by .

Mikel Arteta was reminded of the lessons he learned in December in the comfort of a safety blanket FA Cup 3rd round against a team that’s really not that good.

The team he rolled out had a few of the problem players we thought might be useful this season. The two most notable were Willian and Pepe. We also saw Reiss Nelson given a crack, along with Joe Willock, who many had high hopes for this season.

Well, if you thought the emergence of the kids was going to spark something, you’d have been very wrong. Pepe and Willian were quite simply not at the level expected of £100k p/w+ talents. Whatever the Arteta system is, you cannot argue those two are built for it. The Ivorian looks so out of his depth, you struggle to see how he’d land minutes at Brentford. Willian doesn’t have pace, he doesn’t have a purpose, and he lacks the drive to show he can change.

Joe Willock and Big Mo just didn’t work at the base of midfield. Joe was particularly anonymous. There’s something there, he shows flashes of ingenuity with some of his passing and he has a stride, but too often it’s the lack of concentration you remember. I really, really struggle to understand what AMN has to do to land game time. The guy who marked City out of a semi and pocketed Traore can’t land time ahead of two players that have lower ceilings. It’s really odd.

The big lesson of the Newcastle game is that we’re a couple of injuries away from utter mediocrity. It was incredibly worrying to see Gabi go off in the warm-up crying. The hope is that he’s a drama queen like David Ospina, I fear that’s not the case though, based mostly on the luck Arsenal has had this season.

Saka and ESR are now the go-to players that rescue games. They have energy, they take chances, and for two young players… they are really efficient. Smith Rowe is now up to 4 assists and 2 goals this season. His finish today was fucking outrageous. It was seasoned. Confident. Decisive.

Saka landed the assist for the assist twice. His first was a looped ball that Lacazette nodded into the path of ESR. The second was finding Auba at the back post. Brilliant stuff. The second half of the season, in a position he likes, is opening up his game and he’s thriving. What a talent.

We also can’t ignore two senior players that have stepped up to the plate. Granit Xhaka changed the game when he came on. Alex Lacazette found another assist. Those two are earning their keep.

Same with Kieran Tierney. He’s been an immense signing and he popped up with another beastly performance and capped it with an assist for Auba. Talking of our captain, it’s great to see him on the score sheet. He might be out of sorts, but you can see the green shoots in his game that tell you he wants to be the main man. He’s not mentally retiring any time soon. That’s great news.

I think we can also stop talking about Emi Martinez now. Bernd Leno is just a really good goalkeeper. His triple save in the second half was decisive. He’s passing is improving, he’s punching less, and he makes decisive contributions in games when he’s not busy.

Also worth noting that Pablo Mari doesn’t look like a bum. Edu has pulled one out of the bag there. He’s calm on the ball, his passing is good and he uses his frame well. Someone compared him to Per Mertesacker the other day and I thought that was apt.

So, we’re through to the next round of the FA Cup. The biggest news we can get is that Gabriel has a minor injury. The hope is that we see Thomas Partey very soon to address the midfield drabness. A huge week ahead as we build towards Top 4 deciders at the end of the month.

Listen to my on the whistle podcast I just made with Matt. HAVE A NICE DAY.

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Mr Serge

    all the ex Chelsea players need to go asap it’s about the vibrant hard working kids and bringing in players that compliment themIt’s been a while since we have had a bunch of kids come through at onceProbably 30 plus years since Merse,big tone rocky etc

  2. Chris

    Yes hopefully we don’t have to endure any more Leno/Martinez discussions. It’s been done to death and there’s nothing that can be done to change it, and we still have an excellent goalkeeper as evidenced again this evening.

  3. Elmo

    The club’s treatment of Pepe must now solely revolve around strategies to maximise sale value: he very clearly is nowhere near the level expected at Arsenal.

    His contract expires in summer 2024. If there’s a good offer (£35m) this summer, move him on. Otherwise we will have to loan him out to France or elsewhere next season, and hope he does OK so there are offees when his contract is down to 2 years.

  4. Mr Serge

    Pedro agree about Mari solid defender no messing about keeps it tidy gotta love that
    Pepe is never gonna work out it’s been 18 months now and he is going backwards cut our losses and run with him

    Someone in France will pick him up

  5. DM

    Mari is looking a very competent defender. We’ve seen a few games with him now and he’s been consistently solid. Very good to know that we have options in that area.

    I don’t think Pepe was so bad today. Not great by any means, but he worked hard and made a nuisance of himself – I’d give him a 6.5 probably. Unfortunately for him, he’s just not on the same level as Saka.

    Willian… oh boy. Oh boy oh boy.

    “I think we can also stop talking about Emi Martinez now”

    I don’t. I don’t think I ever will lol. However good Leno is (or isn’t) doesn’t excuse the Martinez debacle. The fact that one of the most important positions we need to sign is a goalkeeper should speak volumes when we just sold an outstanding one for a measly £20m.

    But yes, Leno really saved us today, and has been playing well. And thank f**k for that, because if he doesn’t, we are screwed.

  6. Raulishuss

    Mari had a monumental performance today. Tackles – 4/4
    Dribbles – 3/3
    Interceptions – 3
    Clearances – 5
    Pass Accuracy – 94% (73/78) impressive

  7. Rich

    Arteta doesn’t fancy Pepe

    Make our loan manager earn his crust, make sure we get him to a counter attacking team in a weaker + slower league, and just pray he hits the ground running, and starts looking like a player

    Then maybe we can get at least £25-£35mill back for him.

    I was hoping he would kick on this season, and was just a late developer, but the writing looks like it’s on the wall.

    Hopefully we can then just pay Willian £12mill to f*ck off, and admit our mistake early.

  8. MD-Gunner

    That was a fucking waste of 90 minutes of boring ball kicking. When I looked at the starting 11 I said WTF Arteta were you thinking to put this team together. Right, we can see that he needs 5 substitutes to correct his shitty selection of the starting 11.
    Nelson, Willock, Willian and Pepe were terrible. When your most creative player is Mo Elneny and Luiz you are in trouble. Arteta needs 5 subs to correct his shit show of a selection.

  9. TheLegendaryDB10

    The guy [AMM] who marked City out of a semi and pocketed Traore can’t land time ahead of two players that have lower ceilings. It’s really odd.

    This reeks of vindictiveness from MA. Why else would he not play him, when we all see that AMN has something to bring, unlike Elneny or Willock??

    That’s where I agree. It is odd that he is not being played, in particular where rotation is dead critical to ensure that the team survives all the games coming our way.

  10. Words on a Blog


    Good post.

    Agree that Xhaka and Laca have stepped up their game. Laca really seems to thrive on the interplay with ESR and Saka.

    Really puzzled about Willian. No matter where he plays or what formation we play, no matter who partners him on the right or left, or who is ahead or behind him on the odd occasion when he’s been played as a number 10, he looks utter dross.

    As for your hope that Leno’s recent performances are gonna somehow kill of the Leno v. Martinez debate, good luck with that!

  11. TheLegendaryDB10

    Loan for Pepe???

    I think we need to make a cross on this player. Like Willian, he brings nothing to the team. I say sell.

    The fact that he litterally is a one trick pony, he is never going to be a success in the PL. Everyone has already sussed him out.

    He is yet again another expensive flop.

  12. Matt

    Willian is going nowhere. Just as it looks like we might finally be getting rid of one massive financial drain, we are now stuck with another. Again, the decision to give Willian that contract on its own should have had serious consequences. I don’t think Arteta has the balls to drop him long term, although I hope I’m wrong because without him and Pepe we look a much better team.

  13. Spudnik

    So here we are with 4 wins on the bounce and we are nothing short of delighted, yet, still full of doubts and concerns about players, the manager’s judgement about selection, recruitment and player management and alas, the club structure overseen by KSE.
    We have 2 wonderful break through players in Smith Rowe and Saka who are very much in the Arse tradition of the Liam Bradys, Rockys, Adams’, Mersons et al. But these guys are precious and are only a horrible injury away from Arsenal depending on the likes of Willian and Pepe.
    We also seem to have found a proper defence in Gabriel, Mari and the fucking warrior Tierney. I’m beginning to hope that these guys can continue the Arsenal tradition of ‘thou shall not pass’ of Mclintock, Keown and Adams.
    My worry is that the rotation players of Willian, the beach volley ball specialist Luiz and pepe will see any good form fall by the wayside in terms of league position. Maybe, and it’s just a maybe, we can sneak a Europa, gain Champions League and use the money to invest.
    Hey. Hope springs eternal.

  14. TheLegendaryDB10

    If MA still thinks that Willian has an ounce of senior professionalism left in him (which is why MA is still selecting him) then this clearly shows that MA has poor judgement.

    It has been said that he picks players on how they train. That’s dead easy to make yourself look like you’re doing well when training. It’s a different beast.when you are playing the actual game.

    Why doesn’t MA focus on who is making an effort during match day? It’s far more revealing who wants it and who doesn’t. He should make his decisions to pick the team on that basis. This will ensure that games are won with far less struggle like today.

  15. gunnerram

    I am really worried about Willan not performing. We do not have a player as his replacement so the right wing is going to be Saka. If the opponents find our new move out – which is cute combinations between Laca – Saka – ESR then our game is meh. We were similarly found out when KT to Auba link was broken and opponents started to push Auba wide making out attack very drab.
    Reiss Nelson might have been a good option but the more I see him play he comes to life in the first 5-10 mins and then just disappears out of the game completely.
    Pepe still created chances but for some reason if we lose Saka / ESR our attack will be a drab once more.

  16. Tom

    Based on the first half performance – that’s all I managed to see before falling asleep ( literally)- Willian owes the whole team a free, three course dinner at his restaurant.

    Apologies to the Legrove traffic marshals who complained the traffic was slow after a win on the previous thread.
    I’ll try harder not to doze off next time Arsenal put in such an exhilarating performance, and then promptly congratulate the team.

  17. midvoc

    Wilko – Willian must be the trainer of the year to keep getting picked lol

    What an absolute duffer of a player he is – and yet he was good at Chelski

    I don’t get how shit he is.

  18. midvoc

    This is Willian’s Wiki entry for Arsenal:-

    On 14 August 2020, Willian signed for Premier League club Arsenal on a three-year contract. On 12 September, Willian made his debut for the club against Fulham, recording two assists, as Arsenal won 3–0.

    The end 😉

  19. TheLegendaryDB10


    In fact I should have written it as: some players manage to con MA during training and make themselves look good.

    But when they play they do fuck all. I am thinking of Willian here.

    Sorry, I’ve made it sound like pretending to train will get you selected. Anyone who does sport professionally takes training very seriously. You can’t fake it.

  20. Rich


    Completely agree that we’re a few injuries away from falling back into the pits of hell

    Take out Saka, Tierney, Leno

    And then Partey continues to struggle with fitness….

    And what’s left, is frightening.

    The margins between getting into the pack for Europa, and falling into dangerous territory in the bottom half, are small.

  21. Nelson

    Just listened to what Arteta said about Willian:
    – He’s showing in training how much he wants it.
    – He needs to build those relationships with other players.

    It seems that Willian trains very well. The fault lies with his teammates.

  22. Montana Gooner

    It was maddening until the reinforcements were brought on, but here are my thoughts.

    1. Willian is utter shit. The failed one-two made me want to strangle him.
    2. Pepe’s first touch? Moved to another planet I guess.
    3. Huge game for Leno.
    4. Smith-Rowe. Wow. .Embarrassing for Willian to watch that. He is always looking to push up the pace and moving after he releases the ball. Well-deserved goal.
    5. Xhaka’s pass to Tierney for #2 was excellent and he nearly got one on that volley. Some times I hate him. Sometimes I love him.

    Cheers and feels good to not be so depressed all the time.

  23. Bojangles

    “Arteta still making bad selection calls and a major reason why we struggled”

    I honestly don’t get comments like these. Anyone would think we had a Citeh like squad. I would love to see ESR, Saka, Martinelli start every game but it’s not happening. Games are coming thick and fast so you need to rotate, especially young players. I doubt Arteta wanted ESR or Saka playing last night at all. The only selection I would query was Tierney. He needed to be rested, other than that I think the team selected was reasonable.

  24. Nelson


    I hope Arteta won’t try to play Auba as the lone striker again. He can’t hold up the ball. He can’t pass. The offense sucked for 105 mins until Laca came on. I thought we have already lost three games in a roll playing him as the lone striker.

    If he needs to rotate, play Auba on the left.

  25. Leedsgunner

    Pepe over Willian. If we want to sell him this summer we need to preserve his value… to preserve his value he needs to play. Who knows if he plays he might regain his mojo and confidence!

    He is a confidence player and he needs to establish a rhythm.

  26. Ernest Reed

    Jeesus F’n Christ but Pepe is an incredibly weak performer. Cant recall seeing someone so easily moved off a ball since my last dog. Loaning out Pepe requires a serious slap upside the dumbshit who signed him.

    As for Willian, you cant make up the shitshow that he’s become, just wow.

    Take today’s win be because, quite frankly, Newcastle are really that poor. Plenty to be concerned over, but really no surprise because Arteta still hasn’t a real clue whats going on.

    Just Wow!

  27. Ernest Reed

    Let’s not kid ourselves, ESR was forced upon Arteta as he insisted on played the resident stiffs, don’t kid yourself, Arteta is no genius by any stretch of common sense.

  28. Bojangles

    “Playing with the handbrake on/off.” I think we can put that meme to bed now (can’t remember who started it.) Last night showed quite dramatically that no “handbrake” exists. It comes down to personnel.

  29. Bojangles


    I agree. I never wanted Auba playing lone or central striker. He has scored the majority of goals for us from the left. Many here were claiming he was being played out of position until it was shown otherwise.

  30. Leftside

    Pepe wasn’t that bad today. He’s been very inconsistent in his time here and could benefit from a run of games. We don’t have a manager that will do it and his performances don’t merit a run of games so far we’re at a point where we may have to cut our losses.

  31. Valentin

    I am of the Arteta Our brigade, but that this time his initial selection was done in view of preserving the current performers: Lacazette, Saka, ESR. Clearly if they get injured, our season is as good as over.

    The main gripes that I have with his selection and the formations are:

    + by now Arteta should know that You can’t play Aubameyang, Pepe, Willian and expect to play the same way than previously. None of them have a good interaction with their teammates. Compare Willian attempt at 1-2 with the quick interchange between Saka, Laca and ESR. If it was not so tragic, it would be funny. Tactics should have been modified to take that into account. More quick long balls in the channel would have open them earlier.

    + That choice of tactics also affected the midfield duo. I like Willock, but playing as part of the 2 in a 4-2-3-1, is neutering his game. Willock main strength is his late run in the penalty box. As one of the two holding midfielders he was rarely able to do that. With that set of players, a 4-3-3 would have make more sense, switching Nelson for AMN.

    + talking about AMN. What has AMN done to deserved to be treated that way. I can’t recall a game this season when Cedric has not been poor or anonymous. The initial argument that he is a decent backup is proven incorrect everytimes he plays. Offensively, His floaty cross are useless when sent to our smallish, bad at heading strikers. Defensively he is tenacious and a willing defender, but he is not particularly quick nor very good in 1v1 situation.

  32. Bojangles

    Left side

    Are you prepared to drop Saka in order to give Pepe the game time required?

    I don’t see what you see in him. He’s always off balance, his thinking is slower than other players around him, when he tries to take a man on he usually stumbles over the ball and loses possession. Just don’t see a PL player there. For me, sell and accept the financial hit.

  33. Mr Serge

    What’s this news about Guendouzi coming back so we don’t lose him for free ? I thought he got a new contract last year

  34. Nelson


    What you wrote is correct. On the other hand, you want you B team to play the same system as the A team. In case you have to rotate players in the A team, players in the B team are already familiar with the system. It is Arteta’s job to make it works.

  35. Pendrey

    Pepe consistently chooses the wrong option.
    Willock gives the ball away and makes silly fouls to redress his mistake, lacks confidence.
    Reese Nelson does not look as though he will make it.
    Willan, do not know what is wrong with him, confidence is shot.
    Lac and Auba are regaining form and be there at the finish.

  36. Montana Gooner

    Pepe is a scatterbrain. He makes poor decisions and occasionally just has no touch. Obviously he has quality so it has to be mental with him. The high fee is too much for him and he’s always stumbling about.

  37. Gonsterous

    Pepe reminds me of moh salah, was very average for a chelsea team but at Liverpool, playing to his strength, he just scores for fun. Not only that, he has bulked up and is very hard to push off. He is definitely not the same player when he was playing at chelsea, physically or mentally.

    Pepe needs to get over that hurdle, take extra time to work on his weaknesses, because technically he is a joy to watch. He needs to learn a few things from saka and vice versa.

  38. Goobergooner

    Well at least we could make 5 subs to change the course of that game.

    ESR what a beast he will be for us. Saka don’t really need to say any more there. Love them both.
    Auba just needs to keep hitting the net.

  39. China1

    We actually have a pretty good first 11. It’s just a lack of depth and dubious team selections and injuries which can screw us.

    ESR delivering again. What a kid. Arteta needs to manage him very carefully. If he starts the next game he should be taken off after 60 mins imo. But if ESR is off it becomes extra important to keep Saka on.

    If we don’t have any of Martinelli, Saka or ESR on I think we are in big trouble offensively. All 3 of these are game changers for us and ideally we need 2 on the pitch at any given time if a result is still in doubt. But with martinelli probably injured long term again, we have to be very careful about saka and esr. If we lose either of those now we’ll be in big trouble.

  40. Goobergooner


    “Lol. Eddie has been delivering for ARSENAL incase you don’t know moron”

    I want this guy to succeed. He’s one of us.

    But 12 matches in pl with one goal and one assist is not delivering for Arsenal.

    You moron 😂.

  41. China1

    My patience with Pepe has run out now. If someone would give us 30m for him I’d take it. Arsenal don’t have the luxury of waiting around for players to find form. Our squad and performances are far too fragile for us to be patient. Saka esr and Martinelli all showed that there are no excuses for being off the pace. They’ve absolutely shit all over Willian and Pepe.

    I doubt it’s gonna happen but I’d gladly take money for either player right now and reinvest immediately on someone who can do a job on day 1. No more excuses. Our teenagers have conclusively put to rest any notion that these players need any more excuses

  42. China1

    We all know Pepe has been very poorly managed (that’s a fact and not his fault) but the fact of the matter is he’s been here for 18 months and he’s still looking like he was signed yesterday and that really is on him.

    Martinelli was out for a year. Comes back and looks a game changer immediately

    Saka played everywhere apart from his correct position and has still been our player of the season. Put him into the correct position and he’s immediately MOTM contender every game

    ESR has been treated like crap and under appreciated by arteta. He finally got a tiny chance and has blown every team he’s faced away with his quality In every match

    Nobody expects everyone to play well in every game and no one can blame Pepe for being impacted by arteta and emery’s poor management, but Pepe should’ve conclusively proved himself by now in spite of these managers if not because of them. The fact he hasn’t lies firmly with him. Too passive and mentally weak for this. He doesn’t look like a PL player regardless of his obvious talent.

    As for Willian. He just needs to fuck off

  43. China1

    I would imagine Pepe might be an attractive makeweight in a swap deal to Italy, Spain or France. I doubt anyone would wanna pay good money for him but at least he could significantly sweeten any offer we make for someone else’s player

  44. China1

    Actually thinking about it, Pepe + 20m for Aouar could actually be quite a nice prospect for Lyon. Not sure if they want a winger but that move would probably be welcome by Pepe and would certainly work for us

  45. S Asoa

    The only lesson Arteta learnt from December is his own life’s lesson. Keep on giving chances to failures like Williams as he Arteta been given chances for improvement and improvements to be seen through a microscope.
    Beggars to see what a management mess AFC is

  46. Bojangles


    “us.ESR delivering again. What a kid. Arteta needs to manage him very carefully. If he starts the next game he should be taken off after 60 mins imo.”

    It’s for that very reason we need another am. The fixture list is to crowded, ESR cannot be expected to play every game. You could see the difference today without a dedicated am compared to when ESR came on.

  47. Tony

    Naturally happy for the win, but not in the boring manner of the win or the starting selection.

    Azeez, AMN, Bolagun could have been in the starting line up instead of Pepe/Willian and Nelson/Auba and Willock.

    Why didn’t Arteta change tactics (442) and start Eddie and Bolagun up top as a trial?

    Obviously, it didn’t help with Martinelli’s warm up injury who would have played.

    When we are bare skin to the bone with essential players, such as Saka, ESR etc we need to be testing more youth players with game time.

    I still say the Willian Dubai trip was the perfect reason to reduce Willian’s contract to 1 year or just simply have terminated Willian’s contract on His return to the UK.

  48. S Asoa

    Yesterday someone posted about Ballogan whom nobody sees playing turning out ito be Chuba Apkom .
    If at all all he does not turn out to be Serge Gnabry might have to do with Arteta prejudice banning him out of the bench even in a FA Cup ,when Ballogan would have been an obvious one to one substitute when Martinelli was injured. Our perverse sauce seems to have insight to work out moves to serve his Agenda ,but no nous to set up a winning combination unless he falls on it on his trajectory fall down the stairs.
    When Rangnick is coming to smack sense into the Fraudeta ?

  49. Guns of SF

    Balogun seems to be off. Despite Mikes BS as per usual in the media, he literally wants to keep every player he has, even Eddie N!

    I know you have to be diplomatic in the media but still, to come out with such determined responses makes you look stupid when you end up doing the opposite.

    learn to play the game Mike!

    However, if he really rates Eddie, ( we know he is a terrible judge of players) then it says it all….

    Eddie N is not at our level at all. The world has an abundance of strikers. Why keep him???

  50. bacaryisgod

    I must have been watching a different game than most of you. Sure, Willian was abysmal but Pepe was fine. He worked hard and looked quite dangerous. He’s a little short on confidence but he came to play today. I have no time for Willian but I can see things clicking fairly soon for Nicolas. No doubt he should be relegated to the bench in favor of Sake, Martinelli or Auba on the flanks but I still have hope for him. The key move we need to make is finding a new home on loan or permanently for WIllian.

  51. China1

    I don’t see city winning the league this year. They will come top 3 but I personally wouldn’t put money on them for first. Liverpool are a safer bet imo

  52. China1

    Bacary Pepe has been here 18 months and is in no stronger a position now than he was on the day he arrived

    There comes a point where we have to accept he’s not doing enough and is not hungry enough to really take this chance

  53. China1

    In 18 months with all that talent Pepe should’ve been able to force the managers hand and force his way into the team

    ESR, Martinelli and Saka all did so through brute force by showing up really well every time they got a chance. If Pepe really needs to have his hand held to get into a team which has been so shockingly bad these last couple of years then you have to admit the problem is just as much his as the managers.

    If he’s so prone to losing confidence then ok say we play him 5 games in a row and he does well, then gets injured and comes back, so we have to carry him again for ages until he regains confidence? Arsenal are simply not good enough as a club to have overly sensitive players whose form and confidence is so at risk and fragile

  54. Captain Tierney

    Lacazette has entered the final 18 months of his contract and is finding form again.
    Coincidence? I think not

    We have seen this with many players before. Ozil and Auba come to mind.
    Players usually up their game when playing for a new contract. I just hope Arteta doesn’t take the bait and offer him 300k p/w for 4 more years. Instead we should take advantage of the situation. Play Laca and get consistent performances out of him then sell him in the summer. He is declining physically and is very much a confidence player.

  55. Pierre

    “. You could see the difference today without a dedicated am compared to when ESR came on.”

    I made a comment yesterday morning highlighting the importance of the CAM /No.10/ playmaker and last night’s game was a perfect case in point.

    Some seem to think you can put any competant player into that role and they will succeed , but they are wrong , it is a specialised position that requires a special mindset to play that role.

    Over the years we’ve tried different players in that role, Ramsey , Willock , Saka, Willian, Torreira to name but few, and they were all like a fish out of water…

    The position is made for Smith Rowe and the worse thing that Arteta could do is mess about with Smith Rowe’s position .

    Last night Willian for all his experience, never came to terms with the role and that doesn’t bode well.

    What i liked about smith rowe for his goal is that his eyes lit up as soon as the newcastle play mis controlled the ball .
    It was like a switch went on in his head and it was a case of one touch to Saka and move into an area where he will do the most damage.
    Saka to Lacazette, who flicked on and Smith rowe made a very difficult opportunity look easy .
    His first touch on the chest was perfect and then his technique took over with a low half volley into the corner.
    The strike reminded me of a goal paul merson scored against Tottenham at highbury in the year we won the league 1988/89…

  56. China1

    Tierney I don’t think laca is playing for a new contract per say as I don’t think his effort and work rate ever really dropped

    The issue is that (a bit like Giroud) laca is very much a form player. He’ll be unplayable for several games then be very poor for the several following. He’s often been like this since his arrival

    It’s a bit like with giroud where people are crediting him for being a good goal scorer because he’s got 8 in his last 8 games or something – but he scored 1 in his previous 16 appearances this season (sound familiar from his arsenal years?)

    Laca always has and always will try, but people must not mistake an upturn in form with an uptake in quality. He’s not going to get any better and physically can only drop in a couple more years. He will always be a striker who on his day is class but will give you as many bad days as good. That’s not enough for us long term and I hope we sell him in the summer if not now

  57. Aussie+Gooner

    No one would question the need for squad rotation – that’s a given with fixtures comming thick and fast. But surely we should be testing the academy players in such circumstances? We all know how Luiz, Willian, Xhaka, Elneny et al are going to perform but how about Balogun, Azeez, Moller, Cottrill, Cirjan – how are they going? That’s right – no body knows because they don’t get a look in!

    Without the energy of Teirney, Saka, ESR and Martinelli (when fit) where would we be? Fighting in the relegation zone! We all know that big signings are not comming anytime soon – so manage the resources you have! It is not that hard! Stop picking the perenial underperformers and try something new. It worked out OK with Saka, ESR, Martinelli!

  58. Captain Tierney


    Agreed that Laca is a form player and his work rate is always there.
    But if you notice, many players usually play their best football when nearing the end of their contract. We saw it with Ozil who was consistently very good for 2 months before signing his mega deal, Auba who carried us to the FA cup, Ramsey who proved to be the difference between us getting top 4 under Emery, Willian whose best year at Chelsea was his final year, etc. This is just off the top of my head in recent times.
    Its a psychological thing. Which player wouldn’t want a mega money deal lined up. Compare these player’s performances to just after signing their new contracts. The added motivation is not there and performance levels drastically dropped. Auba, Ozil, Willian being the prime examples for us.

    Football fans are very emotional. 3 weeks ago Arsenal fans believed we were in a relegation battle and after 3 PL wins we are top 6 contenders again. We are swayed very easily.
    Lacazette who was dubbed not good enough for Championship football 3 weeks back is now dubbed as putting in top class performances.

  59. TR7

    Outgoing Trump Administration gives Biggest Jolt to China by removing decades long acceptance to ‘One-China’ Status quo . US Sec Pompeo Orders lifting of all self-imposed restrictions with Taiwan by US Govt giving it Free Country status

    Thank you Mr. Trump !! If only Trump didn’t have numerous personality related issues, he would have been widely celebrated for what he has achieved in last 4 years.

  60. Useroz

    Mari has done a respectable job in the last few games. I’d like to seethe same or better him against teams that play counterattack well and/or with have pacy forwards. He’s kinda lacking agility a bit or may be that’s just match fitness….

  61. Pierre

    Aussie gooner
    ” But surely we should be testing the academy players in such circumstances”


    I’m not sure why Arteta reverts back to experience when he knows what they can (or can’t ) do.

    To not give Balogun game time yesterday was criminal.
    I hated the bullshit in the summer and after a few victories lately, I hope Arteta isn’t returning to his bullshit .ways.
    To tell the world how much he wants to keep Balogun and then to not select him in the SQUAD for a 3rd round FA cup tie, makes Arteta look stupid or vindictive (or both) as he obviously has problems with the agent..

  62. Foxy

    Watching the painfull first half I also thought AMN would have been a better replacement for Gabi than Reiss with Joe then moving forward. Having Reiss and Willian playing in same area together just did not work as both are too tippy tappy and lightweight whilst Joe at least may have provided a bit of forward thrust. Also AMN is much better defensively than Joe who often looks a bit lost positionally and is not a good ball winner.

  63. Foxy

    Our shooting and heading yesterday was awfull. Even Pepe could not hit the target with his left foot despite getting into good positions for a change. I won’t even start on Willian.. Hate to say it but we need a Fellaini type impact sub.if not a starter.

  64. Pierre

    Willock had a decent first half but became loose in possession of the ball in the 2nd half as did a few Arsenal players..
    I don’t think Willock has the trust of Arteta as he is often withdrawn after a a couple of mistakes , unlike other players who’s mistakes are overlooked..

    Xhaka did well when he came on , though it has to be said that we became more open defensively when Willock went off and were fortunate not to lose the game in the last 10/15 minutes of the 90..
    Prior to going off, Willock nearly gave us the lead doing what he does best , arriving late in the box.

    I’m not sure there is a place for Willock in the side, he is a player who wants to do what Ramsey liked to do , make forward runs and arrive late into the box.

    Arteta basically wants 2 disciplined central midfielders who are rarely ahead of the ball , he wants them to control the game and be positionally perfect….Willock could be surplus to requirements as he is neither a CAM or a holding midfielder, he’s more a box to box and Arteta is not looking for that type of player.

    I can see joe leaving .

  65. Foxy

    There is surely a very good player in Willock he just needs a couple of seasons playing every week in a set position for a lower level team under a good coach. Perhaps in Germany.

  66. Captain Tierney

    If Willock didn’t have the trust of Arteta, ESR would have become the First choice #10 two or three months ago and AMN would be getting chances in midfield ahead of Joe.

  67. Moray

    “ I still say the Willian Dubai trip was the perfect reason to reduce Willian’s contract to 1 year or just simply have terminated Willian’s contract on His return to the UK.”

    Completely agree, Tony. He’s a busted flush and we should have taken the opportunity he presented to try to mitigate the huge loss his contract presents.

  68. Graham62


    I’m not so sure.

    Both Willock and Nelson, imo, do not have the one key ingredient, at this level, that would enable them to push for more regular starts..

    Visible hunger.

    I look at Saka, Tierney, Martinelli, ESR and they all want the ball. They demand it. With Willock and Nelson I don’t really see this.

    Having reached this level you would expect them to be far more passionate and committed to not only improve their skills and footballing abilities but their game in general. Their body language shows these flaws.

    ESR has done more in two games than these two have done in two years.

    I rest my case.

  69. Habesha Gooner

    I am disappointed with pepe. Since Arteta has benched him, Rightly so because of saka, He has lost his zip. He always holds the ball too long but he had a lot of moments previously. I also remember him skinning Robertson again and again when he started at anfield last season. I haven’t seen that level of performance this season yet. Honestly we bought a 35 mil at best player for 72 mil. If we find a buyer we should sell for 35 mil+. It is a loss but if we can get someone like Manor Solomon for the same price we sold pepe we will be golden.

    We need to sell Lacazette. No matter how inform they are Gambling on a 30+ age player hasn’t worked out once so far. We need to sell him, scout someone and use the money to sign a younger version with resell value. OL are losing Moussa dembele and delay at the same time. I am sure the would love Lacazette back.

  70. Habesha Gooner

    One thing I have been impressed with ESR is the half spaces he takes to receive the ball. He is always available. That is an impressive feat for a 20 year old. Right now he is playing like a seasoned number 10. But his form will drop at some point and we need some help there. It was obvious Willian can’t do it last night. Saka is needed on the wings. If it was me I would sign another CAM and play them together with Partey behind them. We need all the offensive help we can get.

  71. Moray

    Willock and Nelson aren’t good enough for us.

    The emergence of Saka and ESR is a feather in the cap for our youth system of course, but equally very damning for our transfer system. We have players in their early 20s displacing those we brought in for tens of millions, despite the manager’s obvious preference for the old and infirm.

  72. Graham62

    I can’t believe that some on here are demanding we sell Lacazette.

    This guy is genuinely committed to the club and gives it 100% every game. Once again yesterday he helped to change the game in our favour.

    There are far more pressing matters to deal with than making money on Laca.

  73. Henleygooner

    I agree that we got better throughout the game by replacing Nelson, Willian, Pepe and Willock with Xhaka, Saka, ESR and Laca, but the best substition that helped us win was Carroll going off. Their best attacker AND defender.

  74. Al

    At the end of the day we have seen enough of these players over the last five years and we know a lot of these players will always revert back to type that is why it is so important in my opinion that we try get the value out of them while they are having a green period.

    For example, Hopefully Laca does have a strong end of the season so it can can raise his price for sale. The idea of a contract extension should not even be an option for a number of reasons (losing his pace, struggles physically, sulky, age etc)

    Same thing with Xhaka- there’s a number of reason but we need to be heading into the start of the season next year with him gone. Hopefully he maintains the form so we can get back the £35m spent on him.

  75. The Bard

    The kids are keeping us afloat. Some people on here are too one dimensional in their thinking. Everyone of the senior players who aren’t performing get slammed as wasters. They aren’t all Ozilites, taking the wages and dont care. Something is wrong with Willian. I have no idea what it is but there may be a lot things going on behind the scenes that are affecting his form. He was an excellent performer at Chelsea but has been a shadow of the player since he arrived. Pepe look like he has lost all confidence. But confidence comes and goes. Lets be patient because they ain’t going anywhere and they will be needed.

  76. Terraloon

    A win is a win of that there can be no debate but other than extra time I found nothing to get excited about.

    Let’s be honest the two clear cut chances that Newcastle created really should have put the game to bed in normal time.

    Newcastle were piss poor and when you are relying on Andy Carrol and a hugely rotated team from the Liverpool game I really thought this game would have been put to bed in 90 minutes. It wasn’t and with another tranche of PL games midweek the extra game time really won’t have helped the players fitness going forward.

    It’s that game time and in particular players that need to be slowly but surely integrated that I think that needs to be better managed . Following his long term injury lay off Martenelli should not have been anywhere near that game yesterday. Likewise Tierney and Saka although both pivotal need some time out similarly yesterday was an ideal opportunity if that had led to a defeat then so be it .

    There are 4 more league games and another FA cup game in the month of January

  77. Habesha Gooner

    He is 30 by the end of the season with a year left on his contract. We either renew or sell. For me he needs to be sold. His form has been good this past few weeks but I don’t think we should give him a new contract. We need to move away from old players who are apparently motivated when their contracts are about to expire.

  78. Kenyangunner

    As good as Leno was,he almost cost us the match by not communicating to defenders to leave the ball to go out which Luiz poor headed and Tierney passed to Newcastle for the big chance in the 1st half

  79. Leftside


    To answer your earlier question, No I’m not.

    Pepe doesn’t merit starting games and he has had long enough to make an impression here. Probably worth moving on from him as he’s been largely underwhelming and the manager clearly isn’t that keen.

    That said though, even when Mikel turns down offers to keep a player, a la AMN or says how much he wants a player to stay, see Balogun – they still don’t get gametime!

  80. James

    The Martinez conversation should stop. Stop dwelling on it, im fed up of hearing about it and im really happy for the guy. Lets face the facts hes not our player anymore, we because of the covid scenario have no money to rebuild our squad alla the Willian gamble. He was wonderfully loyal and we couldnt garentee him the game time he wanted. We did the right thing by our player out of respect and for him and his loyalty. If you thought we were going to get any more than 22m off the back of 10 good games in 10 years of his Arsenal career you deluded.

    Martinez conversation over! Best of luck to him and the memories of him after the FA cup final will stay with me.

    Onto other things and thinking of the future not the past, well Sort of. Raul Sanlehi raped us just as Ivan Gazidis poor management of the club did. In one guy we lost a person who fumbled around in the dark to a guy who was too head strong in his beliefs. One guy who allowed top talents run contracts down and sold our players for peanuts and wouldnt spend our money. To a guy who used the word of agents to sign and spend obsurd money. But again the dust has settled on ghat page in our past and Edu for me has showed some promising signs and made some really good signings Partey, Mari and Martinelli to name a few.

    Willian should be sold for whatever we can get for him he was a free transfer, so if we can sell him for 5m to cut any loss or use him in a swap then so be it. Pepe is my biggest disappointment i had high hopes for him. On one side with willock he keeps getting selected along side Willian and Elneny and atm Auba who are not going to put him in great positions. Elneny and Willian had me tearing my hair out, Elneny would ignore the runs in behind to pass sideways or backwards and the same for Willian.

    I would like to see them put into a side with ESR, Saka, Martinelli, Laca and Partey rather than Willian, Elneny, Auba and Nelson. Nelson who is extremley overrated buy our fanbase especially when you put him alongside Martinelli, Saka and Smith-Rowe.

    We forget too, fortunately enough our Pepe 72m fee was based on conditions where Lille get more money per milestone so we haven’t officially spent that sum it could become that sum. So if we have to sell then we can recoup a larger part of what we spent so far. But personally i would keep hold improve the squad and see how he fares.

    But thank god for Hale End a!

  81. Pierre

    “As good as Leno was,he almost cost us the match by not communicating to defenders to leave the ball to go out which Luiz poor headed and Tierney passed to Newcastle for the big chance in the 1st half”

    What game was you watching , it was schoolboy defending from both Luiz who mis headed the ball and Tierney who panicked and miskicked the ball.
    The ball was not goung out of play , if it was anyone’s fault for not communicating, it was Tierney , who should have called leave it to Ĺuiz as there was no danger .
    In the end Luiz and Tierney caused the danger , Len was the innocent party’.

  82. Habesha Gooner

    We keep giving this huge contracts to these old players and our gamble hasn’t worked out even once. Ozil, Willian and Sokratis. Now Auba is also in danger of being in this category. I was behind the Willian signing in the summer. I thought he would give us good performances and creativity from what I saw at Chelsea. But it seems we caught him just at the starting point of his decline. He isn’t even half the player he was at Chelsea. If he weren’t here we wouldn’t miss anything. It might actually have given more chances to Reiss Nelson. Fool me once. The management team should be aware. No more huge contracts to players above 29 unless they are Messi.

  83. Captain Tierney


    Why would someone not want the money he is owed by an organisation to be paid in full?

    Does the bank leave you alone when you fail to pay back your debt?

    Does an employee not file a suit if his company refuses to pay his salary?

    Why should a footballer not want his contract to be paid in full?

  84. Pierre

    Of course the sensible thing would be to have him as back up to ESR.

    That won’t happen .

    Instead we will pay his wages and at the same time maybe buy a replacement for 40/50 million, or failing that put squre pegs in round holes like yesterday with Willian.

  85. Freddie Ljungberg


    Plenty of footballers do it all the time so they can play. its not like he has earned even a cent of that contract anyway.


    The loss in quality would be too great, he’s not good enough to even be backup anymore, and that’s not even counting all the other bullshit that comes with having him around.

  86. Dolomite

    On Lacazette:

    Fans need to focus on his link up play and strike rate not his inherent commercial value, given Artetas poor player judgement and our current shoddy recruitment policies do we really think we can replace him easily?
    Even if we were to cash out and obtain a maximum profit for him – we need to remember these are the same guys that spunked £72M on Pepe and bought the super dud that’s Willian.
    I believe replacing him is far more difficult than keeping him on an annual contact extension.

  87. Freddie Ljungberg

    And fot that someone who said Ozil paid 20% of his salary to feed kids. He posted on his twitter, that someone linked yesterday, that he paid for 50.000 meals totally.

    Now unless that was some seriously fine dining kids meals at £70 a pop maybe we can put that discussion to death now.

  88. Mysticleaves

    Willian is not on monumental money. He’s on 100k PW. And if he sees things ain’t working out for him, he’d leave by season’s end. He’s a pro who will give his all. Just that his all is not very good. But I doubt he will sit on his arse like humanitarian Ozil.

    Julian Brandt is 24 years. And his best years are still ahead of him. He just needs a club that will trust him like Leverkusen did. For 35m ish, I would sign him. Has everything to be a top player for us. Never stops running too.

  89. Useroz

    Aussie, Pierre, Ernst…

    That’s why people reckon Arteta never learned despite the awful mistakes and poor decisions.

    The team selectiion with Esr, Sara and Martinelli ll in the starting 11 in the Chelsea game was mostly forced upon him given red card and injuries. We’d have lost as most expected and Arteta could have been out the door then.

    What angers me is repeated his lip services, based on what the media reports of course, from approaches in games, player selection, to Martinez, Eddie, to Saliba controversy,to the latest Balogun contract saga …I’d take what he did/does instead of what came out if his mouth. Talk is cheap.

    Even stupid managers , let alone a generational one,, would have played Balogun, at least put him on the bench, based upon what he said only a couple of days ago. You want me to stay at the club but you don’t think I am good for a 3rd round FA cup, not even on the bench?? Seriously…

  90. James

    On the Balogan issue, why waste game time on a player who is not “committed” to the club. He’s 19 has played 20mins of senior football done well too but the case is still the same. He has to show he’s committed to the club and sign the contract, he is in no position to make demands. Sadly I genuinely think this is an agent issue trying to squeeze as much commission out of the player as possible. Atm the agent realises he can make more money by not signing for Arsenal and becoming a free agent and pimping Balogan out to the highest bidder.

    If Balogan doesn’t realise that his time will come soon. With Auba 32 and Laca 30 and i dont rate Nkethia and Arteta is loosing faith too and think he will be sold in the next 2 windows. He is already at a big club where the doors are creaking open for him. If he signs those doors with fly open mark my words. Trust is a 2 way thing if he shows trust and commitment and signs on, then Arteta will give him the trust with game time. He only has to look at ESR, Saka, Willock and Martinelli to show he has a chance here

  91. Mysticleaves

    Dolomite, I think it’s very easy to replace Lacazette with half the salary. A player like Balogun can do what Laca does and even more. He is a better dribbler, has more control of the ball and can advanced the ball while running. Granted he’s only excelled at junior football but if you don’t give him the chances at senior level you will never know.

  92. Dolomite

    On Willock

    Both players lack football intelligence and desire – the most defining character traits a young player needs to make the step up to being a first team regular.
    Willock as a midfielder lacks an economy of touches – ie the first touch determines what action will follow -pass, dribble or run and always puts himself into a second or third touch position which makes him easy to dispossess or waste the opportunity for an early pass.
    Being lightweight means he can’t run or dribble without losing the ball hence making him look extremely ineffective in the middle of the pitch.
    His tackling positions are equally poor, winning the ball from behind runs a higher risk of a foul being given even with relatively clean challenges. He needs quite a lot of work to improve his game and IMO is an ideal candidate for a long term loan in order to improve his game

  93. Captain Tierney


    Plenty of footballers that you speak of do it because they still have another 1 or 2 bigger contracts to play for. Eg. Kola who still has another big 4-5 yr deal in him

    Ozil is 32 and this was his last big deal. Its downhill from now.

    And those who do take that paycut, kudos to them but you cant berate someone who is not willing to take a paycut and is asking for the money he is owed on a signed contract.

  94. Ivan

    I see a lot of clamuring for Balogun not playing. As this story progress its obvious that his agent is trying to move him away at the end of season and earn hefty commision on signin on fee from another interested club.

    In that light its counter productive of Arteta to play him now. If he plays well, it only serve to bump up interest of other clubs to praise him away for free from us.

    If he signed his contract, i bet he would got more more gametime then he gets now.

  95. TheBlaster

    Willian looks completely lost. Like he’s just done a bong before going on the pitch but without the giggling. Like his head just doesn’t seem to be in it whatsoever.

    Compare that with Tierney, who would make Roy Keane circa 1999 purr. Definite future captain.

  96. Mysticleaves

    Balogun’s agent is the same as Saka’s. I remember the contract negotiations for Saka was drawn out too and kind of thought he wanted big money for Saka. I hear Saka is on less than 40k PW. His progress in the team so far is enough to want Balogun to sign up with the Arsenal. He has dross in front of him.

    Depends on what Balogun wants really, cos he can tell his agent that whatever they do, he wants to remain at the club and that will be final. An agent can’t overrule a player he represents can they?

  97. Useroz

    Both Willock and Nelson, imo, do not have the one key ingredient, at this level, that would enable them to push for more regular starts..

    Visible hunger.

    I look at Saka, Tierney, Martinelli, ESR and they all want the ball. They demand it. With Willock and Nelson I don’t really see this.”

    Can’t agree more.

    Can add Eddie, William,, and Pepe to it. Don’t see the fight really.

    I suppose Willian co-owns a restaurant and is never hungry!!

    AMN is borderline. His void of emotion and hollow expression just irks.

    Xhaka however inadequate we think he is does exhibit passion and has some fight…same as Elneny.

  98. Dolomite

    Granted @ Mystic but I’d rather have the option of both of them rather than get rid of the certainty of either player… if we’re to use Balogun going forward, ease him in under the wings of an experienced striker like Lacazette rather than bring in someone who will probably struggle for form or fitness as new players seldom match the pace and intensity of the Premier League ( see Werner, Havertz and co at Chelsea)

    The expendable one in my view is Nketiah.

  99. Pierre

    “He posted on his twitter, that someone linked yesterday, that he paid for 50.000 meals totally.”

    Only 50, 000 …what a dreadful state of affairs.

  100. Ivan

    Mystic – agent cant overrule player he represents. On another hand he can get lot of crazy ideas into the head of joung and up and coming hot shot about switching clubs. The old greener pastures debate.

  101. Freddie Ljungberg


    “but you cant berate someone who is not willing to take a paycut and is asking for the money he is owed on a signed contract”

    I can when he has put in 0 effort since the ink dried on that contract, when he has been a non entity apart from maybe 2 games, at home, against easier opposition, in the last 3 seasons. He hasn’t even been value for a 35k a week contract.

    And when he’s nothing but a toxic presence off pitch and on social media.

    It’s not like he’s going to starve if he takes a paycut is it? He should be grateful for the money he already robbed off the club and fuck off into the abyss (aka fenerbache that might be his level if he can put some effort in for once)

  102. James

    Ozil want us to let him leave and pay his contract even though he wants to leave. In the entire history of football if a player leaves a football club before that contract is up the club has never paid the remainder of that contract. So no if he leaves he has no right to the remainder of any wages or loyalties

    GREEDY BASTARD comes to mind!

  103. Freddie Ljungberg


    Well, the discussion last week started when someone said he spent 20% of his salary on feeding kids, 3.6m. With 50k meals it’s more like 150-200k if it’s school meals so more like 1% of his salary. Bit of a difference that no? And that’s before any charity tax deductions come into play.

  104. Useroz


    The Balogun situation is different. Emery was regularly playing Saka while his contract saga was in progress.

    Balogun has however not seen any light at the end of the tunnel despite the same kinda troublemaker agent from the xlub’s point of view.

  105. Samesong

    Balogun has to do what is best for him. In saying that though the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

  106. Pierre

    You need to let it go Fred , the school dinner thing , no one other than you gives a toss about it .

    You should be more concerned that that the club are willing to pay his wages to play at a different club , when he could be used as back up to ESR.

    If/when ESR breaks down through over playing due to no back up , questions may becasked why we are paying 7 million in wages for another club to play him..

  107. Useroz

    Ozil has been able to squeeze and take advantage of the club because of the inexperienced and navie management team KSE puts in place.

    If Ozil wants to leave ,basically he’d as usual forgo all entitlements to bonus, etc let alone remaining wages!

    But of course Ozil and his lawyer agent want to have the cake and eat it. Literally.

  108. Mysticleaves

    Well, if I was a 19 year old hotshot at a club as big as Arsenal, in a Corona virus period where money is tight, with 2 senior strikers aged 30+, with one getting to 1 year on his contract, and 1 mate who I can swear I am better than, it’s really a no brainer. I’d sign up, go on loan for 6 months to a championship club and tear up the league. Come back next year and get ready for war!!

    It’s a win win. If I don’t get my chance in the first team, another team would sign me. Balogun don’t be a fool

  109. Pierre

    “I can when he has put in 0 effort”

    It has been widely reported that Ozil has been impressive in training.

    What happened to Arteta’s playing the players that impressed in training.

  110. Time Up

    Balogun has been advised badly by those around him. He’s benn told by his advisors and people around him, he’s too good to not start or keep moving around on loans.

    I can assure, even in two years time, he won’t be start for any PL team, he would be at best squad player for bottom 10. He should stay as Eddie is a joke and Laca and Auba getting old. But, he won’t stay and good luck to him.

  111. Useroz


    True, but while we look at how Balogun may progress and turn out at another club , we’d have lost a £15m+ fee income.

    However people look at it, it’s very poor form having persistent trouble with yourh co tracts, and in the worse cases letting youth talent walk out for free…

  112. Time Up

    I said it before, Arteta will have headaches between Gabi and Mari for that CDLS. I would keep Mari.

    Shame our tow best CD are left footed.

  113. Mysticleaves

    I mean I want Balo to stay but we won’t miss him if he goes cos we don’t exactly know how he will turn out. He has shown he has the potentials but many times, surroundings, environment, club culture and familiarity help players fulfil their talents. Plus we have Moller who I hear good things of. I hope Balo stays though.

  114. Captain Tierney

    I get it now.
    Players should be grateful for the money they are owed on their contract.
    Oh how generous of the football clubs who are keeping these footballers afloat.

  115. Crabregas

    If Balogun wants to leave then let him. We will move on and he will be a distant memory. We have invested 10 years in him and if this is how he repays us then so be it.

    It seems these days that if your 18 / 19 you think you should be in the squads and starting line ups. The kid is young, has done nothing really that notable in the top game (some positive minutes in a shit competition) and it appears he thinks he should be playing more.

    As a minimum he is competing with Auba and Laca, then Eddie and possibly Martinelli. Whereas with Saka and ESR, although very talented, they didn’t have the same quality of personnel ahead of them so have managed to get minutes.

    Balogun time will come, if he signs and stays patient

  116. Useroz

    Well, not all footballers are intelligent and aced their studies like Saka.

    Due to potentially narrower networks, these youths would mostly turn to parents, siblings,,agents/ advisors, or ‘friends’ for advice.

    Unfortunately the entrouage might not have the youths’ professional /career development at heart. Quick money talks (and res) most times.

    Haven’t we seen many such high profile cases across Europe n the last 10 years?

  117. Time Up

    Why would we pay Ozil while he’s playing for someone else his full wages?

    Some of the wages or leave him out of the squad for another 6 months. The club has to stand firm. 6 months is a long time when you’re a 32 year old footballer to recover you match fitness.

  118. Pierre

    “If Ozil wants to leave”

    That’s the thing , he doesn’t want to leave .

    To me , it’s quite simple , he has 6 months left on his conract and we need a back up CAM as that appears crucial to the team’s performance .

    We have no money , as the 125 borrowed from the bank confirms, plus we have no back up CAM other than Ozil.

    ESR is susceptible to injury so why not keep him at the club and use him.
    He has impressed in training and he would obviously do a good job for the club ..

    It makes sense to keep him .though of course that won’t happen.

  119. China1

    Why would mari or Gabriel not be able to play RCB?
    95% of the best CB combinations throughout history consisted of two right footers, why is having two left footers an issue?

    All the best CB pairings in PL history I can think of were two righties…

    Never caused any issues before…