemouth matches this season and frankly their midfield is terrible. “Phillip” – as Billings likes to be called – looks like he should be a menace but he’s much more likely to menace his own goal and is a major defensive liability. Elneny should be able to hold his own against Billings. Now watch him have the game of his life.

Up front Arteta could start Jesus on the left, Nketiah in the middle and Smith Rowe on the right or he could also go Nelson, Jesus, Smith Rowe. Or he could even hand another start to Sagoe and instruct Benjamin White to pass him the ball occasionally.

Either way, I’m not too worried about this match. That lineup should have the firepower to overcome Bournemouth.

One weird thing though. In the gloom of this morning when I was writing this I stumbled on this video post called “Memorable matches at Bournemouth” and I have to admit that it was sad and frustrating watching these old games.

The first is a 0-2 win from February 2016 which was right smack in the middle of Arsenal’s title collapse. That game came when we had dropped to 3rd place, had picked up 3 points in 4 games, and while mathematically in the title race didn’t even really look like it and went on to basically prove the point losing to Man U, Swansea, and getting a 2-2 draw against Spurs.

The 2nd one was a 3-3 from a year later and as soon as I saw their first goal I remembered that match vividly as “the day Bellerin’s legs fell off”. Bellerin was ripped apart three times for Bournemouth who attacked his side relentlessly. It’s probably not entirely fair to put the blame on him, Wenger’s system was crazy imbalanced by this point and every manager in the world knew it, but he was the target and he got no cover from the likes of Mustafi and company. They don’t include the away game from the next season (Jan. 2018) because we lost 2-1. Bellerin scored in that one but I beg of you not to watch it. It will only reopen the sporting trauma that was late era Wengerball.

The next video they have is the 1-2 win from Nov. 2018 and that’s just Emeryball in its heyday.

But hey, let’s end this, like they did, on a high note: the 0-3 win from 2022 which features William Saliba’s wonderstrike.


I’ll take some more of that tomorrow morning please!


*By this time of year, I mean “September to June”.


  1. Yeah, if in fact pretty much all of those players are out tomorrow, that might be about the longest injury list I can remember for us. Can’t really plan “depth” for that situation. Even City would be challenged to deal with it. And it’s not just us. United and Chelsea are arguably even worse off.

    I wouldn’t push it with any marginal players. The team you listed should be able to beat Bournemouth. Nor would I push it mid-week against Lens. Ultimately, if we’re to have any hope of finishing above City, we likely need to beat them in at least one of the head to head matches, so we need to prioritize having as many key players fit for that as possible.

  2. I stopped using Twitter but I still click on links to Twitter, or X.
    I don’t see Elneny starting even though he’s got a good engine, I expect to see Jorginho. I also think Arteta has options, he can afford to sub Zinchenko and bring in Kivior.
    Nelson’s stats on fbref is mind blowing, until you see the number of minutes he’s played. I’d rather he starts with Jesus in the middle.

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