Martinelli, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Willock ….. how does Arteta fit them in?

I have left Saka off this title list because I want, eventually( and sooner rather than later) for Mikel to go to four at the back as his norm and Saka IMO, should then hold down the left wide position in the “midfield”.

But my question to AAers is how does Mikel fit in to “the/his system” the other five?

And just to add to the dilemma, I want Partey and would not turn down Aouar( even with too many vowels) because from what I have seen and read, I believe in his “creativity”.

The problem, for me, as a long time demander for ‘giving yoof a chance’ is that I don’t want, at the end of this season, the horrifying prospect of five disheartened young talents angling to get away.

So, my initial, perhaps controversial , thoughts (as always)………..

Laca, for me should not be a starter. A fit Martinelli and Eddie should be given their chance up front alongside Aubang. Smith-Rowe can learn from Willian and perhaps Aouar about the No10 role. That leaves Willock and Nelson, who, if we get the two possible outstanding transfers, I have great concern for. Haven’t even mentioned Elneny and you all know my opinion of X! Over to you folks!



82 Responses to Martinelli, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Willock ….. how does Arteta fit them in?

  1. Thank you LBG for the post.

    I do feel sorry for players that come through the Academy, are given a chance get and then dropped ………… it often leaves a feeling that maybe they didn’t get enough of a chance. Let’s see how Arteta manages this talented group.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    From what I’ve seen of Nketiah he’s not good enough to be starting at CF. He looks a decent option for the bench. I hope he proves me wrong.

    Nelson has pace to burn, but he needs games. Smith Cod-Rowe & Willock are floating in the same boat.

    Martinelli will definitely break through.

  3. Nickson Olilo says:

    I definately disagree with u on Laca.definately a starter in my view.a confident on form Laca is a beast and its only game time that will gve him that confidence.Eddy is still maturing and very ripe off the bench at the 70 th min

  4. allezkev says:

    This is where the retrograde decision to revert from five subs to three subs will hurt our young players the most because If you can’t get minutes on the pitch then what chance do you have?

  5. LBG says:

    Hope this post satisfies RA, who didnt like the bountiful publicity he was getting from his previous!!
    Nicky O
    Has Laca been firing on all cylinders? Not for a long time in my eyes. Sure he is still on occasions a classic fox in the box, and perhaps more regular game time might revive him, but I want to give young guns the chance to develop. When Laca comes on with say 20 mins to go he can still be “dynamic”. I also think Martinelli, Eddie, Saka, and even Nelson’s pace will benefit even more from the man with too many vowels’ forward creativity.

  6. LB says:

    Thanks for the thought provoking read LBG

    There is not a lot that I disagree with: Martinelli is more mobile, skilful and generally better all round player than Laca but I see no reason why this should be a problem with Martinelli’s injury there is room for both as the season progresses.

    Nketiah on the other hand is being given plenty of opportunities and is hardly setting the place on fire. There is a serious doubt in my mind as to whether he is good enough but we have so many games from here to Christmas that he should still have more opportunities to shine. Naturally I hope he does……

    The same goes for the rest, we all know how much the club want to move many of the players on; but again, there are so many games coming up that we will need a very, very big squad and so pretty much everyone should get a fair crack at the whip.

  7. FKA Boyo says:

    From past experience,I don’t see Patey and Suit coming to Arsenal this season.I will be very surprised to see them in Arsenal this season.That will be a shame.However,Korenke cares more about money from Arsenal not shame.

  8. RA says:

    An interesting problem, LBG, and one that all clubs must have, at times, and is like trying to put a quart into a pint pot – or perhaps better expressed as, too many players to put into a 25 man squad, which also has restrictions on both Home Grown, and Non-Home Grown, players which can be critically influenced by age.

    Oiks, like us, can come up with suggestions favouring our personal player likes, or eliminating players that we do not like because they seem unsuitable to the type of play we want.

    In truth, it is really a test of man management for any manager, altho we need only to worry about how Mikel will cope.

    It would be too easy to fall into theoretical strategies for the team, and then select players to meet those strategies, but there may be more pressing issues for Arteta to resolve, based on the quality of the players available to him, and it is this that would decide which team strategies would apply, rather than fans’ favourites.

    There is a constant pool of youngsters that are chosen to start their careers at Arsenal, and all the other clubs. These are winnowed out as they mature, with the best going on to the U20s, U23s and so on, and others being let go.

    Eventually a decision has to be made by the manager, as these players approach 21 years of age, and the limited numbers who can be added to the 25 man squad begin to bite.

    I could continue analysing the managers options, but I am boring the ass off myself already, so suffice to say, it is much more fun for each of us to choose the players we like and root for them to be included in the squad, then the team — but, of course, it is unlikely we will ever agree with each other, and all verbal hell is likely to break loose.

    Nice one, LBG.

  9. LBG says:

    Aubang – ” as good as Barca!!? Better than Barca, sir!

  10. Pijuri says:

    I think Martinelli, Nelson, Willock, Smith Rowe and Nketiah should just hang in there.. Impress when given a chance to do so… And learn from Auba, Lacazette, Willian and Ozil and Even Partey.. Who all have two three or four years to go in their contract… The kids are all btwn 18 and 20… So they will be very essential in the transition from the big guns

  11. RA says:


    Not sure who, or what, you are referring to (above).

    I think they are all barking, myself. 😉

  12. Aaron says:

    Thanks for stepping up and a good question to pose.
    So many games with Europa, FA and others. Are there any others worth the time??

    Arteta will have to rotate to prevent injuries, there will be plenty of minutes to go around. Everyone here knows my feeling on AFC’s youth and they should be played.

    Also, our teams press and that takes energy, Laca can’t play them all no matter how good he is, and that goes for most of the squad. That is why it is called a squad in this modern world of games for $.

    This season will be brutal, no rest from last season and games coming on quickly. Internationals will be a thorn in everyone’s side.

    As mentioned above I like those players and hope they make it, the odds are low, but still think a few are good enough.

    The big concern for me is Martinelli’s serious knee injury at such a young age. Look at how long it is taking Bel and Holding to recover from acl tears, research says 2 full years to get back close to 100%.

    AFC is fortunate to have as many good players that we do, I did not say worldy.

    Looking forward to our game on Saturday.

  13. LBG says:

    Keep up! Aubang turned down a massive offer from Barca, apparently, and said he chose The Arsenal because they were “as good/big as Barca and Inter “.

  14. LBG says:

    Classy Crystal Palace for first ten mins. Eagles!

  15. Aaron says:

    Agreed, but soft penalty coming.

    Forget them.
    AFC train coming out way soon!!

  16. LBG says:

    Ah Aaron, you forget this is Atkinson who truly is the “blindest” of the idiots in the black. He is just as likely to give Palace a penalty.

    Saha is an idiot!

  17. RockyLives says:

    Palace look the better team.

    But I agree with Aaron… the OT Penalty Clause still has to come into effect.

  18. LBG says:

    Told you!

  19. RockyLives says:


    Has the ref got confused?

    Solskjaer to be Ole Goner by Christmas?

  20. LBG says:

    Told you

  21. LBG says:

    Someone from Manure now to be sent off!!

  22. LBG says:

    Saka as wing back. Attack, attack, attack!

  23. RockyLives says:


    Allowing an away team to get a pen at OT, miss it, then take it again!

    That would never happen if there was a crowd in the stadium.

  24. LBG says:

    Now the retaken Atkinson penalty has even more significance in a Palace win.

  25. LBG says:

    In a comfortable Palace win!

  26. RA says:

    Hi Rocky, 😁

    Good to see you back – altho “to see you” is somewhat metaphorical I guess.

    As I speak, there is 6 minutes extra time given.
    Plenty of time for Manure to score 3.

  27. RockyLives says:

    evening Readers

    Seen our line-up?


  28. RA says:

    I meant to add, to the above, that Gary Neville should not be allowed/asked to commentate on any Manure game — he is so predictable and boring with his ridiculously biased comments. Says I.

  29. RockyLives says:

    Agreed Red

    His whingeing about the penalty was very amusing.

  30. RA says:

    I had not seen the team, Rocky, thank you, and you have a cheek misspelling my nom de plume!!

    There are two ‘Ds” in Redders 😁

  31. LB says:

    If last week’s team selection had a hint of make sure we hold the fort then tonight’s is go straight for the throat.

  32. fred1266 says:

    Tierney injured in warm-up

  33. RockyLives says:

    Very interested to watch Saka tonight. He had an amazing season last year but tailed off a bit at the end.

    I fancy him to rediscover his best form now.

  34. Aaron says:

    AMN not in???

  35. RockyLives says:

    Sloppy start – lots of loose passes – need to settle down

  36. Aaron says:

    kola is just a passenger
    Need to get it wide and string a few passes together trying to hard in this start.

  37. LBG says:

    Every time!
    Got to turn off this commentary.

  38. LBG says:

    Noticeable, with Tierney ( and Maitland-Niles at the moment) that the left side doesnt work smoothly. This is even more obvious since Xhaka and Dani always turn to the left. Elneny and Dani was more balance

    Any shut up we are winning!

  39. Aaron says:

    Auba with a soft left footed cross to Laca with a powerful header.

    That is what I am talking about.

  40. LBG says:

    “without “

  41. LBG says:

    Oops the refreshments are kicking in!

  42. Aaron says:

    Saka too far up the pitch, kola and xhaka back of and allow them to waltz in for a tap in.

  43. LBG says:

    That illustrates perfectly the defensive balance that Elneny brought. We lose the ball in attacking third, Dani massively out of position centrally, Xhaka not quick enough to cover. An Emery type goal against. Have to be 3-1.

  44. LBG says:

    Partey to fill the gap, please.

  45. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all, not good at the moments as we have been a little bit incoherent.

    Not much balance between defence and attack midfield struggling and shape looks off. Not sure if forced change on Tierney has anything to do with it.

    On your post LBG I think the solution is not to buy in squad players, I think one of the worst parts of the club over the last three/four seasons was buying in average players when we had kids who could potentially fulfil the role of squad players, or better yet be developed on.

    Maitland-Niles has a decision to make, does he go for regular football and chance at more England appearances or stay and fight it out. I’m sure he would be more inclined to stay if the likes of Dani and Elneny were not in the squad. That’s not to say I think they shouldn’t be just that by having and signing players like that we are stifling our younger players.

  46. LB says:

    I think it illustrates how much Tierney brings to the table. The whole left side is not functioning.

    Ceballos’ job is to cut open West Ham with slide rule passes, the problem is neither Saka or Willian are on the same wave length.

    Time for Pepe.

  47. LBG says:

    Dani wandering, Xhaka wandering. Hold the middle. Saka and Kola under par.

  48. LBG says:

    It’s a bloody mess on the left side of defence. Need front three to score or we will lose this!

  49. Aaron says:

    kola with xhaka and saka or ozil is a recipe for disaster..
    Come Mikel change it up on the left!
    Can get this over the line.

  50. RA says:

    I would prefer to be an optimistic “Mr Micawber” character, but Arsenal seem to have regressed into the witless, lethargic team of the Emery era.

    The cohesion of recent games has disappeared, and been replaced by mis-passing and a GK who does not inspire confidence.

  51. LBG says:

    A midfield to receive the ball…..anybody!!

  52. LBG says:

    Has Mikel had a night off and asked Emery to stand in? Chaos!!

  53. RA says:

    By the way — have I said I cannot stand that blasted Xhocker?

    He is a feeble waste of time, who dives time after time to hide his lack of pace, and to win a foul whenever he loses the ball.

    OK, I’ll send myself off for that — but I will not change my mind about that toss-pot. (hope that’s not too rude). 🙄

  54. LBG says:

    And Xhaka last man back at a corner!! Has the World and our team gone mad?

  55. Aaron says:

    The youth the youth the youth!

  56. LB says:

    Ceballos turned out to be the MAN OF THE MATCH.

    All’s well that ends well.

    A very hard fought win.

  57. LBG says:

    Headless Chickens 2 ‘Appy ‘Ammers 1. Rarely could we have not even deserved one point, IMO.

  58. LBG says:

    What’s certain LB, even if you are right, it has to be in small, very small letters mom.

  59. LB says:

    With Tierney and Luiz back I think we will be a different team next week.

  60. RockyLives says:

    That was a good game for AMN and Elneny

  61. Gööner In Exile says:

    What bugged me most was the lack of options and when midfield did get it they were facing wrong way so we just went back.

    Eventually found a way through but games like that highlight the need for a little creativity and daring in midfield rather than side side or back back.

    We seemed to have a line at the back and a line up front and a huge gaping chasm in the middle of them occupied by blue shirts. That led to overplaying two/three touches tackle lose it pressure.

    These are the kind of games that are more difficult to win than Liverpool or Man City as at least in those games you know they are not going to play for a point and you have the chance of exploiting on the counter, not so tonight and we seemed to have the wrong personnel to press high.

  62. LBG says:

    Perfect summation by the man who should know – “This was the best week of training in terms of understanding ( the tactics required) ….and the worst 50 mins of translating it onto the field since I arrived!

  63. Aaron says:

    Yes, please Mikel play AMN every time over kola, better athlete, defender, recovery pace and stays with his man, not stands off his guy 1-2 yards.

    Got a lot of practicing to do this week!

    Move tor and get in another mf player.

  64. VP says:

    2 games for 2 wins and 2nd place. Whats not to like.
    Arteta and the players are probably focussed on the next run of games which will tell the true picture of this teams potential for the season – Liverpool, -_-, ManCity, LFC, Manure


  65. LB says:


    Are you saying that you would have preferred Elneny over Ceballos today? Innocent question, just trying to understand.

    And AMN over Saka? Can’t be be Kolasinac because remember AMN has not shone at LB, he shined playing ahead of Tierney against City and at Wembley.

  66. LB says:

    Shone — Shined what is the past participle of the verb To Shine, RA will know…………

  67. LB says:

    VP did you see that end to the TdeF

    Wow, amazing?

  68. RockyLives says:

    Not really saying that. More that we looked more balanced last weekend so the players who can claim some credit for that but to whom none of the blame attaches for our shortcomings today will perhaps feel their reputations enhanced.

    I thought Dani had a good second half and generally played OK.

    But in the first half hour when we were losing possession repeatedly we might have been better served by Elneny’s efficiency on the ball.

    Who would then have been nowhere near advanced enough to get the assist for the winning goal in the dying minutes.

    Aaagh! I don’t know.

    Football’s hard.

  69. LB says:

    If Ceballos gets motm it probably should be in lower case, the bar is very low.

    I am looking forward to Luiz and Gabriel playing together in the back line, Gabriel did pretty well again today.

  70. VP says:

    LB, yes a great TDF finish. Richie Porte is all over the news here. Probably the biggest sports star now in Tasmania since David Boon. That last time trial really sorted the men form the boys

  71. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB , I was watching TdF live that ride by Pogacar was out of this world, he has had a fantastic tour and if it hadn’t been for the crosswind stage may well have worn yellow for a while longer. But to put in an effort like that on stage 20 having already put in some big efforts to get back in contention was amazing to watch. Felt for Roglic and Jumbo Visma who controlled the race from start to finish but that makes Pogacar’s tour all the more exceptional.

    There are some very talented riders emerging and should be a really exciting era for cycling and less processional than the last few years.

  72. LB says:

    Wooo, now that is a comment from someone who understands cycling, I had no idea GIE.

  73. LBG says:

    Poor old Totteringham! But you only need to wait a month, or two….

  74. RA says:

    Hi LB,

    re your 10:53 p.m. last night;

    The past tense of ‘to shine’ can be affected as to whether the verb is used in its transitive or intransitive sense.

    For example:
    — the sun shone brightly. (intransitive)

    — the maid shined the light on the butler’s ass. (transitive)

    So, “AMN has not shone at LB”, (is past tense intransitive and OK).

    (but) – “he shined when playing ahead of Tierney” is also intransitive past sense – and should be “shone”

    Hope that makes sense. 🤪

  75. RA says:


    I think that Ceballos is technically a better player than Elneny.

    However, they are not the same type of player physically, and there will be times that Ceb will be overpowered by the muscularity of the opposition, and someone like Elneny or Douzy would be more appropriate.

    Ceballos, like most of the team was not playing to his normal standard, but neither was he too bad (altho, as Rocky said, he was instrumental in assisting Eddie to get the winning goal – so that counts for a lot.)

    As Mikel admitted post match, we were lucky to get the points, so whether Elneny or Ceballos should have played in midfield is moot, I guess.

    Mikel’s choice of Ceb, and his part in the winning goal means he got it right and maybe your award of MOTM was right too. Winning is everything. 😁

  76. RA says:

    Watching Leno last night, I wondered if Mikel regrets letting Martinez go — I do. 🙄

  77. LB says:

    Different post, hardly new though.

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