Top Quality in Every Position and Good Back-Up: Well done Arteta.

Well… almost so!

I know there are plenty of doubters out there, but the signing of White, Lokonga and Tavares have me in a very positive mood.

We need another left-footed LFB and Tavares could be a very good piece of business. Time will tell of course but first signs are good.

We needed a quality allround midfielder and Lokonga looks the bee’s knees. He will compete with ESR, Willock and Azeez to play in the centre of mifield. Again, looks like a good piece of business to me.

We needed a player who can play out from the back and Ben White is just that. With Holding in good form, I would expect him to play a lot in the coming season, so maybe White will play ahead of the defence instead… or maybe he will play in a back three of White-Holding-Big Gab. Whatever it is it will be exciting.

I would love us to play the Barca-style of a deep-laying midfielder, say Partey or White, with two pretty allround players in front of them. If I was to spend anymore money it would be on such a player and it looks like Arteta is looking for one right now. If Xhaka gets sold, which will depend on Roma being able to free up the cash (by selling a player themselves), expect a new midfielder to arrive. Of course we also have Azeez, Willock and AMN to fill the gap left behind by Xhaka but the question remains whether they are good enough to do so in the coming season. Elneny will be good cover in midfield too. I predict that two out of Xhaka, AMN, Elneny and Willock will be sold or put out on loan and a quality CAM will be bought.

Our attacks sorts itself out and either Eddie or Balogun will try and dislodge first choices Auba or Laca. I would also not be surprised to see one of Auba or Laca leave in the next five months or so and Arteta adding another, more allround, attacker to the squad.

Finally, we need another keeper who will put Leno under pressure.

So Arsenal are almost there and I cannot wait to see the season start. Yippie! 🙂

By TotalArsenal.

97 thoughts on “Top Quality in Every Position and Good Back-Up: Well done Arteta.

  • Thanks Total. You are getting a head of steam up, mate. I’m happy aboard that train, bound for the promised land of a new season. We will have a few Jordan’s to cross, some fierce battles to dislodge those others who lay claim to our rightful inheritance. Having purchased a ticket fifty years ago I have never lost that pre season buzz of anticipation and I share your pleasure in the squad additions and promotions. I am particularly interested in Ben White, a very resilient young man, whose personal history of overcoming set backs is inspiring.
    i appreciate PB’s forensic analysis and his repartee with you, every locomotive needs some one to touch the brakes every so often, just as every locomotive needs stokers to do what fans do… fan the flames… the exact thing which came to mind when I saw the photo you placed in your above post, a red and white fire erupting on the terraces.

  • Nice positive post, I like that you have Lokonga in there, and a question mark about Leno. I like him but I believe the rumors that he wants to leave. I think Ramsdale is being attempted because he’ll be the eventual number 1. So it’s not just a backup keeper we want. Xhaka is going I’m still sure. I want an active midfielder in his place.

    My hope and vision is that White becomes the distributor from deep, allowing the central mids to have more pressing and ball carrying skills. That is one of the things that could make White a bargain… having an extra dimension to his game that frees up other players to express themselves or exploit other talents.

  • I like everything you wrote about our defense and midfield but what you said about our attack leaves me with the feeling that we’re still far from being complete to compete for honors owing to what our rivals are doing presently. When you said you would not be surprised to see one of Auba or Laca leave in the next five months and Arteta adding another, more allround, attacker to the squad, I wished you said that could happen in this transfer window because neither Auba, Lacazette nor those guys in the squad can break Arsenal into the top four going by what our rivals have as their frontmen. We need a decent striker like Lautaro Martinez if we sincerely want to compete this season, and I don’t think he will be waiting for us till January.

  • A beautiful comment, Stuart. May the flames erupt and guide us through the season like a determined 🚂

    Yes White is an interesting addition and we paid handsomely for him. It shows that Arteta has a strong vision for the team.

  • J, agreed White could be our Beckenbauer or Koeman this season. This would allow Partey to be the warrior in midfield and ESR or Lokonga to be our creative driver.

    Agreed re Leno. It doesn’t look like he is our Nr1 GK for years to come.

  • Kelly GN, I can see where you are coming from, and I think Arteta wants to add a quality CF ASAP, but finances may be limited.

    Auba had a disrupted season but I predict he will get close to his former best now. Laca is quality but more as an all round attacker. We are missing a Van Persie type though with that presence which gets defenders worried.

  • Ornstein the oracle says we’re giving a new contract to Xhaka. Don’t believe it. This is called propaganda, whether David knows it or not. The team feeds him this stuff which he must disseminate because it comes from excellent club sources. He surely doubts the veracity himself, seeing how it advances the clubs interests.. It’s all Arsenal trying to get prospective buyers to move. At least I hope so. Love Xhaka, but a change would be great for us. He and Partey are not a great pairing, and those 2 make even less sense with White. Xhakas the square peg here now.

  • In 9 out of 10 comments I agree with Jync to the ‘t’, but I think – or maybe I hope – that the Xhaka contract rumor is indeed true, and probably the Rome gossip was made up. I don’t think we seriously intended to sell Granit, his work rate is insane, the 13-17M asking price was ridiculous for the captain of a WC quarter finalist team, and it would be hard to imagine that Mourinho wasn’t willing to pay that. So it seems it was only a tempest in a teapot, and we’ll get the Xhaka-Partey partnership back (featuring Sambi). I agree that Granit and Thomas were not as efficient as we desired, but it was their first season together, and furthermore we played well even in games we eventually lost; so the problem was not really midfield dominance or ball possession, but rather the strange attempt to create chances from the byline. So I imagine Arteta giving another go with 4-2-3-1 and the Xhaka-Partey tandem could finally rule the PL. Even in the 4-3-2-1 formation TA forecast in the post we can field 3 strong central midfielders, but at the moment ESR looks more lively at AM or LW. But he is young, maybe he can flourish in an LM or CM role, too…

    Fun fact: both U18 and U23 teams won their pre-season games this weekend, and both (seemed to) play 5-2-2-1 a.k.a . 3-4-2-1. So maybe it is the end of the #10 era – unless it is a coincidence – however the central midfield unit consisted 2 players both games.

  • A pinch and a punch, for the first of the month, and no return…

    Now that Granit Xhaka is back at London Colney training with his old team mates we can obviously expect him to be as professional as he always has been (baring that awkward feck off cadenza of a few years ago) – no Laurent Koscielny antics from old slow-hand, Granit will train and we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires from the Eternal City, and if nothing does transpire then it’s simple, he stays and Mikel will be very happy and there will be a massive cheer north of Hadrians Wall.

    Put simply Roma want one of the players of the Euro’s for around £10m and that’s just taking the piss.
    Why should we do Roma any favours, what have the Romans ever done for us?
    (Life of Brian, check it out)

    And why should we do any favours for Jose Mourinho?
    Need I say more!

    No, what I want is for Arsenal to continue to negotiate with Roma right up until the transfer deadline and then whoosh, pull the carpet away a la Ibrahim Ba…

    What goes around Jose.

  • Hear, hear Kev, the Italians pretend to have no money and hope to get GX for an apple 🍏 and an egg 🥚 eventually. No way Gose.

  • To me Total it solves the ACN issue, Partey and Elneny depart leaving Granit, Albert and even Ben if need be to step into the gap. Sorted.

  • Partey injured guys against Chelsea. We will not have him for first 3 games atleast. Are we jinxed or what? Let’s see what edu and Arteta does now for the midfield. Xhaka will stay and will have to partner one of Elneny or Sambi.

  • I really enjoyed the last 20 minutes watching Tavares, Nketiah, Lokonga, Willock and Co bombing around, so much pace and progression, pleased for Xhaka and I love Benny.

    Major concerns is our geriatric attack, if Arteta goes with them then I’m worried and Leno was also dodgy.

    Just a friendly though, it’s all about August 13th.

  • Social media, what a mix of doomers, why would anyone follow a football club and seem to enjoy making themselves feel so miserable? I’m glad I had a bit of a break.

    Find another hobby, surely you can’t enjoy just slagging off the club, the manager, the owners, the players, I mean we’ve spent £74m so far and some are saying we’ve done nothing!

    It’s really odd.

  • Total the game in itself was end to end, someone called it like basket ball. We did have a lot.of possesion and many chances. The game had an intensity which belied the fact that it was a pre season game. Tackles were flying in and in one.such tackle Partey got injured. If you watch it only slight contact but seems like it’s a ligament. Sambi was awesome and Eddie seems to have got a gear somehow. Defence still looks ragged and Leno god knows what has happened to him. He was dreadful. ESR hit the post and willock scored but linesmen didn’t give it.
    @ Kev I agree with you, can’t blame the owner he seems to giving money but the areas of creativity is still not addressed. It’s a pre season game agreed but when the manager talks about overhaul and you see the se faces with 2 weeks to go people are fretting. Let’s see how it goes but Parteys injury means that edu and Arteta will have some thinking to do.

  • Let me explain Total, I was really reflecting on some of the post match and even pre match comments on Arseblog News, it really is full of doomers these days and is becoming so so tedious. It’s a great blog but I’m really exasperated by some of the commentators, it’s as if they enjoy being miserable.

  • Dan Critchlow
    Taylor-Hart: “I support this club so obviously I want to play for the club and spend as much time here as possible and hopefully progress into the first team!”

    Great news to get him tied down, along with Balogun, two of Arsenal’s top academy prospects.

  • Early days yet Madhu, let’s see where we are on September 1st or is it the 2nd.

    I’m sure that Edu has some more good news for us, trust the process… 😉

  • TA and Kev, aside from the signings I think Arteta will really have to set the team to play aggresive, bold and inventive football. Tahts precisely the reason we hired Arteta a young coach with ideas and having served apprenticeship wiht arguable the most decorated coach. Unless he does that the fan base will not warm upto him. The reason some fans including me love Wenger even now is that he build squads that constantly played high tempo and bold football. Sure soemtimes you had a 8-2 reversals but you could stand behind the idea.
    If we really wanted stale football then we could have continued emery or hired someone like Conte. Arteta has to stamp his style but unfortunately he constantly seems trying to more clever by half and imitate his mentor. The jury for me is still out. If this season he sets team to play bold and inventive football we will.make progress. The high line that he is trying is again a tried and tested one by other teams but still exciting.

  • Infectious, positive article, TA, and I love it. Just what we need to be in pre-season. Positive! Why not? We are seeing a pattern in our transfer activities (inwards) with players of a certain age group being the focus; we have brought in some fine young players who can push the first teamers; we are seeing our management bluff other clubs (Villa) and calling the bluff of others (Roma); the window is not closed yet, so there is no knowing what more is to come; we played against Chelsea and from what I have read and highlights seen, it could have gone either way (plus, we did score a good goal but for the absence of good refs and VAR)…. every reason to be hopeful for the new season.

    I expect a few clubs to return with better bids and for us to go back for some of our targets close to the close of the window. Expect a frenzied end to it. It will be a defining season for the likes of ESR, Pepe, Thomas, Auba and even Leno. I feel we need to get a good back up to challenge Leno or replace him, if he persists with being inconsistent. Auba because he would need to show he’s still got it (I doubt he will be the player we brought in though, age not on his side, fear of injury and all that). A structural change to our approach play may just be the thing he needs.

    I noticed Arteta has been asking the team to push forward more to create potential for scoring more goals, with more bodies in the opponent’s box. This may leave gaps at the back but may be worth it if we have strong defenders and a keeper who can make last ditch saves.

    Let’s look forward to the season. Rushing off now. Laters!

  • From the Training Ground Guru:

    ENGLAND Under-18s coach Kevin Betsy has been appointed as the new U23s boss at Arsenal.

    The 43-year-old succeeds Gunners legend Steve Bould, who was sacked in May after two decades as a coach with the club.

    Betsy is a Uefa Pro Licence coach who has developed a stellar reputation during his five years with the Football Association.

    He joined in 2016 as England U15s lead and has gone on to coach the 16s, 17s and 18s. His win ratio in 52 games is 70%, achieved with an average of 64% possession, and his teams won four tournaments (the Uefa Development Tournament, Val De Marne and St George’s Park International Tournament with the 16s in 2018/19 and the Syrenka Cup with the 17s in 2019/20).

    During his time with England he has worked with players including Jude Bellingham, Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Buyako Saka. Prior to joining the FA the former pro player was Lead Youth Development Phase at Fulham for seven years.

    Ryan Garry, who recently gained the Pro Licence, will continue as Arsenal’s U23s assistant, with Dan Micciche taking the U18s, as TGG revealed earlier in the summer.

    Betsy’s departure means England are now without coaches at U15s, 16s, 17s, 18s and 20s.

  • I think we are looking good coach-wise both the U18 and U23 level.
    Albeit I haven’t seen much more than a few pre-season games and an interview from Dan Micciche, he doesn’t seem to mind changing the tactics during the game and giving 16-year-old lads a chance. So beside his hard-to-pronounce name he is a strong prospect there. 🙂 And what makes me more optimistic is that we have some really talented schoolboys already playing for the U18, who – with proper coaching and playing opportunities – can become the backbone of Arsenal in the late 2020’s.

    I haven’t seen Kevin Betsy in action for Arsenal – nobody could as he only joined today – but he has a good resume, he is a young guy, and Mertesacker said some promising things about him winning the hard, multi-round recruitment process for the role. He inherited a large, very young yet quite capable team, so with a long set of proper loan deals – currently we have 6 (!) GKs, 5 CBs, 3 LBs, 4 RBs, 7 DM/CMs, 2 AMs, 4LWs 1 RW, 1 ST – he can build a team that already competes for good places this campaign and could aim for the top next season.

    The Arsenal Women team similarly got a new coach. Jonas Eidevall also seems like a decent guy and a fine professional coach, however his predecessor, Joe Montemurro also possessed such qualities and after a strong first year he couldn’t manage to outsmart our closest competitors, and while breaking multiple goal-scoring records Arsenal Women started to descend. Nevertheless I hope Eidevall can make use of the strong team and will tailor the tactics to the opponent – we have 3 world class strikers in the team – and keep producing eye catching, free-flowing attacking football with higher efficiency in major games.

  • A bit off-topic but, this letter to the Guardian’s ‘Fiver’ made me laugh so I thought I should share it.
    “When Harry Kane pops in to see Daniel Levy to iron out any outstanding transfer details, he should employ the same approach he takes to defenders. First, he should slowly move backwards towards Levy while pretending to focus on whatever is in front of him, with a quick glance over the shoulder to check the chairman’s position. When within touching distance, wait for Levy to jump, and then quickly back into him and crumple to the ground when the slightest contact is made. Free-kick to Kane, let’s call it £120m and a couple of monogrammed cufflinks” – Sholem Lenkiewicz.

  • Interesting if it’s from the guardian. We desperately need a central midfielder now, especially with the Partey issue. Maddison to me is only a CAM with a good scoring threat. They say he can play 8 but I don’t see it. I don’t see the energy or the durability. I don’t like the hip injury either. Not my first choice at all.

    If Partey is out, please don’t tell me we’re going to start the season with El Neny in the lineup. I would start Holding and use White in midfield. Of course it’s all in theory since I haven’t seen him play really, lol. But there is no doubt his footballing skills- passing, vision, are better than El Neny. There’s also a chance that mine are better too.

  • Xhaka signs a new contract with a small salary increase but with a 4 year term so he has the security he needs and the club protect his value. It’s quite possible that given that Granit doesn’t base his game around blistering pace but intelligent anticipation and reading the game that he could see out those 4 years and maybe more.

    I’m sure that Arteta is delighted that Xhaka is staying because I doubt very much that he ever wanted him to leave but I think that Granit imagined that he needed a change after 5 years at Arsenal, I also wonder if the loud cheer he got from the fans at the Emirates when he replaced Partey in the Chelsea game helped make up his mind. I think we can finally close the door on what went before a few years back and it’s all thanks to the mindful coaching and persuading of Mikel.

  • J, relax man, take a chill pill buddy, yes it’s a blow to lose Partey for a few weeks but we’ve got Albert Lokonga waiting in the wings to step in and he is going to be massive, a Massive Attack. 😎

  • Xhaka staying and signing an extension is good news as it protects his value, in the event we wish to sell anytime in the next couple of seasons. Roma can go do one, if they thought £12m is a fair price for an international who just returned from a fine outing in the Euros. Now, we shall really be in the drivers seat for negotiations regarding him; instead of the prospects of losing him for next to nothing when he would have only a year left on his current deal.

    And yeah, Arteta will be delighted to keep him, just as much as the club would rather sell him at good value. Either way, good for the club.

  • While there is not too much going on pre-season games and transfer-wise, here is an interesting piece. Beware, it is full of numbers and statistics, but properly presented. I found them highly interesting and thought-provoking:

    Else. Unfortunately the English and Dutch team – full of Arsenal Women players – are out of the Olympics, but Steph Caitly (Australia) will play for the bronze medal tomorrow and Gabriel Martinelli will fight for Brazil in the Men’s final on Saturday.

  • Kev, you know I secretly harbor dreams that Lokonga will be the improvement on Guendouzi, meaning he can get past opponents to break down midfielders, as well as having great passing ability but stronger physically. All that seems realistic from the little I’ve seen and heard, I just hope it doesn’t take the season falling apart for Mikel to give him real minutes as a youngster, the way it was with ESR and Martinelli last year. I think we need to have a different look and option to Granit. I still can’t completely believe the deal really isn’t happening, and I was excited to see a new look midfield.

    The good news is that iron man Granit is still perfect to allow Tierney to attack, and even his new understudy Tavares.

    The bad news is, Aston Villa (now a real rival for top 6) is making us look like amateurs in the business department. We still have our biggest need which has been a quality midfielder to work with Partey, because Xhaka does not fit that well with him, and also to supplement Partey. That part, I’ve been saying since last season ; Thomas cannot play twice a week, and should get the occasional week off, that’s how he worked best for Atletico, not just staying healthy enough, but to get his strongest performances. He can’t be rushed back unless you want another Diaby/Rosicky.

    I expect us to get someone to take some pressure off ESR at 10. As it is,, central midfield is a mess just as it was last season.

    On Villa, they are my new nemesis team, just behind Tottenham. I will watch all their games just to hope for their failure. The Emi Martinez, Buendia, ESR trolling will make it fun to hate them.

  • J, I think that the business we’ve done so far has been pretty good, the fly in the ointment is selling, we just can’t sell the players we want rid of because if nobody wants them or low balls you what can you do?

    Some of the contract renewal biz has been top class and we’ve managed to hold onto our best young talent, our young players are our future and they give me enormous hope.

  • Kev, T, …pretty good business so far is almost fair to say because I’m optimistic on Tavares, Lokonga, White, but I have to subtract a LOT right now because midfield is still the same huge hole (not worthy of a top 8 hopeful club).

    I can’t assume we’ll add a couple quality midfielders (8 and 10). We need to see that the execs don’t botch it. There are games that count very soon. I’m really sorry Partey got hurt, but the front office almost deserve it for putting off bolstering the midfield.

  • J, just put Chambers and XhakA in the DM pivot for a while with ESR or Bukayo in the hole. Elneny and Lokonga to provide backup, and Bob’s your uncle 🦒

  • Lots of great comments in the past little while but I’m afraid that a family issue (nothing sinister or concerning health-wise) has been distracted me from the blog.

    I will be starting our two prediction competitions tomorrow so put your thinking caps on.

  • Here we go – this is week one of our prediction competition.

    Simply predict “H” for a home win “A” for an away win or “D” for a draw.
    The star indicate a correct score game.
    1 point for each correct prediction.
    2 points for each correct score.
    4 points for most correct predictions.

    Week 1 games are:-

    Brentford v Arsenal *
    Manchester United v Leeds
    Chelsea v Crystal Place
    Newcastle v West Ham
    Tottenham v Manchester City *
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt *

  • This is our second competition.
    Just indicate 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.

    At the end of each week and period I will report:-
    1. How many points you predicted.
    2.How many correct predictions you made.

    Here are Arsenal’s first ten games:-

    1 2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal
    2 2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea
    3 2021-08-28 Manchester City v Arsenal
    4 2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City
    5 2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal
    6 2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
    7 2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal
    8 2021-10-16 Arsenal v Crystal Palace
    9 2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa
    10 2021-10-30 Leicester City v Arsenal

  • One thing at a time.

    Brentford v Arsenal A 0-3
    Manchester United v Leeds H
    Chelsea v Crystal Place H
    Newcastle v West Ham A
    Tottenham v Manchester City A 0-2
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt D 1-1

  • Thank you for your prompt predictions PB -you are the first person up in the new season – it’s getting close we are only 6 days away to the season starting.

  • My predictions for week 1:
    Brentford v Arsenal * A 1-2
    Manchester United v Leeds H
    Chelsea v Crystal Place H
    Newcastle v West Ham A
    Tottenham v Manchester City * A 1-3
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt * H 2-1

  • My predictions for the first 10 weeks:

    1 2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal 3
    2 2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea 1
    3 2021-08-28 Manchester City v Arsenal 0
    4 2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City 3
    5 2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal 3
    6 2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur 1
    7 2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal 3
    8 2021-10-16 Arsenal v Crystal Palace 3
    9 2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa 1
    10 2021-10-30 Leicester City v Arsenal 1

  • Brentford v Arsenal…………… 2-2
    Man United v Leeds………….. H
    Chelsea v Crystal Place……. H
    Newcastle v West Ham…….. D
    Tottenham v Man City……….. 0-3
    Dortmund v Frankfurt …….. 2-1

  • 1 2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal…….1
    2 2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea………1
    3 2021-08-28 Man City v Arsenal……..0
    4 2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City..3
    5 2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal………3
    6 2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham….3
    7 2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal…….3
    8 2021-10-16 Arsenal v C. Palace…..3
    9 2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa….3
    10 2021-10-30 Leicester C v Arsenal..1

  • 1 2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal…….3
    2 2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea………0
    3 2021-08-28 Man City v Arsenal……..0
    4 2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City..3 (6)
    5 2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal………1 (7)
    6 2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham….3 (10)
    7 2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal…….1 (11)
    8 2021-10-16 Arsenal v C. Palace…..1 (12)
    9 2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa….0
    10 2021-10-30 Leicester C v Arsenal..0 (12)

  • I cannot watch it live, but follow the updates.
    It is indeed the strongest line-up available given the injuries (Partey, Gabriel) irrespective of the current form (Auba, Bellerin). I’m really pleased that Arsenal’s best XI is being tested.
    It is 0:0 in the 55th minutes, let’s hope we beat the Spuds, even though we cannot win the Mind series any more.

    GN5, the numbers in brackets are the cumulative points of the team after each round.

  • Thanks PB I figured it out later. Only 12 points from 10 games, oh boy those are relegation numbers!!

    Like yourself I’m following the updates.

  • 12 points from the first quarter of the season is not relegation numbers, but I indeed expect 26 points first half and about 57 total for the season, ending somewhere around the 9th-12th places.
    I know that the pre-season games are not reliable indicators, but if we keep beating the weaker clubs (Millwall, Watford), playing close games with the teams from our peers (Hibernians, Rangers, Tottenham) and keep losing against stronger teams (Chelsea), then my predictions could become quite accurate.

  • I saw about 30 minutes of the 1st half before You Tube closed it down.
    Then I saw about 15 minutes of the 2nd half before You Tube shut it off.

    I can’t say that I saw a lot to get excited about, but I don’t want to start moaning as they’ll be plenty across the Web who’ll be melting down, so the positives, Lokonga was very very good and White was excellent, Lacazette was our best forward, he worked really hard and seems to want to show that he wants to stay. Tierney was lively and Smith Rowe looked strong but don’t ask me whose gonna score the goals for us this season…

  • Haven’t been able to see any full games yet. Friday will be my first.

    I pray Arteta takes a chance and starts Lokonga. That would be brave management. Unless he does, we are playing with the same broken midfield that embarrassed us last year. Until new players arrive, that is. So will we have to be behind the 8 ball after the first month again? It will be no change from the last few years under Wenger.

    The part of the team we proactively improved first, the defense, was third best in the league last season I think. Even with Partey healthy, midfield was by far our weakness, and don’t forget Ceballos and Odegaard left. I wish we had the intelligence to focus on the absolute necessities first, if we were going to splash some cash as we did on defense.

    I’m expecting a couple big moves, but its up to Arteta to motivate and manage this group in the meantime. To make sure we don’t slip up against Brentford who will be super pumped up. The big teams, we’ll have to hope to scrape a point until we can bring in badly needed quality in midfield.

    I’d consider starting White in front of the defense if Lokonga doesn’t start. They say he can progress the ball well. Probably better than we have at the moment.

  • J, I don’t really think it’ll be taking a chance to play Lokonga this Friday, I’d actually say in fact that I think it’s essential he plays because he brings some energy and dynamism to an area that lacks pace, Xhaka is what he is and he has other attributes but Elneny would just bring a safety first vibe that’ll leave us passing incessantly but going nowhere. Mo is great for bringing on and managing a game but I’m not keen on him as a starter.

  • I am ok with a minimum loss away to Spuds. Friday’s game is what matters, and I expect Arteta to have a strong plan and team then.

  • From the accounts I’ve read Kev, everybody, even the usual negative moaning gooners love what they’ve seen of Lokonga. I just hope Mikel sees it like all of us. El Neny is a sweet guy, I hear he’s super popular among the players, but him being anywhere near the first team shows a very poor state of affairs.

    What worries me is that I read that we went back to the useless crosses again against Spurs. I think we need to pay whatever necessary to get back Odegaard. I can’t take another season of crossing like relegation club attacks. Even worse if the crosses are coming from the likes of Bellerin and Aubameyang.

    Tierney is great at crossing, but we’d be better off if even he kept the ball low.

  • Hi GN5, I shall place both predictions in same post. Hope that’s okay.

    Here goes:

    Brentford v Arsenal *. ………. 2 – 2
    Manchester United v Leeds…….H
    Chelsea v Crystal Place …………H
    Newcastle v West Ham ………….D
    Tottenham v Manchester City *..2 – 1
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt * 3 – 1

    For the Arsenal’s 1st 10 games:

    1 2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal. 1
    2 2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea. 1
    3 2021-08-28 Manchester City v Arsenal. 0
    4 2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City. 3
    5 2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal. 3
    6 2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur 3
    7 2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal. 1
    8 2021-10-16 Arsenal v Crystal Palace. 3
    9 2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa. 3
    10 2021-10-30 Leicester City v Arsenal. 1

    Total points haul: 19.

  • Jync, I am certain Arteta has not brought in Lokonga to sit on the bench; he had discussions with Vincent Kompany before going for it so, I expect the lad to play very often. When Partey is fit, I see Arteta fitting him in there somehow, at the expense of some other first team player.

    I usually don’t encourage new buys to start in this league (best to bed them in, gradually, after a couple of sub appearances) but, in this case, it is needs must with Partey out injured.

    Back to the game vs Spurs, which I couldn’t get to see, I won’t read much into the result but would have liked to read about us improving in some aspects of our play that set us back last season. I expect a few more in-comings towards the close of the transfer window, to shore up things and create needed competition. If Willock and/or AMN will be leaving, goes without saying we would need some midfield re-enforcements.

  • I saw the game yesterday, it was hard not to feel down. Forget the result, it’s still the same pattern very predictable. Ball from keeper to center back to flanks especially left and then some triangles before a mindless cross to no one in particular. The ball is lost and opposition exploits space vacated by backs and leave our centerbacks isolated. There is no inventive final third passes, no through balls first time when players makes runs. It’s very regimented and robotic to T, playing to the flanks as if the middle of the park doesn’t exist.
    One bright point is Lokonga he looks class much better than Guen.
    It’s going to be one long season and I don’t see Arteta having any new ideas unless he has kept it in cold storage only for PL games. Utterly dissapointing and boring.

  • One more thing guys, somebody needs to tell Leno that he can handle the ball in his penalty box unless it’s a backpass. He is probably the worst goalkeeper in handling his area. It’s frustrating tk watch him flap and not come for high balls in the box to catch them.

  • J is spot on as always. Lokonga looks indeed a great addition to the squad, but his place in the pecking order is unknown. Contrary to Eris’ optimism I think Sambi was not signed directly to a starting place – which is not a scandal with Partey and Xhaka in the squad – but how the young Belgian is promoted in relation with Elneny, AMN (and Willock?) is yet to be decided/witnessed. Since Thomas is out for August we will see on Friday who will partner Granit in midfield. I also hope for Lokonga, just not sure given Mo’s involvement in pre-season. (I also understand with J’s assessment on Elneny’s character and first team capabilities to the t.)

    Eris, Sambi was not such a high profile transfer to force Arteta starting him. And the expectations among pundits tend towards ‘he would perhaps initially benefit from a stint as Partey’s understudy rather than his partner’. And we might be still in pursuit of a midfielder (Aouar, Camavinga, Locatelli, Zakaria, Neves) which wouldn’t help Lokonga’s case. And even if we don’t make further DM/CM reinforcements but sign an AM (Maddison/Odeegard/Silva I expect Mikel to incorporate ESR in the remaining positions in the expense of Sambi. So don’t expect the Belgian to play 2500 minutes this season, but most fans don’t give a shit anyway.

  • Elneny has nothing to proof to anyone. He had a very good season as a back up central midfielder. That is what he is and he will do a job for us. Love him and embrace him. 😍

  • Thank you Eris – now we are just waiting for Madhu and Total and we are good to go……………..

    I’ll post my own predictions a little later.

    Remember folks anybody can join in the fun.

  • I cannot understand the concerns about Elneny, he may not be flashy but I’ve always thought of him as a steady and competent mid-fielder who rarely lets us down. We need a clean up/stopper and he certainly fits that role and his range of passing is more than acceptable.

  • GN5, here goes my prediction

    Brentford v Arsenal *. ………. A
    Manchester United v Leeds…….H
    Chelsea v Crystal Place …………H
    Newcastle v West Ham ………….A
    Tottenham v Manchester City *.. A
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt * H

    1 2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal – 3
    2 2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea – 1
    3 2021-08-28 Manchester City v Arsenal – 0
    4 2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City – 3
    5 2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal – 3
    6 2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur – 1
    7 2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal – 3
    8 2021-10-16 Arsenal v Crystal Palace – 3
    9 2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa – 1
    10 2021-10-30 Leicester City v Arsenal – 1

  • GN, i agree with you on Elneny, he is least of our problems and at 60K wages. There are other duds in the team who makes more than 100 Grand and yet don’t justify their wages. I can live with Elneny that he atleast puts in a shift and earns his wages, not sure how many players we can do that. Last season he scored 3 goals and no one in the midfield came close and didnt even test the keeper.

  • No offense TA, N5 but I disagree about starting El Neny. We are allowed 10 players to get to do as much as possible in controlling the game, defending, and building up to try and score, to win.

    We have awful problems scoring, even though we have pretty talented attackers. So that tells us that our build up play and connecting from our midfield is already lacking. White, I hope will actually help that from defense. To give a midfield spot to a player who passes sideways and back all the time only makes us less likely to score in 90 minutes. It’s basically math. We need to get midfielders who progress the ball forward. It’s almost pathetic to have a player of his skillset playing next to Xhaka who is far from mobile, (even though he’s an excellent distributor). Then we wonder why we couldn’t score goals, and play that familiar, frustrating pattern that Madhu describes.

    Late game, defensive replacement when we have a lead, fine.

  • Here are my predictions:-

    2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal 3
    2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea 0
    2021-08-28 Manchester City v Arsenal 0
    2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City 3
    2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal 3
    2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur 3
    2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal 3
    2021-10-16 Arsenal v Crystal Palace 3
    2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa 1
    2021-10-30 Leicester City v Arsenal 1

    Brentford v Arsenal * A (0-2)
    Manchester United v Leeds H
    Chelsea v Crystal Place H
    Newcastle v West Ham A
    Tottenham v Manchester City * A (0-3)
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt * A (1-2)

  • GN5 sorry mate, here you go
    Brentford v Arsenal * A (0-2)
    Tottenham v Manchester City * A (0-2)
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt * H (2-1)

  • J, we have had No difficulties scoring goals from Xmas onwards. Maybe GN5 has got out PL goal scoring stats since then for us.

    We need an extra attacking midfielder in the hole position. Young ESR is good but we need another one.

    But Elneny is great to have for the deeper midfield position.

    Love, TA 🦒🦒

  • Here goes GN5,

    Week 1 games are:-

    Brentford v Arsenal * 0-3
    Manchester United v Leeds Away
    Chelsea v Crystal Place Draw
    Newcastle v West Ham Home
    Tottenham v Manchester City * Draw 1-1
    Borussia Dortmund v Eintract Frankfurt * Home 4-1

  • 1 2021-08-13 Brentford v Arsenal: 3
    2 2021-08-22 Arsenal v Chelsea: 3
    3 2021-08-28 Manchester City v Arsenal: 0
    4 2021-09-11 Arsenal v Norwich City: 3
    5 2021-09-18 Burnley v Arsenal: 3
    6 2021-09-26 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur: 1
    7 2021-10-02 Brighton v Arsenal: 3
    8 2021-10-16 Arsenal v Crystal Palace: 3
    9 2021-10-23 Arsenal v Aston Villa: 1
    10 2021-10-30 Leicester City v Arsenal: 3

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