NAVIGATING THE RIGHT ROTATIONAL MIX

by .

I think I maybe took the misery a little bit too far on the post yesterday. We beat Leeds, a game most of us didn’t fancy, and I dominated the post with my concern over David Luiz and Willian.

It’s time to pick up the mood.

When things go well, you might as well enjoy them, because massive games like Manchester City are usually only a week or so away.

We’re playing in Rome on Thursday in a huge night out against… Benfica. Usually, we land a slightly easier tie in the last 32 of this competition, but to be honest, a night out in a nice stadium against a team with a name of prestige is good for the moment.

I genuinely think one of the first European games I ever remember Arsenal playing in was Benfica.

It felt sexy then and that sheen with Benfica has never worn off for me… even though they’re not the force they once were. The Portuguese side finished 2nd in their group to Rangers. They won 3 games and drew 3. Not exactly impressive when Poznan and Liege made up the other seats. They’re a long way off their best, sitting 4th in their league 13 points off the top of the table… which is pretty bad by their usually high standards.

The hope we all have going into the game is that some of the decisions made in the week will be remedied with the correct selections for that starting 11. This isn’t a small game. It’s a chance to win a place in the next season’s Champions League. I would like to see a good side rolled out.

That will hopefully mean minutes for Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe.

Where he makes up the starters elsewhere will have a slightly different spin on things. We shed a lot of players in January, at the same time, it’s also pretty clear that we’re trying to shove a few other names out this summer. Does he continue to give minutes to players he doesn’t want? Or does he opt for something new? Is there any point in Reiss starting?

Whatever he does, it’s important that we use Thursday nights to maintain momentum. A win doesn’t usually matter, but I do think a loss can sometimes rattle the vibes around a club.

I would quite like to see Odegaard continue to build his fitness. Pablo Mari and Cal Chambers should be finding some minutes. It might also be interesting to see Flo Balogun in the side. At the minute, it seems like Arteta is unwilling to invest minutes in someone that might leave, if he’s so confident he’ll sign, is it time to let him shine again?

I certainly don’t want to see Tierney and Saka starting…

Our two Premier League games that are wedged between these Europa games are quite mega.

Manchester City is this Sunday. They are back to peak Pep-ball and they’re the only truly scary team in the league.

Then we have Leicester the Sunday after. They could be in the title race. I’m not sure they are, but they’ve certainly been excellent this season and for me, it’s a real winnable day out if we turn up.

Going away to Italy and then following that up with Greece is really, really rough… but we’ll have to deal with it. All four of those games are important. Arteta and his staff are going to have to be very, very cute with how they organise squad rotation.

You’d ideally like to take that first half against Leeds into the 90 and come away with a big lead… but to achieve that level, you need to play too many senior players to give yourself a chance on Sunday against a City side that has a day more to prepare and a short bus ride to contend with.

Overall though, we have to head into this next batch of matches feeling pretty positive. That Leeds game wasn’t a fluke, it had been brewing, as I had written in the weeks preceding.

We’re starting to look like a clever side with exciting attacking instincts. There’s still lots to do, obviously, but the coaching is starting to kick in, and it’s hard to ignore that it’s quite innovative. Even when our xG was low against Villa, you could see that the passing patterns and positions were finding weren’t far off where we needed to be.

This squad is young. ESR, Saka and Odegaard are very, very junior. They will work out a rhythm over the next few weeks and the attacking football on show will speed up and the finishing will start to happen.

Of key importance to all of that is ensuring that we still defend well. Tony Adams advertised once again why he doesn’t have a big job in the game with this comment.

‘We saw how fragile they are defensively. The defence has always been the weak link. As the sporting director of Arsenal, you wouldn’t be getting Ødegaard in, you’d be getting good, strong defenders into the team instead.’

There are only three teams in the league that have conceded less than us this season. I think in all comps we’re joint tied with Chelsea for the best defence in the league. Conceding hasn’t been a problem, size of defender isn’t an issue, nor is ability. Tony Adams is falling back on 2018 complaints.

The big question is whether we can defend well when we’re opening up teams. The first half against Leeds seems to be how they want to go about it. Just nullify the opposition so they can’t attack in the first place. Manchester City has been doing that all season, I’d imagine that’s the path we’re going to take but on the cheap.

The Arsenal project is on the right path, what Arteta needs to do is navigate the next 6 weeks really well to stop the bi-weekly crisis sessions a particular section of the fanbase seems to revel in.

To keep the noise to a minimum, generally, you need to see good football, young players starting, combined with high energy output.

Let’s see what this week holds, could be exciting.

P.S. Le Grove fave Marco Rose landed a job at Dortmund next year. You see that? I’m getting better at this manager scouting malarkey.

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240 Responses to “NAVIGATING THE RIGHT ROTATIONAL MIX”

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  1. kjelli

    I would like to see Balugun and also Chambers play to rotate a bit and to give them minutes, as
    I rate C. Chambers ..and we haven’t seen much of Folarin..

  2. Gonsterous

    Can we win 9 out of the remaining 13 PL games? That would give us a total of 61 points at the end of the campaign, is that good enough for top6?

    If we end up outside the top 6, only the EL cup will give arteta the support of the kroenkes.

  3. andy1886

    Pedro, no problem your positive vibes but when you stoop to lecturing fans and readers like a mini-Tony Attwood you really aren’t doing yourself any favours.

    Back to the ‘standards’ discussion, as Arsenal fans can we at least agree that finishing below the Spuds should be a sackable offence? Or is that acceptable as long as you’re a ‘Superfan’?

  4. Davey

    Not getting the give him mins and rotate, this is Europa all in our only hope of a trophy and CL football.
    We need to beat them and progress because making top 6 and Europa again does not cut it for me.

  5. andy1886

    Coming back to Pierre on his Martin Hayes point, it was hardly a bit of genius level insight to claim that you knew Hayes wasn’t very good despite the one season goal rush. As everyone was aware back then a large number of his goals were penalties, his overall play was very average. Any comparison with Martinelli is laughable, the two are not even remotely similar.

  6. Gonsterous

    Savage

    Yah, we need to. Get the win in the first leg and rest legs during the second. Though I have a feeling, we will only show up in the second leg, because we love making it harder for ourselves.

  7. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal should be considering now its future transfer business and in particular the centre forward position.

    Personally I have no issue in retaining Aubameyang as our number 1 striker. He is still the
    most potent and gifted on our books.

    However, my viewpoint is that both Lacazette and Nketiah are not of the required quality to
    play for Arsenal and perhaps more importantly will be in final year of their contracts at end of this season.

    Coincidentally Nketiah’s agent also represents Balogun, which may explain why Arsenal have a problem in extending the contract of latter.

    There is a shortage of goalscoring strikers in the current transfer market and more or less
    every major club in Europe is in market for one. For this reason alone I don’t think that Arsenal will have difficulty in selling Lacazette.

    Similarly I do think that Nketiah would fetch decent money, because of his goalscoring track
    record with England U21s.

    It should be possible to raise between £40-45 million for the combined sale of both these players and be able to buy a potential successor for Aubameyang.

    My personal preference would be to keep Balogun rather than Nketiah. Based on what I have
    seen in last couple of seasons he is a more versatile footballer with perhaps more uplift in his game.

  8. DM

    Have people heard about the new Europa Conference League starting next season? Must admit I didn’t know about it until I watched a video on it. Whilst it’s mostly a tournament for the smaller teams in the average European leagues, there will be one English side going into it, and it will also cause some repercussions for CL and EL…

    Third placed teams in CL group stages no longer go straight into Europa. Instead, they play a play-off against the second placed teams in EL group stages, with the winner progressing. So basically in EL next year you have to win your group to be guaranteed to go through.

    I kinda like it, makes it a bit more interesting. But then no doubt it’ll bite us in the ass at some point.

  9. Pierre

    I think it’s worth having a look at our signings over the past 2 seasons and this may give an indication as to why we are where we are in the league .Signings

    Martinelli….injured …out for 9 months
    Partey ….hardly played due to injury
    Tierney ..in and out of the team due to injury.
    Mari ..hardly played due to injury .
    Saliba …complete cock up all round ..hasnt played.

    Thats 5 new players who have had very limited game time mainly due to injury.
    Other incomings
    Willian …struggling
    Pepe…struggled
    Runarsson…words fail me

    Gabriel and Cedric are probably the only 2 that can regarded as reasonably successful at this point and they are not exactly game changing players.

    .Taking into account that during this time we have lost players of the quality of Ramsey , Mhkitaryan, Ozil , Torreira, Guendouzi, Monreal to name but few , it is understandable that the team hasn’t settled into any rhythm.

    Now is not the time to judge Arteta, let’s wait and see how we perform with something close to our strongest side…

    The main focus should be on getting players 100% fit for next season and learn from the mistakes of this season and be more patient with players coming back from injury.

    Of course , our present position is also a lot of Arteta’s own doing, his man magement has been poor and needs to improve , his judgement should be questioned as to the treatment of Guendouzi , Torreira, Sokratis and Ozil as the ostracising of these players was detrimental to the team’s performance up until the end of the year.

    We are turning a corner, thanks in the main to the emergence of 2 academy players , Saka and Smith Rowe..
    What I would like to see is Arteta go a step further and introduce a couple more academy players into the first team and give them enough opportunity to prove themselves instead of the odd game here and there.

    Personally, i think now is the time to experiment in the league as we are unlikely to finish top 4 or be relegated.

    Go full out for the Europa , we have shown that we can beat any team on our day , there are some good teams left in the competition but we are more than capable of winning it.,

  10. Anonymous Commentator

    I don’t get why we would rotate in preparation for the city game when they’re dove tailing.
    Play Saka and ESR against benfica surely, we need to try winning the EL.
    It’s against city where i would ring the changes, perhaps get Tierney back to fitness, give chambers some minutes, sample Balogun (ha, more likely it snows in Africa) and Martinelli, heck even start Willian against city cause we just aren’t realistically winning that game and he can be used to rest our valuable pairs of legs.

    The rest of the upcoming fixtures, even Liverpool, are winnable. Surely those are the rotation goals arteta should be aiming for, would make no sense to sacrifice efficiency in more important and winnable games for a certain hiding against city, who are not our rivals anyway.

    Heck play Eddie against city, that match is a free hit that we should orient our selection around.
    Play Cottrell, play azeez. Let the players see how far off the best they are and treat it is aspirational.
    Dare I say there are better things we can do rather than chase a 1% chance of a win against city.
    Pep won’t embarrass his favourite student and will put the handbrake on at 3 goals.
    Win against benfica is vital though, both legs.

  11. englandsbest

    Arteta will pick players who he believes will win against Benfica. Who they will be is anybody’s guess but they will be his strongest eleven + subs. The reason is obvious: this is the most vital game of the season thus far because winning the Europa is a Go card into next season’s CL.

  12. Radio Raheem

    I’d expect Leno, Mari, Holding, Pepe, Martinelli, Elneny and Lacazette to start on Thursday. We’ll which other 4 from the weekend join them.

  13. Nelson

    We have only two days rest before we play MC. We also have to travel to Rome. I am really worry about the player’s health.

  14. China1

    I don’t know if there’s an anti arsenal bias from refs but I do know there is a pro Utd one

    In the old days people could dress it up as jealously because they were the best. We were all just sore losers right?

    But even with Utd no longer doing shit they’re absolutely rocking every meaningful ref stats hard as fuck.

    We don’t have any vested interest in being anti Utd these days as they’re basically irrelevant to the league title and CL every year, yet we’re still here complaining because the bias is so damn obvious

  15. Samesong

    Willock – 6* – A lot of expectation for Willock after his terrific debut last weekend, however he had a tougher night here. Unlucky not to score a glancing header which was heading in the corner of the net, if it wasn’t for a good save from Kepa. Was energetic in the midfield and but not strong enough sometimes which let Chelsea drive through. Highest rating of the night, just shows how poor the team performance was

    Don’t shoot the messenger
    Ok a 6 don’t rate him that much but also don’t expect him to dominate against that Chelsea midfield.

  16. Jaroda

    For the last 10 seasons 2010/11 to 2019/20 penalties For Against and diff
    Man City 78 28 +50
    Man Utd 69 32 +37
    Chelsea 60 26 +34
    Liverpool 62 41 +21
    Spuds 47 41 +6
    Everton 44 41 +3
    Arsenal 48 58 -10

    All evens out in the end……. yeah

  17. Jamie

    We need to be beating Benfica comfortably over both legs.

    Still in the competition:

    Spuds
    Leicester
    Man U
    Zlatan

    Won’t be an easy ride to the final.

  18. AFC Forever

    Nelson

    “We have only two days rest before we play MC. We also have to travel to Rome. I am really worry about the player’s health”.

    Absolutely. It is preposterous we have to travel to Rome, then return Friday morning, and play again on Sunday. That is insufficient recovery time and it puts players physical health at risk. Various Managers have already been complaining about the fixtures and the effect on players bodies by not having a pre-season. Arteta himself made it clear he was concerned about young players being overplayed during these hectic rounds of games. This fortnight is where we will see the benefits of rotation. The following Week remember we go to Greece Thursday and then Leicester on the Sunday. had these been Tuesday/Saturday or Wedneday/Sunday games it would be such a problem but there is no recovery between each pair of games.

    This probably explains Artetas reluctance to use the bench against Leeds because let’s face it, he didn’t need to. A lot of those lads will be as fresh as daisies. Man City are only travelling a few miles up the road to play Everton tomorrow, so they will be able to play the same team in both games. We can’t do that. So whoever he thinks he needs for the City game, will probably not be starting Thursday. You do not want to put out a too weak side at City because they have the players to punish you.

  19. AFC Forever

    Jaroda

    It doesn’t even out. Mark Halsay, Graham Poll, Keith Hackett all very unhappy about the PGMOL lack of accountability and the ‘bias’ with regard to referee appointments. With the huge influence the betting company’s have, you have to make sure everything possible is done to ensure a level playing field. That can only happen with accountability. The fact Mike Dean made two blatant mistakes in a week, after reviewing monitors, proves these guys aren’t up to the job. He would have had a game the Weekend had he not deflected, mistakes and incompetence just brushed under the carpet.

    Worst referees in Europe. Sooner we get European referees into the game and break up the cartel of PGMOL the better.

  20. Rich

    Our upturn in attacking output isn’t due to the coaching.

    We’ve now got 2 attacking midfielders.

    This isn’t a dig at Arteta, who I’ve always pled for patience with

    Smith-Rowe has just given us a different dynamic

    Odegaard has qualities we’ve been lacking, and will allow us to rest both Smith-Rowe + Saka more freely

    This has made Saka and Lacazette better, because they’ve got a mobile midfielder to play off

    The balance of our squad was wrong, going into the season without a fit or registered attacking midfielder was negligent

    Runarsson as our only alternative to Leno, negligent

    Not having left footed competition for Tierney, negligent

    Not loaning out Saliba in October, negligent …..

    Getting rid of Ozil, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac in Jan, instead of Sept/Oct, negligent

    Having a first team squad of 31 going into the season, negligent

    Poor bureaucracy, poor scouting + recruitment, poor contract management, and poor squad planning, is what continually costs us

    It’s what cost Emery his job

    We need to get the balance and the quality right

    Otherwise we’ll set our coaches up to fail, and it won’t matter how talented they are

    We’ll never find stability, and I’m not convinced a revolving door of managers helps us

    If we keep our key players fit, we can finish the season strongly

    My concern is we’ve left ourselves short at full back, but it’s great we’ve found both an internal and external solution to our creative problems

  21. Pierre

    “VAR decisions overturned in favor of the big 6 this seasonManU at the top with 7Arsenal at the bottom with 1.”

    “For the last 10 seasons 2010/11 to 2019/20 penalties For Against and diff
    Man City 78 28 +50
    Man Utd 69 32 +37
    Chelsea 60 26 +34
    Liverpool 62 41 +21
    Spuds 47 41 +6
    Everton 44 41 +3
    Arsenal 48 58 -10”

    This is just the tip of the iceberg in the bias against Arsenal .
    Red cards
    Yellow cards.
    Cards per foul
    Cards per tackle

    And these are just the decisions that you can check statistically…

    The overturning of the saka penalty would only happen to The Arsenal

    We hear all the time that it has to be a clear and obvious mistake to be overturned..
    To me , it was a penalty , Saka played the ball past the defender who quite clearly leaned into him as he ended up almost on top of saka.

    Clear and obvious mistake it certainly wasn’t.

    This decision could have cost Arsenal the match…luckily their keeper proceeded to dwell on the ball so VAR VAR wasn’t mentioned.

    In fact the only decision that was mentioned by the media at the end of the game was the penalty shout on Bamford.

    To me, that was a penalty but because the officials cocked up the saka penalty , there was no way that they could give the leeds one.

  22. Jaroda

    Agreed. Its’ also never discussed as a wider talking point by those that broadcast it. (Though not that surprising as to find fault with the product they pay so heavily to sell would be shooting themselves in the foot). So yes it’s a massive fault that ref’s aren’t accountable to any other body and reporting media and broadcasters have no interest it highlighting their shortcomings.

    Those penalty figures should put Arsenal in a +10 ish region based on the last 10 years performance (position and points achieved), somewhere below Liverpool and above Spurs. That’s a 20 penalty swing.

  23. S Asoa

    “ That will hopefully mean minutes for Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe.

    Where he makes up the starters elsewhere will have a slightly different spin on things. We shed a lot of players in January, at the same time, it’s also pretty clear that we’re trying to shove a few other names out this summer. Does he continue to give minutes to players he doesn’t want? Or does he opt for something new? Is there any point in Reiss starting?

    Whatever he does, it’s important that we use Thursday nights to maintain momentum. A win doesn’t usually matter, but I do think a loss can sometimes rattle the vibes around a club.“
    Pepe is a bit of a high strung violin playing out on confidence. After being disappointed being rated behind Williams, of all the animals in the zoo, let’s hope he is still in the groove- that is, if Pepe is still not behind Williams under the intoxication of a4-2 win against Leeds
    As for Balogun, the noises from Arteta sounds like he still rates him, which is understandable considering that even Juventus and 6 other teams rate mim, and guess Arteta is not such a plank as not to notice his qualities. But a Sauce needs contrasting ingredients, so likely what we see ,likely Balogun might not see substantial action. With Runnarsun on the bench we need 4 substitute goalkeepers on the bench, no ? And Arteta needs to turn a push into a shove to SUCCEED in getting another player he detests out of sight.
    Arteta makes it so easy to get his vibes right in the team. Let’s discuss the results another day 😭

  24. Captain Tierney

    Even Tony Adams at HT talk was saying the Saka penalty call by VAR was correct

    Justification by him and his partner – There is obvious contact, the player is leaning over Saka which is probably why Saka is going down but the contact is too soft and therefore it shouldn’t be a pen.

    Not just leaning but the defender also trips Saka. The refs continue to amaze us.

    But one could say this poor decision was cancelled out later when Bamford was bought down in our box.

  25. Pierre

    Time out
    “A man still convinced Arsene still top class manager and should be managing Arsenal, Ozil and Eddie should be leading the line for Arsenal is here to troll not give an opinion.”

    It’s always telling when someone has to lie to put their point across.

  26. Habesha Gooner

    I would play a full strength team against benfica. We need to win handsomely to make sure we qualify for the next round. It won’t matter what we do against city. We are most probably going to lose. So we need to prioritize.

  27. Pierre

    Time up
    “The Untold conspiracist and AKB are out in force now Pedro is the new Atwood. ”

    How about looking at the figures to determine whether we are, or not being unfairly treated.

    If you can come up with some figures to prove your point then there may be some substance to what you say .

    Instead what we have is you and a few others using the untold Arsenal line , which is evidence that there are no figures to say that it evens itself out.

  28. Winthorpe

    Yes. These are going to be a tough 3 weeks but let’s remember how well Arteta did with his back to the wall last season against teams we feared in a lethal run
    We beat wolves Liverpool city and chelsea in that period.

    There’s no reason he can’t do it again now. He has the formula for big games, remember?

    Looking forward to the summer we have plenty of value in the squad to sell

    Nketiah, nelson, AMN, willock. All english, all £20-£25m each

    Torreira and Guendouzi. Both £25m each, easily.
    Lacazette. £20-25m

    Elneny £10m

    You’re looking at well over £150m there to add to the existing funds. Only lacazette is getting any game time right now so all of them could be sold with little impact to the squad

    £150-£200m for a striker, 2 midfielders, a back up left back and right back is more than enough to take this team from 10th to top 3

  29. Anonymous Commentator

    I’m pretty sure our penalty numbers are what they are because our players are too honest, I recall that being a common complaint while Wenger was at the helm.
    Liverpool have salah tripping himself on defenders laces.
    VAR United is a bizzarity but that one can be explained by their abundance of dribblers and attacking flair… No doubt a few players channeling Salah.
    City are just that dangerous.
    Chelsea no doubt are stat padded thanks to the Hazard and Costa years.

    Don’t be mistaken, we have had plenty of garbage var reversals directed our way, but I hear other fanbases having the same complaints.
    We had favourable var calls in the cup run last season but those weren’t penalty decisions far as I recall.
    But yeah no doubt the saka incident and luiz incident left a sour taste in the mouth. Would prefer var were working as intended and not getting decisions wrong but this seems to be where football has chosen to go.

  30. Pierre

    Windthorpe
    This summer’s transfer window will make or break Arteta .

    If he isn’t going to play certain players then sell ..

    You’re right , Eddie and willock ( plus nelson) will bring in decent money to help with the rebuild.
    Personally, i would also sell Martinelli and Saliba if Arteta isn’t going to play them ..

    Pointless keeping players that are surplus to requirements.
    Arteta made the mistake of keeping AMN when an offer came in .

    All these players could bring in good money and all are players that are sellable..
    Let Arteta bring in the players he wants/ needs to make us successful and challenge for the title .

    We could easily raise 2/300 mil with those players along with Guendouzi, Torreira and Lacazette .

    I’m not saying that i would want to sell a large bunch of our young guns ( i wouldn’t) but it’s pointless keeping players on who can bring in good money and are not in Arteta’s plans.

  31. Bertie Mee

    The Europa League is arguably our priority this season . We are much stronger than Benfica but are most unlikely to beat Citeh. I think this team could work against Benfica
    Ryan
    Chambers Holding Marí Soares
    Ceballos Elneny
    Pepe Odegaard Martinelli
    Lacazette

    Subs – Leno , Luiz , Gabriel , Bellerin , Xhaka , Nketiah , Nelson , ESR,, Balogun

    But I think he will start Aubameyang and may start Xhaka

  32. Batistuta

    Reading we’re planning to extend David Luiz’s contract. No further explanations as to why we’re gonna be stuck in mid table for a while yet if that’s true

  33. Matt

    We play this game every year of calculating how much we could recoup if we sold x, y, z player. There is no way we sell 6 or 7 players in one window. Even in ‘normal’ conditions it wouldn’t happen, let alone in an economic situation that has been decimated by Covid!

    I would be surprised if we were able to move on more than 3 of the players from the lists being compiled.

  34. AFC Forever

    Pierre

    Bamfords not the only one. There are a number of those on here. It is a shame because, without the regular trolls (pretend fans), the Arteta in and out could probably have more sensible dialogue. Their behaviour tends to force extreme views.

  35. Anonymous Commentator

    ESR, saka and odegaard have transformed our attack, we’ve been a low activity team in the final third for majority of the season until ESR finally got picked.
    Now the activity has picked up tenfold with the addition of MO, and our striker on the day doesn’t have to add activity to our attacking patterns by dropping deep.

    We are now ready to evaluate what our level finally is, unfortunately for arteta the near future will simply be what it is considering the fixtures.

    Would love to see Pepe inserted up top with the three younguns behind him, but baby steps first considering we’ve finally gotten auba scoring again.
    Lacazette would surely be the pick against teams that will sit deep because he’ll get combative with the cb’s, and no doubt ESR, saka and odegaard can be trusted to get the ball forward against a low block.

    Watching highlights from the game and ESR is brilliant btw, his first touch is always into space no matter how many players are around him.
    Incredible work by the academy coaches giving this kid the tools to succeed.

  36. AFC Forever

    Batistuta

    Luiz was man of the match by some margin against Man Utd and Man City. He is just another player used as a scapegoat, it used to be Xhaka. They might extend him for a year it won’t be longer. By all accounts, the young players look up to him – sometimes we forget the value experienced players who have won top prizes bring to the training ground and changing room. Just saying.

  37. HerbsArmy

    There has long been a national psyche of rivalry between the North – South divide in Britain, and we do tend to be quite London centric.
    Almost all the PL referees are from the North of England, and anyone who watches football will have seen this bias too.
    Arsenal have suffered some horrendous officiating down the years, particularly against United and Liverpool. They used to let teams like Stoke and Bolton kick us off the park.
    A root and branch overhaul has been needed for decades.

  38. Na me ooo

    Anonymous C, I thought about Pepe playing up top too. I think he would cause a lot of damage and score lots with Saka, ESR, and Oden behind him.

    I also think he would be quite devastating in the support striker/ behind striker position.

  39. Batistuta

    AFC

    We have Mavropanos doing bits with Stuttgart, we have Saliba doing well with Nice, we have Gabriel who’s been brilliant and Rob Holding who’s steady. We also know Luiz is due to make even more costly errors in games that’ll hurt us. We have Auba who’s an older head and also captain.

    There’s no need to renew Luiz’s contract for any reason whatsoever

  40. Kroenkephobe

    I hope there is a sports psychologist working with the team in the margins this week. This double header against Benfica will be a pretty new experience for everyone. 2 apparently away games on foreign territory.

    But if the players can be persuaded to treat them mentally as 2 home games and if they look confident and up for it in front of the Portuguese, then it should put the team on the front foot. I assume the away goals rule will still count for this charade, but getting the team in the right mindset could be a small marginal gain that’ll pay off.

  41. AFC Forever

    Anonymous
    “ESR, saka and Odegaard have transformed our attack, we’ve been a low activity team in the final third for the majority of the season. Now the activity has picked up tenfold with the addition of MO, and our striker on the day doesn’t have to add activity to our attacking patterns by dropping deep”

    Well said.

    I said before Christmas the biggest problem we had was the lack of a link player. Everyone was caning Xhaka but there was so little movement in front of him, it was difficult not to go sideways. It was the one thing we missed when Ozil was left out because we did not have that kind of player. I suspect Willian was bought for that purpose but unfortunately instead of Willain, Will I Am turned up. Lacazette was being asked to play an isolated role to drop in and link play because against the low block we had no way of penetrating. Thats not Lacazettes game but he did his best. ESR came into the team, when I suspect Arteta gave up on Willian and our play evolved from there. Xhaka has looked a much better player and his passing stats are up with the best. Against Leeds, Odegaard showed the ability to receive under pressure and play quick ball around the corner and then move into position to receive again. he and ESR have that ability we have missed, probably since Wenger left, when he would fill our team with number ten types. The overhead visuals on playback showed perfectly how our players understand the tactical requirement, with the CB’s too interchanging too. All over the pitch, we are a lot more fluid. It’ is early days because the players need to practice together and that gets harder when there are so many games and no recovery period. We have to remember Arteta is a disciple of Wenger and Pep, so this type of fluidity and interchange of position is what he is used to. It’s what I was saying the other day about progress, first we sorted out the defensive fragility to play without the ball & now we are getting the creativity with the ball. There will be a bit of a mix between them of course because we have to find a balance and build partnerships. We have options too, pepe is getting better and Martinelli is yet to feature after his injuries.

  42. Batistuta

    We can’t keep the same set of players who have in one way or another contributed to getting us to where we are at the moment and think every season would be different, we need to move on a good number of players if we’re ever going to seriously compete again.

    Enough of other teams rejects especially Chelsea’s

  43. Nelson

    Penalty: Arsenal 48 58 -10, It is shocking. Thanks to Mustafi, Xhaka and now Luiz…

    Compared to Manure +37
    I can understand the high no. for MC. They have the ball a lot of times in your box. But for Manure, they are just good divers.

  44. Rich

    Winthorpe

    You’re in dreamland with those valuations

    Outside of Bayern Munich, clubs with incredibly wealthy backers, and clubs who benefit from sales to those clubs

    There’s no money, clubs are haemorrhaging cash

    We have no idea when fans will be back in the stadium, or what effects the dip in the economy will have on ticket prices, merchandise, and tv subscriptions

    The idea that clubs are going to be throwing around tens of millions this summer, is bonkers

    We’re about to see huge deflation in transfer fee’s and wages

    Loans

    Loans where the parent club still pays a percentage of the players wages

    Paying players off, to leave….

    Is now the new normal

    Much of Football across the globe is on the verge of extinction without government intervention

    If KSE are willing to back us, we’ll be in a strong position, it’s a buyers market

    It’s moving players on that’s going to be the issue, very few clubs can afford to pay the wages we do, let alone any transfer fees on top

    This summer we’ll still have a first team squad of 28, with the possibility of no European football

    We were losing money before COVID struck, now we must be in a position where we’re losing tens of millions every month

    Without Stan sticking his own money in, or making some guarantees to the bank, I’d be surprised if we did much this summer

    I think KSE will back us, they can’t afford not too, but not everyone has billionaire owners

  45. AFC Forever

    Herbs Army,

    “There has long been a national psyche of rivalry between the North – South divide in Britain, and we do tend to be quite London centric. Almost all the PL referees are from the North of England, and anyone who watches football will have seen this bias too”

    This was actually the concern the former head of PGMOL had. They conducted research that showed Manchester-based referees (there were 6 at the time) were doing Manchester games. The concern wasn’t about deliberate bias, because you can’t referee the team you support, but about the impact of the local environment (For example you give a last-minute penalty against Man Utd & kids get beaten up at school). So it subliminally affects bias. Plus of course the North/South divide and the label of “Southern Softies” that has been prevalent for years.

    Of the PGMOL List:

    Moss – North East
    Oliver – North East

    Dean – North West (Liverpool)
    Atkinson – North West (Manchester)
    Taylor – North West (Manchester)
    Mason – North West (Manchester)
    Tierney -North West (Manchester)
    Kavanagh – North West (Manchester)

    Darren – Yorkshire
    Madley – Yorkshire
    Pawson – Yorkshire

    Attwell – Midlands
    Coote – Midlands
    Friend – Midlands
    Mariner Midlands
    Scott – MIdlands

    South East/ South West/ South Coast/Home Counties/London = 0

    Former referees have said the same thing, Hackett, Halsey, Clattenburg etc, so it’s not a conspiracy theory it is a potential problem. It may explain why stats are so slanted against us. No idea but it is an issue.

  46. Anonymous Commentator

    AFC
    I am still not a fan of xhaka, but he isn’t our worst midfielder currently, so he’s not the first one to get axed
    .
    I agree that our static attacking unit was no doubt problematic for him to work with, it would be problematic for any of our midfielders to work with as is evidenced by Partey and ceballos carrying the ball waiting for options to show for the ball but nothing emerging in earlier matches. Of course in those matches no one showed for the ball, because we were low on confidence and willian just frankly can’t show for the ball if he’s ever marked cause he hasn’t the legs.

    ESR, Saka and MO are constantly showing for the ball and they don’t lose it easily which is just invaluable, either they get a pass off, win a foul or a defender leaves a mark on them. Rarely given away cheaply by those lads.

    At this point I can’t wait to see Tierney and Partey back in the team to play with our dynamic trio.
    That left side should be terrifying for most sides to play against when Tierney is back to fitness, and it can surely only get better cause odegaard isn’t even integrated properly yet.

    The ceiling has been raised now. All that’s left to do is wait for the games and support the team, keep expectations reasonable too.
    Praying that arteta doesn’t revert to type and pick Willian when he shouldn’t cause I’ll get triggered something fierce. Surely he goes over the film and can see that he’s just not got it anymore?
    Whatever.
    Also keen to see Pepe on a wing with odegaard in the middle, no doubt the kid will feed Pepe in situations that favour him and we’ll get to see some of that price tag made good.

    We’re in a decent spot far as matchdays go going forward, assuming we don’t pick up key injuries.
    It is perhaps a good thing that city is up next in the league, we were never going to beat them but we can at least take the time to get chemistry going either in training or on the matchday pitch.

    Higher decisions from edu and arteta will be vital if he is to manage us into next season.
    Cannot resign luiz, need to improve on elneny, need to make a decision regarding laca/nketiah, need to either force Madrid’s hand with odegaard or find a better option.
    It’s in our hands. Not this season to be clear, but if arteta handles our assets correctly going forward it is all in our hands.
    Hopefully the trial by fire has given arteta enough learning scars.

    Can actually look forward to the rest of the season now.

  47. Crimson

    Do we need Luiz to stay next year?
    Does Arteta want him?
    Will he take a paycut?
    Does his influence behind the scenes make him worthy of a contract?
    5 Central defenders at most are needed.

    Pablo Mari
    Gabriel
    Holding
    Chambers
    Saliba
    Mavropanos
    Ballard
    Mcguinnes
    Medley
    Rekik
    Luiz????

  48. HerbsArmy

    AFC

    There is indisputably a Northern bias when it comes to refereeing in the PL.
    I would say that it has definitely had some influence on where United and Liverpool stand today in terms of their trophy count.

  49. Vintage Gun

    “Nketiah, nelson, AMN, willock. All english, all £20-£25m each”

    Thought that at the start of the season, but now i’d say £15m each as none have kicked on this season.

    “£150-£200m for a striker, 2 midfielders, a back up left back and right back is more than enough to take this team from 10th to top 3”

    If we could ever raise close to £200m (which i doubt) i;d drop half of it on Jack Grealish. He’d be perfect for young Saka and Smith Rowe to grow with.

    With the rest i’d grab Hakimi for RB (Inter are broke again) Bissouma and Edouard.

  50. Anonymous Commentator

    Chambers needs to be sold, he can never stay fit.
    Real shame for him cause I rate he’s better than Holding but any time he’s about to put a run of games together he gets crocked.
    Promote Saliba or Konstantinos to replace him.

  51. AFC Forever

    Annonymous

    “At this point I can’t wait to see Tierney and Partey back in the team to play with our dynamic trio.
    That left side should be terrifying for most sides to play against when Tierney is back to fitness, and it can surely only get better cause Odegaard isn’t even integrated properly yet”

    It’s funny, my mate and I were discussing this the other day.

    The side has lacked balance and sometimes it just takes a tweek or a new addition. If you haven’t got the right players then that makes it very difficult. The left-hand side has been productive for us, less so without Tierney, who is an underrated player. We have to also remember that we haven’t been able to integrate Partey into the team because he has been in and out. So again once he gets fit that makes us immediately stronger. Against the lesser sides where they play the low block, we struggled to break them down back end of last year. ESR & Odegaard make those different games now.

    Then you start looking at options and they are all their for the run-in, where you need to rotate. Lacazette, Pepe, Martinelli all offer something, Ceballos, Elneny do a job and defensively we have good options with Mari, Holding, Gabriel etc. Definitely on the right path.

  52. Nelson

    Vintage

    I find getting a LB and a DM are more urgent now if we can keep Ødegaard. Otherwise, we’ll need an ACM first.

  53. AFC Forever

    Herbs

    Anyone watching the highlights of Mike Riley in our 50th game, who hasn’t already seen it, will have their eyes opened. The Youtube highlights are a real eye-opener that prove he should not be doing that job of his. To this day, I still don’t know how he got away with that.

  54. TheBayingMob

    I went to that Benfica game with my dad. It was always my older brother and dad who were the big Arsenal fans so it was a big thing for me to go on my own with dad. I was 17 at the time. I genuinely remember feeling bemused that we were played off the park in ET having scored first. There was a sense of disbelief top side. Having had to get the train into London it was touch and go for us to get home AET. I think this changed GG reign at the club. It was after this he really changed his tune and turned us into the 1-0 cup team having vowed never to get done like that again.

  55. Anonymous Commentator

    AFC

    I think arteta still doesn’t know who his best midfield duo are when all players are fit, we haven’t been afforded all our midfielders being fit for prolonged periods.
    I think it’s a ceballos and Partey partnership, with xhaka and elneny as the backups in that order, but I don’t know that cause we don’t have the film, arteta no doubt has snapshots from training but that’s likely a handful of sessions.
    Get Jordan Reece or O’Driscoll massaging Partey’s legs 24/7 till he’s fit.
    Also gotta get ms. Andrews to watch Partey’s diet, he’s allegedly a big fan of instant noodles, get that man on a carnivore diet.

  56. Chris

    https://www.planetfootball.com/nostalgia/a-forensic-analysis-of-mike-rileys-performance-in-man-utd-2-0-arsenal-2004/

    Read this the other day and found my blood boiling again,

    And this guy Riley is the head of referees, and we wonder why such incompetence is dug into our refs like knotweed.

    The Premier League should hire from overseas (those with high competence in English language). Just get the best people for this rather important job regardless of.nationality. Less Northerners with their beer bellies panting around the pitch and more competent and knowledgable refs who couldn’t give a monkeys about northern or southern bias.

  57. HerbsArmy

    If people had any doubt that football is fixed they just need to watch that Riley performance.
    I agree with you Chris, we need to be more open and accountable about the way football is officiated, it needs to be a completely level playing-field, and the only way to do that is to introduce good referees from around the globe, with as you say, a good command of our language.

  58. AFC Forever

    Chris

    Nobody can watch that match and not reach the conclusion it was bent. Rio’s last man red on Ljungberg, Nisteloorooys disgusting studs-up red on Cole, Reyes getting scythed by the Nevilles without bookings and the Rooney dive. These highlights and Andy Grays commentary. How did Riley get promoted after this?

  59. Tom

    Those penalties stats are maddening. I’m writing a strongly worded letter ( some call them death threats) to PGMO and don’t care what people , and especially Pedro, think.
    The one I wrote to Mike Dean clearly worked didn’t it.

  60. David Boyle

    We’re starting to look like a clever side, the arteta project is on the right path. Am I missing something We’re 11th in the table ,in the bottom half you wanted emery gone for less

  61. Aussie+Gooner

    Chris

    Disgusting watching this again. Thanks to Alex Brooker – true Gooner! The Neville scum admitted that they were instructed to target Reyes (RIP) to put him out of the game – they couldn’t handle his skill level (great nutmeg btw!). Manc scum supported by Fergies mate Old Mother Riley!

  62. China1

    That 50th match was bent as fuck

    Watching it back makes me so fucking angry. Remember it like it was yesterday. One if the most openly bent reffing performances you’ll ever see. Looked like something you’d see in North Korea lol

  63. China1

    Yeah that game was the one where I think Reyes gave up on England

    You could see he was on fire in that game but how many takes can you get cunted on by the Neville brothers without recourse before you say what’s the point and fuck off back to Spain?

    Hard to blame the guy. RIP Reyes. Much love forever

  64. China1

    Tom if you’re writing angry letters then good for you

    If you’re writing actual death threats then you’re a complete tool. I hope it’s the former

  65. Winthorpe

    Rich Vintage Gun

    Rhian Brewster went for £25m. Hasn’t scored one goal for Liverpool. Nketiah is u21 all time top scorer with 17 senior career goals getting snippets of football.
    If Brewster is 25m so is Nketiah.

    Leeds spent €70m this summer gone on 4 players
    Spurs spent €90m on 4 players
    Everton bought Ben Godfrey for £27m

    Palace bought eze, a kid who’s never played in the premier league for £18m

    Chelsea bought chilwell, a left back for £50m
    Villa bought Watkins for £30m and hadn’t played in the premier league. Bought matty cash, a right back for £15m
    West Ham and wolves both spent big this summer. Large sums on individual players
    Ake went to city to sit on the bench fir £40m
    Callum Wilson went to Newcastle for £20m
    Leicester spend €35m on Fofana a 19 year old rb with no
    Prem experience and a season of football under him

    Trust me
    There is a market there for our young players. I reckon we could get food money from Germany for half of them.
    Germany always comes out of a financial crises with extra trillions.

  66. Winthorpe

    Ruud the mule faced Cunt as well as Neville and Ferdinand should have all seen red in the first half hour that day
    Disgusting protection from the officials
    It’s always been the way

  67. Winthorpe

    Kris

    Same. I want to get my boots on and get on that field so badly
    How Ashley Cole or Paddy V could control themselves when that ref gave Cole a yellow like that was commendable. I don’t think I’d have been able to walk away and keep my mouth shut
    Just as well I’m not a premier league footballer

  68. TeeCee

    If Arteta wants Luiz around because of his experience and because the young lads look up to him – give him a job as a coach, just get him away from the playing surface during games!!!

  69. BlackStock

    Pedro
    “The Arsenal project is on the right path, what Arteta needs to do is navigate the next 6 weeks really well to stop the bi-weekly crisis sessions a particular section of the fanbase seems to revel in”

    What you really mean is damage limitation.

  70. shaun

    seriously that is joke business , I have seen about three Red cards and haven’t even finished watching the clip .Some one needs to bring this up the riley dude is definitely on the fergie payroll

  71. Graham62

    Imagine if Collina has referred that game at OT.

    Arsenal would have won it 100%. Utd would have had 2 reds and probably we’d have gone unbeaten for another 50.

    Never mind.

  72. Zacharse

    10 years ago. The most excitement ive ever had as a gooner since it was almost impossible to watch games in the us before 06 or so…
    While my friends were still celebrating the SF Giants winning the world series same way leicester won the league (dodgers fan)i was trying to drag them all outto celebrate, no one knew what the fuxk i wastalkingabout butwere morethan happy to accept the rounds I was buying at that puke scented german beer bar on haight st… heres hoping for some more of that to end our season with… who’s the real conpetition in the EL? AC milan, Napoli and some other EPL teams who will still be fighting tooth and nail for CL positions (leicester manure spuds) should be nice to see salzburg dump villareal in the first KO round…

  73. AFC Forever

    It’s hard to watch that shocking performance by Riley. How can you not get angry? It wasn’t as if it was one decision, Riley did everything he could for Man Utd. Was he scared? Paid off?

    What is even more alarming is that someone decided he had the right attributes to become head of all referees at PGMOL, and then wonder why VAR is operated & the referees make so many mistakes.

  74. Zacharse

    Btw all the talk of luiz extension has been ‘updated’ in the ‘press’ looking like nothing til the summer at earliest, but we all know how trustworthy most sport journalists writing these kinds of articles are

  75. AFC Forever

    Graham62

    “Imagine if Collina has referred that game at OT, Arsenal would have won it 100%. Utd would have had 2 reds and probably we’d have gone unbeaten for another 50”

    Great referee. I would like to find out what made Mike Riley behave like that.

  76. Tom

    People on here need to chill and get a sense of humor.
    Every topic can be joked about says my guy Ricky Gervais and I’m with him on this.
    Actual death threats are written by hopeless cunts.

  77. UTarse

    Pedro still drunk on the coolade….. I’d gladly eat humble pie if / when proved wrong. Renewing Luz is a joke, continuously playing Willian is a joke, keeping faith in this “process” is a joke.

    I was an avid wenger out in the day, we have slid so much further down since those heady days, now we should “celebrate” wins that we used to expect, I guess that makes me an entitled plastic fan.

  78. Winthorpe

    Utarse

    What’s your point? You wanted wenger out? That’s great. I’m sure everyone you share that with finds you impressive.
    Another who clearly abhors a convincing arsenal win/performance.

    Always seems to be the “avid” Wenger haters.

  79. Winthorpe

    TomFebruary 16, 2021 15:24:09
    Those penalties stats are maddening. I’m writing a strongly worded letter ( some call them death threats) to PGMO and don’t care what people , and especially Pedro, think.
    The one I wrote to Mike Dean clearly worked didn’t it.

    😂
    This is only a couple of hours old and it’s already aged terribly

  80. Anonymous Commentator

    I prefer it being boring.
    Ideally we get peak boredom after benfica with Willian not getting any minutes and no gaffs from luiz.
    A man can dream.

  81. Graham62

    AFC Forever

    Easy to answer that one.

    1. He was scared and consequently bottled it.
    2. He was a shite referee.
    3. It was at OT.
    4.The Fergie factor.

    It seems ages ago now but it still angers me to this day.

  82. AFC Forever

    Graham, I watched Gary Neville doing one of his Sky shows with Rooney. They were laughing about how horrible they were to referees. Neville even admitted he gets a bit embarrassed looking back at how they behaved. It worked though. We were too nice; in that game, at OT we should have surrounded wet Mike Riley and then rolled up our sleeves and kicked them back. Paddy should have taken out Nistelrooy with a two-footer head high.

  83. Pierre

    Ufraud
    “I was an avid wenger out in the day, we have slid so much further down since those heady days, now we should “celebrate” wins that we used to expect, I guess that makes me an entitled plastic fan.”

    Ufraud , the poster who supposedly had 2 season tickets but refused to attend matches for years whilst Wenger was in charge out of protest for the quality of football on offer..

    Could be another case of ” be careful what you wish for”

  84. Graham62

    Seeing Reyes in those clips brought a lump to my throat.

    He was a super player and we all remember his two goals against Chelski in the FA Cup in 2004.

  85. Winthorpe

    I kind of agree with Pierre. The jury is still out on martinelli. I remarked to an associate over a year ago that I thought Saka was the superior player between the two and I’ve not changed my mind. Martinelli is a lot better than he’s currently displaying. Thats clear. It’s not obvious to me that his game doesn’t need a lot of improvement though. He’s not good enough on the ball to start anywhere for us as things stand. We’ve progressed a lot at the business end of the pitch and if martinelli doesn’t start getting game time and improving when he’s on then I worry he will get left behind

  86. Tom

    NelsonFebruary 16, 2021 15:43:32
    The other day, I have asked Tom whether he has also sent an “angry letter” to Arteta. He denied it.

    Did you seriously ask that and meant it?

    Let’s see, the guy who never wanted Arteta sacked and demanded no player sold would actually write a death treat to the manager of a club he supported.
    Yea, that makes sense.

  87. Rich

    Winthorpe

    The only market this summer will be from clubs with wealthy backers, and Bayern Munich

    The rest will be loans, and free transfers

    Football finances are completely decimated

  88. Nelson

    Sam Allardyce on Ainsley Maitland-Niles: “He has got legs, energy and covers a lot of ground. He’s got quality on the ball, work rate and a lot to offer in midfield. I’m hoping we’ll see a lot more of that in the weeks to come.”

    Sam is right when AMN’s mind is not wandered away from the pitch.

  89. Pierre

    Windthorpe
    I’m not agaist Martinelli at all , the opposite in fact, I just think klopp calling him the talent of the century has raised expectations too high …
    Martinelli has done no more or less under arteta than players like nelson, willock or Eddie…

    Martinelli needs to be given a go up front…all his best work previously has been in the opposition box..

    I feel he is being set up to fail playing on the wing.
    If it was a 4-3-3 then playing on the left would be fine as there is not as much defensive duties in your own area, plus the full backs tend to give a lot of the width in a 4-3-3.

    Playing Martinelli up top would make us a much better pressing unit along with saka and Smith Rowe…

    We could be missing a trick by not bringing in one of Martinelli, Balogun or Nketiah to link up with the other young guns.

    Martinelli nor Balogun have not been used up top and Eddie was only used when our creativity was zero, so none have been given a real chance to succeed.

  90. Rich

    Martinelli is coming back off a big injury

    It’s not uncommon for players to need time to find some rhythm again

    He’s 19, there’s no rush

    Saka’s 5 goals, is as many as every other teenager combined in the PL this season

    It’s rare that teenagers consistently influence football games

    Martinelli has talent, hopefully he developed over the next 24 months, into an internal successor to Aubameyang

    There’s no rush to jump to definitive conclusions

  91. Winthorpe

    ESR has 4 prem assists since January already
    More than mount, foden, martial, mane, James Rodriguez, Allan St maxim, salah, Ziyec, Podence, havertz, Hudson odoi, iwobi, Mahrez, Bernardo silva, cenigz under 😂 and some wanted us to sign him, Ross Barkley, Wilfred Zaha, N’Dombole,

    Just saying
    One lesss than sterling, Maddison and firminho

  92. Pierre

    Just hearing that xhaka received racist threats that likely came from Arsenal season ticket holder .

    I can think of one season ticket holder on here who has a particular dislike for Xhaka ….he wouldn’t would he?

  93. Winthorpe

    Pierre

    Sorry. I wasn’t saying you were against Martinelli but I thought I’d read that you were not as convinced with him as some other of our home grown players

    Wether you did or not I still feel Saka and now Esr are better all round footballers. Martinelli may have his role to play but all of his best attributes are based either on his mentality or athleticism and not his footballing ability. Now don’t get me wrong. He knows where the goal is and players like Lampard and CR7 became world class through their athleticism and elite winning mentality. But as footballers I prefer ballers rather than runners

  94. Nelson

    Tom
    It was all for good fun. I just realized it was for Dean and not for Arteta. Sorry.
    ______________________________________________________
    Tom
    February 8, 2021 14:26:41

    Mike Dean and Jonathan Moss should both get themselves larger size shirts to hide those spare tires around their waist. Not a good look for the most watched league in the world.
    Or better yet, they should be cast in another lord of the rings sequel with minimal make up required, just throw some fake hair on their feet if needed, but probably not.
    —————————————————————————————–
    That prompted me to post this
    —————————————————————————————–
    Nelson
    February 8, 2021 15:46:23

    Tom

    Is it you?

    Mike Dean: Referee asks not to officiate weekend Premier League fixtures after receiving death threats
    —————————————————————————–

  95. Winthorpe

    Rich

    If he’s not getting game time I worry he will get left behind. Is this Arteta being careful with him or is this Arteta doing what he does with Pepe and amn and Saliba?

  96. Pierre

    Winthorpe
    Yep, Saka and Smith Rowe are technically better players, than Martinelli probably because they came through the academy.

    At the end of the day Arteta has to try and win football matches and the reason why players like smith rowe and saka are starters and players like Martinelli, eddie and willock are not is because they have done the business on the pitch…
    Willian will drop further down the pecking order the more he fails to deliver , of that I’m sure .

    My comment when Martinelli first came into the siďe that he is a bit of a head down merchant could have come back to haunt me…

    What i will say and have said often is that Martinelli inside the box has more composure than when he is outside the box , and that is unusual, although since returning from injury has tended to snatch at his chances .

    Outside the box he is struggling , but he is still learning the game and Arteta asks a lot of his wide players defensively and positionally and i think Martinelli struggles with that part of his game as when he first exploded onto the scene he played off the cuff.

  97. Winthorpe

    What i will say and have said often is that Martinelli inside the box has more composure than when he is outside the box , and that is unusual, although since returning from injury has tended to snatch at his chances .

    Pierre
    That’s a very good point. However I disagree that he hasn’t done it on the pitch. He has. Way more than Willian ever has. I understand they are different types of players.
    I just worry that Martinelli isn’t up Arteta’s street

  98. Leedsgunner

    Personally if we think the key to our team playing well consistently is confidence I would say we need to keep winning in the EPL.

    If we lose badly to the likes of Man City and Leicester I think that could derail our season more than losing to Benfica… although given our place presently in the league, winning this competition might be our best chance of playing in Europe next year.

    Losing any of these games from now on has long reaching consequences.

  99. Habesha Gooner

    Barcelona getting kicked out of the champions league. Kylian Mbappe is a devastating player. He is going to be the heir to the throne. Sancho and Halaand aren’t close to him. They are great but he is out on his own for any player under 23.

  100. andy1886

    “Yep, Saka and Smith Rowe are technically better players, than Martinelli probably because they came through the academy.”

    Of course, because Brazillians are known for their poor technique.

  101. Habesha Gooner

    I wouldn’t say Messi’s time is up. He needs to be a creator now. He needs to be in a team where he can play as a N 10. Playing Busquets in a team having Messi is suicide. They needed someone to do the dirty work for him. Busquets and pique are done. Messi has still got vision better than anyone in the world of football. He has a wand of a left foot. But he won’t work out in a team like Barcelona from now on.

  102. Lewis

    Disagree on the rotation for Thursday. I want to see a strong team. Little chance of beating city and the league is done. Should be aiming to win the europa as it’s the only way back into Europe. Green shoots but still not convinced

  103. Aussie+Gooner

    Vintage

    “Would anyone go with Aubameyang, Martinelli and Balogun as our three CF options for next season?”

    Absolutely! I can’t understand why some on here are throwing shade on Martinelli! He has had a serious injury and very limited exposure to the first 11. Balogun, unfortunately, has even less exposure! This is Arteta’s responsibility. Both these players should be fully integrated into the first team squad and be enjoying considerable playing time. Instead Balogun is likely to leave and be found tearing it up at another club next season and Martinelli will continue to lose confidence warming the bench.

    What will become of other youngsters at the club? Azeez, Cottrel, Moller etc? At a time when money for new players is tight you would have thought that developing the young talent at the club would be a priority. But no we will continue to give dead wood extended contracts and trawel the depth for washed up journeymen!