Who Will the New Fabio-gas Replace: Granit, Bukayo, Martin, Martinelli, Pepe or Emile?

Our Vieira from Portugal promises to be a gem of a player. A creative, attacking midfielders with goals and assists; a dribbler, who can play Saka-like on the right, cutting in with his left foot to pass or shoot. He is also described as someone who finds space between the lines, breaks the status quo, and perhaps his biggest asset is that he can do this all with his left foot.

We know that when Arsenal spend this sort of money on him (reportedly about £35m) then this 22 year old will get to play regularly. So for who is he at least competition if not their replacement for?

As always, I am interested in your views. 🙂

You will not find a bigger fan of Xhaka easily, but I think it could be Granit who will get the direct competition. Arteta seemed to be moving towards two central attacking mids with just Thomas covering behind them in the last few months. These need to deliver the bread and butter stuff, goals and assists, and this is not Granit’s forte. Left footed Vieira next to either The Ode or ESR, could be the missing link.

Still, I think that Xhaka is really important for Arteta’s on-field game management and for keeping the structure, and Partey is good but not great at this. Granit, however, cannot play as sole DM; he needs to play with somebody next to him. So there’s a dilemma, especially also because Partey is injury prone and takes a long time to get into the groove. Is Elneny the right back up for a sole DM formation? Would Tielemans have played in this role had we gone for him?

What about the left wing position? ESR and Martinelli look like the strongest candidates, but both don’t seem to really flourish there. Could Vieira have been bought for that position instead?

Furthermore, the Ode needs to add more goals and assists to his game which I expect to happen gradually, but competition is required to get more from the nr10 role asap. Is Vieira that player?

Saka needs cover too which Pepe, a very different type compared to the young Englishman, just cannot offer in Arteta’s system. Was Fabio bought mainly to do that? An injury to Saka last season would have really set us back, so……

Whilst I am writing this I have also been thinking about our very own Emile and how he will fit into Arteta-ball? Is there a position he can claim for himself going forward?!

Anyway, enough from me; what are your thoughts?

By TotalArsenal

Only 19 Gunners Ever Achieved This

Dear BKers

I was recently approached by Nick Brown to help him promote his new book ‘The One Hundred Club’. You may recall that the esteemed GN5 did a series on the 19 Arsenal players who reached the 100-goal mark and more wearing the mighty red and white colours of our beloved club, a few years ago. This was a tremendous success. Nick Brown has now written a very fine book on these 19 heroes, providing us with numerous new insights and below you can read more about it.

TotalArsenal.

Those of us who have played football – it doesn’t matter to what level – knows that there is no better feeling than sticking one in the old onion bag, especially if it is a real cracker of a goal. Can you imagine, then, what it must be like to glide across that pristine Emirates Stadium carpet of a pitch, drop a shoulder to send a defender the wrong way and hit the ball so sweetly that the moment it leaves your foot you know it’s in? And then to see the goalkeeper fly through the air fruitlessly and watch the net bulge as the ball nestles into the top corner before dropping to the ground, bouncing triumphantly behind the hapless prostrate custodian? And hearing 60,000 people anticipating what is about to happen as soon as you let fly, the murmur building into a joyous crescendo, the noise erupting like the sound of a tube train thundering into the station at Finsbury Park?

Just once! Just once would be enough, wouldn’t it…?

Now imagine what it must be like to have scored over 100 goals in the famous red and white. Only 19 people in history have achieved that, from Jimmy Brain, founder member of the 100 Club in 1928, down to Olivier Giroud, the most recent inductee in 2017. Some of the names of that elite crew are amongst the most famous in the annals of not only Arsenal history, but the history of English football – people like Thierry Henry, Ian Wright, Cliff Bastin and Dennis Bergkamp.

There is a reason that it is the goal scorers who command the biggest transfer fees. Willie Groves, the first player to move clubs for £100 when he switched from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa, was a forward; the first £500 player, the first £1,000 player, the first £1,000,000 player, the first £10,000,000 player (I don’t need to go on, do I…?) were all forwards. Goals win games.

As a youngster, my favourite player was Alan Smith. One of George Graham’s early signings during his reign, Smith was a centre-forward in the traditional sense, a typical number nine. Tall and difficult to knock off the ball, he was a master of shielding it from his marker, holding it up and bringing others in to play. Good in the air, he was also more than capable of slamming one home from long range, the most obvious example being the winning goal in the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup against Italian team Parma. He lost his marker and found some space from a Lee Dixon throw-in, knocked it back to Dixon and seized upon the loose ball after a defender had only half-cleared Dixon’s attempted through ball to Paul Merson. Smith took it down on his chest and struck home the only goal of the game from the edge of the penalty box. Unerringly accurate, the ball flew past Parma keeper Luca Bucci to bring the cup to Highbury.

Another such strike came against Norwich in the title winning season of 1988-89. A long goal kick from John Lukic bounced towards Smith. He held off the attentions of his marker, kept his eye on the ball as it came down once more and in one movement turned and slammed it home from 20 yards.

No doubt, every Arsenal fan – every football fan – will have memories of special moments from their own special players. The thing is, most of these moments won’t even be remembered by anyone else. Hands up who can recall Thierry Henry’s stunning effort against Watford where he collected it almost on the half-way line and jinked through the opposing defence before steering it home? Or Ian Wright making the Aston Villa defence look silly before sliding the ball into the far corner? Or Frank Stapleton leaping like a salmon before bulleting a header into the Leicester City net? But that’s just the point, isn’t it? Memories fade, even the best ones.  

‘The 100 Club’ is a chronicle of every goal scored by those illustrious few Arsenal centurions. Currently available direct from the publishers Morgan Lawrence, Waterstones bookshop (online if not actually in store) and on E-Bay, it is a must for every Arsenal fan, historian and statistician. My eternal thanks also go to the aforementioned Mr Smith for writing the foreword.

By Nick Brown

Website : https://booksnickbrown.wixsite.com/nick-brown

Instagram : @nick.brown.books

Is Sambi The Answer for the Midfield Jigsaw?

What to do in midfield: push, buy or marry?

I like our midfield options when all are fit, yet could we, should we, strengthen in this area? I am interested in your views.

I guess it depends to some extent whether Arteta wants to play the midfield triangle pointing forwards or backwards, one solid DM type or one all orchestrating nr10 type?

I like us to be able to play both Martin and Emile in the team. These boys are growing and growing and we should get more from them again next season.

Partey when fit and in his groove is top class. The problem is he is injury prone. XhakA, our only 250 games man, is solid and luckily seldom gets injured. I prefer him playing deep rather than pushed up, but Arteta has been doing the latter recently.

Wherever the Swiss clockwork plays, a fully fit combo of Xhaka and Partey is a very good central duo. Back up is a bit of an issue, though. Elneny is a solid option but injury to Granit had/has us weakened, at least organisationally. The lining seems to go out of the team then.

So what happened to Sambi Lokonga? What is Mikel’s plan with this promising Belgian? He featured very little this calendar year. Is that why Arteta appears to be looking for (a) Tielemans? And where would this enigmatic Belgian play? Next to Partey or Xhaka, or in front of them instead?

And is Tielemans really an improvement to what we have and will not be in the way of Emile and Martin’s development?

My view is that if Sambi needs more development then we need to buy a player who can replace both Granit and Thomas without too much loss in quality. But don’t spend too much money here and use it instead for a second quality CF, LF type of player.

Finally, is any of our returning midfield loan players worthy of a squad place next season? Any youngsters?

By TotalArsenal

Gabriel and a Beast of a CF are on Edu’s Shopping List

Arseblog made an interesting point about the new arrivals to the Premier League and how the domestic game is evolving.

Basically the best two teams in the Premier League, those with the best managers, are going with a more classical centre forward for the forthcoming season. Man City tried to do this a year ago by signing Harry Kane but now they have arguably the most exciting centre forward in world football in Haaland, making them a much more difficult and different animal next season.

Liverpool sensing the change are also attempting to go down the very same avenue with Darwin Nunez, another powerful aerial threat but like Haaland very quick on the ground as well, unlike say the immovable object that is Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea.

That probably explains Arsenal’s interest in a more traditional type centre forward, a player who brings a different dynamic to your attack; and it also explains I think why we tried to get Martinez and then Vlahovic a year ago and then again in January.

Arsenal have Nikolaj Moller and Biereth in the Academy, two tall strikers with some potential but neither have developed to a level that Arteta needs and wants (yet) so that means bringing someone in to do the job.

It also points towards Jesus (if he arrives please God) playing often a role in the wide inside forward areas like we see from Salah at Liverpool or how Wiltord operated for us back in the day?

So yes, two strikers seem to be on the agenda for sure…

By Allezkev

Battle 17/17: Overcoming the Toffees And Hoping for the Canaries

Arsenal’s last game of the season is against Everton and we need a win to have any chance of getting into the top four. We also need a little miracle at Carrow Road. Norwich have been urine poor this season but they can still spring a surprise.

It’s going to be 20 degrees in Norwich this afternoon with plenty of sunshine. The Spuds thrive like thieves when it is dark and dank, but struggle in sunny conditions. Furthermore, the Norwich team will want to thank the home crowd and do their part in the PL. They are a proud bunch and will surely want to give the self-celebrating, ultra-slappable Conte and his silly Spuds one on the nose. Our North London neighbours are of course the favourites but it’s certainly not a done deal.

Everton have survived by the skin of their teeth and are likely to either relax or give us a proper game. It all depends on their mindset….. And ours of course. We need to believe it is still possible and play hard for the win.

Who is going to play? Not entirely sure who is fit to play. I think Tomiyasu is a doubt but others are fit enough to start?!

Against Newcastle we didn’t click up front and Arteta will need to get the balance right. Not easy with key players almost out of contract or out of form/not fully fit.

Here’s my preferred lineup:

Ramsdale

Tomi-Ben-Gab-Tava

Elneny-Xhaka

Saka-Ode-ESR

Martinelli

Com On You Rip Roaring Gunners.

By TotalArsenal

Just Two Goals in 2022 but still in PL Top 10 of minutes between goals/assists: What’s Up with ESR?

The only 21 year old Emile Smith Rowe is not having a great 2022 until now. Emile has just two goals in his last 18 appearances in 2022. Yet over the whole season he is ninth in the PL when it comes to the key attacking statistic of time between goals or assists. He is more ‘goal-involved’ than Bruno Fernández, Zaha, Bowen, Saka, Pepe, Maddison and Kane to name but a few.

We know what Emile is capable of and what stood out in particular this season is the timing of his runs towards and in the box and his extremely cool finishing. Emile has an eye for goal and the nerves to deliver. He also has a good eye and foot for a key pass, and he is just still so young!

Ye he has not been anywhere near as effective since January. In fact, he looked out of place v the Barcodes, chasing his own shadows at times.

So what could have caused this?

A) The departure of Auba?

B) The injury to Tierney?

C) Simply a lack of form or confidence?

D) Role overlap and thus confusion with Odegaard’s role?

E) Injury to Partey, perhaps?

F) Have opponents ‘found him out’?

G) Another reason?

Let’s debate.

By TotalArsenal

Super Leightweight in Attack and Key Players Missing: How Did Arteta get Arsenal to Fifth?!?!

Arsenal won 10 from their last 16 games without Aubameyang, Laca with his mind on his next contract and inexperienced Eddie having to lead the line. Furthermore, at a vital time we lost both Tierney on the left and Partey and Tomiyasu on the right. Still we will finish fifth, taking 30 points from a maximum of 48 points.

How did Arteta beat the Hammers, the Mancs and the Chavs with such a lightweight attack and these big injuries…. And how strong are we going to be with quality new additions in attack after the summer?

Discuss 🤩

By TotalArsenal

Battle 16/17: Two Possible Lineups. The Arsenal Face the Magpies for a Must Win Game

The Spuds game was a big disappointment but we have it all to play for. Some poor refereeing and some immature actions by a few players cost us, and the game was over before it even started. But we just have to move on. We are The Arsenal and we know what is at stake. Simple as that.

The injury news is vague and Arteta may have to field a makeshift defence. That would not be great. Hopefully at least one of White and Gabriel is fit to start.

Ideal lineup:

Ramsdale

Soares, White, Gab, Tomi

Elneny, Xhaka

Saka, Ode, ESR/Martinelli

Laca/Eddie

Possible necessary lineup:

Ramsdale

Soares, Elneny, Tomiyasu, Saka

Sambi, Xhaka

ESR, Ode, Martinelli

Laca/Eddie

No more words required. Time to let the Canon roar. Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!!!! 🤩 🤩 🤩 🤩 🤩 🤩

By TotalArsenal

Battle 15/17: Arsenal Starting 11 and How the Gunners like to Devour their Spuddies

None of the BBC pundits – 20 in total – predicted that either Arsenal or Spuds would finish in the top four at the start of the season. Well they were wrong. I am still amazed that Arsenal are so close to a top four finish given the huge transformation project Arteta is making the team go through. I have no doubt that the extra money and prestige will help Arteta significantly in speeding the whole process up, and getting some CL experience into our young players will be good too.

Arsenal have a great opportunity to achieve both CL football and St Totteringham’s Day simultaneously by winning the NLD. Now that would be special. Spuds have an experienced squad and manager and we kind of have the opposite. They were in a CL final only three years ago and the likes of Winks, Lloris, Son and Kane are still strutting their stuff for our bitter rivals. But rather than build on that successful squad (and manager) they have chopped and changed far too much, and to me they look like a bunch of headless chickens in a shiny and new, restless chicken pen. Conte seems the most restless cockerel of them all and rumours continue of him jumping the pen at the end of the season.

But this is not about having a go at our neighbours. We want to beat them and have the bragging rights, but the thing that matters most is that we finish above them come the end of the season. It really would be a great achievement given the youthfulness and big change process the team is currently going through.

This will be all about whether Arteta wants us to play our usual game – which may leave too much space behind our defenders – or whether he will adjust the team to be compact and play on the counter. The Spuddies need to win. They need to attack for this and their passing game is less developed compared to ours. Conte, as all Italian managers, loves it when teams come and attack them and leave space behind (results agains Citeh and Pool prove this). But we do not have to do this and can do a Spurs on them instead on Thursday. Let’s give the likes of Son and Kane no space and no time.

Who should play? I am inclined to put Holding, ESR and Laca into the starting 11. They know about the passion of the NLD and have the fight AND calmness about them that can make all the difference. Eddie has been brilliant recently but I think that Laca is the sort of forward warrior we need tomorrow, especially if we sit a bit deeper and need a CF to disturb the high-line of the Spuds’ defence. If White is available I would play him as right back; if not, let’s play Soares.

This would be my starting-11 (apologies for the cultural stereotype):

Ramsdale (loves his spuds boiled, crushed and roasted)

White (loves his spuds deep-fried in beef dripping)

Holding (loves his spuds as jacket potatoes with chilly con carne)

Gabriel (loves his spuds spiced and skewered)

Tomiyasu (loves his spuds with soy sauce, white wine and brown sugar)

Xhaka (loves his spuds fondue-smothered in gruyere)

Elneny (loves his spuds in a colourful casserole)

Saka (loves his spuds thoroughly mashed with pie)

Odedgaard (loves his spuds as dumplings)

ESR (loves his spuds as patatas bravas)

Laca (loves his spuds chopped up in a green salad).

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!! Make North London Red!

By TotalArsenal.

Arteta is a Man-Manager alright, Tomi is Class, Ramsdale misses White: 8 Arsenal Observations

Eight Observations from a vital, vital ein:

  1. What to do with Eddie? I don’t think he is what Arteta is after in terms of required team play, passing etc, but the boy can finish alright. It’s been rumoured Arteta wants Jesus. The MC forward is quite different from Eddie, but we also need a Plan B. Eddie would be excellent for this.
  2. Bergkamp, Fabregas, Ozil, Odegaard. Arsenal have an artist in their midst again. And similar to the first two, Martin puts in a shift in each and every game. When hard work and genius come together like this true magic will happen.
  3. Ramsdale is missing Big Ben. I like Aaron, a pure extrovert with an incredible passion and energy levels. But Leno has one thing on him and that is his natural calm. I think that in the fab triangle of White, Gabriel and Ramsdale, the former brings calm and organisation, and young Aaron is missing his calming influence at the moment.
  4. There may be a similar issue with Martinelli. A very fine talent with huge ambition, who is hard to tame into Arteta-ball. At times he looks world class, but he lacks consistency and a calm head when an opportunity needs to be taken. I think this will come, but we suffered from it yesterday as the best chances came his way but he failed to get the all important third goal.
  5. We seemed to struggle to put the game to bed yesterday. Could we have pushed harder? Yes, but it also looked like the players were saving themselves and tried to avoid injuries for a certain game against a skinny chicken on a ball team. This was probably wise. Yet for our nerves it was less beneficial!
  6. Arteta deserves so much credit for motivating and coaching his ‘stand ins’ to such high levels of football. No man-manager?! 🤩 Elneny, Soares, Nketiah, Holding are all doing a great job for the team. It took a while to adjust to the loss of Tierney and Partey (and Auba too), but four out of four wins at this crucial stage says it all. Arteta has everyone firing on all cylinders (well, almost everyone).
  7. We are guaranteed a top five finish and will battle it out with the mashable Spuddies on Thursday, but nobody is talking about the continuing slide of the Chavs. They will play The Peacocks next up-north and if they fail to win that one too Arsenal will have a good chance to overtake them before the end of the season. They have much easier games left than the Gunners but we are the in-form team. Not a big chance but watch this space.
  8. How good is it to have Tomiyasu, the Shinkansen, back in the team?! The man is pure class and power, and boy will we need him again on Thursday. Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!! 🤩 🤩

By TotalArsenal