Move over Gunnersaurus, there’s a new comedy act in town.
He’s there to amuse the kids and provide moments of slapstick fun for all the family.
Yes, it’s Runarssaurus! Laugh, as he flaps his hands in the air while the ball flies off the head of an opposition striker; giggle, as he cleverly guides a tame shot into our net using nothing but his own patent rubber wrists.
Or perhaps, as Bob Monkhouse once said: “When I said I wanted to grow up to be a comedian they laughed. They’re not laughing now.”
We’re not laughing now, are we?
A slick Man City side dumped us out of the Carabao cup last night, winning 4-1 at the Emirates in a game that turned into a horror show for our young reserve goalie, Alex Runarsson.
I feel bad for writing the headline and making fun of the lad, but his signing always seemed a bit odd (he was a reserve ‘keeper in the French Ligue 2 and not particularly rated by his team’s supporters. His stats were bang average or worse).
But apparently our goalkeeping coach had worked with him previously and ‘saw something in him’. Hmmm.
Anyway, the kid didn’t buy himself and nor does he pick himself so if it looks like he’s just not up to it at this level of football it’s not his fault, it’s on the club and the coaches.
And who knows, maybe he has immense strength of character and this will be the making of him, which would be wonderful for him and us… although somehow I doubt it.
The sad thing was that after going behind after two minutes (a headed goal for which Mustafi and Runarsson probably share most responsibility) we had hauled ourselves back into the game with an excellent Lacazette goal following not one but two superb crosses from Martinelli.
At 1-1 we were very much in the game, at least until Martinelli got crocked in a 50-50 with the City ‘keeper. Could or should the ‘keeper have been booked or red carded? I don’t know. If it was the other way round I’d be saying that he was quick off his line and got the ball.
Nevertheless, we were in the game. Then came City’s second and Runarsson’s humiliation. A Mahrez free kick came straight at him at a perfect height to catch or (if you’re Leno) to punch away. Runarsson did neither, merely deflecting the ball into our goal with the most limp wristed effort I’ve seen since John Inman was free.
It was going to be tough enough eking out a result against the most financially doped team in the Premier League without gifting them a goal. Our heads went down and the last two City goals were just the botulism on the cake.
Can I make a plea to our recruitment team: if we’re going to sign a crap goalie, please can we sign a BIG crap goalie. There aren’t many small, successful ‘keepers at the highest level and poor young Runarsson looked like a player in a schoolboy team last night.
To compound a miserable night, Martinelli looked to be in quite a bit of difficulty after his injury (why the heck he came out for the second half at all is a mystery). He was by far the brightest spark for us in a gloomy evening so let’s hope this is not serious.
If you’d asked me if I’d take a 4-1 defeat in the Carabao Cup and a league win over Chelsea on Boxing Day I’d have bitten your hand off. We’ve done the first part so, hey, we’re sure to win on Saturday. Aren’t we?
What you said above!!🥺
Is it Xmas yet?
Brilliant Rocky, as you say it feels slightly unfair on the keeper, but he is 25 not 19. So you would think some of those jumpier moments should have been removed by now.
I could breakdown each goal, but that’s a bit boring simply put he showed the signs of a keeper who doesn’t get many games and who was indecisive. And that even applies to Mahrez’s strike, my guess he thought catch/punch/catch/shit. It stunk of a keeper beating himself up for his earlier mistake and never settling. I see it because I’ve been there.
By the Foden goal he was trying far too hard, if he’d stayed close to his goal that chip can’t happen.
As for the rest of the team well the bright spark was Martinelli, should keeper have been carded? Well as FGG and I discussed last night if that tackle was made by Elneny it would probably have been a red for endangering the player. Legs were up on the follow through. And if you really need evidence it is to watch it from behind, at first glance you think Martinelli has gone for the ball so knew the potential consequences, but watched from behind you see he veers away from the goalkeeper and the original path of the ball yet still gets clipped. Seemed to me like he as a player knew the seriousness but others were telling him to run it off, and don’t get me wrong I get it, if I’m looking at the way he is playing then I want him on the pitch.
He was having a positive effect on those around him too, they were working back like he was they were suddenly closing down etc.
And it is performances from players like that that put you in a quandary over Arteta, is he asking Martinelli to play like that (and therefore the whole team) or is the player saying to hell with your instructions i’m doing it my way.
If it is the latter then Arteta needs to go, somehow I think it is probably the former but we just don’t have enough players willing to show that energy.
As for others AMN showed he probably can play central midfield and is no worse than Elneny or Xhaka in that role. Ceballos seemed to follow Martinelli’s example, following up behind him and forcing turnovers higher up pitch.
The more I look at our team I see a side that is let down by the forward line, Martinelli was prepared to chase scraps, as was Willock that meant even if the midfield had misplaced a pass they still had time to get up the pitch as City couldn’t just play the ball straight back. Which brought Ceballos up the pitch, which in turn squeezed Laca forward.
Unfortunately when Martinelli was replaced Pepe did not show the same desire which meant we were back to giving possession back without challenge.
I thought your analysis last night about why most clubs opt for an experienced (even veteran) ‘keeper as their Number 2 was right on the money.
Young goalkeepers need lots of game time and if you’re riding the pine for most of the season that’s exactly what you don’t get.
We should say, to Runarsson’s credit, he did pull off one amazing save in the game.
It was 1-1 at the time and I was beginning to think, OK, maybe there’s hope for him…
I’m sure the GK will be fine. He’s had one bad game. Mustafi, Kolasinac, Elneny, Lacazette, Pepe etc have all had 30 bad games but still get time on the pitch….🙄
Botulism – yum. Nice summary Rocky.
The keeper takes his position in a long line of duds. Almunia would have been proud of that one. He’s clearly not good enough.
Martinelli was our best player by a mile. Let that soak in…he’s 19, just back from 9 month injury, he played one half and was injured again. He gave effort, directness and running with the ball. I think it says more about the other players than him. He should have been straight off after that injury.
Mustafi & Kolasinac shouldn’t have played. We know how bad they are.
Not too bothered as it’s the League Cup but some worrying signs.
The only good thing about these games coming thick and fast is that we don’t have to focus on being beaten by any one team for too long — there is always another just around the corner. Raises eyes to the heavens.
Really good read Rocky, thanks for making the effort.
Cheers Pete and LB
As LB says, they come round quickly at this time of year.
And I will doubtless approach the Chelsea match with irrational optimism like I usually do.
A very comprehensive comment @ 9:09, GIE, which convinced me you were spot on.
All except ……. your rating of AMN.
I know there are those who claim he is a good player – and he is at times – but he can no more tackle or anticipate attacks in the RB position than Bellerin, and he loses the ball all too easily when he tries to take it forward.
That is not to say he cost us the game – there were others who contributed to that, especially the GK, Runaroundson, which begs the question as to why our 6′ 6″ goalkeeper Macey was overlooked again.
Pointing fingers now, would be counter-productive, so I will not, but as a side issue, I do not understand Mikel’s team selection and player positioning criteria — hope it improves, or ……..
Nice one Rocky.
Comical error, a blind person with no arms would have saved that shot with their face!
I don`t normally slate a player for one performance, but for light hearted humour the chance can`t go begging!………………………….My advice is……………….” Alex, fcuk off and do a Runner Son!”
I think the thing that has been holding me together is the idea that things are going to improve and the improvement is just around the corner — and then the thought hit me…..
What if Leno gets injured?
Thanks Rocky, you are performing like an Arsenal 19 year old.
Although I believe in Arteta and want him to be given time, I do believe he needs to be brave in his team selection from this point forwards. He was tough in his decisions on Ozil and Guendouzi, he needs to be equally strong and drop Xhaka, Kola, Bellerin, Mustafi, Ceballos, Willian and Elneny from his first team selections.
He has Saka, Martinelli, Balogun, ESR, Chambers, Nelson, Willock, AMN and Azeez available. That’s 9 players with desire, work rate, ability and lacking in fear. Add to that Partey, Gabriel, Tierney, Auba, Lacca (but not as a 9) Eddie and Leno and you have 16 players to form a cohesive first 11 from….. I’ve got a nagging feeling I may have forgotten one or two .. but you get my drift.
…. and very good shout from Redders re Macey. I think we need to get shot of our goalkeeping coach if he thinks Runners is even close to being the required quality for our second choice keeper.
Good to see you, and a very fine comment! 😁
I was amused a while back when you came out of hibernation and mentioned Azeez, and worried that you would be alone in promoting him.
You are never alone on AA, when I am here. 😁
I had previously recommended Folarin Balogun a good while back, and then also Azeez, so we speak as one.
Unfortunately, unless Mikel improves their contracts and gives them both more minutes, they may well be off when their current contracts expire.
I have not heard that about ESR, (I have a friend of a friend etc) but he is probably only bettered by Saka for skill, and he must be concerned that crap players are keeping him out of the team.
Speaking of which, you are correct with your list of cast offs, and that sell off might help the January transfer window acquisitions — maybe.
didn’t get to watch the game but from title and a glimpse on twitter seems the GK was awful
and everytime i think we having a lose by GK error i question who dumb idea was it to sell EMi steups
Hi Redders, good to see you too. I see Azeez as Guendouzi with a better temperament and more of a team player. He is highly regarded by many. He models himself on Busquets … that alone is impressive. He’s only 17 but is tall and strong. I think we need to start bringing in strong athletic players as well as skilful … Azeez fits the bill
I have a nagging feeling that we have already borrowed against January sales enabling the buying of Partey, what do you think?
Azeez looks an exciting prospect but do any of us know if he can defend or does that even matter?
Hi LB, I’m thinking of alongside Partey … they both seem to be able to play anywhere through the middle. He’s only 17 … but then so was Cesc. I wonder if Arsene would have given him a chance … I suspect he would.
Either way I see him as an upgrade to Elneny and I’m not even prepared to consider Xhaka as an option any more. I know AMN wants to play centrally but I think his best performances have come as a wide player.
That was a good question.
The club have consistently struggled to find funds for new players, and I was sure that was unlikely to change during the January transfer window.
But there have been ‘rumours’ that the hierarchy at Arsenal are wetting their pants at the prospect of relegation, and are going to support Arteta to buy key players.
Relegation will cost them a damned sight more than forking out much needed money for better players.
The odd thing is, there are bloggers reading that who will say something weird like “Oh, the deluded fans on here want to throw a lot of money at new players when they are not needed”.
Of course there are only two things that do not make sense in their nonsensical mantra. First everyone in football with half a brain will see the evidence of the remorseless slip into the near relegation area is because the players are not good enough.
Secondly, why the hell do these people think they have to protect the billions of dollars of the owners?
Let me help them out here. One billion dollars looks like this — $1,000,000,000,000.
The transfer fund could look rich with one hundred million dollars, that looks like this, $100,000,000
There are 12 Zeros in a billion — there are 8 Zeroes in one hundred million. The owners could easily lose far more than one hundred million dollars after relegation, not just from prize money, but also from their lucrative sponsorship deals, so I wonder if they they will fund new players in January — or not?
I need another glass of wine now!! 🤪
Spot on Redders (with your analysis of the imperative for spending now rather than risking a much bigger loss through relegation).
I hope it comes to pass.
Shifting out the dead wood feels as important as bringing in the fresh meat (sorry for the mixed metaphor).
Sound logic RA, a glass of wine, now that sounds a good idea as well.
How are you doing, Rocky?
You are like that rabbit with a battery up its Jaxi who keeps on going with class Posts, when all others are clapped out.
That includes me — which might be because I am not keen on that battery —- and where it is put. 😳
Ahhh, the Cesc card is played, the Arsenal equivalent of four of a kind — beats everything 🙂
The most excitement I have ever felt about a young player.
Maybe I should add the caveat (as an adult) as a very young man, well, my nom de plume says it all.
It would be good to get to see some more of Azzez
Azzez — did you mean “He Zez” — he often does.
This is a delicious wine — never gets me confused – hic. 🤪
I am well Redders, but it’s RC who deserves the credit for keeping the lights on round here lately.
Dare I ask what variety of grape juice your are indulging with?
I have been abstemious today, but I feel it’s time for a little drop of cognac.
Nice opening post😁
Delle Alli? Worth the punt?
He is a far better player than he has shown under Mourinho
Could well be worth a punt GiE.
My son says: “His bitterness might be just what we need. He’s quite Ramsey-like without the late runs into the box.”
Bitterness as a player attribute. The game is a lot deeper than it used to be 🙂
My fear would be that he could so easily fall into the category of get the big contract and become best mates with Ozil and Willian
Don’t spoil my Christmas dreaming 😀