by .

Welcome to Tuesday.

Bacary Sagna has been chatting in the press a bit. He shared some thoughts on William Saliba.

“I still have trust in him, I think he is a good player and he can adapt to Arsenal because I’ve seen him play many times.

“He is doing well at Nice and has probably been their best player. At that age you need to be playing. He has big potential and in France people know it.

“Sending him away is not a bad thing, it’s not a punishment. To me it’s clever to send him [on loan] rather than him being on the bench or not even being in the squad.”

Quite clear that the main issue with Saliba wasn’t whether rotted on the bench with Arsenal, that was always a no-go… it was why he didn’t move out on loan earlier after joining Colney in June last year. The minutes will have done his game the world of good. Saliba, Mavarapanos, and Matt Smith are all having a good time on loan this season, that’ll be excellent for general awareness if we want to sell, but hopefully, it’ll be good for their prospects next season.

Some extremely sad news hit the airwaves, Claude, from AFTV passed.

He was one of the original characters that reshaped fan media. He was loud, over the top, and a proper Gooner. I never met him, but I’d seen him in pubs plenty of times. He seemed to love mixing it with Arsenal fans. A proper Gooner that will be missed by millions.

The darker side of this story is the relentless bullying he faced. Sure, he was no shrinking violet, but he had very public battles with own demons. There were groups of people that weren’t attacking him over his football opinions, they were attacking him because they hoped they could push him over the edge. There’s just no excuse for it, yet we accept it as part of ‘fame.’ Yes, he made mistakes. Yes, he was not designed for the modern world and some of his ‘jokes’ were very offensive. That makes no difference to the fact he was a person.

We should all do more to stand up the grotesque behaviour people display online. We need to stop giving pathetic attention seekers the oxygen they need to justify their embarrassing lives.  Sadly, it won’t stop with action from people. It’ll have to come from the tech giants who allow it.

When Thierry Henry sits with Darren Lewis and tells the world that he can’t take the abuse online, it’s a big flashing warning sign. It’s gone too far. Thierry commands any space he walks into, the fact he gets rattled, with his mental toughness, is a worrying thing.

In his statement, he said something I’d said a few months back… if Twitter took abuse as seriously as it did copyright infringement, the online world would be a better place

We’re sending all our love to Claude’s friends and family. Gonna cut this post short. Here’s Thierry.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. grooveydaddy

    I know they’re playing in ‘inferior’leagues, but the way Saliba and Mavro are being talked about, you think they be able displace at least one, if not two, of our current CB’s.

  2. Buckagh

    Not that it matters in the big picture, I quit reading and commenting on social media long ago I like a bit of banter but the racism, misogyny, and wilful ignorance, sadly negates all the good stuff.

  3. jwl

    Dont join social media sites is the answer, ive joined none of major sites and am happy as larry. My partner is on a couple of sites, ive mentioned a few times that it makes her miserable, but she cant give it up.

    I think there are a lot of angry people in the world and they all seem to be on twitter or facebook or wherever.

  4. jwl

    The expression ” lies, damned lies, and statistics” came to mind when i saw this article.

    Granit Xhaka has been named as Arsenal’s best player.

    In data developed by the CIES Football Observatory, the midfielder is the highest-ranking Gunners player. He comes into a top 10, lead by Chelsea’s Jorginho, which also includes Pascal GrossThiago Alcantara, Harry Kane, Luke Shaw, Wilfred Ndidi and Ruben Dias.

  5. Rob

    The fact that the hardest part of the post is about mental health, bullying, online abuse and the destruction it causes is ignored simply to be “1st, or 2nd comment” or some winging about Saliba without even acknowledging Claude or the wider problem this blog highlights is quite frankly the reason why so many pro’s and other people alike are stepping away from social media…its becoming a clown show with a stage for CoCo behind his keyboard. Educate yourselves…Saliba isnt the biggest problem right now

  6. Almuniasaynomore

    Jwl, your attitude to social media sites is spot on. Aside from football blogs i avoid at all costs. And fair play to pedro cos I’ve been in moderation so long i can’t even get on to this one!

  7. NJ Gooner

    RIP Claude. Characters are not welcomed on social media when they don’t go with the crowd. I disagreed with many of his comments. But the behavior of so many people is simply unacceptable as they hide anonymously behind a keyboard.

    I don’t know what the answer is in terms of returning civility to social media. But I don’t like withdrawal (as Thierry has had to do) as being the only recourse. People have to object, and people like you Pedro need to keep enforcing the rules!

  8. Almuniasaynomore

    I’d be very surprised if a lot of top clubs weren’t eyeing up Tierney. The only question is can we keep him? (Please God let the answer be yes).

  9. Tom

    74 million didn’t find Trump objectionable enough so hardly surprising the on line discourse is in a gutter.

    Auba’s haircut is the type that says I probably will not challenge for any 50/50 ball in a meaningful fashion and definitely not for a header.
    A good look for a rapper maybe , not a footballer.
    But then again, if prince William was just voted the world’s sexiest boldy then maybe I’m the one out of touch.

    The world rejoices upon the Suez Canal news but no one more than Hilary Clinton, who’s been very concerned the kids stuck in cargo containers on the stranded ship would grow too old and no longer attractive for rape in her pizza parlor.

  10. gnarleygeorge9

    Well said Pedro. Claude, Heavy D, Chris Hudson, Turkish & Kenny Ken resonated with me on the AFTV site. Once Claude was shafted, that was it for me. I never subscribed to it, why should I, I’ve had You (& Geoff) since ‘07. Not many original posters left though.

  11. Northbanker

    And while people are debating social media perhaps we could all look at Tom’s last comment. Absolutely disgraceful and libellous comments . I have no warm feelings towards Clinton but this sums up the social media problem in one sentence.

  12. Goobergooner

    Rip Claude. He was definitely good for a laugh, even if it was at his expense. But that isn’t a reason to abuse anyone.
    Everyone disagrees with someone, and it’s accepting that fact that is the start of a less abusive world.
    Tolerance is a shitload harder to come by than it should be.

    Rip Mama Torreira. My condolences to Lucas and his family.

    In regards to social media, this is it for me. All my friends think I’m weird but I get so much more shit done (like come here and whine) and don’t have to scroll through endless shit that just makes me angry anyway 😂😂.

    Social media is a shit place in the main.

  13. China1

    Tom whatever you’re smoking I think it’s time to let someone else have a drag because it’s obviously good stuff if you believe any of that

  14. China1

    I don’t think Tierney would jump ship sso soon or so easily and if city really did want him we’d easily be able to justify a 60m price tag imo

    Not that I’d be happy whatsoever about selling tho we could probably get two quality players for 60m in this market

    But anyway, city can fuck off

  15. China1

    jwl one would assume if he’s the best player in the team this season and one of the top 10 performers in the whole PL that teams like Juve, Bayern, PSG, Barca and Real will all be competing for him in the summer and definitely won’t be a middling German team like the ones who were interested in him last year…

  16. China1

    The same ranking had Jorginho as the best player in the PL this season

    Jorginho is the best player in the PL this season is a collection of words that have been spoken by a grand total of zero people this season. When your stats are getting such obviously false results it’s fairly safe to assume the model belongs in the bin

  17. The Bard

    I dont condone the social media abuse in the slightest but can’t get my head why anyone would want to be on it in the first place. Its a complete and utter waste of time.

  18. Goobergooner

    The bard,

    People love themselves too much. Just have that attention seeking thing going on. It’s all about having more likes than your friends (or enemies more so) and just vanity in an electric form.

    But from that stems the abuse. Someone always has something negative to say.

    That’s the basic level.

    Then throw in race, religion, political views, favourite colour and it’s an absolute war zone

  19. Pierre

    “Jorginho is the best player in the PL this season is a collection of words that have been spoken by a grand total of zero people this season”

    Well Lampard didn’t rate him but Tuchel reinstated him immediately because he can recognise what he brings to the team..
    And the Chelsea team are certainly benefitting from the inclusion of Jorginho who is a very intelligent footballer with an excellent technique..

    We could/should have picked him up instead of Willian in the summer .
    Jorginho and Partey would have had our midfield purring…

  20. Goobergooner

    He’s an upgrade on xhaka that’s for sure. Having both of them in the same squad let alone 11 is not good squad building though. We need a first 11 player to take our game up a few levels then we need a bench replacement for granit

  21. Tom

    China, Northbanker
    So you don’t believe Clinton is having kids shipped cargo for the American elites’s sexual pleasures in her Washington pizza parlor basement?

    Just ask Rich, he’ll tell you.

  22. Sid

    Humans are social animals, take that away from them by reducing time available to be with family and friends, thats why they look for a replacement in social media(an inferior alternative).

  23. Gonsterous

    Abuse on social media should be stopped but so should banter and trolling, it’s the source for abuse. When people take the piss anonymously, it makes people react in mean ways which can be construed as abuse.

    Make social platforms a troll and banter free zone as people don’t seem to know the difference between that and abuse. They abuse someone and when they are called out on it, they either pretend to be trolling or attack the other person for not knowing anything about banter.

  24. Gonsterous


    We need a player better than jorginho and chaka. We need santi or cesc 2.0 next to partey to get the team purring.

    We also need a Cheaper alternative to odegarrd who will put a dent in our finances.

  25. kjelli

    Claude and heavy D gone, the original characters of aftv will be missed by many but also
    remembered by those as emotionally involved with Arsenal the team the club as they were .

  26. Samesong

    Wonder if Don will speak on racism 🤔

    The only thing worse than cretins on social media, are self appointed social media police

    I love it when they pull up someone for being racist though.

  27. Terraloon

    Whilst I post on here and a couple of other forums and we have a family WhatsApp that’s about the extent involvement in social media.
    There is no way that any sane individual would lob the abuse that is reported and that’s it they aren’t sane they are riddled with bias, ignorance, and a whole lot of other negative traits so many in fact that the ultimate jealousy that these negative individuals have clearly in their mind allows them to spout their venom without fear of retribution
    But for me many who correctly condemn the disgusting behaviour themselves lob out the abuse on these type of forums or in terms of the players how many supporters behave like animals lobby out disgusting abuse to opposition players at games? Ironic really .
    Some years ago I was at a non league game. The away team had a black lad playing for him when a home supporter launched a racist tirade at the player. I challenged that behaviour ( my big brother who was a policeman at the time ) was with me so I felt pretty brave but probably would have challenged the culprit, I too was given a mouthful but the essence of the verbal assault was he, the supporter paid to get in so he was perfectly justified because he paid toward the wages and anyway the player fare game.
    My point is yes some of the postings on social media are an absolute disgrace but in terms of the players particularly opposition players are some of the comments lobbed at them from the terraces or even on blogs like Le Grove really any different?

  28. The Bard

    Goobergooner. I agree. It’s also the anonymity that so attractive. I can abuse anyone, say anything I like because I’m hiding under my duvet and never have to back it up. There are plenty of examples on here. They are less interested in Arsenal and more interested in getting attention.

  29. China1

    Pierre the question is not if Jorginho can be a good player or offer something to his club. Same for xhaka. Irrespective of my personal disliking or both players, the point in making is that any statistical analysis that concludes Jorginho is #1 in the PL and xhaka is top 10 is patently not to be taken seriously

    Irrespective of those who like them more or less, I don’t think any fan would rate them close to those positions.

    If you took a poll of all arsenal fans today about who has been our best player over the course of the season it would likely be a landslide victory for saka. I’m not sure even Xhaka’s most ardent supporters would say he’s been as good as Tierney as well. ESR has been much better but fair enough he didn’t start the season and Ide has too but likewise started late so may be excluded fairly

  30. China1

    I doubt xhaka wants to leave

    Apart from inter, every other teams he’s ever been linked to are tiny compared to arsenal. This is as big as it gets in his career and he’d be mad to walk away unless it’s for non sporting reasons

    This is slightly curious timing with el neny supposedly set for a new contract. I wonder if he’s heard we’re in for a new CM and with el Neny staying he might not fancy all that competition for minutes

  31. Terraloon


    The point you make about clubs status is spot on because with that status normally reflects itself in the remuneration package offered by the “ bigger” club.

    To a degree that’s why I just can’t see many of the supposed deadwood leaving.

    Footballers have to be almost arrogant and have total belief in their ability so players like AMN , Chambers and Willock who so many think will just agree to end their time at Arsenal and agree to a transfer to clubs with lesser status isn’t as simple as just that.

  32. David Smith

    So, according to The Telegraph at least, Szczesny, , and we all know who he has now replaced, was sacrificed by Wenger et the altar of Gerry Peyton. It is reported he committed the crime of trying to improve himself with another GK coach at the club in early morning training sessions.
    Wenger achieved greatness, but ultimately, had huge blind spots over keepers and backroom staff.
    Just shows how much of a culture change this club has really needed since wengers departure.

  33. Emiratesstroller

    There is an article today in Telegraph about the career of Sczesny including what occurred at Arsenal and the lousy £10 million transfer fee we received for one one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

    Let’s start off with his career at Arsenal and his viewpoint of Gerry Peyton the then goalkeeping coach. Szcseny preferred to be coached by other coaches at club much to the
    annoyance of Wenger.

    Second the decision taken by Law to offload Sczesny after informing him that he would be
    only third string at Arsenal behind Cech and Ospina!

    It is somewhat ironic also that Szcesny had still planned to return to Arsenal and had retained the house he bought in Totteridge!!

    Then we saw him overtake Alisson in the goalkeeping pecking order at Roma and finally takeover from Buffon at Juventus.

    All this highlights our poor transfer decision making in the goalkeeping department at Arsenal more recently. We offloaded Emiliano Martinez who is now rated one of best goalkeepers in EPL and Leno by all accounts does not get on well with the current goalkeeping coach.

    Even more disturbing is that we recruited Runarsson who after a handful of games is rated
    one of the worst transfers in our history.

    Now we learn that Okonkwo considered one of the most talented prospects in our Academy
    wants to leave.

    It seems to me that Arsenal’s decision making when it comes to recruitment and talent
    spotting of goalkeepers has been abysmal.

    However, perhaps the worst aspect is that Arsenal received peanuts for Szcesny who took
    over from Alisson as first string. The latter was sold for five times what we received.

  34. AFC Forever

    As I said yesterday, Claude was a goood bloke and a proper Gooner, who I had met and disagreed with at times!!

    There is a difference between using freedom of speech to debate sensibly or to abuse, which some people just don’t understand. We have to be very careful here that the line doesn’t get blurred because if freedom of speech gets taken away, we really are in serious trouble. The problem with social media is the anonymity, if people had to register with ID it would be a much better place and I suspect that is where it will end up. None of us know the mental stability, sex or age of the person we are communicating with – so we should engage on SM how we would wish others engage with the people we care about the most.


    As some of you know, I volunteer and work with mental health charities & have done so for a number of years, so it’s a subject close to my heart. Social media is a terrible place for anyone suffering from MH issues. You probably didn’t know that Mental Health affects around 1 in 4 people in England – this includes; anger, anxiety, depression, paranoia, OCD, PTSD and a whole range of personality disorders. So when conversing with someone online, you assume they are like-minded, completely unaware of the fact they may be having suicidal thoughts or self-harming. Aggressive or bullying behaviour can have serious repercussions and in my experience, 99.99% of people are decent and kind; they would be horrified to find out they had caused someone harm with their words. It is worth pointing out that around 75% of all suicides are male, around 30 every week on average, the most common age 45-49 although rates sub 25 are rising (some argue due to SM activity). Do not fall into the trap of the ‘they should just man up’ mantra because mental health doesn’t work like that. Interestingly, the sector with the highest suicide rate is construction. This is relevant because it is a predominantly male-oriented sector due to the physical demands, although that is slowly changing.

    So in a nutshell, disagreeing is absolutely fine but abusing someone just because they don’t agree with you can cause serious ramifications. Social media is a vehicle for bad behaviour but the blame lies solely with the individual typing the message. It’s like driving a car, it’s not the cars fault you decide to jump the lights and endanger someone.
    Mental Health charities are always in need of support like volunteering and donations, so if any of you have some spare time, it’s a good cause and it affects kids too. However, the best way any of us can help is to just be more aware when we find ourselves triggered, as we all do from time to time.

  35. AFC Forever

    “Barry Ferguson predicting that Man City will want to sign Tierney. Thoughts??”

    Sums up what’s wrong with football. Now they are planning to change the FFP rules it will only get worse. Money talks and the clubs owned by oil states do the most talking.

  36. Captain Tierney

    People losing their minds.

    The ranking jwl discussed is for best player for their respective teams in the YEAR 2021. Its not for the whole season. And Jorginho is not the best player, he has been the best player for Chelsea in 2021. Similarly, according to their data, Xhaka has been our best player in 2021. The ranking is for the three months of Jan, Feb and March.

    Its hard to deny Xhaka has not been good for the past 3 months. He has started nearly all games since our resurgence and has played his best football for us in the last couple of months.

  37. Rich

    Can’t say I’d be keen on losing Tierney, but the reality is that if a players head get turned, then keeping players who don’t want to be here, rarely works out well

    The flip side of that is, selling your best talents and characters at 24, rarely works out well either, selling Ashley Cole to Chelsea for Gallas + £5million, over a petty dispute over £5,000 p/w, still really grates to this day

    Ashley Cole was the league’s best left back for over a decade, also England’s most consistent player at international level

    Tierney’s contract does run until 2024, at least that puts us in a decent position, he also doesn’t seem like the type to kick up a stink or let his standards drop

  38. Sid

    Gradual decline in testosterone levels contributes to the rising rate of depression in older men,
    Diet also messes with hormones.
    Eat healthy, by physically active, spend time outdoors, spend time with family and friends

  39. Leedsgunner

    “Rocky, Rocky Rocky, Rocky Rocky

    Rocky, Rocky Rocky, Rocky Rocky

    Rocky Rocastle”

    I reckon he would be pretty chuffed with who is wearing his shirt his number today!

    Never forgotten.

    What a fighter…

    I’m not going to lie, I had a lump in my throat and a wee tear in my eye as I watched Wrighty talk about him in this video.

    Thinking of the player he was and his family today!

  40. David Smith

    No worries ES, it’s all a pretty shocking situation really…the club seemingly doing things to their detriment.
    Gerry Peyton should never have been allowed near an elite GK, and Wenger should have been concentrating on fielding and developing the best, rather than his misplaced loyalties.
    Often think things went really down hill partly when Pat Rice left, and Wenger was left with backroom staff he could completely dominate, know Bould was a tough customer on the pitch, but he clearly had no sway as wengers assistant.
    But this Gerry Peyton thing must rank with Wengers stubborn refusal to keep Keown on as his defence coach, after MK had done rather well…seemed to me he was getting a little too much praise , and making the defence a bit too good for Wengers liking

  41. China1

    If that list only covers 2021 it makes even less sense

    Raise your hand who believes xhaka has been our best player in 2021.

    Keep your hand up if you also suffer from cataracts!

  42. Rich

    Other than his brain fart against Burnley, Xhaka has been really good since Xmas

    I don’t hate Xhaka, I’d love an upgrade, but that could be said of a number of players in a number of positions

  43. China1

    It’s not the question rich – it’s has he been the best player at arsenal in the last 3 months

    How many times has he been MOTM in 2021?
    How many player of the month awards has he won?

    You would think the answers would be pretty favourable for someone being labeled as the best performer in the team over this period

  44. The Bard

    Rich: the bottom line is all our players are vulnerable to having their heads turned. Who wouldnt want to play for City for double your money. Its a short career. If Saka and ESR continue to improve the same will happen to them. If we want to keep them we have to pay them and we dont have the money. Their contracts arent worth the paper they are written on and lets leave the loyalty issue out of it. That died years ago.

  45. China1

    Meanwhile saka has been player of the month for Jan *and* feb

    Oh and December but we don’t even need to count that as it’s last year

  46. Uwot?

    @AFC forever.Excellent piece.with regards to Barry Ferguson.Prob stating the obvious & no more.Or a convenient Bit of shit stirring as he has a dislike of Arsenal .I remember the little git ruffling our players hair after he’d scored an own goal in league cup final re Birmingham.I’d have chinned him.Sure mega rich clubs will be interested.But regardless of whoever comes knocking these days.Our new regime should tell them to f** k off in no uncertain terms.

  47. Rich


    I have little insight into player stats other than picking up bits and pieces from websites and blogs of people that do

    Wenger, Emery, Freddie, Arteta, and the Swiss national team managers, have all continued to pick Xhaka

    If I was asked for our best player since Xmas, Xhaka would certainly be toward the top of my list

    He’s always available, and whilst I’m not blind to his flaws particularly around concentration and temperament, I don’t think even the biggest haters would doubt his commitment, or that he does have qualities

    Listening to Mislintat talking about identifying talent, it’s sometimes about finding players with one specific superpower, and then getting them to perform that superpower as often as you can

    Here’s some stats I found that were quite surprising, 20/21 Europe’s top 5 leagues

    Granit Xhaka

    95% for progressive pass/carry yards per 90
    98% passes into final third per 90
    98% progressive passes per 90
    13% successful dribbles per 90
    97% miss controlled/dispossessed per 90
    93% pass completion per 90

    Other than successful dribbles, which will come as no surprise to any Arsenal fans, Xhaka performs in the highest percentile against midfielders in Europe’s top 5 league’s

  48. James+Mullaly

    RIP Claude. So many great memories of you trying to understand what Tye was trying to say!!

    I gave up social media a few years ago. Much prefer real people, real conversation and not wasting hours of time

  49. Mr Serge

    I have never been a fan of social media I have FB but i never post on there its just a way of keeping in touch with friends, twitter is a troll fest and all the new ones like Insta and tik tok are all show of crap for people that like to pretend rather than live.
    perception over reality bullshit,

    there must be a way of policing it so there is no racism or abuse but until it is policed properly no thanks

  50. China1

    Rich the issue I’m raising isn’t if he’s been better this year it’s that it doesn’t pass the eye test that he’s the best player in the team right now.

    If he was our best player he would be winning motm awards with relative frequency. He’d compete for POTM awards with relative frequency. It wouldn’t require someone to dig out stats because when players are the best in their team it’s normally pretty easy to see give or take. We never had difficulty identifying whether cesc was the best. We never had difficult when RVP was the best. In what has been a very poor arsenal season it’s actually never been easier to stand out by not being poor. And time and again it’s the same few players who are consistently recognized as stand out > saka, Tierney, ode, esr have all done it frequently in 2021. They’ve all frequently been ‘the difference’ in matches. That’s a normal thing to see from your best player(s).

    The fact that you mention those stats are surprising is because what you see with your eyes tells you a different story – otherwise they wouldn’t surprise you.

    So again. The best player in the team shouldn’t be struggling for MOTM awards or POTM awards (not only did Saka win the last 2 in a row but Xhakas not even a candidate this month whilst Ode, Gabriel, Laca and Tierney are unsurprisingly are.

    If we’re on the top of passing stats he has two assists for opposition goals in the PL in 2021. Are such numbers recorded on that stat page?

  51. China1

    Also how is ‘progressive’ calculated. Does the ball only need to move ahead of the man playing it?

    If you’re a DM and the fullbacks push just ahead of you and you play a slightly forward pass to them does this count as a ‘progressive pass’ in the stats? What is the typical relative difficulty and significance of such a pass compared with Ode, ESR or Saka trying to play eye of the needle passes through a defense? Both ‘progressive passes’ but entirely different

    Lastly wouldn’t you expect players who primarily sit deep to have lots of progressive passes considering the play is largely ahead of them?

  52. The BFB

    Who needs the social media giants like Facebook and Twitter when, courtesy of Pedro, we are lucky enough to be able to air our views and read the opinions of fellow Gooners on Le Grove.

  53. China1

    As well rich your mention his passing stats are good and the other points are ‘he’s always available’ and ‘works hard’

    Saka has mostly always been available and works very hard as well.

    We need to stop lowering the bar for what we consider to be stand out qualities. This stuff is just expected. It’s the impact you have on the pitch that determines how good you are. How many times do you win a game for your team? How many times do you boss a match? How many times do you have the fans (including opposition) saying ‘damn he’s good’. It’s how many times when the chips are down you put the team on your back.

    Saka has done that time and again. Xhaka has been usually solid. It’s a different ballpark of influence

  54. Emiratesstroller


    There are too many posters on Le Grove who like to criticise Xhaka. As you point out he has performed well this year and perhaps more importantly alongside Partey forming a solid
    backbone in midfield.

    Arsenal should focus on buying Odegaard this summer, which will complete our central
    midfield. Smith-Rowe is an obvious rotation option for Odegaard and playing in left midfield
    if required. So we need then to look for a midfield option to replace Ceballos and Elneny and
    rotate with Partey and Xhaka.

    This will allow us to focus on strengthening the backline if a] Bellerin leaves and b] finding
    an understudy for Tierney.

  55. Rich


    Stats can be interpreted in many different ways, but so can value

    Saka + Tierney would pass the eye test, because they both consistently carve open chances and influence games, they’re both explosive and exciting players

    We know that’s not Xhaka’s game, I suppose it’s whether Arteta is getting certain qualities and attributes from Xhaka, that no other player in the squad can produce

    Progressive carries/yards per 90, is how many yards Xhaka progresses the ball per 90 minutes on the pitch, which puts him in the 95 percentile when up against his central midfield counterparts from Europe’s top 5 league’s

    He’s got strengths, he’s got weaknesses, I’m not blind to his lack of pace and agility, or his poor temperament, but I do think he’s become a bit of a scapegoat, and is nowhere near as poor as some make out

    Hopefully once Partey settles, he’ll will offset some of Xhaka’s weaknesses

    Because while Xhaka is poor in terms of agility and dribbling in tight spaces, Partey had the highest percentage in terms of successful dribbles in Europe’s top five league’s last season

    He also had the highest number of mistakes leading to clear cut chances in La Liga as well, so I think there’s certainly a case of risk vs reward with both players that we’ll have to accept going forward

    Signing Odegaard on a permanent deal, genuine competition for both Leno + Tierney, should be at the top of our list of priorities

    After that, hopefully we can get Bellerin out the door, and identify a top right back as a replacement, I really like Matty Cash at Aston Villa

  56. Dream10

    Real Madrid linked with both Haaland and Mbappé
    If that is the case and Odegaard does not want to play with his countryman, Real will push for a permanent sale. I can see Pochettino being interested in signing him.

  57. The BFB

    If Le Grovers were to name Arsenal’s most talented player I’m certain Saka would be top of the list. Is it possible, therefore, that the person who rated Xhaka the best is suffering from some form of dyslexia.

  58. Nelson

    Saka plays well in any combination/teammate. Xhaka plays well only next to Partey. Without Partey, our midfield becomes slow and boring. We’ll have to sign another midfielder who is suitable to rotate with Partey and also steps in during the AFCON.

  59. Rich

    Early days with Partey, but so far he’s been a player who’s left me with no finger nails

    He looks like the very definition of high risk vs high reward

    We really need to beat Liverpool after dropping points against West Ham + Burnley, to get us into the mix

    I’d much rather be in the Europa next season, than have no European football

  60. S Asoa

    Xaka statistics are for no purpose. They are good on paper because it involves some ponderous trot and a consistent pass to back ,which will be 100% successful. Xaka takes 1.4 seconds until he decides what he might like to do , and as explained above does something exactly opposite.
    It is pertinent that Arsenal play changed it’s pace format since Xaka signed.
    Xaka does not fit into our playing style. A good player detrimental to Arsenal

  61. Prodigy

    RIP Claude
    At the end of the day an Arsenal fan is an Arsenal fan to me. Opinions come and go, but we all want what’s best for the club

    Did he pass of covid or other reasons? May he RIP

  62. Rich

    S Asoa

    I’m not arguing about the pace that Xhaka moves the ball

    He’s just not as bad as some make out, and does have some qualities, that are also offset by some weaknesses

    He’s still a better player than Elneny + Ceballos though, and that’s why he plays consistently

    Barcelona are struggling financially, if KSE had any ambition, they’d put a £60-£80 million bid in for Frenkie De Jong, just to test the water

    He looks like an exceptional player, coming into a good age, and a good level of experience

    Aouar is the one we’re continually linked with, but he’s only completed 90 minutes 6 times in 24 appearances this season, regularly getting hooked early in the second half

    Could be a COVID hangover, but his application has also been called into question a few times, so there’s a few red flags there

    I’d take an upgrade in any position, i think there’s a couple of other areas that are a little bit more pressing than central midfield though

  63. S Asoa

    Frenkie de Jong is so consistent . It would move us 2 notches unless a smart Alec coach tries fitting round pegs in square holes for his entertainment or power games

  64. Jim Lahey

    The very idea that we are going to offer a new contract to Elneny says everything about where we are as a team.
    There should be no such things as a “squad player” at Arsenal. There should be first team players and players pushing to be apart of the first team. No player should be happy to be a “squad player”. Does anyone see Elneny pushing for a CM place? Neither do I. If he is happy to take a deal to play every now and then, that isn’t the mindset required to play for Arsenal. The whole situation reeks of mediocrity, just like the club have for the past 15 years.

  65. chris

    Lots of Aguero rumours doing the rounds, probably all nonsense, but hypothetically what would we do?

    For me this would be different from signing Willian on a free. Aguero is clearly a world class goal scorer, I don’t know if he has dropped a level since his injuries and that is why City are not renewing him. However his record is obviously phenomenal.

    Another question is could we actually afford his likely wage anyway. One of Aubameyang or Lacazette would probably have to go also.

    I’d be quite torn on whether it would be a good idea.

  66. Rich

    If City thought they could extract anymore value out of Aguero, they’d be keeping him for themselves

    Aguero would probably want the security of at least a 2 year deal, our plan for 22/23 season shouldn’t contain Aguero 34, Willian 34 and Aubameyang 33

    We’ve already got far too many strikers, we could lose both Lacazette + Nketiah, renew Balogun, and numerically we’d still be fine

    Going into next season with Aubameyang, Martinelli, Balogun. and the option of Pepe down the middle, should be more than enough firepower

    If we fail to qualify for Europe, we should loan out Balogun for the season

    I wanted to move Aubameyang on last summer, but we’re likely stuck with him, so may as well try and extract as much value as possible out of our investment

    Hopefully he starts leading by example, otherwise drop him for Martinelli, or give Pepe a run down the middle

  67. Dream10

    Aguero should switch to La Liga or Serie A. Less intensive and sign for a CL side like Barça or Inter.

    Bayern are interested in Son. Would be a quality signing for them. Two footed, pace and can score from both sides

  68. Almuniasaynomore

    I can’t help but agree Jim. It’s this type of story, combined with convincing xhaka to stay,offering mustafi a new deal,not selling amn, potentially losing balogun and others that has so many suspicious of Arteta’s ability to take the club forward. If he can’t identify the players we need to keep and those we need to be rid of then where are we going?

  69. MidwestGun

    If Xhaka is our best player statistically since start of year, then that explains our 9th place table position so it makes sense to me as he leads the team with minutes played.

    There are levels and then there are levels.

    I’d imagine Luiz has very good stats too. That and 50 cents will buy you a cracked cup of coffee that will leak goals and red cards

    Also, R.I.P. Claude.. I always thought he reflected what everyone was feeling.. which was despair most of the time.. sorry it caught up to him.

  70. chris

    “ our plan for 22/23 season shouldn’t contain Aguero 34, Willian 34 and Aubameyang 33”

    When put like that I would absolutely agree. The other thought is an Aguero in front of Saka, Odegaard (if we keep him) and ESR. Would that mean an immediate upturn in our goals for column?

    Agree about Aubemyang also, I have said this before, we committed to him and now we need to figure out how best to utilise him.

    Some good news? –

  71. The Bard

    Signing Aguero !! Come on guys. I know Arsenal are a bit of a basketcase but signing an injury prone 32 year old with too many miles on the clock is tantamount to insanity.

  72. Rich

    Our squad planning has been non existent

    Martinelli should be being groomed as the heir to Aubameyang’s throne, ready to take over as an internal replacement over the next 12-24 months

    Hopefully we can pick up fees for Nketiah + Lacazette this summer, put that money into signing Odegaard

    Get Smith-Rowe + Saka on new 5yr deals

    Odegaard, Smith-Rowe
    Saka, Willian
    Pepe, Martinelli
    Aubameyang, Balogun

    In an ideal world we’d get shot of Willian and go forward Neto as well, who’s one of the best young talents in the league, maybe offer Wolves Nelson + £25million?

  73. Dissenter

    “Hopefully we can pick up fees for Nketiah + Lacazette this summer, put that money into signing Odegaard”

    Hopefully we have a back-up plan should it be impossible to sign Odegaard.
    There are too many intangibles involved with signing Odegaard and we can’t afford to put all our eggs in one basket.
    Real may not make the Odegaard decision till very very late in the window….how much are we willing to wait for them to determine what to do with Ode?

  74. JoppaRoad

    RIP Claude. Only just caught up with this news as I’m taking a break from Twitter as I find it to be a cesspit. A very nasty place.

    Good post Pedro, thanks.


  75. Kroenkephobe

    Disgraceful dive by Sterling. He should’ve got a yellow but ingerland get a pen converted by Kane, king of cheats. Kurwa!

  76. Habesha Gooner

    I used to be in a lot of social media sites. People either are racist, abusive or they are insulting someone. And these accounts have no faces. It happens everywhere. It’s like every douchebag got a license to be themselves without showing their face. It fuels everything that is bad about humanity. Anyway I quit everything in a single day about two years ago. And I am never going back.

    I don’t understand people who get on it now either. I only get businesses and influencers that are making money of it. The rest are sheep being led to a slaughter house. It consumes your time and money. And now your mental health and your sanity. I think it has brought a lot of negative crap that the industries leaders don’t want to take responsibility for while knowing these issues because they are making a lot of money. If they had any legit concerns about these issues they would have fixed it by now. But they are making money so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right. If they lose a lot of users though things might actually change.

  77. Rich

    I’ve seen enough to suggest Odegaard is worth doing everything we can to sign him on a permanent deal

    KSE need to get the cheque book out, and get this one over the line

    Will Madrid stand in the players way if he wants the move?

    I don’t see many players with this sort of talent around, if he decides to stay at Madrid, or if someone else turns his head, then we’ll have to identify another target

    But Odegaard should be our No1 target this summer

  78. Habesha Gooner

    Back to football, Nah to Aguero. We have tried to go this way before and we know what will happen. There is a reason city are letting him go. He is 32 and injury prone and is in the wane. We are not getting explosive aguero that we admire. I want us to give our young strikers a chance. They need it and that is the way of the future.

  79. TheLegendaryDB10

    Thanks for the post Pedro.

    Well said re Claude and the bullying he suffered at the hands of complete retards.

    It just goes to show the inanity of social media. What makes me laugh so much is that it is called “social” but it is the complete opposite in reality. It’s anti-social at every level. You a) have zero contact with people face to face and b) you can posture and invent a character out of thin air and pretend to be someone you are not (c.f.. certain posters on this blog).

    There is a big majority of idiots who use this medium to bully and act like they would never do or say things that they would never say when face to face with that person. These people are just cowards.

    I hate the idea of policing the internet but this medium certainly needs policing as far too many ppl use it as a way to show how inhuman they really are.

  80. Aussie+Gooner

    RIP Claude, always outspoken but with a passion for the game and Arsenal in particular. A genuine guy plagued by the usual suspects – internet trolls and keyboard warriors. It happens off-line to with gossip and rumour – usually people jealous of what you have. It ruins lives and can end up taking lives. We must all be responsible for our actions/words particularly with regard to other individuals. Trust me it is not nice being on the receiving end!