8 Observations: Arteta’s Got an Extra Goal Scorer For Free, Bias to the Left, Super Odegaard

I finally managed to watch the entire game and what a joy it was. Here are my quick-fire 8 Observations:

  1. Arsenal are so fit. It was very hot but the team played as if they were half way into the season. Leicester were well set up but eventually they had to crack as Arsenal’s tempo and pressing were too much to handle for them.
  2. Gabriel Jesus, the terrible tornado, was mesmerising. Two goals and two assists and he could have had more. To work so hard and still be so clinical is the hardest thing to do in modern football, ask Laca! I feel sorry for those Foxes’ defenders: nobody should have to endure such recurring nightmares.
  3. The partnership between Jesus and Martinelli is such a fruitful one, and Martinelli is blossoming under the tutelage of his older brother. Arteta bought one but got two clinical goal scorers now. Early days of course, but Martinelli is bringing home the bacon now.
  4. As a team we veer to the left and this leaves Saka and to a lesser extent Ode a bit isolated. Xhaka, Martinelli, Jesus and Zinchenko form a very effective partnership on the left but on the right we are struggling to get enough numbers in the area to attack effectively. Partey sits naturally deeper and White is still finding his feet, and he is also less of a passer than Tomiyasu. So Bukayo, who clearly gets plenty of attention from the opposition, is struggling a bit to get involved in our attacks. The return of Tomiyasu may help with this but as a team they need to work on getting Bukayo better support. That way we will be even more effective in attack.
  5. Arsenal hardly gave anything away in ninety minutes, yet we conceded two. To be fair the OG was just unlucky and the Maddison goal was classy, with Ramsdale a little at fault with his positioning. But we did know before the game that Leicester have very good attackers and we gave them space by being so attack minded. Still, there is work to be done in defence.
  6. Xhaka was everywhere and with a goal and assist he showed another side of him. On another blogside, I recently cheekily predicted 12-15 PL goals/assists for Mr Versatile…… He may surprise even his hardest critics this season.
  7. A special mention goes to the Ode. Martin may not have had a goal or an assist but boy did he work hard yesterday. His closing down and link up play was fantastic. Thanks to him the machine kept purring and for that I salute him.
  8. The supporters were amazing, absolutely amazing. The support for Saliba was simply heart warming. Two wins in a row is just what we needed to get a good start to the season. Next up are Bournemouth away. Of course it is OGAAT all the way this season. Remain humble, work hard and fight for ninety minutes in every game.

By TotalArsenal

102 thoughts on “8 Observations: Arteta’s Got an Extra Goal Scorer For Free, Bias to the Left, Super Odegaard

  • Marquinhos is coming along very nicely in the U23’s and adapting to the English game with 4 goals in 2 games which is a nice return from our Brazilian wing-forward as he builds up for his 1st team debut which cannot be that far away?

    Maitland Niles again completely out of the picture on Saturday so is there a possible move in the pipeline for our talented but ultimately flawed utility player? I hope so for his sake and ours.

    A third goal yesterday before halftime, as we warranted by our attacking play, and the second half would have been a lot less edgy but the fans to their credit (the new generation of fans) stayed positive and refused to get nervous which transmitted to the team who stayed confident and quickly restored our two goal lead twice. This group of fans really is a twelfth man (or woman 🤭) and are driving our team of wunderkinds to another level. Early days but for me 3rd is definitely on…

  • I’ve thought it for awhile Total and just sat on it, there was something about preseason that reminded me of the best Wenger years and I really think this team/squad has the talent to make that step

  • Ta, Martinelli is a shot monster. When he came in from Ituano the first season at Arsenal he scored a wide range of goals including headers. I was scared that wiht arteta demanding more descipline, tactical awareness and dare i say a bit more rigidity that he would lose his natural instincts. I am so very happy with his goal beacuse it bought to the fore his shot making ability. With his weaker foot he had enough power and placement to take it beyond the keeper. It was a fabulous goal. If he gets 15 goals this season we have a player on our hands.

  • The entire team was very impressive and as you mention the supporters were as good as the team – which is unusual and long overdue. IMHO that was Xhaka’s best game for Arsenal he could have had several goals and the look on face his shows just how much he is enjoying his new situation – and to think the “supporters” nearly drove him out.

    The latest version of Arsenal is a joy to watch and wonderfully they can only get better. I urge everybody to watch All or Nothing Arsenal on Amazon Prime, it gives a real insight to the inner workings of the club and in particular Arteta’s work with the team and Edu’s commitment and love for his position in the club. I’ve watched every episode so far and it takes one to a new level of understanding of the NEW Arsenal way – mainly driven by Arteta. It’s not for your children watch – it’s X rated.

  • GN5 i watch AON with my 15 yr old as he is an Arsenal fan as well. It’s enjoyable and yes it’s got expletives not anything different from any you tube videos you get. My son has been educated about the expletives and so his mom is ok we both watching it together. It does give a new perspective about our beloved team. Makes you fall inlove in everyone.

  • GN5 in fact the F word is so common nowadays, i had to explain my son what it actually means and why it shouldn’t be used.

  • You-Know-Who look like they only had a 15-minute-drive in their tank, but Chelsea might feel very sorry in the end – this thing Tuchel has against an actual CF keeps puzzling me
    The number of fouls the whitefartlaners are allowed to commit before they get a yellow has had me filling my TV room with an all-time-record number of (the french equivalents of) F… words, GN and Madhu

  • Le gall lol way to go mate. But what a dull game thak has been. Spurs offer nothing in terms of quality either in passing or creativity. Yet they will somehow get results die to thier front three. They have been lucky with injuries as well

  • Chelsea 1 Anthony Taylor 1
    If I were Conte, I’d smuggle in a chainsaw to each of my defenders
    I think Taylor would have no problem with them leatherfacing Chelsea into submission

  • Thanks for the post, Total.
    The press v the Foxes was not at the levels of ferocity which we saw against Palace, totally understandable given the temperature on the pitch, but it was nonetheless a terrific effort, and the coaching staff deserve kudos for getting the boys so fit. Well done for spotting the quieter, yet highly effective role of our captain, and the development of Granite into a proper number 8. He lost a bit of possession but made up for it with an outstanding display capped by an Aaron Ramsyish right place right time goal. Older bloggers may agree that Xhaka has something of George ‘Stroller’ Graham about him.
    With Kieran and Tomi back in contention, it is a tough call to name our best back four at present. Such depth is a credit to Edu and his summers work.
    Just came back from the local Sports Bar having watched the Chavs and Spuds. It all kicked off in the pub after the last minute equaliser, the F bomb was the least of it, a veritable geyser of testosterone, abuse, threats, swinging fists. I, for all of one second considered being a peacemaker, but decided discretion was the better form of valour. I exited smiling, quietly singing, “One team in London…”

  • You guys said it all.

    My only confusion is about the left vs right conundrum.
    – Are White and Saka (seem to be) playing worse as they are dis-preferred when driving attacks on the left, thus having less opportunity to shine?
    – Or is Arsenal preferring to attack on the left, because White, Partey and Saka seem to be behind Zinchenko, Xhaka and Martinelli in sharpness and creativity?

    Which is the cause and which is the effect?

  • Pb i think Partey has been a bit underwhelming the last two games. His passing has been awry and his combination play with Ode is not upto the mark. This starves saka of the service. Saka himself has been relatively quite yesterday but did make the cross for the og with palace. Saka is catching the Pepe by g of slowing down when he receives the pass. May be it’s just a temp phase but if the right clicks like how the least if fluid then we will have more variety in our attack. We will have to observe this one for few games to see the improvement.

  • Too early to tell, I think. Further to your explanations/options it may be that our CF veers strongly to the Left and Xhaka is allowed to push more up than Thomas. Its a numbers game and Saka gets too isolated.

  • It is indeed too early.

    So without any ambition to jump to conclusions, here a re a few WhoScored statistics:
    Among Arsenal’s players accumulating 160+ minutes in the first 2 games there are 3 distinct categories for ratings:
    – Jesus, Martinelli, Saka and Zinchenko are the clear top 4, with an average between 7.3 and 8.1
    – Partey, White and Gabriel (the third or the first, depending on your point of view) are the middle 3 with average ratings between 6.9 and 7.15
    – Saka, Odegaard, Saliba and Ramsdale are currently the ‘bottom 4’, with perfectly average ratings of 6.72 and 6.77
    – Saka and Odegaard played rather blunt (hence their average scores), while Saliba and Aaron played rather well, but a rare error ‘balanced’ their performance ratings
    – Jesus leads the entire PL with his 8.07 average, Martinelli is #4 with 7.84 (Xhaka is 16th with 7.57)
    – Rodrigo leads the topscorers’ chart with 3, two of our Gabis share place #2-#7 with 2 each
    – Jesus leads ‘shots per game’ statistics with 4 (shared with Maddison and Rodrigo)
    – Martinelli was the 3rd most fouled player in the first 2 rounds with 2.5 per 90 minutes
    – While even the 2nd round of games hasn’t finished yet, we have 2 players in the team of the month: Martinelli and Jesus

  • And one for the laugh:
    Only one Manchester United player reached the quality of our bottom 4 so far (with ratings in the 6.72-6.78 bracket). All other red devils managed to play below our lowest performing players.

  • About our RHS:
    I have not watched the game again, but I don’t seem to remember anyone overlapping Bukayo down there.
    We can’t expect this from White, the boy’s been excellent so far, just because he’s fully focused on what he does best: defending/delivering surgical first passes.
    Tomi has only played 20 minutes, we all know he can do better on that front, but in a 4-2-3-1, it’d mean taking out either Ben, or Bill, which I don’t look forward to.
    Partey’s bow just doesn’t have that string, and never will, I think we can all agree on that. I couldn’t help thinking of him when I watched Matt Smith providing our U21s with that particular weapon on a regular basis – the boy always does it at the exact right time, in exactly the right space. I think Matt’s intelligence, vision, and technique, are the reasons why Marquinhos has been shining so brightly already; our young Carioca (Paulista??) is always given three solutions at least: combine with Matt, change the game altogether towards the space Matt has freed in midfield, or playing solo when Matt’s runs have wreaked sufficient havoc in the opponents’ defense … in other words he can do precisely what Bukayo can’t for the first team at the moment.
    But … it looks as though giving Matt a real shot at first-team football hasn’t even been considered, so what? What I’m going to write will sound harsh on Partey, but … there’s this persistent rumour about Barça being dead set on selling De Jong – the boy would be a dramatic upgrade on Thomas, there’s no question about that imo (I only say that because spending no longer seems to be a problem for us).
    Otherwise, there’d be a shift to a back-3, something like:
    Ramsdale
    White-Saliba-Gabriel
    Tomiyasu-Odegaard-Xhaka-Zinchenko
    Saka-Jesus-Martinelli
    … with Partey the sacrificial lamb – again (but I think this back-3 ship has sailed, tbh); if none of this is implemented, I’m afraid Bukayo will feel frustrated, unhappy very soon, and we might get our glorious sky obscured by its very first cloud.

  • Thanks for the stats, PB. I don’t understand how these scores are made, but they are not too surprising. Those with goals and assists seem to score highest, which I guess makes sense.

  • Great comment, LeG. Frenkie needs to play left sided and he would be the only player I consider an upgrade to Granit, in terms of all round package.

    It seems to me that Partey is playing with the handbrake on, maybe in order to just stay fit. He should be able to push up more, with Whitey covering for him just like Zinch does for Xhaka. If Jesus would move into the right area more then Saka can play off him. This happened a bit more towards the end of the game and, especially when Tomiyasu also was on the pitch, Buka started to shine again.

    Love your thoughts on the youngsters and cannot wait to see them used in Europe.

  • I’m afraid apart from Marquinhos – who was signed for the first team and is playing for the U21 to gain match fitness and get acquainted with the style Arsenal is now playing – we will not see youngsters play in Europa or the cups.
    Hutchinson has left, Patino, Flores, Balogun, Rekik and Biereth were loaned. The only players who could be considered are Hein (but will not challenge the summer signing Turner), Brooke Norton-Cuffy (expected to go on loan again), Walters & Sousa who might end up on the bench, but will not outplace Tomi/Cedric and Tierney at the second-choice (!) fullback position. Matt Smith, Miguel Azeez and Salah-Eddine could all train with the first team, could even take a seat on the bench, but with a squad size like this they won’t steal valuable playing minutes from Vieira, Lokonga, Elneny and Smith-Rowe.

    Even Marquinhos will have difficulties to play for the first team. His only chance would be if Pepe gets sold and not replaced, so he could battle with Nelson for the place in the starting line-up at cup games. But let’s be honest, the chances of both conditions (1: Pepe gets sold, 2: without buying a replacement) are pretty grim.

  • Week 2 competition results:-

    1st – OX10 with 1 correct score, 5/6 correct and most correct predictions = 11 points.
    2nd – Stuart & Total with 4/6 correct = 4 points.
    4th – Eris, Kev & LEGALL with 3/6 = 3points.
    Last – GN5 with 2/6 = 2 points.
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Season to date:-

    1st OX10 with 15
    2nd Stuart with 12
    3rd Total with 10.33
    4th Eris with 9.33
    5th Kev with 9.00
    6th GN5 with 8.33
    7th Madhu with 4.00
    8th LEGALL with 3.00
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    A huge week for OX10 with the second highest score recorded since we started our competition’s, well done my friend. Looks like Eris will have some strong opponents this season.

  • Week 3 selections:-

    Tottenham v Wolves *
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
    Bournemouth v Arsenal
    Newcastle v Manchester City
    Manchester United v Liverpool *
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid *
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • Dont forget injuries and subs. They will get time as Mikel will want to see them in action.

    Pepe is sooner or later a goner.. just does not fit Arteta’s playing style. Nelson is injured for a while? But yeah, young players facing tough competition at a top team will not come as a surprise… 😉

  • Tottenham v Wolves * 1-2 (Hope….)
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa H (Vieira to do Stevie G)
    Bournemouth v Arsenal A (as long as we are careful about the the Big C)
    Newcastle v Manchester City D (The big Oil battle)
    Manchester United v Liverpool * 1-4 (Will Pool have mercy to leave it at that score?!)
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid * 0-2 (remains a two-teams league – boring as hell).

  • Here you go GN5 missed last week.

    Tottenham v Wolves * 2-1
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa H
    Bournemouth v Arsenal A
    Newcastle v Manchester City A
    Manchester United v Liverpool * 1-3
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid * 1-2

  • All hail the winner(s)
    HOWEVER
    1) I predicted a 4-0 Arsenal win. Two unfortunate mistakes gifted 2 goals to the visiting side, as a consequence of which – as Pb has so rightly highlighted – our 2 “culprits” have already been sentenced to very harsh player ratings. Therefore, as Arsenal fans, I think it should be our duty to do our best to cheer our boys up, and not to take those 2 should-not-have-been-goals into account.
    But if you all feel like pouring water on 2 of our drowning men, I’ll surrender to the decision of the ruthless majority, of course.
    2) Anthony Taylor has gifted You-Know-Who a draw which, in any other land but PGMO-Land would have been a loss, i.e. a Home victory – which I had predicted, too. But then again, if most of you chose to condone that kind of cutthroat behavior, I shall concede – even though I’ll have that decision in mind next time we are reffed by say … Moss, or Mariner
    I expect our highly-respected umpire GN, to take these 2 remarks under consideration asap
    José LeGinho

  • Haha LeG, you have got to take all factors into account my friend. This is much harder than it looks. It takes an Erismus to win this competition…. 😎😎

  • Great comment Le Gall it brought a smile to my face – but unfortunately as much as we would al like to change unfair results – VAR and the referee would overrule us.

  • Tottenham v Wolves * H (3-1)
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa D
    Bournemouth v Arsenal A
    Newcastle v Manchester City A
    Manchester United v Liverpool * A (0-3)
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid * A (0-3)

  • TA, I agree with almost all your observations. Just to add a couple.

    Reactionaries on Twitter complain about Ødegaard when he doesn’t score and assist, but they don’t notice all the little ways he keeps us ticking along, like that most important part in a mechanical watch that makes all the other parts keep moving. I was envisioning that even before I read your post.. we think alike.

    There’s a couple minute video on YouTube showing all his touches and even though no flashy highlights, it’s super impressive and shows why he’s so valuable. Last week he had covered the most distance of any player in the league. I’m sure he was near the top this week too. You see him back defending in our box, and leading the press, tackling.

    Parteys passes were off all game.

    Saka should actually benefit from no longer having all defenders keying on him as they were in the past. I don’t love the excuse that we’re coming through the left more. That’s 2 weeks now that he hasn’t been influential. I’m expecting him to adjust to the left emphasis and find a way to use it to his advantage. Then we’ll be even harder to stop.

    Kev,
    3rd or better is my prediction. I think I’ve said .. minimum of 3rd, and taking points off the top 2 finally. If liverfool falter, who knows?

  • Almost forgot.. that mess at the end of the spurs/Chavs would have been completely repaired with my suggestion for the managers challenge request.

    Unbelievable that VAR didn’t catch the hair pull… bad enough that the ref missed it from his perfect angle. Changed the outcome.

    Luckily for us, the draw was better for Arsenal.

    Funny how so many calls seem to fall in their favor. Including our decider last season.

  • Jync,

    Dermot Gallagher gives his verdict

    INCIDENT: Should VAR have given Cristian Romero a red card for his hair pull on Marc Cucurella ahead of Spurs’ equalizer?

    VERDICT: The VAR should have intervened – it was a red card and a free-kick to Chelsea.

    DERMOT SAYS: I think the VAR should intervene. I’m not sure the referee has seen it, I think he looks down but I think he does it instinctively. I think he watches the flight of the ball. He does look down, but I think it has already happened. The VAR has the perfect look. As soon as I saw it, I said, ‘I think he is going to get a red card here, he’s pulled him down by the hair’. I anticipated the VAR sending Anthony Taylor to the screen. I know for a fact that if Anthony had been sent to the screen, he would have given a red card and a free-kick to Chelsea.e?

  • I think the outcome of the Chelsea-Tottenham game is really a win-win for us (and probably for the rest of the PL).
    Both of our competitors lost points.
    Both managers have been sent off.
    Hopefully it will lead to losing further points in the next round.
    It became common knowledge that Romero is a sneaky b@st@rd, and he will be under scrutiny for a long time.
    Seemingly untouchable referees might not be untouchable after all.
    Son, Kulusevski and Sterling all played pretty lame, they don’t seem so fearful any more…

  • I’ve just got Amazon Prime via my son and spent yesterday evening watching the first four episodes of the Arsenal drama-doc on there and can highly recommend it…

    We all take different things from these types of programmes and for me it’s how good a footballer Emile Smith Rowe is, what a proper Arsenal man he is and what a good goalscorer he’s become, anyone who scores 10 plus goals a season is going to be missed, so having options like Smudge and Vieira coming off of the bench is going to be amazing.

  • Kev I hope Emile can keep fit. It’s been an issue for a long time now. Seems to me either muscle injuries or lack of stamina. With 5 subs he’ll get lots of opportunities to shine.

    When it comes to full game starts in Europa or league, I hope he can hold up. Our system requires lots of energy.

  • Started with QPR-Blackpool – for half an hour. Our boy Charlie P. very comfortable in an awkward position (RW left-footed playmaker) from which he takes great pleasure at teasing the old-fashioned, would-be-bullies, QPR defenders. He sprained his ankle in an ugly fashion after 15 minutes, stayed on the pitch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t come back after the whole thing’s cooled off at HT
    Game was a bit tedious, so after 30 minutes, shifted to Ibrox, where during the first 10 minutes I saw Gakpo torture Tavernier, ’til he took a corner which ended up in a 6-yord-box melee out of which Sangaré scored a scrappy goal. Rangers reacted very well though, so much so that they got a great equalizer, after a delightful team move – our former boy Gio seems to be doing an excellent job up there.
    Shifted back to Loftus Road, just in time to see Blackpool score the opener – deservedly so, they are the better football team (but QPR are a bunch of very strong, physical lads so I wouldn’t bet much on ana way victory)
    Think I’ll stay in Glasgow, I’ve seen enough of Charlie to know we don’t have to worry about him, he looks like Legolas toying with Orcs

  • Coming on late to the thread but must say comments have been on point, largely. I’d wade straight into the right side-left side debate and opine that Bukayo does need to up his game a bit in order to be the great influence we know he can be. I don’t put it down to a lack of support because Bukayo is a Lone Wolf type and can cause damage on his own, on his day. With Partey and Odegaard as suppliers, no winger can complain about that. The thing is a team will drift to the side of the pitch where they feel more dangerous. If Saka proves prolific, team would move towards his side more. Having said that, Arsenal has built offensive play more from the left side for a long time now, so maybe it is habit?

    Tomiyasu should be back soon; maybe it could help to change the dynamic and have us attack from either flank, evenly.

    I agree that the influence of Xhaka and Odegaard’s all-round good work must be giving Tielemans and Paqueta concerns, should they harbour thoughts about joining Arsenal this summer. They’ve both been terrific for us.

  • The Chelsea v Spurs result was a win for us, for sure. It is a nice feeling to see us in the top 4, not out of place based on our performance, and being one of only two teams without dropped points. Long may that continue. On this form and with the momentum, I would predict we are in the top 3 before the World Cup break; and that’s where I have a problem.

    The disruption will affect every team, with representation at the tournament, in different ways. It will take a strong will for a team of young players like ours to return and continue with same momentum, I feel. Other than that, 3rd Place is a good shout.

  • GN5, it sure looks like the competition will be stiffer this season, so I welcome it and congratulate the front runners. TA, OX10 may have happened on an elixir stronger than “an erismus”, perhaps.

    LE GALL, your protests had me laughing hard. You do have a way with words.

    It will be an exciting season, I daresay.

    PS: It was Mike Dean as VAR in the Chelsea v Spurs game so, no surprises that he ignored an incident which could overturn an equalizing goal by his darling Spuds. I have said it before after watching Romero last season; he gets away with a lot.

  • Tottenham v Wolves……………Home (3-0)
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa…Home
    Bournemouth v Arsenal………Away
    Newcastle v Man City…………Draw
    Man United v Liverpool………Away (1-3)
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid……Away (1-3)

  • Scoring goals is a wonderful knack Johnno, not every player has that knack, Gabriel has it, Saka has it, White doesn’t nor does Partey, so goals alone gets Smithy in the squad and on the pitch as often as possible.

    I’m not sure that he suffered injuries anymore than anyone else last season if my memory serves me right and certainly not worse than say Partey or Tierney or Tomiyasu

  • Hi Eris,

    What do you mean with Saka needs to up his game? It seems to suggest to me that you think he is not trying hard enough, which to me is an oxymoron. Saka always gives his all; he is that sort of character.

    Just watch the game and see how often he is isolated and chaperoned by two opposition players. It’s him who causes the space on the left as the opposition just cannot leave him alone.
    Now he may be a bit out of form and maybe that’s what you mean with ‘having to raise his game’. That would be fine with me as long as it is not the former.

  • TA, maybe it is down to form, or the attention he gets (Lord knows it has always been that way for him when he was still leaving defenders in his wake) but his decision making, in recent times, frustrates; plus, he did lose possession a bit uncharacteristically in the last two games. I feel he is capable of more/better, if he quits complicating things as he struts his stuff. This is not me suggesting he doesn’t deserve to be the first name on the team sheet (because he does) but just me wanting him to fulfill the potential he can reach. I hope the glances from Anfield didn’t turn his head and get him distracted.

    Gabriel Martinelli gets doubled up on too but after hitting a few road blocks early in the games, he starts to find a way to be dangerous, playing with his full back and Xhaka. Saka will improve as the season goes along, reason I urged him to step things up.

  • Here are my predictions for the weekend’s selection of games:

    Tottenham v Wolves * H (3-1)
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa H
    Bournemouth v Arsenal A
    Newcastle v Manchester City A
    Manchester United v Liverpool * A (2-4)
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid * A (1-2)

  • Cheers Eris, you see different things to me and that is fine. Let’s also remind ourselves that he is still so young. Saka has no interest in Pool, that’s just silly media rubbish. Let’s not indulge…

  • Big Bro Cedric scored a “watch-and-learn-kiddos” FK, so it’s 2-1
    Swansea got a midfielder sent off – got distracted for a moment so I don’t know why
    Vieira’s puzzled me so far … because he seems to belong here with the u21s! He’s light as a feather, has something of a “playstation” player with a toolbag full of fancy backheels and dummies, but full of void as soon as he gets near the opponents’ penalty box.
    It’s only 45 minutes, first game in England, and the boy hasn’t played in a long time, so this first impression I’ve got might be completely misleading, though …

  • I half-agree with my brother Eris.
    Saka is indeed playing below his average. He is often selfish, his execution lacks the expected quality.
    But I’m not sure if it is himself who should do something about it. He needs coaching and support from the backroom staff.

    There could plenty of possible reasons or explanations behind his dent in form.
    First it is practically impossible to play on a consistent high level year in year out, and he was one of the star performers in the past 2 years – and there weren’t many.
    He could be under mental pressure, and/or could struggle with fatigue as he played quite a lot in recent months (for club and country), especially considering his age. It could also be related to his own contract situation, or even Eddie’s, as it is impossible not to compare salaries. And yes, there could have been the Liverpool rumors – or maybe contacts – in the background.

    But I think it is up to Mikel to sort it out. As far as I am concerned – which is next to nothing, I have no illusions – Bukayo desperately needs some rest and rotation. But behind fitness and concentration issues, I think it would benefit the team – and Arteta’s image, too – to give some minutes and games to other players at right wing. Sending the same XI every wing is not a virtue, it makes us predictable, and the guys also need the message that there are no thing as ‘teacher’s pet’, thus the line-up should and will be based on form and tactics. Arteta did this 2 times in his tenure: swapping Leno to Ramsdale a year ago, and replacing Lacazette with Nketiah about 5 months ago. The latter was a success story, but the former didn’t lead to a healthy and constructive competition between the two goalkeepers, mostly because Aaron started all PL games and many cup games, irrespective of his performance. Let’s not do that again with Saka.

  • So Arsenal played two games and some of you are critical about 20 year old Bukayo who had the pre-assist for our first goal v Palace and forced the error for the second goal…

    Good night all.

  • TA, we all love Bukayo and know he is only 20. Not being critical (for the sake of it) but only making the observation; he is better than what he’s produced the last two games and, frankly, towards the end of last season. I agree with PB that he looked weary in both games and even by the end of last season, having played a lot of games at this level, at such a young age.

    I feel he would benefit from some rotation, if we had a good like for like replacement. We don’t. So, the alternative Arteta has will be to trust him and keep playing him till he gets to his best form.

  • Couldn’t watch the second half, TA
    Fabio (along with Emil) had called it a day by the 45th minute, anyway
    We’ll see … he played in Bukayo’s left-footed RW position (btw interesting stat the other day, on @Orbinho, about Partey having “the lowest passing accuracy in the opposition half of any Arsenal outfield player against Leicester” – 56%) while central’s very likely to be where he feels more comfortable.
    On the other hand, if Big Bill wasn’t ready for PL last season there’s no way Tiny Fabio is now, he’d simply be blown away by the first DM he’d come across with – but there might be more to come from him after a successful loan. After all he’s just made it out of one the most prestigious portuguese academies, and he’s a U20 international, for a country where the least we can say is that competition for the playmaker position is fierce …
    One more thing though, I happened to watch the 2022 Benfica-Salzburg UEFA youth cup final, which Benfica won by a tennis score, 6-0. Benfica had a left-footed player, Diego Moreira, who’s just turned 18, and played LW that day. He who was so good I couldn’t help but chuckle as I watched him “eat my dust, baby”/”my hooves are burnin” the Salzburg defenders:

    I may have had Diego M. in mind, as I watched Fabio’s first steps in the red-and-white yesterday …

  • Salah-Eddine moving to Hull City has come out of the blue, if the deal is concluded, not least the option to buy, but Edu clearing the decks seems to be the way to go with a slimmed down Arteta squad full of players who can fill more than one role. Less disgruntled squad players seems to make for a more unified environment.

    Not sure how I feel about the reported Aston Villa interest in Rob Holding, we have to get better at selling I know but I’m tending to want to see Rob stay for several reasons.

    What kind of fee would Villa want to pay for example?

    After getting Calum Chambers for around £2m Gerrard perhaps think that Arsenal are a club that undervalues it’s players and where good value is available, so what would they offer, £5m maybe for a guy on a three year deal if his option is activated?

    For me Rob falls into the Elneny category that is a player with an excellent personality, a player who is great around the training ground, a player who doesn’t complain or sulk, who encourages his team mates, who celebrates wholeheartedly with the group when we’re successful, a player who can step in in an emergency and give 150% knowing full well that he could be out of the side the next game, that to me is priceless.

    So I think that Aston Villa would need to stump up a serious fee for Holding before Arteta would consider letting Rob go and I imagine that Arsenal have told them as much and that they’ve moved on and I’m happy with that.

  • Three U21 games played, three wins, encouraging performances by Marquinhos, Matt Smith and James Olayinka, but just where will they all be next month or by January is anyone’s guess and intriguing to me. What kind of future will they have either at Arsenal or elsewhere?

    With a slimmed-down Arteta squad is there actually a place for the latter two to fill out the 25 places given their age and the fact that they’d have to be included in the senior squad?

    Further departures (Bellerin, Niles, Pepe) could have a defining influence on whether they go or whether they stay?

    Another academy lad who, in the words of Robert Johnson, is “standing at the crossroads” is Miguel Azeez, the only one of the above to play in all three U21 games, I mean, do Arsenal have a plan for Miguel, has he himself discovered a pathway to the senior squad and does it revolve around the Thomas Partey role so vital to our system?

    Most areas of our squad are filled with the required quality players and with the quality cover available and necessary to progress in our relentless Premier League. But the one area so vital and so seemingly vulnerable is the base of our midfield where TP patrols. Tielemans could be an option, maybe a player not mentioned/recycled by Fabrizio Romano is a possibility but also long term Azeez could be seen as an internal option?

  • Here we go, GN5.

    Tottenham v Wolves * H 2-0
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa D
    Bournemouth v Arsenal A
    Newcastle v Manchester City A
    Manchester United v Liverpool * D 1-1
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid * A (1-2)

  • Sorry, GN!
    Here are next week-end results:
    “Them” v Wolves 1-1
    Palace v Villa H
    Bournemouth v AFC A
    Newcastle v MCity D
    MUtd v Liverpool 1-2
    Vigo v Real 0-2

  • Kev, I received the rumour of a possible move for Rob Holding with disdain and agree with you that he cannot be for sale, unless for some silly money, just for his ‘happy squad player’ nature. It is a priceless quality to have in any squad of professionals with aspirations.

    He is a close 3rd in the pecking order for Saliba’s cover and can be central in a back 3. There are so many important games in which he’s held his own and been a rock at the back for us. Who can forget the way he handled Diego Costa in that FA cup final (2017?), like a boss. I like that in your face attitude about him. He will get games, so he stays, for me.

  • Sorry GN5, had problems posting whilst away in South Wales

    Tottenham v Wolves * H 3-0
    Crystal Palace v Aston Villa A
    Bournemouth v Arsenal A
    Newcastle v Manchester City A
    Manchester United v Liverpool * A 0-3
    Celta Vigo v Real Madrid * A (0-2)

  • It is desperation and it is the situation united find themselves these days that they are resorting to desperate measures. Casemiro is good and will help Fred and McTominay, but not sure his arrival will witness a sea change in their fortunes, to be honest.

    I hear they will go for Gakpo and Anthony next. Now, that will be a drastic move.

  • Yeah, TA. Read about Steve Braddock’s passing today. His great work to maintain the “carpet” cannot be forgotten.

    May his soul Rest In Peace.

  • Yes Eris, how Rob handled Costa in the Cup Final is one of my fondest memories, he also handled Sadio Mane the same way in our last league success over Liverpool during lockdown, Mane will always try to intimidate you physically so you have give it back to him hard and he then backs off. Liverpool are going to miss him big time!

  • Yes, Steve Braddock RIP, quite a shock, we all take the green carpets of the Premier League for granted nowadays but it was Braddock who took the art of groundsmanship onto a new level.

  • £70m for Casimiro is simply insane and shows what a basket case United are and I love it and hope it continues all season and their arrogant and entitled supporters suffer.

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