Blackpool Review: From Dustbowl to Dust-up

Arsenal 2 – 1 Blackpool

Let’s be honest, it was a match of few talking points and entirely overshadowed by events off the pitch. Like the draw for the quarter-finals which brings Tottenham a sharp reminder of how to build a stadium. I was going to make a jibe about tax havens but thought better of it since Enos shipped us off to Delaware, the startling example of USA hypocrisy when it comes to taxes and secrecy.

A sending-off and a poorly conceded goal from a setpiece later, and we had a frantic few minutes. One scything scissor-tackle later, ten aside returned us to the previous somnambulism.

Guendouzi, walking a tightrope from the 20th minute, gave a tiny tug of the shirt of a marauding seasider who proved less than rock hard. One crumpled heap on the floor later and Matteo, who some said had been in the ref’s ear all evening, took an early shower. 

He was joined by Blackpool’s goalscorer O’Connor who made his way off after causing a moment’s consternation following his tackle on Pierre-Emerick. Imagine Robin van Persie on the receiving end and we’d be head-to-toe in horse placenta.

The result ‘justifies’ the means, but doesn’t stop it being questioned. I’m sure you’ll remember this when in the quarter-final preview I state the match is of such importance that we must field our strongest XI.

Guendouzi’s dismissal “affected the balance” in Blackpool’s favour according to Unai Emery. Publicly at least, the Spaniard backed his charge. Guendouzi “played how the action demanded and the red card is one circumstance in the game.”

Whether he had something stronger to say afterwards, within the confines of the dressing room is another matter. Football’s archaic rules mean the cards in one competition carry to another so Guendouzi misses Liverpool.

Well Done, Petr

The first seventy-minutes were straightforward. Blackpool failed to exploit Carl Jenkinson’s left-back cameo. Instead, they focused on Lichtsteiner. The Swiss punished their impudence by guiding Guendouzi’s delightful pass into the net for the opener.

Emile Smith Rowe added the second after the Blackpool ‘keeper flapped away Jenkinson’s cross. The youngest’s shot, scuffed into the ground or deliberately so, bounced high into the roof of the net. 2 – 0 game over. Until it became game on.

There are plenty of hints about Saturday’s team selection. Holding and Sokratis seem to be the first-choice centre-back pairing, which comes as some relief.

Meanwhile, Unai Emery’s ‘coaching’ of Petr Cech following his clown feet episode suggests Bernd Leno hasn’t much to fear just yet about his place in the side. And was reminiscent of watching a coach at a kids match, such were the nature of Emery’s shouts. “Well done, Petr,” after Cech launched the ball downfield next time the team passed to him.

Which was about five minutes after the incident and during that time several instances of the back pass being the best option were spurned.

Leaving the man of the moment, Aaron Ramsey. It was as anonymous a performance as I’ve seen from the Welshman on a day when he hit the headlines. Arsenal took time to talk him but now he knows the contract was withdrawn for the ominously sounding “financial health of the club”. Or as I think of it, “Look, it’s not you, it’s me”.

The club’s decision is questionable. I understand the change of manager was a key factor. He wanted to see the squad in action in his style of playing. Not a problem, except in the case of a saleable asset

The Invisible Man

Our funding is such that we must sell to strengthen other areas of the squad and the Dynamic Duo reinforced that message in recent weeks. Thus, Ramsey should have been sold during the summer. The club’s let it be known they don’t expect to sell in January. However, even £15m plus the saving in wages is better than nothing. Isn’t it?

The question is who took the decision to rebuff interest? I have my suspicions and he’s doing one anyway. However, as Raul Sanllehi said the other day, we can’t let this situation recur; no player must be allowed to run down his contract.

With Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech and David Ospina all out of contract next summer, Sanllehi is fighting back the tide this time around. It’s claimed Sven Mislintat is scratching his head with homegrown players, astounded by the prices being quoted.

That’s Premier League football for you. Nobody cares if the club is backed by a sugar daddy or self-sustaining; brag about cash and someone will have your wallet. Arms and legs, too.

Their attention it seems is now overseas. Losing two homegrown players out of the squad next summer may change that outlook.

’til Tomorrow.

26 thoughts on “Blackpool Review: From Dustbowl to Dust-up

  1. C says:

    Good stuff Yogi!

    Prior to the red, Guendouzi looked a class above most on the pitch. It was good to see Maitland-Niles getting about looking fit but a bit rusty, naturally. Well done to Jenks and Julio on the left who both performed well, one coming from who the hell knowswhere and the other a natural leader on full debut for thr senior side.

    It brings me to Ramsey, we should have sold in the summer plain and simple and I wonder what part Ivan played in him not. With that said, aside from the Fulham goal, he has been bang average and with the performances of Guendouzi, the return of Maitland-Niles and Smith-Rowe, I can see the thinking especially with Emery and Mislintat probably wanting a midfielder of their own mold.

  2. andy1886 says:

    So the assumption has to be that Ivan is responsible for the insane contract given to Ozil last January?

  3. C says:


    One would think but I think its also fair to say that Ozil has seemed to fit more under Emery than Ramsey. Makes you wonder where will Ramsey end up?

    I actually think, of they didn’t have Maddison, Leicester would have been the perfect style and club for Ramsey and how he plays.

  4. andy1886 says:

    It also suggests that the decision to end the Wenger era didn’t take place until after the January TW. If not to invest so heavily in PEA and Mkhi’s wages would be bizarre (to be clear I’m happy with PEA but the jury is still out on Mkhi). So long Ivan, and thanks for nothing.

  5. YW says:


    Yup. Would’ve taken the glory had Mesut produced stellar performances week in, week out.

  6. I Odumbe Kute says:

    YW. Apparently, from this season, red card suspensions only apply within each competition so Guenduzi is available for Liverpool selection but not the next league cup tie.

  7. andy1886 says:


    Sure he would, but there wasn’t much evidence to suggest that he’d suddenly start to consistently deliver those, so you’d have to question the judgement of the man making that call. Then again this is a guy who at least on the surface believed that Wenger was still one of the best coaches in world football. Guess that’s what happens when your CEO is a lawyer who knows next to nothing about the playing side of the game.

  8. C says:


    To be fair, have to thank Ivan for pulling the trigger on Lacazette and Aubameyang.

  9. C says:

    How lucky was Cech last night after the offside flag was raised?!??!? WTF was Cech doing or thinking, he should of gotten rid of it. Its something Leno does quite well, understanding when and how quickly to get rid of the ball as well as when to lump it and when to try and play.

  10. C says:

    Sky are reporting that Liverpool have no interest in Ramsey which makes sense.

  11. thrillbo says:

    Thanks for the post and hello all. Watching guendo and ramsey one thing is very clear. Guendo is what 19 years old? He was making passes we havent seen since the Fabregas era. Perfect lobbed thru balls over the backline, danny had one early that led to nothing, an on point RVP (or hopefully Laca/Auba) would have taken one touch and smashed it. Then the pass to Lichty for the goal.

    We’ve seen ramsey for years but it is clear (to me) something is different with young Matteo. Maybe it’s just his youth, but he looks a threat , head is always up looking for a pass and he can lay them on a dime. The opposition was also not the best so that makes our players look a little better

  12. YW says:


    It’s why I didn’t pay heed to the rumour they were in for him in the summer. He just doesn’t fit their team. Of the top sides, only Chelsea or United play in a style where he might fit in.

    A move to Juve might work but Germany would suit him better, I think.

  13. C says:


    I am in agreement about Liverpool but I would Chelsea may be an option but I think Kovacic is a brilliant player and offers what Sarri wants in that Hamsik role.

    Juve, no way, they have Pjanic and Matuidi but Germany might do him some good. Maybe Leicester too. I tend to think, like Jack, they are good players but in modern futbol, they are upper midtable players in midfield.

  14. Pete the Thirst says:

    It has become clear that Wenger & Gazidis were in a Faustian pact. Gazidis could never sack Wenger despite all the ‘catalyst for change’ talk. He knew once Wenger went he was exposed and had to get out before the mess he left behind was uncovered. Enter Milan…

    Losing Alexis for peanuts
    Sticking Ozil on an outrageous contract
    Not selling Ramsey in the summer

    What sort of business is that?

    It also suggests that the decision to end the Wenger era didn’t take place until after the January TW. If not to invest so heavily in PEA and Mkhi’s wages would be bizarre (to be clear I’m happy with PEA but the jury is still out on Mkhi).So long Ivan, and thanks for nothing.

  15. andy1886 says:

    Pete the Thirst,

    Yup, while I guess that anyone would want to do well in their job my impression was that for both Gazidis and latterly Wenger their primary aim was to massage their own egos (and the pay was pretty good too) so if that meant maintaining the status quo then so be it even if it wasn’t in the best interests of the club.

  16. andy1886 says:

    In other news I see that scumbag Neil Ruddock has admitted deliberately breaking Andy Cole’s legs back in the day ‘because he was mates with Teddy Sheringham and Sheringham didn’t like Cole’.

    What a complete c*nt. Always thought that he was vermin and not just because he was an ex-Spud. An a stupid tw*t to boot for admitting it.

  17. ferkov says:


    Can’t fault the character analysis.
    Did he Actually , break Andy Cole’s legs? Hazy dayz for me back then.

  18. ferkov says:

    How is it that ABH doesn’t count on a football field?
    Or even Off it, in the case of Arc*ntovic v Debuchy.

  19. andy1886 says:


    I agree, as long as there is clear intent to harm (or if the moron admits it – see also Keane, R) why are the culprits not subject to the same laws as anyone else?

    Not sure where that would put boxing though?

  20. ferkov says:


    It’s all in the terms of engagement.
    All participants, be part of your registration, sign up to a conduct code… laws of the game. Comes down to duty of care at its essence. Those who play fight sports sign up to take hits. Those that play non violent sports , expect to be protected. If not by the self serving refs and administrators, then by a decent lawyer.

  21. ferkov says:

    E.g. Tyson v Holyfield
    There was much discussion about criminal proceedings. Holyfield decided not to press charges….🤑

  22. C says:

    On the futbol side of things, isn’t it funny that despite Aubameyang being joint top of the league nobody is really talking about him..I mean, between he and Lacazette, they have 11 or 12 goals.

  23. Alex says:

    On Özil, guys, he represents more than what he is on the pitch contrary to Ramsey. His marketing contracts, his social media power allow also Arsenal to be (even more) represented in the entire world. And as Arsène said, finding a player of his talent is hard and costly whether some accept it or not… Don’t worry, It’s a good deal for Arsenal: they wouldn’t have done it otherwise.
    And it’s a good deal for Ramsey to leave free… Be sure he’ll get elsewhere a salary he would have never dreamt to get at Arsenal. When you see a Max Meyer getting £10M per year at Palace, you can only imagine Ramsey is already dreaming of something big.

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