Monthly Archives: August 2021

August 28th – Manchester City 5 Arsenal 0

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Abysmal. Arteta. Atkinson.

It’s not like I ever thought there would ever be any other outcome. Losing is not the issue. Losing three games, in of itself, is not entirely the issue. How abject we played. How defeated the players looked. How clueless the tactics were. How meaningless our effort was. How lacking in defensive capabilities. This are just a few of the issues. This is as embarrassed as I can remember being. But before we dissect this further let’s recognize how absolutely appalling Atkinson was. Not a single meaningful decision went our way. How is it that Chambers can be punched in the face and that second goal stands? He’d previously booked Kolinsac for a flailing arm. But here, even on review, there is no free-kick. And the sending off. He initially goes with a yellow card and then upgrades to a red. Was it a stupid tackle. Yes., Was it classic Xhaka. Yes. But that was not a straight red. Sorry. And that completely trashed the game. It turned it into a rout. Not to say we would not have ended up there anyway. So now we’ve acknowledged the complete injustice and ineptness of Atkinson, let’s delve into our own ineptness. And let’s also be clear. With Xhaka on the pitch – using the formation Arteta set up with – we could easily have lost by more. City might not have taken their foot off our throat if we had a full complement of players on the pitch.

So, where to start? How about with the selection. We know about the injuries and illnesses. But how do you start with Cedric in your team. After the Chelsea game what is there to know about him? He’s a liability who will always keep the opposition on-side. What is he doing in this squad let alone in the team. I understand that Bellerin might be injured but how can you not play AMN. I really don’t care what AMN’s preference is. This is not a play-date where the little boy does not like the friends. He’s a professional footballer who the club pays. Make him play.

How poor was Cedric? He was so poor that Kolinsac was not the worst player on our team. There was too much competition for that. How does Kolinsac start against Manchester City? The league champions and one of the best teams in Europe. This guy was out on loan for the last six months of the prior season. Finally, we’d got him out of our squad. And now? He’s starting against Manchester City? How is that possible. Under any scenario. Under any circumstances. How can this be? It’s not like we don’t have other choices. We just bought one from Benfica. And he’s played pretty ok. He played in pre-season whereas Kolinsac barely did. What’s the point of pre-season. Tavares should have been starting. Instead of either Cedric or Kolinsac. That is on Arteta.

And how poor was Chambers? We have 5 minutes of possession and pressing and then in their first attack Chambers is out jumped by their 5 foot 9 midfielder? How is that possible? He was ripped apart against mighty Brentford, we drop him against Chelski and then decide, against one of the other best teams in Europe, we will bring him back to help us against City. Then for the second goal he flops after being clearly hit in the face. How this is not a foul – especially after review – is beyond me. But, last time I checked Chambers was a tough center half. How do you flop there and not man up and stick with your defender? Of course, in front of goal you have Cedric sticking out a floppy foot rather than blocking the ball. What the fuck is he doing on this team? On this squad, in this club? He was not good enough for Southampton but he can start for us? This beggars belief. This is on Arteta.

Mari, who was awful against Chelski sits on the bench. But we start with Cedric, Kolinsac and Chambers. And leave Sambi on the bench. That is on Arteta.

Then we line up with three attacking midfield players – Saka, ESR and Odergaard – with one holding mid-fielfer – Xhaka! Who thought that was going to work out well for us? Smabi sits on the bench where as Xhaka starts as our holding midfielder. We were completely overrun – even with 11 men on the pitch – as they found spaces behind these three and in front of Xhaka. At least we reverted to a back three. Unfortunately, he picked Chambers and had Kolinsac and Cedric as wing-backs.

Throughout the entire game City played crosses and chips behind our back-line where their midfielders swarmed through. There was no in-game adjustment for this. This is on Arteta.

This was a completely embarrassing performance. A shambles. A relegation like performance. Both by Arsenal, Arteta and Atkinson. Let’s not forget how much influence Atkinson had on this game. A game we were always going to lose anyway. But at least we would not have had the excuse of a referee tilting the balance of the game and giving Arteta the chance to hide behind that.

When Xhaka walks off the pitch Arteta taps him on the bum. What? He should be furious for an unnecessary foolish reckless tackle. Xhaka is experienced enough to know who the referee is. Initially Atkinson goes for a yellow then changes it to a red? Why? Did someone say something in his ear? I don’t understand why he need to send him off. Sure, he could justify it but it was not compelling; it was not an outrageous foul. Xhaka did win the ball. But then Atkinson was like this all game long. Whenever if doubt the balance of the decision went in Man City’s favour.

Xhaka, why give Atkinson the chance to send you off by jumping in, two-footed, off the ground? And who put Xhaka in the position to play like that? Who holds him accountable? Who, on seeing one of your most experienced players, one of your leaders, get sent off walks over and sympathetically taps him on the bum. Arteta. What?

They we wait till half-time to make and adjustments. Enough time for them to score yet another goal. And another time that Chambers gets beaten. Another occasion where Cedric is no-where to be found.

Games like this destroy Saka. And ESR. They are too young to process this. They were set up to fail. And, again, we see another poor Saka performance. No-one can get him the ball. He’s isolated. And split from ESR. ESR was overwhelmed. He had no support. Tierney was not involved. And whenever we had the ball they swarmed all over us. Odergaard looked reasonable. He worked and had some decent moments. Odergaard should check whether there is a return policy to Real Madrid. Maybe he can get his agent to undo this transfer. He must be thinking he’d be better off with Ancelotti rather than Arteta. Who wouldn’t?

In many ways we were so lucky. This scoreline could have been so much worse. Maybe it would have been better for us – long-term – if we had been smoked 8-0 with 11 players on the pitch. Then there would be no hiding as to how wrong – again – Arteta got it.

I don’t understand. As I’ve said before. When he first arrived he tightened up the defense. Knew how to set us up to play the top 4 teams and had a clear strategy. And played AMN. Now he looks like he’s completed lost the plot.

We do not look like a team. We have no clear style. And we have no heart. We are too weak; always being pushed off the ball and losing any 50:50 if not 60:40 challenge. This is on Arteta.

For any other club, you could be sure that Cedric and Chambers would never play in the EPL again. But Arsenal? They’ll be back against Norwich and Burnley. That is on Arteta.

This performance – by Arteta – makes me despair. After today I don’t know I can defend him any more. Too many poor selection decisions. Complete inability to change his in-game tactics. I considered taking 24 hours to write this review but then realized I needed to exercise the demons and find a way to enjoy the weekend. At least we got this fiasco out of the way quickly.

BTW, why is it that Arsenal FC seems to be the only team that has played that get infected with COVID. Last year we were the first club in England to be afflicted – starting with Arteta; there’s a signal if there ever was one – and now we have experienced more infections than any other club? How is that possible?

They won’t sack Arteta. As I’ve said many a time, the owners are tone deaf. But, for the first time, for me, I would not complain. I fear he’s lost the plot. There is no excuse for his team selection and his tactics. This is not the Arteta that we originally saw. But it’s the one we have no. And this one is not working. This team was beaten inside 20 minutes. Just like last week. So, officially, my faith has gone. Sorry Mikel. This was too painful. Too much of a shambles. Too embarrassing. I know it’s only three games in but we are a valid, legitimate, odds-on relegation candidate now. How Norwich must be looking forward to coming to the Emirates. Perfect time for them to get some points. And then we have Burnley waiting in the wings. They have to be licking their chops. They know – with Woods etc all – they can push us around and tear up this defense. Dyce is surely praying to the football thugs that we play the two Cunts – Cedric and Chambers – so that they can bully us off each and every challenge. It’s all so predictable.

How depressed am I with the situation. I’m so depressed that I’m finally embracing the two week International break. FIFA need to step up and extend this break from 2 weeks to about 6 months. Maybe COVID can infect enough players – as they are forced to journey into the swamps and wastelands in search of various infections all in the names of FIFA greed – so that the season gets cancelled.

This is so exhausting. So deflating. This is not like when we lost 8-2 at United. Then we at least had a proven manager. Ironically it was immediately after that game that we signed Arteta (and Mertasacker). It’s not clear what signings we can make to fix this. It’s not the players at this point. It’s the manager. And the misery does not stop here. Even if todays game was not dispiriting enough we’ll now have to listen to the media crushing us over the next two weeks. There is no hiding for us. But, rest assured, the owners will be hiding.

Maybe West Brom U-17s might be available for a re-match. Bring on AFC Wimbledon!

-LB7

August 22nd – Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2

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Oh deary me. What a catastrophe. This is truly going to be a long hard season. And not just for fans. For Mr. Arteta. I fear this was a game that reenforced all the negatives that have been hurled at him. Today we were officially out thought and out tacticed – if there is such a word.

We are also the unluckiest team I know. Faced with a slim chance of getting any points we have Tierney as our referee. The fouls were all called against us and the penalty was not given. Not that we deserved much. But we have no luck. That and COVID. No Ben White. He was missed.  Who selected Cedric? Not me. He kept everyone on side for that first goal and was generally crap. Bellerin must surely be headed out (which we know he is) if Cedric is picked ahead of him (maybe Hector was injured – maybe one of his tattoos turned septic). But why not play Maitland-Niles. This is don’t get. I don’t care what AMN wants. He’s out best right back. Play him – we already pay him.

Mari was pretty shit as well. Two games and there’s no real evidence he should be starting. I know we have Gabriel to come back but Mari lacks physicality. I know Lukaku is a beast – a la Drogba – but Mari still thinks he’s playing in a European league where if you flop over the ref will award a free-kick. Mari has been around long enough to know better.

Saka looked way off today. His first touch was not there. And he did not provide Tesco Tierney with any cover. And, of course, like everyone else, this is where we are all wondering why Arteta could not see this imbalance on our left. The majority of these opportunities and both goals came from the imbalance on the left. Yes, positionally Holding and Cedric – and Mari – should have been smarter but James had the freedom of the park on their right. And nothing changed throughout the entire games. Again, this speaks to the claims that Arteta can’t make in game adjustments. It’s hard to argue against that point after todays performance.

We started pretty decently. We pressed – inconsistently – and have a higher energy level than last week. That is, we were marginally better than lifeless and dead. The crowd was behind the team. The opportunity was there. At least for 14 minutes.

It all seemed so predictable. So depressingly familiar. They just played like a coordinated team whereas we were disjointed. There were only a few passages of play where we linked up and applied any pressure. We don’t look like a team. And they did. And we did not last week. Whereas even Brentford did. This, unfortunately, is on Arteta. This is what is so worrying. It’s a long, long season. But the pressure will now mount. And unnecessarily so. It feels like the Arteta that set up the team to beat Chelsea last year and the Arteta that figured out how to win the F. A. Cup has disappeared. The cohesion that he introduced seems to have vanished. We seem to be going backwards. Albeit with better players.

Sambi was, again, excellent. He made a couple of stunning long, cross-field passes. In both cases Saka and Martinelli wasted their chances. Both times their touch let them down. Both of them seem way off their games. Prior to getting injured Martinelli was in-effective as center-forward; only when he went out to the left did he liven up.

Pepe remains an enigma. At times he will be brilliant. Today was not one of those days. He barely defended and did not aggressively close down when we were trying to press. For our most expensive signing he infuriates.

ESR was the only one who seemed focused and determined to take the games to them. His close ball control is excellent. Only when he linked up with Sambi did we generate any momentum. And that usually involved Tierney as well.

We were so exposed to their counter-attack today. Sambi played up field on the right and Xhaka on the left. There was too little cover directly in front of the defense. Maybe if we had Partey it would be different. Maybe if we have Cigarette. Maybe if we had White. But we did not need Ramsdale. Today, Leno was at his shot stopping best. It’s hard to blame him for either goal. But he made one world-class save from Lukaku – who really should have scored. And a number of other saves. Of course, his distribution remained pretty iffy. But, today, he was not our problem.

When they played it out of the back they had Jorghino dropping short and others making themselves available. When we try to play it out it would too often be up to Mari or Holding to play the ball through the lines. That is not how it should work. Also, we have a toothless attack. Martinelli and then Balogun are no Aubameyang or Cigarette. They carried no threat. Even in that first half when Tierny was crossing the ball we were too late at getting into the box.  

So, where is the identify of this team? Where were todays tactics? After a display like this – and with Man City next up – the pressure will mount on Arteta. And, to be honest, today was the first time I’ve started to worry about him. Sure, we miss some key players. But I don’t get what he was trying to do and how he could not correct what he was seeing on the pitch. Tierney was so exposed today. He had no help. Saka was not tuned in. Arteta should have made an adjustment. But here we are no points and no goals. The media momentum will just pile on the pressure. Luckily our owners are tone deaf and nothing will happen in the short-term. But once we’re into October and after the NLD, if this team does not demonstrate some identify Arteta will be on a very short leash.

We have a superior squad now. We have White, Sambi and Partey as new additions in the last 12 months. We have a brand spanking new GK. ESR and Saka have come on leaps and bounds. But yet, we seemed to be lost and aimless. You can see the pressure and strain on Arteta. I want him to succeed. He’s intelligent, articulate and passionate about Arsenal. But that’s not enough. Other managers have landed in other clubs and within less than a year have had a positive impact. Arguably that was true of Arteta. But here we are, worried and unsure as to whether we can progress. And, for once, here when I say “we” I mean me. Brentford, for me, was a freak result. The kind of results we’d seen before at Bolton. Stoke and Burnley. We also had lost Aubameyang and Cigarette to COVID. But today, minus White, we were shape-less and clue-less. Much more worrying. Not that I thought we’d beat Chelsea. But the first game at home for a new season, the first game at home with a crowd after 18 months. You’d expect more. We could not create, and we could not defend. There is no balance to this team.

Sure, Chelsea are a good team but we never really tested them. Their goalie had but one or two real saves. Too many of our players underperformed. That was one of the weakest games I’ve seen from Holding. Likewise from Tierney and Saka. And I worry that some of that is down to our shape and tactics. And our lack of ability to adjust intra-game. And that, unfortunately, comes down to Arteta.

I am a patient man. Sometimes. And I’ll remain a supporter of Arteta for a while longer. Let him get all his players back fit and healthy. Let’s see how the next 8 to 10 games play out. By then I think we’ll see whether he has managed to stabilize this team. Whether the progress and gains of last season have been built on – that the trajectory has changed. But, this is an unforgiving league. With unforgiving – and shit – referees. For a manager that has no luck with the health of his players and refs that never gives us any decisions that is a tough spot to be in. And one that, for a young, inexperienced manager, I worry about.

So I’ve not least faith yet. But it’s beginning to crack. And, for that, I’m angry. This should not be where we are. I like the developments on the transfer side. I like the new additions. I’m sure we’ll remove a few redundant players. To be clear, it’s not the lack of points. Or goals. It’s only two games. Rather it’s the aimless and unstructured football that we’re playing. It’s our lack of identity. This is something we had in the early part of Arteta’s reign. I worry that Arteta has lost his mojo. And there’s no mini-me to help him rediscover it.

-LB7

August 13th – Brentford 2 Arsenal 0

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Ouch. That was painful. Friday 13th – unlucky for some. Certainly for me. What a way to start the season. We should expect to be bottom of the table after 3 games now. No points after three games. I just hope Arteta can survive beyond the first 10 games.

This performance was too similar to all our pre-season games. Those could be written off as pre-season but unfortunately we are seeing that the past does influence the future. The patterns established – i.e. losing against Hibernian etc – flowed through into the season. Sure we had key players missing. But this is Brentford. And the worrying part is that player for player we better. The value of the players in our team dwarfs them. So how can they beat us like that? I fear some of it comes down to coaching – and of course a few players.

Key mistakes killed us. But we’ve seen that many times before. As much as I love Chambers he was at fault three on the first goal. He was too slow in coming out when he cleared the ball from the by-lane – and he cleared it into the center of the pitch. And then he did not get close enough to their attacker to block the shot. As much as I like Chambers though I dislike Leno. He was at fault for both goals though I’m being a little harsh on the first goal. But that second goal tells you all you need to know about Leno. He is not suited to the physical English game. He allowed himself to get tied up with their player. He does not assert himself and dominate in the air. That throw-in should have been won in the air by Mari but Leno should have gotten their first and punched it away.

Last year we tried to buy their goalie and ended up with Runnerson instead. You can see why we should have bought him. If we were prepared to pay upwards of £25 for Ramsdale then we clearly made a mistake by paying up for Raya. Of the two goals one was comfortable with the ball at his feet, able to distribute to his players calmly and not put them under pressure. And that same goalie was able to dominate in the air. And that goalie was not Leno. Please oh please can we sell him now before the window shuts. He is a great shot stopped – as he showed again today – but he undermines the defense. Leno should have been born 10 years earlier. Then he’d have played in an era when goalies were not expected to play out from the back. He missed his time.

Clearly we were toothless up front. Martinelli was barely in the game and Balogun hardly touched the ball. He had one chance in the box in the first half and he overran the ball. Of course, we did not create too much for him. Having said that we put in a number of crosses – mainly from the wonderful Tierney. There was just no-one in the box. To be fair (and for the first game of the season, why not) he looks like he has a nice touch and is intelligent in his passing. But, like a number of our players, it’s too easy to ease him off the ball or out muscle him. Which for a center forward is not so great.

On the cheerful side, of wait, there are not reasons to be cheerful. Ok, on the marginally less negative side White again demonstrated why we needed him. Sure he also made a few mistakes but overall you can see why he is a natural replacement for David Luiz. Sambi had a strong game. Working hard, tracking back and also linking up well in midfield. He is a very similar player to Partey but just maybe a bit more skillful. Xhaka was solid bunt, as ever, defensively venerable because of his slowness. Pepe had the usual flashes of enterprise but just could not get pass his man. I felt a little sorry for ESR. He was full of endeavor just lack a willing runner in front of him. He had a golden chance in the second half but lacked conviction. Overall though he was one of the few players that shone.

It’s not like they ripped us apart and peppered our goal. But you can’t lose to them. Not the first game of the season. We were not aggressive enough, not pressing enough and lacking and real end product. And some of this does fall on Arteta. A lot falls on Edu. They had three months to get new signings in and move our other players. Why do we still have four right backs? Why do we not have a back up goalie or a Leno replacement in place already? This is what will frustrate the screaming masses. And it will just heap pressure on Arteta. He is safe for 10+ games. But after today it’s going to be a month of pressure because we won’t have any points until after Manchester City. It’s such a waste of the momentum we built at the end of last season.

I mean, you can’t lose to Brentford. Under any circumstances. And today it looked like we got out coached. They got more out of their players than we did out of ours. I’m still all-in with Arteta but the Arteta Out Brigade (AOB) will be in full voice now.  Come Chelski it will be interesting to see how much tolerance there is if we quickly go behind or male the usual mistakes. There seems to be a mental frailty in this team that Arteta has yet to cure.

It was good to see Saka back. You can see how the dynamic of the team changed with him on the pitch. The interplay with ESR and Tierney was much the best of the entire team. Pepe does not have that understanding with others. If we had a forward who could shot on target we might have stood a better chance. There were periods where we retained possession but lacked any threat in the box. And it’s not clear that Aubameyang, when he returns, will solve that issue. But I believe Cigarette can.

What a terrible way to start the season. And let’s not ignore how embarrassing this result is. Losing to a non-existent club from West London who’ve never been in the Premier League. This time last year we smacked a new promoted team – Fulham. This year they smacked us. How can that happen? What happened in the last year. Because we have a better squad now. This is where all eyes turn to Arteta.

We have to be patient though. It’s a long long season. And this year, without the distraction of Europe, there will be time to get this right. The season is not decided with our first game. It will take Arteta time to sort this out. And Edu has three weeks to fix this squad. He is the one that should be – literally – in the firing line; not Arteta.

What a terrible way to start the season. That was dreary and draining. It was like suffering through a repeat of playing against Stoke with all those long throws. But it’s just sucks any enthusiasm out of the start of the new season when you sit through a performance like that. There is a lot of work to be done before the end of this month. And Arteta has to pace himself. The owners will want to give him as much time as possible. But I fear that our own fans will be up in arms after the next few games. It’s the fans who forget that their role is to be supporters of the club and no FIFA managers. But as long as we make the stupid mistakes we made today that hands them a rod for his own back.  

What a terrible way to start the season. Depressing. And did I mention embarrassing. Now we have a week to regroup. We will have a find a way to take our chances next week. We have to find someone who can score for us. Maybe we can sign that ugly, big chinned England captain. I hear he wants to sign for a team that can compete at the highest level. He just needs to emulate Sol Campbell and he’ll be fine. He would win medals galore. If that is, he could wait around for another 10 years.

On the bright side. It can only get better from here.

-LB7

August 7th – Optimism for the season and pessimistic fans

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And I’m back. Welcome to a new season. Consider this article as part of this websites pre-season. This is where I’m trying out new formations, words and generally tuning up for the upcoming season. Though truth be told the content will be full of the usual drivel and crap. In the background I’ll continue to work on new signings. There are rumors of new blood being added out of Spain but, with Brexit and currency movements this one now fills like a long shot. Anyway, I think we have enough left sided contributors already (if you know what I mean, wink wink). Adding yet another prima-donnas could provide an overload of gayness for this site.

Apologizes for the lack of wrap up on last season. I’m sure that ruined many a fine summer break as people were so desperate to hear my thoughts and insights. I’ve heard rumours that Arteta was severely impacted by my lack of guidance and advice as he moved into this crucial period of his tenure. So let me help him out with a quick summary. Fuck Willian. Fuck Leno. Love Saka. Love ESR. Good-bye David Luiz. Get me a few more players and you’ll be fine. That’s it. With that feedback I think Arteta can exhale and relax now. All will be good.

It’s funny (in a not funny way) how last season is being re-cast. All the mainstream media repeat ad nauseam cliches about how the season was a failure, a tragic disappointment, a disaster. Really? A disaster? For me a disaster is having a moron in the White House. A disaster is having right wing dictators running too many major countries. A disaster is seeing society devastated by a pandemic. A disaster is Partey being injured yet again. But failing to qualify for Europe by a point (care of Leno v Everton) does not equal a disaster. Try watching Arsenal in the late 70s’ post Brady. Try watching an Arsenal team in the ‘80s with Stewart Robson. Or any Arsenal team with Cygan. Last season should be assessed pre-Chelski and post-Chelski – where we smashed them at home in December. The pre-Chelski team were dour, drab and lacking identity. Post-Chelski we discovered our rhythm and finesse. Sure, there were still some crummy results. But the trajectory for this team changed. Consider the points gained, goals scored and the solidity of the defense. We ended up as a possible top 4 team. The overall position was more or less in-line with expectations. Missing out on the EvenWorseThanNoHopaConferenceLeague is a blessing. Both Chelski and Liverpool spent seasons out of Europe. It’s not the end of the world. And it’s not a disaster.

Most importantly, last season was Artetas first full season even if that was disrupted by the cloud of COVID. When you hire a promising but young, inexperienced coach you need to give them leeway to make mistakes, evolve and develop. And for this season we need to give him time. None of this retarded Arteta out shit. Wait. Be patient. Don’t let our club mimic ManU that continued to precipitously chase out decent managers – and end up with one who is barely decent. Irrespective of where we are mid-season, or even after 10 games, we have to stick with Arteta. Maybe not having fans helped Arteta last year. But it also gave more air to the morons on twitter and Instagram. This year, with fans, will hopefully help Arteta. He is our future. And we all need to support him. I’m all-in on Arteta and won’t reconsider until this new season is done and dusted.

So far we’ve managed to tie down ESR – an under appreciated move given the obvious cash that Aston Villa knew they’d have at their disposal because of Grealish. And then our new signings also speak to the concerns about how little Kroneke invests in this team. Another bogus narrative. They have always put their hands in their pockets. How did we get Aubameyang? CIgarette, Partey, Tierney? Did we pay in luncheon vouchers or with an IOU? I think not. And now with White we’ve put down sizable money to re-enforce the style of our play. Hopefully White can become our John Stones (without the gaffs).

More fan hypocrisy was evident with Xhaka. Everyone complains that we don’t sell our players for what they are worth. So here we decided not to cave into Roma and Darth Vader because they wanted Xhaka on the cheap. How would it help us to sell him for £20m and then have to pay £40m to replace him (if we could find someone). Until we can complete 2 summer transfer windows, we can’t afford to lose Xhaka. We need depth and experience. Do I want him as my main midfielder – no, but  I’d keep him for the squad.

We need to step back and look at the squad overhaul that we’re in the midst of. And it’s not finished. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring in an Odergaard replacement and one more midfield player. And of course we’ll lose some players. Kolinsac has to go. Please leave him outside the stadium in a trash can. And Hector needs a chance elsewhere. Hopefully with Lukaku returning to Chelski – another fine financial transaction sell him for £80m and buy him back at £115m) – that money will allow Inter to make some Hector signings. Cedric is another one who should be moved on. And obviously Willian. Maybe we can send him to Inter?

My biggest worry is Leno. As good a shot-stopper that he is I fear he is not suited to our direction of travel. He is not suited to playing out from the back. There is nothing more scary than when the ball is at his feet. I know the Chelski game last weekend was just a pre-season game and his first one back but his distribution was atrocious. He can’t make decisions under pressure. He repeats the same mistakes. It was like watching him put Xhaka under pressure away at Burnley. Leno can’t help himself. The game has changed and he can’t. The decision made to shift Martinez to Aston Villa was, at the time, the right decision. Given the knowledge we had at the time keeping Leno was the right choice. And if I could go back in time I’d still make that same decision. But it was the wrong one. But we can’t get Emilo back. But we can’t stick with Leno. He can’t play out from the back and he will put our players in tight, pressurized situations. The only question I have is how can our GK staff have had Martinez at the club for 10 years and not know what a talent he was? They saw him every day in training. That is the only place I’d be looking at to better understand how we sold the wrong goalie. And then whilst we’re looking at that someone should also look into the Runnerson deal as well. And now we’ve lost Ryan we must have an adequate backup. Paying £30m for Ramsdale seems like a bad piece of business – selling Martinez for £20m and buying back Ramsdale for £30m – but Kroneke has demonstrated his willingness to support this team so hopefully we’ll get someone worthy.

Aubameyang better not score tomorrow. I’d like his drought to continue for one more game. Nothing matters tomorrow (aside from staying injury free). He is a natural goalscorer and he will find his touch. Let him find it when it matters – against Brentford. It’s a shame Eddie is injured now. He was looking better in pre-season and now we can’t sell him. And we have to decide what to do with Willock and AMN. I want to keep AMN but only if he is prepared to be a squad player. His versatility could be invaluable for us. Arguably we missed him last year when our full backs got injured. But I don’t really see the rationale for chasing various Italian forwards. I can’t think of one that has worked out in the premier league. But give me another midfield player. Preferably a defensive one to give us cover for Partey. And not just for now but also for when he goes off to the ANC in January.

For this season, I expect us to be more competitive. We won’t win the league – Man City will have that. But we should be pushing towards the top 4 but will likely end up in the top 6 with re-entry to the NoHoppaCup. We’ll benefit from Everton losing their manager. Villa will be more threatening. And Leicester will be a threat. But, as we re-build our squad, we will continue to improve. We will give away stupid points and we will have to listen to our own moronic, juvenile, ADHD supporters bleat about every little thing. Those same fans that claimed that the Great and Imperious Wenger could only get us into the top 4 and top 4 was not a trophy are the same retards that are complaining that Arteta is not good enough for our club. Whereas, it’s exactly the opposite. These fans are not good enough for our club. Arteta is not the problem – they are. They look for any opportunity to complain and moan. They are not even glass is half-empty. They can’t even see the glass.

I though remain optimistic. I see numerous positive developments. And I believe in Arteta. From the changes to the U18 and U23 coaching staff, to the signing of younger players through to Kroenke spending bundles of money we are a better club than we were in the last 5 years. No more Gazidis. No more accountant. No more Mustafa nor Ozil. In another 12 months we will have a truly competitive team and a deep squad with balance and two players in each position. In three years we’ll be competing for the title. But then I’m an optimist.

Watch out for VAR this season. It was interesting to see how it was used during the Euros. No drama. No uproars. Funny that. Seems like the technology works right? So how comes it was such an abortion in the EPL? Just listen to Mike Riley and you’ll pretty quickly know. Their latest Einsteinne idea is to no longer show the fans (in the stadium or on TV) the lines they use to decide on offside. Really? Remove any transparency to their decisions? That’s their solution? Guaranteed they will have to walk this one back before Christmas. No question. I’ve always believed it would take them time to get VAR right. But the Euros proves it’s possible. It’s the people that are the problem not the technology. It’s how you use it. And when you have Riley and PGMOL making the decisions then you know you’re fucked. Shame about England though. They were so desperate not to lose that they forgot to win. Southgate – a smart man and a definitive improvement over previous managers – forgot to use the talent on the bench. He was too conservative and wasted a chance to win a trophy for the first time in a generation or two. Let’s see whether in WC22 he plays to win. Semi finals in last WC then losing in the final of the Euros sets up expectations for WC22.

And, to wrap up, the last word goes to our North London rivals. Wankers. Complete wankers (ok, that’s two). Talking about having no strategy and vision. How can you fire Darth Vader in-season and not hire a manager for 3 months – and then after everyone has turned you down. Then when it’s clear to even a blind man that you big-nosed, big-chinned skipper wants to bail you refuse to cash in but hold out for a few extra pounds. The result is a unstable team and the likely influx of the transfer money coming in too late to sign new players. So, it will be either an unhappy skipper or an inflated bank balance. And we think we’ve got problems.

Phew, that was a lot that I needed to get off my chest. I feel suitably warmed up now. Fingers are fully flexed, righteous indignation nicely coming to the boil and looking forward to an injury free game tomorrow. And more to come from me before the Brentford game.

-LB7