A New Reiss of Life (048)

Arsenal seemed doomed with the news of Gabriel Jesus’ injury, but still they managed to keep their hands first place. Then, both our second and third choice CFs ended up with injuries meaning they missed game time; Eddie Nketiah with an ankle injury and Leandro Trossard with a groin injury. 

Enter, Reiss Nelson. Nelson was the hero of the hour last Saturday, and after a late substitution against Bournemouth, he went on to score the game winner in the 97th minute which maintained Arsenal’s five point lead at the top. He was then duly rewarded with a place in the starting XI in Lisbon, against Sporting on Thursday which saw a 2 – 2 draw with everything still to play for at the Emirates this coming Thursday. Nelson can boast 5 G/A in the Premier League this season having played just 84 minutes, with him having bagged a goal and assist against Bournemouth, and two goals and an assist against Nottingham Forest back in October.

Nelson has been a lifelong Gooner. He first signed for the club when he was just nine years old and made such an impression on the coaches that he was regularly moved up to squads above his age group. His first professional contract with Arsenal was signed on 10th December 2016, his 17th birthday. Wenger then went on to include him in the 2017-18 pre-season tour squad. 

His first senior appearance came against Bayern Munich in a friendly, and made his first competitive appearance for the first team in the Community Shield against Chelsea where he came on as a substitute. Arsenal won 4 – 1 on penalties. As for his debut in Europe, that came on 14th September 2017 as he came on as a substitute for Theo Walcott in the Europa League against FC Köln. His season with the U23s was impressive as he scored nine and assisted three in just 11 appearances which contributed to Arsenal winning the PL2 in the 2017-18 season. His Premier League debut came on 20th January 2018 as a substitute against Crystal Palace in a 4 – 1 win, and his first start came on 8th April 2018 where he was substituted off for Jack Wilshere as Arsenal beat Southampton 3 – 2.

Nelson’s first loan spell was for the entirety of the 2018-19 season to 1899 Hoffenheim, where he made 23 appearances and scored seven goals. He impressed former manager Unai Emery so much that he was promoted to the first team and given the 24 shirt. He started the first two games of the 2019-20 season; against Newcastle United and Burnley. His first Premier League goal came under current manager, Mikel Arteta, as he started against Liverpool in a 2 – 1 victory. He was also named in the squad that won the FA Cup in 2020. Arteta clearly felt he would benefit from another loan, so he was sent to Dutch side Feyenoord for the 2021-22 season where he made 21 appearances and score 2 goals. 

That brings us up to the present, where Arteta clearly thinks he is worthy of a place in the squad after being such an effective substitute. Having Nelson back in the squad allows Martinelli to play in the CF role and he takes on the LW position. Nelson is only 23 years old and clearly has a future at Arsenal, and competition with Balogun when he returns from his loan at Reims will help both young players to continue to elevate their game. It is refreshing to see another academy success story, and after his winner against Bournemouth, I think that goal will be one that Arsenal fans remember for a long time.

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Sporting 2 – 2 Arsenal – Match Report (047)

Both Arsenal and Sporting fought it out in Lisbon with neither side able to emerge victorious, leaving it all down to the reverse fixture at the Emirates next Thursday. Arteta seemed to have difficulties putting together a competitive squad, which was most noticeable with the amount of academy players on the bench, as several key players were unavailable for selection due to suffering from illness. Trossard and Eddie we already knew would be out, Trossard picked up a groin injury early into the Bournemouth game and Eddie with an ankle injury. KT and Captain Ødegaard both had illnesses and, despite some optimism that we may see a cameo from Gabriel Jesus, it was ultimately decided not to be worth the risk and he was left back in London. There were six changes from the victorious side against Bournemouth; Turner played his first game since January, Kiwior made his Arsenal debut and Reiss Nelson was rewarded for Saturday’s heroics with a place in the starting XI. Vieira also started as Ødegaard wasn’t in the squad, and Jorginho started too after doing so well filling in for Partey in the last few weeks.

We started the game by dominating possession and pressing high up the pitch, but the home side played this to their advantage and were very quick to respond on the counter after errors from the Gunners. Arsenal were given a lucky escape early on in the half as Pedro Goncalves had a chance but somehow hit it wide. Halfway through the first half William Saliba scored a header from a Fabio Vieira free kick to open the scoring.

Sporting responded with another header from a corner; Turner looked uncomfortable playing out from the back, and Ignacio went unmarked in the penalty area to even the playing field. Turner didn’t stand a chance.

The second half started and Arsenal continued to dominate. Sporting then took the lead as Turner was forced to make a save and all Paulinho had to do was tap in the rebound; again, nothing Turner could have done. Martinelli looked amazing as Zinchenko fed him the ball and he went flying down the pitch. It looks like he was going to restore our lead having had to go it alone, but at the last minute his effort was put out for a corner.

Our equaliser and the final goal of the night came out of nowhere. Xhaka was looking to make a pass into the box, but his effort took a deflection off of Morita and somehow ended with the ball in the back of the net. Arteta then made his substitutions; Tomiyasu for Zinchenko before his triple substitution which saw Gabriel replacing Kiwior, Partey for Jorginho, and Reiss Nelson for Emile Smith Rowe. Kiwior had a good debut, he looked confident on the ball and it will be exciting to see how he performs in the Premier League under immense pressure. It’s also good to see Smith Rowe getting more and more game after he did well at the weekend against Bournemouth.

Into the last ten minutes, Arsenal seemed happy to take the draw and just pass the ball around. The boys will take to the Emirates Stadium next Thursday to seal the deal in front of an impressive home crowd as always to help spur them on; the Sporting stadium was half empty and pretty subdued at best.

Next up is Fulham away at Craven Cottage on Sunday. Fulham are currently sitting in 7th place, but are without a win in their last three matches. Arsenal will look to continue their good form and maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League table, hopefully without the need for last minute dramas. In our last meeting with Fulham back in August, we emerged victorious as Ødegaard and Gabriel turned things around after we found ourselves 1 – 0 down at the Emirates. Even more positively, Fulham haven’t taken the three points from us since January 2012, and the last time we dropped points against Fulham in the Premier League was in a 3 – 3 draw at the Emirates in November 2012. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Arsenal 3 – 2 Bournemouth – Match Report (046)

The most frantic game of the season so far, Arsenal came from behind after conceding a mere nine seconds into the game to maintain the lead at the top of the table to five points. Billing scored the second fastest ever goal in the Premier League, just 9.11 seconds. Arteta’s men had three changes from the Wednesday night win; Tomiyasu for White in defence, Partey for Jorginho and Vieira for Xhaka. Trossard kept his place as Eddie has picked up a minor injury but isn’t expected to be out for too long.

Bournemouth kicked off, putting the ball down the right wing. It was crossed into the box and not a single Arsenal man managed to make any contact for it as it fell for Billing who never had any doubt as he tapped the ball in and sent the stadium into shock. The Premier League leaders were losing to relegation battle Bournemouth. This didn’t seem to deter Arsenal, neither the players nor the fans, as the fans sang so loudly, encouraging the players who maintained a high tempo and consistently put Bournemouth under pressure. Within five minutes Ødegaard and Saka had had three attempts between them. Bournemouth had the next big chance, but Ramsdale put any worries to bed. 

At the twenty minute mark, disaster struck for Arsenal, as Trossard went off with muscle strain and Emile Smith Rowe replaced him. It was amazing to see Smith Rowe get some real minutes under his belt but it was also worrying as he has hardly played this season. Then the first of many controversial VAR reviews; a dirty tackle on Tomiyasu in the box, but VAR didn’t seem bothered by it and the boys got back to it.

The second half started with Ben White replacing Tomiyasu, who definitely hadn’t put in his best performance. Bournemouth had a corner early into the second half and Sensei had a clear shot at goal and didn’t disappoint for the visitors. Suddenly a 2 – 0 uphill struggle seemed a lot more daunting.

It didn’t take the Gunners long to respond, as Partey scored his first goal since October. Following a corner, Neto punched the ball away and Smith Rowe provided an assist for Partey to tap in, just managing to escape the defenders. All of a sudden the job seemed doable.

Arsenal then had another penalty shout which wasn’t awarded and Smith Rowe was substituted off for fellow Hale End graduate, Reiss Nelson. Nelson provided the pace down the left hand side, and he managed to beat the defender to set up a cross for Ben White, who had his shot pushed out of the goal but goal line technology deemed it had crossed the line. Ben White’s first goal couldn’t have come at a better time.

Saka and Martinelli continued to have chances saved and Bournemouth were more than happy to waste time and break up the flow of play. This time wasting resulted in six minutes of added time, which ended up being extended due to yet more time wasting from the visitors. In the 97th minute, with the last ball of the game, an Ødegaard cross was cleared to Reiss Nelson on the edge of the box who smashed the ball into the top right hand corner and the Emirates went mad. I’ve never seen anything like it; substitutes and the entire bench found itself on the pitch, Arteta was running down the touchline and all the staff were ecstatic. The players couldn’t believe it, with Ben White winding up Neto, Ødegaard threw himself on the floor and Gabriel collapsed, looking on the verge of tears. This is probably the biggest goal of the Emirates era and I don’t think this one will be forgotten for a very long time.

It’s games like this that remind the team how much the fans back them that could be the difference between first and second place, and has definitely developed the belief that they can be champions for the first time in almost twenty years. Next up is the Europa League, as the team fly out to Portugal to face Sporting, before they’re back to Premier League action on Sunday when we play seventh place Fulham away at Craven Cottage. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Arsenal 4 – 0 Everton – Match Report (045)

The Premier League leaders had the chance yesterday to extend their lead to five points, and they pulled through! The boys certainly didn’t disappoint in making a statement as we recently lost away at Goodison Park, which cost us in terms of the battle for the Premier League trophy. Arteta made no changes from the victorious team against Leicester at the weekend, with Trossard keeping his place in the starting XI keeping Eddie on the bench. This match also featured the highly anticipated reappearance of Emile Smith Rowe who has had a place on the bench for the last two games but hasn’t been used, and Kieran Tierney finally got some much deserved game time.

The first forty minutes were largely uneventful. As anticipated, Everton were happy to sit back and allow Arsenal to assert dominance and control the majority of the possession. We had a chance around twenty minutes in, when Martinelli broke away following a great fall in from Xhaka after a clearance, but he hesitated just a little too much in front of goal and that cost him a goal. At the other end of the pitch Gabriel made a crucial tackle to prevent Maupay from having a clear shot at goal. 40 minutes in the deadlock was broken, and it was Arsenal’s first shot on target that opened the scoring as Saka finished on his weaker foot to put the ball in the roof of the net. There was nothing Pickford could do to stop this one. This was Saka’s 50th goal involvement in the Premier League, with 27 goals and 24 assists, making him the sixth youngest player to reach this milestone.

It only took five minutes for Martinelli to double our lead, as Saka cheekily stole it off the defender to play in Martinelli, who never had any doubt where he was going to put that ball. There was a lengthy VAR review, as the linesmen immediately flagged for offside, but VAR found no offside in the build up to goal and it was given. There’s nothing better than the two best youngsters in the league playing so beautifully together. 

In the second half, Ramsdale was much more called upon as McNeil had a strong attempt but he stood strong and nothing found its way past him. In the 70th minute, Captain Ødegaard made it three as Trossard ran into the box and executed a low pass to the captain, who tapped it home. At this point there was no doubt that we were taking all three points, and any more goals were just an added bonus. 

Martinelli provided this bonus with his second of the night. Zinchenko tried to set Eddie up at the near post, who couldn’t get a shot away but instead set up the Brazilian, and the Emirates was buzzing. 

Next up is Bournemouth at home on Saturday, as this game marks the start of a busy run featuring 6 games in just 19 days. Bournemouth are currently battling with Everton to make it out of the relegation zone, so I expect to see a similar type of play with Arsenal largely controlling possession and dominating the opposition. Hopefully, Smith Rowe and Tierney will get some more game time, and maybe even Reiss Nelson could make an appearance after he was substituted off quite quickly in a 2 – 0 defeat in a friendly against Juventus back in December.

Written By: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Match Preview – Leicester City vs Arsenal (044)

Arsenal will look to extend their lead over Manchester City at the top of the table with a win on the road at Leicester. Arteta’s men found their feet again after a string of frustrating results with a convincing 4 – 2 victory over Aston Villa, featuring a goal from Saka, Zinchenko’s first goal in the Premier League, former Gunner Emi Martínez scoring an own goal and Martinelli putting the ball in the back off the net in the 98th minute to secure the three points. 

Arsenal have enjoyed several successes at the King Power Stadium, with three successive wins over the last few seasons, and Leicester have only won three of their eleven games at home this season; and only one since October. In the reverse fixture earlier this season, we won 4 – 2 with Jesus scoring a brace, and Xhaka and Martinelli scoring one each too.

In regards to injuries, Arteta has announced that Partey may be available, probably from the bench, as the Ghanaian has missed the last two games with a thigh injury. Gabriel Jesus will be unavailable although he is managing outdoor training now following a knee injury he picked up playing for Brazil at the World Cup. Emile Smith Rowe will probably find a place on the bench, hopefully we will see a cameo from him as he returns from injury.

My predicted lineup:

GK: Aaron Ramsdale – No goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets on the road this season that Ramsdale (7). He has been putting in some shifts for us recently, although some errors have resulted in us conceding. That said, he has made some show stopping saves and we would not be as threatening without his ball distribution from the back.

RB: Ben White – Despite a bit of a messy first half, White linked up beautifully with Saka in the second half of the Aston Villa game to keep the momentum going and has put in shift after shift at the back for us this season. Tomi is a good backup but would never displace White at his best.

CB: William Saliba – Saliba’s form is starting to pick up again after a bit of a dip following the World Cup. He consistently defends well and often makes the last man tackle to save Ramsdale from having to make a save.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – Mr Reliable. Rarely has a bad game despite some mistakes, he always manages to redeem himself and is vital to our back four. He times challenges to perfection and is an amazing team player.

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – After scoring against Aston Villa, Zinny is undroppable. No, he isn’t the best defensively and in those kind of games where we need to sit back and defend Tierney is the man for the job. His unique position sees him play as both a defensive and attacking midfielder, in the defensive position. He is vital to our build up.

CM: Jorginho – Jorginho’s signing for Chelsea received mixed responses. He has definitely stepped up to the play with Partey’s injury and proved any doubters wrong. He is a fantastic back up and a great option to have off the bench to spice things up when the pace drops. Hopefully we will see a lot of him even after Partey returns from injury.

CM: Granit Xhaka – Xhaka is another essential player to this season’s success. Ødegaard’s deputy, he rattles the rivals and his new style of play this season has really elevated the quality of football that we play. 

AM: Martin Ødegaard – Ødegaard is undeniably having the best season of his career; scoring game changing goals and setting up beautiful assists, he has really stepped into the captain’s role and is proving anyone wrong who doubted that he was the right person for the captaincy. Last game he had 7 key passes which shows just how important he is.

RW: Bukayo Saka – Starboy Saka scored our first goal against Aston Villa last week and it wouldn’t be a Premier League game without him on the right. His form is incredible and with a new contract in the works, it looks like Arsenal’s future is in safe hands. 

ST: Eddie Nketiah – Eddie has done well to come and replace Jesus through injury, however his form is starting to dip. He failed to score against Aston Villa despite having opportunities handed to him on a plate, but he is an amazing player and will hopefully find some form again in this fixture. 

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – Martinelli found himself displaced from the starting XI by star signing Trossard. He came off the bench to score a beautiful goal where he went alone and he works tirelessly every game to make an impact. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Arsenal to Play Sporting in Round of 16 EL Tie (043)

The Europa League round of 16 draw has just taken place, revealing that Arsenal will play Portuguese side Sporting after a 4 – 0 win over Midtjylland saw them win 5 – 1 on aggregate. Statistics are on our side for this match, as in four meetings we have never lost; two wins and two draws, and in the Europa League competition this is 1 win and 1 draw. The first leg will take place in Portugal on 9th March at 20:00. Bellerin will be reuniting with his teammates as he is Sporting’s number 19. 

The other fixtures are as follows:

Union Berlin vs Union Saint Gilloise
Bayern Leverkusen vs Ferencváros
Juventus vs SC Freiburg
Sevilla vs Fenerbahçe
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Feyenoord
Manchester United vs Real Betis
Roma vs Real Sociedad

A look back at how Arsenal made it to the round of 16 this season:

Matchday 1 of 6 back in September saw the Gunners win 2 – 1 away from home against FC Zurich who won only one of their six fixtures. Matchday 2 was postponed until October, but saw a less than convincing 1 – 0 victory at home to PSV. Matchday 3 was more in the spirit as we glided to a 3 – 0 victory courtesy of goals from Eddie, Holdini, and Vieira over Bodø/Glimt. The reverse of that tie was another 1 – 0 victory as Saka was the man who made the difference with a 24th minute goal. The only fixture we have lost so far in the competition was a 2 – 0 defeat away to PSV, but the boys bounced back as we ended the group stage with a 1 – 0 win over FC Zurich. 

Matt Turner has been excellent his debut season for Arsenal, conceding only 3 goals in the six game we have played thus far. As the competition intensifies, we can expect to see the first team players making their way back into the starting XI, and perhaps the reserves coming on towards the end of the game if Arteta feels we have been dominating.

As Arsenal were the group winners, we have the advantage of playing the second leg at home, giving us the chance to bounce back with a stadium full of fans if things don’t go so well in Portugal. Despite Sporting being tough competition I have faith that the boys will win and even bring back a European trophy this season. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Mo Elneny Signs! (042)

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has recently signed a new contract with the club, extending his stay in North London until 2024. The 30-year-old Egypt international has been with the Gunners since 2016, and his new deal will keep him at the club until the summer of 2024.

Elneny’s time at Arsenal has been somewhat up and down. After joining the club from Swiss side FC Basel, he made a promising start, but his performances soon began to decline. He was eventually loaned out to Turkish club Besiktas for the 2019/20 season, where he played regularly and regained some confidence.

Upon his return to Arsenal, Elneny found himself playing a more significant role in the squad under Mikel Arteta. The Spanish coach has been a vocal advocate of Elneny, praising his work rate, professionalism, and tactical awareness.

Despite not being the most technically gifted player on the team, Elneny has become an important part of Arteta’s midfield setup. His defensive abilities and ability to break up play have been key in helping Arsenal become a more organized and solid team.

Elneny’s new contract is a testament to the progress he has made over the last few seasons. While he may not be the flashiest player on the team, his hard work and dedication have earned him the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff.

The signing of Elneny to a new deal also shows that Arteta and Arsenal are committed to building a team that values teamwork and selflessness over individual talent. While the club has struggled in recent years, Arteta seems determined to build a squad that can compete at the highest level while also playing attractive, possession-based football.

The news of Elneny’s contract extension has been met with mixed reactions from Arsenal fans. Some believe that he is not good enough to play regularly for a top-four Premier League team, while others appreciate his work ethic and value to the team.

Regardless of fans’ opinions, it’s clear that Elneny’s signing is an important piece of business for Arsenal. With the likes of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey also in the squad, the Gunners now have a solid core of midfielders who can compete at the highest level.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how Elneny’s role in the team evolves over the next few seasons. With Arteta likely to continue to build a team that values tactical discipline and hard work, Elneny could continue to play a key role in the midfield setup.

Overall, Elneny’s new contract is a positive development for Arsenal. While he may not be the most glamorous player on the team, his professionalism and work ethic have earned him the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff. With his future at the club now secured, Elneny can continue to focus on helping Arsenal become a top-four Premier League team once again.

Written by: Farhan Ahmed (@GunnerSince96)

Aston Villa 2 – 4 Arsenal – Match Report (041)

A thriller at Villa saw the Gunners take all three points in a dramatic end to a dramatic game with two stoppage time goals, including an own goal from former Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez. We came from behind twice before storming to victory, with Oleksandr Zinchenko scored his first goal for The Arsenal to bring us level at 2 – 2 with an absolute stunner from outside the box. There were two changes from the team that lost to Manchester City on Wednesday; Ben White returned to the starting XI and Trossard displaced Martinelli in his first Premier League start for Arsenal. Jorginho retained his place as Thomas Partey has a muscle injury and Emile Smith Rowe had a place on the bench as he returns from injury. 

We started in the worst way possible with Aston Villa opening the scoring within just six minutes. Zinchenko lost the ball in midfield and Villa sprung a counter attack as Ollie Watkins made his way into the box, poorly marked by Saliba as the shot flew past Ramsdale and Arsenal fans felt a pit of dread in their stomachs that the beginning of the season had been merely a fluke and everything was starting to unravel now.

Bukayo Saka clapped back with an absolute screamer. Ben White had a cross hardly cleared and Saka smashed the ball into the roof of the net leaving Martinez with no chance to respond and claiming his 10th goal of the season so far. The level playing field didn’t last long, though, as Coutinho managed to put a low ball past Ramsdale and we entered the break 2 – 1 down.

After returning to the field, the boys looked lively with both Xhaka and Nketiah attempting to drag us back into this game. Zinchenko was the man for the job, as Ødegaard unknowingly set up a beautiful assist to him outside the box and the Ukrainian hit the shot low and hard first time, just managing to squeeze it in the post. This was Zinny’s first Premier League goal and it was a beauty. 

The full focus was on getting the third goal to take all three points back to the Emirates. Eddie came close but was off his game today as he hit the ball over the bar. Arteta responded to Eddie struggling by bringing on Martinelli for Trossard, Martinelli being lethal in these all or nothing situations. Villa had a shot saved which resulted in Ødegaard having a huge chance.

The late drama began in stoppage time as Jorginho had a shot from 20 yards out rebounded off the bar and put into the back of the net by the back of Emi Martinez’s head. The away end went mental, even more so as Martinelli scored to seal the deal in the 98th minute after Vieira played him in beautifully from clearing an Aston Villa corner. Full of drama, the best way for football to be played, we left Villa Park with the much-deserved three points which saw us regain our rightful place at the top of the table after Manchester City drew 1 – 1 with Nottingham Forest in some late drama.

Next up is Leicester away, who we previously beat 4 – 2 at home back in August. This will be another must win game to keep trying to extend our lead over City. Hopefully in this fixture Trossard will start for Eddie and we may even see Emile Smith Rowe feature. Personally, I hope to see Tierney get some decent game time soon as Zinchenko did have his moments which cost us today and Tierney is much better at sitting back when we need to defend, as well as putting in beautiful crosses for someone like Martinelli or Saka to get on the end of. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Arsenal 1 – 3 Manchester City – Match Report (040)

Undoubtedly the biggest game of the season so far, Arsenal lost their position at the top of the table after suffering a 3 – 1 loss at home to Manchester City, who only top the table on goal difference, having played an extra game than us. The match was already shadowed by news that Thomas Partey was being left out as a precaution with a muscular injury. He was replaced by deadline day signing Jorginho, who played incredibly well as Partey’s backup. Th only other change was Tomiyasu starting for Ben White at right back.

We started the game fiercely, with a chance for Xhaka which was fired over, and Eddie had a shot blocked after Jorginho played him in beautifully. Then Haaland had a chance but no goal came from it. Th best chance of the half fell to Eddie Nketiah in the 21st minute as Zinchenko’s cross was a beautiful one, but it caught Eddie on the shoulder rather than his head and it was hit wide.

City responded, with Saliba mistiming a header and Tomiyasu making a mess of a back pass to Ramsdale, Kevin De Bruyne managed to put the ball in the back of the net from outside the box. The first significant mistake of the game was punished harshly. 

Tomiyasu soon had a chance to redeem himself with levelling the playing field, but his shot clipped the bar. Ederson was then given a yellow for time wasting, ridiculous to be doing this early in the game, which just showed how worried City were with our enthusiastic and dominating start to the game. 

Eddie then almost scored, and his effort was cleared off the line, but in the buildup to the goal, he was fouled by Emerson who really should’ve seen a second yellow and been sent off. However, the Gunners were awarded only their second penalty of the season, and there was never any doubt as Starboy Saka sent Ederson the wrong way. The first half ended 1 – 1.

With no changes at half time, the teams returned with them both giving it their all. My personal highlight of the second half was Arteta’s challenge on De Bruyne in his technical area to prevent City taking a quick throw in.

The drama continued as City were awarded a penalty after a questionable tackle on Haaland by Gabriel, but was then ruled out by VAR as Haaland was offside in the buildup, and Gabriel’s yellow card was rescinded. 

A City free kick caused a mad scramble in the box, with Jorginho clearing an attempt off the line and a mistake from Zinchenko saw Haaland close in on goal, but Ramsdale did fantastically to keep it out. In the 71st minute Grealish scored as the ball deflected off of Tomiyasu and just beat Ramsdale.

With only 15 minutes remaining, Arteta started making his substitutions. First came Trossard on for Martinelli, then shortly after, Arteta was waiting to bring on Vieira for Jorginho and White for Tomiyasu, when City scored for the third time of the night. There was never any doubt from City that Haaland would score when left tin open space, striking the ball with his right foot. 

The scoreline most definitely did not reflect the play from Arsenal, but too many mistakes cost us in preventing us from picking up even a point. Arsenal definitely created the most chances but were just not clinical enough with the final touch. Looking at the positives, though, Jorginho did an amazing job in replacing Thomas Partey, which is no easy feat. He put in a hell of a performance and I hope we get to see him feature more regularly for us. It was also good to see Reiss Nelson back on the bench although he didn’t get any game time. It is games like these that scream for Gabriel Jesus and hopefully we will be more ruthless in putting the ball away when we play the reverse fixture at the Etihad in April, with the vital Gabriel Jesus back in the squad.

Next up Arsenal play Aston Villa on Saturday in the early kick off, which will hopefully see the boys emulating Liverpool’s 9 – 0 thrashing of Bournemouth earlier in the season as they suffered defeat to Manchester United. 

Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson

Arsenal 1 – 1 Brentford – Match Report (039)

Despite Leandro Trossard scoring his first goal for Arsenal, it wasn’t enough for Arsenal to take all three points which would’ve seen us go eight points clear at the top of the table. It was definitely a frustrating match, so many chances were created but the clinical last ball was just never there. Arteta’s team were unchanged from their shock loss away to Everton last weekend, which was a bit of a shock as personally, I expected Tomiyasu to start for Ben White and Trossard to start for Martinelli.

We started well, with Eddie trying to play into Martinelli but he couldn’t quite pull the move off. From then on, the first half of the match was full of let offs. Brentford easily could’ve been 2 – 0 up by halftime as they were incredibly threatening on the counter attack. A cross landed for Rico Henry, who made poor contact with the ball and sent it wide. The first let off of many, and it just proved why they were unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games. The first half was scrappy and uncomfortable to watch, definitely not the arsenal side we have grown used to watching this season.

We looked different after the break. Saka and Ødegaard both had shots saved by goalkeeper David Raya. Arteta then looked to the bench and brought Trossard on for Martinelli, and within five minutes he had bagged us a goal; Saka sent in a low cross to the far post where Trossard tapped it into the net, and the stadium erupted. 

Unfortunately this didn’t last long, as within ten minutes Ivan Toney had scored a frankly unmissable goal. The goal was given despite a long VAR check, which has since been confirmed was the WRONG decision as Lee Mason ‘forgot to draw on the lines’ as Norgaard was offside in the buildup to goal. In the Premier League, supposedly the biggest domestic league in the world, this is simply unacceptable as this could have a huge impact on our title prospects going forward. 

Following the equaliser, both Zinchenko and Partey had attempts at goal but neither were successful and we couldn’t find a way through. The game ended all square at 1 – 1, a frustrating result but better to come away with one point than none. This is only the second time all season that we have dropped points at home, and we are currently unbeaten at the fortress.

Next up is our title rivals and current champions Manchester City. After the frustrating 1 – 0 loss in the FA Cup, this game has a lot of importance as we need to win to prove we are serious about winning the league. This is the first time we will have faced City in the Premier League this season.

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)