Arteta drops an injury madness?

by .

There I was, sitting on my computer, all depressed… then BANG… Mikel drops an injury surprise for the ages.

Kieran Tierney > in contention

Auba > in contention

LACA > in contention

What in the damn name of horse placenta wizardry is this?

Now, who knows if any of them start, but someone did send me some information on Kolo that stated he was fit a week after contracting malaria. Auba as a #9? Oof… sexy times at the Hotel Ceramica.

Those three players, regardless of the start, give the Villareal tie a whole new dimension this Thursday.

I caught a bit of all the games at the weekend. It is worth noting that not one club in the semi-finals mustered a win. All played out drossy games. Roma lost to relegation fodder Cagliari. United drew to Leeds United with the title still on. Arsenal lost to Everton. Villareal lost to Barcelona.

I watched some of Unai Emery’s offering at home to Barcelona. It wasn’t great. Clearly, it’s going to be a tougher game than the Slavia Prague one. If we show up like we’ve won, we’ll come away with nothing. That said, we have the quality to win, of that there is no doubt.

Barcelona got in behind them with ease an uncomfortable amount of times in the opening 25 minutes.

Their defence didn’t look particularly organized, they’ve conceded over a goal a game this season, so not really a shock. Villareal’s off the ball work felt very much like it did when Emery was at Arsenal.

The two goals they conceded had a soft, warm, comfort I was familiar with. Goal #1 was a long ball over the top, Griezmann a sublime chip to finish. The second was an Arsenal special, a poor defensive back pass that slipped in Griezmann for #2.

We’ll cause problems with our movement. Ideally, we’ll go there with pace through our #9. I’d certainly weaponise the pace of Gabriel if it’s on offer. His runs and explosive energy could be bothersome. If we have Auba available, we need to surround him with energy and ideas. Nicolas Pepe would be well suited to a team you can get in behind. So would all the younger forward players we have. We need intelligence in there though, ESR, Saka and Odegaard pulling strings and interchanging positions will be a lot for them to handle. We will absolutely create chances.

Arsenal will have to really think about the way they defend. Villareal have ideas from set-pieces, it’s almost classic English football at times. They created 3-4 really good opps and Chukueze really is a live wire, the sort of player that can create something out of nothing. His pace up against Xhaka would be a very big concern for me. Emery, a man who has very little love for Granit, will no doubt be hoping that’s how we line up.

Our approach has to be about goals, no 0-0s or playing for one goal. Take advantage of the away goals, don’t leave with a result that puts us on the back foot. If we score 3, it’s going to be very tough for them to come back into the game. I don’t think that is beyond us.

What is not beyond this Arsenal side is a dull and lifeless performance with an early error.

I really hope the flat performances in the league are because the players are thinking about making a Cup Final. We need to leave everything on the pitch, Arteta needs to have the players fired up, the fans need something to feel good about.

No one wants to spend the next week wondering if a 1-1 draw is enough.

Unai Emery is a beast in this competition. We all watched him out-think Klopp a few years ago. He let Liverpool explode at them for 60 minutes, then turned on the afterburners when they were knackered.

We are not beyond a beating on Thursday night. There’s something extra on this for Unai. He’s a wounded animal, we need to be fucking sharp.

The press conference gave me a bit of heart. Arteta doesn’t look phased. He’s confident, he was using words like ‘excited’ to describe the atmosphere and he seemed very at ease. Not the look of the man we saw before the Chelsea game.

Hopefully, our players are feeling it. The fact that Tierney, Lacazette and Auba are all in contention tells you this: the players are behind the project. Putting your body on the line when you could easily sit the game out is a real boost as far as I’m concerned.

So let’s do it. Let’s get through this week in good spirits and finish the job next Thursday. We need a big effort from minute one to whenever the game finishes out. We are good enough, let’s see that convert on the pitch.

Finally, Daniel Ek spoke to biz news about his desire to buy Arsenal. I’d love to think he had a chance, but the main question he can’t answer is ‘how do you make non-sellers sell’ and there’s not a view on it. Publicly gunning for KSE doesn’t feel like a strategy married to who they are as people. But hey, who knows, I’m not a billionaire, so I’ll leave it ot them.

Right, listen to my podcast then get in the comments.

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356 Responses to “Arteta drops an injury madness?”

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  1. WengerEagle

    Mbappe has been off it so far, PSG look stronger in spite of that. Good value for their lead.

    Bakker is having a really good game at LB, impressive for a 20 year old 3rd choice LB.

  2. Buzzy

    Chelsea are winning fuck all. They have one of those managers whose middle name might as well be “almost”. Tuchel fucks up when least expected.

  3. Ishola70


    “Bakker is having a really good game at LB, impressive for a 20 year old 3rd choice LB.”

    Being up against Mahrez is helping him. Mahrez has such weak body strength for a top player. Sure if he gets the run on you he can cause problems but if not you can blow him away by just breathing on him.

  4. Batistuta


    Yea they’ve been a bit meh but you feel they can kick it up a notch here and score 2/3. Don’t think performances matter that much at this stage anyway, just get the result and that’s job done

  5. Batistuta


    Nah, i mean yea Chelsea have improved but even next week against Madrid you feel they’d not have enough to hold them. The Winner of the champions league is on show tonight

  6. WengerEagle


    He has been good offensively too though, measured and composed on the ball and getting in behind for an outlet pass.

    I see Mahrez coming off for Jesus soon enough. Bernardo Silva has looked far more threatening.

  7. Batistuta


    How bad has Aguero become too that he can’t get a look in really? Pep again over thinking it for me and it’ll be his undoing, may never win the thing again at this rate

  8. Avi

    Not sure how PSG isn’t winning this by 2 or more goals really, that was some quality first half from them

    City playing tippy tappy shit football has no business in the CL final

  9. WengerEagle


    Pep even last year seemed to fancy Jesus over Aguero in the crunch ties so doesn’t surprise me that now he has likely lost a step he has been frozen out.

    Jesus has the legs to drift and be a real threat in behind even if Aguero is the guy you want that Foden chance to fall to.

  10. Guns of SF

    PSG almost took out BM last year. The first half misses (3) would have sealed it if they made 2 of them. Sitters!

    I wanted PSG, simply bc they were the underdog against the mighty BM

    I like Neymar, despite all the antics and other shit, on his day is unplayable and top 3 in the world still for attacking 10’s

  11. Thank you and goodnight

    Not a fan of Pep. Would much rather have Klopp than Pep. As others have commented on here before, it’s a bit easier to win things when you’re one of the richer clubs like City or Bayern. In fact I’ll probably get slaughtered for saying this, but I believe Wenger ( at least in his first 10 years)was a better manager than Pep

  12. karim


    Can’t remember that but I choose to trust you on that one lol
    I do remember Lyon missing a few sitters before gnabry scored a worldie.though
    Sorry about that mate

  13. Buzzy

    This should have been the final. Madrid or Chelsea have no business being in the final. Not at the level of these two, certainly not at PSGs.

  14. Avi

    This should have been the final. Madrid or Chelsea have no business being in the final. Not at the level of these two, certainly not at PSGs.”

    This really, got to back PSG as winners in the final regardless of who the opponent is.. They have the best midfied and attack

  15. Buzzy

    City’s strength lies in their technical ability to receive the ball at half turn under pressure and quickly move it forward all in one touch. Here thats been nullified by by PSGs aggressive pressing. City players being forced to pass backwards or sideways. Thats making them relying on attacking from flanks rather than the middle. Gonne be a long night for them front three in blue.

  16. Ishola70

    With this set up Man City have with no centre forward they are aways having to look to score a perfect team goal with passing in around the opponents penalty area.

    Very purist but prone to fail under certain circumstances.

  17. Ben D

    Watching the Champions League semi-finals is quite depressing as it shows how far away we are from this level of football….

    It’s depressing.

  18. Ishola70

    Chelsea also last night didn’t go with a truly recognised CF either.

    Having seen Werner for a season now in the EPL he doesn’t look like a true CF.

    More like an an advanced forward/attacker.

    It seems keeping that ball around the opponents last third and plenty of passes up top is seen the way to go with Chelsea as well as Man City.

  19. Dissenter

    J don’t get the abuse that Navas got for that goal
    It was meant to be a ball meant for the far post header .. Instead it just drifted inwards at the last moment

    It was a lucky goal, KDB wasn’t trying to score and the defenders left it because Stones wasn’t going to reach it.

  20. Ishola70

    PSG basically giving another goal to Man City.

    Schoolboys are taught to stay together in a defensive wall and not split.

    All three goals tonight have been very poor from a defensive viewpoint.

  21. Chris

    A Chelsea bus City CL final, hypothetically speaking would favour Chelsea at this moment in time as Tuchel seems to have the edge of Pep right now, the FA cup semi final showed that. Pep would have to bring something different to the party.

  22. Chris

    Awful tackle from Gueye, the kind that should be punished further following on from the game. Not interested in the ball at all. Shocker.

  23. WengerEagle

    Football such a crazy game, PSG in cruise control and one mistake and the game is turned on its head.

    City will probably go on to score a 3rd now and wrap up the tie.

  24. Guns of SF

    This is what happens to PSG, they implode when up against it.
    Mentally weak- its been a hallmark of this over emotional team.
    Oh well…. City v Madrid in the final

  25. Ishola70

    tbf said from the beginning that Man City were actually playing the better overall team football in regards passing but of course many times it is dismissed as tippy tappy and is disliked.

  26. MidwestGun

    PSG … came out too passive after the half.. City are used to low block.. defending as they see it every week in the PL. And then PSG could never step it back up… after the luck goal. and now they have just lost their mind trying to get the ball back.

  27. Ishola70

    All PSG need is an early corner in the second leg with Man City again showing they are fragile defensively from setpieces and the tie is alive again.

  28. Buzzy

    Zinchenkos so good with the ball…last week of the transfer window there was a light rumour that we were in for him…now we have Xhaka playing there lol

  29. London gunner

    Would hate eithet man city or psg to win the cl both plastic teams backed by evil middle eastern regimes.

    But if I had to cboose would prefer psg to win. Too many english clubs have won the champions league chelsea liverpool and united cant stand if city win it to.

  30. Ishola70

    lol Bakker is not looking so good now.

    Looks a bit ruffled in the second half.

    Man City are getting more support around Mahrez in this second half to attack Bakker.

  31. Ishola70

    So the fashion is no striker in your side for these EPL teams still in CL.

    Let’s sell Auba and Laca and go with the fashion.

    I’m sure Arteta is all over this one being generational and on the pulse.

  32. bacaryisgod


    You might want to check about Pep. Pretty sure he’s considered a great manager and probably in Top 5 of all-time.

  33. Ishola70

    “And Mahrez isn’t looking so ‘lightweight.’”

    Because he has had support in this half and not isolated.

    One on one he is a weakling.

    And of course his freekick shot for the goal should not even had gone through to Navas. Criminal PSG wall. Shocking PSG wall.

  34. bacaryisgod

    Not that I really care but how can it only be 4 mins of injury time. Wasn’t Gundogan down for 4 minutes alone?

  35. Ishola70

    Having seen these two european ties over the last two nights if this is the creme da la creme of european football then the overall standard is not of the highest quality.

  36. Champagne Charlie

    ‘One on one Mahrez is a weakling’

    Haha literally one of the best 1v1 attackers in world football, but he’s not built like Adams Traore so let’s dismiss him as a weakling.

    The internet is truly undefeated for football takes

  37. WengerEagle

    At least the tie is still nicely poised, 3-1 would have been a killer.

    PSG put 3 goals past a superior Bayern side in Munich so far from over this one.

    They’ll have to be more adventurous though. Expect to see Draxler brought into the midfield.

  38. Cazorla

    It wasn’t even a navas error. He’s a keeper covering the percentages on a quality kdb ball in getting a touch off someone. It was an over hit cross basically gone in. That’s lucky not a gk error.

  39. Ishola70


    We see Mahrez get blown away regularly one on one with defenders. Comes to nothing.

    Where he gets more joy is when he can combine quickly with a fellow player to beat an opposing player. Give and go.

    I know he is one of those metrosexual players you seem to have a penchant for but the player has weak body strength for a top player. His legs are like twigs.

  40. Dissenter

    “It wasn’t even a navas error. He’s a keeper covering the percentages on a quality kdb ball in getting a touch off someone. It was an over hit cross basically gone in. That’s lucky not a gk error.”

    so we agree on this?
    My oh my

  41. Cazorla

    Ishola give it a rest. Mahrez is top notch and one of the last players you want to be isolated against but you’re right he’s not Jonah Lomu.

  42. TR7

    KDB is an amazing player, perhaps the most reliable and consistent player behind only Messi even though talent wise he may not be the second best.

    Chelsea should have absolutely killed the tie against RM and PSG too should have at least drawn tonight.

  43. Cazorla

    Dissenter yes we do.

    But you went and ruined it with this…

    ‘ Nothing stops PSG from winning next week
    I’m not sure is that will be enough, depending on the score line.’

    Everybody lump on city for the win.

  44. WengerEagle

    It wasn’t an error of Karius proportions but he’s a top level GK, he cannot let that trickle in.

    He had the time to get across, wasn’t particularly pacey a ball and it went past its intended target around the pen spot.

  45. Dissenter

    You really want to bet your house against Mbappe scoring a hat trick against city next week
    City should have lost at home to Dortmund but for fidgety referee that blew against Bellingham.
    There’s no home advantage in these games

  46. WengerEagle


    I’ll have some of whatever you’re smoking.

    City are 75% likely to go through here. So long as they don’t completely shit themselves.

    Not dead but PSG have it all to do.

  47. Mb

    There’s something wrong with the football model. Liverpool, winning Premier League, Uefa supercup, and fifa club world cup was still not able to make a profit (pandemic) but in otherwise very ideal scenario, they would have been up say 100m? What you can do with 100m?

    Buy 2 players who might get injured and your season is done. Or buy one Van dijk and you are fighting for top6?

    This is not good for long term.

  48. Guns of SF

    PSG will come out at City. We know that City will wait, and counter them to death.
    Even still, City have too much… PSG are really up against it. Need 2 nil to move on.
    I can see City scoring at home. that should be enough

  49. Dissenter

    Wenger eagle
    Those trickle in spot kicks happen a lot because the keeper has to anticipate that Stones may reach it at the fat post

    Review the flight of the ball against, it was posted to the far post for Stones to attack. It was too fast for Stones but bent at the last minute

    There’s a flukey component to it. Ben KFB wasn’t over reacting … he knew it was more luck than planning.

  50. Ishola70

    The way Man City conceded that Marquinhos goal though may be a worry.

    That was awful defending. Really awful. Setpieces, corners and Man City may slop again. But we see PSG defensive blunders as well.

    I’m expecting a high scoring game in the second match.

    Jumpers for goalposts.

  51. Avi

    Mbappe was subpar today, no way he doesn’t turn it up in the 2nd leg, PSG gets the the first goal next week and its squeaky bum time for city

    Tie far from over.

  52. bacaryisgod

    Arteta on Emery:

    “He did many good things with the club. I don’t know why he was criticised.”

    Emery on Arteta:

    “It’s a question of patience. I think it’s a perfect marriage,” Emery said.

    Masters of low expectations?

  53. WengerEagle


    It was an inswinger and always curling left away from Stones and towards the corner.

    It’s a blunder whatever way you dress it up. Happens and there’s a reason that GK’s are criticised for them, this one was worse because there wasn’t even a body in front of him obstructing his line of sight which is how they usually creep in.

  54. WengerEagle

    Villarreal are no mugs Guns.

    In Moreno they have a top class player that can really hurt us.

    Toss-up for me but if we can get any kind of result tomorrow you would fancy us.

  55. Ishola70

    I’d be concerned about the midfield against Villarreal as well as the LB position if Xhaka is there as has already been mentioned.

    Villarreal are capable to take control of the central midfield.

    I know the plan is likely to be quick counter attack anyway and that is probably the best way to go for Arsenal and not care so much about central midfield but if you get that platform from central midfield that can be helpful to a team as well.

  56. Champagne Charlie

    The idea that Mahrez needs to combine with other players to be effective at beating a man is hilarious.

    Such an Ishola take, backed up with the most embarrassing projection I’ve read in some time about a penchant for metrosexuals 😂😂 state of him.

  57. Ishola70


    Man City are all about combination play around the opposition box.

    Would be a bit strange wouldn’t it if Mahrez was exempt from their overall style of play.

  58. Ishola70


    You keep laughing about Xhaka and you keep on seeing us fail with him as a mainstay in the side.

    Hilarious isn’t it.

    And you will be laughing next season as well seeing us fail again.

    But let’s fixate on the glory players shall we. The forwards. They will make all good.

  59. Ishola70

    These fanboys.

    All you have to say is a player is weak physically and they are up in arms.

    No way. He’s fantastic in every sense.

    He’s a fantastic rotation player lol

  60. Ishola70

    N’Zonzi was only going to be a short term option wasn’t he.

    And who is to say he would be any more of a handicap to this side than Xhaka.

    Xhaka the player who can’t contest central midfield for any length of time.

    We saw Jorginho last night. Now that is a passable regista. A regista that can actually contest the middle of central midfield for long periods and last night for the whole of the match.

  61. Guns of SF

    I really hope that Auba is not a starter on the LW
    I mean , come on.
    IF that were to happen, then its 10 v 11

    Bring him on as a sub against tired legs.

    If its not him, I would start Pepe who seems to relish the EL this year

  62. Champagne Charlie


    You can straw man until the cows come home, nobody talked down Mahrez’s ability to combine. It was you that said, and I quote:

    “We see Mahrez get blown away regularly one on one with defenders. Comes to nothing.Where he gets more joy is when he can combine quickly with a fellow player to beat an opposing player. Give and go.”

    That made me chuckle because Mahrez is absolutely elite 1v1, in fact I’d love to know who you rate higher than him in the PL against a fullback. The chatter about him being ‘lightweight’ is just bread and butter banter, would be somewhat relevant if he didn’t have world class technical ability and played for arguably the best team in Europe week after week.

    But he does….sooo….maybe dismissing him like he’s Dani Ceballos levels of tampon is a hit much.

  63. Ishola70


    He is better when he combines which is the Man City way anyway rather than going one on one and I have seen him many times get bullied off the ball when he makes the wrong decision and goes himself without support due to him being not the strongest.

    You talk about him in elite terms but people inform me that he is used as a rotational player. How does that add up?

  64. Champagne Charlie


    So no names for who is better 1v1 in the prem?

    “You talk about him in elite terms but people inform me that he is used as a rotational player. How does that add up?“

    Not very well if you take 30 seconds to fact check. Here’s Man City’s attackers as per their number of starts in the PL this season:

    Sterling – 24
    Bernardo – 22
    De Bruyne – 22
    Mahrez – 21
    Gundogan – 21
    Gabriel Jesus – 18
    Foden – 15
    Ferran Torres – 11

    He’s as rotational as the next star in their squad.

  65. alexanderhenry


    The Daniel Ek interview is particularly depressing because of this: the second interviewer neatly sums up what everyone knows:
    Stan doesn’t care about arsenal , which makes him inept but that is irrelevant because he doesn’t care. It’s a perfect circle.

    KSE are shit. They’ve done a shit job since they got involved and they will continue to do a shit job.
    What I fear is that Stan and co. will cling onto arsenal even if the club loses money and even if it makes sense for them to sell,-almost out of spight.

  66. Guns of SF


    I keep asking,

    What is the reason KSE wants to keep Arsenal?

    Given what we know of them, its a legit question.

    I can understand if we were winning big titles, and making money.

    We have not really.

    They have owned us for like what ? 10 years?

    What do they gain by this?

    Its a legit question… clearly its not sporting ambition.

    so what is it?

  67. Guns of SF

    If its Vanity and Ego, which I think is part of it, then its too bad..too sad really.
    If its bragging rights, its ego.

    That is no way to run a team.

    People like this dont care about doing anything with their prize possession. They only start to give a shit when someone questions them or rather, wants what they have .

    other than that, its radio silence. We are the Bugatti in the garage that never gets driven. Just there for show

  68. Tony

    When I read yesterday that all the walking wounded were in training and in contention, my mind wondered if they were patched up as Partey had been before?

    Emery might not be a league program manager but, contrary to Pedro’s beliefs, he’s not stupid particularly in European cups, so he won’t be falling for Arteta’s subterfuge.

    Seems so Arteta and all a bit kids playground to me.

    My biggest concern is that Arteta will have too many choices and too little experience to find the right combo of experience and youth tonight.

    Arteta’s selections have been abysmal with the exception when through injury and suspensions He played Saka and ESR. Now with a full supposedly fit squad has Arteta learnt anything from his past glaring selection mistakes in every match?

    Of the returning injured and sick players, how many are really 100% ready: healed bodies and mind sets for the most important game of the season thus far?

    How many are ready and fully fit having played at least one competitive game?

    Auba has been very poor in front of goal and just recovered from the debilitating malaria or was that just media BS?

    Laca’s hammy really ok?

    Ryan or Leno? Ryan for me.

    Xhaka should be left back in the dressing room.

    I just don’t trust Arteta because he’s given us nothing to really believe in him bar Pedro’s delusions that Arteta really is a saucy generational manager/coach?

    Guess we’ll find out by the morning.

    Here’s praying for a win despite Arteta.

  69. Tony

    Which manager is favourite to win tonight?

    PL wise Emery has the better stats over Arteta today.

    Plus a 22 game unbeaten run whereas Arteta has lost 21 of his 51 games.

    That said I read that Emery lost 22 of his 52 games.

    Emery will make needed subs in the first half, while Arteta waits often to the 75 minute mark.

    The AKBs led by Pedro will claim the FA cup (forget the charity BS shield) trumps all making Arteta so superior and favorite.

    At the end of the day Emery has experience and a plethora of cup final wins.

    Arteta has one cup win.

    Hard to pick an outright favourite for tonight’s game, but Emery worries me more than Arteta makes me feel positive.

    What I believe and hope for is that we have the young players selected to eke out a tight win tonight.

    Just a matter of who Arteta selects and how tight the preverbal handbrake is wound with Arteta’s usual negative play mode?

  70. Tony

    Apart from very little fulfillment of ego building, owning Arsenal for the Kroenkes is all about money and prime real estate.

    Winning competitions gives Stan bragging rights, but that’s not what drives him. Profit is his master and the higher the % ROI, the more Stan is happy.