Oh it’s crazy crunch time in the football transfer window. 10 hours to go and the Guardian just confirmed that Arsenal have signed a new RB/RFB subject to a successful medical. Takehiro Tomiyasu is to join us from Bologna:
The squad, once everyone is fit and available, looks pretty good to me in terms of having all the ingredients for Arteta’s great project, whatever that might look like (we will find out in the next few months hopefully). 😊
The exception is our right back situation. You could argue we need also a beast of a CF, but let’s park that thought for another post.
Our right back position, or should I say right wing back position, is well covered in numbers but all are much more back up material than able to claim the spot like King Kieran does for us on the left side. The final missing piece of the jigsaw is a wee beastie of a right back.
Soares is my ideal back up RB. Chambers and, if he stays, Bellerin are also good nr2s. I need to see more of Tavares in that position and he seems to mainly be back up for Tierney. There are other internal options but none of them will claim the Nr1 spot in all likelihood.
So I think we need to buy. We need someone who sets the right wing on fire like Bacary Sagna used to do for us. He was never really replaced, even though Bellerin showed a lot promise after Bacary left us for the Oilers.
In recent times Arsenal have a history of hanging on too long to undepar full backs, and this position has become even more important in the last decade.
So I welcome the rumours of Arsenal being interested in another Kieran: Kieran Trippier. His age is a draw-back (31 next month), but there is no doubt he would hit the ground running and provide real bite on our right.
In terms of getting a player who can develop with the rest of the team, Noussair Mazraoui of Ajax might be our ideal man. He is only 23 and a star in the making if you ask me.
Cash strapped Barcelona might want to sell the beautifully named Sergiño Gianni Dest who will become 21 in November. This American has it all.
There are other options and I invite you to share your suggestions with us on the blog.
So, here is hoping our main focus is on getting a wee beastie RFB/RWB. Just two days to go!
After a very pleasant pratice session at the Hawthorns, Arsenal face the huge challenge of getting at least a point against Man City.
The start to the PL season is very tough for Arteta and Arsenal and after two losses there is so much pressure on the team to turn things round against the champions.
We know that Man City will aim to push us back into our own half as much as possible. The boys need to absorb the pressure, keep it tight and be lethal on the break. Or do they? Should/will Arsenal perhaps play their own game instead? Take the game to City at least a bit?
To be honest, I have no idea what’s the best way to go tomorrow, but I would like us to start with confidence and a good plan.
Who to start?
My preferred line up:
Soar – Hold – Big Gab* – Tier
Lokonga – ESR – Xhaka
—- Odegaard – – – –
Saka – – – – – Auba
* only if fit, otherwise it’s Mari..
With this formation we keep it tight in midfield, have speed and thrust on the wings through the full backs and can pass the ball well out of trouble. Saka and Auba will keep the MC defence on their toes and Magic Martin and his football twin Emile can find the gaps to launch our boys on goal….
I will say this only once in this post: I know we played a second string team, and even though it was an away game, we should not read too much into our performance. Having said that, here are my eight quick and dirty positive observations:
RAMSDALE: looked like he has been playing for us for years. Confident in those green short sleeves and bright orange, fire-resistant gloves. He has ‘overview’, good sense for the best redistribution and is calm and accurate with his feet. I also loved his spontaneous energy when in danger.
Auba: I saw a look on his face at the end of the game I had not seen for over a year. Mature and Present(!) with real focus in his eyes. He needed that hattrick, those goals so badly. If he stays he may get back to his best again.
Bukayo is back. He has got his drive and focus back, so strong and nimble when running with the ball, so accurate with his passing, so attack focussed in all he does. The racists lost, Saka is back.
Odegaard, our nr8 played like a nr10 and after a rusty start was producing all his Martin-magic again. Arteta has given him trust, belief and a home and we know what this did to Bergkamp – they lift you up where you belong.
Kola! Flipping heck, Kolasinac as LCB! I didn’t see that one coming. He and Rob Roy formed a fine pair on the night and they never made me feel uncomfortable.
Tavares: looked lively and he dealt well with the Baggies’ physicality. I didn’t miss Tierney on the left today and Tavares seems a great understudy.
Pepe in space is a joy to watch. Loved his energy and positioning today. If only we could give him such space in the PL. Loved his assist for Laca’s goal. Auba was free but Laca needed a goal: voila Laca, boom in the net.
The midfield pair of Xhaka and Elneny worked very well and was pivotal to our win. They ran the show in midfield and provided the impetus for our attack. Xhaka was everywhere and the ball once again kept coming his way – or was it the other way round?
West Brom away will be another challenge for Arsenal, and although Fat Sam is no longer chewing his gum at the Hawthorns I have no doubt that they will try and rough the boys up tomorrow.
We need a committed performance tomorrow, of course, but what really needs to shine through is the incredible quality within the team.
I have not much of an idea what Arteta’s lineup will be, but I would go for something like this.
Soares – Chambers – Holding – Tavares
—- AMN – – – – – Elneny – – – – –
Saka – – – – – Ode – – — -Martinelli
——–Lacazette – – – – – – – –
Robbo could do with another game and Mari needs a rest. Same goes for Lokonga and AMN needs a start. Laca and Ode could have their first starts this season, and Martinelli, if fit, should start. Saka also needs a good game.
How did we give them so much space on the left? In the modern game space is everything and when we give so much away it is going to cost us. Tierney was out of position and Saka did not provide enough cover. It seemed a real tactical omission by Arteta.
Upfront we were toothless. Martinelli is not ready for this level, Bukayo was rusty, Pepe was painfully limited on the ball. They did not get great service it should be said, but they also lacked togetherness and Lukaku-like presence. We really missed our experienced attackers today.
ESR was good but that is relative to his age. There is every chance Emile will become a great Arsenal player but a team carrier he is not as yet, and that is why we needed Odegaard to join us, and maybe even one more creative midfielder needs to join this season. I would always play two of them.
Lokonga had a great start and we can see his potential. He faded a bit after that but there is great hope that with him and Elneny we now have good cover for Xhaka and Partey.
Mari and Holding worked hard but clearly struggled with the awesome Lukaku, who had the Drogba effect on our team. I thought we dealt with him much better in the second half – a real team effort at that – but then it was already too late.
Leno was much better and he made a fab safe from Lukaku’s bullet header.
We really have an issue with strength in depth for the CF position. Balogun, Martinelli and Eddie will have moments but, like ESR, they are not as yet team carriers. We need a second/third CF who competes with Laca (and Auba) for the most important position in the game. Hopefully this is on the shopping list.
The boys clearly lacked confidence and there was not enough cohesion in the team, but we also lacked that vital bit of luck when we play a team on top of the wave’s crest and obviously further boosted by the arrival of the giant Belgian. Saka should have had a penalty, Rob almost scored, Saka had a poor touch in a promising position, and when these things don’t go your way, it’s just not going to happen. Let’s not read too much into this game. We will do much better when our best players are about all fit and the boys have settled down a bit.
Tomorrow we play fellow great spenders, Chelsea, and I find it hard to say whether the timing is bad or actually ideal. It could turn out to become a hammering by them and the wounds would go very deep – things could get ugly. It could also go the other way and see us hammer them – and oh how sweet that would be….. Or it could turn into a cagey draw.
The Brentford result hurts a lot and the players and manager will want to make up for it badly. The home crowd should be a huge support, roaring us forward and intimidating the opponents constantly. But sadly there is also a chance that they will turn against our boys if we were to concede early. Scoring first, although not too early, will be key.
I don’t want to say many more words about tomorrow’s key encounter with our West-London neighbours. Let the football do the talking.
Regarding the preferred lineup for tomorrow, we need Auba to be fit and raring to go, we need to win the midfield battle (always key against the Chavs), we need to play Robbo Holding. I would use White in a free role between midfield and defence, shoring up things and offering forward thrust from deep. I like Lokonga but this may be a game for the experienced and very tidy, Elneny. Lokonga seems to offer more going forward so I would probably give him a start. Saka has to play but I feel he should start as a wing back. On the right wing, the combo of Pepe and Saka may be too much for the Chelsea defence. On the left we have the clever combo of Tierney, Xhaka and ESR to create chances. When we are pressing them back, I reckon ESR will play more centrally and will get support from Xhaka or Lokonga in terms of creating chances through the middle. Key for me is that Pepe supports Auba a lot in the box, so we have two attackers to aim at from crosses from the left. Playing both Auba and Pepe may make Chelsea to sit back a lot. They are of course very dangerous on the counter and we need to be totally switched on for their sudden turnovers. White for me will play a key role to close these down.
Here is my lineup:
How would you like to line up the team for tomorrow?
Aubameyang may well be starting THE season of his career. A fotballer’s career is over in a flash. Remember Nasri joining us and showing so much talent? He is now 34 and a free agent. That’s how quick it goes.
Pierre is now 32, just two years younger than Sammy Nassery, as we used to sing his name.
I don’t know him of course but I have sensed that PEA had hoped for one more transfer to reach the Apex of European top clubs, say Barca or RM, or mayby even Juventus, the last few summers. They did not come and he excepted the golden jail ticket that Arsenal offered him.
Arteta started to build something new and C19 happened. We witnessed an Auba who was often not cooking with gas, struggling to fit into Arteta-ball and not being the inspirational leader we had hoped he would be. There were family reasons too of course.
I think he still has hopes to make one final move but nobody came as yet, and now it is time to focus fully on Arsenal again.
Last season was not great but if Pierre can embrace his situation and work his socks for Arteta and the team, he can make all the difference once again.
For this he has to be passionately committed, embrace his fate, and find joy in being such a pivotal player in the Arteta revolution. It’s about doing his epistemic best and learn to live in the moment again. I really hope he does.
And that a career can still reach its apex late on was made clear by one of the finest Gunners of the 21st century, Ollie Giroud, who won the shiniest silverware in the ‘fall’ of his one and is still going strong at almost 35!
Come on Prince Pierre. We need you to rekindle your fire and embrace your self declared mission for this team. The rewards will be very, very sweet.
Some days you go to bed tired, disappointed and disillusioned, only to wake up with a new sense of hope and hunger for elation. Sleep can do magic and there is always hope.
The very publicly staged Brentford defeat last Friday was a big shock to the system but the response to it has been, albeit it understandable, disproportionate.
One game when things didn’t go our way, and all the dormant fears and ugliness roared to the surface again.
It could get even more ugly on Sunday, and it pains me that Arteta is given so little support at this early stage of the season, after such a great run since Christmas.
He is building something firm and ultimately beautiful and we run the risk of perpetually replacing our football architects before they have given the light of day to their passionate projects.
My parents saved enough money to leave our council estate and build their own home some how, back in the eighties. I still remember looking at the rain covered, bare foundations layed out in front of me and walking on it, thinking how is this ever going to become our house. It takes imagination, everything which needs building does. It also needs looking up and not just down.
Arteta is reintroducing our passing game fit for this era. It’s a huge task. Footballers need to be able to receive the ball in tight spaces and not lose it, deal well with pressure, work their socks off and look up when they are playing, etc. It’s not easy to establish.
So many of the squad under Mikel struggle(d) with this, and they just had to go, or indeed still have to. The foundation is nearing its completion and now it is time to start imagining what Arteta’s Home of Arsenal Football will really look like.
I invite you to imagine with me and look beyond the proverbial shower of one or two early defeats, and get a Gaudy-esque house in your mind.
Here is my dream lineup:
RWB* – Holding – White – Big G – Tierney
— Partey or Xhaka – – –
Saka – – – Ode – – – ESR
——- Laca/Pepe ** – – – — – – –
I like White to play in the middle of a back three, push forward regularly and support the lone deeper midfielder.
ESR, Saka and Ode (if indeed he joins us) are all big Arteta players. They don’t ask what their specialised position is, they can play almost everywhere.
Tierney is an Arteta player, Ramsdale will become one (if he joins), Holding and Big Gab are Arteta players, Xhaka has always been one, Partey too.
** Pepe is a work in progress and may still become an AP. Laca is an Arteta player if his heart is in it. We could still need an addition here. If Auba, not an AP because of his limited passing skills, leaves this may still happen before the TW shuts.
The right wing back position remains a question mark for me. Soares and Chambers are more back up players than first choice. Bells doesn’t cut the mustard for me, but they will do for now.
It may not be exactly the above line up and formation, but I don’t think it will be far off Arteta’s House either.
It could become something very beautiful and fit for a decade with a bit of patience.