Best Super Talent Since Cesc, The Laca/Eddie Swap-Deal, What Leno Needs: Eight Observations Arsenal v Hammers

We have had Alezkev’s precise player ratings already, now let’s focus on a bit of post-game analysis.

Eight observations from a game that brought us down to earth – just what we needed:

  1. I am loving the CF ’60/30 swap deal’ we have at the moment. There is Laca who always prepares for a ‘bruises and scratches’ battle with the opposition’s defenders; and there is Eddie who uses his energy so efficiently and effectively and always looks so robotically in control, without him lacking passion though. I know there is still doubt amongst some Gunners but just look at Nketiah’s movement and positioning and then his composed finishing. This guy will become better and better and he is keeping Laca on his toes, even though I don’t think he needs that. I hope we see a lot of 60/30 minutes per game between them, and either of them can start the game if you ask me.
  2. As Kev pointed out in the previous post, we have scored five goals and our captain only scored one of them. Are we starting to spread the goals out or is Pierre just waiting for the Pool game?! 🙂 It is early days of course, but it would be great if we can keep sharing the responsibility for making the opponents’ nets buckle between a number of attackers and other players. That would be real progress.
  3. Leno has to fill a big hole. We all fell in love with Martinez Happinez over the last few months, and we are missing our big teddy bear in goal. But Leno is also a great keeper and I still think the better one and we have to stay behind him, as confidence and support means everything to any player, especially a goal keeper. Martinez had the benefit of a settled ‘three at the back’ in front of him, yet Leno had to work with brand new organiser-CB Gabriel and without Luiz until now. And Kolasinac simply is not at the same level as Tierney. Still, Leno only conceded one goal and he had no guilt in that one. So let’s all get behind Bernd the beast in goal.
  4. We lost our shape and composure v the Hammers and, to me, it felt like a step backwards. Emery struggled to get the midfield balance right (and so did Arsene in his last years) and this will remain Areta’s biggest challenge. We allowed 14 Hammers’ shots of which three were on target; these are the sort of stats we used to see under Unai. Although we had 63% of possession we only managed half of Hammers’ shots. At Fulham we allowed just 5 shots all game, yet we had 13 shots ourselves at the Fulham goal. That is quite a swing. The late loss of Tierney made a difference but, as you will expect of me by now, I believe swapping Ceballos for Elneny as Xhaka’s partner was the biggest cause of our regression. This does not mean that Ceballos had a bad game necessarily. He did some good attacking and defensive moves, but positionally and physically he does not offer what is required in our team as yet. Elneny does. We need two hairy-arsed yet technically good carpenters in deep-midfield and leave the creative woodwork to our attackers. 3-4-3 demands it, our defence needs it, and our attack will NOT suffer from it. The Xhaka-Elneny combo will push up better and keep it tight and THEN the likes of Willian, Saka but also Xhaka and Elneny, or Ceballos in a more advanced position, will pick the creative passes much easier.
  5. Willian had a decent game but as per observation four I think he performs much better with a more solid, regularly high pressing midfield, so he does not have to track back too much and has players to combine with in attack AND midfield. He still delivered a fine ball for Saka and the young Englishman should have done better with his chance, but Arteta will need to get the balance in midfield right to get the best out of our fine Brazilian.
  6. Talking about Saka, it is so good to have him back in the team. I love AMN’s solidness in defence/midfield, especially when we need this, but when Bukayo has the ball you know things could happen. I think he was quite keen to do well and perhaps a bit nervous and/or rusty, but boy he delivered some finely-weighed, Ozilesque, key passes which led to our goals. Bukayo is a super talent, perhaps the best we have had since Cesc. He needs a run of games now and I hope we see him again on Wednesday and Monday.
  7. Gabriel is quality. You can tell he is finding his way in our team and sometimes he is struggling to hide his bewilderment at the way we can defend as a team, yet he keeps a cool head and is so effective when it matters. Big Gab will raise the standards in defence in no time. I cannot wait to see the Holding(Saliba)-Luiz-Gabriel partnership to get some games under their belt.
  8. West Ham deserved a point from that game, maybe even more. We got away with it to some extent. But our sheer hunger to get all three points got us there in the end and that was great to see. JW1 put it very well in the previous post: “The old-school term (over here for what Arsenal accomplished is ‘winning ugly’. I was a big fan of that in my day when required. Perseverance tempered by experience. That once you’ve done it frequently enough– it becomes second nature when called-for.” How often did we see Ferguson’s MU win games in which they were below par? Far too many, but successful teams need to be dogged… a resolve to fight till the end and not just rely on technical quality alone… and we have been without it for far too long. Hopefully, under Arteta we will get the perfect mix of quality and winners-mentality. We have come down to earth again and that is just what we needed after all the good post lock-down games and our FA cup win. We have a battle to fight in each and every game… and thank you Hammers for reminding us of this for free!

By TotalArsenal.

43 thoughts on “Best Super Talent Since Cesc, The Laca/Eddie Swap-Deal, What Leno Needs: Eight Observations Arsenal v Hammers

  • Sorry it’s late (dues to my PC dying) but here are the First week of the Competition’s results.
    We have a run away winner who got all four of the games played correct –

    Take a bow Mr. Gooneris you get 4 points for getting the results of all four games played correct plus for being the weekly winner you also get 4 bonus points..

    You leave all of us mere mortals with a lot of work to do to surpass your achievement –
    well done Sir.

  • One thing was clear to me in the Last game. We sold the wrong keeper… Can’t remember how many high balls looked like they were going to end in a disaster… Balls that Martinez grabbed with no fuss at all.
    Let’s hope it’s not the case

  • Just read through your 8 points TA.
    Here are my brief responses.
    1. Saka is still a teenager with a lot to learn, he had a so so game against the Hammers, but made many key passes. I agree he should be on the pitch as much as possible – he needs the hardening that comes with game experience.
    2. It’s very good to see the goal scoring spread around – Auba had a quiet game but was electric whenever he got the chance – scoring comes naturally to him – I hope he earns the golden boot this season,
    3. I grieve for the loss of Martinez, but selling him was the right thing to do.
    4. Our overall performance was disappointing but we pulled a rabbit out of a hole and in the end scored the decisive goal..
    5. I thought that Willan had a poor game with far too many misplaced passes, but he is a quality player.
    6.I missed AMN – he deserves to keep his place even if he is the 30 in a 60/30.
    7.Gabriel is an outstanding purchase and will lead our defense for many years to come.
    8.West Ham deserve to feel hard done by as they were the better team for large stretches of the game and should have gone home with at least a point.

  • Just a rumor…
    Matteo Guendouzi plus cash to Chelsea for N’golo Kante.
    Snatch that, impolitely if necessary, if offered.


  • Emi just saved a PEN for Villa. Didn’t think Emi would be too busy– Sheffield at 10-men with their captain John Egan sent off at 12mins for obstructing a clear goal scoring opportunity.

    Egan attempting a WWE move on a Villa attacker. One of those where he got beat over the top– perfect ball against a high line. Should have tried to slow without grappling– let the keeper earn his pay. Instead United at a disadvantage much of the match.


  • I mentioned yesterday that I would start Elneny vs Liverpool, also think I want Ainsley in there too somewhere. We will miss Tierney badly, he is such a quality one v one defender with great positioning. Any chance we’d try playing with a false 9 against them? Give them a different look from when we spanked them last. Who would be a candidate for the role?

  • Good wrap up, TA. No. 8 said it all, for me. It was winning ugly, at its best but it is such wins that grows the confidence. The reason Arteta was so delighted afterwards was because he knows the “value” of wining even if not playing well. He broke into a big smile, punched the air, swivelled round to hug his assistants; the sign of a satisfied manager who knows it is a long season with many twists and turns, so 3 points on board is vital.

    I think Gabriel put in another good shift. Loved his physical battles with Antonio, the few times they crossed paths; Antonio quickly decided he would get more change off Holding than Gabriel. MoTM, alongside Laca, I posit. Leno must sit up and prove doubters wrong; his command of his area is his weak point, but it is something he can be better at with determination.

    Overall, there is room for improvement and for me, better now, to smoothen the rough edges.

  • GunnerN5, thanks for the kind words; I graciously accept the accolades. Thanks for making the effort to get the first week’s results sorted, despite losing the use of your PC.

    Well done to you too.

  • Is that rumour a joke? A Kante-Guendouzi swap deal? I will bite off their arms to get it done. Doubtful, though and may be a gambit to get Simeone and Partey a bit anxious at Atletico. With Kante in and Xhaka in place, you would only need Aouar to complete a formidable midfield three.

  • By the way, GN5, I am sure some will catch up with the results of Game week 2. I didn’t do too well at that one. 😅

  • Would it not be fantastic, Eris, a Guendouzi/Kante swap?! Never going to happen unless Lamps somehow loves the curly guy. I would dedicate a post to Chavs and thank them for giving us three fine players in just over one year.

  • Good to see Adrian Clarke also seeing Saka as our main man. Worth watching the analysis on as he words it better than me. Bukayo. Bukayo.

  • Morning all,

    Here are week 2 results of the competition.

    We have a three way tie between PB, LEGALL and JWL who each got four correct predictions – so I have awarded each of them 1.33 bonus points for a total of 5.33 points for the week.

    Overall the top five positions belong to –

    Gooneris – 11
    PB – 6.33
    LEGALL – 6.33
    JWL – 6.33
    Total – 4
    Kev – 4

  • Week 3 of results predictions.
    Lets see your choices.
    Liverpool v Arsenal
    Man City v Leicester
    Crystal Palace v Everton
    W.B.A. v Chelsea
    Spurs v Newcastle
    Inter Milan v Florentina

    I’ll add the selections to each new post prior to the weekend.

  • Liverpool v Arsenal: D
    Man City v Leicester: D
    Crystal Palace v Everton: D
    W.B.A. v Chelsea: A
    Spurs v Newcastle: H
    Inter Milan v Florentina: H

    Cheers, GN5

  • Liverpool v Arsenal – D
    Man City v Leicester – D
    Crystal Palace v Everton – A
    W.B.A. v Chelsea – A
    Spurs v Newcastle – H
    Inter Milan v Florentina – H

  • OK Eris The Pro.
    You got me in the World Cup comp our fellow BKer Shard hosted 2 years ago. By a single point.
    I demand satisfaction sir! 🙃

    Would very much like it if you were to join the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) not-so-private* mini-league that currently TA and I are the only joiners at present.

    Pushed back the start of the league– so Matchweek 3 is the actual beginning!
    Come on folks. Join up before kickoff this Saturday,
    Joining the league couldn’t be easier.
    Simply use the link below and you’ll be added automatically after you’ve entered the game.
    League Code: 2xkb78

    Do it. Live a little.

    *Not so private if I’m asking anyone who reads Bergkampesque to come play! 👍

  • Hmm, you’ve picked some real honey’s this week GN5.

    Liverpool vs Arsenal…….A
    Man City vs Leicester…..H
    CPalace vs Everton…….A
    West Brom vs Chelski…D
    Spuds vs Newcastle……H
    Inter vs Fiorentina……….H

  • With Luiz back [prays] and Gabriel at LCB.
    And Tierney back [prays], with AMN opposite [giving Salah what-for].
    Arsenal has a fighting chance against Pool [average in attack vs Chelsea till a RC].

    Liverpool v Arsenal Away
    Man City v Leicester Home
    Crystal Palace v Everton Away
    W.B.A. v Chelsea Away
    Spurs v Newcastle Home
    Inter Milan v Florentina Home


  • JW I’m with you. AMN in there with Tierney especially would really give me confidence. Plus starting Elneny who’s like an extra defender, and I think we could keep things close enough to take a win or at least a point with just a little luck.

  • Good job, GN5! Let me see how long I can stay on top….😎

    Liverpool vs Arsenal…….D
    Man City vs Leicester…..H
    CPalace vs Everton…….A
    West Brom vs Chelski…..A
    Spuds vs Newcastle……H
    Inter vs Fiorentina……….H

    I think we would be happy to take a point at Anfield. It won’t surprise me, though, if we go on and win it, just because we did it twice over the last couple of months.

  • Lol, jw1. Maybe I should just stay away so I can bask in the glow of having edged it during the WC competition, seeing as it is revenge you seek. 🤨
    I shall, however, take a look-see and decide. Hope it isn’t going to be emotionally draining (I see my nephews lament about a poor decision or some loss of points, like it was a life and death situation). The boys can get very intense at times.

  • Liverpool vs Arsenal H
    Man City vs Leicester D
    CPalace vs Everton D
    West Brom vs Chelski A
    Spuds vs Newcastle H
    Inter vs Fiorentina H

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