On Normal Service and Friendlies

It’s over and normal service is resumed. If you can let me know what normal service is, please do because I’ve lost all track of what it is.

The mid-season friendly went well yesterday. Look, you can laugh all you want at Mustafi’s slip or criticise it whichever suits, but it was a friendly. Not only that, it was par for the course; the German is accident-prone and that’s not going to change. He’s an ‘unlucky’ defender much the same as Senderos and Cygan. Capable of good things but you know there’s an accident around the corner. That’s the way we’re rolling at present.

Lacazette scored a fine goal, following a flowing move and he felt “it was a good idea by the club to bring the players available here to Dubai.”

“It’s been good weather, it was a good pitch, great facilities,” he continued. “Everyone enjoyed it and we worked well for one week. Now we have to come back to London and stay focused on the Premier League and Europa League.”

Winning was indeed a good way to continue recent form and takes us to seven unbeaten in eight. At this stage of the season, it’s all about momentum and we’re building a nice head of steam. Crucially, it appears we emerged unscathed with no injuries to key first-team players. The spread of fixtures between now and the end of the season means that progress in Europe requires Unai Emery to have as many available as possible.

Talking of which, the internationals are over with seemingly everyone returning in relative good health.

So, normal business really is resumed.

Which the begs the question: where were we?


Fourth, that’s it. Third, depending on results this weekend is definitely achievable with Tottenham travelling to Anfield on Sunday. It requires us to get the week off to a perfect start with a win over Newcastle at the Emirates. Which the form book says is a strong possibility. We’ll see how the weekend plays out, however.

Fair play to Sky who mocked both Liverpool and Tottenham’s lean years in the title race. The latter was a cartoon of a dinosaur with a voiceover of “not quite”.

Pre-season 2019/20 is mapped out, presuming we don’t finish sixth. The fixtures are:

17th July: Bayern Munich (Los Angeles)

20th July: AS Roma (Charlotte)

23rd July: Real Madrid (Landover)

There’s also mention of playing one more game with the Rapids touted as opponents in the KSE Cup final. Certainly, with the first leg of the Europa League second qualifying round taking place on 25th July the team for the Madrid game might be very sparse indeed. It’s the incentive to finish in the top four the club needs.

The pre-season is a global affair these days – unless your star striker is under investigation for rape allegations in the USA – with the likes of traditional pre-season fixtures taking a back seat. Most of the squad will have the summer off following the final game of the season so they will all be fresh for training. Aside from those who play in the European Under-21 championships which is likely to feature a couple of players but we shall see.

’til Tomorrow.

18 thoughts on “On Normal Service and Friendlies

  1. thrillbo says:

    hello all, thanks for the write up. Ready to get back into some proper gooner action. lets finish up this year strong god damnit, over take the spuds, stay on top of manure.

    Just saw the mustafi clip… Is C still around to defend him? He did win a world cup with germany and he played serious minutes yall. Lets hope we can offload Mustafi in some form but i’m nervous that he will still be on our squad next season. We need players who install confidence in our back line. Not players who create chaos. What is it with us getting this whacky center backs? Mustafi is like Kos 2.0 honestly, not at the same level but they play similarly and both always have a surprise up their sleeve to ruin a match.

    I’ve thrown some stats out here before but i’ll mention again. If we can eliminate 10 goals allowed next year and keep the same attack, we are ahead of spuds, manure, chelski. To get on the level of City & Pool we need to remove 20 goals, and score 10-15 more goals.

  2. thrillbo says:

    For all the good play, Kos has directly contributed to two huge losses in our recent years. First was the cup final against Birmingham in 2011/2012 era. I think Obafemi Martins was there to clean up house after a Kos blunder. Then last year in the semi’s against Atletico he cocks up a clearance and instead of kicking sideways or really ANYways, he kicks it off Greizzmans face and it settles nicely into his path for a free look at goal. Atletico went on to win the Europa, could have been us if we maintained composure for another 10 minutes.

    That being said, Kos has also saved our top 4 trophy bacon on numerous occasions.

  3. C says:


    I will defend Mustafi but have never shied away from the fact that he does seem to have a mistake in him. At times its quite comical and others is headscratching.

    Mustafi and Kos need that steadying hand beside them.

  4. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Thanks for digging up something Arsenal, YW.

    It’s remarkable how quickly focus goes during these international breaks. Let’s hope the players aren’t the same.

    Media coverage stating that were looking to offload Ozil, Mikhitarian, & Elneny before those summer friendlies to ease the wage bill….Plus Emery reckons he can get more from new recruits.

  5. thrillbo says:


    Fair enough, i’m just yankin yer chain. Here is a very real question though, will you admit you dont want him on the team next season? If your success as a center back depends on another specific kind of player, you are not up to arsenal standards. Sure you can compliment each other well, but the quality CBs are a FORCE no-matter who their partner is. You can trust them to win their battles, and expect them to communicating with the entire defensive line providing organization and stability.

    Imagine what Mustafi must have been communicating during his showcase yesterday. Everyone is yelling “NO SKHRODRAN STOP”, and he goes in all Leeroy Jenkins style.

  6. Mattack says:


    I thought he kicked it off his own face…..a proper Chuckle Brothers moment

  7. Bill says:

    Thanks for the post Yogi. I am happy the international break is almost over.

  8. Bill says:


    Another comment regarding Gedion Zelalem. I think he is the perfect example of why performances in the academy so heavily over rate those young players. Our academy emphasized technical skill and Zelalem’s whole game is built on that skill. Our academy players use their technical skill advantage to run circles around the U21 defenders. However, only a very small percentage of the defenders in academy teams are good enough to even come close to making it to their clubs first team. Once you get to the top flight in any of Europes leagues the defenders are much more talented and much smarter and they have seen all of those tricks hundreds of times. The skills that made a player like Zelalem look so good playing against youth do not work against top flight defenders. That is really the best explanation that I can come up with to explain why almost all of the heavily hyped players that so many of us thought were going to be superstars have ended up with a ceiling no higher then the championship or in Zelalem’s case a free transfer to MLS.

  9. Paulie Walnuts says:


    You can add luck (opportunity/ injuries) , determination & ability to that list.

    If you have all three (eg ; Bellerin) , you’re in with a chance.

  10. thrill says:


    I thought he kicked it off his own face…..a proper Chuckle Brothers moment

    I actually went back recently and reviewed the footage. Originally i thought he booted off his own face, second review it’s hard to say but looks like Greizzman

  11. Mongolian Gooner says:

    Thanks for the daily dose, YW!

    I know I don’t contribute often to these discussions in the comment section, but would it be possible for you to not disable them so soon? At least keep the comment section open for the latest post, until the next one is published?

    Thanks again.

  12. Bill says:


    There has to be some reason other then bad luck to explain why basically 100% of the heavily hyped players since Ashley Cole who have come thru the academy have failed to live up to expectations. Perhaps you can say wojo is now but it took him about 8 years. Jack W had one really good season and some would argue that Hector or Gnabry might be on the cusp but I can’t think of a single outfield player out of literally hundreds who has become a difference making first team regular for any length of time in any of Europes bigger leagues. The vast majority of even the most hyped players end up similar to Zelalem and play out their most of their careers somewhere in the championship or below.

  13. Bill says:

    If Gnabry stays healthy he looks like a player who is good enough to be a regular starter for some team in the German top flight and if Hector will probably be a regular starter for us assuming he recovers from his ACL injury. Other then that its hard to come up with any other outfield players of note in the last 10 -15 years.

  14. Paulie Walnuts says:


    There ARE other reasons other than luck. I mentioned them !

    I do take your general point regarding our young players , however.

    What disappoints is the lack of defenders. Even Bellerin isn’t natural defender. It seems that the emphasis is almost entirely on technical ability above all else – regardless of where they play.

  15. Yiannis says:

    Hi guys, everybody seems to forget Iowbi. At AFC since the age of eight!

  16. Paul says:

    The arrest of CR on rape charges. Something to look forward to in the preseason after all. But will Juventus send a body man in CR’s place?

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