REDZONE FEARS BUBBLING

by .

The year is 2021. The future is bleak, face masks and Purrell are the currency of the land. West Ham United are genuinely an excellent side.

Imagine these visions in 2018?

West Ham had a good run out against City, beating them for xG, but losing the game. It’s kind of brutal that TV isn’t aligned better between European football and the league. How can you have City playing the first game of the day after a Champions League run out? Truly brutal.

Arsenal and Leicester are in similar boats this Sunday. I mean, bar the fact Arsenal had to do two away legs in the Europa, with our home leg being further away. Again, why does it have to be the first game of the day? Every little helps. The competitions need better alignment.

The big watchword amongst Arsenal fans atm is ‘THE RED ZONE.’ This terminology was big on Le Grove in the early days. People didn’t think it existed when we were calling for Arsenal to get a S&C coach to fix the injuries (remember Wenger getting a witch doctor in to solve the issue?). Well, now people are very much accepting of sports science. The basic premise… when you are fatigued, you have a higher chance of soft tissue injury. The fancy GPS kit they use helps staff understand where a player is in terms of their limit. When you hit the RedZone, there’s a higher chance you could ping something.

The corollary that many of us are worried about is the breakthrough of Jack Wilshere, when Wenger played him 54 times and the player never recovered… and the breakthrough season of Bukayo Saka, with Arteta being unable to drop the teenager. This is Wilshere.

‘I remember having conversations with the physios in my first year in the Arsenal team. They were like: ‘Look, you’re playing a lot…’ I told them: ‘I want to play”

“I was living the dream. I was 19, playing for Arsenal. We were challenging for the league, in the Champions League. No one was going to tell me I needed a rest. That’s one of my biggest regrets – I wish I’d listened to physios a little more, learned more about my body”

It’s very worrying. Arteta is under pressure and playing for the short term. Keeping players fit and healthy during their development is a longterm thing. ‘The player said he wanted to play’ shouldn’t factor. If I child wants to eat a bonfire, you don’t let them, unless you are a weak leader.

This Sunday feels like one of those plotlines in a film.

‘Come on Bukayo, just one more time. Do it for the boys.’

The Leicester game is another Cup Final, not because we’re going to do anything in the league, but because this project needs a major scalp after a rough run of games. Killing Brendan Rodgers title run after he shithoused us earlier in the season would be totally dreamy. He needs Saka if he has a single hope of it.

The manager knows he’s tired, his response is that fatigue is part of the game. Wenger, Ferguson, Pep, and pretty much every manager out there would say the same… but there needs to be a balance. Unai Emery fucked his top 4 hopes when he overplayed Aaron Ramsey after he returned. That sort of marginal error can kill you.

The only temptation on offer is that after today, it’s a 5-day rest until we play Burnley, a game you’d hope we could rest him.

Then it’s straight back into the Europa mixer for a doubleheader against Olympiacos, which is conveniently wedged between Spurs and West Ham United. This next batch of games is where the money is made. 6 wins and the season is saved. If we have a horrendous run, pick up some injuries, and drop out of the Europa, it’ll be a bloodbath with the fans.

This is football. Glory or death. No in-between.

Loan watch is going well. William Saliba has managed 10 games in a row, he’s certainly answering fitness questions and his fanbase is growing. Also worth noting that Dino Mavrapanos is doing well. Lots of admiring glances for one of Sven’s bets. It’d be great if one of them slipped into the squad next season. Both young, both have high ceilings, both have resale value.

Short one today. Before I go. A couple of things.

This internet is a shithole. There are literally thousands of basement dwellers whose only power in life is being mean on the internet. These cowards sometimes pop up in my comments section. I’ve had people send me e-mails this year complaining about it. I am always happy to be alerted to bad actors. If I get the mail, I sort it, every time.

What I have to reiterate, over and over and over again, is this: I am just a part-time writer. I work a fulltime job dropping New York 70 hour weeks. Advertising is where I make my money, not this website. I make ZERO money from tweets, podcasts or blogs. I am also a left-leaning snowflake. If there is someone saying mean things in the comments, trust me, it’s not because I am down with those comments.

So when you email me. Please consider this is just a big hobby on a site that looks sleek, modern, and clean… built for a 2.0 world.

Finally, some exciting news. I’m going to be a contributor for The Gooner. Layth has kindly given me a little bit of space to drop thoughts. I’ve always loved the fanzine. The jokes, elite banter, gossip, and the sketch on the back of mag was always a treat when I’d go to the games with my dad and football fam back in the day. Fanzines were and are a massive part of the footballing experience, I’m glad it’s continuing, but it could always do with your support. Sign up here, it’s money well spent.

On that note, see you in the comments. I’ll be here with an On The Whistle Podcast tomorrow.

1,226 Responses to “REDZONE FEARS BUBBLING”

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  1. Bergkamp63

    The only people that know for sure how a player is performing in training are the manager and his coaching staff etc.

    Why the would be managers on here think they know better is a mystery, most of them have probably never seen an Arsenal player in real life ever, let alone in training !

    It’s just possible that we had to rotate today because some are fatigued and others are not quite fully fit, just a thought ?

  2. TheLegendaryDB10

    Bergkamp63

    The Spuds fixtures are very likely to be reversed as currently their 2nd leg is played in London as is ours. And UEFA rules state that no 2 team can play at home at the same time. So it is very likely that the Spuds play at home for their first leg, instead of away.

  3. Kroenkephobe

    Looking at fixtures in March. Pleasantly surprised that there are only 5 games (although that means fewer chances to watch them on tv). And Burnley is 6 day’s away so a good period to rest the players.

  4. Kroenkephobe

    Our attack seemed much more balanced today. We threatened down both wings when hitherto we’d been mainly left-sided. Not to pile on too much but I suspect that was because Soares came in for HB.

  5. Pedro

    Well, well, well… things are perking up. 4th in the table since Christmas. We beat out Leicester with a heavily rotated squad away from home.

    Hard to be miserable today.

    Need to continue building on the performances, but we’re definitely looking like a much better side of late.

  6. Dissenter

    You some here all we should do here is shut up and support the team

    The posters who criticized Arteta for not giving Martinelli a run out when the game was all but won also said it we had an excellent win.

    I assume that we are allowed to hold complex thoughts here.

  7. Dissenter

    Pedro
    The won aside, an an exciting excellent win it was
    What do you think of the way the squad is managed?
    What was the need for Auba there when Martinelli was available.

  8. AFC Forever

    I explained this the other day. The Europa games would be switched. We get preference over Spuds because we won the FA Cup, otherwise it is inishing position in league. We play away to Olympiacos first. The only downside is we have less recovery with a 4 hour flight b4 Spuds game – upside we pjay home to Olympiacos 2nd leg.

  9. HolyFudge

    Wow, I’m speechless…
    Long time reader, first time poster here, don’t normally comment on blogs and such, but just had to get this off my chest today. I went to the comment section here after a really uplifting Arsenal performance today, expecting to read some excited posts about smashing Leicester and a very good team performance. Instead 90% of the posts are just desperately seizing onto anything negative they can find about the game and blowing it out of all proportion, all in the name of continuing to have a good old moan, never mind what happens in the real world:D Latching onto the fact that Arteta subbed on Auba instead of Martinelli as justification for saying he’s a rubbish manager, hates the club and needs to get fired ASAP is a whole new level of ridiculous negativity, even when you look past the fact that we have very little information about what happens behind the scenes, and that there could any number of perfectly reasonable explanations for why he did what he did.
    I’m not gonna name names here, I’m sure you all know if this applies to you or not, but the next time you get accused of not being a real fan, or not being able (or willing) to enjoy positives about the club due to your insanely negative outlook, instead of blowing up in righteous fury, look back on these comments. This is where those accusations are coming from… It honestly baffles me how people can be THIS negative and vitriolic after what we just witnessed.

  10. AFC Forever

    Dissenter

    “What was the need for Auba there when Martinelli was available.”

    Why does this matter? Don’t play your usual games mate, it’s tiresome. Had Martinelli came on and we drew 3-3 you would be the first to get your knickers in a twist. Nothing wrong with the team selection, we won 3-1 away to Leicester. Trying to nit pick is pathetic but par for the course with you and a couple of others. This result has pissed you right off! Brilliant..

  11. Pedro

    Winthorpe, big piece about him in the pod you. might like

    Diss, we jumped on a zoom 5mins after kickoff!

    I’m at a loss on the Martinelli stuff, but he’s certainly rated by the club.

    Fans want to have it both ways. It’s all about the table… but also all about giving kids a chance.

    I’d rather focus on the positives today.

    Arteta is getting turns out of dead players… the football is dominant… Odegaard looked exceptional.

  12. Karsa

    All the so called wasters put in top class performances.

    It’s amusing to see that the only thing left to moan at is who didn’t get on the pitch.

  13. Dissenter

    AFC
    Why doesn’t it matter that Auba was sent on when the game was already won?

    If this Sia. long term project, then it matters that you have young players who aren’t getting comfortable minutes.
    You strut around here pretending that you’re the ultimate fan.

    It’s okay for me or anyone else to say that we had an excellent win. The starting 11 was great, good for Willian too.
    However, once the game is effectively won give some you get players a chance to get minutes because you are executing a long term plan.

    It seems all you want people to do is just shut up and march in line.

  14. Dissenter

    *However, once the game is effectively won give some younger players a chance to get minutes because you are executing a long term plan.

  15. Matt

    ‘Le Grove, where you can have an opinion, not get one’

    Anyone remember that??

    Now it’s more like Le Grove, don’t you dare have an opinion unless it is that all is rosy because otherwise you are not a ‘real fan’.

  16. Pedro

    Matt, if you’re here bitching about being heard because you want to shit on Arsenal after that win, no one cares about your opinion.

  17. Nelson

    Pedro
    “Odegaard looked exceptional.”

    Odegaard has that very unique touch of the ball in the final third. The tape over to Willian and the through ball to Pepe just to name a few. Looking forward to more of the same.

  18. Matt

    Pedro

    You’ve clearly not read any of my previous posts because I haven’t been bitching at all. I enjoyed the win as much as anyone.

    Just out of curiosity, what happened to that strap line up in used to use? Removed because it no longer applies?

  19. Danny

    The Europa games would be switched.
    ————————
    As no fans are attending, why does it need to be switched?

  20. Wingdings

    Matt,

    ‘Le Grove, where you can have an opinion, not get one’Anyone remember that??”

    Yeah that doesn’t apply anymore. This cult around Arteta is quite bizarre. I mean with Wenger you could kind of make sense of it based on what he did in the past but Arteta? Completely unwarranted.

  21. Pedro

    Red, this is why I ban you.

    You’ve spent months saying it only counts if we beat a good team.

    We beat the team that went second and you want to play it down.

    You don’t like Arsenal. It is pathetic.

  22. AFC Forever

    Dissenter, you make Chris Sutton look like an Arsenal Suoerfan.

    Today is a bad day for you, like many others you are gutted. The fact you can’t wait to be negative, highlights your game, you can’t even give it a few hours.

    As for your snide, sarcastic comments to PEDRO, absolutely pathetic. You are a very snide, infantile individual with narcissistic tendencies. Idiot.

  23. Pedro

    Matt, if I’m not talking about you, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Wanting shelter for shit opinions is such a right-wing sensitivity play. People need to get out of their feelings.

  24. Foxy

    Cedric must be one of our fastest players, the determination and pace at which he sprinted up field to give Pepe a wide option before the third goal was worthy of starting ahead of HB. Yes he later on missed a chance in the box but that was after sprinting at least 50 yards. I also like the way he works with Pepe.and in defensive gets tight on his man.

  25. Pedro

    Wingdings, why don’t you go and find a blog where they’re all shitting on Arsenal after a win? Arsenal Truth is good for that.

  26. Matt

    Wingdings

    Cult like is exactly what it is. I’m not even aiming this at Pedro, it’s his blog so he can say and post what he likes. It’s the people who actually don’t come on here themselves to say much positive about the team, they are just waiting in the wings for someone to say anything negative that they can jump on and use as a reason to prove why they are a better fan. It’s like how dare anyone question the process.

    Questions do not equal moaning/whinging!

  27. Foxy

    Oordegards pace and energy levels also look really good.

    It must be the sunshine that made Willian play so well He is after all Brazilian and it has been really wet and cold for months.

  28. Le Sauce

    Very good win today and impressive performance as well. Like Pierre, I believe Mari is a steal given the fee. For me its
    Mari and holding -CB
    Tierney and Cedric- fullbacks
    Partey, Xhaka and ESR – midfield
    Saka and Pepe – wingers
    Laca – striker (Auba comes up with the goals which is important but Laca helps bring others into the game which leads to improved overall performance)

  29. Duzie

    Pedro thanks for managing this community. Le Grove has been my daily read since December 2008. I hope we celebrate the CL here one day. Not with Artetz though.

  30. Matt

    On the game, great result. I enjoyed it Immensely. Leicester were awful and the timing worked in our favour for once. Maddison out, then Barnes and vardy is clearly not fit.

    Willian was good, not great. Best players for me were Xhaka and Pepe, who is starting to make me think there could potentially be a player in there after all.

  31. AFC Forever

    Pedro

    “You don’t like Arsenal. It is pathetic.”

    It is sad. For the excellent content you write, you deserve better mate. Too many on here & it puts off other fans I don’t always agree with you but you got it right today. I have an interest in sports science hence why I suggested Arteta rest players today. Leicester’s injuries proved this point. This lot aren’t interested in your content or results, wins are treated the same as defeats. They are pathetic.

  32. Duzie

    Pedro,

    Well there was one situation where he muscled out the Leicester striker. It could have led to something more serious. Let’s see though. It will be great to have him in the mix.

  33. Pedro

    AFC, I don’t really understand hating on your team after a win against a title-chasing team. It’s odd.

    Today was a great performance. Pick holes in bits, but whining that fans are happy is peak weird.

  34. Dissenter

    I sincerely hope that the beginning of the Willian era at Arsenal
    We need a something extra to help finish the season in a special way.

  35. AFC Forever

    Mari is a quality signing and the way he bullied VARdy was superb. He’s another that has probably had too many injuries. This makes it difficult to build partnerships & we do have to look into why, over the years, we Lise so many players. Is it the training ground or just bad luck?

  36. The Godfather

    For all you muppets and lineal thinkers here, understand that there are long and short term goals at play here.
    The short term goal is bag a win by any means necessary.
    Nevertheless we want to build a team for the future and keep our promising youth engaged
    And motivated.
    When you have a promising youth ready to play and the game is in the bag, and yet keep him on the bench to bring in your top striker who should be resting, then anyone with a brain is within their rights to question his competence … especially given the state of our season.

  37. Sly

    Intelligent analysis on Pepe would be appreciated after the usual shallow spill we’ve been getting
    Class player who’s been mismanaged so far

  38. Pedro

    Matt, I don’t want to agree…. I don’t… but… I do. I thought he was excellent today. Fast, efficient, very good final ball, he works hard.

    You?

  39. The Godfather

    Pedro stop being a lineal thinker.
    We’re chuffed at the win but we don’t wanna lose one of our best young players. Dunno why you are so blind to this.
    A real manager can easily accomplish both goals.

  40. AFC Forever

    Pedro, yep definitely odd behaviour. They don’t give themselves time to enjoy the result, within minutes they’re moaning!! Very weird.

    This was a very good side we totally outplayed today. If we had walked away with a bigger margin it wouldn’t have flattered us. All over the pitch we was better than them – and tactically. Everyone who came off n performed and that’s what you need, a hungry squad with point to prove. We even gave Saka a day off, arguably our best player recently.

  41. Pedro

    Godfather, he’s on a 5 year deal. He’s not going anywhere. Try getting out the way of your struggling narrative and embrace the L you’re in the process of taking.

  42. vickingz

    Bellerin should never be played over cedric but you just know that Arteta will mess it up somehow. Now that willian has given a good performance, expect him to be among the first eleven going forward. Pedro said we won despite rotating heavily, does it mean our players ain’t shit after all or Leicester shits the bed today? Arteta is still finding his first eleven, that’s a very good sign. He should improve Elhneny same way he has improved pepe though

  43. Matt

    Pedro

    Definitely. I like bellerin. He was a very good player in his prime and I think he has a genuine affinity for the club, but I think he is definitely past his best. He was hot and miss for me for most of this season, but more recently he has been consistently poor. I think Cedric offers much more at both ends of the pitch.

  44. The Godfather

    Pedro

    Again you have your blinders on.
    Fair play …I’m happy we won and moving on.
    Your god is a shyt level manager and we have eleven losses
    and stay looking up at West ham and Aston Villa as proof of that.
    U can enjoy the last word on this matter.

  45. AFC Forever

    Godfather

    “But note a serious flaw in our coach’s thinking.”

    Ha ha Yep, he doesn’t have your knowledge, the arrogance on here! Not quite sure how you can moan about team selection after that win and performance? How do you know “your” substitutions would not have lost us the points? You have to he mad too criticise team selection today, because it resulted in a 3-1 win away to a top 3 team. Had we lost, fine but what exactly were you expecting today? Be honest.

  46. Dissenter

    Amazing that Pedro is poo-pooing the idea of critiquing a sub that wasn’t made when he didn’t hesitate to rightly criticize Arsenal; when we were on a 22 match unbeaten run.

  47. Buzzy

    United haven’t done anything but my word, how poor have Chelsea been? The mamager bounce is soon gping to be over and I can see them slipping up again. Should have got Allegri.

  48. Karsa

    Lol what does a long term contract mean, except that you’ll get a better chunk of money when he demands to leave. You guys are so funny

    Have you any evidence that he has demanded to leave>

    There’s plenty of games left this season. Lets just wait and see how things develop without getting our knickers in a knot over nothing.

  49. AFC Forever

    On that performance, hard to criticise anyone. They gave Arteta something to think about and that’s what you need in a squad. When fringe players perform like that it ups everyone’s level. This bodes well for the run in, we haven’t even had Partey much.

  50. Karsa

    Godfasther.

    Maybe if you unwrapped the knickers around yer small brain you’d be able to see past
    Your hormones.
    Go play with yer dolls little girl.

    Wow you are the mature one.

    Your arguments make complete sense now.

  51. The Godfather

    @AFC,
    When I saw the lineup I wasn’t filled with hope.
    Why Xhaka keeps playing is beyond me and the thought of
    Mari and Luis vs Vardy scared me as well.

    I really applaud the fight back after another early setback but let’s
    be honest the absence of Madison was a huge plus for us.

    We also know the potential of Martinelli and the misuse of the sub is just annoying
    and another sign of Arteta’s very questionable judgment and eleven losses prove that right.

  52. AFC Forever

    Dissenter

    “Amazing that Pedro is poo-pooing the idea of critiquing a sub ”

    Amazing you’re still playing your childish game, trying to goad & troll Pedro You are an odious negative bore who has been found out. There is no way you are a Gooner, you enjoying pissing on the club & other fans too much.

  53. Matt

    How about instead of people criticising people who questioned why Auba comes on instead of Martinelli, someone make an argument for why that decision shouldn’t be questioned??

  54. Cheney10

    Great performance today by the squad players. We have called for rotation and it happened with excellent results. Enjoy the win rather than focusing on the differences in opinion on the manager. He got it right today and when he does we should all give credit where it is due!

  55. Nelson

    Sly
    “Class player who’s been mismanaged so far”

    I don’t think he has been mismanaged. It is Pepe who has decided to fight.

  56. Dissenter

    AFC
    What you call “a child game” is logical thinking expected of an adult.
    You seem incapable of holding complex though; everything has to be white or black, all or none. I strongly think you want this blog to be a gooners in Pyongyang forum- let’s just worship at the alter of Arteta.

    The people you’re criticizing are happy about the win and just went on to mention some other critique of the game. That’s not enough for you, they have to do the goose step with you to be happy.

  57. Cheney10

    @Matt: because in the last game he scored two goals and won us the game. In the last game (United) Gabi had (and I am a huge fan of his by the way) he wasn’t great, nor did he pull up trees when he got minutes against Benfica he barely touched the ball.

  58. AFC Forever

    Godfather

    “The absence of Madison was a huge plus for us.”

    He’s a good player. However, we didn’t have Saka playng for us. Also, Leicester played at home Thursday, we had a 4 hour flight & had far less recovery time.

    I guess this time we can’t have the usual excuse that “the other team is shit” so now it’s the “they had a player missing! Just enjoy the win mate, don’t try to discredit it.

  59. Wardo

    Pedro

    I thought Mari did well today especially what he was in a foot race vs vardy. There was a time with other cb’s that that would have led to a goal or red card. Thought he showed a good starting position, quick to react a d a decent turn of pace

    I know some here blamed him for the first goal but that’s a bit harsh

    Also, commentary today was Leicester played poorly and suffered loads of injuries. I think we were dominating them, had two pens and were 1-3 up when they had their first injury!!! Not one pundit said arsenal played well

  60. Karsa

    TheLedgendaryDB10

    And if he continues not being selected I would agree with you.

    There’s plenty of actual problems atm without looking for more. If Martinelli asks to leave I’ll be up in arms with the rest. I’m fairly confident he’ll get game time over the remainder of the season.

  61. Matt

    Cheney

    So you think Auba was brought on with 10 minutes left to score more goals? Do you not think the game was already won?

  62. Pedro

    Diss, no, you have it wrong… I’m popping at people like Godfather who sympathise with Leicester missing a key player like we didn’t rest Auba, Saka, Partey, Hector and Odegaard today.

    If you sole purpose is the shit on the club at all costs, you should try and hide that approach after a huge win.

  63. Dissenter

    karsa
    “I’m fairly confident hw [Martinelli] will get game time over the remainder of the season.

    If he’s not getting easy minutes when a game is all but won, what makes you think he will get chances in other games.

  64. Pedro

    Also, the conversation certain folks don’t want to have. Since Christmas, we’re 4th in the table, with the 2nd best defence, having scored the 3rd most goals

  65. S Asoa

    Come doggie bave a treat. All forgiven now ?
    Wag -wag
    Oh ye of limited perspective. Euphoric after a whiff of a fantastic win ( no two thoughts about that )
    But puppies ,realise you could be a reason why we are mid -table with a squad better than that ? ( for explanation see today’s game )
    Those who really wish well , will always be honest

  66. AFC Forever

    Dissenter

    Give it a rest. You’re an idiot mate, you never have anything decent to say. You defend people making death wishes and go behind peoples backs with your snide insults, playing to the ‘crowd. You goad people, like Bamford, so I don’t want anything to do with you, I tried my best to converse after you abused me last week but I can’t be bothered any more. So don’t address me any more & we’ll leave it at that. You’re are one of those snidy, behind the back types I can’t stand people like that.

  67. Dissenter

    AFC
    One thing we can agree about id Willin

    He had a fantastic game. Lets hope this is the beginning of something special.

  68. Cheney10

    @Matt. Not to score more goals but with Leicester pushing he may have scored which continues to build his confidence and builds momentum.

    I think we all need to be honest with ourselves here with regards to Gabi and again, I think he will be huge for us in the future, he really wasn’t pulling up trees. When he cam into the team he gave us energy, which was latched into because Willian, Pepe etc were stinking out the place. However, Gabi missed chances, didn’t assist etc and right now he needs to wait. Auba is the club captain, scoring goals etc… He got on.

  69. TheLegendaryDB10

    Karsa

    All players need some game time to learn. Leaving a player not play for long periods of time is not going to help them learn from their mistakes and grow.

    This is the only reason why some of us are whingeing on the fact that Martinelli once again was not given game time.

    There is a player in there. We all know it.

    I hope, like you do, that he finally gets some game time at some point.

  70. Dissenter

    It’s almost like there’s no valid reason for anyone to be critical of the club when we have lost 11 games at the end of February and are 10th in the league.

    Of course I’m the idiot for telling a certain poster to stop playing superfan all the time.
    Talking about abuse from the poster that comes waving an ax every single time.

  71. Rich

    I don’t understand this fascination with Martinelli not playing

    He’s 19, coming back off a big injury, and all our forwards played really well today

    Saka didn’t play the FA Cup semi, or the final in August, he’s now the first name on the team sheet

    Smith-Rowe was rescuing Huddersfield from relegation in July

    6 months is a long time at that age, and not that many teenagers perform consistently in the PL

    I like Martinelli, but he’s incredibly raw in aspects of his game

    There’s signs Pepe is starting to click, he wouldn’t be the first player to take 18-24 months to settle into the rhythm of the PL

    There will be big decisions to make on Nketiah + Lacazette this summer, Martinelli signed a 5yr deal in the summer

    I don’t think we need to kick up a stink about him not getting minutes

  72. AFC Forever

    Pedro

    Good point. We have also got Tierney & Partey back and it looks like other players are finding their form. We had a poor start to the season, which is why we are where we are, and still team building but there has been definite progress. The problem some people have is they only see what they want to see, whereas others are too invested into an agenda.

  73. Tom

    I think the come from behind win against Benfica has given the squad a new belief in themselves. Everyone played their part today but Willian and Pepe stood out.

    Leicester have been average to poor lately and this was self evident in their pathetic performance over two legs in EL.
    Vardy is off boil and their other two best offensive players in Madison and Barnes, with 38 goals and assists between them, are going to be a huge miss for them.
    Leicester aren’t and haven’t been challenging for the title Pedro, no need to build them up.
    They’ll be lucky to stay top four.

    Arteta doesn’t rate Martinelli so all the back and forth why he’s not giving him minutes is pointless.

  74. Pedro

    Rich, because people with a fixed idea of where this Arteta thing are struggling

    4th since Christmas, joint level with United
    2nd best defence
    3rd most goals

    That’s why they’re crawling into the subs that didn’t happen… not twigging that the players in his place are doing really well.

  75. Matt

    Cheney

    I just don’t see the point in Auba getting 10 minutes in game already won. Whether mattinelli is as good as some think or not is a bit irrelevant. He isn’t going to improve or get any confidence if he cannot even get 19 minutes in a game that’s already won.

  76. Chris

    Unfortunately ESR got injured today, let’s hope he isn’t out for too long, but it also reinforces why the Odegaard loan move was a good idea, even if he doesn’t end up staying long term. We have an excellent creative to replace ESR which will soften that blow.

    Some of his touches today were superb, he is really starting to find his feet, think he will only get better.

    I’m sure Arteta will use his persuasion skills to get him to stay past the initial loan term.

  77. Chris

    “ I think the come from behind win against Benfica has given the squad a new belief in themselves.”

    Agreed. Sometimes football is as simple as this.

  78. Dissenter

    Tom
    I agree that Leicester will struggle now.
    That injury to Barnes was more troubling for them than their loss to us.

    With Chelsea finding form, Liverpool’s expected resurgence and Westham’s extended purple patch…Leicester may fall out like last season.

  79. Pedro

    Chris, only positive was that the physio didn’t follow him in… maybe it’s not major? Was kind of hoping he was sick.

  80. AFC Forever

    Chris

    Yes, ESR apparently still experiences muscle problems caused by his body changing with age. Arteta did an interview before Odegaard signed saying how he wasn’t going to overplay young players. I suspect you are right, Odegaard loan was a smart move to also help ESR.

  81. Guns of SF

    Great win today . Had to dvr the game it was on at 4 am here

    Ode needs to continue what he did today. Go forward with aggression. Get into the box and operate in those tight spaces

    Soares must be a starter. Much more of an attacker and quicker than bellerin

    Again the martinelli omission is really frustrating. Give him 10 mins at least?!

  82. Cheney10

    @Matt: I take your point onboard but he has had minutes and didn’t take the chances he was given… He also got injured, which didn’t help . However, being a forward at a ‘big’ club means you’re going to have to wait at times and when you do get a chance you’re going to have to take it with both hands and run. He will be a great player for us but at the moment he is behind a number of players.

  83. Guns of SF

    Great win today . Had to dvr the game it was on at 4 am here

    Ode needs to continue what he did today. Go forward with aggression. Get into the box and operate in those tight spaces

    Soares must be a starter. Much more of an attacker and quicker than bellerin

    Again the martinelli omission is really frustrating. Give him 10 mins at least?!!

  84. Karsa

    I think Martinelli is a fantastic prospect, but time is on his side.

    As mentioned by others he has been showing the signs of a lengthy lay off and I suspect the manager is treating him with kid gloves atm, and will gradually give him game time as the season progresses.
    Just my opinion.

    It’s all very well saying give Gabi, and others like Balogun game time but you have to find places for them in the team. There’s outrage if Pepe misses a game now as well.

    We have a lot of strikers so, to me, it’s understandable that Gabi is down the pecking order, although I would be very happy to see him getting 20 minute run outs.

  85. Chris

    Pedro

    I hope that’s the case, I haven’t seen anymore news on him, but from what Arteta said about injuries at the moment in general after the game I am guessing it is a genuine injury.

  86. Rich

    Pedro

    Teams are built on the training ground, and managers generally don’t get enough time

    The game changers for me have been the emergence of Smith-Rowe, and the loan of Odegaard

    Going into the season without a fit or registered attacking midfielder was negligent, having attacking midfielders is getting the best out of our other forwards

    For all the talk about coaching + tactics, ultimately it’s the talent on the pitch that wins and loses football games, having attacking midfielders has allowed us to shift from a back 5, into a back 4

    Wenger moved to a back 5 after 22 years, Emery started with a 4, then moved to a back 5 for the first time in his career, then Arteta started with a 4, then moved to a 5 as well

    Our recruitment and squad planning has been horrendous

    No attacking midfielder = negligent
    Runarsson as our only backup to Leno = Negligent
    First team squad of 31 = negligent
    Loaning out Kolasinac + Niles and not getting in another left back = negligent

    The best signing we could make, is a competent DOF, with a track record of adding value and not subtracting it, and who has a good understanding of economics

  87. Tom

    This is no knock on Rodgers btw.
    He’s been overachieving for them this season already and only a handful had said before the season’s start Leicester’s squad was a top four squad,

  88. Pedro

    Rich, Pep said it last week ‘tactics are nothing without players’… feels like we have the players now.

    Dead careers revived, young players taking their chances, and top players finding the next gear

    My hope is Jan was the awakening… younger players all the way.

    We’ll see though. Kia probably quite happy after today!

  89. AFC Forever

    Arteta

    On the win:
    “The team is clearly improving, it’s taking a direction I like. It’s about consistency. We are still giving things to the opposition – we did it against Benfica and we did it today. It’s something we have to eradicate to give ourselves the best possible chance.

    “It’s about how we played against top quality opposition. We have to impose ourselves, it doesn’t matter who we play against, we have to have courage. I’m proud about winning but obviously the way we’ve done it. The way we are playing looks much closer to what we want. The way the team is evolving, we have some consistency in recent months.”

    On injuries:
    That is why as well we needed to change players because if not we were going to expose our players to get injured. But sometimes you don’t have a chance as a manager [to do that] because you don’t have enough players or you have the necessity to win and play them again.But it is insane – the amount of minutes and the games that these players are playing without any pre-season, without any break. You are going to get injuries. We talked about it, all the managers raised our voices at the start of the season and it’s happening.”

  90. Rich

    Pedro

    We need balance of youth + experience

    Luiz will make mistakes, as has Gabriel

    The difference is having the experience to deal with those mistakes, and not let them effect you

    I really hope we sign Odegaard and we can keep Smith-Rowe fit, having 2 players in that position gives this team a different dynamic

    Saka is class, Pepe is starting to look much better, and we know he’s got end product

    I think we can have a much better end to the season

    We’ll have a first team squad of 28 this summer, we still need to purge 7-9 players

    If we then make a 3-4 real quality signings in the right areas, we’ll be back in that CL mix, and potentially back amongst the trophies

  91. Tom

    Pedro,
    Top six contenders , yes.

    Top four — possibly, under certain conditions, like keeping Vardy and Madison healthy all season.

    A title challengers, not a chance.

  92. TheWizard

    I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at times. Pepe was like a Ferrari” willian had his best game in an Arsenal shirt. Granit xhaka is undroppable right about now, possibly Cedric as well especially with his aggression & overlapping. Gabriel is a better defender than Luiz howevet David Luiz knows how to win games with his experience of the game. Surely the next 5 games can define our season, who knows what could happen if we beat struggling liverpool n spurs.

  93. Tom

    Pedro
    I’d like to see someone produce a quote from anyone on this forum from six months ago or earlier that Leicester had a top four squad.
    It stands to reason then that Rodgers finishing top four would overachieve.

  94. AFC Forever

    Rich

    Yes agree mate, you need a mix of youth and experience. Arteta spoke about the importance for youngsters to watch how experienced players train & conduct themselves. I suspect he wasn’t happy with the way some of the deadwood were behaving. People sometimes forget a match is just 99 minutes, most of the work is done on the training ground

  95. consolsbob

    I like Pedro’s blog. A bonkers Arsenal man posting from the heart but so many of his posters are just moaners. They remind me of die hard remainers in the aftermath of Brexit., can’t give it up and move on. So many of you just hate Arteta. Bloody odd behaviour in any actual Arsenal fan. Imagine not enjoying a win like todays.

    I will give up on reading the comments. Just boring and childish outside of all too few. Trolls.

  96. Kroenkephobe

    It’s sad and just a little perverse that the only time when there is broad unity on here is after an arse-wipingly bad defeat, e. g. Burnley, Villa or City.

    None of the post match criticism on here today is really justified and little or none of it is based on inside knowledge or truth. If you cannot enjoy what happened today, albeit bearing the club’s flaws in mind, then I sympathise but don’t empathise.

    None of our opinions matter a lick given that the club operates like the stasi. But try to enjoy the evident good times like we experienced today. I reckon everyone on that bus (or executive jet) returning today from the east Midlands will have been overjoyed by the last two results.

  97. Pedro

    Tom, I’m not sure we’ve doubted their top 4 credentials this year, it hasn’t been a debate until we just beat them. Shocker!

  98. AFC Forever

    Consolsbob

    “I will give up on reading the comments. Just boring and childish outside of all too few. Trolls”

    I keep threatening to stop commenting but someone has to stand up to them. Pedro deserves better, he’s a proper fan who invests time and effort into delivering this blog. This blog needs more genuine Gooners .because the trolls & negatives out number us by 20 – 1. Every match day this happens on here, win, Lise or draw. So please read and comment Bob

  99. Pedro

    Consolsbob, people are rattled because their narratives are going down the drain.

    Bit sad that people care more about their busted views more than the football, but there we are.