Arsenal v Manchester United. The team, and the worries





By Bulldog Drummond

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The league table after yesterday’s games leaves us with something a little unexpected: a league table in which the Big Seven, as we called them last season, are as yet not shining.   West Ham are interloping, Brighton and Hove have, contrary to our expectations continued their bright form and Chelsea (11th), and Newcastle (14th) are dropping below expectations,  Manchester United are 10th. 


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 4 4 0 0 11 2 9 12
2 Tottenham Hotspur 4 3 1 0 11 4 7 10
3 West Ham United 4 3 1 0 9 4 5 10
4 Brighton and Hove Albion 4 3 0 1 12 6 6 9
5 Liverpool 3 2 1 0 6 3 3 7
6 Arsenal 3 2 1 0 5 3 2 7
7 Brentford 4 1 3 0 8 5 3 6
8 Aston Villa 3 2 0 1 8 6 2 6
9 Nottingham Forest 4 2 0 2 6 6 0 6
10 Manchester United 3 2 0 1 4 4 0 6


Arsenal have of course only slipped in one game with a draw instead of the expected win, but the wins have been narrow and the club is tenth in the league when it comes to goalscoring.

On the other hand, most of the rest have played one extra game and a few goals today will help Arsenal’s ranking along a bit.   The defense however is as we had hoped: currently the third-best in the league.

As for the long term, two relegation spots already seem to have been allocated (Burnley and Luton Town) with just one left to fight for.  Everton maybe, after several near misses?But may that is a bit premature.

However the main fact remains that after four games Brighton have scored 12 in four, and Arsenal have scored just five in three.  Last season it was nine goals after three.

So we can hope the teething troubles can be relieved today.   And at least we can still smile about the league’s most troubled team: Chelsea.   Currently sitting 10th in the league (although we must note that they have managed five goals – the same number as Arsenal), with Chelsea having played one more.  It’s a story that just keeps on giving.

Indeed if we look at the last 10 league games table, Chelsea are 18th.  Over the last six games they are 14th.   But that table is slightly worrying (even though at this time of year “last six” and “last ten” means spread over the end of last season as well as the start of this).  For over the last six games Manchester United have five wins and one defeat.  Arsenal have three wins, two defeats and a draw.   Arsenal really need to find their form.

The key thing remains the number of goals, and here things could pick up if we can play a team including Gabriel Jesus, Martinelli, Saka, and Odegaard, the four players who knocked defences all over the place last season and caused the club to reach 88 goals in the league (an average of 2.32 a match).

That was Arsenal’s highest ever league goals total in the Premier League, and the eighth highest of all time for the club (remembering that in the past there were four extra games, and for decades everyone played a 2-3-5 formation.

Anyway, enough of this, what of today’s team I hear you cry, although not literally.

The Mirror goes with a 3-4-3 lineup, and they have put Nketiah on the wing with Martinelli in the centre.  That might be a mistake, or an insight in a new style. 


White, Saliba, Gabriel;

Partey, Rice, Havertz, Odegaard;

Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah.

Football.London, produced by the same people needed to find something different so opted out and gave us the full first team squad which they claim is “revealed”.  I don’t mind them being dopes, but it is when they take their readers for dopes as well that I get annoyed.

And here’s one from the BBC: Twelve of the last 16 top-flight goals Arsenal have conceded at the Emirates have been scored in the second half, but three of the other four have been scored in the opening minute of the game.

The Hard Tackle gives us a line up of


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Odegaard, Rice, Havertz;

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

While the Standard offers


Timber, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu,

Rice, Havertz, Odegaard,

Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah

Sports Mole however step out of line with Jesus back in the attack.  That could well shake things up a bit.  They also predict a 3-1 Arsenal win.


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Odegaard, Rice, Havertz;

Saka, Jesus, Martinelli


We’re off to the game, and that of course means we won’t be back to the East Midlands until way after the game is over and everyone has digested everything.  So unless something odd happens, we’ll be back tomorrow.  Have a great time however you are watching.


Today’s anniversary:  Arsenal’s first game in the top division

24 Replies to “Arsenal v Manchester United. The team, and the worries”

  1. According to Daily Cannon Jarred Gillett, the Australian official, is set to occupy the VAR room today for the third time in Arsenal’s four Premier League games this season.
    Disgraceful from PGMOL especially given Jarretts habit of stitching us up (remember our disallowed goal v C Palace).

  2. Two gits to ManU: Antony kicking the ball away and lindelhof jost about taking off Nketiah’s nose on a break.

  3. How does Saka get a yellow while being fouled…that is to say pulled down? Very suspect calls by this ref.

  4. Commentators are pro-ManU…always positive and full of suggestions to improve. Not much comment on Arsenal.

  5. Take that all you negatives !

    Say what you want, they believed in it till the end.

    Way to go Gunners

  6. It sure is nice to beat Manchester United. I was impressed by the way the commentators pivoted from singing the Manc praises when Garnacho was offside to talking about how mature Arsenal had become.

    I think we can also see how the positivity at the Emirates helps the team. The crowd started cheering after the ManU goal and 35 seconds after the restart we were equal.

    Aside from his whiff from 4 yds, Havertz was OK. I think the ref just might have got it right by waving off the penalty (but we have all seen those given…)

    Our man of the match had to be Martinelli though I would give Ben White and Gabriel close seconds.

    Well done, lads!

    And…stay safe over the international break!

  7. Looking back, still in the heat of the battle, I’m taking at least 4 big positives : Rice and Jesus scoring, Vieira again making a very good appearance and finally, it ain’t done until it’s done, and the Gunners don’t give up.

    As for the refereeing… well we’ve seen way worse, have we not ?

    On the negatives : way too many lost passes, way to many lapses, what has happened with Saka – second game kind of next to his shoes

  8. This Rice kid looks a keeper, lol. Big players come up big in big moments! Well done. NO quit in the team with great support from the fans. Can’t find the stats on corners but Arsenal certainly had at least a dozen. Only one goal on a good effort from Rice and one other good chance when he headed over. Something to work on.
    Love the character in this team. COYG!!!

  9. Alex Ferguson, Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Eamonn Holmes, Rachel Riley, James Nesbitt, Howard Webb, Your boys took a hell of a beating!

  10. For the second consecutive game Zinchenko has given the ball away and cost us a goal. We definitely benefitted having White at right back. Last night Brighton took 23 seconds to take a throw in but it came as no surprise when Attwell failed to issue a caution. Coote was predictably awful at Sunderland being deemed surplus to requirements in the Premier.

  11. @Mick,

    surprisingly, the referee gave a yellow to the Manure goalie for wasting time.
    Just shows how incompetent PGMOL are : not even able to have a simple rule demanding just the counting of seconds being applied.

  12. This is why an independent timekeeper is the answer.

    Although perhaps he shouldn’t allow it to happen, he will:

    -Get caught up in the emption of the match.

    -Make subjective judgements, such as did it look like he was deliberately ‘time wasting’?

    -Take in to account the time in the match it occurred.

    -Take in to account the match situation.

    -Crowd pressure.

    -Player pressure.


    And last but not least, media pressure. What would THEY want him to do?

    All of those scenarios turn what is essentially a simple objective decision into a subjective one.

    We all know what he should do, what he should be able to do, but even I concede it’s not that easy.

    Take it out of his hands. It’s as simple as that.

    Back to the game. WOW just WOW

  13. Talking about referees, one thing is missing pre-match :

    there is no psychological evaluation of the referees

    Did the acting referee have any issue with his wife ? his banker ? his neighbours ?
    Did he have a good sleep ?

    Because, as Dean has said : I did not want to pile it on the referee, so I spared him telling him about his bad decision.

    Considering this insight of how the PL referees interact with VAR, we really need to get some numbers on the issue…..

    Maybe Tony can add some paragraph on it pre-match ?!?!

  14. People are really piling on Havertz. Don’t get me wrong. He could’ve done better; he did whiff on a sitter and his bad pass let Ericksen break out for their goal…We all saw this but people are declaring him surplus to requirements after four matches. This is unfair, I think. Maybe Trossard deserves a chance but that doesn’t mean Havertz should be tossed in the bin…he deserves some time…if not in the league then, maybe in our league cup matches. But give him a break…we need all our players if we are to compete in four competitions.

  15. What is the difference between the penalty awarded to Man United against Forest and the one not awarded to us yesterday?

  16. @GGG,

    this is what the so-called media wants to happen.
    Instead of that Havertz should get all the support from fans he needs.

    He’ll break his duck and then it will be ok.

  17. Chris and GGG

    “this is what the so-called media wants to happen.
    Instead of that Havertz should get all the support from fans he needs.”

    Absolutely spot on.

    And yes of course he could of done better with the finish, but that’s what happens when you are desperate to score. You snatch at chances.

    Surely if there is one thing Arsenal fans have learned over the Arteta tenure, and that is the value of getting behind the team, getting behind the players, NO MATTER WHAT.

    Surely the bad old days of getting on players backs, al la Xhaka, to name but one, have gone.

    Arteta and the players have worked tirelessly in this regard. Re building the connection between the team and the fans, a connection that should never of been broken. But it was, and a massive part of that was as a result of an endless barrage of abuse from the media, at the Club, the mangers, the team, but perhaps most tellingly, at the players, and sadly some fans bought into it.

    Even if Havertz continues to struggle, and I’m sure he won’t, he’ll come good, but if he does, surely we now know that as fans, as supporters, it is OUR job to support. To give him every possible chance to bring his best to this team.

    And if he doesn’t so be it. All I know is turning on the lad, as the media clearly hope we do, will do absolutely no good at all.

    Lets hope we have learned our lesson in this regard and leave the media to howl in the wind.

    We are Arsenal. We support.

  18. Remember Jon Sammels being hounded out in 1971. got dog’s abuse in the first half v Cologne – didn’t appear in the second half

  19. Unfortunately Jon was a bit milky when it came to a full blooded tackle but he had wonderful ability

  20. Probably the highlights of Jon’s Arsenal career were the goals he scored against Manchester United at the clock end in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United on 20th September 1969 and against Anderlecht in the Fairs Cup final second leg on 28th April 1970

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