by .

Here we are, match day blog time.

Mikel Arteta has finally caved to Martinelli in the starting 11. All the noise I hear is that he’s been electric in training. He needs to channel some of that ESR mentality. Play like you belong, don’t give an inch to the manager, and take the chances afforded.

Nicolas Pepe has also been rewarded after his cameo on Thursday. He’s another one that needs to keep showing that he can be relevant for 90 minutes. He needs to take his chances, impose his bag of madness on a weak defence, and be decisive.

Main point of concern for the game is the the lack of creativity. Ceballos, Xhaka and Partey doesn’t scream fast breaks and threaded balls. Dani really needs to show up, he has to move the ball fast, and he has a rescue a reputation that’s in the gutter. If he’s shite, I’d love to see Azeez given a bit of a role.

Overall, this game has ‘WHY AM I PLAYING’ vibes about it. This squad of whiners switches off all too regularly when there’s nothing on a game. I really, really, don’t want to see another slow start and another shite performance.

Let’s see what we get…

See you in the comments. x


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. S Asoa

    Pepe needs to cut out his unnecessary whistles and ribbons. Our Sauce does not have it in him to train.
    So which Manager could we send Pepe. Expensive player needs to be brought up to that level

  2. Rich

    If we win 5/7 of our remaining games, that’s 60 points

    60 points and reaching the Europa final has to be our aim from here

    It’s not been great this season, but we have to try and make the best of our situation

    West Brom

    15/21 points is doable

    Reaching a coin toss final likely against United, is doable

  3. Pierre

    With Martinelli’s performance tonight, hopefully we are one step closer to having the youngest offensive 4 in Europe.

    .He thoroughly deserved his goal .

  4. James wood.

    Only saw the first half but they certainly played all round us at times
    With a good striker they would have caused us more problems
    I felt sorry for McGoldrick aged 33 what a good player he is.
    Will catch up with the second half later.

  5. Ishola70

    S Asoa
    “So which Manager could we send Pepe.”

    lol I don’t know. One which doesn’t demand high work rate. Maybe a loan abroad would be better for him rather than staying in England.

    Certainly he is not a player for Bielsa though.

  6. Northbanker

    Wingdings – no one thinks that but a 3-0 is always welcome. I would still love to see Arteta be successful even if you don’t. Every success should be celebrated

  7. Guns of SF

    My boy Martinelli got his goal . Finally. Glad the young fella stayed on- sometimes you just need to run off these knocks.
    I only hope he plays again this season.
    Mike with the weak high five when he came off…. not much love going on there

  8. Ishola70


    wtf are you on about really.

    Martinelli is a CF playing out of his natural position presumably to learn the game and that’s if he even gets enough playing time and because others are seen ahead of him at this time at CF.

    His future is clearly at CF so we will know more about Martinelli the player when he plays in his more natural position in the future.

    What’s hard to understand about that or do you just like snapping at ankles for the fun of it?

    It’s not even dissing the player and yet you feel the need to get defensive about him. It’s about recognising that he is naturally a CF playing wide in the side.

  9. Ishola70

    James wood.
    “Only saw the first half but they certainly played all round us at times”

    They really didn’t. Not in the final third anyway. Some passing around us from their box to midfield but hardly any meaningful passes in our final third.

  10. Guns of SF

    Rich I agree

    Dani did well today. These type of games suit him…
    against well organized teams he struggles. Sheffield was all over the place, allowing him to find those good passes and positions.

    I like him, but he needs to go back… we can do better

  11. Tom

    “Bread is bread and cheese is cheese “

    I would feed all Arsenal players tonight if I were their father, even if I had to steal it.

    Got to love Jose for the entertainment value lol

  12. James wood.

    Inshola 21.17
    That’s exactly right and that’s why I mentioned
    their lack of any strike force .
    One thing for sure they play out better from the back than we do.?

  13. Ishola70

    That’s the thing Marko Martinelli doesn’t and didn’t play great at LW because that is not his natural position, CF is.

    If he hadn’t scored today fans would have probably said he had a decent game but nothing great. But he showed his natural inclination for the CF position when he scored his goal. All his good stuff is when he basically goes into CF from wide. So being started wide restricts him atm in regards what his real natural game is.

    Don’t think I’m doubting him. What I am saying really is that we will see the real Martinelli when he starts playing as CF.

  14. Northbanker

    Shame Chambers isn’t a bt quicker- he’d be a great RB if he was. Everything else is great and his crossing is spot on.

    Can we please use him to take the corners? – cos someone somewhere at AFC must surely be able to take them?

  15. Ishola70

    Martinelli is no Son of Spurs.

    Let’s get that right.

    Son is very comfortable from the flanks and being two footed dances in wide to central.

    Martinelli doesn’t show that ease when playing wide.

    Martinelli is a CF and hopefully fingers crossed will be a very good CF for Arsenal in the not too distant future.

  16. The backpass

    ” That’s the thing Marko Martinelli doesn’t and didn’t play great at LW because that is not his natural position, CF is.If he hadn’t scored today fans would have probably said he had a decent game but nothing great. But he showed his natural inclination for the CF position when he scored his goal. All his good stuff is when he basically goes into CF from wide. So being started wide restricts him atm in regards what his real natural game is.Don’t think I’m doubting him. What I am saying really is that we will see the real Martinelli when he starts playing as CF.”

    Marko, I have to agree with Ishola on this.

  17. Ishola70


    “Well you’ll have to tell the lad his best position because he wants to play LF”

    And where did you hear that from the horse’s mouth Martinelli himself?

    And if he did say that don’t you think that may be because he sees that Aubameyang and Lacazette are currently the CFs at the club and he may have a better chance of more playing time at LW.

    If Martinelli just stays at LW at Arsenal I’m telling you we will not be seeing the best from Martinelli that he could offer this side.

    He is a future Arsenal CF.

  18. S23

    Pleased with the win and Martinelli’s goal,but sick of Arteta playing people that surely have no long term future at the club.
    Willian offers absolutely nothing,nearly ran into Holding or Chambers to cause mayhem in the area.
    Ceballos played his best game,but is nowhere near what we need,1 decent game in 30.
    Eddie given 7 minutes,and Elneny coming on in a dead game.
    Hope Lacazette carries on his scoring on Thursday.
    Mari looked good and won some aerial balls.
    A timid selection from a timid manager at the moment,but a win is a win.

  19. Mr Serge

    I understand why Arteta plays the older players he has to not freeze them out if he has a chance to sell them . He is keeping their market value up to a decent level

  20. S23

    I get the rotation,but would like to see some of our youngsters if only to evaluate whether they will have anything for us going forward.
    I really think Willian has a must play a certain amount of games clause in his contract.

  21. Ishola70

    Had to see what Pedro is up to on twitter.

    It looks like he is advocating Xhaka playing as a permanent LB on the strength of today’s performance.

    Of course this is a ludicrous idea over any great length of time as Xhaka will be roasted for pace enough times against teams that are truly interested and have dangerous wide players with a bit of pace about them.

    Xhaka has always shown that he lacks pace. I know let’s stick him at LB. It would only work if Xhaka is a stay at home LB. Fullbacks are meant to be up and down the pitch it is hilarious thinking about Xhaka hurtling down the flank end to end.

  22. Rich

    Some really strange things happen at Arsenal, we’re a really weird club

    But signing Willian on a 3yr deal at 32, is right up there

    I don’t know a single fan who thought it was a good idea at the time

    Another investment we’ll likely extract zero value from

    Unless of course he pops up with a cup final winning goal on the 26th of May, in which case I’ll love him forever, and declare his signing inspirational……

  23. Frost

    Arsenal in 2019 went 6 league games without a win
    Martinelli starts the 7th = Arsenal win.

    Arsenal in 2020 went 6 league games without a win
    Martinelli starts the 7th = Arsenal win

    Arsenal in 2021 went 4 games all comps without a win
    Martinelli starts the 5th = Arsenal win

    Lesson for Arteta? Start Willian.

  24. Tom

    Got to love Ole/Mou cat fight.
    Two of the biggest ref cunning outfits complaining about ref decisions and play acting.

    Another Portuguese saying comes to mind here;
    both Ole and Mou can go comb monkeys

  25. Pedro


    But he was very good today. He’s been pretty good all season. The least of our worries right now.

  26. Rich

    Lacazette was brilliant tonight

    But under no circumstances should he get anymore than a 1 yr extension

    I’d still be tempted to cash in this summer if we get an offer

    And we shouldn’t be afraid of losing him on a Bosman, he’s playing for a new deal right now, the cynic in me can’t help but think he’ll switch off the moment the ink dries on his new deal

  27. Ishola70

    I did think it was a bit tongue in cheek Pedro the Xhaka at LB bit but Captain America he is not. Rather Captain Nobby who will cause problems again down the road.

    They were talking about Aubameyang and getting rid of him in the summer in the podcast. I think it’s going to be a real difficult task to offload him. As Johnny hinted at it may be a case of Aubameyang thinking he may outlast Arteta at the club which is of course unfortunate and not a healthy situation at all.

    Aubameyang out in the summer seems the best solution atm just difficult to see him being offloaded due to the poor season he has just come off and his nice new contract he has just embarked on.

  28. Leedsgunner

    If you play Martinelli from the beginning… guess what happens? He offers pace power and goals.

    Arteta played Martinelli more out of desperation but he delivered.

    I hope we see him on the pitch for more than 10 minutes on Thursday.

  29. Ishola70

    Of course Mourinho is absolutely gutted tonight.

    Man United ended his season completely earlier today.

    Arsenal have more to play for now until the end of the season than Spurs.

  30. Champagne Charlie

    Auba getting extended is the biggest confidence killer in the idea Edu and Arteta can build well for the future. Was always knee jerk, never well thought/planned because literally nothing else changed beyond it.

    We should’ve extended and reworked the front 4 to play into the 31 year olds strengths, or extended Laca and played the collective game.

  31. Frost


    Think Saka will recover in time for Thursday. That looked like just a dead leg to me.

    Him, esr & Martinelli behind Auba/Laca should be our lineup for Thursday. Fingers crossed.

    Make pepe/Laca/Auba the impact Subs.

    P.S. Anyone know what our best CB pairing is? Cuz I have no idea at this point. Mari/Holding looked good tonight.

  32. WengerEagle

    Problem with selling Auba is, who would want him at this stage for any significant fee? He wasn’t exactly hot property 3.5 years ago when we bought him in his prime.

    He has declined since his Dortmund days/earlier days here and turns 32 in the summer.

    Be doing well to get 20m for him.

  33. Ernest Reed

    Tidy performance and an expected win against a woeful Sheffield squad. Hopefully both Saka and Martinelli have just minor bumps and bruises and nothing more.

    No longer know what to expect so i will content myself with the points and an appearance in the Top 10 for the team.

  34. Guns of SF

    The question is who would want to buy Auba?
    Doubt Madrid would be sniffing around-
    He does have value and in a slower and less physical league, he could still bang em in

  35. Ray+in+LA

    Until I read the BBC review of the game, I didn’t realise that was a pass from Partey…I thought it was another optimistic shot 🙂

  36. Guns of SF

    Yes it was good to get a win again… in the manner we did.
    Mike A needs to trust his attacking players with more freedom
    Saka and Pepe combined nicely
    Martinelli was lively
    It was good

  37. Guns of SF

    Now Mike should seriously consider playing Gabi on Thurs.
    At least some good minutes… he is a game changer
    Our season depends on getting his attack right.
    Please do not go with team Vet!

    I hope Auba plays as CF or not at all. This insane LW thing has to end.

  38. Ray+in+LA

    @ guns

    I think you’ve summarised what a lot of us are feeling, both the Gabi and the Auba issues…getting his attack right is not only our season, but his job

    in goonerblogs “on the whistle” he speculated that different CFs would benefit from different support…I thought he had a very good point

  39. China1

    Just read mourinhos comments

    I know it’s harsh to laugh at someone’s wording when they’re speaking a second language but fuck me that was golden. Got a proper belly laugh out of me!

    Never in my time did I think the post match comments would be managers throwing out pearls like

    ‘ I just want to say, Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole, because I think a father – I am a father – you have to always feed your kids, it doesn’t matter what they do.

    “If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese’


  40. China1

    Mourinho May have lost the match but he’s still trying to force his way into contention for worlds best dad trophy. It’s hard with every dad in the world winning this annually on Father’s Day but he’s in with a chance. He does feed his kids at least. Without exception!

  41. Freddie Ljungberg

    Good to get a win, but really the minimum we should expect against the bottom dwellers with nothing to play for. Still, nice to see soke slick play and the second goal was sublime.

    Too bad we wasted so much time indulging Willian and the awful Laca – Auba combo along with the 7-0-3 formation.

    It’s not a case of not having the required attacking players for a top 4 push, it’s not using them or using them wrong.

    Saka/Martinelli/Pepe that’s 3 very good options for the 2 wing spots, better than most teams have, play 2 of those 3 always and we look a different team. Auba/Laca is a very good duo, if we only play 1 at a time, up top, which one depending on the opposition. Again better than most teams have.

    Instead we’ve been faffing about playing Willian at every opportunity, playing Auba left wing, Saka left back, Laca AM, freezing out Martinelli, benching Pepe for 3 games after every good performance. It’s madness. We should be doing so much better than we have and it’s no longer a squad problem like it was 2-3 years ago when we didn’t have any proper wingers and our whole defence was shite.

    Would be nice to see what a settled 11 would look like, there’s so much chopping and changing every week no one has time to build any partnerships. He can’t even settle on his preferred CB pairing ffs.

    Hope Martinelli gets a run in the side now, he’s been out so long he would have been forgiven for not having a great performance today but he still did very well, kind of have to when only a select few gets to play themselves into any kind of form.

  42. Guns of SF

    Good to see the OG’s return to the board. For a while this place was littered with Arteta fan boys on steroids

    I think Mike will play Martin on Thursday. I mean, if he does and we go through then Mike will come out shining. If he does not and we crash out, the questions will keep lingering. its in his best interest to play him!

  43. Tony

    So we beat the mighty Sheffield at the cost of Saka and Martinelli hobbling off in the 2nd half where, at best, they will be carrying knocks into the Slavia game we seriously need pace in our attack.

    Arteta & Steve Round at their clueless best.

    At least Martinelli got among the goals showing Auba in his sick bed where the back of the net is.

    Is Auba pulling Ozilesque sickies now?

    I’m sure SP will be training to deal with a much faster forward line from us by cutting off the supply from our midfield. I mean Odegaard, ESR and Saka with Martinelli should be able to bypass their midfield press …. oh wait they are all injured.

    More stunning foresight by the clueless twosome.

    Hope Stan and Vinai are getting Round’s & Arteta’s P45s ready; they’ll need them for the job center and the odd southern league club who might be interested, which is Round’s & Arteta’s level.

    I mean who would take Arteta serious as a TV pundit other than sad AKB?

    Onto Slavia Prague only I’d be more confident if Arteta and the vastly experienced Steve Round were hawking their CVs around looking for a new job.

  44. Captain Tierney

    Gabriel M is clearly our best defender. But Mari/Holding partnership is statistically our best CB partnership.

    Wierd dilemma this for Arteta.
    On one hand, Gabriel has shown he is a beast in defence, putting in goal-saving blocks and tackles. But he is also error prone and does not work with another similar player like him ala Holding.
    Gabriel needs a calming influence like Luiz with him.

    Mari is very much like the Big F German. Slow but quite adept at reading the game. He brings calmness to the defence and complements Holding quite nicely. He is also very good on the ball and doesn’t make unnecessary errors like Gabriel.

    A very tricky situation this, at least from my perspective.
    I would like to give Chambers and Gabriel a go at CB together.
    Chambers is also very good on the ball and can be the calming influence alongside Gabriel.

  45. Wiglaf

    Very good performance yesterday from the forwards but just as importantly, the midfield.
    Partey and Ceballos really moved the ball well and created situations where our forwards found space and could get at the defence quickly.
    We don’t need Aubameyang up top to create quick attacks. Laca is able to do this while dropping deep and linking up then arriving late
    Liked Saka in the middle too. We need to throw the shackles off more regularly and let our forwards Olay with more freedom
    They got it yesterday and my how it showed

  46. Tony

    Laca is probably too mercenary to down tools on Arteta which will probably be enough with CT’s above stat to massage Tet’s ego enough to land a 5 year contract on 300k per week plus bonuses.

    Arsenal: the care home for wayward senior statesmen footballers looking for zero accountability and fat contracts.

  47. The Bard

    It’s amazing what some of these players can pull out when contracts are at stake. Laca was excellent but where has he been for most of his time at Arsenal. Lets hope the board don’t buy it. Thurs is a massive day. Let’s hope Saka is OK.

  48. Tony

    Yes Sid but you have to take into account that Laca has the loudest recorded scream when being slightly clipped in a tackle.

    And his incredible non human like healing powers and super fast recoveries.

  49. Kroenkephobe

    1.04 million pounds per goal (excluding the rather generous wages). A bargain in other words.

    Thatll be 25 quid please Sid – you can transfer it into my champagne socialist Swiss bank account.

  50. Samir

    Good result last night. I just pray Arteta finally learns his lesson and stops playing Laca and Auba in the same system.
    Martinelli has to start with ESR and Saka from not on. I doubt Odegaard will be here next season so ESR should get priority at CAM.


    Is probably our best 11. Out of those guys, we need upgrades for:
    GK (Leno is a good GK but doesn’t work in Artetas system)
    RB (Cedric should be backup)
    CB (Holding)
    CM (Xhaka)
    LW (Move Martinelli to ST)

  51. Samir

    Would love to see:
    New commanding GK who’s good with his feet.
    Emerson/Hakimi for RB
    Saliba/Mavropanos to replace Holding
    Soumaré/Bissouma to replace Xhaka
    Pedro Neto/Saint-Maximin for LW

  52. Sid

    ‘Thatll be 25 quid please Sid – you can transfer it into my champagne socialist Swiss bank account’

    You must have me mistaken for vinai, edu or Diet pep

  53. Pierre

    The thing is with Pepe is his first touch is poor, his 2nd and 3rd are normally good , but as anyone knows in football , the first touch is the all important one..

    The importance of having a good first touch just makes the game look easier , players like Bergkamp and Ozil had an exquisite first touch so they always looked like they had time on the ball.

    Pepe never looks like he has time on the ball when the ball is played to his feet as the ball gets away from him.
    However, play the ball into the space for him to run on to and he can be lethal…

    It’s all about feeding him.the ball in the right areas…..tight on the touchline with a defender or 2 close by , forget it..

  54. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal’s result yesterday was okay.

    However, no-one should be deluded to believe that this is a turning point in our season.

    Let’s be clear Sheffield United are a very poor team.

    What concerns me most is the turnover of personnel. We are struggling to maintain team
    selection in part through illness and injuries but also through rotation.

    Yesterday we played effectively an entire second or third string backline. Midfield was also
    experimental with Ceballos and Saka.

    Lacazette had a decent game. The mystery is why he played so badly against Sparta. Will he
    play on Thursday or be replaced by Aubameyang?

    Martinelli adds enthusiasm and energy. He is a long way from finished article but looks a
    very good prospect.

    I will make one additional observation. Mari looks like a “solid” defender and positionally
    better than Gabriel albeit he lacks his pace. On the whole we seem to play defensively better
    when he is selected.

  55. Northbanker

    At some stage we will have to cut our losses o Pepe – i agree Pierre – his first touch is very poor and he always looks like he’s dragging the ball from under his feet. This is going to limit his appearances and it tends to slow the game down when we are on the counter attack. That said, better him than Willian on the flanks. He was once again awful last night.

  56. Pierre

    And that’s why Mari should be a nailed on starter with Holding .
    The pairing have had 3 clean sheets in 5 games , conceding 2 goals in total v Chelsea and City in those 5 games.

    Keep Gabriel out of the firing line for now , we need composure at the back…

    Against Prague , cedric was criticised for passing the ball back to Gabriel in the closing stages , the problem wasn’t the pass back , the problem was a poor first touch from Gabriel, leading to him panicking into kicking it into touch.

    Mari is calmness personified, a good passer , never hurried, a very good first touch and reads the game well and most importantly has a good onfield relationship with Holding, and Mari makes Holding look a better defender, whereas the Gabriel /Holding partnership is a no no for me…

  57. Samir

    Guys remember Gabriel is only 23. Holding is 25. Mari is 27.

    Gabriel needs games to develop and get experience in big games.
    I agree Holding/Mari is a good partnership. Long term, I don’t think Holding is good enough for a top 4 team though.

  58. Emiratesstroller

    This is Arsenal’s record when Mari has played this season.

    Chelsea W 3-1
    Brighton W 1-0
    WBA W 4-0
    Man C L 0-1
    Leicester W 3-1
    Burnley D 1-1
    W.Ham D 3-3
    Sheff Utd W 3-0
    Rapid Vienna W 4-1
    Dundalk W 4-2
    FA CUP
    Newcastle W 2-0

  59. Samir

    For a 28 year old GK of his quality, 40M would be a steal 😉
    Can see him moving to a top team in the future; Man Utd, Juve, Inter, Dortmund could all do with new keepers.

  60. Tony

    “Can see him moving to a top team in the future; Man Utd, Juve, Inter, Dortmund could all do with new keepers.”

    Just shows you how incredibly dumberational Arteta was selling him, let alone to a rival.

  61. Emiratesstroller


    We have missed the boat with Martinez.

    The million dollar question is why the Goalkeeping Coach has not chosen to make changes
    with Leno’s distribution.

    Leno continues to pass out ball to defenders even when they are being pressed. You would
    have thought that he was instructed not to do so when we are under such pressure.

    I accept that Leno’s football skills are limited, but surely kicking a ball out of danger is not
    beyond his remit particularly at end of games when we have conceded far too many silly

  62. Danny S

    If only we could play Gabriel and Mari together. If only there was some way you could play 2 defenders who use the same side.
    I know it’s a crazy idea but hey can’t be any worse surely.

  63. Tony

    I agree and I’m at a complete loss as to how Arteta appraises players.

    How are his collective band of merry men not advising Arteta?. Do they all blow smoke up Arteta’s arse?

    I can’t think of anything rational to explain Arteta’s choice of player.

    I dare Arteta to explain Runnerson and keep a straight face.

  64. Wiglaf

    Stroller and Pierre

    I could not agree more. Mari and Holding are our best pair. Our win rate is highest with those two in the side, we concede far less with them in front of Leno and keep more clean sheets per game than any other pairing.
    Gabriel is not ready yet, if he ever will be the main man in our defence then that time is not now

  65. Valentin


    I made that exact point last summer. I foretold that we were underselling a home grown player and would be left with an underwhelming player who would need upgrading next summer at twice the cost.

    Same thing with Aubameyang. Instead of increasing his wage, we should have drastically reduced it or be prepared to let him go on a free the following summer as we still have the option to extend for one year.

    I said that Nkethia share the same characteristics than Aubameyang but with a better pressing attitude. So letting Aubameyang go and numerically replace him with Nkethia would have left place in the squad for another striker with different characteristics. Tall, good in the air and more importantly good with his back toward goal. In short bringing back a Giroud like player.

  66. Useroz

    If it’s not good playing left footed CB pair for footballing reasons, how about right footed CB pairs around Europe? Many do well considering. especially with generally fewer left footers around.

    Always baffles me in a way… would right footed CB pairs not face similar downside, challenges etc? Or is it the training, tactics, deployment that matters more?

    Anyway Mari does boasts impressive win stats and on one alone would start him on Thursday !

  67. Valentin

    We faced Sheffield United with Xhaka as left back and bar once incident, he was never put into any pressure, so I don’t think that you can our defense on that game.
    Mari has mostly played against very lethargic teams. However when faced with teams that press, he made some glaring mistakes. Against Chelsea he could have been sent off early on before conceding a late penalty.
    Even against SHU, there was a moment when he needed to be bailed out from McGoldrick by Holding.

    However my main concern with the combination Mari-Holding is their poor passing from the back. At least I can see progress in Holding attempt at long passes, but a David Luiz or der Kaiser he is not. Both CBs distribution are mediocre. Partey had to go deep to fetch the ball, which in term meant that both Ceballos and Lacazette were sometimes too deep. Luckily SHU did not press so Xhaka could come infield and pass forward. Against better opponents or opponents willing to press, that would leave us unable to drive the ball forward.

  68. Useroz

    Valentin. Agree re Aubas renewal.

    I guess the only excuse Arteta has was he wanted to get top 4 quickly this season (a new manager eaget to achieve), but wouldn’t have thought his goals would up that far…

  69. Useroz

    *fixed typos

    If it’s not good practice playing left footed CB pairs for footballing reasons, how about right footed CB pairs around Europe? Many do well considering. especially with generally fewer left footers around.

    Always baffles me in a way… would right footed CB pairs not face similar downside, challenges etc? Or is it the training, tactics, deployment that matter more?

    Anyway Mari does boast impressive win stats and on omen alone would start him on Thursday!

  70. Kroenkephobe

    I noticed something new about Xhaka last night – there was a number of very accurate long crossfield balls to Chambers and Pepe that quickly opened up the other flank. He must’ve hit 6 or more of them like tracer bullets and they all had a positive effect. I’d trust KT doing that too – not so sure about Cedric and definitely not HB. A much better tactic than passing it slowly across the back 4 and losing the initiative.

    Very impressed with Chambers as well having not really been a fan in the past. He was technically very good up and down the pitch and showed some great control. But yeah it was against a pretty blunt blades XI.