In our vacuum of post-European exit and not much to fight for – other than the off chance of still finishing in a position that will see us play in Europe somehow – the only thing we could ask and hope for is committed performances by the team. And that is exactly what we are getting. It means there is still spirit in our team and there is trust in Mikel Arteta, and there is nothing more valuable than that.
The Tuchel Train was on full speed and Arsenal could have easily buckled under this enormous force, but Arteta was not going to have it. We sat deep and sucked up pressure all game long. Jose Mourinho will have been proud of Mikel, no doubt. 😀
We had two great bounces of the ball going our way, to be fair: the wasted opportunity by Havertz after Mari got caught out and then the pounce of the Gunner-Hyenas a few minutes later that led to the only goal after a bad back pass. 1-0 the Arsenal it was and stayed, and the boys fought for it. Holdingho, Mari and Big Gab were a wall to reckon with; big-sausage-legs Tierney was on fire; Saka played with tactical discipline; Elneny and Partey did tons of dirty work; artists Ode and Auba put in a great shift and ESR was our star man. It was of course no total football and the purists will have suffered, but the rebuilding started two games ago and Arsenal have to reinforce the foundations and walls first… and that they did.
I am pleased we were able to win a couple of games without (my current favourite) Granit in the team. For a long time, we struggled to win games without him leading the team tactically, but we have looked good without him in those games. The Partey-Elneny combo was especially strong and I hope to see more of it in the future. But the big, big plus were ESR’s performances in the recent games. Emile was totally in his element and it was great to see him work the ball and space around him with very intelligent yet instinctive football. Against West Brom he played well but Saka stole the show; against Chelsea it was ESR turn to be our MOTM.
Arteta can build a team around these two super talents, especially if they are supported by a no-nonsense midfield and a number of centre backs with a great work ethic. In Auba and Laca we have attackers who will score plenty of goals if we create chances for them; and they have done so much more since the start of the new year. In Tierney and Pepe we have players who will grow over the coming years and are likely to become better and better. There are some good experienced wider-squad players to use like Cedric, Willian (just give him one more season to come good hopefully) and (now possibly) Xhaka. And then there are some promising youngsters to hopefully add to the team’s skill-set and ability. Buy a couple of players and let a few more go, and Bob’s your uncle.
Emile Smith Rowe, Rowe the Boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily. merrily
Life is but a dream.
48 thoughts on “Emile Smith Rowes the Boat Gently Down the Stream to Derail the Tuchel Train”
Good morning Total and thank you for another uplifting post.
I’m 100% with you on building a team around our fine group of youngsters, watching the amount of effort they put in and the skill they display is very satisfying and exciting.
I also tend to agree with you on your other comments, but I must admit that Auba worries me, why did he appear to be sulking when he was subbed? – very strange indeed.
The one position that you did not mention was our goalkeeping, – I personally relive that this is out most vulnerable position. Leno, not unlike Auba, seems to have gone off of the boil. When I watch the performances of Fabianski, Martinez and Szczesney – I feel that they are all superior to our current keepers.
Auba sulking doesn’t bother me too much. It shows he has got some pride left.
Good point about the goalkeeper position. Leno may move on this summer.. and we maybe Arteta should encourage that. However, he did have a couple of good games recently, so may still come good..
Good one TA. What a player we have in ESR. How can you not love this guy? Absolutely love this guy and he glides on the pitch , has good control on the ball, always on the move and helps out defenses as well. Love him and hope he becomes a great player and wins trophies for us.
GN5 I agree with you on Leno. He doesn’t control his area to help defenders out, he doesn’t catch high balls enough and distribution is not great. Matty Ryan is great backup but we need someone to challenge Matty Ryan. I don’t believe we need to designate anyone as Number one. They both have to fight and challenge each other.
Thanks for the post Total, our lads are the heart and soul of our club so why would you not build the team around them? I’m as excited about the next two or three youngsters who could step up as I am about new signings and I reckon that they’ll be Balogun, Azeez and Cottrell.
Just a side note, if you rule out the players we don’t own, Odegaard, Ceballos and Ryan and you don’t include Luiz who seems set to leave but you include those returning from loans elsewhere like Kolasinac and Mavropanos, that leaves Arsenal with a full complement of 17 foreign players!
So a lot of work to be done as every signing we make will correspond with one of that 17 leaving as we’re likely to be making mostly cost effective foreign signings. Musical chairs methinks.
Well were we go – the changes have already started.
Luis to leave at the end of this season.
were = here we go
Yes Madhu, ESR glides like a boat on water.. 👣
Hey Kev, yes more changes are afoot.
I forgot to mention AMN and Joe W. They will come back stronger and wiser…
TA, love the post and the Rhyme to go with ESR’s rise and rise. United, in the 90s boasted about “the class of ‘92 for a while. Maybe, we do have something of a class of 2018-2021 to gloat about when you put all of Nelson, Saka, Nketiah (if he stays), Willock Balogun, Azeez, Cotterel and ESR together. In the defence, we could add Ballard to the mix, doing well as he is, on loan; Ainsley Maitland-Niles-Niles is a bit older but was a part of the academy until 2016/17. These all played together in the academy, at some point or the other.
I would sometimes watch clips of games involving our academy sides, a few years ago, and I used to think the likes of Saka, ESR, Balogun, Donyell Malen (Dutch youngster, left for PSV) Zech Medley, Ben Sheaf and John-Jules were all good enough to make the draft. I have been largely correct. Some have gone (and more may still go) on to other clubs to make a career for themselves
ESR, in particular, caught the eye, showing intelligence and control of the ball in tight spaces. Also possesses a sudden burst of speed that surprises markers. He still has a lot more to show/give, as evidenced in that slaloming run through the Chelsea defence, with a nut-meg on Thiago Silva to boot. He is capable of that and that’s one quality we need more of in our team.
Arteta can build on these with a sprinkling of other in-coming stars and we could have the foundations for many years of top flight status.
TA, by the way, my comment box has suddenly returned to order.
The news about David Luis leaving at the end of the season should give the likes of Saliba and Mavropanos renewed belief to come fight for a shirt. Diamond eye (Mislintat) is said to be looking to approach us about Mavropanos, however. Let’s see what our management team think about selling the player.
Somehow, I just feel a new goal keeper won’t be a bad idea for the side now. Just a well picked gloves man who possesses all the attributes we find our tactics require.
I am as hopeful as you about those youngsters who of course need experienced players around them to develop well.
Good to hear you have your big box back! 😁
I think Luiz has done a good job for us, but I will not be too sad to see him go given his age. With Holding, Mari, Big Gab and Chambers we have cover. Saliba and Mavro could add to the quartet.
Great piece on Odegard’s past and future.
Thanks for the article, GN5.
GN5, enjoyed the article on the young Norwegian star. I agree with the hype too. All he needs is a permanent home and he will shine and be the best he can be. Good thing, Arteta finds a way to play them together.
Guys we may be short on left sided center back as Gabriel is selected for Olympics. He will need a break and a pre season before he is ready which means atleast a month into new season we may have to use Mari and may be a back 3 till Gabriel returns.
Then in the middle is the season we will loose players for African Nations cup. Thomas, Elneny will not be available for more than a month. So it’s not going to be an easy season. We will need to keep AMN and willock in the team. We have to give them more minutes. I would think AMN can be replacement for Elneny and Willock for Ceballos.
Madhu, good point. Maybe Xhaka can play left CB occasionally?
Yeah Madhu, great point about next season, we have the Euros, Olympics and ACN, what a palaver!
I reckon that’s another good reason to be out of europe, we really do not need the Conference.
Everyone will be in the same boat, that’s for sure, all the top sides will have to deal with losing players.
Maybe it’s a season when we could do with loaning out less players than last? I mean Mavropanos might come into the equation and hanging onto Elneny might not seem as good an idea? Just saying.
It might also have an influence on who we sign, like Bissouma who plays for Mali (I think) and why we’re being linked with Sander Berge?
So definitely no Conference, less loans and bring on our Academy lads, sounds a plan…
Kev agree so we have to carefully evaluate end of season on the squad needed next season considering Euro, ACN, Olympics and conference league engagements. I for one would support the use of U-23 squad if we qualify for Europa Conference.
Not sure but isn’t William Saliba a left sided CB too? May be his chance to shine if Mari is unavailable, for any reason.
Pepe is also one eligible for the ACN, alongside Auba, Elneny and Partey. For the euros, we could have all of Saka, Bellerin, Cedric, Xhaka, Tierney and Leno to lose.
I’m not sure what side he plays on Eris, but Saliba is definitely an asset we need to utilise properly.
I’m wondering if Willian leaves and with Pepe missing effectively for 8 weeks of so of the season if we need to retain Reiss Nelson?
I’m hearing that Chambers is going to be offered a contract extension.
Saliba is right sided center back. So with Luiz going we have two right sided and two left sided centerback. If Mavro comes back he can paly right sided and so can Calum. We are short of left sided center backs.
Well done Leicester City, delighted for them.
Are the wheels coming off of the Chelsea bus?
I am so chuffed for Leicester City, beyond the joy of seeing Chelsea fall short at a cup win. The club has this fairy tale appeal for me; since winning the EPL title against the odds, they have had some painful experiences lately and it is just beautiful to see them win things like this, as underdogs.
Hats off to Brendan Rogers too. He looks like an honest hard working manager. He didn’t get it done at Liverpool, was able to re-launch his worth at Celtic and now returned to England to win the FA Cup. As it stands, he may get top 4 for CL next season. That’s a massive output in the season. Most don’t agree but he was one manager I didn’t think we would done much wrong going with, after Wenger.
All it takes is one more loss/draw and Chelsea may bottle even their top 4 hopes.
It was a harsh disallowed goal for the Chavs but I am also happy the Foxes won it.
Ta, it’s was more clear an offside than Saka toe! So it’s fair and that’s VAR has been dishing out all season. You could say Kante delayed the pass by nano second. Looks like Arsenal has thought the rest on how to beat Tuchels Chelsea.
These sorts of off site calls are ruining the game, Madhu. It just cannot be this marginal. Rules need changing.
Agreed TA, unless the rules are changed its the same for everyone. So fair game to liecester.
Agree, the offside call was marginal and this can be frustrating. However, a rule change can only be made at the start of a new season, for equity; we have suffered similar rulings and so have a few other sides and these decisions are so far reaching.
When one thinks of the many marginal decisions made in the past, pre-VAR, the goal stats for the likes of Linekar and Shearer may be affected……….just saying.
Agreed Kev. What about getting rid of off site all together? Could open up the game again?
Well yeah Total, I was chatting to a friend earlier about the Cup Final and I said that despite the deflection from the Leicester guys knee onto his hand I think that the quality of the goal and reaction to it made the VAR guys bottle it, how could they disallow that Tielemans goal, they would have been slated from all corners, but if you go on how decisions have been interpreted this season, you could easily say that that was a hand ball. The Chelsea goal was more cut and dried, he was offside and I know that you can argue over degrees but it was offside.
Personally I don’t see VAR adding anything but the cheer from the Leicester fans when the CFC goal was overturned was as loud as when they scored so it did add some drama.
Is it ethical and is it in the spirit of the game, those are difficult questions?
And I do not have the answer Totes.
VAR decisions should be clear and obvious infractions, and should not be decided by centimeters.
It was wonderful to witness the restoration of the mystique in the FA Cup. Leicesters emotions and celebrations were a joy to watch they were so excited and to see their owner bobbing up and down with them showed just how much it meant to both the ownership, management and players.
We have become used to the sterile reaction of teams who were expected to win – they took the joay out of the competition.
Thank you Leicester your post game celebrations were the type of excitement that winning the FA Cup was known for……………
Emi Martinez is set to finish below his old club and has conceded more goals which is ironic after some of the social media banter I heard that he was involved in during our slump earlier in the season.
What goes around eh Emi, thanks for the memories anyway…
That’s it, Kev, there’s too much subjectivity when VAR gets to do the call. Simplify it, train all VAR people the same stuff and install objectivity and consistency.
GN5, yes much better atmosphere after that final.
Kev, if Martinez had stayed would he by now have won the fight for being our Nr1 GK? I understood why we sold him / why he wanted to leave, but maybe both parties made the wrong call…
Here are this weeks prediction results:-
1st Eris & NJK with 3/6 plus 2 bonus points each
3d Kev & Total with 2/6
5th GN5 with 1/6
Season to date results:-
1st Kev with 131.33
2nd Eris with 129.66
3rd GN5 with 107.66
4th PB with 99.66
5th Total with 90.99
6th JW1 with 77.66
7th Le Gall with 27.33
8th NJK with 15.00
Here are my choices for the last week of the season:-
Arsenal v Brighton
Leicester v Tottenham ( correct score game)
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Manchester City v Everton
Wolverhampton v Manchester United
Atalanta v AC Milan
Before I announce the final season results I’m going to conduct a complete audit of each weeks results in case there are any human errors, made by GN5.
I created a spreadsheet to count your predictions on a weekly and year to date results – so the only errors could be in my input errors. It’s so close at the top that it would be wrong for someone to win or lose because I made an error.
So please bear with me, i will complete the audit this week and next week I will publish both the pre and post audit numbers.
Super stuff, GN5. 👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿
Arsenal vs Brighton…….. Home
Leicester vs Tottenham.. Draw (2-2)
Liverpool vs Palace…….. Home
Man City vs Everton……. Home
Wolves vs Man United… Away
Atalanta vs AC Milan….. Home
Kev, regarding the possible hand ball incident leading to the Leicester City goal, the latest rules suggest it is now permissible and so, the officials were in order to allow the goal.
IFAB, at its last AGM gave new rules governing handball incidents and though the new rules take effect from June, officials were to start the adoption of the provisions and data to be gathered from games. As it affects that incident, a section of the rule stated: “Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence”. The ball grazed the hand after the interception with the knee, which makes it “accidental” and this is permissible. Then again, it would have been a travesty to chalk off that strike.
Thanks for that Eris, and so opinion is once more to re enter the refereeing mindset.
I’ve gotta say that I thought that touching the players hand changed the trajectory of the ball but I would have hated to see the goal disallowed, it wasn’t deliberate just as Luiz’s trip at Wolves wasn’t deliberate but it cost us the game and that’s what annoys me, the double standards.
I think this standard makes more sense and tips the balance away from satisfying pedantic officials and towards the fans and the object of the sport the entertainment. The game isn’t about the referee, he isn’t the centre of the spectacle and never should be, he is just the component that oils the wheels, VAR has become far too obtrusive and that’s down to Riley and the way he officiated, it permeates every level at the PGMOL.
And so Chelsea lose another cup final and the Arsenal Woman remain the only English club that has won the Woman’s European Cup, but have you noticed how that’s hardly ever mentioned in the media, almost as if Arsenal’s win has been cancelled, that’s why I was quite pleased Barcelona won.
There definitely seems a recurrence of the rumour that Willian wants to leave Arsenal this summer as it’s popping up everywhere and nobody at Arsenal is refuting it. I wonder if we’ll get a fee or will it just be like Mkhitarayan where his contract was cancelled and it cost Arsenal nothing? I’m sure that he was offered a signing on fee when he joined us and that his agent got a nice fee for ‘helping’ ease the deal. Will any of that be repaid as was the case I understand with Mkhitarayan. I guess it’s all down to any lucrative deal that’s waiting for him out there?
I can see him move to Italy, Kev. A shame it didnt work out.
New Post 🙂