What lies ahead

Time to move on, time to get going. Arsenal are now done with the Europa League after a shambolic 2nd leg against Sporting CP that saw an opposition wonder goal and the Gunners being dispatched on penalties. Adding injury to insult, both Tomiyasu and Saliba picked up knocks. How bad they are, remains to be seen.

Don’t actually want to talk about it or even think about it. There’s still too much ahead of us. 11 matches left in the season. 6 home, 5 away. A maximum of 33 points available. Starting with Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Palace sacked Arsenal legend Patrick Viera and installed an interim coach. Here’s hoping that doesn’t translate to that “new manager bounce” that’s hurt us in the past.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

So still all to do. Arsenal’s destiny firmly in their own hands. When the season began, I think we all would have taken a top four finish. But now we can all but taste the title, and our expectations are understandably higher. I’m fully along for the ride and expect to be at Maggie’s for all of the remaining matches.

Hope you’ll join me! See you Sunday!

Best, Mark

Jesus is just alright

The end is in sight. Sunday was the first of 12 matches to close out Arsenal’s Premier League season. Many of us expected Fulham to be a sterner test, with The Cottagers sitting in 7th place.

But the Gunners swept them aside handily, with goals from Gabriel, Martinelli, and Ødegaard, and new boy Trossard having the run of the pitch, becoming the first player in Premier League history to have 3 assists in the first half of an away game.

Another buoyant crowd at Maggie’s but no rest for celebrants as Arsenal have their 2nd Leg Europa League match against Sporting CP and then Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

HE’S BACK!

Equally exciting as the the Gunners victory was the return of Gabriel Jesus, injured in the World Cup and out for 4 months. Jesus looked bright, setting up Reiss Nelson for a chance and having a decent attempt of his own saved.

Hopefully he will provide the necessary spark to get us over the finish line. Maggie’s will show both our Thursday Europa League match as well as Sunday’s league match.

Hope to see you Sunday at Maggie’s for our match against Palace!

Best, Mark

Do you believe in magic?

Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, you know where you were when Reiss Nelson hit the stoppage time winner against Bournemouth last Saturday.

Needless, to say, Maggie’s was pandemonium. The hard part will be coming back to earth. We have a Europa League match Thursday and then a run of very challenging matches, beginning with Fulham on Sunday.

But it’s hard not to believe something magic is happening with this club right now. The grit, determination and never say die attitude of these young players is a joy to behold.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

ARSENAL WOMEN SEIZE SILVERWARE!

Meanwhile, the Arsenal women have been no slouches, beating Chelsea 3-1 this past weekend in the FA Women’s League Cup, winning their first trophy in four years.

The women are back in league action today and you can watch their match against Liverpool, streaming live on the Arsenal website.

We are completely sold out of our scarves, but will have t-shirts for sale this Sunday during the Fulham match. These are moving fast and we’re close to selling out of some popular sizes.

Hope to see you Sunday at Maggie’s!

Best, Mark

Payback is a…

Our loss against Everton a few weeks back was, to say the least, a demoralizing affair. Yesterday presented an prime opportunity for the Gunners to demonstrate resilience and show that match for what it was, an anomalous bump in the road.

Early on, it seemed like a similarly frustrating night against the Toffees. Arsenal dominating possession with little to show for it, until just before halftime, Saka hit an absolute cracker to split the game open. Only to be followed minutes later by a second from Martinelli.

When the dust cleared, Arsenal had thrashed the visitors 4-0, leaving us 5 points ahead of Man City. Looking ahead, there are 24 points available in the run of the next 8 matches. While some appear very winnable, I doubt any will be as easy as this last one ended up seeming.

We’re back at Maggie McGarry’s on Saturday for the first of these as Bournemouth comes to town. I am looking forward to getting back to the pub after a brief absence.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

2023 BAG T-SHIRTS ARE HERE!

Pictures don’t do justice but our BAG t-shirts has arrived! Designed by Holly Hickman, the amazing Gooner responsible for our scarves and Emirates Stadium banner, they are (as the kids like to say) đŸ”„. You can buy them at the pub during weekend matches, beginning this Saturday.

Our BAG logo is front and center, while Patrick, our dearly departed Gooner friend, bartender, and Maggie McGarry’s legend is featured on the back. He will forever grace our t-shirts.

If you ordered in advance, see me Saturday to get your shirt. These must be collected before the end of the season. Everyone else interested, should not dawdle. If our scarves are any indicator, these will sell out!

Looking forward to getting back to the pub and seeing everyone.

Best, Mark

A game in hand is worth…

Saturday’s match against Leicester ended up being a gritty, grind-it-out, 1-nil-to-the Arsenal (nope, we still don’t sing that song). Two goals ruled out. One rightly so, the other questionable at best, and a solid penalty shout, all but ignored. Still, the Gunners persevered, clamping down on defense, and limiting the Foxes to a single off-target shot.

Arsenal maintain their 2 win lead over Man City and Wednesday, face Everton for their game in hand. Hopefully, we can exact some revenge for the loss a few weeks back at Goodison Park.

Sadly, mid-week matches are tough for many of us to get to Maggie’s, but they’ll have it on for those of you who can arrange a long lunch, an important “appointment” or a day off.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

I won’t be able to make it Wednesday, but hope to be back at the pub for our weekend match.

Best, Mark

And we’ll keep on fighting

During the waning minutes of our match at Aston Villa, Gooners had every right to feel demoralized. It very much looked like the Gunners were headed for a draw and probably deservedly so. Villa came charging out of the gate and for two thirds of the match, Arsenal looked uneven, squandering one opportunity after another.

But they never stopped battling and two and a half minutes into stoppage time, Jorginho fired a rocket, which fittingly ricocheted off the noggin of former Arsenal goalkeeper, pantomime villain, and chronic time-waster, Emi MartĂ­nez, and into the back of the net. Minutes later, Gabriel Martinelli would seal the victory with an empty net goal.

And this is what we love about this club. The spirit amongst the lads seems different from seasons past. The belief in each other is palpable through the TV screen. A genuine sense they’ll keep fighting until the bitter end.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

Meanwhile, this is what dedication to Arsenal looks like in San Francisco. This motley crew turned up at Maggie’s for the 4:30 am Villa kickoff and were justly rewarded. #Legends.

Saturday, everyone is back at it again as Arsenal face Leicester with a slightly more agreeable West Coast kickoff time of 7 am. I’m hoping to be back at the pub this weekend, but regardless, you can expect to see these Gooners and more.

Best, Mark

We’re still standing

Losing 3-1 to the reigning champions is hard. But if we take a breath and reflect on Arsenal’s journey so far, hopefully that perspective will give Gooners some solace.

For much of the match, we were the better squad and gifted them a couple of goals through errant passes and an untimely deflection. But they are champions for a reason, and are able to field two whole sides of immeasurable quality.

In the beginning, I think many a Gooner would be thrilled with a top 4 finish. But then we started winning. Sitting firmly in the top spot and beating the likes of Spurs (twice), Chelsea (twice), United, and Liverpool, heightens our expectations, perhaps unfairly.

If we’re being honest, the Gunners have been over achieving, especially in light of losing our best player. But the season is far from over and we have a string of very winnable matches ahead. Starting with Villa this weekend, which unfortunately for West Coast Gooners, kicks off at 4:30am.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

Let’s continue to be unwavering in our support. The bile I’ve seen on social media with reprehensible attacks on our manager and players should not be representative of who we are as supporters.

Sadly, I will be unable to make it to the pub Saturday, but Maggie’s will be open and we’re expecting many of you dedicated Gooners will turn up.

Best, Mark

Fight the power

Had a day to reconcile Saturday’s result. On one hand, Arsenal got a hard earned point from a team that hadn’t lost in 10 matches, with wins over United and City under their belts. On the other, the same VAR official who (inserted impolite verb here) the Gunners during a loss at Old Trafford, got a critical offside call wrong, potentially costing them points.

Destiny is still in the hands of the Premiership’s youngest squad. But Man City has found its footing again, seemingly bolstered by a siege mentality, in light of recent financial impropriety charges. They are the reigning power in the league and Arsenal will need a yeoman’s effort by everyone to get a result.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

Those of us headed to Maggie’s Wednesday, will have to contend with our noisy neighbors, a small group of City supporters which sprung up in recent years. Maggie McGarry’s Derby bragging rights are on the line, as is the framed dollar bill, honoring the late, great Gooner bartender, Patrick Dunphy (read more on our About page).

BAY AREA GOONERS T-SHIRTS

There is still time to ensure you get one of the new BAG t-shirts, we’re cooking up. The new design is going into production soon! We’ll get a variety of sizes but advance ordering is suggested, so as not to miss out. Deadline for preorders is Wednesday.

You will need to pick it up at Maggie’s during weekend matches and I expect them to be delivered in time for the Bournemouth match in early March.

See you at the pub Wednesday!

Best, Mark

But we get up again

The Everton result was in some ways, all too predictable. Lunchtime kickoff, new manager bounce, eerie parallel to last season’s match. And yet, I genuinely believed we’d get a result.

Now we must have a proper rebound from defeat. This team must show our winning ways have not been a fluke. That we’re not slipping into old bad habits. More than any season in a very long time, the prize is in sight. All we have to do is keep winning.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

BAY AREA GOONERS T-SHIRTS

Our new t-shirt design is finalized and going into production soon! We’re ordering a variety of sizes (men and women’s cut), which will be for sale on match days.

T-shirts will be sold first come, first serve, so to ensure you get one, I suggest placing an pre-order. You will need to pick it up at Maggie’s during weekend matches and I expect them to be delivered in time for the Bournemouth match in early March.

See you at the pub Saturday!

Best, Mark

No sleep til Everton

Our FA Cup run is over. Many Gooners seem okay with it, because it “allows us to focus on the league”. Personally, I’d have liked a shot at the domestic double, but shouldn’t get greedy.

Meanwhile, there is much consternation over the transfer window. Depending on which Gooners you talk to, we’ve either strengthened our depth with Trossard, Kiwioras and Jorginho or been bested by money bags Chelsea, and settled for their castoffs.

I’ve managed to get off the transfer window roller coaster, preferring to get excited about a player when officially announced and wearing an Arsenal kit. I’ve put my complete trust in our manager, and so far this season, it’s working out.

Besides, there’s a match Saturday to consider. Floundering Everton lie ahead, but woe to anyone who expects them to be pushovers. Look back to last season’s first meeting of the two sides. Winless in 8 matches, the Toffees were assumed to be an easy mark, only to best the Gunners, 2-1. But we’re a different Arsenal now, so here’s hoping we can do the business.

Unfortunately for West Coast Gooners, it’s a 4:30am kickoff. Big ask I know, but we’ve managed some pretty big crowds for other pre-dawn matches, so forego a bit of sleep and cement your Bay Area Gooners legend status.

Let us know if you’ll make it on our the Bay Area Gooners Facebook page.

QUIET PLEASE! If you are coming, please enter/exit the pub quietly so as to not put Maggie’s in trouble with the neighbors. No congregating outside either!

Finally, we still have BAG scarves for sale, but the current batch is going fast.

I will be at the pub and look forward to seeing you.

Best, Mark