Mikel Arteta has an entire week with his players, the longest gap of time between games since he joined the club. That means more recovery time for the players, more time to spend talking through ideas, and plenty of practice for whatever the plan is against Chris Wilders excellent Sheffield United outfit this weekend.
One of the main challenges the coaching staff will be dealing with is the loss of Auba, our most lethal player. Overall, one of the issues we’ve had for a while is the lack of shared responsibilities when it comes to goal-scoring duties. This was Arteta.
“They now have to make a step forward now he is not able to contribute to the team with goals.
“Someone else has to do it and I want to see that reaction too.”
My hope is that as we move closer to the vision of the new regime, goals will start to be more evenly distributed.
There are a few players I’d love to see step up to the plate, one of them is Gabriel Martinelli. He has a monstrous opportunity ahead of him. He’s Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, so I’m intrigued to see what the manager does to the structure of the team to unleash him. My guess is he’ll slip into the left of the front three and just replace Auba. He’s more of a natural presser though, so maybe the temptation might be to have him lead through the middle.
Another player who should start offering up more goals is Nicolas Pepe. We’ve seen flashes of what he’s capable of, but he really needs to double down and focus on more consistent delivery. He can be a bit ponderous at times. His casual nature can come across like he’s not bothered, I’m hoping a bit more urgency in his game and the added responsibility over the next 3 games will see him rise to the occasion.
When it comes to our midfield, it’s hard to see where the goals will come from. Torreira finds good positions sometimes, but when he’s too far forward he struggles to make up ground, he’s thrived playing in a smaller area of the pitch. Same can be said of Xhaka, though it has been noted that he’s powered through on the overlap twice in two games. Matteo and Ceballos both have limited productivity, and Ozil has rarely shown much of a gift for goal scoring.
It seems I have talked myself out of this, let’s just hope the front three can offer something otherwise we’re in trouble.
In defence, there appears to be movement. Mavrapanos has been sent out on loan. Sven Mislintat came back in for the player, but Nurnberg appears to have won the race for the Greek defender. Everyone loved him when he joined, but he’s been well off the pace since. Hopefully, a stint in Germany can help with his fitness and confidence.
The player we’re all desperate to see the back of is Mustafi. Sport is a brutal job, but he’s quite simply not good enough and no amount of coaching is going to save a player that stopped being hungry. He’s certainly a lesson in what £90k a week contract can do to a persons appetite for success. Galatasaray, regularly a saving grace for persona non grata in the Premier League, are rumoured to be interested in reinvigorating his career. Good luck to them.
The worry I have with exiting these defenders is we’re left very short through the middle. We’ll be relying on two 30+ centre backs, and the fitness of Rob Holding. Feels very, very risky… which is why I suspect there will be some sort of cover on loan. I just hope it’s not Jerome Boateng, who is hilariously being courted by Ivan Gazidis.
ESPN ran some analysis on bad reffing this season, it had Arsenal down 9 points.
I DON’T WANT TO BE A VICTIM BUT COME ON FEEL SORRY FOR US.
The reffing was pretty bad at the Palace game and it was atrocious at the Chelsea game. I don’t understand how they run the associations. What are they looking at? Who is bringing them patterns of bad behaviour that go on? Like, how can this tactical fouling thing still be an issue? Shouldn’t the refs make a statement to clubs and say that they’ll be dropping red cards as a deterrent. If we’re using VAR, can’t someone update a live iWatch table that tells refs how many tactical fouls a player or a team have dropped in a game? These problems we have in the game seem fairly simple to solve, but when the problem is given to Mike Riley, he comes up with the most bizarre ways of fixing them.
I still maintain the refs should be accountable to press. I also think we should hear them justify decisions. It works in the NFL, it brings the fans into the decisions.
Right, that’s the blog done, jump on board for the latest podcast with Alex who occasionally blogs on here. I bought a new mic, the sound is pretty damn crisp. Let me know what you think in the comments!