Youth to play a role

by .


I can’t wait. Mikel Artea doing a Zoom prezzer is life right now. Having things to talk about. It might be a brutal restart to the season, but at least we’ll have things to talk about outside covid-19 analytics.

The manager is as upbeat as he can be about the game. He knows Manchester City at full fitness is going to be a hugely difficult challenge to mount. I think all he’ll be looking for is a mature performance that has positivity at its core. If this were Unai Emery, we’d be lining up with 8 at the back. I think we’ll be more attacking in our approach, but we’ll still have to be very careful… City are destroyers, so we can’t go full-on Arsene Wenger.

There was some chat in the prezzer about how United beat City in December.

I think every team is completely different, every game is different. We play away from home, United were playing at home. It was a very competitive game, a good game as well to watch on the tactical side. At the end, the boxes decided the game again, you know.

For reference, United used pace and width to get at City’s backline. Their wingers hugged the touchline when they countered. This freed up space they took advantage of. They still needed a lot of luck to take the win, but it was certainly one of United’s better performances under Ole G.

I’m not quite sure we have the players to deliver that sort of power and pace performance, though I could be persuaded. A front three that mixed and matched Saka, Martinelli, Auba, Pepe and Nelson could be problematic. It has the raw ingredients, but maybe not the finesse that comes with age.

One thing is for sure, we do need to be at our best.

I think we have to be at our best, for sure. If we have any chance to win the game at the Etihad against those players, we have to be at our best. We are in two different processes and levels at the moment. We have to try and match that both individually and collectively, we have to be at our best.

We had a great game against United at home, we turned up against Chelsea and we were unlucky, so there’s no reason we can’t have a good game against City. I’m just a little bit skittish after the Brentford game. Part of me is hoping it was a bit of complacency, the other part worries that it was complacency. We need a big game, total focus, no silly mistakes within 5 mins.

The manager still seems keen to keep Auba at the club and hopes Arsenal can prove they are the correct next step.

I think it is our responsibility to make him feel this is the right next step in his career. In order to do that, he needs to feel valued, he needs to feel he belongs to us and we want him, and then he really needs to believe that we can take the club forward in the way we want to do, and he is going to be a key player to do that. At the moment I am extremely happy with how he has been performing and behaving, I have a really good relationship with him where we can discuss face to face a lot of things. As far as I am aware, he is very happy at the club.

I’m a touch sceptical about whether we’ll sign him on for another deal. Hard to ask players to take a pay cut with one hand and dish out £300k a week deals on the other. Part of me wonders if we’re just going to take another hit and lose him on a free transfer next season. There’s going to be so little value in selling him in a market as deflated as the one we’re in right now. If Werner is fetching £50m as the hottest striker in Germany, I struggle to see how we get any more than £20m for a player that is 31 in the final year of his deal. I’d also imagine Raul is looking at the risk/reward if he stays next year and takes us to the Champions League.

Second most important deal is Saka.

The club is doing what it has to do. We’re holding a conversation and hopefully, we’ll get a result.

Absolutely praying we get that one over the line. He’ll have a lot of value in the market right now and every club is going to want a piece of him.

Back to the game. Arteta spoke glowingly of Eddie.

An important part of our squad, we had to make a very important decision not to let him go out on loan again after the spell he had at Leeds. I watched him train and I am convinced that he is the right player for us, to move us to the next level and that he can contribute in a big way to the way we want to play. He has been fantastic so far.

Arsenal fans can see there is something there. He’s strong, has a great eye for goal, and his confidence grows in every game. Hopefully, he can bring that into the final games of the season. It’s also apparent the manager is going to give some of the other kids a chance to show they are worthy of more consideration.

I think it will happen, for example in our case we have five games in 15 days, that’s a game every three days. We don’t know how the players are going to respond physically because we have had a really short preparation time. We have to use them, we have some really talented young boys that are asking for chances. I’m sure at other clubs the situation will be the same and I think at some stage we will be forced to use some of them with the amount of games that we are going to be playing in that space of time.

I think we’ll meet some new names as part of that batch. I hear the club is VERY excited about some of the kids that haven’t been given run outs yet, so hopefully we’ll be adding to our already impressive collection of teenagers.

We’re nearly there. Normality is returning. Exciting times. Let’s chat, in the comments, right now. x


57 Responses to “Youth to play a role”

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  1. Gommit

    It’s been a while since I last had a chance of 1st or 4th.. I would have lost it if I had added another letter to the “4” I just managed to write.

    It will be so good to get some real football back. Can’t say that I have managed to watch a single minute of the games in the leagues that have already started. But I can’t wait for the Wednesday’s game…

  2. Upstate Gooner

    I think we have to keep Auba … with him we’ll have a much better chance of qualifying for Champions League next year, and the amount of money that will bring is going to outweigh losing him either for free next summer or for very little this transfer window.

  3. Wasi

    Where did you get the United comments from?
    I read the transcript on Arsenal dot com but didnt find the United comments. The rest were identical.

    Anyways good read. Pretty sure Mikel chooses to go with Laca over Nketiah for Man city.
    Nketiah has the foundation blocks for becoming a good 20 goal poacher maybe even a world class striker but right now he lacks the X-factor.
    He will score tap ins and close range finishes against smaller teams but I dont really know if he can hold his own against the likes of Laporte and Walker and Rodri. Laca in turn is a big game player. When in form he has shown that he can score all kinds of goals, create goals from nothing and just be a menace to the opposition backline. If Mikel can bring the best Laca out for the final stretch of games , it’ll be extremely helpful for the CL push.

    What I found really positive about Arteta this lockdown is that he kept the belief among the players that CL is still possible.
    Had Emery still been in charge players would have sang in the lines of — ‘we will take a game at a time bla bla bla’
    With Arteta – the Players in their interview have not shied away from saying that they will push for CL.

  4. Dissenter

    For 2.5 seasons, Auba has not been enough to get us to the CL
    Why will next season be any different?

    Are we going to get a proper AM that’s not a relic of a past era
    Are we going to get central midfielders that can move the ball and control the pace of games?

  5. Sid

    Play 2 strikers, clog the middle, cut off their deepest lying midfielder is the only tactic that gives us a chance
    If we try playing a lone striker and Xhakalson covering left cb then leave one midfielder shielding our CBs we will have 0 chance

  6. Chris

    I am very positive about our short to mid term future under Arteta, but I still think we will do extremely well to get even a point against City.

    I hope to be pleasantly suprised!

  7. Jamie

    Thoughts on who starts vs City?

    Our CBs and central midfield still give me the willies. I’d take a draw all day long, but on any given Sunday [Wednesday]..

  8. Jamie

    Un –

    I’d say that’s probably it. Enough quality to score a few, enough brainfart potential to concede 4.

    No idea how it’ll go, but thank fuck football is back, am I right?

  9. Sid

    Norwich beat man c sitting deep and narrow,
    They closed down Rodri and stopped him picking creative passes,
    Man c are most dangerous through the middle.

    Man united used left side of man c defence, specifically the channel between centre-back and left-back. Formation 3412, They didnt go wide

  10. Marc

    “For 2.5 seasons, Auba has not been enough to get us to the CL”

    Yeah I mean the fucker only winning the golden boot last season – he should have single handedly got us in the CL.

    FFS – outside of the missed penalty last season Auba did more than his fair share. It was other players and areas that let us down.

  11. Marc

    For City I’d go 4-3-3.

    Midfield made up of Ceballos, Torreira and one of Guendozi / Willock probably Guendozi with a front 3 of Saka and Pepe wide with Auba through the middle.

    Hit them on the break with pace and keep it tight in CM and defence. Pepe scared the shit out of VVD in that Liverpool match – he just needs Arteta to instill the confidence and tell him get the ball and run at them.

  12. Jamie

    Marc –

    Agree about Pepe. He’s so unpredictable and hopefully just needs some confidence to finish off some of his tricky runs.

  13. Marc

    Leno – first choice so no issue there
    Bellerin – same as
    Mustafi – argh we’re all going to die
    Luiz – senior CB no issue
    Tierney – can’t wait to see him
    Xakha – is it possible to die more than once?
    Torriera/ozil – Torreira OK wrong match for Ozil
    Ceballos – yes
    Pepe – oh yes
    Aubameyang – through he middle please
    Lacazette/Nketiah – nah get Saka wide

  14. Marc


    I mean the bookies will be over run with who’ll fuck up first bets – Xhaka or Mustafi.

    It’ll then turn into a major court case that drags on for years after the bookies try not to pay up because Xhaka and Mustafi manage to take each other out leading to both a goal and a penalty in the same incident – yes it’s technically impossible but that’s how bad they are.

  15. Marc

    “I waste so many hours trying to stick with shows that just don’t engage me”

    Didn’t have that problem with Pornhub though did you?

    On a serious note I assume you’ve done the Sopranos?

  16. Jamie

    Un –

    It’s pretty short – 6 episodes per season, 2 seasons, 30 min episodes. You’ll know within the first episode whether it’s something you can get into. But I hear you, it isn’t easy finding the time to binge TV.

    Marc –

    Anyone who hasn’t seen the Sopranos deserves to sleep with the fishes. Hands down the best show ever made. Pretty pumped for the prequel.

  17. jwl

    Saka is guaranteed game time with Arsenal but if he moves he could fall through cracks because new team not as committed to him as we will be. Saka should sign four year contract, develop his game, and he can move in a few years if we still not performing very well like past five years.

  18. Guns of SF

    I agree with Ceballos/ Willock in our midfield.
    Both of them are atheltic enough to cope with the press- heck Willock most games finds himself in great scoring position but always seems to take a shit with his shooting.

    I see Ozil is off some folks lists…. do you all really think Arteta does not start him?

    As for Mustafi, I am for it. He has improved recently and TBH is our most athletic CB. He is uber cautious now, always clearing or releasing the ball right away.

    With Sterling and DeBruyne it is going to be real test. Aguero too.

    Im glad we are playing them… at full strength. I want to see what Mr Arteta has in mind.

  19. Marc

    We start this match with Xhaka and Mustafi down the spine we’ll concede a minimum of 3 more likely 4.

    When are people going to realise how bad the 4 of them are?

    That’s right they’re so bad they both have to be counted twice.

  20. Marc


    As a prequel it’s not messing too much with the original. At one time the talk was the film was going going to be about his Dad and Uncle June.

    Ultimately it’s all about the quality of the writing keep David Chase involved and it’ll be alright.

  21. Marc


    It’ll be burned into your memory as a scar you’ll never get rid of – well not without vast quantities of alcohol and a very good transfer window!

  22. Jamie

    “I’d rather they just left it alone. Don’t mess with the classics”

    I get this too. I’m cutting it some slack though because it’s not a remake and a movie rather than a series. Not the strongest argument, granted..

    Trying to reimagine the sopranos series would be sacrilege.

  23. Dissenter

    You’re as anti-Xhaka with the same intensity as Pierre being pro-Ozil. Both of you are two sides of the coin.
    I wonder what Arteta had in mind for Xhaka when he persuaded him to stay in January.

  24. CG


    “”””No Luis either”””””


    Arteta will be finished in my eyes – if he persists with Edu’s Joker, Wednesday.

    (Luis , should never play for the club again- the moment The Athletic story was published )

    The last time Luiz played in a back 4 at Manchester City, he was part of the team that let 6 goals in.

    And if I know that- MA should know that too.

    And if the much maligned OGS can chalk up 3 successive wins against Pep , surely it’s not to much for the much heralded Arteta to do something similar.

  25. Marc


    Pierre when you can get him off the subject of Ozil or Wenger is actually OK – don’t tell him I said that!

    I on the other hand am a Prophet of the Football God’s sent to guide the lost tribe of Arsenal back into the light – the light of no Xhaka.

    I’m also arranging for the fleas of a thousand camels to infest Mike Dean’s nether regions and Wayne Rooney’s next publicised “dalliance” with a prostitute to be with a 68 year old ladyboy.

    I might also hide Pedro’s oakmilk just for giggles.

  26. The Godfather

    My starting lineup against City in a 4-5-1 formation..


    Bellerin Sokratis Mari Tierney

    Pepe Ceballos. Guendo. Martinelli


    In possession, either DC or Guendo can drop deep to receive and without possession, LT becomes the deepest midfielder with two in front of him.

    I picked Martinelli ahead of Saka because he works just as hard but is also a bigger goal threat on the counter

  27. Sid

    Ozil playing the man c game will be like the time Emery assigned him Jorginho marking duty

    You heard it here 1st!

  28. Sid

    Where did Tony from Thailand go? I mis his sub blogging on gym and sound system matters, ooh and the rotary club, quality education his children have, his wifes great career….

  29. CaliGooner

    I just started watching the first season of the wire again the past week.

    If you haven’t seen it it’s one of the best shows ever. Sopranos, the wire, deadwood, Rome, hbo used to put out some amazing tv shows.

  30. DivineSherlock

    Sterling KDB and Aguero . I believe if we can frustrate KDB , use Torreria to man mark him , we can cut their attacking threat . But then there are two Silvas , one Mahrez and bunch of other players that can easily fuck us up.

  31. DivineSherlock


    Honestly I have no hope if we play Xhaka and ozil in that midfield. I am just gonna enjoy watching Arsenal after 3 months , then possibly switch off my Social media for 4 days haha.

  32. Chris

    Sometimes the contempt for Emery here comes across as hatred, which is a bit OTT.

    Yes he ended up failing here of course and I am glad we moved on (a few months too late but better later than never) but to call him a fraud and pseudo footballing intellect is a bit harsh and disrespectful. His record elsewhere speaks for itself and somewhere like Real Sociedad may be his level but he is clearly a capable and talented manager, it just didn’t work out here, the language was obviously an issue.

    Just my thoughts on that, don’t mean to start a fire.

    Anyone else got any bets in mind for Wednesdays game?

  33. CG


    “””Anyone else got any bets in mind for Wednesdays game?””””

    Buy Arsenal Goals.

    (Certain of 2 ;Optimistic of 4)

    Off course, it all depends on who Arteta selects as his defenders and If he spends the whole evening in awe of his master Pep or he is determined enough to go out there and beat him on his own patch.

    Arteta is just too timid for me- so far.

    He needs to totally blank Pep tomorrow in front of the cameras. Cause a bit of a stir.
    Not to be captivated by City and Pep.

    (Think Jose. Think Fergie.)

    Anyway If Luiz plays , All bets are off and expect City carnage.

  34. CG

    Re. Emery ( and Raul)

    His stint was so calamitous, I have no hesitation in stating the club will never recover from its previous highly respected status.

    You select pipsqeaks like the Clown as your manager , dont expect to recover for decades.

    And Raul , wanted to extend his contract!

  35. Dissenter

    ‘ If we manage not to concede 3 in the opening 20 minutes, that in itself is a victory.’

    I thought now that hope will spring eternal now that Emery is gone.
    Don’t we have the special sauce now, or shall we say junior sauce facing the real special sauce.

  36. Bob N16


    Don’t think Arteta can magically change his personnel options at CB and CM. Changing the coach doesn’t mean average/poor players in those critical positions are suddenly going to compete with City’s midfield and attack. Let’s be honest if City are on their game then Jamie has a point! With the circumstances of the game, there may be a levelling of the two teams and if our strikers are clinical then who knows?

    Nothing wrong with hope but expectation needs to have a dose of realism!