Cup kids take their chance

by & filed under News Review.

Via @Arsenal

Nothing like a BLISTERING win in the FA Cup to kick a cold Tuesday morning off in style.

Arteta headed back to Bournemouth for the second time as Arsenal manager and put on a more impressive show than the first outing a little over 5 weeks ago.

The first half showed us exactly where the football is heading if we give the manager time (and the right players). We moved the ball around at speed, the players were aggressive, you could see the vision. Pretty much everything the football hasn’t been for the last 5 years. Joe Willock immediately repaid his starting berth with a brilliant turn in midfield, he powered forward at the Bournemouth goal, gave the ball to Gabriel who found Saka on the overlap… the young winger/fullback didn’t make the same mistakes he made in the last game, rifling a shot at the inside post in off the bar. The build-up had 22 passes that went through 10 players, shades of the good old days? Don’t…

The second was well worked. Mustafi to Eddie, back to Willock, out wide to Saka, Saka with the low drive into the box, Martinelli dummies… Eddie into the back of the net. Wonderful.

Arsenal going forward at times was a thing of beauty, we looked scary on the counter-attack, and finally, we looked pretty good when building up play in and around the box. Not perfect, but the players finally seemed to be finding a bit of confidence that’s been lacking over the last month. Arteta certainly felt like his players executed his plan well.

“In the first half we were really, really good. They executed everything we planned in a really good way and showed the courage to make big decisions.

“We played with that accountability, making decisions and I really liked it. They were terrific with their work-rate, showed courage to make those big decisions and not to play safe.

“That is the difference.”

The second half wasn’t quite as impressive. It looked liked we were more than comfortable to sit on a two-goal cushion and to be fair, Bournemouth really didn’t give us too much to worry about. They tried to rough us up, but again, it didn’t seem to bother us.

Matteo Guendouzi was back to typical shithousing form, he sucks opposition into battling him, but he never lets the win. He was man of the match, he played with much more discipline than we’ve seen from him over the past 5 months. He timed his runs, kept things solid in the middle, and was just a bit of a nuisance all game. He has stamina for days and he has a good knack for knowing where to stand to nick balls and counter-press.

Saka, Eddie and Gabriel are a joy to watch. So much energy and enthusiasm. They don’t give a fuck where they play as long as they play. Those are the types of characters you want to get behind. I just hope they maintain that spark and continue to grow, it’d be great to have three young players like that grow into superstars… and it’d be great to have two homegrown talents pushing for roles with the national team.

The only blight on the match outside the late goal they scored and the borefest that is VAR, was seeing Mustafi go down with what looked like and achilles problem. I’m sad for him because he’s just been given a rebirth, but more sad for Arsenal, because we’ve lost another defender and the club apparently botched the move for Pablo Mari. Say what you will about the risk of signing him, the man was indeed a human body we could do with. We’re in trouble in defence… Xhaka might have to take up that centre back role more permanently.

Oh… I also thought Ceballos played well when he came on. He certainly doesn’t look disengaged.

Big shout out to Joe Willock for the second time in this post. He had a great game and added some much-needed end product to his game. He’s strong, he’s great at running through the lines, and he’ll add goals to his game as he matures. He needs to keep taking those chances he’s given, a bright future ahead if he does.

One thing before I go, I do like watching the press conferences these days. Arteta really seems to love the fact he’s managing Arsenal. He talks with such great energy, he’s passionate about the game, the league, and the players he’s working with to improve. Great to see.

6 games unbeaten now. Good times.

Pompey in the next round… very exciting.

P.S. I recorded a podcast last night, but the sound corrupted. New one later today. Sorry Alex, I really am. x

275 Responses to “Cup kids take their chance”

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  1. Un na naai


    Great blog today
    So much positivity coming from the club now. Arteta really is turning this club around. Couldn’t agree more that he clearly loves the gunners hot seat.

    He’s flourishing and he’s bringing our players with him.
    Coaching, fanciful?? Not on your life
    This is what we’ve been waiting for
    Let’s just hope we can hold on to Arteta for as long as possible because he is the man of tomorrow. Fingers crossed that he spends tomorrow at arsenal or as much of it as we can get

  2. Romford Pele

    Main thing is the board HAVE to back Arteta. They obviously don’t want to spend money this month. Fine. But have ti be very active in the summer both in terms of sales and purchases. Very aggressive in how we go about thinga. Euro 2020 later this year so i’d advise we get our business done early as prices could inflate with tournament performances (James Rodriguez, Milan Baros etc).

    For now it’s important to try and build momentum in the league. Performances have generally been promising but need to start to turn those into wins. Burnley away will be tough this weekend. Need to come away with 3 points. No more red cards please. Last two away games we’ve played a huge part with 10 men.

  3. Pierre

    Saka and Martinelli are the flavour of the day and rightly so.
    They are putting in consistent performances and having a big influence on the game.

    They seem to enjoy playing together and are becoming a very good partnership.

    Football is all about partnerships on the pitch , anyone who has played the game will know if you have a telepathic understanding with a team mate in any position on the pitch it makes the game so much easier.

    Willock and Nketiah did themselves no harm last night.
    Both put in very energetic and mature performances , I was pleased to see willock show his doubters that he can play at this level , last night will do do wonders for his confidence in the coming months and I expect to see him have more game time.

    Nketiah’s ability to drop off and find space and link the play shows he has much more to his game than many think.
    He is more than just a goalscorer and he showed that last night, I believe there is a lot more to come from Eddie. His Arsenal career could still go either way though as he needs to find that extra level.

    Excellent performance from Guendouzi , he just needs to cut out the histrionics with his hand waving as it isn’t doing him any favours.

    Last night showed the importance of Arsenal staying in the cup competitions to allow the young players to develop and give them invaluable experience.

    The main concern under Arteta is that we keep allowing the opposition to get a footing in the game after a good start.

  4. Romford Pele

    “The main concern under Arteta is that we keep allowing the opposition to get a footing in the game after a good start.”

    Two things;

    1) They still can’t maintain the intensity levels (Arteta alluded to this as much post-match). Maybe the two-week break and warm weather training can help us work on it more.
    2) We still need to improve the composition of the personnel. More agile creators/dribblers.

  5. Romford Pele

    Graham – problem is it’s hard to know what to do with him unless Arteta changes to a 433 where he can LCM. You heard Arteta shout at him from the sidelines to offer himself as an option through the lines. Tactically he’s not disciplined at all. And that’s not good for a coach like Arteta who like everything to a specific detail. He’ll need training on his positioning but don’t know how much Arteta time will give him considering it’s only a loan

  6. Left testicle

    Excellent performance from Guendouzi , he just needs to cut out the histrionics with his hand waving as it isn’t doing him any favours.
    Agree with this Pierre. I can’t warm to him when he’s constantly rolling around on the floor or whinging to the opposition/referee. Robbie Savage 2.0.

  7. Pierre

    It seems to me that we have to play on the front foot , as soon as we allow the opposition to get their foot on the ball we lose our way.

    It is a physical thing but may also be mental , in that we are still lacking belief in our ability to kill the game off .

    Last night was a perfect opportunity to kill the game off but we sat deeper and deeper and created very little in the 2nd half .

  8. Romford Pele

    Pierre – I agree. Arteta only wants to do it one way. I have no problem with that. It’s a combination of the players still needing to adapt to his methods as well as an improvement in terms of personnel. Still gotta remember he’s barely been in charge a month. Have to let things take shape. Klopp is over 5 years into his Liverpool project and it’s only really now they’ve reached perfection.

    It might also still be a confidence thing. This is the worst season Arsenal have had in the best part of 20 years. Will take a while to get things corrected again. Have to be patient.

  9. Leedsgunner

    We not only have to back the manager in the summer we need to keep backing Per Mertesacker in the Academy.

    If this year’s Arsenal tells us anything… it is worth supporting a top top youth academy.

    Lastly, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!!!!

    I knew the kid would score the other night… he will come good. Give the lad the chance… he will take it. Wonderful to see the young kids Willock, Saka and Nketiah playing the Arsenal way. 😉

    Hopefully with Martinelli and Nketiah breathing down his neck, the little internal competition will give Lacazette the motivation he needs to get out of the slump.

  10. Leedsgunner

    A little while ago, I said we had a great group of young kids at the club. Next season we potentially could have all the following academy products involved with the first team.

    Nketiah, Willock, ESR, Saka, Tyreece John-Jules. Ainsley-Maitland Niles. Wow. Just wow.

    Add to that mix Guendouzi, Saliba and Martinelli and we ave one of the most exciting youthful squads in the EPL… led by one of the youngest exciting coaches in the EPL.

    Get them signed now so that they can grow with the club.

  11. Henry Root

    In defence of Guendouzi he started the season very well. While everyone raves ( rightly ) about Ceballos v Burnley they seem to forget how good Guendouzi was in bringing us back against Sp**s and Aston Villa . He is still only young and his work rate and attitude is terrific. He is far from the finished article.
    Badly need a new CB . Their goal was a bread and butter ball into the box and should have caused no trouble

  12. Leedsgunner

    Unbeaten in January.

    Well done Arteta. Well done Arsenal.

    Keep it up Arteta, I started as a sceptic but you’re starting to convince me!

  13. Leedsgunner

    The top concern on Steve Bould and Arteta’s desk should be whilst we’ve been wonderful in bring up offensive and creative prospects… where are the defenders?

  14. HighburyLegend

    “I do like watching the press conferences these days. ”
    Cum Shot(s).

    In other news, Bayern show some interest in Lemar.
    Between Arsenal and the Germans, I really wonder which club he will choose… (feel free to add a “lol” if necessary)

  15. Batistuta

    Just don’t see it with Nketiah, too lightweight and just doesn’t do enough, hopefully he has a very good career maybe for Arsenal or someone else but not remotely convinced by him

  16. China1

    Martinelli has 10 goals and a couple of assists this season

    Saka has 3 goals and 6 assists

    It’s early days for these two and we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves but what a fabulous contribution from two bit part teenagers. Really puts some of our established senior names to shame

  17. Dissenter

    ‘ Just don’t see it with Nketiah, too lightweight and just doesn’t do enough, hopefully he has a very good career maybe for Arsenal or someone else but not remotely convinced by him’

    I’m glad I’m not the only Nkettiah-skeptic here.
    I’ve seen better Arsenal academy players than him . It’s just that he’s emerging at a time when we are utter shit and our expectations are reduced to oatmeal breakfasts.

  18. Romford Pele

    Ukranian media reporting we’ve agreed a deal for Matviyenko in principle (whatever that means). I’m bias so much prefer this deal. We’ll see what happens. Three days left.

  19. Romford Pele

    “Just don’t see it with Nketiah, too lightweight and just doesn’t do enough, hopefully he has a very good career maybe for Arsenal or someone else but not remotely convinced by him”


    Honest hard-working lad. Ian Wright is his mentor but don’t see enough facets in his game personally. Would like him to diversify a bit more. That striker role is earmarked for Martinelli plus we have Balogun in the U23s who is bigger and looks much more explosive.

  20. HighburyLegend

    @Leeds : I’m a bit like you concerning Arteta.

    There’s one upcoming game which, for me, could make all the difference, at home VS Liverpool.
    Don’t need to tell you why… a victory at the Emirates vs ‘Pool to save our record, and just like Pedro and many others here, I will be ready to give Mikel a blow job.

  21. Graham62

    What a lovely picture of Nketiah and Saka.



    Makes me feel positive about things when you see the youngsters performing and enjoying themselves.

    Even the bench looked positive( that includes Mesut!).

    Early days I know but whatever Arteta is doing it seems to be working.

  22. Graham62


    I felt the same with him under Emery and Wenger but let’s give him a chance to prove himself under MA.

    New beginnings.

  23. Aussie Gooner

    Relax our striker problem is solved “Nicklas Bendtner is at a crossroads in his playing career but away from the pitch he has found a new calling and is set to star in his own reality television show alongside his model girlfriend, Philine Roepstorff.”
    Surely this means Lord Bendtner is comming back to the reality TV show that is Arsenal scouting and recruitment department!

  24. Jim Lahey

    Can I bring up VAR and what is going on with it at the moment. I thought for VAR to come into play something needed to be “clear and obvious” but that is not how it is being implemented in the PL.

    I am going to put my tinfoil hat on for a moment and make this statement. I think that the referees are trying to have it taken out of the game and are therefore trying to turn the fans against it by over using it and disallowing goals for the most ridiculous things. And it is working, I want it gone. Sick of goals being ruled out over mm offside calls, or every goal being checked for the slightest infraction.

    The refs aren’t even bothered to go to the side of the pitch to check it for themselves.

    VAR is as fair and non-bias as the person reviewing it and that is not a comforting thought.

  25. Leedsgunner

    Hats off to Arsenal really.

    With Aubamayang out for three games, the wheels could have very easily fallen off the bus but we’ve come through it in decent shape.

    Big question for Arteta… Saka has been playing really well as a makeshift attacking left back… he has the pace and the vision to be an excellent attacking fullback… al a certain A. Cole.

    I’d be very tempted to see if Saka could fulfill his potential there… or do we put him back into his left wing position that the boy is familiar with? In any case Tierney is going to have his work cut out when he comes back.

    Kolasinac should still attract £20m somewhere in the Bundesliga. Perhaps him back to Schalke either for their young centre back Ozan Kabak or their centre midfielder Weston McKennie who have been both playing really well.

  26. Jim Lahey

    @Leeds –

    I’m not sure Saka has the build to be a permenant LB. I also think he has more to offer use going forward and who hate to diminish that by piling on defensive duties.

    I do think his time as a LB will serve him and the club well though, I like to see our wingers getting back to help the full backs!

  27. Jim Lahey

    @Graham62 –

    I agree, maybe the decisions should be made by an independent third party to try and get rid of the cleare and obvious bias going on?

  28. Leedsgunner

    Nketiah will prove you sceptics all wrong… 😉

    4 goals from 9 shots for the Arsenal in all competitions… not too shabby for a striker… 😉

    People keep doubting, he keeps scoring.

    I remember Nketiah saying that people doubted all the way through whether he was good enough or big enough but that fired up him even more… especially when he was let go by Chelsea at 16. I like that fight. I like the fact that Iain Wright backs him… he’s no mug… I trust trust his judgement about what to look for in a striker. 😉

    Keep scoring Eddie!

  29. Graham62

    Federer got out of jail against the aptly named Tennys Sandgren.

    Novak 💤💤💤💤 looking in control.

    Would love Federer or Stan to win it, but can’t see it with the fluffier balls.

  30. Jim Lahey

    Watching Martinelli play; he must be a fucking nightmare to defend against. Not because of pace or movement, but because the prick never stops running or hassling defenders. 87th minute your tired, trying to see the game out and this guy is still chasing you down. Awful to play against!

  31. Jim Lahey

    @RP –

    “United signing Sander Berge. Great player. Fantastic athletic Dm with great passing range.”

    I feel like United could sign Messi V2.0 and he would turn out a dud with Ole there!

  32. DUIFG

    Got no issue bringing in mari and another cb in, ideally a top target.

    We then need a massive clear out in summer.

    Accepting Luiz is on massive money and generally seen as a positive presence 2 of

    Mustafi, sok, holding need to leave. Mustafi sok ideally, although probably more likely to get takers would be mustafi and holding. Sok for his faults is at least a decent battler and you know what you get from him as a 4th /5th cb

    Ideally for me

    Saliva, upa/Ukrainian.

    String 2

    3rd string sok or holding

  33. Romford Pele

    Jim – yeah he’s not a great coach is he?

    As it turns out the same journalist has tweeted that it apparently it was a guy that looks like Sander Berge so might not even be true. Journalists are so unreliable these days, even Ornstein.

  34. HighburyLegend

    “The Brazilian side are understood to believe the Gunners have changed the terms of the deal that would have seen the 26-year-old move to the Emirates.”

    So… is he coming or not ??

  35. Jim Lahey

    @RP –

    “apparently it was a guy that looks like Sander Berge so might not even be true.”

    Ha!! Man when Lukaku join United a newspaper here in Ireland ran the story on the back page with a picture of Stormzy!!

  36. China1

    If Eddie scores regularly (remains to be seen) and contributes not much else (also remains to be seen) then I won’t be complaining as a CF who cost us nothing

    Auba has been considered our best player since his arrival and only just started doing something other than scoring since arteta arrived a whole 2 years after he did.

    We’d all like our players to all be elite, but if an academy striker can score regularly at this level and we still have better players ahead of him (martinelli as far as the youth are concerned) then that’s still a big win

    We shouldn’t cash in on him too quickly because a club will pay a lot of money for an English striker who has pace and scores on the regular. As well he is being written off far too quickly just based on a couple of performances at this level.

  37. Wasi

    Good game last night. Hopefully we can get a good run going in the league now. Next 3 league games are all winnable. Theres also a EL game stuffed in between. Winning the next 4 games could really give us a boost when we go to City. Even a draw there would be a great result. I think we should at least take 7 points from the next 9. If we can take 9/9 then we can really shoot up the table , maybe to 6th even given the inconsistencies of every team from 4-9.

    Arteta is slowly but surely starting to stamp his mark on the team. The movement off the ball was very good in the first half. Saka and Martinelli leave the opposition RB in bits . Willock played well , actually very well. Had a hand in both the goals. Need to add more end product to his game and a future playing for Arsenal football club will start looking like more than just a dream.

    Saka as I stated after his first game at LB may find his future in the LB position. Just like TAA started out at as an advanced player then turned into a RB by Klopp , same could happen with Saka.
    Both are really very similar in terms of their playing style.
    -Attack minded,good vision , composure, act as presee releasers to bypass the opposition press , hard working, great attitude
    -Good crossing ability
    -Not very good defenders
    -Lack a bit of flair that wingers like Sterling, Sane possess.

    Also I think Saka is a very good finisher and can produce a goal out of nothing. Same cannot be said about TAA. Needs to work on his defending, positioning, and a few minor details and you’ll find the makings of an Elite Full back.
    Add to that Saka is a better dribbler than TAA.

    Just so that its clear Im not saying Saka is better at LB than LW. He can be a LW if he wants to , he’s got everything. He’s literally got so much raw talent that he can develop into an elite player at LB or LW.

    Also dont rule out Eddie just yet. He may not be a powerhouse or a speed merchant but he’s got the crucial goal scoring knack. His attitude and work rate is spot on. A bit of luck here and there and good coaching and theres no reason why he cant develop into a striker good enough for Arsenal.

  38. Pierre

    “Just don’t see it with Nketiah, too lightweight and just doesn’t do enough,”

    You may or may not be right but Eddie is still only 20 years of age.
    You say he’s lightweight, but I see it different to you , I see it as Eddie using his intelligence by looking for space instead of getting involved in a physical battle.
    He will never be an over physical striker

    Aubameyang is not exactly a heavyweight is he.

    I like the way Eddie plays , I like the way he finds pockets of space on the pitch , I like the way he plays with his head up , I like the way he times his runs into the box to get the tap ins .

    Is that enough , not all strikers are like Michael Owen or Wayne Rooney and hit the ground running .

    Harry kane never looked anything special in his early years , hence was sent out on loan and when he got the chance for Tottenham in his early twenties he scored 4 goals in 19 appearances.

    Tammy Abrahams is similar ,he is 22 now and only just starting to look the part..

    I’d like to see Eddie scoring more than just tap ins, has he got that ability to score goals from nothing like the really good strikers , time will tell , I think he has , his technique is good, has good balance but his main fault is he gets over excited and snatches at chances though he is improving in that area.

    This is where Martinelli has the upper hand over Nketiah , he has a calmness in and around the box and makes better decisions.

    It’s up to Eddie to improve in that area of his game.

  39. DUIFG

    Tbh our striker eggs are with martinelli, he can go elite. Eddie looks a decent poacher our inchaneo, chicharito. Not to be sniffed at but can’t build on him.

    Comparisons with lane are a bit much, indeed he wasnt great on his loans but he did have an absoulute bomb of a right foot and a pretty decent frame. Eddie is undersized to say the least

  40. Jim Lahey

    @RP –

    “Tap-ins are as a result of elite movement. The best strikers often score like 10 tap-ins a season. It’s a skill.”

    Most knock in 5+ penalties a year. Can’t remember the last one we had…. Also not confident at all when Abua steps up to take a penalty! Who was our last reliable peno taker? Santi?!

  41. Dream10


    Reporter got it wrong. They’re now saying it’s a backup GK and not Sander Berge.
    He was linked with Sheffield United on the wknd

  42. Romford Pele

    Jim – yeah funnily enough even though Auba is a great goalscorer he sucks at penalties. Messi is the same. I think Laca and Pepe would be more reliable from the spot.

    Dream – That kid is going to the top. Will do well at Sheffield and teams will have to pay double in two years.

  43. Leedsgunner

    “Tap-ins are as a result of elite movement. The best strikers often score like 10 tap-ins a season. It’s a skill.”

    … this!

    … and timing and skill.

    You can only tap in something if you’re in the right place at the right time. Give me a striker that taps in 15 or 20 goals regularly over one that does 1 or 2 screamers any day.

    A strikers job is to score, and that’s what Eddie has done in every level he’s played at. He deserves his chance… if nothing else playing regularly will only increase his transfer value… £20m or £30m would go a long way in bringing in a young elite defender.

  44. Pierre

    Balogan is more of a Kevin campbell type striker.

    Great movement off the ball and very powerful but I would say lacks finesse in front of goal .

    No little dinks over the keeper, no clever side foot finishes into the corner , it’s all about power and I feel he will need to bring finesse into his game as the physical defenders and better keepers will suss him out pretty quickly.

  45. Leedsgunner


    “. Can’t remember the last one we had…. Also not confident at all when Abua steps up to take a penalty! Who was our last reliable peno taker? Santi?!”

    Arteta. The guy hardly ever missed a penalty. Whatever happened to him? 😉

  46. Jim Lahey

    @Leeds –

    ha! I wonder!

    Santi, Arteta and Cesc. What is with Spanish midfielders and being able to take a good penalty!

  47. Leedsgunner


    Remember when Cesc scored that penalty against Leeds whilst standing on (what transpired) a broken leg?!?

  48. Jim Lahey

    @leeds –

    “Remember when Cesc scored that penalty against Leeds whilst standing on (what transpired) a broken leg?!?”

    Wasn’t that against Barca?!?!

  49. Romford Pele

    Pierre – Balogun is 18, big difference. His physical attributes will stand him in better stead when he makes the step up. This is only his first season at U23 level yet we’ve just rejected a £5m bid for him from Brentford. He’s more complete. Powerful, better dribbler, more ingenuity. Finishing can always be refined but he already scores a shed load of goals anyway.

  50. Jim Lahey

    RVP could take a decent penalty! To be fair at the pace he hit them I wouldn’t have liked to have been a keeper facing it!

  51. Marc


    “It seems to me that we have to play on the front foot , as soon as we allow the opposition to get their foot on the ball we lose our way.”

    100% correct – if we either sit back or run out of steam we look vulnerable. I do think Arteta will improve this aspect of our game over time and a few transfer windows but for now it’s something we have to focus on to start converting some of those draws into wins.

  52. Marc

    Also got to give a mention to Saka – kid really looks like the pick of the bunch out of the current home grown players.

    If he can keep his head together he’s got a fantastic career ahead of him.

  53. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal have a dilemma over CB position.

    It is unclear what has gone wrong with Mari situation, but my guess is that
    Arsenal want a loan in January without any commitment to buy a player in
    the Summer.

    Understandably the Brazilian club want to make a sale. My guess is that they
    were prepared to send him out on loan but with sales option in the summer.

    Arsenal are in a difficult situation at moment. Chambers it out for season and
    it is possible that Mustafi will also be out for some time with what looks like a
    bad injury.

    The club has on its books therefore only 3 established Centre Backs including
    Luiz who is suspended and Holding who has just returned from injury and looks rusty/average. Mavropanos and Saliba are both out on loan with presumably no recall option.

    So the question is do we buy Mari who is untested/unsuccessful at top European level or go out and loan an alternative player.

    The dilemma is that I suspect Arsenal would wish to delay any purchase until summer when they would probably want to target an identified top class CB target such as Upamecano.

    This is unfortunately a situation that we have seen before at the club under
    Wenger. We seem to be always short in CB department.

  54. Marc


    While I agree with your general take on the situation I do think a major difference between the Wenger period and now is money. Wenger was tight and preferred not to spend whilst at the moment we just don’t have the money.

  55. Emiratesstroller

    Romford Pele

    It does not matter if Luiz was out for just one game. We cannot afford to risk
    going into rest of season with only 3 established Centre Backs particularly when Holding looks at moment not EPL standard on evidence of what I saw in two recent games he played in first team.

    So long as Mustafi was still in equation albeit ‘a mistake waiting to happen’ there was less pressure to bring someone in.

    That option may well be gone if Mustafi has serious injury.

  56. Leedsgunner

    I wonder with Burnley coming up whether Ceballos will play… he absolutely killed them the first time around.

    If he does a repeat performance Lacazette better find his shooting boots because he could get a few.

  57. Wasi

    Holding who has just returned from injury

    Dont know why people cut so much slack for Holding. No he hasnt JUST returned from an injury. He’s been available for a while now. But its just that he hasn’t been good enough recently.
    Actually so bad that Arteta has opted for Mustafi over him.

    First , so many here dubbed him the Messiah who was gonna save our season. Raising your own as well everyone else’s expectations of him.
    Now he’s available but he’s just been very poor whenever he’s taken the field. His passing which is such a huge asset for him has also been below par this season.

    I do hope he becomes a very good defender but tbh I dont see him having the required quality to continuously start for us. Maybe a rotational option . I hope im wrong.

  58. Marc

    The Mail are reporting that the Mari deal collapsed after Arsenal wanted to change the deal after he had a medical.

    If that is true I’d say we’ve done the right thing.

  59. Emiratesstroller


    I would not argue with your statement.

    However, I think that Arsenal are probably targeting a CB in Summer who is
    currently unavailable.

    If that is case it is understandable that the club does not want to make a long term investment in January. It is one thing spending a £2-3 million loan fee for
    half a season.

  60. Marc


    Holding has not been available for a while now – he may have come back from the ACL injury a couple of months ago but he’s been seriously struggling with other problems – a likely knock on effect of the ACL.

    That’s one of the reasons I’d effectively write off Chamber for next season and why one way or another we really need another body at CB at the moment.

  61. Wasi


    Dont think its true.
    Ornstein stated it was always the plan for Mari to go back to Brazil after the medical.

    Its not like he is transferring to us from a neighbouring city or something. Its a different continent altogether.
    Theres lot of stuff to be sorted, his family , his friends , his luggage and what not.

    He cant just grab a trolley, come to Arsenal and start living in London.

    Its just media doing what they to best. Attracting traffic through clickbait. I think this deal will surely go over the line.

  62. Emiratesstroller


    What you post is also my opinion. Holding is not a top 4 in EPL standard CB.

    The only basis I would keep him is as 4th or 5th string option in our squad.

    Arsenal do need to invest in a top class CB in summer and hope that Saliba is
    as good as some are forecasting when his loan at St Etienne ends.

    The club needs in my view at least one top notch first string CB.

  63. Wasi


    Im sure we’ll get at least one body in this window. Most probably a CB (Mari).
    And then look for short term loans .
    We’ve again been linked to James Rodriguez.
    If we can get a 6 month loan It may be worth the punt. We are not creating enough and he could help in that regard + add goals too. Will need to settle into life in the Prem fast tho which is not an easy task.

  64. China1

    Tap ins are absolutely a skill

    We all want more than just tap ins but if you get a very decent tap in merchant for pennies through the academy that’s nothing to be scoffed at as an addition to our squad

    Laca isn’t scoring many goals, getting many assists and his passing is poor. Add to that his wages and is frankly rather have Nketiah if he can manage a goal every 3 or so games

    We’d be no worse for it if he can

  65. Leedsgunner

    Anyone we can bring up from the U23s at the moment as CB cover? Or are they too raw ? Remember this is how Bellerin made his first steps into the senior squad!

  66. Marc

    Funny how many on here will give Xhaka a second chance because he’s “improved” under better coaching but won’t give the same chance to Holding who’s had what used to be a career ending injury.

  67. Marc


    I’ll bet you a cold beer on a sunny day that if – hopefully when – we bring in a CB this window it won’t be Mari after what’s gone on?

  68. Wasi


    Definitely agree with everything you say there.
    Upamecano would be my favoured choice in the summer. With 1 year left on his contract dont think Leipzig will play a very hardball. (Tho they did do the same thing last summer with Werner and then got him to sign a new deal making sure he doesn’t go for free). They could do the same with Upa but I think 40-45 mil should be enough to get him in the summer. Another obstacle will be the no. of top clubs also circling for his signature.
    Will Arteta be able to sell the dream to him. Lets see.
    Anyways a top class CB has to a priority in the summer

    Which reputable source has said the deal has fallen through.

    Arsenal’s top insider Orny just said in today’s pod that it was pre-planned to send Mari back. Surely theres no better source for Arsenal news than Orny, Right?
    Or do you believe in the Daily Mail more.

  69. China1

    I’m not sure that I believe ornstein is especially reliable even if he’s a bit less unreliable than the others

    Since wenger left I’m not sure he’s been right any more than he’s been wrong. Seems he was embedded as part of the way we used to run things but I’m not sure he’s still getting first dibs on info

  70. Dissenter

    You do realize that Pablo Mari is a Spaniard who has only been in Flamengo for about 8 months.
    All that stuff about returning to Brazil for family and whatever is hogwash.
    He went back because the deal is tethering on collapse, that’s nit so hard, is it?.

  71. Romford Pele

    “Since wenger left I’m not sure he’s been right any more than he’s been wrong. Seems he was embedded as part of the way we used to run things but I’m not sure he’s still getting first dibs on info”

    Agreed. Defo not the same Ornstein. Just a couple weeks ago he said we were close to getting Kurzawa who’s now going to Juve.

  72. Wasi

    Funny how many on here will give Xhaka a second chance because he’s “improved” under better coaching but won’t give the same chance to Holding who’s had what used to be a career ending injury.

    Never said Holding deserves a second chance. Just stating I haven’t really seen much from to beleive he can be a world class CB.
    How would I see him if he’s never really Played consistently ever?

    His best spell was the 7 or 8 game run under Emery if im right. That too in his honeymoon period. Other than that , the FA cup final.

    What qualities do you think he has , that makes you think he can really be that good?

  73. China1

    I tend to agree Marc

    This sounds like damage limitation pretending that we didn’t just make a pigs ears of a signing and embarrass ourselves

  74. China1

    I could very well be wrong but I feel thisbis a case of arsenal completely arsing up this transfer and they’ve come out looking very messy, so someone senior has said throw old ornstein a bone that we did it on purpose as people trust him

  75. Wasi

    “Since wenger left I’m not sure he’s been right any more than he’s been wrong. Seems he was embedded as part of the way we used to run things but I’m not sure he’s still getting first dibs on info”

    True. Maybe the staff clear out that happened also led to Orny’s insider being moved on.
    Even still He’s the most reliable of all the other Journos.

    I think 8 months is more than enough to get settled somewhere. Given his achievements in Brazil he may have even got a permanent residence, who knows. Im sure he never thought a European team would be coming in for him so quickly.

    + Its a different continent. Ofc he’s got a lot to sort before he starts his life somewhere else.

    From reading the press and such and doing some calculations in my head I think the CB we are going to get this month is going to be Pablo Mari

  76. China1

    The kicker with the Mari deal was edu making the effort to get him. Completely unnecessary surely if you think the transfer is still so up in the air

  77. Leedsgunner

    If we sell the likes of Luiz, Sokratis Mhkitaryan, Elneny, Mavropanos and Mustafi for say a combined £60m and plough that money straight back into buying a top young central defender or two it will be a good summer.

    If we bring in another top young midfielder to take the load off Torreira, it will be an excellent summer.

  78. Valentin

    Was definitely against Barcelona.
    Think it was first leg when we were completely outclassed and still ended up with an undeserved draw.
    Was it the same year when RvP was sent off on the return leg?

  79. Micheal

    A word in favour of Bellerin. Very good to see him getting back to his best after such a long lay-off. His pace and over-lapping are very important to us and we now have two RBs available.

  80. Valentin


    We can’t sell Luiz, Sokratis, Mustafi and Mavrapanos without at least bringing two central defenders even taking into account Saliba’s arrival.
    Otherwise we run the risk of running our CBs to the ground. None of our academy CBs are of the level required to act as deputy.

  81. Wasi

    This summer should be more of a clear out of deadwood and getting 2 or 3 quality players with 1 or 2 for the future

    Assuming we come out as sore losers in every sale we make we should still be getting the following amounts from these player sales at LEAST.


    Thats 40 Mil from 4 players who are probably never going to be good enough for us or past it.
    Add to that 10-20mil and a World class young CB can be fetched.

    Try to get a too quality young Central midfielder as the second priority signing.

    One or two loan deals and one or two signings for the future like Guen and Gabi. Yan couto maybe?

  82. Nelson

    I would suggest Eddie to model his game a la Sergio Agüero. Eddie is a mobile attacker. He is fast enough to challenge any 50/50 balls. If he could develop more chemistry with Willock and Martinelli, his overall game will be more effective.

  83. Romford Pele

    “I would suggest Eddie to model his game a la Sergio Agüero. Eddie is a mobile attacker. He is fast enough to challenge any 50/50 balls. If he could develop more chemistry with Willock and Martinelli, his overall game will be more effective.”

    Do you know what Aguero was doing at Nketiah’s age? Aguero was always destined for greater. Turned into more of a poacher these latter years but before that he was a complete attacker. Beating people for fun and scoring all sorts of goals. Nketiah doesn’t have that level of talent. Sorry.

  84. Guns of Brixton

    Eddie as much as love him is like Akpom in that yes their was talent, but not enough to hit top levels.

    Hope we can get a fair price for him.

  85. Vintage Gun

    “I’m confused. How many CBs do people think we should have?”

    I’d say four solid options and one cover option.
    The cover option should be a U23 player (we have none at the moment) or a flexible utility player in my opinion

    Any more can lead to an overkill as CB’s tend to get rotated less

  86. China1

    Imo you need 4 dedicated senior CBs. Two first choice, third choice should be almost as good. 4th choice can just be a solid backup. Plus have a youth/utility option as an emergency backup 5th choice should be enough for any normal season

    Next season I’m going to guess we’ll have luiz saliba sok holding and chambers with no major new signings and mustafi being sold

    I have a feeling arteta is going to dedicate himself to backing these players and coaching more out of them. Whether or not that is a smart move.

    If saliba is up to much then at least a luiz saliba first choice pairing could be something and I think all the other options as backups are okay if we don’t manage to get a beast CB in.

    If we only have the funds for one top player I’d hit CM.

  87. Romford Pele

    “Any more can lead to an overkill as CB’s tend to get rotated less”

    This is the main point. CB and ST are the positions you ideally want rotated the least for continuity and to get consistency going.

    Most teams don’t have more than 4 CBs. Why some fans want us to have like 6/7 CBs is beyond me. It’s a squad of 25 and we don’t play 3 at the back.

  88. Batistuta


    That’s the word with Nketiah, “Talent”… You immediately see it at a much younger age… Auba has been banging goals for fun his whole life, the 3rd goal against spurs last season, can’t see Nketiah scoring those types or the one at Valencia in the Europa, yea he scores a lot of tap ins but he’s more than that with his movement which gets him in those positions, can’t see it with Nketiah…

  89. China1

    I think arteta has done pretty well out of all the defense so far

    Luiz is looking much better and Sokratis has been mostly solid and reliable. Obviously that’s partly because of better setup in midfield ahead of them but I do think generally our defense doesn’t look like trash anymore unlike previously.

    If saliba does anything major then we won’t really have a bad defense on paper even without other major signings. We’ll see if that’s the case after saliba arrives tho

  90. Romford Pele

    Batistuta – his movement is very good which is why he finds himself in a lot of good goalscoring positions. He has decent pace and is a good finisher. But even comparing him to Martinelli who is two years younger doesn’t paint him well. Martinelli has the same movement but is much more aggressive both on and off the ball, taller, faster and has that air of unpredictability about him.

    His emergence has pretty much left a lot to be desired about Nketiah. We could sell him and get a decent fee as he’s a good finisher. Heck, Bournemouth bought Solanke for £20m and he can’t hit a barn door.

  91. Luisjo

    Obviously I’m loving Arteta, as a Spaniard, I liked him as a player, loving him as a coach but I’ve found one flaw. He continues with Lacazette up front even though the entire world can see he’s slow, weak and boasts zero stamina. I’d prefer Eddie or do what both Freddie and Emery did — Drop him. Lacazette is not even good enough for Luton and he starts every game despite 0 goals

  92. Marc

    How many CB’s should we have?

    That depends on whether we’re going to keep up the number of serious injuries we keep getting. Two CB’s with ACL’s and one RB all with ACL’s in just over 12 months is crazy. Were we just unlucky or was there something more to it?

  93. DUIFG

    5cbs in my opinion. It looks massively excessive but last 10 yes apart from short bursts we seem to perennially have multiple cbs down at any one time.

    Chambers is good in that he can do rb as well if required.

    Let’s not forget we got away with it for a while using Montreal as a cb. 4 bare minimum cbs for me

  94. Marc

    One of the other things with the number of CB’s is to have 4 or so dedicated players in that position, you can then have a utility player who can cover several positions competently.

  95. DUIFG

    It’s good housekeeping for me, you out a tidy squad together and then get shafted playing amn as a cb in a big game say. All that effort to get done on something so simple.

  96. DUIFG

    A lot of these partnerships of cbs has Luiz as the primary cb with saliba, I like Luiz on recent form but a 33 Yr old as your number 1 could be punchy. If we got upa happy to massively clear out our cbs and have saliba upa Luiz Chambers maybe holding as a pure rainy day reserve

  97. China1

    When auba was 18 he scored 10 goals on loan in France, when he was 19 he scored 6 and when he was 20 he scored 2. When he was 21 he scored only 4.

    It’s safe to say that outside of that explosive first season in France, auba was not especially prolific in senior football until his early 20s

    Eddie has 6 goals so far this season I think. 10 looks like a challenging but attainable target for him which at 20 years old would be much better than auba managed in his like for like season

    Not saying Eddie is going to go on and do big things for us or anyone else tbh, just that people judge too quickly imo

  98. China1

    I’m still in the minority who think that Nelson is also being written off far too soon

    I’m hopeful he and Eddie will in the least be useful squad players costing us pennies on the dollar compared to what we’d have to pay in the market. If they can be that I’ll be more than happy. Not everyone needs to be elite world class monsters. We need some decent squad players and we need to save our money for the signings that will help us really kick on. Players like martinelli Nelson saka and guendouzi are these players for me who at least can contribute and at best will be very important players

    Eddie I don’t know but I won’t rule hi m out yet

  99. Chris

    I am keen to see Balogun get some first team minutes when he is ready as he is highly thought of.

    Nketiah may not end up winning the Ballon’dor but who is to say he could not make up part of our first team squad for years to come as a goal getter off the bench and an able deputy when needed, such as Origi at Liverpool. Players willing to stay who are of a good quality who don’t play every week are not easy to come by.

    It would be great to see Martinelli, Nketiah and Balogun,if he is what people are predicting him to be, be part of our strike force for the years ahead, it would certainly save us splashing out on strikers and using that cash elsewhere.

  100. Nelson

    I read that Matviyenko, 23, can also play the DM position. He is a better footballer than Mari. Also we need someone to back up Torr. He is a better choice, IMO.

  101. Wasi

    Not saying Eddie is going to go on and do big things for us or anyone else tbh, just that people judge too quickly imo

    I’m still in the minority who think that Nelson is also being written off far too soon

    Very Very Accurate China1