Arsenal v Leeds 8 Observations: Chapeau to Mikel, Midfielder MOTM, Eddie Stay or Go?

Arsenal 2 – 0 Leeds

Eight Observations from a mature game of football by our nr2s in the squad:

  1. The boys were up for this one, and yet they didn’t all go all out on attack whilst ignoring their defensive duties as we have seen so many times in the past. It didn’t make for the most exciting League Cup game we have ever watched but it was the right approach against a strong opponent who also love to attack.
  2. Our defence was solid with White clearly the leader and all other players working disciplined and hard. They were helped by a solid double DM-pivot that shielded them well and quietly contained the strong Leeds’ midfield.
  3. I really liked Ainsley’s performance last night, my MotM. He worked hard to help our attack by bridging the gap between defence/Midfield and attack regularly. I also loved his tackles and general tenacity in his one to one battles. Elneny worked hard too but was less effective and more rusty on the night.
  4. Our wing play was below par and neither Martinelli or Pepe impressed. Kola and Soares tried to add depth there but with mixed success. Our triangles on the wings did not work and both Pepe and Martinelli did not get much support; they also lack the ability to make something happening by their own on the wing. For the Brazilian this is a work in progress, which cannot be said for the other one unfortunately.
  5. Emile played an efficient game and I was impressed by his maturity. He had too much to do in providing the thrust and creativity in attack, so he just focused on where he could add value without running himself into an injury.
  6. Eddie is always good in preserving his energy for when it’s needed most. Nketiah is more of an (former?) Auba than a Laca type of an attacker but he still worked hard enough for the team (just as Auba did on Friday). He stole/took his goal well and with that he sealed the game. The big question is does Eddie fit into Arteta-ball….. Mikel rates him and wants him to stay. But I am still undecided.
  7. Leno was up for it and he made a fine safe at a crucial moment. His control in the box and distribution were okay but not more than that. A shot stopper he is, though, and a great nr2 goal keeper to have for Mikel…… But surely that will not be enough for the ambitious German?!!
  8. Other than the maturity of the team I really appreciate the workrate and tenacity of the players on the pitch. Mikel has them all working hard and that’s not an easy achievement given the dissatisfaction some will be feeling. So chapeau to our manager.

By TotalArsenal

34 thoughts on “Arsenal v Leeds 8 Observations: Chapeau to Mikel, Midfielder MOTM, Eddie Stay or Go?

  • TA, I agree with pretty much all of that. After the last match, I expected Pepe and Martinelli to join Eddie in the press but Eddie was left to do that on his own which was never going to work. Both Martinelli and Pepe were disappointing but at least the former started to show flashes of what he can do, Pepe was awful. I was impressed with how Holding played alongside White and how Ainsley calmly filled in when our CBs went rampaging forward. Chambers also slotted in well despite being out of the team for a while. I thought Cedric did his defensive duties well and provided more going forward on the right flank than Pepe did.

  • Agreed with the observations TA.

    We are certainly on a roll, with both Keepers at their best. Leno is the official MoTM, but AMN certainly proved his doubters wrong.

  • You hit the nail on the head Total. our defensde and mid-field while out only real signs of weakness were up front. It was very disappointing that Martinelli did not take advantage of his opportunity to show off his capabilities – he showed us glimpses but not enough. On the other hand Pepe continued to make us wonder who thought he was worth over 70 million pounds – he is a complete enigma and needs to be sold at whatever price we can get.

  • Thanks for the post, no it wasn’t a rip roaring classic but Leeds despite their indifferent start to the season are a dangerous opponent and we had some players playing together for the first time this season, I mean White and Soares, Holding with Kolasinac at left back, Eddie, Pepe and Martinelli up front, Elneny and Niles, so things might have been disjointed but I thought we managed the game well and did what we had to do. Kudos on Arteta & Co.

    Yes, I thought that Holding, Chambers and Niles did ok and got some valuable minutes into their legs, in general it seems that everyone is fitting into the program.

    The team kept up an impressive intensity and I never felt at any time as if Arsenal were in danger of losing the tie.

  • Yes Total, Smudge is very much a main man in the team, he is super confident now without being arrogant, although a bit of arrogance can be good, he tied it all together but in the 2nd half when he came over to my corner of the ground to take the corners he was blowing hard and looked a tad fatigued, luckily we had 5 subs on offer.

    There was pretty much no connection between our full backs and our wingers, it was as if the full backs were told to stay deep and they left the wingers to it, I thought that Martinelli had a decent first half but faded in the second, the less said about Pepe the better. He is in danger of being left behind on the platform as the Arsenal Express speeds away, his confidence is zero and it’s rather sad to see his gradual decline into a fringe player. Mind you he did flick it on for Chambers’ goal.

  • Now let’s hope for a really physically intense game with plenty of heavy challenges in tonight’s tie between Leicester and Brighton

  • Did anyone notice when we had corners that we crowded around the Leeds goalkeeper, seems as if Arteta had spotted a way to stop him dominating his box, it made for some amusing pushing, shoving, cuddling and holding, made a change to see us using the dark arts.

  • I must say that when I see these games I look at some of my favourites to see how they perform. The two players I was most interested in AMN played well and Martenneli was disaapppinting. AMN was ever present in the center demanded the ball, got into tackles and supported the attack and defense. Martenelli on yhe other hand didn’t demand the ball. I always liked his enthusiasm and hunger for getting a goal. In this game he played 90 mins but the joy seems to have beem sucked out of him. He neither demanded the ball or tried to go for a goal wiht his directness. One time he dribbled the ball to the center and had a chance to take a shot from his right leg but shifted it to left by which time defenders covered the angle. All in all iam very concerned about Gabis future at Arsenal.
    With the results of other games in we have a chance to make the most of this competetion. Hope we win this.

  • To be fair on both wingers we need the numbers on the wings to get through the walls opponents put up there, otherwise they look isolated and ineffective. V Leeds we didn’t really attack as a team in numbers.

  • Teams left in the league cup:

    West Ham

    Key is to get another home game at this stage, but after a few home draws we are likely to get an away game next.

  • Anyone at home Total except West Ham, who have a great record of beating us at our ground in Cup ties, at this stage it’s serious, every team will pick a strong line up so home advantage is important.

    Great to see Bayern getting hammered, a few cracks appearing in their dominance will be good for the Bundesliga and didn’t Borussia M’gladbach play well…

    Interesting to see Arteta bigging up N’ketiah after the game, I wonder if there is the anticipation of a bid this January that cannot be ignored for Lacazette given the situation he’s in and with Aubameyang leaving for 6 weeks tying Eddie up could be a very wise move, even at this late stage?

  • Good summary T.
    You know I think Eddie is going to score a boatload of goals for some team, but after seeing him the way he was used by Arteta last season, I doubt it will be with us. It may be with a lesser team that will give him the main man role, and ask less responsibility in dropping deep.

    I will say this, I’ve noticed in his small opportunities that he seems to have bulked up, and plays a bit stronger if you know what I mean. Was holding off defenders a little against Leeds. Looked to me like he’s either been watching Lacazette closely, or maybe has been tutored by Alexander. Laca is an unselfish guy, and also knows he’s leaving anyway, so no competition to worry about.

    I also am very happy with the spirit of the team. The guys seemed genuinely happy to play in the competition.

    I agree that Martinelli showed flashes, especially of his pace. I really think Arteta needs to make a special effort to take advantage of his talents. I don’t think it’s hopeless yet, the kid will be happy to play at all, and since we’re now playing more attacking ball, we will occasionally have a lead of more than one goal, so he has hope of some sub appearances.

    Funny thing I’ve noticed with Holding, ever since preseason when we were linked with Ben White, Rob has been going out of his way to attempt more ambitious long passes, and against Leeds you saw him carry the ball up the pitch like a midfielder. Very funny to me, seems like he heard through the media what Mikel was looking for, and decided to expand his game beyond just dependable defending. When we were on a great defensive run last season, he had ambition to get into the England squad. I think he’s one of the best third choice defenders in the whole league. Underrated, because the third choices for Man City and Chelsea cost 50 million or more.

    I thought El Neny was ok, because for a fourth or fifth choice midfielder, we just need him to be error free and dependable in a league cup game. He can be subbed if we need to chase goals harder.

    I still think Pepe is not too far from first eleven. He’s a totally different kind of player than our other wingers. In general, even when he is working hard, he gives the appearance of not hustling, but since Arteta came, he’s been quietly tracking back, winning duels- (the proof of this is that Mikel continues to use him a lot) …and is a player who will create a few dangerous chances in the course of a game, a special talent with his left leg in chances created as in his excellent shot that caused a great save and fell right to PEA for a goal recently.

    10 clean sheets on our last 20 games, most in the premier league. Another big test this weekend, a barometer of where we fit among contenders for top spots.

  • GN5, here u go
    Leicester City v Arsenal * 1-2
    Watford v Southampton H
    Tottenham v Manchester United * 2-1
    Aston Villa v West Ham United * 1-3
    Arsenal Ladies v Brighton Ladies H
    Valencia v Villarreal A

  • Thanks Total. Good read as always, and I also appreciated the comments from our New Yorker. The spirit in the team seems to have coalesced. Watching the celebration of Callum’s goal was really encouraging. I read elsewhere that one of the coaching staff had sent him on with the words, “you are going to score with your first touch”. Hence the run to the touchline and the smiles and laughter. Unity is such a vital factor in life. I am also a big fan of Rob Holding, and remember with fondness his ball juggling run which earned him the nickname “Holdingho” a season or two back.

    I am missing the contributions of PB. Gyerünk PB, térj vissza a foldre.

  • Leicester City v Arsenal…….. A (0-2)
    Watford v Southampton…….. H
    Tottenham v Man United…… D (2-2)
    Aston Villa v West Ham U…. D (2-2)
    Arsenal Ladies v Brighton…. H
    Valencia v Villarreal…………. D

  • Been busy so just catching up, great comments from the Big Apple J, yeah I saw that from Holding and this might well be interesting J but Arsene Wenger commented on his ability to carry the ball out of defence when he signed him from Bolton Wanderers on what seems like another life ago. Maybe confidence in those around him has helped Rob recapture his more cavalier style of yore?

    Arsenal, it may seem, have looked around and not yet found the exact type of striker that they need going forward and whose available and affordable yet and so Arteta might be thinking ahead, which could explain his positivity regarding Eddie recently? Therefore if Lacazette leaves, as seems likely unless there’s a big sea change, then that leaves a gap that maybe Nketiah can fill in the short to medium term J. Yes I noticed in pre season that Eddie looked more muscular and powerful and maybe that’s just him becoming a man as well as the weight training. Balogun in a years time could be a monster, that’s how quick these lads suddenly develop, so yeah I’m calm about giving our youngsters time, you know the likes of Balogun, Martinelli, Ballard and maybe, yes, even Saliba?

    You know everyone seems to have an opinion about Saliba, about how Arteta has treated or mistreated him, about how he he’s likely to leave in the summer and be world class elsewhere and embarrass Arteta and Arsenal, Twitter is seems is full of this rubbish, meanwhile Arsenal say nothing and Arteta very little. A week is a long time in football and a season is an eternity so ignore all the noise and let’s see what our manager has planned for William next summer…

  • Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that a sickness bug in the squad has affected preparations for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Leicester City.

    Defender Pablo Mari missed Tuesday’s Carabao Cup victory over Leeds with the virus, while Ben White was forced off during the game.

    White has not trained since and is doubtful for the game with the Foxes.

    “It was a bit of sickness, tummy aches and stuff like that. Hopefully everyone will be OK,” Arteta said.

    “[White] hasn’t trained yet so we will have to wait and see how he is feeling and make the decision then.

    “A few have been unable to train and we also picked up some knocks in the game against Leeds as well. Hopefully we will have better news.”

    The Gunners are unbeaten in six Premier League games and sit 10th, just three points outside the top four.

  • Well said about Saliba, Kevinski. Nobody knows tge facts other than Saliba and Arteta, yet this doesn’t stop every one speculating and pointing bishops’ fingers. 🙄😅

  • Yes Kev,
    As far as Saliba goes, he’ll be playing with us next season. There will be plenty of opportunities with European football and all other competitions. Then, with him and Holdinho, we’ll have the best four centre backs in the world, even with all the money City, United, and Chelsea spent. Gabriel is going to be recognized as world class very soon. And as I always say, put in a huge release clause! If Saliba is so good, we’ll even have the option of selling one of the two for 50 mil + +

  • Bishops Finger, I’ll drink to that Total, a very nice beer, brewed I believe in Kent. 🍺

    Mate I just get so bored with all these media, online media attempts to undermine our manager and our club, you just have to glance at some of the rabble rousing headlines on NewsNow to get a gist of what they’re alluding to, I mean we’re in the midst of an unbeaten run and all they can peddle is crisis!
    They make me sick…

  • Hear hear Johnno, well said bruv and more power to you…

    Already I’m seeing the negatives brewing about Odegaard, I mean he’s just going through a dip in form that’s all, he’s gonna be just fine.

  • GN5, that might actually explain why so many changes were made by Arteta vs Leeds, the club has kept quite silent about who has and who has not been affected by the bug. But we had a few 1st teamers on the bench Tuesday and I’m confident in Holding if he needs to come in.

  • A great beer, Kev. Had it a few times from tap and it was delicious 😋

    I have always worried where that finger had been before blessing the beer, Kev. 😁

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