It’s a quiet weekend for Arsenal fans as we play legendary Marcelo Bielsa on Monday night in the FA Cup.
My Uncle is a Leeds fan, home and away back in the day, he reckons they’ll rest heavily as they’re 9 points clear of the chasing pack for promotion and they have a tiny squad with a Chairman who doesn’t want to spend.
Arsenal will no doubt look to field a weakened squad.
I think Mikel is going to want to see what some of the kids can do for us. He doesn’t have a league cup to work with this season, so this is a good chance to start players like Willock, Saka (start him as a winger), Burton, Matteo, John-Jules and Eddie. Also a good chance for Ceballos to show he can cut it in the Premier League after a very stuttery start to his career. I also think he’ll be acutely aware that his players are dropping like flies and will continue to as he works with Shad to upgrade their fitness levels.
The FA Cup is important, we all love a day out, but it’s not more important than having a fit team to chase top 4 in the Premier League, and more importantly, giving us some solid foundations to make a good go of the Europa League when it starts back up in February.
Before we move onto transfers, can someone explain this?
Why… does this comic… have a picture of former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger… as a Zombie… as its cover?? pic.twitter.com/M3wYSqsMod
— Roger (@iamtherog) January 3, 2020
I think the brain-trust at Arsenal met over the past couple of days to discuss what’s happening with loan players, and I’ve no doubt they’re working out what they can get away with until the end of the season.
Auba reckons the English press are talking shite about him wanting away right now, I have to say, if his performances are anything to go by that’s absolutely true. I also suspect Granit Xhaka might give Arsenal a second chance, Hertha Berlin under Klinsmann sounded rough, but now Arteta is here, surely it must be a touch vom-inducing? The manager has worked out where his strengths are and figured a way to limit his weaknesses inside 3 games… an unreal achievement, and potentially the key to a lot of success in the backend of the season.
A false three… still makes me damp. I absolutely love that all the tactics nerds are perving over our minutes now. Makes a change to have an innovative coach in the dugout, doesn’t it?!
Chambers looks to have a very serious injury, that leaves us short a centre back. There’s talk about us loaning Boateng for the rest of the season, a move I really don’t like the sound of. Asking old players to adapt to a fast league rarely works out. The fact Bayern are saying they’ll take a zero fee tells you all you need to know there. There’s also a lot of hot talk about Upemacano, a player I falsely said had a bad knee because a website had duff data. I struggle with this one as Leipzig are in a title fight and though they are savvy business folk, I’m not sure they’d need to sell. That said, he is down to 18 months, they might want to cash in because they fear he’ll mail it in like Alexis did. The cretin.
A move that intrigued me was Umtiti. He was rumoured to be in the ground for the United game. He’s played about 7 games this season and could be open to a loan. Reeks of contacts scouting, but if he’s fit, you can’t deny he’s not a world-class operator and at his peak at 25 years old.
I’d also like to see us invest some power into the midfield. Ndidi is a fantasy, but a player of his ilk with a good range of passing is something we’ve cried out for over the years.
I have to say, I knew the squad was better than we thought, but I really wasn’t convinced Torreira could hit the heights we were looking for. I worried he was too small to hack it. 3 games in and he’s looking and absolute world-beater.
There are some rumours doing the rounds about Matteo potentially being moved on at some point. Some rumblings that his warm-up the other day wasn’t very good and he was called out. I have also heard that behind the scenes, his attitude has not been up to the standards you’d expect of someone so young. He’s a great talent, but he’s not performing. If his values don’t map to the clubs, he’ll be moved on. Hopefully, it’s just a case of being a dope, like most of us were at 20 years old. Surely he can see that he’s at the right place to elevate his talent?
The Max Aarons story is also one to watch. According to rumour, the club are worried about the lack of pace Bellerin has shown since he returned, so they’re considering Aarons who is very fast with lots of stamina. Have to admit, I thought the same when I’ve watched the Spaniard this season, he’s looked half a yard short. Hopefully that’s just part of the deal when you return from a serious injury, would love to have him back at the top of his game.
Right, that’s all I have today, more of a Leeds preview tomorrow. x
P.S. Jump on the podcast, I’m on with Matt.