Six Team Boosts for Arteta To Push Arsenal Onward and Upwards

It is great to have momentum in terms of quality of our football and latest results, but it is even better when the boss gets a number of team boosts on top of that.

This is the latest team news from

  1. Gabriel Martinelli
    Right ankle. Gabi turned his right ankle during the warm-up against Newcastle United on Saturday and was subsequently taken out of the starting line-up.
    Gabi has progressed very well and we’re hoping that he will return to full training with the squad in the next few days.

2. Gabriel Magalhaes
Gabriel is now back in full training and is available for selection for Thursday’s match.

3. Thomas Partey
Thomas is now back in full training with the squad after recovering from an injury to the left thigh. Thomas continues to regain full fitness and will be assessed ahead of Thursday’s match.

So with eight games between now and the weekend of 8 February possibly to come in all competitions, it is great to have these quality players return to the squad. We will be playing Crystal Palace, Newcastle again, Southampton or Shrewsbury in the cup, Southampton (again?), Manchester United, Wolves, Aston Villa, and then the next round of the FA Cup if we get through. This is a great set of games to put our teeth in and try and get as many good results as possible.

In defence we get back Gabriel and he will be ready to give the likes of Mari and Holding a break. Will he walk straight back into the team? Well both Mari and Holding have done very well with just one goal conceded in the premier league in recent matches, so he may have to wait. But sooner or later Big Gab will get his chance again. He is just too good to leave out for long and we have plenty of games to come.

In midfield we should finally get to see Partey again. His best game was obviously against the Mancs and they are coming to THOF on 30 January. Let’s hope he will have played a few games by then so he is ready for the big one. Elneny has played a lot of games recently so it is good for Mikel to have an extra option again.

In attack we could do with the fantastic energy and drive of young Martinelli, a special talent with great eagerness to win. The combo of Martinelli, ESR and Saka behind Laca is the most exciting one right now, and hopefully we will see them in action soon.

These are all fantastic boosts, but there is more to come:

4. Thinning out the squad this month will leave better and more air to breathe for those who stay on. We have too many players whose futures are in jeopardy and this distracts from the obvious goal of becoming a close unit with the single goal of becoming a better and better, cohesive footballing machine.

5. The above may enable Arteta to get another player who will strengthen his team further. We do need to get a better nr2 goalkeeper asap and there are one or two further areas in the squad that could do with strengthening.

6. It will also allow Arteta to promote a few new youngsters, especially after a few of the current wider squad go out on loan. Fresh young blood may just give the whole team another boost.

So plenty to look forward to and Mikel will be feeling much, much better a months or so ago.

By TotalArsenal.

29 thoughts on “Six Team Boosts for Arteta To Push Arsenal Onward and Upwards

  • Cheers PB, had forgotten about Rob. Now that is another boost… Expect him to play with an extra spring in his step.

    I think four is a given, but five and six are indeed more opportunities. Fair point.

  • Do you expect a GK signing in January?
    Will/can Rúnarsson be sold? Because loaning him out while buying a keeper with more potential would seem like a short-sighted decision.
    Maybe Hein & Okonkwo could be involved in a more senior capacity?

  • You might be right. But it would bury the 2 U23 goalkeepers, though, who could become long-term # or maybe #1 goalkeepers if given the trust as well as the senior minutes.
    Hein is already the #1 keeper of Estonia, and Jeorge Bird holds Okonkwo in an even higher regard – albeit he is probably biased…
    I don’t know how they would compare to Iliev or Macey in a couple of years, as it is hard to break into the first team as goalkeepers, but I wouldn’t give up on them. If Leno can hold the fort alone this season (with the young deputies), we might have a favorable situation at our hands in the GK department,

  • I’m sure that I read somewhere that Okonkwo is like Balogun, out of contract this summer, so maybe the club might promote Hein in front of him as Hein is signed up till 2022?

    I’m not 100% but I suspect that Okonkwo and Balogun have the same agent, so there’s a pattern forming it seems…

    I think if we sign a new No.2 goalkeeper then the club should look to quickly move Runarsson on, either on loan or permanently, he just looks too flaky to me.

    Rob, so I believe has signed until 2024 with an extra years option, so in essence until 2025.

  • I saw Macey play for Hibernian last evening and I thought he did ok, no chance with the Celtic goal but he looked confident and solid and certainly no worse than Runarsson, but then I’m not a goalkeeping coach…

  • Okonkwo has the same agent as Azeez (and Olowu), while Balogun belongs to the same group as Sancho, Saka, Nelson and Nketiah.
    If we could sell Rúnarsson that would be a different story, but sending him on loan wouldn’t solve a thing (as we had this problem with Iliev), and I’m not sure which club would consider paying the above average wages of a relatively short goalkeeper, who is looking for his next club after less then 4 month of his high profile transfer.

  • Martinelli news is good but confirms what i suspected though… he might be a bit of a baby.. cried in agony this pre game injury, turned out not to be serious, but everyone watching in the stadium, including Arteta thought it was very bad from his reaction. Also when he got kicked a couple weeks ago.. kind of Neymar like responses. I hope all future moments like that turn out to be nothing. I am hoping for him to be the next Salah or Alexis.

    On the keepers, too much risk in Europa, top 6 fight, to go with just Leno. Annoying AF if we have another quality kid running down a contract. I’d take care of that agent Clinton style. Problems solved.

  • PB, I trust Jeorge Bird’s assessments a lot, I don’t think he’s biased in any way; he can be quite ruthless with kids when he thinks they won’t ever cut the grade. Every time I’ve seen a kid play after reading Jeorge’s assessment of him, I’ve thought to myself that he was right in the bull’s eye, which is why I trust him about Okonkwo too.
    As for Runarsson, I was so taken aback by his first two games in an Arsenal shirt, that I mailed a few friends who watch a lot more of Ligue 1 than I do, and it seems the poor kid has been the punchline of every joke about goalkeeping in Ligue 1, for quite some time, so I think it was a panic buy if ever there was one.
    Mates, I have to admit I don’t like the taste of what’s going on with some of our british youngsters, either because they’ll soon be out of contract (Balogun, Okonkwo), or because they’ve fallen from grace with Mikel for reasons I can’t fathom (Chambers, Ainsley), or again because some lukewarm performances make us forget what extraordinarily gifted kids they are (Joe, Reiss) … I like all of them a lot as players, and I really don’t get why they’re not trusted more.
    But there’s more: in times of Brexit, and with stricter homegrown rules about to be implemented, the way their careers at The Arsenal are dealt with at the moment, doesn’t look particularly wise to me …
    I hope all these situations will be sorted out soon, but right now, I do wonder where all this is going …

  • Funny you say that, LeG. We only see what is happening on the service of course, but is Arteta not giving everyone a chance? The bar is high in the PL and so are expectations of Arteta, and those that make the grade are rewarded with more games and improved contracts. Could it be that your expectations are not realistic given the circumstances?

    Willock and Nelson were well below par against Newcastle but it doesn’t mean they will not get further chances. Yet they will have to claim their stake at some point because this is top sport.

    Contracts need to be signed by both parties and we must be wary of confirmation bias. We don’t take part in the negotiations and we cannot assume that the club are being rubbish about it.

  • Apparently LG and that’s if I’ve got this right, there has been a new list of rules drawn up by the FA and Home Office concerning foreign signing coming into the UK, work permits etc and it isn’t based on International caps anymore but on 1st team appearances. It actually makes is easier at first glance for British clubs to bring in players from South America, Africa and the rest of the world than it was before, but of course the devil is in the detail and we’ll have to see how it’s operated and policed.

    I think and trust that the football authorities and those government depts concerned realise that the strength of the Premier League is in it’s cosmopolitan make up and how that attracts so many worldwide fans, it is a world League from the owners downwards, it’s also a major driver of tax revenue so you fiddle with that at your peril if you’re a bureaucrat ….

  • Cheers, TA
    I don’t think I ever used the adjective rubbish, TA, but there are things I don’t agree with you, that’s for sure.
    I don’t agree that Joe and Reiss were well below par against Newcastle. In a team that underperformed in the first half, they just went through the motions, and yes – I wrote this during the game – Reiss had two very poor touches in the box, but it was his first game after a long time (he didn’t look fit to me), and it is obvious that the kid doesn’t feel confident – and that is a managing problem imo.
    Now I find it strange that our youngsters’ below par games should be judged that ruthlessly, when players like Pépé/Willian/Soares should be given all the time in the world to justify their paycheck, I do believe it should be the other way round, at least this is how the Willian deal was sold to us.
    When I see Pépé/Willian underperform (especially Willian), I can’t help but think that this playing time should have been Reiss’s, about whom we always seem to never take into account what he has already proven at top-level, like being the youngest player ever to reach the goal-tally that was his in Bundesliga. And when I see Joe not being picked, I can’t help but think that he’s like a kid whose parents always highlight the flaws, not the qualities. He was more than decent, in a poor side, against City in the Carabao, but was benched again the following game, (so I don’t think your “rewarded with more games” is true), how can such a young guy not wonder what he has to do to be trusted more? Most people also seem to never take into account his goalscoring stats, which in midfield only Aaron’s match, over a much longer period of course. In the same order of ideas, Calum was very good, either against Vienna, or against Dundalk – but never heard from since.
    Now contracts having to be signed by both parties, I don’t think I ever wrote the opposite, and this is precisely what I’m worried about. I think some circumstances are the ones under which real talented dealers in such things come to the front. Of course, I’ve never been one of them, but I don’t think it takes any special talent to get 31-y-o Auba to sign his behemoth extension, or Soares and Willian to sign the deals we offered them, which must have looked like manna from heaven to them. Obviously, Balogun/Okonkwo’s advisers are tougher nuts to crack – I, for one, expect those in charge at the club to crack precisely those.
    Look, TA, what I see at the moment is that Soares/Willian/Pépé/Luiz/Elneny are always picked, however bad their performances might be (Luiz’s and Mo’s are almost always more than decent, I know that), while MNiles/Chambers/Nelson/Willock/Balogun are not (and Eddie doesn’t seem to be any longer), however good their performances might be (please don’t tell me that Joe’s and Reiss’s have always been below par). So there’s a pattern here (and if we think of the homegrown rule only, a worrying one indeed), the look of which I don’t like, because I think Hale End (or a core of British players) should be the cherished soul of this club, and “foreign” players be bought and played only when they represent an undisputable upgrade to what we have in store (we had no left-footed CB before Mikel took over, for instance, and Nacho had no real successor before Kieran turned up).
    Lastly, I think it’s harder, but a lot more rewarding, work, to get your youngsters to reach their full potential, than to buy, buy, and buy again – and the second strategy is sustainable only because those who should be accountable for a club’s dilapidated money are allowed to get away with their costly blunders – they are the ones I tend not to forgive much, not the young players who have difficulty climbing the very last steps the highest of mountains, and should be given a helping hand.

  • You are correct Total, you know me so well… 😀

    I actually need to replenish my biscuit (cookie that is for our North American friends) supply as I am a bit of a biscuit connoisseur.

  • Cheers LeG, I can tell you are passionate about this, which is great 🙂

    You are not the only one to pick on the experienced players almost relentlessly and keep calling for more youth players to be used. The blogs are full of them. I detest the whole pay cheque argument especially. I am critical of the likes of Pepe and Willian when it is deserved, but there was no doubt in my mind that they played better on the night than Joe and Reiss. I did not slaughter them and give them a three but they were well below PL level on the night. It looks like they will struggle to get into the team for a while longer but it cannot be said that Arteta is not giving them chances. But we are at the business end now and Arteta is under pressure. AMN may have impressed you but not Arteta and I am inclined to trust Mikel’s judgement. He has a big squad and has to make difficult decisions for every game. Very different from us armchair managers…

    Yet he has used a big number of young players this season, probably more than any top club and is not afraid to bench top players. But of course they also can suffer from low confidence and lack of form and Arteta has to help them too. They are not machines and are trying to adept to Arteta’s tactics which is clearly a work in progress. So my stance is to support all players and the manager, and I use the blog to do so.

    I think he is doing a phenomenal job with the whole squad which I don’t think is recognised enough.

  • Morning all,

    Total & PB just a reminder that I’m missing your predictions.

    Wolverhampton v W.B.A.
    Leeds v Brighton
    Leicester v Southampton
    Liverpool v Manchester United
    Arsenal v Newcastle
    Vlf Wolfsburg v RB Leipzig

  • Wolverhampton v W.B.A.=H
    Leeds v Brighton=D
    Leicester v Southampton=H
    Liverpool v Manchester United=4-1
    Arsenal v Newcastle=H
    Vlf Wolfsburg v RB Leipzig=D

    Cheers GN5 ⚽

  • So Arteta gave first team opportunities this season to Holding, Martinelli, Saka, Eddie, Ceballos, AMN, Nelson, Joe, Chambers, ESR. Many were able to make a mark and others not (as yet). Not bad if you ask me. 😊

  • I’m on Le Gall’s side on the topic.
    I think there are a bit of a double standard around the guys. Not a huge and outrageous type, but still unsettling. We can philosophize whether the absolute lack of double standards exists or not, but that’s not the point. We all have our own favorites and slight biases (e.g. TA gave Elneny 2.5 [50%!] higher rating to Mo than Wilock and Nelson at the same game, 2 points [40%] higher to Saka, 1,5 [30%] higher to Willian, who got 3 from Arseblog, Standard and 2 from The Football Network, all 2 clear points lower than our lads from the same news outlet), but that’s not the point. The commentators perception makes a huge influence on how we live and remember the game, thus they can – and unfortunately do – influence the games all the time. For the same sequence of actions they might praise a player (usually Saka) to have the courage to take a shot, and always doing something positive with the ball and blame Pepe not to look for a pass and “he should be disappointed not to hit the target”. That is happening literally every time. I’m not sure they do it on purpose (with a clear agenda), but p*sses me off when one cross has been “put in dangerously, and the defender had to position perfectly to clear as the Arsenal striker would have surely slotted it home” and another (seemingly identical) was “wasted as the defender headed away effortlessly”.

    I agree with TA that Willock was wasteful in possession and spoiled the biggest chance of the game, but he was surprisingly effective in defense on the other hand. But regarding Nelson I think most of the critics are unfair as he didn’t have all the opportunities to screw up: about the same time as Willian received the ball 31 and Willock 43 times, Reiss got only 15 balls. Without further information one could say it was his own fault not to appear in more inviting and dangerous, but if we check Adrian Clarke’s Breakthrough video analyzing our win over Newcastle
    especially at 5:00 when he compares Willian’s and ESR’s positioning in the AM role we can clearly see that the Brazilian played the #10 role from the right wing squeezing Nelson out of position. But the canonical morale of the game for 19 fans out of 20 that Willock and Nelson equally blew their chances and ESR and Saka were needed to win the game. Which sentence contains of valid information, yet neither of the parts are true.

    By the way, Adrian got the same conclusion which I commented during the game, e.g.: that Mari was the Man of the Match, so I assume he was right in his other observations, too. 🙂

  • Thanks for the reminder, Le Gall.

    Wolverhampton v W.B.A. H
    Leeds v Brighton H
    Leicester v Southampton D
    Liverpool v Manchester United H (2-1)
    Arsenal v Newcastle H
    Wolfsburg v RB Leipzig A

  • Wow PB, maybe the surprise of Elneny and Saka getting much better scores than Reiss and Joe shows your bias! 😁

    The difference between the two pairs was indeed significant imo. They played at a different level in that game and that is what most of us could see. The scores are of course subjective but be careful accusing me of bias.

    Arseblog like the BBC do average scores from a large number of pundits and are therefore a poor guide imo. BTW I don’t watch many games with the commentary on. Have a look at and you will see pretty similar scores to mine. 🤩

    But I have to say I am still struggling to understand what your comment has to do with the discussion I am having with Monsieur Legall 😳😳

  • I’m very sorry if you feel I’m relentlessly attacking some of our players, TA; I never meant to be. How I wish we were having this conversation in a pub, after attending an Arsenal game side by side. A few pints’d help me clarify things (that’s what they usually do).
    I think what I can’t get my head around is the discrepancy between decisions that have been made at the club lately.
    Some (Marti, Gabriel, Mari, Kieran, Rob, Mo’s return …) appear to me as shining examples of what a well-managed club can pull; but some (Auba’s extension, £72m Pépé, Willian, Soares, Saliba, Balogun, Ainsley/Calum, Rúnarsson …) well … I just don’t see the logic in them, as though one managing team had dealt with the first six situations, and an altogether different one had dealt with the last – and when I mention money, it’s just because I think what a club pays for is a player performing from the very first games he plays, so that when he doesn’t after half a season, he becomes open to criticism.
    As for Mikel, I think I’ve written before the way I admire how such a young coach has had it in him to dramatically turn things around (after Brighton during the restart, after the Carabao City game this season). Having said that, I’m really not convinced our Hale End youngsters are treated by him like the wonderkids they are; I wish I was, but I’m not. Bukayo was slotted in by Unai; had Willian been available, Emil might well have been loaned by now, Joe/Reiss/Folarin/Ainsley are the very reasons this discussion takes place, and I also do not have a very pleasant memory of the way Emiliano was treated last year before Bernd was injured, in particular when he was benched for the EL Olympiakos game.
    The current golden Hale End generation being taken good care of is all I ask; now if the plan is to sell Reiss/Folarin/Eddie/Joe so that in a near future we might cheer a Mbappé/Haaland attack in Arsenal kits, what could I do but tip my hat to the planners?

  • Cheers, LeG. A couple of pints in a up with you would be bliss! 😁

    Re ‘but some (Auba’s extension, £72m Pépé, Willian, Soares, Saliba, Balogun, Ainsley/Calum, Rúnarsson …)’

    Auba: all pundits said it was vital that Arsenal kept hold of him and I certainly agreed back then.

    Pepe: agreed a bad choice.

    Willian: too early to judge but risk of failure is in the air. I think he will come good soon

    Soares: good back up RB

    Saliba: young and too early to tell

    Ainsley/Chambers: not impressing Arteta enough at the moment it seems

    Runarsson: yes looks like a bad buy

    Good to debate with you, LeG, and we do not have to agree on everything 👍🏿🙂

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