The Way You Make Me Feel: Arsenal moonwalk over Foxes in 4-2 thriller [ARS 4-2 LEI]

The way you make me feel


By Michael Jackson McDonald

Arsenal really turned me on yesterday.

They knocked me off of my feet.

My lonely days are…. that’s enough of that. 

I did love that song though. I do believe there may have even been a couple of crotch grabs in front of the mirror in the bathroom to be fair.

The King of Pop was certainly entertaining. Loved him. 

I tell you what was also entertaining was Arsenal yesterday. There have been a sprinkle of games over the last few years that have been truly entertaining, but not really a feeling that we are an ‘entertaining team.’ Tuning in to watch Arsenal has been largely only enjoyable after the full-time whistle as the games have been so close in scoreline and sporadic in entertainment.

On multiple occasions yesterday Max looked at me and said, “this is fun!” A part of me was saddened because he is too young to have ever watched and enjoyed the best Arsenal teams that we knew were likely to win. They most certainly were going to entertain as we were known throughout world football as second in the beautiful football to Barcelona.

So, as I did not want to be sad I shook that emotion off and started wondering why we were so entertaining.  This was what I concluded… 

After watching ‘All Or Nothing’ it has become even more apparent to me the pressures that the players feel playing at the elite level. I’m sure for them the games are rarely ‘fun.’ 

I remember playing on some very good teams as a youngster. The most fun that I had and the more entertaining we played was always related to how secure we felt going out onto the pitch. 

Simply, how we felt.

My team, St Albans City, had Dominic Ison in goal but he didn’t give us much confidence. When James Baker took over everything changed. James was rather weird (he loved organizing the directions to away games but they were drawn maps with types of trees as points of reference), but James was solid. 

Arsenal have Ramsdale who exudes confidence. He seems to be a character that truly cares about his profession and teammates.

James Baker’s name on the team sheet gave us the solid foundation. I’m sure the Arsenal players feel this with Ramsdale compared to if Turner would have to going on, for example.

We had some proper defenders too. The same guys that would start a ruck if you messed with anyone around them. 

After many years of inferior players at Arsenal, we have a collection of truly proper defenders. The type that would make an opponent think that they are not gonna get much today.

In midfield we had many flair players but we had this genuine lunatic call Nicky Warpole who was so insanely determined, quick and again, secure. I was one of the flair players and I distinctly remember feeling that I could trust Nicky. He rarely let teams through and onto our back four. He was so reliable. Not many teams in the Premier League can play with a single pivot like we do with Thomas Partey. Yesterday, he was up and down offensively but has now become far better in the duels and more dominant defensively. This will give our players that feeling of security that ElNeny is only partially capable of. Ask yourself why Xhaka, who will certainly feel a responsibility to the central area of the midfield, is so willing to make forward runs now.? Fully committed proactive runs too. I think he feels this way as the back door is locked. He trusts Partey and he trusts our defenders. He is too serious of a guy to take these risks and too much of a team player to leave us isolated and vulnerable. 

Xhaka Heart


My team had a player called Flymo who everybody in the Hemel Hempstead area was convinced was going to be a professional footballer. He was the Messi of the Dacorum area. Other teams never even bothered attacking down their wings because not only would Flymo come and get you but he would likely invite you to have a scrap in Tring or Wigginton the following weekend. Andy Laing was on the other wing. He was lazy but deadly and so his offensive abilities stopped their wide midfielder from attacking.

I was getting Footballing PTSD in the first half when our wingers, Saka and Martinelli, weren’t covering the back post when Leicester were attacking. I was shouting at the TV but then came to realize that it was likely because they felt so confident that their back four and keeper were going to deal with the situation, rather than laziness. Not saying that they were right but it was interesting.

St Albans strikers (4-4-2 era) were Matthew Young (who looked like your Uncle Alan) and Ginger Terry. I swear they scored every single week. We always thought we had a chance with these two playing. 

Have you wondered how Jesus’ all round technical and physical game affects our confidence? Not only does his presence inspire others to step up their game, but his liveliness seems to have awoken many of those around him. They must feel hope. 

We didn’t have a very deep bench back in the 90s, but nobody did. 

Those were the days where you had one or two subs unless somebody’s leg fell off they stayed on the field. The subs we did have were good though as Roy Butler (our manager) couldn’t mentally cope with having any crap footballers around. 

Arsenal’s bench now that they are getting back to fitness, is the perfect representation of where we currently are. The first time in forever that those on the bench are either the equal of those on the field or very close to it. 

Can you imagine coaching this Arsenal team with so many fantastic replacement options? Again, the coaching staff in particular will feel such hope and security in their decision making with such quality depth.

St Alban’s City

So, even though Michael Jackson was singing about a lady, it was all about how he felt.

This is how I have always evaluated my football experience. On how I feel.

Arsenal were entertaining because the players feel secure. They trust those around them. They trust the coach. They trust replacements. They trust the system and the tactics. 

If you give an athlete the gift of freedom from stress then you acquire a completely different athlete. You get situations where creativity flowers frequently. You get moments of risk that are now not as risky and often turn to your advantage. For us fans, you get entertainment and football joy which is the fuel that we crave.

Ultimately, you get results.

Then you start getting respect. 

Then opponents fear you.

Then you challenge.

Then you frequently compete for titles.

Arsenal are making me feel.


  • I never thought that when Arsenal became an entertaining, competitive team that it would include Granit Xhaka as an attacking midfielder. I was particularly pleased with the proactivity of his runs. When you aren’t  quick you have to give yourself a head start.
  • Not only was Gabriel Jesus really good yesterday, but the timing of his first goals and assists was perfect. There would have been media pressure coming shortly as there has been hype. He seems to be making a habit of being a nuisance at the back post on corners too. His first goal is a rare find. That he even thought about shooting as a possible opportunity showed his high level of confidence. From a coaching standpoint it is never the wrong idea to shoot when you are in the box and in front of the goal even with defenders in front of you. The picture you see is never the picture when you kick the ball. Players open their legs or flinch and goalkeepers are unsighted. 

Jesus Perfection

  • Martinelli had another great game. That weak foot finish was elite. What stood out to me though was the maturity in his aggressive play. With Fofana on a yellow card, Martinelli was intentionally playing aggressively against him in order to tempt him into another foul. I distinctly remember teaching Mark Sherrod when he was young how to take advantage of low percentage goal scoring opportunities and turning them into high percentage opportunities by being very aggressive in the opponent’s box. Mark went on to play for the Houston Dynamos and San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS much to his credit.

Martinelli Love

  • Have you noticed that the crossing both from our wings and from corners is much more suited to our team? With smaller attackers we are keeping the ball lower and asking for flicked headed goals rather than putting the ball up too high where they have no chance. The quality of the corner kicks is more deadly. The pace and trajectory is perfection and again for the first time in a long while, I feel like we have a legitimate chance of scoring from every corner due to the quality of the delivery.
  • Zinchenko played with so much confidence and flair. Much like Jesus he seems to have a new found freedom without the stricter structure that Guardiola plays.
  • That moment where the fans cheered for Saliba might be a turning point for him. If I had any influence at Arsenal one of the first things I would do is find a way to get the fans to make a song for every player. Those that come from abroad always say that this is one of the most special parts of their experience playing in England. Other countries simply don’t have player songs. To have 30+ thousand people singing about you has to be quite epic. I’m sure the truth of how Saliba feels is that he is somewhat unsure about how this new experience will go. Will he get in the team? Will he stay in the team? Will he get past any homesickness? I’m sure the answer for him is in if he is valued. For the fans to value him when in other countries he would’ve been booed for scoring an own goal, will stand out to him and might just be the catalyst for seeing him smile a little more. 
  • Did you notice that Ben White had clearly been told to not get so tight to his attacker? He had a very solid game and took far less risks.
  • Saka was quiet but delivered some deadly crosses at the same time.It is honestly such a breath of fresh air that we don’t have to rely on him to win games now. I’m sure he appreciates the load off his shoulders.
  • So good to see Tomiyasu , Smith Rowe and Tierney back. So nice that we have had the luxury of giving them the full rest that they needed also.
  • All the best teams in any sport have attacking patience. I loved how dominant we were but also how we swung the ball from left to right and waited for a good opportunity rather than forcing one. I’ve always thought that one of the biggest differences in a good team and the mediocre ones is attacking patience.


  • There were three potential car crashes that went unpunished. I believe all three involved Gabriel. He was challenging in the air for balls that were already covered by another Arsenal player. Something to work on and perhaps communication related.

Fans Ectatic


  • I hope that one day, just one day that Jamie Vardy will be sent off for initiating contact in the box. It’s not diving but he is quite the expert. If you watch the replay of that nearly penalty he throws his elbow into Ramsdale‘s chest. That was the only contact. The referee should’ve given him a yellow card. Actually, I’d be okay if they gave straight red cards for players who cheat to this level. Diving is bad enough when there is some contact but throwing your leg into a defender and pretending that he did it to you really bothers me.
  • Tielemans was very quiet. I watched the highlights of him last week and he wasn’t quiet at all. He honestly has an outstanding passing range and eye for a quick pass. He would likely be the ideal midfield signing as he is cheaper due to being in the last year of his contract, Premier League experienced, an elite passer, a high level presser with high energy levels and would add 3 to 5 goals this season at least from outside the box. He could deputize at left attacking midfield and deputize Thomas Partey even though he would need to enhance his ability to recover.
  • I’ve been thinking for quite a while as to who would be the best signing as a rotation option out wide. I’ve come to the conclusion that Allan Saint Maximin might just be it. I know Newcastle would resist and that he seems to really enjoy playing in that city, but his Premier League experience alongside his frequent high level performances both on the left and the right would give us some great flexibility. He is also different to what we have. An agent of chaos who can win games by himself. I’m thinking that we might be put off by the number of times he loses the ball. I personally am not put off as I think you have to give complete mental freedom to your flair players or they become submissive and pass the buck. At that point you start to wonder if they have any value but come to the conclusion that you squashed the main reason as to why you signed them. 
  • Was it just me or was the referee completely unaware that shoulder barging is allowed in football?
  • I’ve heard some negativity about the documentary. Most of it has been aimed at Arteta and labeling him as a motivational speaker. I think it’s important to remember that our club and Arteta had editing rights to this documentary. There is no way that they were going to reveal their tactics for the world to see. So, we get to see the end of his team talks rather than the bulk of them.

Guns Firing


Another way you can evaluate the growth of your team is by how the impact players on your opponents are nullified as you improve. Wilf Zaha and Jamie Vardy have been a huge nuisance to us in the past. Arsenal got the better of both of them and shut both out of the game. This will obviously be vital when we play the bigger teams. If we can continue to shut big players down, then we will likely challenge. 

Check out my podcast where I speculate about Tomiyasu’s actual age as well as other happy things! Thanks for reading and listening!

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3 Responses to The Way You Make Me Feel: Arsenal moonwalk over Foxes in 4-2 thriller [ARS 4-2 LEI]

  1. Andrew B August 14, 2022 at 5:33 pm #

    Thomas Partey needs to find passing finesse.

    He needs to pick the right club in his bag for the type of pass rather than always seeming to use the driver. Every pass is pinged too hard and ones into space are always well over hit, try a 5 iron sometimes, please, to give the runner a chance to catch it before it goes out of play for a goal kick !

    Perhaps his shooting should actually be limited to the edge of the centre circle to be on target as no matter the distance his shots are always well over the bar and still rising !

  2. Boff August 14, 2022 at 5:37 pm #

    Superb report and observations. Thanks. Had trouble finding a feed in Canada, but listening to Dan Roebuck and Jeremie made up for that. We are going places if we can continue to play
    with such confidence; as you point out.

  3. Bob August 15, 2022 at 3:12 pm #

    My version of PNH,

    Positives: We have all the ingredients to become the Premier League Champions this season (No, I am not delusional)

    Needs: We need to put down all the other weight and focusing only to PL. Let City, Liverpool, Tot, and Chelsea divide their attention and energy for CL, FA, Carabao (and WORLD CUP). We can WIN this season by sneakily putting all of our main resource only for PL.

    Let the so-called “alternate eleven” handle all the cup games (including European League), it will keep them sharp and competitive, and play the “main eleven” exclusively for PL. It will reduce the risk of injury, mental fatigue, and provide a sufficient one week cycle preparation for every PL matches.

    Hopes: I hope this aspiration reach Arteta’s.

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