So it’s another where I can say “I was there”; but some memories are not so good

by Tony Attwood

My best “I was there” moment is undoubtedly, “I was there for the final game of the unbeaten season”.    Last night doesn’t replace that moment, but it’s another one for the little collection: “I was there when Charlie Patino scored on his debut.”

And although I am sure this won’t go down in history, there was a nice tweet after in which it was proclaimed that “Patino is the 16th Charlie to play for Arsenal and the sixth to score on debut after Booth (1892), Lewis (1907), McGibbon (1910), Bell (1913) and Jones (1928).”

In fact, he is the first Arsenal academy player (or “product” as the Daily Telegraph inexcusably and dehumanisingly calls him) to score on his debut since 2009.  He was the 886th player to represent Arsenal in its various guises, in first-team league and cup matches.

They had already called him, in a previous article “a midfielder of rare promise” and so the very brief look we got of him last night suggested that is true.  Indeed if the club continues like this, we won’t have any problem at all filling the homegrown places in the squad – we’ll have more than enough genuinely and totally home growners.

But of course, we won’t be adding Charlie’s name to the squad for a while, although when we do he’ll be extra numerary to the 25 (being under 21, like Saka this season).

Arteta made a nice comment too saying, the goal was “A beautiful moment,” before adding, “He is a lovely kid. He is training with us almost every week. It was a dream. The fans heard about him and know what he can become. Now we have to cook him slowly. Today was a good start.”

Eddie Nketiah, also got a series of very positive mentions for his performance and his three goals, but it seems unlikely that he is going to extend his contract at the end of the season, so another club will pick up all of the value that Arsenal have invested in him.

As a game, I doubt this one will be remembered particularly – we were expected to win, and we did win.  The visiting supporters were expected to fill the lower clock end, benefitting from tickets at a fiver each, and they did.  They filled the stadium with their chants and songs, but nothing I heard (sitting upstairs in the east, but closer than normal to the away fans – season tickets not being valid for the league cup) was particularly novel and certainly nothing was endearing.

Arsenal dominated possession, and the only thing that the stats show Sunderland dominating was aerial duels, the ball in the air being something of a compulsion for their team.

Arsenal commit 8.89 fouls per game on average and so the nine fouls Arsenal committed was exactly the norm.  The 12 fouls that Sunderland committed (a third more than Arsenal) was close to their average too.  All was as expected.

In the league we are picking up 1.38 yellow cards per game: we got one, this time.  Normal again.  Sunderland picked up four times as many, which again tells you pretty much what was going on in the match.

And what was also pretty much as expected was Eddie Nketiah’s performance.  You would think that with a player who got a hattrick, there would be some pretty good moments to report, but nothing really stands out.  Maybe that’s his problem – he is there and he does his job, but it is quite hard to recall what exactly he did much of the time.

As for Sunderland, this was an all-white team – not something one might particularly notice apart from the fact that the entire team refused to take the knee at the start, as a sign of being against racism and discrimination in all its forms.   Not an especially good thing for an all-white team to do.  Nor a particularly good sign when some (not all but some) of their supporters booed through the taking of the knee by Arsenal and the officials.

But this morning, trying to track down what is going on within Sunderland and its total refusal to take the knee,  I had a look at the Sunderland Echo which says, “Sunderland have encouraged their playing squad to make their own decision on whether or not to take a knee before games, with many opting not too.”   The article makes it clear that at their own ground some of their supporters regularly boo the taking of the knee.  It’s just a Sunderland thing, I guess.

The paper continues, by saying, the manager “supported their players in whatever decision they ultimately make.”

A universal decision not to take the knee was the outcome.  It would be interesting to find out why.  Especially from an all-white team.

14 Replies to “So it’s another where I can say “I was there”; but some memories are not so good”

  1. Let’s not forget that the North East was one of the most staunchly pro-Farage areas so presumably the players don’t want to upset the fans by behaving in a mature, inclusive, anti-racist manner….

    I did enjoy the karma of them losing their goal scorer to injury as a result of fouling our player though!

  2. In the later stages of the game, when it was 4-1, I was genuinely concerned about the safety of our players, as it seemed that Sunderland had given up on the result and were only bothered about leaving their mark on our team. 4 yellow cards seemed an inadequate response, especially considering the fairly minor offence for which Balogun had been booked. EVen Charlie Patino was scythed down during this period.

    Their defenders ended up looking like pub players, only bothered about “getting stuck-in” on opponents of superior skill. This can be a recurring danger from some lower league teams (I include Burnley in that group) playing against higher league opponents. They get away with a lot because of allowances for their being underdogs.

    Remember the last-minute foul on Diaby at Sunderland, which had such a long-term damaging impact on his career?

    I also recall a Carlisle player committing a dreadful foul on Vieira in a cup-tie, no doubt so he could boast to his mates in the pub about it.

  3. Tony

    “And what was also pretty much as expected was Eddie Nketiah’s performance. You would think that with a player who got a hattrick, there would be some pretty good moments to report, but nothing really stands out. Maybe that’s his problem – he is there and he does his job, but it is quite hard to recall what exactly he did much of the time”.

    Do you work for Talkshite now Tony?

    Despite a sublime hatrick they too were undermining the lads fantastic day.

    Don’t we have enough of this ‘find the negative no matter what’ from the rest of the media without finding it on here?

  4. That is always a danger when playing lower league opposition , player’s pride often leads to a rush of blood . It’s down to the ref to keep things under control and Mr Jones last night did that quite well. I thought that he handled the game well , it would be nice to see him again in the Premier but I doubt we will.
    As for the knee taking , I know a lot of people from that area that see it as a political statement from America , and they have a point because undeniably that’s where it came from . Had they been asked to carry a Kick it out banner probably they would . I was not surprised and I am a little surprised that you were.

  5. “…but it is quite hard to recall what exactly he did much of the time”

    Well I wonder ?

    From Whoscored:

    Goals 3 = Most

    Shots 6 = Most

    Tackles 5 = Most

    From Arseblog:


    6 – Shots, 1st among all players

    4 – On Target, 1st among all players

    4 – Shots in Prime, 1st among all players

    2.26 – xG, 1st among all players

    11 – Touches in the box, 1st among all players

    17 – Deep Touches, 1st among all players

    4 – Tackles, 1st among all players

    100.0% – Tackle %, 1st among all players

    8 – Progressive Passes Received, 2nd among all players

    2 – High Ball Recoveries, 3rd among all players

    0.22 – xG Buildup, 13th among all players

    Nketiah was a perfect poacher in this match, with 3 goals inside 8 yards.


    So from 11 parameters measured he was 1st in 8 categories, 2nd on one and 3rd in one.

    Maybe that’s what he did !!!! Just saying.

    But Talkshite and Tony aren’t the only Nketiah party poopers, this is what Arseblog said in their summery, despite those remarkable numbers:

    “I don’t know if he will stick around with Arsenal but there is nothing that I have seen from Nketiah that says that he will be anything but an average or better scorer at the Premier League level.”

    You’ve got to love Arsenal fans. Only we could poor cold water on such a performance.

    No wonder the likes of Talkshite take the p!$$. We deserve it. Unbelievable.

  6. Ian Wright was twenty two when he joined Palace . Eddie is 22 now . 13 years later he left Arsenal and we all know what had happened during those years .
    Give Eddie a couple more years as an adult and see where he takes us.

  7. Porter

    Some of the most prolific scores in history gave very little to the team other than goals.

    Ian Wright himself springs to mind, as does Gary Lineker and Micheal Owen to name but 3.

    But looking at those stats it is hard to accuse Eddie of that, and still his performance is being undermined.

    As I say, unbelievable.

  8. Jimmy Greaves and Gerd Mueller come to mind as players who didn’t contribute much other than goals. Anyone who can average a goal a game will get into any team. And anyone who can get 20 goals a season for Arsenal will be a regular starter.
    Can Eddie do that? Let’s hope so.
    A hat-trick, however it comes, is something to be celebrated. So we’ll done to Eddie. He was in the right place at the right time.

  9. Dublin Gooner

    Well said.

    I did think of Jimmy Greaves but I have to say I didn’t ever see him live (as far as I remember) so I would be guessing really, but everything I did see of him on TV, and everything I’ve heard suggests he was in the category of a ‘poacher’ or in more recent vernacular a ‘Fox in the Box’. Similarly Muller, who again as you suggest seems to fit that category.

    Personally I think players of that ilk are a thing of the past. I have always believed the main reason Wenger moved Wright on as quickly as he did was that he wanted his goal scorers to be more than just that. The only other time he looked at a player like that was Francis Jeffers, whom I believe Wenger allowed himself to be hounded into buying, and look how that turned out !!

    Anyway, as the statistics show, last night Eddie was much much more than just a ‘Fox in the Box’ and despite comments to the contrary, contributed massively to our overall performance.

  10. It was always a generational argument as we travelled up the M 11 following games . Who was the better striker Greaves or Wright ?
    It’s always going to fall down on who had seen who , but I said once that comparing Greaves to other goal scorers of his time when Bobby Charlton , Law or Best got the ball there was a noise that rose throughout the North Bank in anticipation but when it was Greaves the crowd went silent .

  11. “Give Eddie a couple more years as an adult ”
    complete agreement, @porter – that’s all it takes
    not every player can be like bukayo, firing on all cylinders the moment they get their first first-team callup
    all AW did to TH14 was precisely that, he gave him time; he believed in him even though he hadn’t made it at juve, even though he had a tough start in england
    Thierry owes everything to arsène’s patience, trust, he was poor at juve before he landed in north london, poor at barcelona after, and average for france most of the time
    some geniuses just have to be cuddled a little, what’s wrong with that?
    as for eddie, he has already improved his allround game dramatically imo, and i’m not surprised at reading nitram’s stats
    i like the above-references to müller, he’s that kind of player, he has the little something (flair, instinct, extra-sense, ??) that only natural born goalscorers have; it just can’t be taught/learned (and the particular technique that goes with that gift shouldn’t be played down – i loved eddie’s “thigh+knee” goal)
    i do hope we ‘ll do right by him

  12. Now the Mirrors having a pop at Pepe because of one mistake in an otherwise brilliant display.

    Merson Using last night to have a pop at Wenger.

    As I said, we don’t need to be finding fault ourselves when others are quite capable of doing it for us.

  13. I guess that we all hope that Charlie Patino will be the next big thing , but
    probably after Folarin Balagun , whom I’m hoping will feature more next season .

    But I may not be the best at picking them ! In previous times , I became excited with the stunning impact of some of our players , most of whom then , left !
    Among them were/are –

    Matteo Guendouzi

    Lucas Torreir.

    Francis Coquelin – who for a very short period was the best defensive midfielder.

    David Bently – Reminded me so much Dennis Bergkamp when he scored his goal for us.

    Andy Cole – Hitting the side netting , made we beam with pleasure that we had indeed unearthed another gem in our midst.

    For some reason or another they all left.

    Anyway , I take this opportunity to wish all on here , A MERRY Christmas and A Happy New Year !
    Cheers !
    Up the Gunners !

  14. I think we all live in trepitation of the day that the first serious offer comes for Saka , Smith Rowe or Martinelli . Not in the order of the derisory punts made by Villa but debt reducing offers .
    I think we all know that they will come and we know that their agents will be complicit in making it so.
    There will always be reasons why people leave and in the cases of the five you have listed rumours have abounded rightly or wrongly , true or false around four of them .
    If Guendouzi squared up to the manager then he had to go .
    Torriera’s wife was making his life a misery in London apparently , we all know what that’s like.
    Bentley apparently thought he was Dennis reincarnated
    Andy Cole least said about his rumour the better.

    it’s really about how you handle relationships , this squad has had major changes since Arteta took over ,some good and some not so . Hopefully it’s all part of his learning experience and when the money is slapped on the table he will have more experience in how to deal with it.

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