Leicester vs Arsenal, who cares?

September 23, 2020

I do, for me the first round of this competition offers an intriguing glimpse into the future, a peak at what we might have to look forward to. I have a love hate relationship with these games, I always end up going if it is at home but it is not without a mental battle. It starts a few weeks earlier when the draw is made by me telling myself that I am definitely not going, its an unimportant cup and there is no need to bother, besides it will be on telly so I can watch it in the comfort of my home.

This thought process runs round my head for a few days until I realise that the game is not on telly and my desire to watch it rises. By the time the game arrives I am in full scale mental torture about missing it and inevitably end up late on kicking myself into gear, not having organised a ticket I buy one on line at the, by now, higher price and make my way to the ground.

I am rarely disappointed though the youngsters always give their all, Nketiah scoring his pair to save the day come to mind of which there are of course many more.

The insight into the future is what it is all about and tonight should be no different,

The future

—————Leno

Bellerin, Saliba, Gabriel Tierney

——–Partey, Aouar

———Smith-Rowe

—-Pepe, Nketiah, Saka

Tonight

———-Runarsson

Soares, Saliba, Luiz, Kolasinac

—Elneny, AMN

——–Willock

Pepe, Nketiah, Saka

What do you think?


Napoleon was a Gooner.

September 20, 2020

“Don’t bring me good managers; bring me lucky managers” (Napoleon 1808). A very prophetic statement from the Frenchman. Arteta does seem to be lucky, his beaming smile at the end of the game said it all: we got away with that one and he knew it. A very scrappy win but hey ho, give me a scrappy wins over a well fought draws any day.

The general tone after the game seemed to be one of frustration as to how poorly we played, not without foundation, but I can’t help but feel really up about how things are going.

Arteta added rightly that we are going to get many more games like that and so we have to be prepared for them. The many more games like that I took to mean that West Ham had worked out how to nullify our style that had been so effective recently against City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Fulham last week, all of those teams came onto us allowing us to play out from the back and then play long passes for Aubamayang to run onto towards goal with great effect.

West Ham had clearly worked this out and deployed a plan to neutralise it; they simply sat back and crowded out our attack – and it worked. Willian was almost non-existent as were Aubamayang and Lacazette for pretty much most of the game.

The only way we were going to get something out of the game was if someone was able to thread an inch perfect pass to open up West Ham’s tightly packed defence and the only player we have capable of that is Ceballos; I am not trying to big him up as something really, really special, he’s not but he is the only player who has that talent to do what was needed, hence the reason you could hear Arteta shouting instructions to the defence to play the ball to Ceballos. (The only player that is, apart from one sitting on a beach somewhere being paid 300,000 a week, but hey ho that’s another story).

One thing is for sure; Elneny could not have done that — and a word on the Egyption. He played a good game against Fulham and understandably some made him motm, the bar was very low, is he the long-term future, of course not. Someone pointed out that Ceballos and Elneny are different types of players and could be deployed as and when needed depending on the opposition; I am going to be polite – the thought had crossed my mind.

Someone else may put forward the idea of: why did we play so well against Fulham, we looked so much more balanced — because they pushed up allowing Tierney to play Auba through with his telling passes that worked so well in the cup final etc. We had acres of space and Willian was running riot. This had little to nothing to do with Elneny.

The comparison that was running through my mind as I watched the game yesterday was liking the team with that of a tug of war team, with Tierney and Luiz out we lost so much of our strength, without those two and their long range ability, we were totally dependant on Ceballos.

Considering all this I find it hard to imagine that Arteta is not only on the same page but way ahead in the book and as such I equally find it hard to imagine that we will not add to the creativity of the midfield before the close of the transfer window.


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

September 17, 2020

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!

LBG


Fulham 0 – 3 Arsenal, a promising start

September 13, 2020

RA Comment:

“The opening game against Fulham was more like what we expected of the Arsenal of Old.

No more pussy footing around waiting for the first Gunners mistake, and then the almost inevitable collapse of confidence, and the spiralling down into the oblivion of another losing start to a Premiership season with the inevitable turmoil of fan anger and despondency.

Early days? Do I hear? Yes, yes, yes.

These are early days, agreed, but gilded with the gold of understandable tactical brilliance already beginning to show under Mikel, and players already schooled to play for each other and their adoring fans.

The player acquisitions from current transfer activities chose to shine, with Willian playing a stormer to back up our main strikers and giving three assists with all the nonchalance of a man who has done it all before over the previous 7 years or so in the premiership. Talented? You bet.

Not to be outdone, Gabriel, who has not played in any competitive games since before the virus struck, was asked to play in the pivotal role alongside Tierney and Holding and was simply terrific. His command in the air, especially when under attack in the penalty area, immediately brought back memories of Tony Adams and Steve Bould and his positional nous and skill were outstanding.

Defensive headers – yes – but from a corner taken by Willian he scored his first goal for us – from a header.Talented? Yes, and there is much more to come from young Gabriel.

The calm way in which the team played while getting the measure of Fulham was impressive, and just to show them not to get too cheeky, a wobbly, weak shot from the man with a thunderous shot, Xhocker, resulted in a meleé, with Willian shooting against the GK leaving the rebound for the alert Laca to score.

And that showed the wonder of Arteta for me, the defence, the midfield and the attack melded into each other in a way I have not seen for years.

Tierney, for example, was key in a CB three, and yet suddenly he was up there supporting the attack, leaving AMN to automatically cover for him, and all throughout the team similar moves were happening, as the well coached and practised exchanges were planned – not the potentially disastrous mad-chicken, one man breakouts we have become so familiar with,

Auba, scored a fabulous goal, the team all played well, and although it was ‘just’ Fulham, as our team settle in, they are going to get better.

Promises for the future to make all us Gooners very happy.”

My player ratings:

Leno 6

Holding 6

Gabriel 8

Tierney 7

Bellerin 6

AMN 6

El Neny 6

Xhaka 6

Auba 7

Laca 7

Willian 7

Willian with 2 assists and Gabriel with a fantastic performance. Gabriel is my MOTM.


Match Day 1: Fulham vs Arsenal…Let the EPL season begin!

September 12, 2020

And the wait is over! Premi.er League football is back and I am sure we are all very excited.

First and foremost, I hope that the season goes without any issues and the Covid-19 situation will be under control and that stadiums will soon be full again. Football stadium without fans are not the same and even visioning the games from our cozy sofas is not the same without hearing and seeing the fans singing their Club’s glory or booing players…

How nice is it that we start our season with a London derby? It is also nice to have another London team in the EPL and personally, I never disliked Fulham. They have made some shrewed business from the French league getting Areola (he is a very good GK) and Tete (he is a good back up full back) and most importantly, they have a very clever coach in Scott Parker.

I feel like there are a lot of similarities between Parker and Arteta. Both very good midfielders with good defensive contributions and great understanding of the game. Parker has re-energized Fulham like Arteta did with Arsenal and both are young coaches leading historic London clubs although our club of course has a much richer and better history 😛

When it comes to the confrontations, it seems that Fulham is the best club at losing London derbies so let this streak continue today and then they can win against Tottenham and Chelsea. I think we have not lost to Fulham in a long time and also not lost to a newly promoted team on MD1 in a very long time. It seems past confrontation’s statistics give us an edge but…

Fulham is going to come out fighting and with passion to prove to EPL clubs that they belong to this league so I am expecting a tough battle at Craven Cottage and our defensive injuries are not going to help:

  • Chambers, Mari, Mustafi, Sokratis and Luiz are out;
  • ESR and Martinelli too

Apparently, Willian has been training well and he may just get a start today along with Saliba and Gabriel who would slot in for injured players so here is the potential line-up:

Leno – Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney – Bellerin, El Neny, Xhaka, Saka – Willian, Laca, Auba

COYG! Make us proud today! Let us win MD1 and start the season on a positive note


Laca stays! Yay!

September 11, 2020

I was worried that Lacazette would leave but he has confirmed that he would like to stay and I think that unless a massive offer comes for him, Arteta is going to be able to count on him this season. With Auba’s new deal about to be announced, we will start the season with the following forward players:

Willian, Pepe, Reiss-Nelson ; Saka, Martinelli, Auba ; Laca, Nketiah

I think it is a very exciting offensive armada that offers plenty of possibilities to Arteta as most of the players can play in different positions. It is going to be interesting how we line-up tomorrow and the rest of the year:

In any case, I am happy to hear that Laca will most likely stay at AFC for another season. He is a solid striker and I am sure that he will contribute to our club’s success this year with more goals and assists.

Anyways – Laca stays 🙂


Who is Houssem Aouar?

September 9, 2020

Houssem Aouar is a 22 years old French player that can be deployed as central midfielder or left attacking midfielder. He plays for Lyon and is touted for his ability to keep the ball, drive the ball forward and to find the right pass. His breakthrough season came in 2018-2019 and he started the 2019-2020 season well. He is player in the mould of Iniesta (not as good as the Spanish legend but similar type of player), he definitely has talent and apparently he is not a trouble maker and is well appreciated by his coaches and partners. He has got also a decent eye for goals and his delivery on set pieces is very good. He

He is 175cm and he is not really heavy either and plays for the French U-21. Guardiola and Arteta really like him and Edu contacted Lyon to discuss a swap deal that would see Aouar join us for Guendouzi + cash. Lyon is not against a swap deal but they do not want Guendouzi and they are also not ruling out a sale of Aouar.

I like Aouar and think he will go on to become a very good player. I am just not sure if he is ready to battle it day in and day out in the EPL yet. I had similar doubt about Ceballos and we all know what happened so…let us see.

Physically, he would need to develop fast and also the pace of the game is different than the French league. If we could buy him this year at a good price and then loan him out to a team in the EPL like West Ham maybe as they will see Grealish go, it may be the best option as we will give him the chance to play a lot in the EPL.

Another information is that the club is definitely looking to offload Guendouzi. I wish him good luck, and I think we are making a mistake as he is a very good player. We would need to sell him with a percentage of the future sales and a good buy-back clause too. I think he would do really well in the Italian league and I am sure that AC Milan is monitoring his situation closely.

So what do you think of Aouar?


Is the Carabao Cup worth the effort?

September 6, 2020

Today, the draw for the Carabao Cup took place and we are playing Leicester away in the third round.

The competition has been under scrutiny as players have a gruelling schedule packed with league games, European and sometimes national team games.

So many clubs play their young players in the Carabao Cup and if they get closer to the final, they tend to play more players from their usual starting XI.

How do you feel about this Cup and about the draw to Leicester?


Arsenal do Brazil?

September 3, 2020

Our Brazilian players’ contingency is growing since Edu has arrived, no?

  1. David Luiz, Martinelli last year
  2. Willian, Gabriel this year

Two older players in Luiz and Willian and two young promising players in Gabriel and Martinelli. Two defenders and two forward players.

Below two major hypothetical questions:

  1. We are just missing a player like Gilberto Silva and/or Edu to have a Brazilian player in each line. So, here is a list of Brazilian DM/CMs players that could be looked at if we were to, hypothetically, engage a player purely based on nationality and position and known by the many not the few:

DM: Fabinho, Casemiro, Fernandinho, Luiz Gustavo, Ramires, Lucas Leiva, Mattheus Henrique

CM: Allan, Guimares, Paqueta, Coutinho

2. Shall the fanbase come up with a song with a Brazilian air for Willian and Martinelli when they score and Luiz and Gabriel when they put in a great tackle or a goal? If so, which Brazilian air/song should it be? There are well known pop song classics like La Lambada, Samba de Janeiro, Ai Se Eu Te Pego for example…

Anyways, the point of this post is to know how you feel about the growing Brazilian contingency in our ranks. At PSG, we have a history with Brazilian players and one thing is for sure is that even if they are not the best players, they always play with heart – which is already a big plus 🙂


Hola o Adios Bellerin?

September 2, 2020

There is mounting noise about the possibility that Arsenal would be willing to listen to offers for Bellerin. The club is supposedly OK to let Bellerin go for 35 Mln EUR.

At one point in his young and rich career, Bellerin was seen as the best young full back in the world and teams like Barcelona, Real, City and Juve were monitoring him but then Bellerin got injured and since then, he has been chasing his shadow to rediscover the form that made him one of the most potent RB in the EPL and in Europe.

Bellerin really struggled under Emery but seems to have found some form back under Arteta and he put in some good displays after the lockdown. He seems to have found better balance in terms of his defensive and attacking contributions since Arteta has come in. At 25, he is entering the most exciting part of his career where he is supposed to have reached his optimal form and level. The kid has been with us for nearly ten years and he is very attached to the club and he has been key to welcoming new players and supporting our young players when they join the first team. He is very well liked by the players and coaching staff and he is also a player that is engaged for important socio-economic causes such as environmental protection.

So should the club keep Bellerin knowing that AMN is looking to be extended and Soares has joined us? Or shall the club cash in on one of the longest serving player in our club? It is a tough choice to be honest.

How do you feel about it?