Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Looking at the match stats watford had 19 fouls, 2 yellows and a red.. arsenal with 6 fouls, 4 yellows.. I didn’t see the match, but does that seem odd? Or indicative of what was happening on the field? Was mike dean the referee?
It was like a Premier League game from 10-15 years ago. Their plan was just to kick our ankles in every challenge and try to scrape a draw. They had 12 fouls in the first half, which is really just an absurd number. And the ref basically gave us no protection because he refused to issue bookings.

I was happy to see us play and persevere through that kind of match, especially with such a young team on the pitch. When Odegaard came on for Laca, Auba was our only player on the pitch older than 24. The five in central and attacking midfield were 20, 21, 22, 22, and 24. But we didn't back down and would have won comfortably if Auba didn't have such a stinker.

I thought AMN had a great match in central midfield.

The difference in the athleticism of our central midfield and defense versus last year is really night and day. We regularly trotted out so many mediocre athletes in these positions last year - Elneny, Xhaka, Holding, Mari, Cedric, Chambers, Bellerin, etc. Only Partey, Tierney, and Gabriel were really up to the necessary level. But now we've added Sambi, AMN, White, Tomiyasu, and Tavares into that mix and it makes a big difference in how we can play.
 

mikeford

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Looking at the match stats watford had 19 fouls, 2 yellows and a red.. arsenal with 6 fouls, 4 yellows.. I didn’t see the match, but does that seem odd? Or indicative of what was happening on the field? Was mike dean the referee?
Yes, there has been A LOT of talk on Arsenal Twitter and Reddit about this. There's some pretty shocking stuff about officiating against Arsenal in general. Watford absolutely got away with murder yesterday, Danny Rose in particular.
 

lars10

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Yes, there has been A LOT of talk on Arsenal Twitter and Reddit about this. There's some pretty shocking stuff about officiating against Arsenal in general. Watford absolutely got away with murder yesterday, Danny Rose in particular.
Yeah.. when I watch their matches I just feel like quite often they’re not getting the same calls.. especially pk rate.. and I’m not sure why. 18 vs 6 just seems like a huge discrepancy and especially odd when the 6 team is carded for 75% of them
 

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Arteta is playing Peps style and this is a constant lament of City fans as well. We often have 60+ % possession and always the first in the book. Every fanbase feels this way, I think, but there probably is something in the Pep style in that the high possession and recycling leads to a lot of smaller fouls which aren’t as likely to earn cards
 

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I’m not sure so much that this is an Arsenal thing as a Watford thing. Every time I’ve seen them, I ended the game thinking that a permanent move to League 2 would not be a harsh enough punishment for their antics. It’s just a dirty team with lord of the flies leadership. Their “game plan” against Palace is “have 10 different guys kick Zaha”.
 

mikeford

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Arteta is playing Peps style and this is a constant lament of City fans as well. We often have 60+ % possession and always the first in the book. Every fanbase feels this way, I think, but there probably is something in the Pep style in that the high possession and recycling leads to a lot of smaller fouls which aren’t as likely to earn cards
I hadn't intended to really get into this here since it strikes me as whiny and cry baby shit especially after we won the match anyway BUT

Since this is being discussed... this is the timing of all the red cards against Arsenal (so a member of the opponent getting sent off) in the last 2 seasons:
Newcastle - 90th minute, Villarreal - 80, Olympiakos - 82, Tottenham - 76, Chelsea (FA Cup) - 73, Southampton - 85, Frankfurt - 79

All pretty late in the match with the possible exception of the Chelsea one. You'd be hard pressed to argue these sending offs changed the game in a significant way.

Now let's look at the timing of Arsenal's own red cards over the last 2 seasons:
35, 57, 45, 72, 62, 46, 51, 75, 49, 26, 67, 41

Exactly 1 of these reds has come later in a match than any of the ones we've been the benefiting party of.

I'm not trying to get tinfoil hat conspiracy guy about this but it does look pretty fucking off that Arsenal seem to be having guys sent off at times that directly effect outcomes of matches and similar fouls for our opponents have not. Some of this has to do with employing absolute muppets like Granit Xhaka, Mustafi and David Luiz but some of this is purely bad officiating. Watford being allowed to get away with SO MANY cynical fouls over the weekend and receive even fewer cards than Arsenal is just another example in quite a line.
 

coremiller

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Arteta is playing Peps style and this is a constant lament of City fans as well. We often have 60+ % possession and always the first in the book. Every fanbase feels this way, I think, but there probably is something in the Pep style in that the high possession and recycling leads to a lot of smaller fouls which aren’t as likely to earn cards
City at least also get a lot of bookings because they deliberately commit a lot of tactical fouls to stop counters.
 

the1andonly3003

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Looking at the match stats watford had 19 fouls, 2 yellows and a red.. arsenal with 6 fouls, 4 yellows.. I didn’t see the match, but does that seem odd? Or indicative of what was happening on the field? Was mike dean the referee?
don't think that was in response to Arsenal's first goal where Watford kicked it out due to injury, and the Gunners didn't return the possession?

I mean, Watford is known to play dirty: Watford refuse to discipline Harry the Hornet after Wilfried Zaha row - Daily Star
 

lars10

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As fans of rival clubs there is one thing that unites us an that is the conviction that Watford are a boil on the ass of football
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Significant reality check today for Arsenal. I thought we were actually pretty good for most of the first half, they were on top but we were fighting them for everything, trying to play an open game, and largely matching their intensity. But the second half our youth and inexperience really showed, with lots of sloppy turnovers.

Hindsight is 20/20 but Arteta probably should have selected Tierney and Maitland-Niles. The intensity and atmosphere of the game was really too much for Lokonga and Tavares.
 
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mikeford

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Significant reality check today for Arsenal. I thought we were actually pretty good for most of the first half, they were on top but we were fighting them for everything, trying to play an open game, and largely matching their intensity.
It was 70/30 and we had 2 shots?

I thought we just got utterly steamrolled from the word go. Ramsdale was the only reason this wasn't an 8-0 thrashing.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Significant reality check today for Arsenal. I thought we were actually pretty good for most of the first half, they were on top but we were fighting them for everything, trying to play an open game, and largely matching their intensity. But the second half our youth and inexperience really showed, with lots of sloppy turnovers.

Hindsight is 20/20 but Arteta probably should have selected Tierney and Maitland-Niles. The intensity and atmosphere of the game was really too much for Lokonga and Tavares.
Is Tierney fully fit? I can't imagine that he's not in the starting lineup if so.

Odegaard was actually the player I was surprised not to see starting. Higher risk, higher reward, but I thought you needed his extra possession and control abilities against Liverpool.
 

mikeford

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Tierney played a bunch of internationals over the break so maybe that was the reasoning for him not starting but Nuno had a pretty shockingly bad game so I have to imagine Tierney is back in next weekend.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Tierney played a bunch of internationals over the break so maybe that was the reasoning for him not starting but Nuno had a pretty shockingly bad game so I have to imagine Tierney is back in next weekend.
Yeah, Tierney seems to be in that Tier of " 2 week international break: 360 minutes of playing time for him" which sucks since he's already been prone to nagging injuries. It makes sense that he'd get a break. Odegaard as well for Norway, who perhaps fortunately will miss the WC. I wonder how much international play had on lineup construction this week. You've got Lacazette starting who's nice and fresh because he can't even make the bench for France.
 

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I was certainly in favor of extending Aubameyang at the time, but that decision hasn't really paid off so far, has it?

(The silence in this thread over the past few weeks has spoken volumes.)
I'm in agreement. It seemed absolutely necessary at the time, but he really hasn't performed close to his previous level (let alone to the level of his wages). He was a clinical finisher for a few years, scoring above his xG shots taken. He's now below his xG I believe, and he's generally not a creator of opportunities for other players. Scoring has generally been the biggest problem for Arsenal this year. Everyone above them in the table has at least 5 more goals scored, and outside of a few blowouts to top 4 teams and the first few weeks, they've generally been pretty good at keeping the ball out of the net.

The real question is what do we do at striker going forward. We have a ton of young talent at defense, midfield and in the wings, but Auba is 32 and Lacazette is 30 with both seemingly having their best years behind them.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't know what to make of the Auba situation. I'm sure there is plenty of stuff going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. At the same time, I also think Arteta is pretty crap and inflexible at certain aspects of man management. A culture change at the club was necessary and I'm glad that he got rid of malign influences like Guendouzi and Ozil. But you can't be so rigid in your discipline and man management that situations are constantly escalating, being hashed out in the media, and causing distractions.

Auba has been total ass on the pitch this fall so there is also that part of things. He was always a striker that was mainly just a goal scorer, not an all rounder, and his goal scoring has always been highly dependent on the combination of instincts and elite quickness to get on the end of lots of chances. He was never a particularly good finisher and he certainly didn't have a lot to his game beyond scoring goals. Now that his quickness is going with age, there's just not a lot there anymore. I think if he is acting out its probably partly due to frustration at his own decline. And if the club is happy to move him on, its more to do with his slipping level than his behavior.

The big question for me is whether we can actually move him on anywhere, given his wages. A lot of links are emerging to Barcelona, who are desperate for a real striker and probably don't have the money to buy anybody significant. Could they take on Auba's wages in January, given their financial situation and the La Liga salary cap? I have no idea. But I would be willing to let him go there on a free in January just to lose the wages and the off-field distraction for this year and next. Finish this year with Laca, Nketiah, and maybe Martinelli at times as striker. Then go big on a striker next summer.

I have no idea who becomes captain. Gabriel would be the best choice, but his English may not be good enough. Tierney would be a great choice, but you can't give it to a guy who is fighting for his place in the team. White might be a possibility, but he has been with the club only a few months. Ramsdale has the same issue, plus he's a keeper. I'm not sure whether Partey is really captain material. I'd be very hesitant to put that kind of weight on any of the younger guys like ESR, Saka, or Odegaard. Going back to Xhaka would be a mistake given what happened last time and his standing among supporters (although I could see Arteta doing it).

My guess is that we go with some version of the multiple model for this season and then make a decision next summer.
 
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wonderland

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It’s very similar to the Ozil situation. Arsenal has had a weak, revolving door at captain the last few years. They have some interesting young options right now and should focus on finding the right one from that group.
 

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I don't know what to make of the Auba situation. I'm sure there is plenty of stuff going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. At the same time, I also think Arteta is pretty crap and inflexible at certain aspects of man management. A culture change at the club was necessary and I'm glad that he got rid of malign influences like Guendouzi and Ozil. But you can't be so rigid in your discipline and man management that situations are constantly escalating, being hashed out in the media, and causing distractions.

Auba has been total ass on the pitch this fall so there is also that part of things. He was always a striker that was mainly just a goal scorer, not an all rounder, and his goal scoring has always been highly dependent on the combination of instincts and elite quickness to get on the end of lots of chances. He was never a particularly good finisher and he certainly didn't have a lot to his game beyond scoring goals. Now that his quickness is going with age, there's just not a lot there anymore. I think if he is acting out its probably partly due to frustration at his own decline. And if the club is happy to move him on, its more to do with his slipping level than his behavior.

The big question for me is whether we can actually move him on anywhere, given his wages. A lot of links are emerging to Barcelona, who are desperate for a real striker and probably don't have the money to buy anybody significant. Could they take on Auba's wages in January, given their financial situation and the La Liga salary cap? I have no idea. But I would be willing to let him go there on a free in January just to lose the wages and the off-field distraction for this year and next. Finish this year with Laca, Nketiah, and maybe Martinelli at times as striker. Then go big on a striker next summer.

I have no idea who becomes captain. Gabriel would be the best choice, but his English may not be good enough. Tierney would be a great choice, but you can't give it to a guy who is fighting for his place in the team. White might be a possibility, but he has been with the club only a few months. Ramsdale has the same issue, plus he's a keeper. I'm not sure whether Partey is really captain material. I'd be very hesitant to put that kind of weight on any of the younger guys like ESR, Saka, or Odegaard. Going back to Xhaka would be a mistake given what happened last time and his standing among supporters (although I could see Arteta doing it).

My guess is that we go with some version of the multiple model for this season and then make a decision next summer.
Is Tierney really fighting for his place in the team or is he just fighting his own health? I agree he is not the best fit for captain, but that's primarily because he can't stay on the pitch. I believe some of the games when he's been benched even when available is due to Arteta trying to manage his load, sometimes when coming off international break where he plays a lot for Scotland.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Is Tierney really fighting for his place in the team or is he just fighting his own health? I agree he is not the best fit for captain, but that's primarily because he can't stay on the pitch. I believe some of the games when he's been benched even when available is due to Arteta trying to manage his load, sometimes when coming off international break where he plays a lot for Scotland.
Maybe fighting for his place is an exaggeration but I think Nuno has definitely given him some real competition. And even if its just about health, its hard to pick a captain who is going to miss a ton of time. You really want a guy that is going to be a reliable fixture in the team every weekend.
 

mikeford

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I firmly believe MØ will be named captain next year. He's already captain of his international side.

For the time being it looks like it's going to be a revolving door of Laca, Xhaka (c'mon man) I think Tierney was mentioned as well.

Edit: found the tweet again, it was Rob Holding, not Tierney that was the other name. Another guy who never plays, lol.

Sorta feels like we're at the end of the road with Aubameyang. His form is atrocious and now his antics behind the scenes arent gonna be tolerated. This is apparently his 4th transgression. We only ever heard about the one before the Sp*rs match otherwise.

You can get away with a lot when you're smashing in goals. Play like PEA in 2021 and you get no rope. Fact of the matter is the team plays better without him in it.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It’s very similar to the Ozil situation. Arsenal has had a weak, revolving door at captain the last few years. They have some interesting young options right now and should focus on finding the right one from that group.
Not just the last few years. Part hilarious, part sad. And this after Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira, two of the most iconic captains of the Premier League era.

View: https://twitter.com/WhoScored/status/1470730288292454402
 

wonderland

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Not just the last few years. Part hilarious, part sad. And this after Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira, two of the most iconic captains of the Premier League era.

View: https://twitter.com/WhoScored/status/1470730288292454402
i thought Ozil was officially given the armband but maybe I’m mixing up the number change.

I guess due to injuries, Koscielny was captain for so many games I thought he was the captain longer than he officially was. Either, it’s been a mess but hopefully the next official one is the right one.
 
For all of the negativity around Arsenal, they now sit in the top four after beating West Ham 2-0 today. That position is somewhat artificial - Man Utd is 1 point behind with a game in hand, and Spurs are 4 points behind with 3 games in hand. But still...they are 18 points above the relegation zone. ;)
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I thought today was one of Arsenal's best matches of the season. West Ham were missing their starting back line, so not going to get carried away. But Arsenal really played well and with a lot of intensity and focus. If there had been any questions about whether the team was behind Arteta in the whole Aubameyang mess then I don't think there are any longer.

Martinelli has really been taking his chance the last few weeks. There are plenty of minutes to go around with the fixture congestion but I think our young CAM/wingers are giving Arteta a genuine selection dilemma in the abstract with the Saka, ESR, Odegaard, and now Martinelli all staking claims and only three spots behind the striker for them. Long term Martinelli might be a striker but he isn't one currently.

Lacazette played great today but is still a very limited player. The team is just calling out for a top class striker who can do some of the hold up and combination work provided by Lacazette but is also a genuine box presence and goal scoring threat.
 

lars10

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I thought today was one of Arsenal's best matches of the season. West Ham were missing their starting back line, so not going to get carried away. But Arsenal really played well and with a lot of intensity and focus. If there had been any questions about whether the team was behind Arteta in the whole Aubameyang mess then I don't think there are any longer.

Martinelli has really been taking his chance the last few weeks. There are plenty of minutes to go around with the fixture congestion but I think our young CAM/wingers are giving Arteta a genuine selection dilemma in the abstract with the Saka, ESR, Odegaard, and now Martinelli all staking claims and only three spots behind the striker for them. Long term Martinelli might be a striker but he isn't one currently.

Lacazette played great today but is still a very limited player. The team is just calling out for a top class striker who can do some of the hold up and combination work provided by Lacazette but is also a genuine box presence and goal scoring threat.
I don't fully understand what you mean about Martinelli.. From what i've seen the last few years..all he does is score or create opportunities when given the opportunity. He's not top class of course.. but he's also super young.
 

mikeford

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I think he's talking about Martinelli playing as a traditional #9. His skill set may not fit that role.

Basically saying that we've got whoever plays #9 (Lacazette for now) and then 4 guys for the 3 spots behind the traditional striker #9 role. ESR, Saka, MO and Gabby.

Out of those 4, only Martinelli could reasonably be expected to one day transition into the tip of the spear style striker, but I would agree with MMS that he's not that guy right now. That doesn't mean he's not extremely useful in other roles.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't fully understand what you mean about Martinelli.. From what i've seen the last few years..all he does is score or create opportunities when given the opportunity. He's not top class of course.. but he's also super young.
I think he's talking about Martinelli playing as a traditional #9. His skill set may not fit that role.

Basically saying that we've got whoever plays #9 (Lacazette for now) and then 4 guys for the 3 spots behind the traditional striker #9 role. ESR, Saka, MO and Gabby.

Out of those 4, only Martinelli could reasonably be expected to one day transition into the tip of the spear style striker, but I would agree with MMS that he's not that guy right now. That doesn't mean he's not extremely useful in other roles.
Yeah, mike nails it. Martinelli is thriving right now as a wide forward who gets a lot of opportunities to go 1-v-1, to selectively run behind the defense, and to drift into the middle when he wants. Asking him to be a #9 and to fight constantly with CBs for clearances, to do hold up play with his back to goal and a CB kicking him in the back of the ankles, and to be the main guy in the box would be way too much for him right now and might potentially disrupt the nice development trajectory he currently seems to be on. He might be able to learn to do that eventually, like how Van Persie became a 9 over time, but I don't think its his natural game and I wouldn't want to cram him into that role prematurely.
 
The big question for me is whether we can actually move him on anywhere, given his wages. A lot of links are emerging to Barcelona, who are desperate for a real striker and probably don't have the money to buy anybody significant. Could they take on Auba's wages in January, given their financial situation and the La Liga salary cap? I have no idea. But I would be willing to let him go there on a free in January just to lose the wages and the off-field distraction for this year and next. Finish this year with Laca, Nketiah, and maybe Martinelli at times as striker. Then go big on a striker next summer.
FWIW, Tuttosport says Juventus is sniffing around Auba at the moment.
 

mikeford

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Almost the entire starting XI from the weekend is either starting (White, MO) or on the bench (Tierney, Ramsdale, Gabriel, Martinelli, Laca, Xhaka, Partey, Saka). ESR, who came on at the weekend, is also starting.

I think Tomi Gun is the only guy who doesn't feature.

Very interesting that AMN didn't even make the bench. I have to imagine he's looking for a January move.

Edit: Apparently AMN is ill but not COVID positive, whereas Mari, Chambers and Lokonga all miss for positive COVID tests.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Fun Arsenal win although I struggle to understand why we didn't have more academy kids on the bench. Bringing on Martinelli for 15 minutes at the end up three goals so that some butcher from Sunderland can take out his ankles or bang heads with him seems suboptimal.

Patino with a nice finish to cap off his debut at the very end. He played as a 10 and hardly touched the ball beforehand but you can't argue with a goal.
 

mikeford

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Eddie Nketiah is going to absolutely annihilate the Championship next year.

He's like the EPL version of an AAAA guy. I don't think he's good enough for the top flight but goddamn does he RIP APART competition below it.
 

lars10

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I know their competition hasn't been great, but Arsenal's attack has looked a lot more varied and dynamic with a lot of the kids playing... they've looked downright dangerous. No Man City, but Arsenal beating up on any team below them is a nice start.
 

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I think Odegaard is finding his footing and that has a lot to do with it. He's the most truly creative player Arsenal have.
View: https://twitter.com/OfficialFPL/status/1473631952427225096


I imagine a good number of those were against Leeds and their weak side, but still an impressive way for him to bounce back after his time out of the side.

I really like watching him play. He is a bit of a throwback player, great vision and field awareness and every touch oozes class.
 

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Yeah, the only knock on his game is that he is slow as all hell. His ultimate place might be as a deep lying playmaker because he doesn't have the burst to make the kind of runs you'd want from a 10, I think.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Fantastic win today. Norwich are terrible, and hit by Covid, but winning 5-0 away can never be bad.

The kids are more than alright.

Saka with two nicely taken goals, the second one Robben-esque. Finishing more consistently has really been the missing element for him so far and if he adds that ability, watch out.

Odegaard has been so so good the last month or two.

And Emile Smith-Goal with his eighth of the season despite coming off the bench, which is really an amazing number for a 21-year-old wide playmaker in only half a season.

Martinelli with a relatively quiet night but still was in the middle of a few of the goals and worked his ass off as usual.

The fixture against Wolves has apparently been cancelled so next up is City on 1/1, which will be huge test as they are in top form.
 

mikeford

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Gotta be honest: hoping this match gets postponed now.

The likelihood Arsenal were going to get battered was pretty high anyway but it becomes a locked on certainty with Arteta sidelined.

Also pretty worried given the hands-on approach Arteta has to training and in-game management that we're about to see Arsenal awash in COVID cases.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Gotta be honest: hoping this match gets postponed now.

The likelihood Arsenal were going to get battered was pretty high anyway but it becomes a locked on certainty with Arteta sidelined.

Also pretty worried given the hands-on approach Arteta has to training and in-game management that we're about to see Arsenal awash in COVID cases.
Yeah, I’m worried about a full blown outbreak as well. Arteta has to be in very close contact with a huge number of people at the club when you factor in training, video sessions, meals, meetings about transfers, etc.

I wouldn’t mind the City match being postponed. But an outbreak is going to put the League Cup semis in jeopardy too.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Frustrating result but a lot of positives to take away from that match for Arsenal. We were the better side over the first 60 minutes until a combination of refball and losing our heads for five minutes completely changed the match. Our press was very effective and we looked dangerous going forward. Over the last few years, I have rarely seen City having less control of a match than they did in the first hour. Hopefully this is a learning experience for a very young team. Decisions are going to go against you and you can't lose your focus.