Arsenal, onwards and upwards.

Unknown-1It’s funny how little time it takes to get used to winning? Only three wins against varying strengths of opposition, none of which is in the top four but still it sent me out into the post lockdown world with a reassuring sense of wellbeing — if this was going to be the new normal then I am all in.

I know, as we all do, that these things don’t last for ever. One person commented on the site after the Wolves excitement that we shouldn’t get carried away and reminded us of the twenty match unbeaten run we had with Emery and also reminded us how that came to an end. When reading this the thought that sprang to my mind was: don’t get carried away? I was ecstatic at the time and would happily work my self up into the same state of euphoria should we ever come anywhere near achieving that again.

But, as the saying goes the higher you fly the harder you fall, and I felt robbed against Leicester, another VAR farce, the referee was only shown the most damning angle rather than the one that showed Nketiah innocently trying to toe the ball past the defender. Nketiah stays on and we win and more importantly my sense of wellbeing continues.

Still, perhaps I shouldn’t feel too down, it did turn out a draw and our twenty game unbeaten run is still on the cards (smiley face) and although, as some have pointed out that Nketiah will miss three very important games: Spuds, Liverpool and City, I think there could be some tactical advantages to be had that may not immediately spring to mind.

Stating the obvious, Nketiah is one of the newer crop of young talent and if we want him to stay he is going to have to be given game time. But he is learning on the job at our expense. In the new normal Nketiah has been alternating with Lacazette and to a degree it has been working but there is a huge Gamboonian elephant in the room in the form of Aubamayang who is head and shoulders a better number nine than the pair of them put together.

I will try and stop myself disappearing down a tactical rabbit hole and put things simply: with Nketiah’s loss Arteta could be forced to play Auba at number nine which then allows Pepe to play in his favoured position on the right flank with Saka moving to Auba’s present position on the left.

This strikes me as a win, win, win situation, Saka has 10 assists from the left which is amazing and I see no reason why that can’t continue, Pepe is really coming into form and has been more effective on the right than Saka and then there is the goal scoring machine in Aubamayang being fed by those two, what’s not to like?

Spuds on Sunday, oh please make that frontline happen Mikel; he won’t, he will start with Lacazette who will run his heart out but when he tires and there is no Nketiah to bring on to relieve him I find it difficult to imagine that the scenario I have just painted would not have crossed Arteta’s mind and will possibly be utilised.

So Mikel, I know you are reading, if you need any other tactical advise just drop a line in comments below, we are always here to help.

Spuds on Sunday………unleash hell boys, unleash hell………………..LB


18 Responses to Arsenal, onwards and upwards.

  1. RockyLives says:

    Really great read LB.

    I share your enthusiasm for Saka on the left, Pepe on the right and Auba in the middle. But, like you, I think El Patron will start with Laca in the middle. The one thing in Laca’s favour versus Auba is that he holds the ball up better.

    By the way: “…there is a huge Gamboonian elephant in the room…”
    Brilliant line. Shades of Edward Lear.

  2. CorporateMan says:

    That also is my preferred front line: Saka- Auba-Pepe.
    Auba’s movements would better suit the crosses fron Saka and Pepe supplemented by those from the two wing-backs

  3. RockyLives says:

    The “Saka is better on the left” argument is also a strong one.

  4. RA says:

    An excellent Post, LB, I really rate it.

    My only concern is that you have inadvertently referred to a “huge Gamboonian elephant in the room” when I think you meant a “small Gabonese elephant in the room…” — they are the smaller forest dwelling cousins of the much larger African elephant which lives in the savanna.

    Personally, I also enjoy the greater Rocky elephant on the blog. 😜

    As regards the forward line — your suggested line up seems fine to me, and when one of them is injured or knackered, Mikel could take off either of Saka or Pepe, and bring Laca on to play upfront as a twosome with Auba, with either Saka or Pepe playing behind them.

  5. RA says:

    Incidentally, I am reasonably sure that Auba himself once said he prefers to play on the left wing, as he prefers to run onto passes, and is a bit restricted playing as a dedicated CF.

    I could be wrong, so one of our Statos like RC or GB will soon tell me. 🥺

  6. Umar says:

    Nice work LB. I agree with Rocky’s opinion on auba’s holdup. His positioning is Ronaldo class though. Auba is what opposition defenders would call a ‘sneaky bastard’. He doesn’t trouble them physically, doesn’t hassle them all the time and they think once they close the spaces he could run into they are fine. But then Bam, he scores. Sneaky bastard. It happened alot last season but opposition managers started to find ways to stop him by marking him out of games. Which is why Emery started playing him with lacazette in a front two which a lot harder to stop. It could work as a surprise to Tottenham though. Otherwise we could risk him being totally useless. On the left, his ability to play as a winger is still utilized and he is still a sneaky bastard from time to time.
    And I guess we are all missing Saka’s ability on the left. Pepe too he is a weapon that is rarely used.

  7. LB says:


    That is the politest correction I have ever received, thank you RA

    ” “small Gabonese elephant in the room…” — they are the smaller forest dwelling cousins of the much larger African elephant which lives in the savanna.”

  8. RC78 says:

    I think that Arteta only has one conundrum for his team vs Spurs: who do I play up front:
    – If Laca plays, do you flank him with Pepe-Auba or Saka-Auba;
    – If Laca does not play, then we know that the front three will be Pepe-Auba-Saka

    For the rest of the team, it is more or less known:
    Martinez – Musti, Luiz, Kola – Soares, Ceba, Xhaka, Tierney –

    For me – Laca is a great asset on the pitch or from the bench so all good either way 🙂 My concern is more with Xhaka-Ceba as they may be smothered by Sissoko-Lo Celso

    We will need our 2 wingers to be super committed defensively

  9. Aaron says:

    The Arsenal should be salivating at the chance to stick it to the spuds on Sunday.
    bournemouth had 2 goals called back, rightly so, and missed a super chance to get the 3 points very late, but lloris made a very good save.

    spuds did not even have a shot on target. 0 shots on target.

    Mikel fire them up!

  10. Rasp says:

    Great work LB, thank you. Added to the disappointment of a loss of points we probably shouldn’t have suffered is the damage to our already slim hopes of CL football which I think now is pretty much gone. Finishing above Sheffield United and Totnum is a realistic ambition.

    I think you’re right about our front line without Eddie, but Mikel does keep stressing the importance of rotation to keep players fresh and reduce the chance of injury so I can’t really see losing him as a plus.

    The plus I DJ take from all these games usually comes courtesy of Mikel who continues to impress.

  11. Mikel A says:

    Nice Post, LB. A goal and a assist by Saka from the right in the last two games, I’d keep him there. Left side is also working fine at the moment. I want to us start Pepe central v Spurs. That would surprise them.

  12. RC78 says:

    Man Utd is really playing well now…They find their rhythm and formation.

    Fernandes, Matic, Pogba – Greenwood, Martial, Rashford

    I think their main concern is maybe to get a CB and definitely a LB.

  13. RC78 says:

    I think their best CB is actually Bailly when he is fit but imagine they get Koulibaly and Chilwell 😦

    De Gea – BW, Maguire, Koulibaly, Chilwell – Fernandes, Matic, Pogba – Greenwood, Martial, Rashford

    Romero – Dalot, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw – Lingard, Fred, McTominay – James, Igalo, Chong

  14. Sue says:

    That was never a penalty, RC…

  15. RC78 says:

    agree but Greenwood and Pogba’s goals were quality and Utd totally dominated. Very assured display. Am not liking their positive trajectory

  16. Sue says:

    That was their 13th penalty of the season! They’ve equalled the record….
    I’m not enjoying it either… they’ll definitely be up there next season….

  17. Aaron says:

    What I do not like is moaninho moaning about vaR, and oliveR is the referee on Sunday.

    Mikel, have the boys ready to go, initiate contact first.

    Let’s go.

  18. RockyLives says:

    Morning All.

    New Post.

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