So here we are, 10 days away from the NLD…A must win game as always and even more so this year given that both teams are doing well and that the winner will no matter what be ahead of its opponent after the game.
So as we prep up for next week’s game, what is your best memories of a game where we hosted the Spuds at:
ESR had a breakthrough season least year, scoring goals and providing assists so much so that he deserverdly got an England call-up. When he is fit, he is very potent and can create chances and score chances. A good ball carrier, he is also a very good shooter but he is so injury prone still…and now it is clear that:
Odegaard is the starter as central attacking midfield
Martinelli is the starter at LFW
Fabio Vieira can be used very effectively in the hole as well
So the question is simple…once fit, ESR will need playing time, which Arteta will give him but does ESR have what it takes to sustain a high level of performance and reduce the number of nagging injuries he has been plagued with? If not, is his time up at AFC? We do have a few players like Azeez, Taylor-Hart, Patino, Lokonga and even Nwareni or we could also have Lokonga play in that central position…so…i am a bit worried for ESR. I d like him to succeed with us and be our KDB / DB but at the moment it is looking bleak
Ramsdale: not a lot to do but what he did, he did very well. 7
White: made his role look easy today which should not be underestimated. 7
Saliba: our French Colossus, wow what a player, was playing with authority before his goal but visibly improved after it. 8
Gabriel: another situation of making his role today look easy, many a team have come unstuck against Brentford’s attack but Big Gabbi held the line superbly. 7
Tierney: we got reminded just how much more defensive nous we get with Tierney than with Zinckenko and I am a massive fan of the Ukrainian. Easy with hindsight I know but the scot should have started against United. 7
Xhaka: Captain and rightly so; you were right Total, you were right. Granit aint going nowhere and neither should any Arsenal fan want him to do so. Superb performance today. 8
Partey: MOTM for me; controlled, not just the midfield, but orchestrated the whole game, everything went through him and had he been available I feel confident we would have won at Old Trafford. 9
Vieira: take a bow young man and can we have more goals like that please. I thought he was starting to fade towards the end of the first half but then popped up shortly after the break to give us a glimpse as to what he has in the locker, great goal and one that will last long in the memory. 8
Martinelli: he has set the bar so high if he doesn’t score it seems as though his standards have dropped. Played perfectly well for me. 7
Jesus: not been picked for the Brazil squad – GOOD, have a well-deserved rest Gabriel and come back and score more goals like that. 7
Saka: like Martinelli, has set the bar very high and without a goal he gets less song time from the away support, still exciting to watch. 7
This is a game we might lose. No Partey, Zinchenko or Elneny. Odegaard questionable (it wouldn’t be surprising if he has one of those small annoying fractures). Ramsdale not certain.
The No. 6 is easy: Sambi played really well against Vile, and will be better for minutes on the pitch. The No. 10 is harder should MO not be fit. Next in-line is ESR, but the natural like-for-like replacement is Fabio. But what a game to make your debut!
If MO and Ramsdale are fit, I predict a strong victory. If not, defeat would not be surprising, or dishonourable. But equally not certain. We will still have the dynamic front three plus Eddie when called upon. How so-called supporters are undervaluing Eddie, I cannot get my head round. He’s a genuine player, and he’s much stronger this season.
Our opponents are as they have been for a couple of years – a disparate assembly of expensively-acquired overpaid footballers. Watch out for MacTominay carrying on where McGinn left off, without censure from the referee Paul Tierney (from Greater Manchester) or VAR assistant Lee Mason (from Greater Manchester). How sensible of the PiGMOb to make economies on travel.
Unfortunately ten Hag has realised what a liability playing a refrigerator as your last line of defence is, and is going with the more balanced Varane and the dwarf Lisandro. Casemiro might well start (see MacTominay for critique), but will be slowed by all the banknotes bulging his pockets. I hope Anthony starts – he’ll be jigging about unsteadily under the weight of a preposterous transfer fee. Ten Hag knew him at Ajax, so obviously rates him; but KT will have his measure. And his goal contributions have always been negligible – a case of style over substance?
They have won three on the bounce, which is irritating, but they have all been by the odd goal, and reportedly unconvincing.
I expect us to go with:
Ramsdale Tomi Saliba Gaby Tesco Sambi X ESR Saka Gaby Gaby
A post by Maxwell the Magnificient
Few add-ons from RC:
I hope Ramsdale starts because I have not been impressed by Turner at all
Our back 4 is known – I don’t think Tomy will start and maybe it is good to have the more defensive KT rather than Zinchenko at LB…
I am quite sure we will see Sambi, Xhaka start as our double-pivot
As for Ode, better if he plays but if he does not, ESR will slot in and he is not too shabby of a player
Man Utd is finding a bit of consistency and the worry part for me is that Rashford and Sancho are finding their form…they will cause us trouble
I can see Casemiro and Anthony come in as substitutes
Ultimately, we need to target McTominay – Malacia, Lisandro, Varane, Dalot. Their back line especially Dalot and not fully settled Lisandro can be tested. McTominay is a dirty player, he works hard but also is not the greatest on the ball and can make mistakes under pressure. We need to control Malacia (he is good going forward), Fernandes and Sancho and that will not be easy but we can do it.
I think Martinelli can score again and I think that if we have Ramsdale and Ode, we will come back with 1 point at least but without, we may just register our first loss of the year…
At last, the transfer period has ended and we now know our squad. It is important here to highlight 2 key points:
Although we did not make much money from our outgoing players, we did let a lot of players go and sometimes very elegantly like with Bellerin but some departures (AMN especially) might bight us back in the behind
We did recruit proven EPL players, which confirms Edu-Arteta’s wish to have players that are EPL ready from the on-set but we did not manage to get 2 players we needed to complete our squad: a DM/CM and a FW. Hopefully we will be ok…
Here is our squad:
RAMSDALE, Turner as our GK
TOMY, Cedric at RB
SALIBA, White, GABRIEL, Holding at CB
ZINCHENKO, Tierney at LB
PARTEY, El Neny, XHAKA, Sambi at DM/CM
ODE, Emile, Vieira at CAM
SAKA, Marquinhos, MARTINELLI, Reiss-Nelsson at FW
JESUS, Nketiah at CF
Apparently, we are also about to extend Saka to our longer deal so this is great news for us!
Our objective is clearly to finish in the Top 4, to do well in domestic and European Cups.
Our season started well with 5 wins but we have already lost Partey (AGAIN!) and Mo to injury, which makes us thin at DM/CM. We also have let AMN go although he could have helped out in these positions and we have loaned out Patino so…We tried to get D. Luiz but unfortunately, we could not reach a deal with Villa and it seems that our interest in Tielemans cooled down in the end…As for FW, Pepe left and we let Balogun on loan. Marquinhos and RN are our back up to Saka and Martinelli and no offense to them but they are not giving the best guarantees as of yet so we may be a bit short if Saka or Martinelli get injured…luckily we have Vieira and ESR that could also deputize there but not their main role, really…
So are we well equipped or under-equipped for this season?