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  1. The domestic schedule is back after yet another international break. For most other teams stacked with international players it’s about getting back to a rhythm and preparing to compete on multiple fronts. For us it’s that, plus figuring out how to do it when half of those are out after picking up a ‘knock’. One day, our players might come away unscathed from international duty. One day. Control. Love of the game. Urgency. Bravery. Style. Heart. Organisation. Power. Tactical flexibility. Yer ma. I don’t ask for much. Last season’s corresponding fixture was very early in the season and saw us batter the shit out of the Gunners but only come away with a 3-1 win. Lacazette scuffed Arsenal into the lead against the run of play when Robbo mis-controlled a ball into his path. We got on level terms when Sadio converted the rebound after Mo had an effort saved by the keeper. Robbo made amends for his earlier mistake to latch onto Trent’s cross and lift the ball past the keeper for 2-1. Jota wrapped it up with a debut goal, chesting down a wayward Arsenal defensive header on the edge of the box and volleying home a low effort into the far corner. We’d got 9 points from 9 having faced a pumped-up Leeds plus Chelsea away in our first 2 games. Cast your mind back to the early-to-mid 60s. Alf Ramsey’s England would soon be hosting the World Cup in 1966, and the music scene was full of twenty-somethings making a splash on both sides of the pond. Live football was still a rarity, and the BBC looked for a new audience of football fans who could enjoy highlights far removed from the old Pathe newsreels. Even back then, football was a sure-fire way to get TV viewers. The very first Match Of The Day saw Liverpool take on Arsenal at Anfield in August 1964. Everton fans would probably claim it as a first via their usual mental gymnastics. Liverpool won the game 3-2 thanks to a goal from Sir Roger and two by Gordon Wallace. Wallace’s second was to prove the winner after Arsenal had clawed their way back into the match with goals from future Liverpool stalwart Geoff Strong and another by Joe Baker. Back then, the main camera was in the Kemlyn so the Kop is to the left of the screen. The big film making waves in August 1964? Why it was none other than A Hard Day’s Night, starring four fellas who were fairly popular in the States at the time. It’s basically an amusing caper mixing reality with fiction, a cracking soundtrack and a blatant cash-in on the band’s immense popularity. At that point, before all the psychedelia and sound experimenting, The Beatles’ signature sound was at the forefront of ‘Merseybeat’ which was at the forefront of the British invasion on US shores. Far from being a mere commercial cash-in though, it’s actually quite a good film that masks the fact these guys couldn’t act. They only really had to be themselves. Spice World it most definitely aint. We need to get back to being our usual selves too, but it remains to be seen what sort of squad the boss will have available come the weekend. Arsenal before the international break had quietly been picking up points and a few of their players have looked very good this season. Arsenal being Arsenal though, a catastrophic result is never far around the corner and, as Dave would say, they love to smell themselves when things are going pretty well. We have the means to knock them down several pegs, but it’s a question of attitude and application. Get those right and the points are more than likely ours. Just get in there and get the job done.
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