Before we focus on our next OGAAT battle with Everton, let’s talk about Folarin Balogun and what his return to the Home of Football next season could mean.
Jesus has already proven to be a great Arsenal CF, Eddie is doing a fabulous job right now and Balogun is making all the baguettes stand up with excitement in la douce France this season. We are blessed with three very fine CFs, and when were we last able to say this?
Having watched Folarin a few times on TV now, it’s not a fluke that he is the league’s topscorer. He is fluid and works the defence hard, he has a great ‘nose for a goal’ as the Dutch say (he sniffs chances) and he knows no nerves in front of goal. He can, be target man, play with his back towards goal and loves to come deep too! If he can do this with relatively limited service in the Stade Reims team, just imagine what it could be like when he plays with the likes of Ode, Xhaka and Saka around him!!
Surely, we cannot keep all three of our CFs happy next season if we can only play one at a time? And with Trossard in the team, we cannot simply say we’ll play Jesus on the left and one of Eddie or Balogun through the middle in most of our games.
We could say we effectively have four CFs, two who can play on the left and two who can play on the right. Could we therefore opt for two CFs next season, say in a 3-4-1-2?
Something like this:
Mix and match as per your preferences. I don’t know about you but I quite like this set up for next season. There is also Martinelli and possibly Rice to squeeze into these lineups.
What do you think?
47 thoughts on “Balogun, Eddie, Jesus, Trossard: 3-4-1-2 next season?”
Sorry, GN5. A busy week kept me from the more important things in life…
Aston Villa v Leicester City H
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool * A 1-2
Newcastle United v West Ham United H
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City * H 2-1
St Mirren v Hibernian * D 1-1
Real Sociedad v Real Valladolid H
We have that expression in English too, Total. You might remember “Sniffer” (Allan) Clarke who broke our hearts by scoring the only goal in the ’72 cup final.
Hmmm, I remember when a young Andy Cole was coming through. We had Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell in front of him, so he went out on loan to Fulham and then Bristol City, who ultimately purchased him from us for half a million quid. Then he went on and did what he did for the Barcodes and Manure.
The club and Folarin face the same quandary. Matching excellence and ambition with opportunity. With both Jesus and Eddie in front of him, would we change a winning formation to accommodate all three? I can’t see it, mate. More likely another season on loan for the young hotshot.
An article you might find interesting, Total… https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20230131-the-people-living-between-sea-and-sky
Thanks Stu. An interesting read with stylish images. 🙂
I think we should accomodate Balogun in the squad. Jesus can be that free floating rols on the wings and gives adequate free time for Saka. Saka is over played and hardly gets rest. With two academy strikers it’s a great advert for our academy and a great pathway for all budding strikers from the academy. We would have saved millions which can be invested in other areas.
With Balogun we will have 6-7 players to be accomodated for the front three. With 5 subs it would be artetas delight to pose more challenges to opponents late in the match when we would have run them ragged. Form would also play a role and players will like the competitiveness to achieve higher levels.
Using subs more vigorously would make a difference, Madhu. And the CL footie will require using the squad better anyway. I like your thinking.
Stu, Balogun becoming the next Andy Cole is a terrible thought. Let’s try and accommodate him, but I respect your view of not changing our current system.
Amen to that, Total. I hope the lad is a big part of our next decade. How long is his present contract with the club?
I agree with everything you say, Madhu, whether it be about promoting academy lads, saving money for other investments, or doing the best of the 5-change-rule …
I think Mikel will relish having that kind of problem, and since Stu mentioned Andy Cole, we should keep in mind what the Beckham/Cole/Giggs/Sheringham/Solskjaer/Yorke bunch did for you-know-who in 1998-99.
It’s hard not to think of them when figuring out what our own Balogun/Jesus/Martinelli/Nketiah/Odegaard/Saka/SmithRowe (I keep thinking Reiss has some greatness in him too, but you may take him out if you like) could do for us next season.
As for who gets the most playing time: you can’t take out forwards who score goals, you just can’t. I know this will be anathema to some (many?), but unless he dramatically improves his goal tally , and however immense his other qualities might be, I think Jesus might drop down the pecking order … just sayin’, please don’t crucify ME!
Balo’s contract is till mid ’25, Stu.
Legall, you may have a point and Eddie deserves to keep playing indeed. But Jesus is the bee’s knees imo.
Good point about his contract Total, Edu needs to extend it this summer because Balogun will be very sought after following his hot streak in France, the question is is his hot streak Andy Cole or Joe Willock?
My initial feeling is we keep them all and go for everything next season, just as Man City always do, we only need an injury to Eddie or Jesus and then it’s panic stations again, so for me having Jesus, Nketiah AND Balogun in the squad is a no-brainer for 2023/24, a season wherewe’ll have a target on our back as well as the Champions League.
Kev, I watched him closely v the spoiled brats of PSG and he really impressed. He had such a presence, fluidity and energy about him, a bit like Thierry or Drogba in their early days
TA’s right, Kev
The kid’s the real deal, if ever there was one
And there’s something else, too – he always plays with a beaming smile across his face
Remember when your 10-year-old self couldn’t wait to get back from school so you could kick about a makeshift ball with your pals ’til the sun went down and/or your mom grabbed you by the neck to drag you back to the dinner table? … Fo looks like he’s stayed this very kid which, in 2023 professional football, is nothing short of a miracle (even though something close to this oozes from Buk, Eddie, or GabMart too, tbf)
Yeh, I watched the Reims PSG game and thought of Folarin, “this lad is doing a Jesus/Eddie”. His work rate off the ball was exceptional, constantly harrying the oppo defenders. He defo wants that Arsenal number 9 shirt.
LG, in my teens our family home was 100 metres up the frog from the school playing fields. Mum would ring a bell to summons us to dinner, but always put tin foil over my plate and stuck it in the oven, knowing I’d arrive home in my own good time, sweaty and smiling, only after the umpteenth cry of, “last goal wins”.
GN5, here are my predictions for the weekend’s picks (good thing you don’t have the Chelsea Fulham game). Had a busy week and been distracted.
Aston Villa v Leicester City. H
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool * D 2-2
Newcastle United v West Ham United. H
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City * A. 0-1
St Mirren v Hibernian * H 1-0
Real Sociedad v Real Valladolid. H
Well Total, I imagine that you may be watching Sportscene on BBC Scotland where Queens Park are playing Ayr United.,,
Arsenal loanee Alex Kirk is playing centre-back for Ayr United, but it’s difficult to judge with both sides playing a lot of long high balls
Alex Kirk almost scored from a free kick, but a good save from the goalkeeper
Good headed clearance by Kirk
2nd half starts with a strong run from Kirk to the edge of the box and a cross that should have been converted
Well, I’m accustomed to sound like a broken record, but the rich selection which could be perceived as a no-brainer from the supporter point of view could be problematic from the players’ perspective. It is all about playing minutes, and it comes down to whether Jesus is willing and capable to perform the same level on the wings. TA and some of you assume that Gabby Jesus can either play on the wing (as he did several times at Manchester City), or even part of a front 2. This certainly can be true, yet I’m not optimistic about it. It wasn’t the best setup when we used Aubameyang as LW (to accommodate Lacazette as ST), but regardless of Wenger’s mistake – which might have triggered his eventual downfall – I have read somewhere that Jesus preferred the move to Arsenal not because Arteta or the lack of competition for the forward positions, but because he was fed up with serving Agüero from the wing, and expected to have similar tasks supporting Haaland. Plus we have Martinelli, Saka and Trossard (even Nelson) on the wings and Odegaard as AM so Gabby not spearheading the attack would mean dropping one of our unplayable youngsters.
And if I assume to stick with the single-striker formation, then Balogun should either go on another loan, or leave Arsenal permanently. 3 players are simply too many for a one-man position, even if we predict 18 cup games besides the 38 PL matches. If Jesus takes 65-70% (3400-3500 min) of that – as he should – that would leave 1700 minutes for the deputie(s), which is hardly enough for one. Eddie might play 2000 minutes this season due to the long injury of Gabby, but Balogun will exceed 3000 (unless getting injured), so it’s unlikely to come back to compete Eddie for the back-up striker position, unless he has guarantees to usurp Nketiah. But that’s not likely either, as Eddie’s brace against Chelsea, Oxford and Manchester United is almost as impressive as Folarin’s heroics in France.
Two good headed clearances from Kirk
Scrappy game at the Bridge. They’re tough cookies, these cottagers.
Remember what Arsène did to Robert P., when he kept him on the bench by his side first, so he might see/feel how intense a PL game was before being thrown into the middle of one? Looks like Potter should have done exactly that with Mudryck; the poor boy looks as clueless as the main character of a “twilight zone” episode – let’s hope for him he’ll be given time to adjust.
What an act of love this was, Mrs Young. It’s your boy’s heart this tin foil was keeping warm, … and still does.
Queens Park take the lead via a penalty kick and almost score a 2nd just after but it’s blocked by Kirk
Diagonal cross by Kirk almost leads to an equaliser, cleared off of the line.
I feel that we should accommodate Folarin if we can, we certainly don’t want him going to a competitor in the PL. I can appreciate PB’s thinking though. What a problem to have though!
Jesus 28 games x 70 minutes
Eddie 5 games x 90 minutes, 14 games x 25 minutes
Folarin 5 games x 90 minutes, 14 games x 25 minutes
Cup competitions, say 15 games x 90 minutes = 1350/3 CFs = 450 minutes per player.
Jesus = 2410 minutes
Balo = 1250 minutes
Eddie = 1250 minutes
We CAN play all three and give them plenty of time on the pitch, even with just one CF.
Good block by Kirk, he’s quite good, not Arsenal quality but he’s good enough to earn us a decent fee. Own goal and Queens Park lead 2-0
Cheers Kev, your commitment to our Academy players is awesome.
Interesting developments at Chelsea today. With all the new players coming in, Graham Potter had to decide who to accommodate in his CL squad. He could have left out the 19-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka or omitted the third-choice goalkeeper. Instead, he’s left out Aubameyang. I think we all know how this will end!
Indeed OX, glad he agreed to leave us a year ago. Look how we have moved on since then!
Finishes 2-0 to Queens Park, Kirk overlapped like a your Ben White, maybe a full-back could be his best position.
Pure coincidence that I found the game but it was ok, it’s good to see football at this level and reminds you how good Arsenal are.
Well done Fulham… 🙃
The Boss used to sing “57 channels and nothing on”
I wish the Ashburton Army could get ready to sing along “£600m and nothing on” to this tune when the Chavs turn up at the Grove …
Palhinha looks like a top-class DM to me
Yes, Chelsea looked disjointed and toothless. Mudryk off at halftime. Poor ol’ Graeme Potter trying to find his way in the mad house that is Stamford Bridge.
Willian had a good game for Fulham. Never understood how it went so wrong for him at Arsenal. He was three times Chelsea player of the year before we got him. Total mystery to me.
Great comment earlier Stu. Your mum knew what you needed back then. 🙂
Nice one Legall. 🤣
I lean towards thinking that you can’t keep 3 strikers happy and sharp. I’d hate to see Baloguns value go down after this great loan.
So… maybe ring the register with a buyback clause?
Unless of course Arteta sells Jesus on a mainly permanent move to the wings, or a free role. That’s the only way Balogun and Eddie could get enough work.
Much as I like what Jesus has done to us, I have more faith in Artetas ability to get the best out of the squad. Worse comes to worse I would prefer Nketia and Balogun to stay. I wouldn’t mind selling Jesus in couple of seasons time. By that time Nketia would probably at his peak and Balogun would have learnt his trade within Arsenal and blended in.
For me as a long time Arsenal fan, I always somehow prided on how we are different from anyone else. With a maruading Chelsea firing 50 £ bills and oilers money elsewhere fuelling ManC and Ncastle imagine an Arsenal team with a frontline of academy players plying thier wares. Oh what a sight it would be and just for the novelty of that in modern football would be priceless. Dream I can and I suspect Arteta and Edu would fulfil it.
Madhu that’s sounds like a realistic plan. Would just need Arteta to get Jesus to accept a different role. As it is, Eddie is wasted when he was brought on wide as a sub earlier in the season. We can’t continue with that mistake.
Over the course of the season, Eddie would probably score quite a few more goals than Jesus, and he’s not useless outside the box anymore, actually greatly improved by Arteta training and hard work.
The things that Jesus does so well can be done from any position or free role.
TA, you made a decent argument above, but I’m afraid that for the side that say Arsenal CANNOT give all 3 of them enough time on the pitch, with just one CF.
The 2410 proposed minutes for Jesus is a huge step back. In his last 3 years he played (in chronological order) 3300, 2850 and 2600 minutes, and he was dissatisfied with the trend. I don’t think he would support the notion to continue it. Similarly the 1250 minutes you “offer” Nketiah and Balogun is the equivalent of what Tierney has played this half season so far who is the 2nd choice left back behind the injury-ridden Zinchenko, and also the amount Holding is expected to play by the end of the season. And while good old Rob might be content with that, I seriously doubt Eddie and Flo being that understanding.
To put it into context, the most minutes a player spends on the pitch in a season could exceed 6000. Kasper Schmeichel did that last year, probably Alexis Sanchez did that once, but that’s indeed very rare. But high 4000 are not uncommon. Rüdiger had 5014 club (!) minutes last season (he had some extra games in the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup), Joe Aribo had 4500, our own William Saliba had 4700 minutes in Marseilles. That’s twice the scenario offers to our first choice striker, who needs all the opportunities and support he can get to compete with Richarlison and Neymar for Brazil’s #1 striker position. I’m quite sure that topic was mentioned when Arteta lured him away from the Etihad to the Emirates.
I think if the proposal of 2410-1250-1250 was presented to the trio, the answers would be one ‘No’, and 2 ‘Hell, no’; but that’s just my subjective perception.
Just think J what would happen to our title chase if Eddie gets injured now.
PB, you may have a point or not, we don’t know the players personally. So Hell Nos are subjective utterances.
It’s a minimum of time available to them not taking into account injuries and one of them playing alongside another as double CF, or in one of the wing positions.
We cannot go into next season with just two CFs. Too much at stake. Balogun is proving himself like Saliba did last season and is now far too good to loan out again.
I reckon Arteta will have them all three and tweak the system next season.
Madhu, have you already forgotten how good Jesus is?! And how much better Martinelli plays with him on the pitch? I can’t wait to have him back.
New Post 🙂