Players return

by .

Well happy Friday to you ALL.

Not a lot in the news today. A couple of journos saying Arsenal are interested in Thomas Partey, but the club doesn’t have the cash at the minute. SHOCKER. It’s exactly the same issue standing between me and Mercedes-Benz SL ‘Pagoda’ and a house in Saint Tropez.

Think that’ll be the theme around Europe this summer. Which is why I find it weird we’re also being linked with Tagliafico for £20m. I think even those numbers are excessive for the moment.

That we’re being linked with a left-back is odd just in general, unless the club is sure that Tierney is going to be a problem in the long term. He’s quite young to be written off as a crock, but we have been here before with plenty of players. Still don’t understand why we’d look for an expensive left-back if we have Saka. Martinelli makes the most sense on the left of midfield next year and if Saka is a top 3 left-back in the Premier League, it’d be odd to remove him. Do what you’re good at, not what you’d like to be good at (AMN rings a bell here).

Training appears to have started at most clubs, Kante is the latest to refuse to train, with Deeney as yesterday’s big name to say NO. I wonder what the deal is at Arsenal? Any dropouts? Mesut, Xhaka and a couple of the others have young kids and seem to spend a lot of time with family. Be interesting to see how this shapes over the next few weeks.

I’m also very excited to see how we come back. Arteta took over a burning heap of shit, now he’s had two months of ZOOM lessons with the players, now he’ll basically have 4 weeks of intensive preseason like Emery did when he first joined. Can he get an improved response?

*prays to god*

He’ll have all the component parts he lacked at the start. All his defenders will be back in the mixer, which will give him the power and pace he needs from wide positions and also the recovery pace we’ve lacked at times. He’ll technically have ‘first half of the season’ Mesut Ozil, which usually does a lot better. We’ll also have drilled youngsters. They’ll all be a little bit smarter, more confident, and hopefully, fitter.

We’re moving from a ‘plug the holes’ strategy to a more attack minded approach. Well, I hope we are. Being hard to beat is wonderful. Keeping clean sheets is a delight. However, I think the team is better than that. I’d like to see a bit more boldness to our game. We need to move the ball faster, our combination play needs to be less clunky, we need more goals. There needs to be a bit more imagination out on the pitch.

These final 10 games are important, but I don’t think we need to grind them out. We have a fully fit squad to choose from, I hope we can be more aggressive about how we approach the final games.

It’ll still be very tough to make the top 4, but not impossible. Everyone has had time with their players, all the names are returning, and some of the teams that were struggling will have long forgotten their stuttering form.

Arsenal needs to hit the ground running. Win 7 out of 10 games and we’ll be in a good position to make something happen with Europe.

What would YOU like to see for the run-in?

207 Responses to “Players return”

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  1. WengerEagle


    Sharing goals throughout the team is always the best approach, agreed.

    Even in the glory years we were far too reliant on Thierry’s goals. Thankfully the man was made of iron and rarely if ever got injured besides his last season and even then you do wonder how many of those missed games he could have played in as he’d mentally checked out the summer we lost the CL Final.

  2. Bob N16

    ES, the main reason for ‘off loading him’ is not because he isn’t an outstanding goalscorer but that he’s got one year left on his contract.

    We know that our transfer budget is an issue so there has to be a strong argument for selling. If you argue that we won’t get that much for him in the present climate then the counter argument is that transfer fees for incoming players will also be reduced.

    If the management can offload a sufficient number of players to generate enough funds, as well as considerably reducing our wage bill then great, we can enjoy PEA’s last season as our principle goalscorer and wave him off into the sunset for nothing next June.

    The board have screwed up again allowing a top player to run down his contract. When will they learn?

  3. Marc


    The counter argument is you sell Auba for £25 million (for example) and finish 5th but what if keeping him for a season means we get CL football and then lose him on a free? We’ve lost a £25 million sale but earnt an extra £50 million in revenue, it’s also easier to recruit better players on lower wages with the attraction of CL football so we’re actually millions better off.

  4. izzo

    @Marc just sell players to make up the fee. We have a lot of players that need to go. The squad needs to be trimmed down.

  5. izzo

    We have a lack of quality in midfield and GOALS and Kai brings that at 20 years old. That’s our Ozil replacement.
    Pedro has harped on about bringing in elite young talent well they won’t be cheap but if they’re worth it go the extra mile and get them. If we can manage getting two or three and get rid of the wasters we will be better off moving forward into the future.

  6. izzo

    All players have to take pay cuts with covid still a thing so saying they can’t be moved because of their current salaries makes no sense. There are clubs out there for every player. Now is the time for those in charge of transfers at the club to do what they’re fucking paid for.

  7. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Let get this straight

    This Kai lad
    Ain’t .. is not .. will never be an arsenal player
    Ipso facto.

  8. Up 4 grabs now

    Keep Auba and Laca.

    Play 442 with pepe and saka on the wings.
    All you then need to do is buy a mobile midfielder to replace Mr concrete boots.
    If you have wingers you don’t need full backs bombing on leaving only two in defence when caught on the break.

    You actually play with a back four.

    Your welcome.

  9. Bob N16

    Marc, I get that CL qualification is vitally important and PEA would obviously be a major contributor to a top 4 finish if he were to stay. By selling him it could potentially allow us to significantly improve our CM which might make CL equally likely. However I’m unaware of a parallel universe to check both options out!

    I’m just sick of seeing a top player going on a free so I would take my chances and sell, particularly given our young, quality players coming through. If the club choose not sell PEA and we qualify for the CL with him next season, great but of course there is no guarantee of that!

  10. Bob N16

    Up4grabs, who are your two CM players in that 4-4-2 line up because there going to have be serious box-to-box players?

  11. izzo

    John Jules??? Balogun is the only striker that can make the step up to the first team. Sorry to diappoint Nketiah fans but the lad is not it. Does’t have the aggression or overall attributes to lead the line and those tap ins don’t make him worth it. Watch Martinelli and then watch Nketiah and decide who you’d rather keep. Seen enough of him and I don’t get the constant inclusion of him in our strike force.

  12. Trask

    No matter how good Auba is, you don’t let him run down his contract if you can regain some sort of meaningful value for him

    Keeping him to get a champions league spot is not a given either. It wasn’t last season and sure doesnt look likely this season.

    So if the club misses out on champions league football again next season, it then also misses out on 35ish million quid. In these times?

    Sell and we end up close to relegation waters eh? Well what’s the difference between that and the current midtable mediocrity.

    I’m looking at Raul closely during these times. Waiting to see if all that talk of contract extension was all hogwash

  13. Up 4 grabs now

    Just cause he can’t get into Dortmund side which is better than us, doesn’t mean he’s finished.
    Still better than anything we have mate, and on a free at 27.

    If money is tight might not be a bad punt?

  14. Marc


    As I’ve now said repeatedly I don’t have an issue with selling Auba but we’d have to replace him. In the current climate I don’t see how we get enough money to replace him and then have excess cash to spend on CM.

  15. izzo

    Lol Ozil has a year left he can sit on the bench all season and take his 18 million and fuck off for all i care. I’m just relieved its a year left and the unthinkable like giving him an extended contract isn’t happening.

  16. Up 4 grabs now


    That’s why you need to save all your money for midfielders.
    Even if you had two high energy players who aren’t the most creative but can find a forward pass, we can get by.

    Either that or its defensive midfielder and a box to box midfielder, ala petit and Vieira or gilberto and Vieira.

  17. Trask

    No need to dream, even think of Havertz.

    No sort of permutation is bringing him to AFC

    Aint happening

    Wanna get a similarish midfielder? – Szoboszlai

    The club should be able to get him for cheap considering the ridiculously low amount Halland went for

  18. izzo

    I do wonder about Kai though. He’s captain at a Leverkusen at such a young age. Yeah think he won’t be moving for at least 5 years or more.

  19. Bob N16

    Marc ‘in the current climate’ works both ways. If we get less for PEA, we’ll have to pay less for our incoming targets.

    Up4grabs, I see your thinking but at a time when our CM is clearly inadequate, to play essentially four attacking players would require two very efficient, mobile CMs. If we can acquire two, great but we’d have to sell Xhaka as he wouldn’t be right for the role as well as Torreira doesn’t have the legs, Guendouzi and Willock are very much ‘works in progress’, Ozil couldn’t play there and Ceballos is on his way!

  20. Up 4 grabs now


    Our midfield isn’t really fit for purpose.
    I like guendouuzi with a quality midfielder along side him I think he’d be fine. We just don’t have any!

    Why they didn’t accept the 20 odd million for xhaka in January is the biggest mystery off all time.

    He is fit for nothing.

  21. Marc


    We’re selling a 31 year old on £200k per week with a year left on his contract- to achieve the equivalent drop on purchases we’ll have to look at players other teams are looking to unload or unknowns.

    This really isn’t as simple as people are making out. Sell him – all you’ve got to do is manage to buy a striker who’ll get a minimum of 15 PL goals and have cash leftover to buy a CM.

  22. Marc

    “Why they didn’t accept the 20 odd million for xhaka in January is the biggest mystery off all time.”

    Please don’t remind me.

  23. Up 4 grabs now


    We really miss santi. Just a feeling about goetze but think he could do well for us.

    Think he’d like to try the premier league and wouldn’t want stupid money.
    If we can pay xhaka or mustafi 100k a week Goetze wouldn’t turn that down.
    Somebody solid alongside him would work a treat.

  24. Up 4 grabs now

    The other thing about a 442
    Is that if you have mobile midfielders and full backs that aren’t half way up the field out of position, you don’t need a defensive midfielder as such, as you have 4 players back actually defending.

  25. Bob N16

    Up4, I can’t remember which game it was last season but I left the ground thinking Guendouzi should be made captain there and then. That being said, I’m still uncertain if he is going to make it. He seems one paced, too often wants to receive the ball too close to the player in possession and gets caught with the ball too regularly. Opposition coaches must enjoy highlighting this last failing in particular.

    Coaching should help his progress but I think we need midfielders who are top physical specimens, dynamic as well as technically good.

  26. Marc


    No it’s not £71 million in the bank – it’s a reduction in costs of actually £28 odd million and £45 million in the bank.

    If I don’t renew my season ticket that doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly got an extra £1500 in the bank – it just means I’m not spending money that I expected to.

  27. Marc


    One of the things we miss is leadership, a player like Guendozi needs a player alongside to help guide him and when necessary give him a kick up the arse during play.

  28. Thorough

    We all thought Pepe was beyond our reach last year too. See how that turned out? To move this team forward we need to buy players that even if they’re the only singular player we sign in that summer, it would have been worth it. If we have any ambition we would at least try for Kai.

  29. Thorough

    Bob N16.
    That has to be Aston Villa. He took the match by the scruff and singlehandedly drive the team forward.

  30. Bob N16

    Marc, agree that Guendouzi would benefit from the right partner in midfield. Too early to say but I get the impression he is a very confident 20 year old and it would need a strong player alongside him to make him listen.

  31. Bob N16

    Unai, as has been said many times, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of Ozil walking away from AFC without being paid a sizeable chunk of his final year’s contract. That’s not to say AFC couldn’t save themselves a good chunk of change though by going down this unlikely route.

    We would obviously have to sell PEA first otherwise his agent might want to get a similar deal to Ozil which would not be great!

  32. Marc


    Whoa I never said we won’t make CL for next season – it won’t be easy but there’s 30 points available.

    The big questions are which teams will come back motivated and how much difference will empty stadiums have?

    The first round of matches in Germany showed a statistical swing reducing home advantage – we’ve got 4 home matches and 6 away.

    We get CL football for next season and it’s a different conversation.

  33. Valentin

    If PSG were so inclined, I would take Draxler + £25 millions vs Aubameyang.
    Straight away we solve two problems. We have a player who can play LW (sharing the position with Saka) and Martinelli can get time as striker.
    The £25 millions can then be used to get an upgrade on Xhaka.

  34. Marc


    Strangely the most amazing stat from the first round of matches in Germany is the huge effect 1 dimensional players had!

  35. Valentin

    I would say that any team that does not risk relegation and does not think it can get Europe is not going to be motivated.
    Some may even not be motivated to get into Europe.
    If our players are really motivated we may even make Champion’s League football. However I doubt that Champion’s League football could start until December.
    Usually European pre qualifier starts in August, but this time with leagues not yet completed, Every would be postponed by a few months.

    it may even be postponed to next calendar year if some European governments don’t want fans travelling in group right at the start of flu season.

  36. Guns of SF

    Why are we so determined to look in Europe all the time? Surely there are gems out there in other countries and continents

    South America

    If we are going the cheap youth route since we are broke, then why not explore these areas??? Gaby has friends and Edu has the hook up in Brazil.

    Let us not close the door on anything. Keep and open mind.

  37. Northbanker

    I do wonder in all of the forward Line-ups we’re discussing whether Pepe is really a right winger. He is so predictable there being so one (left) footed Which men’s that defenders know he’s going to cut inside. So maybe he would be better at LW but I’d also like to see what he would be like at CF. It’s a role i think he could be devastating in.

  38. Thorough

    100% agree.
    I watched Martinez at under 21,he was heads and shoulders above others.
    Osimhen and Chukwueze played for Nigerian under 17 that won the world cup, and they’re tearing up Europe now.
    I watched the last under 17 and by far the best teams are the Brazilians and the French teams. I’ll practically take anyone of their top 15,the teams were that good.
    Seems Man city got Jan Couto from the Brazilian team already but there were so many ballers on display.
    We need to look far and wide. It’s a must.

  39. Guns of SF

    I dont think Pepe will ever make it as a CF
    His size, and his complete lack of a right foot would be horrible.
    if anything, try him as a 10… but even then, the same issues result.
    Dude is stuck as winger until he learns to use his right to cross, , pass and shoot with

  40. Bob N16

    Graham, I think the unique circumstances add a certain interest to the last 10 games but to be honest Arsenal playing under any circumstances will always have my full attention. The players, despite not playing with a crowd, will know that they are being watched by millions on the TV and have their professional reputation to play for, as well as for their teammates.

    In a strange way, it may take the players back to their formative years where they were playing football without an audience and playing with full commitment and passion.

    You don’t have to watch Graham if you think it’s going to be underwhelming, bet you will though!

  41. Dissenter

    What’s with this wild praise of Arteta?
    ‘ Don’t be so pessimistic
    Emery is gone. The last 10 games of this season are going to be really enthralling’

    Arteta couldn’t even manage a simple last 32 tie against Olympiakos.
    He still has a lot to prove.