Them: nothing. Us: three. Player prediction: spot on. Result: perfect. Arsenal win.

By Tony Attwood

In the preview of this game Untold said, “Elneny is certainly one of those players the pundits and bloggers like to ignore – he doesn’t fit with their image, and yet as the manager showed by playing him in the two games of this season so far that we have been able to see, he rates Elneny.”

And so it proved.  We didn’t see a single line-up prediction with Elneny in it, as far as I remember, and only Untold mentioned him as a possible player for this match, noting that he had played in the end of season / pre-season games – and so it was.   He was mentioned on the commentary (as far as we could hear it in the pub) hardly ever, and yet he looked like his own version of the invisible wall.

Media Referee did predict Willian being in the team, and thankfully the manager took notice (or made his own decision).and the old new boy got three assists.

Gabriel Magalhães, tipped not to be playing by and large was there and scored.

Meanwhile, the Guardian was on an alternative planet noting that Fulham “almost took advantage of the defensive uncertainty that has blighted Arsenal’s preparations…” noting also that Arteta and said he was worried about the ability of the players to communicate with each other.  And then off we go with comments about near misses for Fulham.

So let us consider this uncertainty that has blighted Arsenal’s preparations.   What uncertainty was that?  As far as I can see only the uncertainty that has been talked up by the newspapers.

Which means that newspaper inventions are now becoming more true than reality, and when they don’t come true the paper can still talk of some mythical thing having “blighted Arsenal’s preparations”.  Talk about the non-existent fantasy prophecy.

As predicted Leno started because Martínez is about to transfer to either Aston Villa and Brighton.  Also apparently Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah had a disagreement while on the bench.  We didn’t see it on the TV (or if it was there, I missed it).  But obviously important since the newspaper men lapped it up.

It however makes the Guardian report as does surprise that Rob Holding can play and juggle the ball.  Ah well, if they watch with fewer blinkers they might know.

As you might expect Arsenal had 56% of possession according to R E Ports (our man with the computer).   As for our team, most of the pundits we looked at predicted it quite wrong.  The unused subs were Saka, Willock (our most used sub of last season), Kolasinac and Macey.  Celallos, Pepe, and Nketiah came on.

According to the Mail “Willian and Gabriel, Arsenal’s new boys from Brazil, were outstanding here as Arsenal eased their way into the season,” adding “Arsenal are slowly building a quiet confidence.”   And yes having watched it on TV I’d go with that.

Another Mail comment is “Gabriel, the centre half dropped into a Premier League debut perhaps sooner than Arteta might have wished, looked as if he had played here all his life, heading balls away like a stalwart of English football rather than a Sao Paulo native who cut his teeth with Lille in France. In the centre of a back three, he was commanding and authoritative.”

Which considering that the defensive three has been seen by some as our big deficit, that is high praise.  They add,

“Willian, another native of Sao Paulo state, is more familiar to the ways and memes of Anglo Saxon football and is thoroughly adapted.  He was busily doing those things he did so well for Chelsea these past seven years, darting in from the right, causing Joe Bryan constant problems. And providing three assists for the three goals.”

And so the team – not as the pundits predicted, by a very satisfactory team it was…


Holding, Magalhaes, Tierney, Bellerin,

Elneny, Xhaka (Ceballos), Maitland-Niles,

Willian (Pepe), Lacazette, Aubameyang (Nketiah)

Smiles all round.

14 Replies to “Them: nothing. Us: three. Player prediction: spot on. Result: perfect. Arsenal win.”

  1. Great start! clean sheet, 3 points new boys bedded in. Great day to be a gooner. There are a lot of positives to take from the performance mainly that AFC played the way they should against a promoted side.
    What stood out for me, literally, was the obvious size and physical presence of Gabriel in the middle. Reassuring.

  2. Not only did the Mail praise the team performance, they gave Willian 9, Gabby 8.5 & Auba 8. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  3. Prior to the match, during the warmup, the boys were playing a type of Rondo with Ceballos in the middle. Twice Eddie dawddled on the ball and Ceballos came in quickly and strongly. The cameras were far away so it was difficult to see whether he kicked Eddie or not but there were words exchanged and some shoving. The second time, other players moved in and pushed them apart.

  4. Just watching Liverpool v Leeds…if it continues like this it will end 8-8. Great stuff.

  5. Halftime in our Women’s match against WestHam and we are winning 4 – 1. We took the lead through Jill Roord, West Ham being very physical and picking up 3 yellow cards. West Ham equalised. We took the lead in a somewhat controversial goal with Beth Mead perhaps being offside before crossing for Miedema to tap in. Jill Flaherty the West Ham Captain must have said too much to the referee who gave her a second yellow card. Since then Arsenal have been in complete command and Kim Little and Beth Mead have added goals three and four.

    It might be a very tough second half for West Ham.

  6. Ten minutes gone in the second half and it’s noe seven one. Jill Roord with a hat trick and Miedema with her second..

  7. This is from the Guardian feed of the LIV-LEE game….

    “Deep down, I know VAR isn’t rigged,” says Brad Wilson. “I am a sports writer myself and I hate when people email me saying “the ref hates us” because I know it doesn’t work that way. But it can seem, to the casual observer, that VAR saves the big clubs constantly. That may be because they have the skill to force more challenges that VAR must review, or better defenders who on second look didn’t actually commit that foul. But the impression sticks, I think, with people who (like me) don’t want VAR in the first place, and it becomes, ‘VAR is terrible (which it is) and biased (which it isn’t).’”

    I’m sure there is some subconscious bias with VAR officials, as there has always been with on-field referees. It’s just this suggestion of a grand conspiracy I don’t understand.

    And they give this link a minute later….

    Maybe soon they’ll not be allowed to report on the PL ?

  8. @ben On my stream (MSNBC) when Cairney (Fulham’s #10) got his yellow card, the drop down menu under the score showed yellow card to Mesut Oezil. 😉

  9. Final score in the Women’s match I sent West Ham 1 – Arsenal 9. Leah Williams with the eighth and Caitlin Foord the last.

    The amazing thing is that we missed several other golden opportunities with the West Ham keeper making several really good saves.

  10. Dirty Leeds are going to be a handful this year. Liverpool did create more chances but Leeds took theirs and were unlucky to concede a penalty (it was a penalty, though) at the death. As we saw last season, they press very well but they just lack the expense account to run with the Scousers…first touch and all that. Still…I can see them getting 55-65 points if injuries don’t do them in.

  11. Will need to try to go up a level if intensity to matchLiverpool, their media and referee. Leeds put in an effort that would have drawn against or beaten almost any other E P L team. Except their defence let them down conceding 4 goals – the first courtesy of the referee. And they will always get the benefit of any doubt. Fact is their defence is very beatable.

  12. leeds will beat liverpool i feel at home. dvd wasnt concentrating again and arsenal will take full advantage. another thing arteta said el neny doesnt get dispossed easily hence he picks him.

    @goingoinggooner what do they have against ozil?:)

  13. Before the WSL game Caren Carney kept on about West Ham having to get physical and in Arsenals faces to beat us. This get physical and in their faces preached by any pundit should result in an FA fine for bringing the game into disrepute.

    It was difficult for the Referee to officiate as the physicality was incessant and unnecessary. Eventually it caught up with West Ham as they were hard done by with an offside not given that led to a goal. The West Ham players started to question the Referee who got irate and yellow carded the West Ham captain. This unfortunately meant a Red Card as it was her second yellow. The resultant loss of shape and leadership had its effect and Arsenal made the best of their freedom.

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