Despite the Setbacks and Missing Players It all Feels Strangely Good at Arsenal

After a great December Arsenal are stumbling through this month, and we can only hope that we get our troops together rather sooner than later. We are obviously missing Partey and to a lesser extent Pepe and Elneny. Auba is back but with light heart issues and most likely a damaged morale and ego. Xhaka will miss next game and we have to hope that at least one of our two creative midfielders will be back for Thursday’s and Sunday’s games.

Yet it all feels strangely good. We gave Man City a proper game and were unlucky to get nothing from that game. But sometimes is not results but performances that will leave us with a glow; and that is exactly what that game has done. We had a solid defence v Man City, a lively and quality attack and a demanding midfield. But the big thing was how the whole team played for each other and intrinsically believed in its style of play and Arteta’s philosophy. There were real green shoots for a while but now it feels Arteta’s philosophy is starting to bare fruit.

I still expect things to go up and down for us as we have vulnerable spots in our squad and still quite a few players are not suitable for playing the Arteta way, but there appears to be money and the ambition to spend wisely. Let’s all stand behind Arteta and give him the support this hard working and demanding man deserves.

Bring on the red Scousers and liven up the Home of Football on Thursday. Let’s give it all to get to the final and wipe that smile of Klopp’s oral fakies. I know it is only the League Cup but there is more at stake here. We are sparring with the (still) bigger boys and need to win a few battles even when we are still losing the war against them at the moment. I cannot wait till Thursday. Oh what a light our boys brings in these dark January days.

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners.

TotalArsenal.

Arsenal v Pool Lineup: Chambers in Midfield, Emile Back?

Today we are visiting the corona faking Scousers and this is our chance to get one firm leg into the League Cup final. It is the third biggest price that can be won domestically, and after our embarrassing defeat v Forest we really need to see an inspired performance tonight. We desperately need a good result to build momentum and renewed belief again, so all Guns blazing as far as I am concerned.

Basil ⚽🙂

Pool without nasty Mane and the Bergkampesque Saleh is like a bull without horns. Yes they attack like a machine, but, just like Dennis and Thierry in our most recent glory days, these two fab Africans make almost all the difference in attack.

Our young and promising defence and attack will relish the game tonight but it’s the midfield that gives us cause for concern. Partey and Elneny are also in Africa and XhakA is a fitness doubt apparently. Sambi and Platino looked lost in Robin Hood’s Forest and there’s no way they could stay cool in the pool.

So who is Arteta going to pick? You tell me, but I am hoping for this line up (with making ‘resting subs’ from the sixtieth minute):

Ramsdale

Tomi, Ben, Gab, Tava

Loko, Xhaka/Chambers

Buka, Martin, Emile/Marti

Laca

Come OOn You Rip Roaring Gunners 🌋 🌋 🌋 🌋 🌋 🌋

TotalArsenal

Time for the Youngsters in Attack: Arsenal v Forest Lineup

Here we go again: our first FA – Forever Arsenal – Cup game of the season, going for a 15th win of the biggest domestic cup competition in the world.

It will not be easy to win this season as all clubs want to win something desperately, and a first game away to Forest is a potential banana skin. The home side will be up for it and our heads could be in the wrong place for various reasons. I have no idea who is actually available today, but the temporary loss of four Africans and Covid-19 cases may bite us hard today.

My lineup looks something like this:

Leno

Soares, White, Holding, Tavares

Lokonga, Xhaka

ESR, Platino, Balogun

Eddie

CoyrrGs 🌋 🌋 🌋

TotalArsenal

All the signs say that a new Deep Midfielder is imminent

With Ainsley more or less off to work for the Special One and both Partey and Elneny at the ACON in Cameroon 🇨🇲, it feels like something is afoot in our midfield this month.

Sambi Lokonga has shown already what a capable player he is and XhakA has recovered well from his injury. But what if one of them gets suspended or injured this month?

We would be in deep Manure, no?! I don’t think Arteta and Edu would not see these risks, so how are they planning to mitigate them?

The exciting possibility is that they are planning to buy another midfielder. Sambi is great back up to Xhaka or Partey; Elneny is a good squad player to have, and; AMN has good potential.

But it feels like Ainsley is not in Arteta’s plans and so we will need to buy another quality midfielder sooner or later; and by letting AMN go during this crucial month it looks like this may be imminent.

Some will say that Xhaka needs replacing, and not everyone is convinced Partey is the bee’s knees either, but I think they are, for the foreseeable future, Mikel’s first choices in deep midfield. They make each other better players, and that’s always vital in a partnership; and their experience in our young team is pivotal to Arteta’s plans.

I don’t think there is currently a youth player who could be promoted to do deep midfield, but I love to hear about any suggestions.

Now, there are also a few squad players who could step in whilst the Africans are absent. The likes of Chambers, who really needs some game time, or White, or even Tavares or Tierney, may play, well in midfield. Arteta may feel that he has the positions well covered for the next four weeks.

Yet, the more I think about it, the more I feel that we will get a new midfielder this month. The Artetatrain keeps powering forward and Edu’s pockets are full of shiny change.

Who it will be I have not got a clue, but I am sure it will be a 22-25 year old with bags of potential.

Bring it on!!!

TotalArsenal 🚀 ⚽

Arteta delivered an almost perfect overture to his brilliant imminent Arsenal Opera

Imagine you are Arteta and in your head is a great opera that you want your musicians to perform? You have got the funding and trust of the Opera house owners. You know it is going to be epic but also that it will take a lot of ups and downs, sweat and tears and change of players to get there.

And then you see your team, for once from the enforced privacy of your own home, perform such a great overture, the orchestral piece at the beginning of your great opera to come!

What a joy this must have given him. To see his team put that of his former master under such constant pressure, to play with such bravura and hear his sweet melody in the performances, hear the spectators purr over his team’s clever and silky movements and interludes.

He has had eggs thrown at him, been pelted with derision and raw, unfiltered anger, but Mikel persevered. Some musicians didn’t want to play to his tunes, others simply couldn’t; but those who wanted to and could do it stuck with him and he stuck with them and made them believe in themselves.

Yesterday, they delivered a great Mendelssohn-esque overture to him and the loyal supporters; one that went still flat at the end but offered so many delights and so much promise!

All players were so in tune for almost the entire performance.

Xhaka got punished for a moment of over-eagerness, instinctively knowing that a goal would be scored if he didn’t try to make a last gasp intervention. He got VARed.

Big Gab’s passion was cruelly doubly punished by an unforgiving referee.

Youthfulness/singlemindedness made the fabulously talented Martinelli not see his better positioned fellow players at the heat of a few crucial moments.

So there are lessons to be learnt and compositional tweaks to be made to produce the perfect overture to the grand Opera that will surely play and play at THOF and in venues across Britain and Europe for years to come.

Upwards and onwards fellow Gooners and never forget those lovely overture tunes from yesterday: the day that conductor Arteta, albeit away from the scene, truly announced himself to the World.

TotalArsenal.

Five Arsenal Transfer Window Questions For You

The transfer window is about to open and Arsenal can make some clever purchases and sales to build further on Arteta’s excellent team development progress.

Despite the team scoring goals for fun at the moment, the remaining key area to focus on is our attack.

In order to have a bit of debate, here are five quick fire questions for you?

  1. What to do with Auba? Sell if possible, give a final chance to redeem himself or loan him out?
  2. Given Laca’s great fit in the team and his work rate, should we offer him an attractive contract? Or is he the next Ozil/Auba potentially?
  3. Eddie Nketiah: sell or desperately try to keep him and why?
  4. Who is the best fit beast of a CF out there Arsenal realistically have a chance of buying this January?
  5. Should we play Martinelli or Laca play as CF from now on and buy a left winger instead? If so, who?

TotalArsenal

Arsenal v Norwich lineup: Shinkansen Start, the Beasts in Midfield, BAMM up top?

Arsenal are back in business at Carrow Road today, where they face the league’s bottom club. The Canaries are a philosophical lot as they have become used to going down and up between the two top leagues almost constantly, and that’s what I like about their supporters.

On paper this is a great opportunity to bag three big points and make it 35 points for the first half of the season, and our only real risk here is bad refereeing and, especially, complacency. But hopefully the boys have learnt from our recent away trips in the North West and play with real determination for ninety minutes.

It looks like the Shinkansen is back and so I expect an unchanged back five. I always like watching Soares, though, and would be happy to see him having another start.

In mmidfield it is likely to be the Beasts Xhaka and Partey again, and upfront we should see another start for the BAMM boys – Bukayo, Alex, Martinelli and Martin. Or maybe it will the BEAM boys with Emile starting instead of Martin?

My expected lineup is an unchanged one as it is working fine and the boys had a good rest. Changes are more likely to take place on Tuesday, but that’s for another day.

Expected Eleven:

Ramsdale

Bullet, Big Ben, Big Gab, Tigerney

Partey and XhakA- the Beasts

Bukayo, Martin, Martinelli

Alex the Warrior

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

TotalArsenal

12 Sources Of Arsenal Joy in 2021

Dear Bergkampesquerers 🙂

It has been a topsy-turvy year for us loyal Gooners but what a joy it is to witness and be part of the great Arteta revolution. I realise that not everybody has joined the Arteta-train as yet, and indeed some will probably never do so and disappear into the background (a real shame); but for those who believe in Arteta’s ability to take our great club to great heights once more, the green shoots of recent months are a real joy to behold.

Mikel is building something special and I urge you to re-watch the recent game against West Ham to see how far the team has come. Despite the manager fielding such a young team, at times it can play with real maturity, great focus and work rate; and for me the game against the Hammers showed what this team is ALREADY capable of. There are still areas for improvement and the team remains a work in progress. Especially away against the bigger clubs we need to show more composure and a self-belief that we will beat our opponents in those famous dens of adversity such as Old Toilet and Goodison Park.

But there were so many sources of joy coming from this team in 2021:

  1. The roaring, never give up goalkeeping by Aaron;
  2. The Japanese bullet train of Tomiyasu;
  3. The calm, great positioning and fine forward runs by Big Ben;
  4. The gladiatorial presence and superb timing of Big Gab;
  5. The tigerish forward running and great crosses of both Tierney and Tavares;
  6. The intelligent play and well-measured forward passes of Sambi;
  7. The control and structure-giving qualities of Xhaka and Partey;
  8. The dances into the box of unstoppable Bukayo;
  9. The re-emergence of the goal-focused Martinelli;
  10. The smoothness and silkiness of the Ode (to Joy) and Emile the Great – including their goals from midfield positions;
  11. The work rate and battle-preparedness of Laca;
  12. And the hunger of the wider squad players to make it into the first team.

It has been a difficult year for all of us with Covid-19 continuously rearing its ugly head and the associated uncertainty regarding work, the health of/time with family and friends, our personal health etc.

I would like to thank Arteta and the boys for bringing me so much joy during this often dark year and for making me believe again in better times for the club.

I would also like to thank from my Gooner’s heart my friends on Bergkampesque for the support and human warmth given to me and fellow bloggers. We don’t all have to agree with each other, and indeed we often don’t, but in general we showed great respect towards each other and together we have helped each other through an often difficult year.

A special thank you goes to wonderful GoonerNr5 who so diligently and enthusiastically runs the footie competitions for us on BK. Please give him a round of applause from wherever you are in the world!

So here is to more supporter-harmony in 2022, the year of the Three Swans, and for further progress (but most likely not linear).

Who knows what the new year will bring in terms of final position in the table and maybe even some silverware. All to play for!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and harmonious 2022!

TotalArsenal.

Arsenal v Sunderland Lineup: Last Chance Saloon for Some?

The Black Cats are coming to the Home of football for a place in the league Cup semi finals, and this is a great opportunity to give the wider squad players a chance to shine.

Of course we should not underestimate our opponents but the same goes for our squad.

Almost all players are fit but I am assuming that Sambi and Mari are still out because of Covid-19.

So I reckon this may be our Starting 11:

Leno

Soares, White, Holding, Tavares

Elneny, Ainsley

Pepe, Emile, Auba/Balogun

Eddie/Balogun

Auba could make a return for this one and if not I think the writing will be on the wall.

Some big Guns will be on the bench no doubt.

Looking forward to this one.

CoyrrGs!!!

By TotalArsenal

Who Should Captain Arsenal? My Choice is The Prodigal Son

Auba disgraced himself and has been unceremoniously stripped from the captaincy. A good choice by Arteta and now we need a new captain, but who’s the right man?

It all depends on how important a captain (still) is and what qualities are valued for wearing the armband, I guess.

So this is my question to you: who should be captain and why him?

I predict there will be a mixture of candidates which underlines IMHO how much progress Arteta has made with attracting the right sort of characters to the club.

For me the following players are a serious option, in no particular order: Big Gab, Big Ben, Xhaka, Ramsdale, Tierney, Odegaard, Laca (if he signs a new contract) and Smith Rowe.

I know this will not be hugely popular, but I would reinstate Granit. He should not have thrown the shirt to the ground during that infamous day but to me it actually showed how much he cares for the team and his family. I think in effect the ‘prodigal son’ still is the captain as all other players look up to him AND he is the organiser/conductor of the team. He signed a new contract, worked his socks off to be fit again as soon as possible and Arteta has a great bond with him. So it’s Granit for me, although I can also live with any of the other options mentioned above.

What do you think fine, fellow Gooners?

By TotalArsenal