Zinchenko and Jesus doing the job for Arteta and Ode as the new AFC captain?

7 things we are learning so far during the tour:

  1. Turner will definitely not be a threat to Ramsdale’s nr. 1 spot unless Ramsdale’s level drops immensely
  2. Saliba is going to push hard to be in the starting line-up
  3. Jesus seems to adapt well to the team and the team to him
  4. Martinelli is looking sharp
  5. Zinchenko had a good 45 mins
  6. Partey-Xhaka to still be our central midfield double-pivot
  7. Odegaard to be named as our captain?

So the need to trim the squad is still there and the need to get a reliable back-up option to Martinelli is still there too. As mentioned, I d go for Barnes or Kostic. I am not sure the club is looking to buy a steelier midfielder, unfortunately…

COYG! Only a pre-season game but always nice to beat Chelsea


38 Responses to Zinchenko and Jesus doing the job for Arteta and Ode as the new AFC captain?

  1. LB says:

    Well summed up

  2. pbarany says:

    Reasonable points, RC78.

    While Elneny, Lokonga and Maitland-Niles pose no threat to the midfield double pivot, there could be other contenders, including Zinchenko (if Tierney is fully fit and takes back his LB role), White (when Tomi is fully fit, and we’ll have better players at RB and RCB), and even Vieira could compete for a starting midfield role, as the global consensus say that he wasn’t purchased as a third choice CAM.

    Regarding the winger role I would still go for Cody Gakpo, as he can play on both wings and in the center, so he could provide competition for both MArtinelii and Saka (asssuming Pepe finds a new club in the coming days), and could cover for Jesus and Nketiah.

  3. RC78 says:

    Pepe is staying apparently…so RN might be on his way out…
    Gakpo is indeed an enticing prospect but I d rather go for Barnes to be honest. Barnes has a good record in the EPL and does not need any adaptation period.

    Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabi, Zinchenko – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – Jesus

    is probably our starting line-up vs Palace

  4. RC78 says:

    Would a move for Tielemans-Barnes from Leicester be good for AFC? We could then sell them AMN or Torreira + loan them Sambi + loan or sell RN + loan Balogun…

    Tielemans could then basically compete for Xhaka’s spot together with Zinchenko, no?

  5. allezkev says:

    I know you shouldn’t read too much into pre-season games but it was interesting to see Arteta use Pepe on the left flank vs Chelsea and where he performed with aplomb but where he’s played sparingly before even though I’ve always thought he’s done ok on the the left, so RC if you are right about Nic staying then maybe a new role in the team awaits?

  6. LBG says:

    Central midfield axis – Partey and Zinchenko before too long.🤞

  7. fred1266 says:

    Pepe was only on the Left side because he came on with marquinos who is another right winger
    When he came on with Nelson in previous games he played his usual right side

  8. LB says:

    On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about watching Arsenal this coming season, one being: I might watch the Palace game to ten wanting to run to Palace singing Good old Arsenal, we’re proud to say that name or an Arsenal song of your choice? Just asking for a bit of fun.

  9. Aaron says:


    Depends of course…

    Get a back up for Partey, a replacement for Xhaka, another winger, and I would say a 10!

    But, alas, that will never happen, maybe, and the possibility of getting in Tielmans and another winger would put it at 9+.

    As we stand now, too many holes for injuries to disrupt our season, if we do not get anyone else, about an 8, cuz we are going to run out of gas.

    Still, excited from the last game, surely more games like that to come.

    Blast Palace and will be buzzing.

  10. LB says:

    I think my bar is a lot lower than yours Aaron, I was amazed then chuffed to bits that we signed Jesus and have been falling over myself that we have signed Zinchenko.

    Buzzing already and expect to dismantle Palace.

  11. LBG says:

    11 – Prepared to run to Crystal Palace in the nude singing ” we love you Arsenal we do…..”

  12. fred1266 says:

    Who going Emirates cup tomorrow

  13. fred1266 says:

  14. LB says:

    Great stuff LBG

  15. LBG says:

    We were there! My son and grandson on his first trip to the Emirates. Probably couldn’t have gone better although those first four games were up the other end. Jesus electric. Salba and Gabriel the new CB partnership. Zinchenko calm and considered, settled in already, and bOdeguard our new Captain running the show. Mikel played his ( strongest available) team for 80 mins to prepare them for Friday.
    A great day all round for all of us.

  16. fred1266 says:

    Glad to hear you u attend the game LBG hopefully many more of the same beginning Friday

  17. Mike M says:

    Is it just me or does Xhaka seem to be a definite starter? I had written the guy off (admittedly after being a huge fan when he first arrived) but I have to give credit where it’s due, it seems like he’s playing well and as of right now, I’d have him starting with Partey in the midfield. Can’t believe I’m saying that but I’m trying to be objective and go with what I’m seeing. Last season (mostly) and so far this pre-season, he’s earned his spot. I think we can ultimately do a little better because he still looks fairly unathletic but he’s creating a lot and his attitude is spot on.
    Notably I think we once said the same thing about Eboue and that didn’t last. But we’ll see. Benefit of the doubt goes to Xhaka from me.

  18. LB says:

    Be in no doubt, Xhaka is the captain of Arsenal in all but arm band. For all those who watched on-line you would have noticed that it was he who gave the pep talk in the pre match huddle and not Odegaard. The Norwegian my wear the arm band and go to the centre for the coin toss but where ever you watched the Sevilla game, it was clear that Xhaka was the leader on the pitch.

    So with that level of support you can see that the next bit does not come from a gratuitous Xhaka bashing mindset.

    Cast your mind back to Saturday, the only player who was playing out of position was Xhaka: Ramsdale in goal, check, Jesus number 9, check etc but Xhaka a left sided 8 no, no, no. To play that position you have to have goal scoring prowess in your locker and Xhaka is no striker, there is no way he could ever be described as a natural goal scorer.

    Solution, and I am sure I am not the only one to have noticed this. Tierney returns to left back and Zinchenko replaces Xhaka, simple, simple, simple. Arteta said that when the Ukrainian arrived at City he did so as number 10 which means that he must be a goal scorer of some sort and to play the left 8 you have to be able to defend – check.

    Arsenal’s attack was electric on Saturday, the addition of Zinchenko replacing the laboured Xhaka is so exciting I am lost for words.

  19. LBG says:

    Much agreement with your assessment. Zinchenko ( or even White when Tomi and Kieran are back) alongside Partey.
    The only question for me is where will Vieira play?
    I concede some of your comment on X, but “very unathletic”- slow, of body and often mind. Does not score enough, and always capable of stupidity and losing us a game.
    Keep him (IF WE MUST) in squad, but ” “journeyman” only for me from now on.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    I am glad you are excited LB,, but Zinchenko never scored a league goal in his life since joining Man City. Don’t underestimate how much Arteta loves Granit. This new role suits him a lot more than I expected, with multiple goal involvements already. I predict he will have between 12-15 PL goals/assists this season. Granit is a quick thinker and his left foot delivers, he always thinks ahead before receiving the ball and that makes him so good. You and that LBG (Love Beautiful Granit?!) chap are going to be very pleasantly surprised. 🙂 🔆

  21. LBG says:

    Will be amazed if you are correct!! As soon as all fit and X gets his first red card or unnecessary booking, change in midfield imminent. ( Still hoping Moaninho has another wack on the head, and we get rid!!😁😁)

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha LBG, Jose has no money. Rome is poor these days! 😁

    Many Gooners have been saying for years Xhaka will go, but the managers, players and gradually more and more fans just love and value him.

  23. Mike M says:

    Cant’ completely agree with Total but I’m leaning toward his way of seeing things. I would be immensely shocked if Xhaka goes anywhere this season – except first on the team sheet. Don’t get me wrong, I have been totally against Xhaka staying for a long time now (well before the Palace incident). I can’t completely disagree with LBG’s assessment of him either but remove the stupidity and give a little more credit for the creativity, then add the leadership and maybe you have a player?? Not a Camavinga (who’s going to be the best in the world soon), or and Essien or Vieira (Patrick of course !!), nor Keane or Kante, but a pretty good fit to compliment Partey, with Zinchenco and Elneney adding options if needed.
    As I said. I can’t really believe I’m saying it but I think Xhaka is an asset to us right now and he’s earned that.

  24. LBG says:

    Total/Mike M
    We will just have to wait and see then. In the meantime let us agree, all we really want is a winning team to be proud of.

  25. pbarany says:

    Just a short – yet (hopefully) interesting – statistics on our midfield pairing. Last season we played 38 games: won 22 (58%), drew 3 and lost 13 (34%).
    Unfortunately Partey and Xhaka were not available for all games. Thomas had an early injury, later was at AFCON and injured again at the end of the season; Granit had a red card then injury and mid-season he got the coronavirus.
    My point that when they both started that was limited to 15 games only, but out of that Arsenal won 11 (73%), and lost 4 (27%). And it is a pretty representative sample: we played against Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Villa, Palace, Leicester, West Ham, Wolves (2x), Leeds, etc.

  26. pbarany says:

    Apparently our midfield secret is not contributed to Xhaka alone, but the pairing of Partey and Xhaka. (Which would make it difficult for Vieira or Tielemans to break into the starting line-up, but that’s an entirely different topic.) The conclusion is that all those unexpected/unexplained defeats that Arsenal suffered last season: Brentford (2:0), Brighton (1:2), Southampton (1:0), Newcastle (2:0), as well as humiliating draws against Brighton (0:0) and Burnley (0:0) all happened without the Xhaka-Partey partnership.
    If we won only 1 of those six games, we would be preparing for the Champions League…

  27. Mike M says:

    I agree PB. I think Arteta has a game plan or vision of how the team will play against certain opponents. The win at Chavs had Elneney playing as well as anyone on the field (hence donning the Partey Hat !! ha ha) and I think Xhaka’s comments after the Newcastle game hinted that we just weren’t able to replicate that game plan in those two games. I don’t really see how winning at Chavs is any easier than Newcastle or Spuds. My point is the personnel have to fit the tactics and that’s Xhaka’s strength in the team right now. LB is completely correct that he’s the “captain” at the moment, he’s Atreta’s on field presence.
    To LBG’s point, not only are we looking for a team to support and be proud of, but also one that will stand up and fight for each other and the club. Barring stupidity, I’m ok with a player getting a yellow or red for retaliation due to a bad foul on our players, remember Paddy V and Big Tone?? They took no crap from anyone and we’ve been missing it for years. Now Xhaka has taken up the gauntlet and I admire him for that and I think he has Arteta’s blessing.
    Think of Sol Campbell, Lauren, Bergkamp, Van Persie, even Henry. Hard players who had a nasty streak when needed. I’m looking at Gabriel, Xhaka and Ramsdale as our leaders. I wouldn’t fancy a scrap with any of them.
    As I said, barring stupidity, we need to be tougher. It’s also a fact that referees will always penalize Arsenal players more than anyone else. Watching Spuds, United and Chavs players kick lumps out of us while we get booked (penalised) for one innocuous foul (Spuds penalty was a complete joke – although Holding didn’t exactly cover himself in glory). Hopefully Xhaka will find the right balance.

  28. LBG says:

    Mike M
    I hope you will at least accept that my strong dislike of X is based on watching him carefully in games for several years. The players you quote with grit, who were not prepared to take bullying from ( Keane, Nevilles et al) never had the scrutiny of today.
    When things are going wrong for the team or Xhaka himself, his reactions are IMBERCILIC. He will even often look to see where the referee is before bodychecking, chopping down or whatever. He then claims ” what did I do ref?” and seems to believe a yellow or red was his responsibility to get. He is an imbecile in terms of modern football in the Premier League.
    Now I won’t argue with “statistics” quoted, and I concede the improvement in last third of last season, but the die is caste for me, I’m afraid, and to prove it, I even blame him in part for Douzi. That young boy, arrogant sure, but plainly talented, watch the X of two three seasons ago and COPIED his approach. His ill-discipline resulted in Arteta’s rejection.

  29. LBG says:

    PS – with apologies to those who have heard this before
    As a retired PE teacher ( amongst other professions) for 23 years, I do no appreciate ” professional fouls”.( I would drop young school boys for a game if they quoted ” the professionals do it sir”.) They are cheating, and as bad, are often unnecessary anyway. 10 men against 11 in the 2020s is almost guaranteeing a loss. I don’t appreciate any of my Arsenal players doing stupid things. Rant over. COYG, smash the Palace.

  30. LB says:

    I think the fancy term for it now is “Game Management”

  31. pbarany says:

    Mike, I see and agree with your points. Only aspect to add that with those 3 overage wankers removed from professional (sic) refereeing, I expect the PMGOL will be less biases against Arsenal.

  32. pbarany says:

    LBG, while I don’t challenge your bad opinion re Xhaka coming from own experience I honestly think that he is a victim of a deliberate campaign, commentator/AFTV incompetence or simply a series of double standards. When Granit made a questionable decision he was always blamed, criticized and eventually shunned. If other player made a same or similar mistake or error in judgement commentators and pundits were more forgiving, leading the supporters – not talking about you – who are struggling to formulate their own opinion were also more tolerant.
    When Xhaka were sent off it was “get this cl*wn out of my club”, when it was Gabriel, “he should have known better”.
    I don’t think Granit is more of a defensive liability than our other midfielders, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that Partey makes 3 stup|d mistakes a season and Xhaka makes 4. I doubt if that would justify the different treatment on so many levels, especially disregarding his other qualities.

  33. LBG says:

    Fundamental disagreement. X believes his own publicity IMO. He thinks he is vital to any team he plays for and is their controlling force.
    But fed up with discussing him! Only time will tell, and I hope I will be man enough to admit if he “continues to reign” ( in his eyes anyway) and we start that winning way that I believe is now our due.

  34. pbarany says:

    Amen to that, LBG.
    I think it would be great to have 2 CM/DMs to push Granit back to the bench, but we are not there yet. However we could say that about any of our players, so let’s wait and see what the lads as a team can bring to the table this year.

  35. Mike M says:

    No doubt Xhaka has the cards. I can’t disagree with anything LBG, LB or PB say. I’m just saying that I’d felt the same way (that he’s and idiot and has no discipline or value to the team) for a long time now, but over the last season and this pre-season, he’s played well and led by example for the most part. Again I stress, I’m not 100% convinced (on the discipline side for sure) but it seems like his team mates love him, and Arteta has placed a huge amount of trust in him.
    I think Friday will be a great indicator since Palace are a fairly hard and niggly opponent who will test our mentality.
    Obviously if not tomorrow, there will be a point some time soon where things don’t go our way, let’s see then. I also want to point out that in the Manure game, when we should have ben 3-4 goals ahead and out of sight, we were about to cough it up and GX scored a great goal to kill them off. Credit where it’s due.

  36. LBG says:

    On a different ( more positive) note for me love Lokonga’s descition of the best trainer in the Club.
    ” K T runs everywhere, tackles everything” – first in, last out.
    I have a feeling that the Scots Bomber is going to overcome his injury problems and prove his worth to us and Scotland this year.

  37. Mike M says:

    From Rob Dawson ESPN Soccernet Premier league predictions:

    “Most yellow cards:
    Granit Xhaka. At 29 years old, the Switzerland midfielder isn’t going to change the way he plays now. Whether Mikel Arteta wants him to or not, he’s still going to fly into tackles and get on the wrong side of referees. Only three players had more bookings than Xhaka last season and he’s a good shout to top the list this time around.”

    It seems not everyone is convinced !!!!!!!!!!

  38. allezkev says:

    And of course referees don’t go into matches without any preconceived biases do they?

    Or the media report without any biases either?

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