Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon


By Sir Hardly Anyone

The latest news circulating is that, according to the Standard Granit Xhaka  has flown straight to Dubai to join Arsenal, after Switzerland were beaten by Portugal in a competition in Qatar.   According to a report in English, a report in Japanese from Sponichi Annex says that Takehiro Tomiyasu has also flown to Dubai.  Since my linguistic skills don’t go that far I can’t confirm all this.

But my guess would be that if this is true Xhaka and Tomiyasu will at most be on the bench, but more likely will be in the stand adjusting to the time change and acclimatising ready for the second match in Dubai.

Besides, Tomiyasu did earlier say that he didn’t know when he would be back training with Arsenal.

There is also a new line of attack on Arsenal emerging which is that Arsenal are going to fall apart because they now have all the difficult fixtures that they cunningly avoided in the first third of the season before the enforced break.  The games coming up include matches against Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United in January.

Manchester City however will saunter through because “they have a comparatively gentle return to Premier League action with matches against bottom dwellers Everton, Leeds and Wolves before the end of January.”

There obviously can be something in this in that matches are not spread evenly between clubs, but it does seem to me like a bit of straw-clutching.   As we saw in the recent piece about the injury to Eduardo, and how that derailed Arsenal’s challenge, immediate events can knock a club back.  But even so, the recent form guide generally tends to tell us more.

But at least one story we are not hearing at the moment is that Arsenal cannot win the league because they don’t have a top scorer although that will be trotted out soon.   The top premier league scorers list at the moment is…


Player Team Goals
Erling Haaland Manchester City 18
Harry Kane Tottenham 12
Ivan Toney Brentford 10
Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham 9
Rodrigo Leeds 9
Miguel Almirón Newcastle 8
Roberto Firmino Liverpool 7
Phil Foden Manchester City 7
James Maddison Leicester 7
Leandro Trossard Brighton 7


Not an Arsenal player in sight.  Our top league scorer is Martin Ødegaard with six, one third of Haaland and half of Kane.  And yet there is a lot to be said for spreading the goals around.

Arsenal’s injury to Jesus is said by some, to put any thoughts of winning the league by Arsenal in grave doubt.  But the fact is although he is an important player in the squad it will not have the effect on actual goal-scoring that any of the clubs in the list above would feel if they lost their supposed main attacking player.

The team with the real strength in the list above is Manchester City, not just because of Haaland but also because they have Foden.   (We might also spare a thought for Chelsea whose top scorer is Sterling with three.  Or perhaps a thought for Manchester United where the top man for goals is Rashford with four).

The fact is the current Arsenal model is based on having multiple scorers, and if we take just league games the Arsenal scoring list does explain why so many defences are looking a bit bemused…


Sqd Player Position Games Goals
8 Martin Odegaard Midfielder 13 6
9 Gabriel Jesus Forward 14 5
11 Gabriel Martinelli Forward 14 5
7 Bukayo Saka Defender/Midfielder/Forward 14 4
34 Granit Xhaka Defender/Midfielder 14 3


Kick off this afternoon is at 3.30 and the game can be watched on Arsenal’s website.

The Gabriel Injury Crisis and the players we are signing



10 Replies to “Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon”

  1. Let the media opine what they want regarding Arsenal, I’m happy to see them writing us off because it removes the expectations and the pressure from what is an inexperienced squad – and manager.

    What happened to the Eduardo vintage was another time, another team, another manager and another mentality, this squad is different, younger but in many regards more hard nosed because Arteta isn’t an idealist he’s far more street wise and so is his team.

    So let the media talk, it’s what they do and tbh nobody really listens to them anymore…

  2. HT Arsenal 3-0 Lyon

    Obviously so hard to judge. How good/bad are Lyon?

    Either way we are playing very very well and scored 3 great goals. Corner. Breakaway and a Wengerball goal.

    Very enjoyable.

  3. 67 Minutes

    Still 3-0

    Still playing very well.

    But now 6 youngsters come on. Good luck to them.

  4. a nice win and a good run out for our mostly second string first teamers and our U21.

  5. @allezkev,

    remembereing how the FA, PGMOL and the press treated the attack on Eduardo is a necessary act.

    I do agree with you on the fact that the young guns are probably more streetwise, and Arteta having played for Arsenal and having been refereed as a player by the PGMOL incompetent morons, he is I think much more aware then any Arsenal manager in the past.

  6. This comment was posted by Nitram…

    “remembering how the FA, PGMOL and the press treated the attack on Eduardo is a necessary act”.


    The least Wenger expected was referees to referee fairly.

    Similarly the least our players expected was protection from potentially career ending assaults.

    Odd that.

    Sadly neither occurred, not then, not on many occasions before or after that fateful day, and as a result they witnessed what I thought was the worst assault I have ever seen in a football match. Following that disgraceful act:

    The referee went on to rub salt in the wound with a terrible performance.

    Their manager similarly by suggesting it wasn’t even that bad a tackle.

    And of course the media, utterly lacking in any sympathy for those unfortunate enough to of witnessed the event at close quarters, manged to criticize all our players for the temerity of being traumatised at witnessing the end of a friend and team mates career. Rather than annoyed, I was, and still am proud of William Gallas for what he did at the end. To me it was a visual display of his utter disgust at what had happened and his contempt for the referee.

    Dismissing that awful day as a mere speck in Arsenals dim and distant is an insult to Eduardo, all his team mates, Wenger and anyone else unfortunate enough to of witnessed it happen.

    As for this team being more street wise. A bit premature don’t you think?

    And in any event how would being streetwise of stopped the assault on Eduardo? Or on Ramsey at Stoke? Or on Diaby at Sunderland? Or on Reyes at Old Trafford?

    Arsenal went through a prolonged period in the Premier League where our opponents had free reign to assault our players at will and if we had the temerity to kick back or complain we were severely punished and ridiculed at every turn.

    I’m not deriding this team, I love them and the potential is enormous, but on what basis can the claim be made they are more ‘hard nosed’? They’ve faced nothing compared to the weekly assaults some of Wengers teams faced.

    As for Arteta, he may well put pragmatism above idealism, but how on earth does that equate to his players being more hard nosed? Wenger managed Vieira remember, a harder nosed player it is difficult to imagine.

    Go to this link. Look at the picture. Read the words.

    It was a day of shame for many reasons, none of them to do with Arsenal FC, their manager or their players, and it must never be forgotten.

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