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An emotional old day

SOME THOUGHTS:

- The enormity of today really hit me when I realised that for the presentation nobody had left early. That is quite a tribute. Think about it: there was no trophy to be collected, no achievement to be celebrated, no high to be had. I genuinely think many people were there not for personal indulgence in the way that going to the football ordinarily is but genuinely out of a sense that being there was the right and proper thing to do. The fact that everyone felt that way was truly a huge tribute.

- Giving him the golden trophy was a bloody classy touch. They’ve given away something pretty special there frankly but I think it was the right call.

- It was strange finding myself straining to hear every word of his speech today because truth be told I’d stopped paying attention to what he said a few years ago.

- I think the truth is that he probably stayed a little longer than was ideal. But it is also the case that he didn’t carry on as long as I think many of us feared he might do.

38 Responses to “An emotional old day”

  1. oreo says:

    this used to be a good blog. now it is a page that represents 5 min of the blogger’s time every 3 months.

  2. PD says:

    Quality over quantity oreo.
    We would all love Goodplaya to post more often but a) he has said many times there just hasn’t been much to say about arsenal over the last few seasons that wasn’t already said & b) what he does say makes this a more readable direction 99% of Arsenal blogs …and the level of debate on here reflects that.
    Join in or just don’t bother…it’s a free world.

  3. PD says:

    Having said that…I find myself at a bit of a loss after yesterday. Not living in England, I only get to 3/4 games a season these days. I’m away on a long planned family holiday at the minute so couldn’t go yesterday. I had a ticket for the final on Lyon so I feel a bit lost personally that I didn’t get my chance to say goodbye to Arsene. I watched the scenes from the Emirates on the internet last night after the wife & kid had gone to bed..even from that distance, I found myself tearing up a little bit.
    Hats off to the club & all involved, it looks like it was done brilliantly….and to Arsene especially : not sure how he held it together. Good luck sir. We will always remember you…and always love you. Merci Arsene indeed.

  4. MDP says:

    What I can I say about Arsene… he simply took Arsenal to a place where we were hanging out with the very best clubs in the world and looked like we belonged there for a time. If the mere fractions of a second that make or break football matches were played all over again Arsenal would most likely have 1 or even 2 Champions League trophies to add to the collection, but football can be cruel.

    In the early days he clearly inspired many people with his forward thinking methods and ways, prolonging the careers of the old guard. His record of qualifying for the Champions league is often scoffed at but it did make the move to the Emirates less rocky than it could have been. I think we all agree that he stuck it out longer than he should but the club on a footballing level is still on reasonable ground with a very health crop of youth working it’s way through and the offensive side of the playing staff looking extremely decent despite the backward step in our fortunes. There’s still much to work with for the person that fills his shoes and a return to .

    On a personal level, I always felt a healthy respect and affection for the man who with out doubt in my mind loved and did his upmost and best for the club. I admire his ability to stand strong when so many were right in his face pointing the finger, an unbelievable show of steel. Most of all I love the fact he’s simply an Arsenal fan! There’s not much more we can ask for than that.

    Thanks for the memories Arsene, they will always be re-lived and treasured.

  5. slc gunner says:

    Thanks for the memories Arsene, the quality of the football, the great European nights, the diamonds in the rough, the sense of humour, the thick skin, and the many great Frenglish expressions. The glorious ending was not to be, but we had many great moments over the years.

    Oreo – as PD states, quality trumps quantity. Plus I appreciate the fact that the most recent blog stays up until the next one, so that we can continue to comment as anything newsworthy emerges.

    Onward – there is a bit of excitement in the air as we anticipate the new manager.

  6. Elvis says:

    So then. Who should be next Arsenal manager? Pep Guardiola would be good…

  7. PD says:

    Elvis, Guardiola will never succeed in England – remember that argument from the AKB brigade a few years back ? That worked out well. Klopp too another definite failure.

    I think it’s pretty clear at this stage that it’s going to be Arteta & that any ‘process’ to finding a new manager has been a charade from the start. Gazidis has had one man in mind all along & all the talk of a 50m warchest etc (utter nonsense – we will spend much more than that this summer, I guarantee it) was to fool people into believing that we went after the likes of Allegri, Enrique, Ancelotti etc but they weren’t interested. An absolute farce.
    Why Arteta ? Hopefully because Gazidis genuinely believes he’s the right man. It’s hard not to be cynical though & believe that Arteta is getting the job for the same reason he was made captain : a good lad, loves the club & is prepared to say the ‘right’ things (i.e. the things the club want him to say) & not kick up too much of a fuss.
    Either way, we will have to get behind him & hope he succeeds.

  8. slc gunner says:

    Hypothetically (and I certainly acknowledge PD’s points), my preferred candidate would be Allegri. A very solid CV at both Milan and Juve, and someone who would radically change our approach defensively. We would no longer be a gung-ho attacking team and the overall balance of the team would improve. Simeone would be my 2nd choice – he’s a little mad, but his record in Spain is outstanding. I’m a little skeptical about Luis Enrique – when you’re at a team such as Barca, you’re expected to do well, and I don’t even think he did that well. I don’t recall his experience at other clubs. Ancelotti could be a good option as a quick fix – he tends to come in for a short time and do well initially (see Chelsea, Bayern). He was also very successful at Milan. What some pundits have said though is that he’s mainly a man-manager, which is mostly what Arsene was – so maybe not the radical change that would be needed.
    From the Top 6, Conte might be available – and he would definitely improve things defensively as well. My guess is that he will leave England though. In a dream world, Pep or Klopp would be available, but they are not. I have no interest in Mourinho. Pochettino is an excellent manager, but leaving Spurs for Arsenal is not going to happen.
    Outside of the Top 6, Dyche, Eddie Howe and Benitez would be my top 3.
    However, I think we should be looking at some of the others first. There are probably managers from the other top leagues that would also be good candidates – I’m just not informed enough on those.
    As for Arteta, the likely candidate at this stage: he has trained under Pep, so that’s a good thing. Great players are not usually great managers, but he was not a great player (but a very good attacking player in his prime at Everton). I think he understood the game as a player, read the game well despite obvious limitations in a holding midfield role. He also knows the club very well, but that can be counter-productive when we need a bigger shake-up. A huge gamble because of his lack of experience. But all great managers have to start somewhere. Certainly not my 1st choice, but as PS states, we’ll have to get behind him if he gets the job.

  9. Delve 348 says:

    Arteta will not command the salary of a manager who already has experience of winning things so the board will find that an attractive attribute.

    He was surely one of the greatest captains in Arsenal’s history (albeit with an average team around him) and that might well get translated into top management material.

    But it is a risk; Bobby Moore was a rubbish manager. Alex Ferguson was an average player.

    My preference would be for Allegri. A proven winner.

    Having said that, David Moyes and Sam Allardyce are available – again. Tempting…

  10. MDP says:

    If you look at our key weakness right now of defensive instability, it’s a no brainer – Allegri seems an ideal fit with a proven track record, the type to garner respect and maybe kick a bit of arse, an organiser, a tactician and a defence minded manager who knows how to win titles. Can’t blame him if he wants to stay at Juventus so if we are to go for more of an unknown instead, surely someone in the Allegri mould should be considered. Can’t say I’m an expert but you would expect Vieira to tick some of these boxes. Yet, I reckon Vieira’s smart enough to recognise that this is perhaps a step too far for a ‘rookie’.

    I’d agree that Arteta seems to be in pole position and PD is probably right that this has always been the case. I’m extremely nervous at the thought of appointing someone that has never managed at any level. It just sounds nuts! Arteta was schooled at the Barcelona Academy and has recently worked under Pep Guardiola – maybe some positives but hardly reason to believe we can find defensive stability?

    On the plus side, I think the problems are glaringly obvious and there appears to be a good back room team forming with Raul Sanllehi (Director of Football), Sven Misilintat (Head of recruitment), Huss Fahmy (Contract Negotiator) and Darren Burgess (Director of High Performance). Whoever walks through the door, we need to give a chance but I’d be feel ing a lot more comfortable with a bit of experience and pedigree.

  11. Elvis says:

    Emery was sacked after winning the domestic treble with PSG in France and is available. It would be lunacy to overlook him.

  12. Elvis says:

    Well, well, well. Looks like Unai Emery has been offered the gig. He is 46, the same age Wenger was when he was appointed. And he wins silverware.

  13. MDP says:

    Can’t say I knew too much about this bloke until I had a swift read round tonight. Certainly experienced, certainly seems thorough in his approach, doesn’t sound like he’ll take any nonsense and he’s won a few things are my first impressions. I feel a lot more positive than I did about appointing a complete ‘rookie’. I don’t think we have the assurance of a name like Allegri, Pep or Klopp but this seems like an educated punt and lets face it, most managerial appointments are punts. Other than that it’s still sinking in.

  14. slc gunner says:

    Interesting. I have mixed feelings. Great Europa league record with Sevilla and he generally did well in La Liga with Valencia and Sevilla (although never challenged for a title). He was operating on more limited resources than Real and Barca of course. His record with PSG was mixed They should never have left Barca back into it with a 4-0 lead after the 1st leg. I didn’t like his tactics in Barcelona. They were poor again against Madrid this year. Lots of talent, not fully exploited. And they lost Ligue to Monaco in his 1st year, a good Monaco side, but still. Hopefully he’s the man for the job – I just have some reservations about his record..

  15. PD says:

    What a mad turnaround ! It really seems like Gazidis is making the right calls, but for entirely the wrong reasons. I think he should have moved Arsene on for football reasons but only did it because of empty seats & made the right call in not to hire Arteta…..but only after realising the backlash he would face if it all went wrong.
    I’m happy with this decision. I think he could be just what we need. Time will tell but we’ve got to get behind him. It’s a much tougher job that it could (or should) have been if Arsene had moved on when he should have but it is still a good job for any manager.
    Good luck to him ! I’m excited for the first time in a while going into a new season…..

  16. MDP says:

    What excites me most is that we’re actually hearing talk of strengthening the positions that need strengthening for once. That’s probably more down to the new structure behind the scenes and the depths our defensive performances have sunk to than the new manager coming in. All great stuff and indeed makes for an exciting summer/season ahead!

  17. slc gunner says:

    Despite my reservations above, he is certainly a better candidate than Arteta at this point in time. Looking forward to some changes tactically and defensively.

  18. Elvis says:

    I am looking forward to a manager who coaches defence, drills positional discipline into his players, is tactically astute enough to change a game that is not going to plan and doesn’t bang on about the mental strength of the mentally weakest squad in the premier league. In short, I am looking forward to change in all the areas Wenger was weak.

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  21. PD says:

    So. .the summer so far…. World Cup – as rubbish as expected. Arsenal’s transfer dealings ? apparently efficient. Interesting times.

  22. MDP says:

    With the exception of watching my national team England (which I just find nauseating for a multitude of reasons) I’ve quite enjoyed this World Cup. There’s been a number of very entertaining games from Spain vs Portugal at the start to Uruguay vs Portugal last night. There’s been some excellent goals, some top teams going out and it’s all to play for with a few outsiders looking quite decent. Not bad for a bit of footy over the summer months. How it will effect the start of next season can be the only negative but it should be worse for our rivals than us Arsenal
    Wise.

    On the Arsenal front I’m quite cheerful. When I think of those past summers that drag on without any action. We’ve wanted early, decisive business so players can bed in during pre-season. We’ve asked for experience and leadership. We’ve asked for a defensive midfielder. And We’ve asked for a bigger emphasis on defence. Most of these things appear to have been considered so far. The team approach from Sven Mislintat, Raul Salani etc along with Emery and Gazidis seems very healthy. It’s all still to be finalised but if we get the Dortmund Centre half and the Uruguayan defensive mid (who looked excellent last night) I’ll be pleased. A few short term solutions in there, a smaller defensive mid than I’d normally like and a keeper who is def more potential than proven but if they pull it off before pre season a lot of boxes will be ticked. No marquee signings but they don’t always work out. With a new manager and a new philosophy I feel optimistic. Maybe I’m just over excited by that thing we were all craving – something different!

  23. slc gunner says:

    I agree with MDP – I’ve enjoyed a lot of the games. Sunday’s games were dire, Spain very disappointing. But Japan-Belgium was very entertaining today. The Serbia-Swiss match was very good I thought, with a little bit of bite to it. What is noticeable is that the trends that we see at club level are now being seen at country level as well. The weaker teams are very adept at parking the bus and frustrating their more illustrious opponents. Spain-Russia was like watching Arsenal playing sideways football in the same scenario. The best teams find a way to break through though.
    As for the gunners, at least the new signings have been made. I’m not sure about their quality, but much of the business is done. I hope Torreira is signed, small in stature but someone who does a lot of dirty work. That would be signings for 4 of the back 6 positions. One of the goalies will leave, and I think one or two centre halves will also go (maybe 1 on loan).
    Ramsey signing will be critical – I think he should be captain as well. The only other short contract is Welbeck. I wouldn’t break the bank for him, but he’s a good squad player so I would keep him if he’s willing to sign. If not, let him go.

  24. slc gunner says:

    Torreira confirmed! While the quality of the signings remains to be seen, the speed of the signings is a marked improvement on prior transfer windows. With the exception of the young French midfielder that is also rumoured to be imminent, I think that will be it. We’ll see some sales in the next month as the squad is too big, especially when you take into account returning loanees.

  25. MDP says:

    Very tidy business. A really smart approach, some good buys on the surface, just hope the new backroom team have got it right and they have the quality.

    Final thing to get right is to get Ramsey to sign, think he’ll be a big loss if he goes. He’s often shown an interest in going abroad one day. Is it that or the size of Ozil’s pay packet as a comparison that has held this deal back. Can’t see this midfield working without him and the efficiency of this summer can’t be tarnished by another contract saga. Hope it’s resolved and we can rest easy on our summer hols for a change.

  26. PD says:

    Hard to argue with any of that. We needed a new keeper, a centre half & a DM. All done. Really pleased too about getting an experienced, quality right back in to push Bellerin too. (no idea why people are so angry about getting him on a free transfer, it’s a no brainer for me. A proven winner too)
    Are they good enough ? Id be lying if I said I’d seen enough of any of them to make a judgement but fingers crossed.
    Now…..Ospina, Jenkinson, Campbell, Akpom…..let’s just move these guys on & be done with it.
    I would have liked to see us buy a wide player with real pace as I think there’s a gap there but doesn’t look like it’s happening.
    Anyway, exciting times. Those of us in Ireland are getting to see a pre-season friendly for the first time in many, many years so looking forward to that ! (v Chelsea)

  27. Elvis says:

    Hopefully, it will be a good time of the season to play Manchester City and Chelsea with their numerous players at the World Cup coming back late to pre-season. Our squad have pretty well all had a full summer’s break. Even Ozil came home early.

  28. PD says:

    Felt kinda weird watching Arsenal in Dublin…..but a quick bus ride home after certainly makes it easier ! First up, a lot more red than blue which was a relief. Hard to tell yet how the team is changing tactically but comments on a few individuals….
    Cech – very sharp. Let’s face it Ospina was never competition, is Leno’s signing what he needed ?
    Bellerin – got torn apart….but boy that kid on him was quick.
    Kolasinac – on the fence a bit on him. Still think Monreal our first option.
    Mustafi – is simply not good enough. When you see him in the flesh, it’s much worse.
    Sokratis – iffy enough too truth be told. Can’t see how both of them can play together.
    Elneny – he does what he does. Can’t fault him for effort but he looks like a player for who Arsenal is a level above where he should be
    Guendouzi – highlight of the night. Very naïve at times but there’s clearly a player in there. The difference between him & Elneny was very noticeable.
    Smith Rowe – good technique but I don’t think we’ll see him much this season, outside of the cups. Looked a bit lost.
    Ozil – he does what he does too. His fans will say he was brilliant, his critics won’t. There was a moment 10 minutes into the 2nd half where he raced on to a through ball & tried to burst past the Chelsea defender but just didn’t have the pace…….a very good player for me, but not one you should be giving 350k a week to.
    Micki – did okish…..but he’s no Alexis let’s be honest. I’m not sure him & Ozil behind a lone striker will strike much fear into teams
    Auba – very quite…but no real service to be fair.

    Too many subs to really comment on other than Laca who really upped the pace. It’s funny, I think he’s a better all round player than Auba, but clearly Auba will get you more goals. Difficult one. Could you play both ? Not sure

    Anyway, we’ll know more this weekend I think with some more first 11 players back.

  29. slc gunner says:

    New tactics, but some of the same worries to be honest. Yes, there is evidence of pressing higher up the pitch, but when teams break through that, we are wide open – which happened several times in the first half and a little less in the second. But when we are exposed, we’re in big trouble. It reminds me a little of when we had Toure and Gallas as a pairing. We played a much higher line then, and because of their pace, we were able to recover from that at times (but were still exposed a lot). When BFG came in, we had to drop deeper because of his lack of place, which made sense. But Mustafi and Sokratis are slower than Toure and Gallas, so I’d be very concerned about having those two caught too high up the pitch. The backups are not that quick either, although Mavropanos might actually be quick relative to the 4 others available.
    Sokratis seems to be as advertized – ready to step out in front of the attacker as much as possible to win the ball. When it works: great. When it doesn’t and he gets rolled by a clever attacker, we could be in trouble.
    I agree re Guendouzi, but I don’t think he’s ready. He’s going to get caught on the ball in dangerous positions when the pace is increased – plenty for him to learn. Long-term: looks good though.

  30. slc gunner says:

    So there you have it: no more players in. Not a major surprise. I never thought that Dembele was a serious option as I don’t think we can afford him.

    Still some unfinished business on the transfers out side of the ledger, all of which can happen in the next 2 weeks. Ospina, Campbell should both go (hopefully sales and not loans) to Europe. Martinez is an odd one – I don’t mind him staying as 3rd choice, but you would think he would want to move. If he did well on loan, he might become #2 to Leno next season (Cech will probably retire or move on by then). Jenkinson can only now go on loan to the Championship (or lower). He should really go permanently, but he wouldn’t bring in much in transfer fees anyway.

    The other unfinished business are Ramsey and Welbeck contracts. i thought the latter would leave, but now that he’s staying, we need to sign him. The Ramsey situation is worrying, but there is time. I just hope nit’s sorted a lot earlier than the Ozil and Sanchez situations on last season.

  31. MDP says:

    Got to be fairly satisfied. Early business was decisive and decent for a team that has now finished outside the top 4 in the last 2 seasons. We can’t really expect 80mil players to walk through the door.

    I’m pleased Arron Ramsey is still an Arsenal player. Our midfield needs him and his goals without anyone else that can really do what he does. I don’t see the same disruption that Alexis and Ozil caused by running down their contracts and maybe it works for both parties. Emery can decide how he fits in and if an injury prone player warrants a hefty contract (personally I think he was more influential than Ozil last season and maybe the first player on the team sheet). Arron can control his own destiny and do as he chooses with either a decent new contract or a fresh challenge and lucrative signing on fee elsewhere.

    I think we’d all consider top 4 as a successful season but many of us fear our defence could easily derail that. I’m still a bit confused why Callum Chambers was put out on loan. Maybe it will pay dividends down the line but if the experience of Papastathopoulos and Mustafi continues to be shaky it only leaves two inexperienced centre halves in Holding and Mavropanos. The latter two must have the faith of Emery and the management team. They’re certainly exciting players in terms of potential, it will be interesting to see how they perform. You just wonder if we’ll rue loaning our Chambers until Kos returns.

    I’d personally stick with the experience of Cech for the first two games. Leaving Leno to ease in to the Premier League. A healthy bit of competition there.

    My top 3 recent signings are Torreira at #3, impressive at the World Cup, hopefully can do his bit to protect the back 4 and ease some of our fears above. #2 is Emery who appears to have his plaudits hearing many great stories about him and attention to detail. I hope it breathes life into our defence and defending as a team. #1 is Auba for me, the best business we’ve done in yonks. I like his attitude and I genuinely think he could bang in 30 goals with the players he’s got around him. An exciting player who fills me with hope.

    So, as always before a ball is kicked for the new season, I’m buzzing with optimism. Excited just for the joy of seeing something completely different and how it pans out. (Let’s not mention Stan right now that’s a far too depressing thought for the long term future).

  32. Elvis says:

    A 2-0 defeat against City that was entirely logical given the gulf in quality between the two sides. No complaints and no excuses. Emery has a huge job on his hands to get to anywhere near City’s (or Liverpool’s) level.

    Kroenke will be happy. He doesn’t care about the result, or indeed where Arsenal finish in the league. The stadium was full and that is all he needs to know to be assured that the cash registers are going ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching. Happy days for Silent Stan.

  33. MDP says:

    Certainly was a dose of reality in what seems a cruel couple of fixtures to start the season. That said, few teams will beat City and any points from an away fixture at Chelsea will be a bonus. So, I’m not going to feel disheartened. I agree with G Neville that it will take at least 3 or 4 transfer windows to turn this team around and to really see what Emery is about. The central defensive pairing is a real concern although I felt they did okay and I was still pleased to see something different with some positives.

    I just can’t think about Stan and his motives for buying the club otherwise I’d just give up now.

  34. slc gunner says:

    You really shouldn’t judge based on one game, but nonetheless, I don’t think there is any chance that we can challenge for the title. I would love to stand corrected, but realistically, top 4 is going to be a massive challenge. If I was a betting man, I would be looking at the same top 4 as last season.
    There is a lot to improve on. I hope Torreira comes in soon. I like Guendouzi, but I don’t think he’s ready. I thought the front 3/4 were disappointing, given the individual talent of those players.

  35. PD says:

    Agreed, no chance we will challenge for the title. To be fair to Emery, the new manager’s job was always going to be to do better than Arsene. If Arsene had left in 2014 or 2015, that would have meant ‘win us the league’. Given by the time Arsene left, it was obvious we would never have finished in top 4 again with him as manager, Emery’s task (first one anyway) is to get us back there. It’s not going to be easy. I’m guessing City/Liverpool are certs so we can hopefully get into a 4 way fight for the last 2 spots. (if that sounds negative, you have to remember we were miles off the other 5 last season)

    There was plenty to be encouraged by on Sunday….but plenty to be worried by too. I’d agree MDP re: the two centre halves, they did ok, and they were a huge fear for me beforehand. let’s hope they keep it up. For me now, the biggest problem the club has is Ozil. 350k a week for the next 4 weeks is a huge drain on the club’s finances & he’s simply not worth it. A very good player true, but not a great one. I also think with Auba & Laca, we should go 4-4-2 sometimes….but you just can’t do that with Ozil. We can’t sell him either, realistically who would buy him & pay him that salary ? Not sure what the solution is to be honest or if there is one…..
    Excited about Torreira/Guendouzi……with Xhaka/Rambo & AMN too….our midfield options are good….and I simply loved Lichsteiner’s attitude when he came on. He’s a horrible, dirty player….boy I have missed us having one of them ! He scared Mahrez into basically being irrelevant as soon as he came on – brilliant stuff.
    Anyway, on to Chelsea….a bigger game for us than City.

  36. PD says:

    So things looking brighter a few weeks on after 3 wins. Nice run of fixtures coming up too to haul ourselves further up the table. Torreira presumably will get to start soon. His cameos been very impressive to date. If we get Kos fit, could him & Sokratis (bedding in well) make a partnership ? Could be interesting & make us a lot more solid with those two & Torreira in front of them. Need to get Auba going again, not been good so far.

    A lot still to do but the signs are promising enough, going forward especially. Shame we haven’t seen Leno but Cech has clearly upped his game. Who would have thought competition would work eh ?

  37. slc gunner says:

    Certainly brighter on the results side. I’ve missed much of the last 2 games, but reports indicate that we had defensive issues, especially against Everton. But as Cech states, you have to win ugly sometimes. I’m not convinced one way or the other about Sokratis, but would certainly pick him ahead of Mustafi at the minute. Kos will be back fairly soon, and hopefully close to his best. I agree on Torreira – good to see him finally get the start.
    It’s funny – we’ve scored 2 goals a game on average, which is decent, but I don’t think we’ve fired on all cylinders yet. Auba hasn’t been at it, but I also want to see more from Ozil, Ramsey and Miki.
    As for Cech v Leno, the former has been lambasted in some quarters, which is a little unfair given that this style of play is completely new to him. He’s still very good in the old-fashioned way of playing, which I still think is more important than his on-the-ball ability (which is a little shaky for sure).

  38. MDP says:

    I’m enjoying it… We’re still looking unbalanced at times and the defence is still hair raising but I just get the sense that everything that can be done by the manager is being done. Improvements are also being seen with two really potent, top class strikers and an actual defensive midfielder! We also have a manager who appears to kick their arses at half time and knows how to change things.

    There’s still a big question as to how we best use Lacazette and Auba. It seems wrong putting Auba out wide when he seems truly capable of a big goals tally through the middle. But, with Lacazette looking fantastic and the chemistry between them bubbling away nicely it’s a great problem to have. I look forward to watching how it pans out…

    Hats off to Cech for upping his game. – good point made above by PD about competition for places…. It’s good to see Rob Holding getting his chance to push for more games – I don’t see why this can’t be his time to displace one of Mustafi or Sokratis. They’re not so great that a 23 year old who at times has looked really decent (I’m fondly remembering his performance in the cup final against Chelsea alongside Per) can’t stake a claim, especially when the manager seems to have laid down the challenge (according to the press). I didn’t watch last night but read that he saved Mustafi’s bacon a couple of times. He certainly hasn’t looked out of place from what I’ve seen of him this season. Go on Rob!

    Still, we can’t get carried away, we were lucky not to be 2 or 3 goals down in the first 20 minutes against Everton but I’ll finish as I started… I’m simply enjoying it so far…

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