MATCH DAY BLOG: TABLE OPENS UP AGAIN, CAN WE MOVE ON IT?

by .

Well, today is huge. Everton were beaten by Newcastle giving Arsenal the opportunity to go level points with them AND Spurs in the table. Both teams have a game in hand, but let’s be clear, some sections of the Arsenal fanbase have been purring over both managers, dreaming of the alternative reality where we’d hired them. I’m not sure the extra £12m a year looks like good value at the moment.

Today is one of the dreamy opportunities to close that gap when those around us are flapping around like a seagull trapped in a Pot Noodle container. Having to do that against a team that has the attacking options of United is going to be tough. Today is basically our very good defence versus their very good attack.

The main difference between the sides since the last time we met is that Arsenal has found a bit of a formula when it comes to attack. Since the emergence of ESR in the side, we’ve gone from creating 10 shots a game to 16. That’s quite the jump. Outside the shots output, we’ve just looked more cohesive in general. We can play some nice football at times, especially when the runners are on the pitch.

Many eyes will be focused on the left side of midfield. Nicolas Pepe had a good game by his standards in the week, scoring a vital goal against a good team. Martinelli sat the 90 out on the bench. There are many that think you should play the expensive signing who has found something resembling form… my view would be to give the best player the minutes. That would be Martinelli.

I feel for Pepe, I really did, but how many false dawns can one man be given? The first half of our season was dedicated to the hope that certain players would come good. I’d rather go on meritocracy. Pepe scored a nice goal, yes, but he also switched off and failed to track his man for the first goal. That sort of lapse will cost us harder if it happens today. It’s a big call. I will happily eat humble pie if he plays and scores… but for United, I’d love to see ESR, Saka, Martinelli and Lacazette conjuring magic.

Defence is also a tough one. Pablo Mari is out and Kieran Tierney seems to be running into trouble again. Cedric was excellent in our last game, but it’s a huge ask to play out of position against United. Not that we have much of a choice. There are also big questions over who partners Rob Holding… David Luiz? Or do we bring Gabriel back into the mixer?

Midfield is likely going to be Thomas Partey… but will they roll with Big Mo to hunt down the United firestarters, or will they opt for Granit Xhaka who has found some nice form next to a better midfielder who shares the workload?

Also tantalising that Martin O is in the squad.

I’m feeling excited about the game. These are the moments that have to matter. We need a tactical masterclass. There has to be a result if we’re serious about European places this season. Win and we go 4 points from 4th, lose, and it’s going to be a long week.

Before we go, can we have a chat about Edu? He is a DISGRACE for trying to move on Mustafi. This is what we all feared. Our powerhouse defender is rumoured to be off to Liverpool. For any of their fans leaving. He’s a machine. Great in the air, elite levels of concentration, a player so dedicated to the clean sheet he cries when he concedes in training. I’ll be reeeeeally miffed if we let him go. Perhaps you should tweet that he’d be a good signing? Pull it over the line?

On that note, see you in the comments… and watch my Youtube appearance.

1,049 Responses to “MATCH DAY BLOG: TABLE OPENS UP AGAIN, CAN WE MOVE ON IT?”

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  1. MidwestGun

    Accountability and diversity.. Referees from other countries. maybe. Idk.. but something needs to be done. It’s getting beyond stupid because nobody knows what’s going on including the players and coaches.

  2. AFC Forever

    Mid, look at that ridiculous goal they awarded for Man City against Villa. A week later Ronaldo does something similar & it’s disallowed. Our refs are hopeless, the interpretation of the offside rule bizarre. They had to change the rule because our useless lot got it wrong!

  3. bacaryisgod

    If Partey doesn’t have a subpar game, then we win this one. Massively impressed with Pepe and Lacazette, in particular their workrate today. Holding and Luiz both looked very good too. Xhaka has become closer to the player we all hoped he would have been when we signed him. He’s also an iron man, having played more than any player other than Leno this month.

    I think I’m sold on offering Lacazette a two year extension (three years total) this summer. He’s a warrior and will always be a good option even if he’s no longer first-choice CF. A two-year extension will mean he will be 32 for the final year of the deal.

  4. Dissenter

    bacaryisgod
    The problem is that Laca is on very high wages too.
    Wer had to keep either of Laca or Auba. We can’t have both on that level of wages.
    Laca works hard but so does most strikers in the league. Ollie Watkins for Villa doesn’t earn 180k weekly and he too works hard.

  5. Graham62

    No Aubameyang, no Saka, no Tierney.

    Had our chances, so did they.

    0-0 just about fair.

    If Willian had been at Chelski, he would have buried that chance.

    Pepe had one of his best games. In fact, the last two games have shown he’s hopefully turned a corner.

    Partey still a bit rusty and got caught out a couple of times but still does things that the others can’t.

    Compared to a month or so back, there’s no comparison.

    Lacazette put his body on the line yet again.

    Kudos to all the Arsenal players.

  6. Kroenkephobe

    Ha ha Samir, I get out plenty matey – my job sees to that. But next time I’m going shopping, I’ll get your prescription filled for your low blood pressure and glacial heart rate.

    Give us some examples of other games that you’ve thought either interesting or boring. It’ll help me to calibrate what kind of fan you are (I suspect you’re one of those goals, goals, goals types of fan who cares most about seeing the old onion bag bulge, irrespective of who scores).

  7. bacaryisgod

    Pedro-if you ran occasional surveys on the site, we could clear up the Mourinho debate in a day.

    Q: Would you ever want Jose Mourinho managing Arsenal?

    I’m guessing it would be 85% against.

  8. Northbanker

    I thought Willian was dreadful – he was better than previously but only because the bar was so low. He missed the best chance of all which was almost on a plate. The one moment he looked half decent was the pull back to Pepe. Rest of the time a low octane player who was happy to watch the action. He remains a liability

  9. Kroenkephobe

    Thanks Samir, you must be clairvoyant! You’ve successfully proved you’re all about goals, goals and only goals. I genuinely feel sorry for good time fans like you who think supporting a team is just about being entertained by them. Growing up in the 70s, I realised when I was about 10 that games meant more that just goals. Handy really cos Arsenal didn’t score that many back then. I thought tonight’s game was one of the tensest and exciting this season not least because they are two of the form teams and there was a hatful of good chances and defending against another storied team.

    Maybe you should stay in more, watch some videos and train yourself to disassociate lack of goals with boredom. We can’t play Dundalk every week.

  10. TheLegendaryDB10

    Red

    Yes, I am chuffed. I am not a miserable fuck who can’t see the positives in our progression to playing better football.

    We didn’t win but we played with our hearts on our sleeves. And that is what counts for me.

    We are slowly building our way back to our winning ways.

    Where I will agree with you is that the club needs to have this ruthless streak of a will to be the best just like Sir Norris bred into the club in its infancy.

    I genuinely want us to go beyond the top 4 bollocks that Kroenke is only interested in.

  11. G

    U always know the posters who know fuck all about football..they normally start off with “ well they lost to team x last week so we should have won”
    Every game is different u twat

  12. MidwestGun

    I actually though Willian was somewhere between dreadful and Good. Whatever that is.. 5/10.

    He started out pretty badly but after the injury he seemed to grow into the game. Maybe it made him focus more.. I don’t know. He gave us better link up play on the overloads but also .. not much goal scoring threat..His attempt at a shot was kind of embarrassing for a player of his experience. He had a good run to the endline and a decent cross once as well.
    So .. mixed bag. He doesn’t have that spark he once had for sure playing for Brazil that I remember.

  13. Graham62

    Based on the team we put out and the fact that MU, away from home, are a different animal, I thought we put up a good showing.

    If Partey was 100%, we would have won.

  14. The Godfather

    Let’s be honest we got very lucky today.
    Cavani missed two point blank sitters.
    Partey can’t play with Haka.
    When paired with the energy of El Neny
    we strangled United.

    Partey either breaks down physically, or in this
    case today, mentally, while trying to overcompensate
    for that slow Swiss wheel barrow.

    He will prolly put in a transfer request next time he has to
    play next to that tug boat

  15. Kroenkephobe

    Oh Samir, Glad you’re still here. I thought you’d have logged onto a Villa site by now because their 1 – 0 game is far less boring than the Arsenal game. I see you’ve offered no responses to what I said about your points. A bit boring really.

    Come on fan boy – I know you thought the Arsenal game was a crashing borefest but for fuck’s sake you must have some insight surely?

  16. Dissenter

    “Partey either breaks down physically, or in this
    case today, mentally, while trying to overcompensate
    for that slow Swiss wheel barrow.”

    That classic case of Xhaka-hatred
    Partey was poor today and Xhaka carried the burden of the midfield
    How many times did Partey lose the ball, I stopped counting at five in the 41st minute.

  17. G

    ‘’ GEvery game is different,….Who would you rather play Man City or Sheffield Utd for a top 4 place.‘’
    Obviously she’d Utd but burnley won at Anfield so should we expect to lose v Burnley.. your analogy don’t make sense

  18. MidwestGun

    Yep.. measuring to the micrometer on the shirt collar.. give me a break. If they were just going with the call on the pitch then fine.. but your trying to tell me that was accurate.. come on.

    Is the camera angle directly down the line like a laser beam.

  19. Pedro

    Bacary, I’m sure that would be the case… but that 15% would be the Arsenal fans I’m referencing in the post.

    Diss, you are right, Xhaka was brilliant today. 97% pass completion.

  20. Dissenter

    The advantage should always got the the attacking player.
    Where does the sleeve start or end? isn’t that subjective?.

    Clubs will start to redesign their jersey sleeves now – make them shorter, almost sleeveless.

  21. Tom

    The craziest thing about that decision was that if he actually played the ball with that part of his shoulder which was considered off side they would’ve called it a handball.

    Wasn’t Emi supposed to catch balls like those btw, instead of pushing them back into traffic?

  22. AFC Forever

    As I said, Xhaka the last few games has been on a different level. Some people are quick to criticise but slow to praise. Football is about partnerships and Xhaka may be benefiting from having Partey.with him because it frees him up.

  23. AFC Forever

    Mid, that’s the problem they are trying to be precise despite admitting the technology isn’t perfect. Advantage should always go to the attacking team. They are ruining the game for fans.

  24. Dissenter

    AFC Forever
    Exactly, it may be that Xhaka just needed to have a good midfield partner around him to do well.

    Xhaka is wedded to Arteta and isn’t going anywhere. People have to come to terms with that fact.

  25. Pierre

    Guns of sf
    “anyone know what happened with Martinelli?”

    To me , it was obvious, he was ball watching a couple of times in our box in the first half and paid the price..

    Shame really as he wasn’t playing bad , but i think it has to be said that Willian was an improvement when he came on.

    Something tells me that Martinelli will have to be patient as , unless we have injuries, i can’t see him getting a lot of game time this season once Aubameyang and Saka are fit to play.

  26. AFC Forever

    I said to a while back, you can’t isolate Xhaka because of his lack of pace. In the system with Partey that doesn’t happen. I think he’s also benefitting from having ESR because he has movement to find.

  27. Pierre

    Considering we had Saka, Aubameyang and Tierney missing , I thought we competed well in a game that could have gone either way.

    Pepe could become an essential part of the team in the 2nd half of the season as he now knows what is required and put in a tremendous shift today defensively and offensively..

    The midfield 2 look as solid as a rock, Cedric impressive again and Holding and Leno were immense.

    That performance and the way we were set up gives me a lot of hope for the future.

    Oh yeah ..Smith Rowe is dynamic on the ball and will only get better.

  28. Nelson

    I agree With Arteta to sub out Martinelli. He was completely outclassed by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. He’ll lose all his confidence if he has to play the 2nd half against Aaron. one on one, Aaron is almost unbeatable.

  29. AFC Forever

    Pierre, yes I totally agree. He’s a better coach than he gets credit for. For years s we have been a shambles defensively. We had no identity & it was frustrating. Hard to believe these are mostly the same players. Building teams takes times but we are definitely getting there. 6 months ago the thought of losing Aubamayang wasn’t worth thinking about. Having a system & a way of playing makes it easier for players to rotate. Players are actually improving which isn’t luck. Its very exciting. At last.

  30. tunnygriffboy

    Willian much much better. More confidence possibly bury that chance. Did hell lot work helping out Cedric with Rashford.

    Well done Pepe. Looked up for fight, worked hard and looked happy. Another day one of those shots go in.

    Partey and Xhaka nullified Pogba and dirty sneaky Fernandez.

    Well done to CBs.

    Draw probably fair result

    7 unbeaten. Onwards

  31. Nelson

    Partey almost caused us the game. He created a turn over in our half, allowing Rashford to run free inside our box. Luckily, his shot hit the side of the net.

  32. Northbanker

    May not have been his best appearance but Martinelli made an interception that saved the game for us. Willian would not have done that. Willian completely fluffed our best chance that Martinelli probably would have converted.

  33. Pierre

    Dissenter
    “Partey was poor today and Xhaka carried the burden of the midfield
    How many times did Partey lose the ball, I stopped counting at five in the 41st minute.”

    Partey will lose possession occasionally because he doesn’t look to pass sideways and backwards.

    He is very progressive in his passing and in his movement with the ball .

    What the team loses from the occasional losing of possession, it will gain from his ball progression and forward passing.

    It’s nothing to be be too concerned about.

  34. Matt

    I can’t believe anyone sees anything positive in Willian. It’s not about agendas, it’s about the fact that as an attacking midfielder he yet again showed zero threat. He had one moment when he cut the ball back to Pepe. All of a sudden people are saying he might have turned a corner. You’re absolutely kidding yourself if you think he is going to do anything for this team. He will turn out to be a worse signing than ozil. Disgrace of a player.

  35. curse

    AFCF

    I had my doubts during that bad run for sure but Mikel could be that guy. watching this team not only understand the plan but execute it whilst interchanging players is quite something given how deep the water was.
    We played out from the back with swagger, I remember when that practice was a clown show.

  36. AFC Forever

    Curse, yes mate. All teams go through bad runs but he didn’t panic and work on the training pitch has paid off. Still things that need to improve of course but today we were missing key players but held our own against their full strength team. Nobody builds a team overnight.

  37. AFC Forever

    Northbanker

    “May not have been his best appearance but Martinelli made an interception that saved the game for us”

    Yes that was a great interception .I think he’ll become a great player. He’s just come back from injury & we still forget young players are still learning.

  38. Guns of SF

    I thought martin did well defensively, our entire side was struggling with their press in our third….

    He did get mins, so i am glad, but at the same time, if there was a game change on the pitch, it was him

  39. Time up

    Good timing for players coming in and performing, and players gaining form. It’s never about the starting 11, it’s about the squad.

    With that and defensive improvement, we should use the 17 games left to cement our style of play and forgot about where we finish in the league, take it one game at the time. Go all out for the EL. I’ve feeling we’re going to win it this time.

  40. Guns of SF

    Someone tell me why, when we loan players from spain, they
    are
    5’7 or smaller,
    Weak
    Highly skilled
    lack physicality

    I know Ode did not get many touches but boy is he a short little fella….
    Now if he can replicate a Santi, Im good but I do worry about him coping with the EPL…. caught him watching laca but his ass, without much as even offering support.

    9 mins… I know…. hopefully we see more minutes and what he can really do

  41. Guns of SF

    WOAB, these websites are full of shit when it comes to heights… wiki has him at 5’9
    I think he is closer to 5’7 if anything

  42. Time up

    Guns of SF,

    “Martinellli’s game time is far more important to our future than playing Willian“

    No chance, Arteta Achilles is, he doesn’t fancy young players or doesn’t know how to develop them, and had a hard on for late 20s.

    Against those shop keepers and fishermen in the EL after we qualified, he was putting 9 players over 25 and Willian. Do you think he would worried about minutes for young players, he would drive them out to play late 20s.

  43. Words+on+a+Blog

    Did anyone else notice that Pepe was actually smiling a few times during the match this evening, rather than looking like someone who’s just been told that he was about in front of a firing squad for a crime he didn’t commit?

  44. Valentin

    Pierre,

    The multiple times when Partey lost the ball were not due to offensive risky passes that did not hit a teammate. They were just misplaced passes, including some when not under any pressure.

    Partey did not have a good game. Since his return he has mostly off colour.

    I don’t think that he is fully fit. I also think that playing in 4-2-3-1 requires him to be very defensive and not go ahead of the game. So no more powerful driving run which is his main attacking strength because quick vertical passing has never been his forte.

    If he was hoping to escape Simeone very defensive approach, he is now discovering that Arsenal may play a more attack minded style of football, but he is not part of it. He has jumped into Arteta discipline midfield.

  45. Valentin

    Give me talent and exuberance over experience and calm any day.
    Martinelli over Willian is a no brainer. If his substitution was for tactical reason and not protect him from injury then it was a bad call.
    William did not brought any thing offensively except his constant backward recycling of the ball.

  46. Guns of SF

    If Willian had scored that shot, ok but as per usual, he brain farts and misses.
    He is in a major slump if that is what you call it….
    He and Auba have not been right… we know why for Auba but Willian? a mystery

  47. Matt

    Guns

    We gave a 31 old year old a 3 year contract on £200k a year. That’s not conducive to getting the best out of anyone.

  48. Matt

    Time up

    Even worse. He literally has nothing to play for, nothing to prove. No matter what walk of life you’re in, too much security breads complacency, it’s just human nature.

  49. China1

    Not winning is disappointing but overall that was a very acceptable game. Performance was ok. Clean sheet against a dangerous team. Didn’t lose the momentum we’ve been building in the league. Did so with 3 of our best players injured. Defense was good again. Pepe has a good game. Everyone worked hard etc

    I normally dislike draws and call them two points dropped, but I’m ok with this being 1 point gained instead. Not amazing but very much acceptable

    Now onto the next game

  50. China1

    Willians big chance was awfully fluffed. You could take the defense out the equation and it’s never going in it was so tame

  51. China1

    Not saying it’s going to happen by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d imagine if we win our next 3 games against wolves villa and Leeds we will be up to 6th give or take

    Tho the game after will be city so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s an L

  52. Matt

    Time up

    As painful and annoying as it is, we need to mentally cut our losses on Willian and accept that he is going to bring nothing to this team. I would love it if we could actually and cut our losses and get rid but that isn’t going to happen.

    I just can’t listen to some people make out he put in a better performance today because he literally made one positive offensive contribution. It’s like people are now holding him to the same standard as a non league player. Most non league players by the way would have done better with the chance that fell to him.

  53. Time up

    Matt,

    I think Willian here to stay as long as Arteta the manager. It won’t be hard to get rid of Willian even if we pay some of his wage. The line of Wedtham, Everton or Fulham woyld take him on loan.

  54. Words on a Blog

    it’s pretty clear that, since the changes made in the Chelsea game, Arteta has arrived at or stumbled on (take your pick) a settled formation and system of play that manages to be both pretty secure defensively and which creates a pretty good amount of chances. And it appears to work whether opponents play a high pressing style or use a mid block or a deep block.

    The “shithousing”/small margins approach has been jettisoned – thankfully.

    PROVIDED ESR and Partey stay fit and injury free, we’re in with a decent chance of moving up the table. (Top 4 will depend on other teams having a bad run)

    Odegaard may or may not work as an alternative to ESR, but no one can replace Partey. Even when he’s had an indifferent match, he’s better than the rest of our central midfielders. None of them can beat a press, and none can provide forward momentum like he does..

  55. Time up

    I personally think the idiot Xhaka lost us the game.

    Imagine if he did that to Bruno, he would have been off, because Bruno would roll around as if he was shot.

    What did our idiot do?. Stood up and shook hand with that fucking cheating donkey look alike cunt to let him get away with it. No wonder he’s a brainless football having a chat and hugs with a Leeds player that sent off one of our players and want to hurt Saka deliberately.

  56. AFC Forever

    Guns of
    “Someone tell me why, when we loan players from spain, they
    are 5’7 or smaller. Weak.”

    You know, just for a moment there I thought we must have signed Lionel Messi. Barcelona didn’t do so bad with him, not too shabby. We also had Iniesta & Xavi winning everything. In England David Silva did okay. Santi Cazorla? Eden Hazard.? Did you know Maradonna was 5ft 6″?

    They weren’t goalies mate.

  57. Socrates

    “I think I’m sold on offering Lacazette a two year extension (three years total) this summer. He’s a warrior and will always be a good option even if he’s no longer first-choice CF. A two-year extension will mean he will be 32 for the final year of the deal.”

    Agree

  58. Bojanglesi

    A lot more positivity in here last night. A few of the usual suspects throwing a dose of cold water on the performance. I have heard that positivity can have a beneficial effect on your sex life. Try it, getting laid may solve more than just football related problems.

  59. Bojanglesi

    I think the club will be looking at finding a new home for Laca in the summer. Hopefully he will keep improving for the remainder of the season to increase his value.

  60. DivineSherlock

    I dont wanna say people are judging wrong but boy there is some weird analysis on Legrove. Pierre thinks Martinelli was poor defensively while he made the most important interception denying Rashford a clear cut chance . Partey didnt have a bad game, he was just guilty of trying too hard to beat the Utd press, when the simple of pass was available. Willian did look like the man who had only 3 shots on target whole season , so when the chance came I’d rather Martinelli was there instead of him . If we had either Auba or Saka , I think it wouldve guaranteed 3pts .

  61. Bojanglesi

    I have to admit I used to be Holding out but this year he has improved so much. t’s easy to see why he was given an extention. This guy plays for the shirt.and just keeps getting better.

  62. Guns of SF

    partey is still not 100 percent, and has not had a run of games to get going.
    I think the best is still to come with him….

    Laca I have to say, I am impressed every game. His tenacity also seems to be rubbing off on Pepe… you can see how hard he works, constantly battling, getting fouled, taking shots, and never stops… all game

    Pepe today was also fighting too… seems like someone told him to play with the shackles off…

    maybe Ode coming to the team has fired up certain players… ?
    Whatever it is, its good to see

  63. Sid

    Pepe only needed a playmaker, he was ineffective getting the ball on the halfway line and everyone knew this but diet pep.
    When Pepe played with Ozil in the team he was relatively effective and it was his 1st season.

    For partey to be effective one of 2 things needs to be done.
    1. If he is DM get a proper box to box , Xhakalson is static and parteys long range passing to the forwards isnt great.
    2. Get a DM and let Partey be the box to box, but Partey is better at DM.

  64. HerbsArmy

    A very cagey game, 1st half United started quicker and won it on points, but we kept them out and the second half was ours, we grew into the game, and the lads put a shift in.
    If you can’t win make sure you don’t lose, and Arsenal proved a few doubters wrong with this performance.
    We are on the right trajectory, if we can maintain this level for the rest of the season, top six is very achievable.

  65. Mysticleaves

    Martinelli was poor and I think we are contributing to it. The hype is too much. He has done nothing for people to think he is our best player or even one of them. I mean Pedro said Martinelli was the better player than Pepe and should start ahead of him. Pepe played almost a blinder today and Martinelli played like a talented kid who is into his 3rd year of senior football that’s retuning from 8 months out injured. We need to allow him to recover and fulfil his talent and not bill him already as a superstar in this team. He’s not even close.

    Nice game overall. I felt we could have won if we were proactive more in the first half like we were in the 2nd half. We were lucky not to lose though. Cavani missed 2 sitters and Fred’s shot in the first half, 9 times out if 10 ends up in the net. Leno was great today.

    Re Lacazette and new contracts… I’d say sell by summer. Many players can offer what he does with greater goals output. He’s not hard to replace at all. Infact I feel he’s holding us back cos he should be definitely scoring more. Let’s use his recent up turn in form to get a good deal for him in the summer.

  66. Mysticleaves

    I don’t have issues with Partey at all. He didn’t “play well” yesterday but defensive he was a rock and limited space very well for United through the middle. His loss of possession was through playing forward passes or trying to beat the press through dribbles. I hope he continues doing that. If he starts sideways passing like Xhaka and el neny it’s over for us

  67. zacharse

    from NBC Sports:
    Man of the Match: Nicolas Pepe
    Three key passes, 7-of-11 on duels, and the top scoring threat for either side, Pepe will have wished to find the breakthrough goal but his day was just ahead of Harry Maguire and Granit Xhaka in terms of impact on his team’s result.

  68. Habesha Gooner

    The hype with Martinelli is real. I think he is still a world class youngster. But he isn’t playing in the position that he can do most damage. He can be a good winger but put him as the center forward and he will be elite. I hope somehow arteta sees this. People forget his impressive goal return last season mostly came from playing as a 9. We don’t have natural LW now and that may be why he is playing him there. Willian has been poor and Reiss seems out of favor. The best thing to do regarding Martinelli is putting him upfront.

    Pepe was immense yesterday. It was a refreshing performance.
    Cedric also is a good backup as it turns out. Special mention to rob holding who is starting to look like a world beater with every game that passes.

  69. Pierre

    Valentin

    “Martinelli over Willian is a no brainer. If his substitution was for tactical reason and not protect him from injury then it was a bad call.”

    I would have thought that any tactical substitution that improved the team (which it did) , could hardly be regarded as a ” bad call”…..the opposite in fact..

    Martinelli has time on his side , people should stop panicking..

    I doubt that Willian will be starting ahead of Aubameyang, ESR, Saka ,Pepe anytime soon , so again stop panicking, his subsitution yesterday improved the side and that’s all that matters…

    Nobody said he played fantastic, he came on and did what the manager asked him to do…..

  70. Habesha Gooner

    Patrick Van anholt being linked. Has been a decent player for a while. Now he is 30. If he comes on low wages and we have the chance to move him on if it doesn’t work out this can be a good deal.

  71. Goobergooner

    All I can say is that we again have a manager bigger than the club in some people’s eyes and it’s really disgusting to read how much they gargle on Arteta’s ‘sauce’.

    Not that it matters but I’m definitely finding it harder and harder to read the comments here. And that is saying something considering how crazy shit had been on here under the latter years of wenger and especially under Emery.

    But yeah it is what it is haha.

    Thanks Pedro for a sweet blog nonetheless!

  72. Emiratesstroller

    We are playing on average two games a week since beginning of January losing just one game in FA Cup and conceding two goals.

    Yet there are posters constantly criticising our performance and of course the manager.

    When you discuss yesterday’s result against Man Utd we were playing against a team who
    are currently in second place in EPL and have not lost an away game for a very long time.
    Moreover they were able to put out more or less their strongest team.

    Arsenal by contrast were without Aubameyang, Saka and Tierney. It should also not be forgotten that Gabriel who was our first choice left centre back is also recovering from COVID and did not play.

    There was also criticism on this thread about the performance of Partey a player who was
    not expected to play in this game.

    So considering all the circumstances I think that we played a fairly positive game and we
    could have won it. Overall a draw was a fair result.

    The bottom line is that we are unlikely to finish in top 4 or win a trophy this season. Yet for
    all the negatives we have the framework of a decent team considering the fairly low expectations this season.

    There is as far as I am concerned a “light at the end of a dark tunnel”.

  73. Emiratesstroller

    On a separate point I think that Leno’s performance level since Christmas has been absolutely outstanding.

    Moreover he is now beginning to kick the ball upfield rather than the perpetual short passing game.

    I was one of the critics who preferred Martinez at start of season, but that would not be the case now. It was a very difficult decision to make, but probably the right one.

  74. Pierre

    Sid
    “Pepe only needed a playmaker, he was ineffective getting the ball on the halfway line and everyone knew this but diet pep.
    When Pepe played with Ozil in the team he was relatively effective and it was his 1st season.”

    Correct
    Without Ozil to feed him, Pepe’s performances have been regressing week on week .

    Smith Rowe coming into the side has reinvigorated Pepe añd there is a definite partnership developing there.

    Arteta now has a conundrum in that the emergence of Pepe could give him a selection problem.

    It may be a case of juggling Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Saka and Smith Rowe for the 4 offensive positions..

    Martinelli, Odegaard, Nketiah and Willian will basically be on standby and will find it difficult to break into the side if the starters stay fit

  75. Henry19

    Sid
    “When Pepe played with Ozil in the team he was relatively effective and it was his 1st season.”

    That was down to Emery’s management skills.

  76. Graham62

    Pepe’s best game by a mile and a furlong.

    Apart from the fact that with a bit of lick he could have scored a couple of goals, with and without the ball he was excellent.

    He also stayed on his feet far more. He looks stronger and more confident.

    Maybe this is the turning point for him.

  77. China1

    Graham you might have been right the first time!

    He doesn’t appear to be very fluent in English so maybe he’s not been getting much in the way of ‘licks’ off the field. All that lent up tension has been affecting his performances!!

  78. Emiratesstroller

    Henry19 [RT/Marble]

    Your perpetual negative critique about Arsenal is boring.

    The team/squad are improving under Arteta. We have not lost a game in EPL since beginning of January and conceded just one goal. That is in itself progression.

    The starting point in any journey is to build a solid defence something neither Wenger nor
    Emery managed to do. That has now been achieved. Only Man City have conceded fewer
    goals than us this season.

    Our attacking potential needs improvement, but I am sure that will happen. Even Pepe despite his shortcomings and lack of brain looks a better player. Lacazette is scoring goals
    consistently and Saka has also managed 5 this season. Hopefully Aubameyang will start
    scoring more regularly as well.

    Despite your constant negative comment Arsenal are looking much better than they were
    and with arrival of both Partey and Odegaard we have more options and better players in
    midfield.

  79. Bojanglesi

    Sid

    “Pepe only needed a playmaker, , he was ineffective getting the ball on the halfway line and everyone knew this but diet pep.”

    Yeah mate, must have missed your comment about 10 ways to improve Pepe, prior to him improving. Don’t suppose you can repost it. For free of course.

  80. Foxy

    Yes you had to feel for Pepe earlier in the season as the number for times he would be in line with the last defender ready for a through ball that never came must have been really frustrating for him. Not helped by no 10 and Bellerin behind him.

  81. Foxy

    On the subject of Bellerin he seems to have had barely one mention in this whole thread. How was his play yesterday and does Cedric still look the better option for RB both offensively and defensively?

  82. Mb

    Partey on Facebook

    Not my best game but I’m happy to make 90 minutes and also continue with our premier league unbeaten run 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

    #keepworkinghard #COYG

    He understands his responsibility and accepts it. Still not best to his fitness but we don’t need to worry about him.

  83. Samesong

    On the subject of Bellerin he seems to have had barely one mention in this whole thread.

    That usually means he had a good game.