Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

Bold Or Timid Arsenal For Manchester United

After the Forest game, which is the first of the season I truly enjoyed, tonight we make a trip to our old enemy. But questions remain as to our, or more specifically, are coach’s approach. Will we live up to our name and ethos as the Arsenal, or will we allow ourselves to become outgunned by the Ol’ Gunnar of Manchester?

One significant development is our general has finally decided to name the captain on the field. To no one’s, yet somehow everyone’s surprise, it is Granit Xhaka. Captain at every club he’s been at, and with his national team, people will still try to tell us he’s no leader. But apparently this time it wasn’t just the coach, but also the players who voted for who they wanted as their captain. Two months into the season, this has certainly been a lot of unnecessary drama, but maybe this will prove to be just the spark the players needed. Not just to overcome the opposition, but also, overcome the coach’s eccentricities.

In the previous couple of matches, it has seemed like players have taken matters into their own hands. Emery even said this was the case with Calum Chambers in the League Cup. So far, it’s worked, and I guess our brave hope  it will again. (There’s that hope word again!) But like Emery’s tactical alphabet soup, this too is an unsustainable plan.

Spectacular decline of Manchester United

Manchester United of course have their own problems. Their fall from their self appointed perch of the greatest club in the world has been even more spectacular than ours. Probably even more painful as both their traditional rivals, Liverpool and Manchester City, are running high. Even little old Arsenal, frequently under the manager-who-must-not-be-named, have outperformed them in the league for most of the past 6 years as well. Surely they’re not happy with that, nor with the brand of football being put out. But at least they have shiny new toys every once in a while. Woodward may be a bad dad but he always buys very expensive presents. Discerning Arsenal fans may have detected a similar type of “parenting” creeping into our club.

No matter the difficulties, or the other rivalries, this fixture still retains the ability to get everyone fired up. Fans and players alike. I’d say coaches too, but as far as that goes, I don’t know with Emery. Even the winner of the Andy Serkis lookalike contest is going to provide a gladiatorial tactical battle in his head. And that, usually means, being conservative. Will he stay with a 4231? Will he go with 3 at the back? Which one is more defensive with him anyway?


My lineup was almost exactly correct the last time but I’m not confident at all I can confidently predict one for this game. Knowing what we we know of Emery, I’m going for the more conservative formation.

Starters: Leno, AMN, Chambers, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Nelson, Auba

Subs: From Martinez, Holding, Mustafi, Bellerin, Torreira, Willock, Ozil, Saka, John-Jules.

While writing this I reflected that while I have abandoned all hope in Emery, the fire of being an Arsenal fan remains. It is ManU after all. There ought to be no way we surrender to them. For once, I wouldn’t mind the English fare of blood and guts football. They’ve got the money for the big agents and the big signings, the history of titles and referee assistance, Fergie time and Game 49, and some of the most obnoxious, irritating fans. Warts and all, we are the good guys here. Sometimes the world just needs the good guys to win. May the universe, the players, and Emery, oblige.


  1. My prediction is both teams will be fired up. We’ll start the better and will score a goal. Then Emery will rein us in and put us on the back foot. From there it’s a question of whether ManU will score or one of our players will pull off a piece of skill to score on the counter. If it gets to 1-1, we’ll likely lose. If we score another, we’ll likely win 2-1, or even 3-1.

  2. Cheers Shard for your preview,. Seems a tough one to call. I also have no faith in the Emery, I dont like that feeling either. Its a big game for both sides.Bloody hope we win, I can t stand the idea even of sloshing aroudn in helpless negativity until the next game.

    • (I mean sloshing around in my own negativity)

      • Haha, thanks for your comment Mills, and no need to clarify. I have enough negativity in my Emery sponsored pool for the whole uncensored and PA community to wallow and slosh around in.

  3. So Ozil is not even in the squad for United. Any explanation from the coach of from the mighty Arsenal PR machine that can magically create massive social media hype, air time and newspaper ink for Josh, Raul and Vinai? Are we really surprised?

    I am yet to see a predicted lineup in either mainstream or social media which had Ozil starting. Shard may have lacked any confidence in his line-up but he was confident enough to leave out Ozil. That is a clear sign is how low Arsenal has fallen under Emery and the new regime. Far from being a team that trusts in the bravery and technical ability of its players we are going to rely on passion and brute force to overcome United. Good luck to our boys tonight/afternoon but this is a recipe for failure in the long-run.

    • Already sloshing. I cynically predicted it our at PA that the Ö would be resting.Utterly unable to find any decent reason why hes out. What a bore.
      Rather have him in and Slosher Emery out.

  4. Shard how can I abandon all hope when it was the Hope (the dream of Lords Arsene & Sven’s continuous legacies at the club) that gave me Aubamayang (&a Saka over Pepe!) to cling on to during The Troubles of Emery?

    • I love you, Fins!

      You also caught me in a lie. Abandoning hope while Emery is here is a solid move in theory, but very difficult as a fan. What I actually mean is abandon all shame, and get this useless but smug dead weight out of the club. I guess I’m talking to myself more than anyone about this but I am convinced he has no business representing Arsenal. Every time I think about giving him a chance again, he does something stupid, or downright nasty, just with an innocent little smarmy smile on his face. Fuck that guy.

      • And when I say abandon all shame, I’ve still not reached that point. Not that I’m in a position to, but I wouldn’t have flying banners and A4/bin bag protests. I also haven’t started tagging him on Twitter. I still think that’s just mean. But then he says things like we’ve controlled the games, just need to be better defensively and create better chances, after leaving Ozil at home. Then says it’s a good point. I want to tag him and call him un cobarde patetico.

      • The comment by Emery that we controlled the game in the 1st half blew my mind. He is completely delusional.

  5. Such an immemorable game of football. Two poor teams at work with Arsenal desperate to follow Man United downhill despite having the better players.


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