A Win to Kick Start Arsenal’s Season: Chelsea Pre-Match and Predicted Line-Up

August 22, 2021
Ode to Joy

Sometimes you just know, don’t you?

I am 100% confident that we will beat the West London pretenders this afternoon and that will it be a VERY GOOD THING for a number of reasons.

Obviously, any Arsenal win is to be celebrated, but victory today will also silence (temporarily at least) the cacophony of negativity that has been echoing round the club since defeat at Brentford.

We have been inundated with an infestation of pundits vying to outbid each other in their forecasts of doom.

Like ants they have been crawling all over social media spewing rhetoric that gets ever more heated: Arsenal are one of the favourites for relegation; the clock is ticking for Arteta; Ramsdale is a waste of money; Odegaard is ‘bang average;’ our transfer activity has been terrible.

It’s time to call in Rent-o-Chill.

And so to today. Entertaining a strongly fancied team like Chelsea is the perfect scenario after the opening day disappointment.

Of course, seeing our injury-weakened team capitulate at Brentford was depressing, but to write off a season on the basis of a single result is a form of foolishness that any sensible supporter should know to ignore.

The same would be true if we’d beaten Brentford 5-0. No doubt people would have been praising Arteta and saying that Arsenal were outsider contenders for the title. That would have been equally foolish.

Team news remains mixed. By all accounts Odegaard is available to play and we can assume Ramsdale will be on the bench. 

Ode showed enough talent with us last season to convince this observer at least that we have secured a real gem for what will turn out to be a bargain price. Yes, there’s some crossover with Smith Rowe, but they have already shown they can work well together (so it’s not an either/or situation) and, in any case, they have quite different styles of play.

As for Ramsdale, he has clearly been brought in to replace Leno in due course. I expect the move to happen in January when we sell the German and bring in a cheaper back-up or promote a goalie from the Hale End Academy.

Auba is potentially available after being Covid-pinged, but Partey and Gabriel are both still out with injury. 

Worryingly, Willian is “being assessed,” but surely Arteta would not dare bring on the useless Brazilian bog-brush in front a real, actual crowd of supporters?

Torreira is back in the squad but I don’t expect him to feature as I imagine we’re still trying to move him on in this window.

Also, I would not rule out the possibility of another major transfer move as the window winds to a close at the end of the month, possibly a striker.

So let’s stop the moaning, get behind the manager and the team and enjoy a first home win of what promises to be an exciting campaign.

Predicted Line-Up:

Leno

Chambers – White – Mari – Tierney

Xhaka – Lokonga

Pepe – Odegaard – Aubameyang

Martinelli

Come on You Gunners

RockyLives


Ramsdale, White, Tavares, Lokonga, Odegaard…Job done?

August 19, 2021

So it seems that we have:

  • Invested 35 Mln EUR in our back-up GK, Ramsdale
  • Invested 50 Mln EUR for a Centre-back, White
  • Invested 8 Mln EUR (plus add-ons) for our back-up Left-Back, Tavares
  • Invested 17.5 Mln EUR (plus 4.5 Mln add ons) for our back-up Central Midfielder, Sambi
  • Invested 35 Mln EUR (plus 5 Mln EUR in add-ons) for a central midfielder, Odegaard
  • Extended Xhaka and Balogun

So we spent roughly 145 Mln EUR for 2 starters (85 Mln: White, Odegaard) and 3 squad players (60 Mln: Ramsdale, Tavares, Sambi).

Do you feel like the transfer window as it stands (i) is successful? (ii) helped us address our issues? (iii) needs to see the arrival of further players?

This post is purely about arrivals but feel free to discuss departures as well

Potential line-ups based on the transfer window as it stands:

Team A: Leno – Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, ESR, Odegaard – Auba

Team B: Ramsdale – Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares – AMN, El Neny, Sambi – Pepe, Balogun, Martinelli


Shall Auba leave?

August 17, 2021

Rumors are that Barcelona want to add to their attacking threat and are keeping a close eye on Auba and supposedly Laca too…

Now, our forward options at the moment are:

FW: Pepe, Saka, Nelsson / Auba, Martinelli, Willian

CF: Laca, Balogun, Nketiah

Ideally and by the end of the transfer window, we would be left with 6 options rather than 9. Players that could be allowed to leave on loan are Nelsson and Nketiah and players that could be sold are Willian, Nketiah (yes him again) and probably one between Laca and Auba…

Auba was named captain and handed a hefty contract about a year ago but has not done so well since…Shall we then allow him to leave and join Barcelona? If so, what would be a good transfer value? Is it too risky to let him go, knowing that prior to the previous season he has been our leading scorer for a few seasons in a row…

Some say that we should let him go, some say that we should keep him…I am on the fence to be honest as he may just rediscover his form and be our leading scorer again…

In all honesty, if we were to let one forward go to raise some capital between Auba and Laca and based on last season only, I d say keep Laca and let Auba go but if you look at their records over the last 3 seasons, Auba is the definite keeper! What to do…


Why Odegaard over Willock?

August 16, 2021

Can someone tell me why we are pursuing Odegaard to rejoin us for about 35-40 Mln EUR and we let Willock go for 25 Mln Pounds please? I am failing to understand…Thank you


New season, same old frailties?

August 14, 2021
Brentford 2 Arsenal 0 - News - Official website of Brentford Football Club

And our season starts with a disappointing, but not all that surprising, defeat at Brentford. Our defense unit was tested early on and irremediably, we conceded a goal in the first 25 minutes of the game – courtesy of poor decision-making. We then tried to push harder and create chances especially through Tierney, Pepe, ESR and even Xhaka but to no avail. In the second half, the team continued to struggle with Brentford’s long balls and hussle and finally conceded a second goal – some say that Leno should have been awarded a free-kick and others say that top GKs would not even have been in that situation, it is hard to tell. In any case, with 15 minutes to play, we were 2-0 down and were not really causing Brentford any real trouble…

So we were indeed missing Saka, Auba and Laca at the start so that could explain a bit of our lack of offensive threat but what about our defense? It was bullied from minute one and Ben White was struggling the whole game while Mari was not really better…Ben White did well in a back 3 set-up with 2 big players next to him – yesterday, it seems that he was looking like a lost boy. Leno continues to be his usual self – a decent GK, nothing more. Lockonga looked promising for his first game but he still has a lot to learn and improve on. AS for Xhaka, our captain for the night, he tried as always.

So all and all, we can’t say that the team is looking more drilled or confident or improved as the same defensive frailties could be seen and the same lack of cutting edge in front of goal was also visible but for the latter, I am ready to give some leniency since we were missing 3 key players. For the defensive side, I am a lot more critical.

How shall we sort our defensive weaknesses?

  • Finally get a better GK?
  • Revert to a back 3 with Holding, White, Gabriel and set up in a 343 or 352?
  • Splurdge on a real midfield enforcer?
  • Get a new coach?

Anyways – a familiar outing and outcome yesterday against a physical team that had a simple game plan: long balls, go for the second balls and press the central defenders…

There is a bit of time to sort the team out still and apparently, the club is now open to sell Aubameyang to raise cash. Let us see…


And so the season begins

August 13, 2021
Brentford vs Arsenal on Sky: Toney fit; White debut

At last…the Euro is over, the break is over and football season is back!

Arsenal starts its season with a tricky trip to the newly promoted team of Brentford – shall we consider this fixture as yet another London derby? The last time we played Brentford in the league was in 1947 and we won 1-0. Brentford is not a kind side to visit for Arsenal as we have 1 in 6 games (the first one basically) since 1947 in all competitions…But Arsenal usually does well in its opening game when played away – we haven’t lost such a game since since 2000 at Sunderland

In any case, Brentford is a well drilled side with a brave coach and quality players such as Ivan Toney who bagged 30 goals last year in the Championship. With the excitements of being promoted and having the fans back, Brentford is going to be dangerous. If we look at our pre-season form, our transfer window so far and our missing players, things are not looking too bright for the game today…I would say that the positives are that (i) Laca and Auba are looking rather sharp, (ii) Tierney, Pepe and ESR looking to take the game on; and (iii) White and Lockonga seem to be OK to start today.

Here is my predicted line-up:

Leno – Bellerin, White, Mari, Tierney – Lockonga, El Neny – Pepe, ESR, Auba – Laca

Here would have been my preferred line-up:

Leno – Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney – Willock, El Neny, ESR – Pepe, Laca, Auba

Our main issues remain the same as last year so far with defensive laps on Bellerin side and also a lack of penetration from midfield into the opposition box.

My prediction: 1-1. Toney and Auba to score.

COYG!


Oooooh a North London Derby Prematch and Predicted Lineup

August 8, 2021

 

The North London Derby has come early this year. I know most are not excited seeing these preseason games but I,for one, am extremely excited about this game. I think this game will determine how we start the premier League season.

The reason I think it would be devasating because after listening to some commentators, they were generally scared for us to play Brentford. One even going as far as to say he prefers to play the promoted sides after they have lost a few games and their confidence shattered. This is how far we have fallen our supporter was scared to play a newly promoted side.

Only being able to see first half of Tottenham game vs Chelsea they looked mediocre. So I was really shocked to see, when I reached home that the score was 2-2. We can’t allow this to happen, once we get a foot hold of a game we need to kill it off.

Both sides will be playing some variation of a 433 so they might cancel each other out. The winner would be basically down to who wants it more and is clinical infront of goal (YES am looking at you Aubameyang). Arsenal does have the added advantage because ‘Mr Bong to score against Arsenal’ will be missing the game.

With Partey out I expect a midfield of Xhaka and Elneny. I know most fans would like Aubameyang to be dropped and replaced with Eddie, knowing Arteta we he will go for his usual side and if he makes any changes, he might play Eddie over Laca.

Would love to see a midfield with Willock but this is feeling like EMI 2.0 where I’m calling for Arteta to give him a chance but instead of listening to me he lets him go on loan or worse still, he sells him and Newcastle finish in CL position with Willock winning golden boot.

Here’s my lineup …..

Leno

Chambers…White…Mari …Tierney

Xhaka Elneny

Pepe ESR Auba

Lacazette

Fred


Arteta’s 4 ingredients: Commitment, Desire, Energy, Quality/Talent…

July 25, 2021
Arsenal Inside Out - LIVE ARSENAL NEWS TODAY ⚽️NUNO TAVARES TO ARSENAL  ⚽️AARON RAMSDALE £35M DEAL ⚽️£17M LOKONGA DEAL ⚽️INTERESTED IN TAMMY  ABRAHAM ⚽️£80M FOR JAMES MADDISON ⚽️BEN WHITE & LOKONGA ARE

So in the past weeks, we have:

  • Extended Tierney and Smith-Rowe
  • Gotten Tavares and Lonkonga

and Arteta has indicated for each of them that they are young, energetic, committed and have desire (are hungry) and have quality (talent). He also mentioned that these are the ingredients he wants in his Arsenal team. He also talked highly of Martinelli who he said has, like Tierney and Smith-Rowe, the ability to also inspire others to raise their levels…

So at this stage, we have the following squad for next year (for sure):

GK: Leno (boo 😦 )

RB: Chambers,

CB: Holding, White, Gabriel, Mari

LB: Tierney, Tavares

DM: El Neny, Lonkonga

CM: Partey, AMN

RW: Saka,

CAM: ESR, Willock

LW: Pepe, Martinelli

CF: Auba, Balogun

I think that the players above would meet Arteta’s requirements and there are some interrogations about how WIllock will fit back in the team and then how Lonkonga and Tavares will adjust to the EPL…

Question marks over some players future: Bellerin, Cedric, Xhaka, Nelson, Willian, Nketiah, Lacazette

If Lacazette leaves, we would need adequate replacement for sure and I d also be more than happy if we invested in a solid RB and a better GK

Likely line-up:

Leno – Chambs, White, Gabriel, Tierney – Partey, El Neny – Saka, ESR, Pepe – Auba

Ramsdale – ?, Holding, Mari, Tavares – AMN, Lonkonga, Willock – Willian, Balogun, Martinelli

Good enough squad to challenge for titles? Not sure but it is Arteta’s squad and he is moulding it


When are we going to get most decisions right at club level? A cry from the heart

July 15, 2021

Here is Dexter’s latest post – slightly edited:

“William Saliba….What the hell is going on here?

Either he’s not it and we should have sold him, or he is not quite good enough, yet, so would benefit from a loan to a PL club.

Neither has happened. I am baffled and the decision making of Arteta, Edu and others at the club. They are all rightly under massive scrutiny after last season.

For a club like Arsenal to fork out 27 MILLION QUID on an 18 year old defender smacks of either…

Gross negligence/incompetence or some kind of money laundering/tax evasion scheme.

Maybe that’s why Arteta doesn’t want Saliba anywhere near the club??? 

Blimey, when is this club going to get MOST (not all, I’m not greedy or deluded!) decisions right? When are we going to have a well balanced squad that features (at the same time) a good keeper, decent defenders, an actual proper defensive minded midfielder, an attacking/creative number 10 and strikers who can score goals??? 

Oh boy….

COYG!!! “

So are you feeling like Dexter? Is the club not getting enough decisions right? Is the duo Edu-Arteta actually not delivering? Are the people above them not doing their job?


A fun EURO but now time for Club footie again

July 12, 2021

So the Euro was quite fun this year with:

  • The fans back in the stadium
  • Some good games
  • Overall good refereeing
  • Overall good camaraderie between players
  • The advent of a solid England team full of talent, experience and tactical nous (except in the second half of the final)
  • A final between the best two teamsi n the tournament
  • And the victory of a team that was brave on the ball

Now, we are back to Club football and I am looking forward to it to be honest but also I am expecting a lot from Edu-Arteta in the transfer market and would echo Emmanuel Petit’s sentiment that Arsenal has to purchase not only players with proven quality but also players with character. He said it was not only important to improve the team but also to keep our young talents, especially Tierney, Saka and ESR.

So far, we have gotten Nuno Tavares…and we have off-loaded a few players Luiz, Mavropanos and Guendouzi…

A lot of work to do still for our Sporting Director and Manager

COYG!