by .

This will just be a rapid round-up today because I spent many hours on that Ben White piece yesterday which everyone thought was the best thing they’ve ever read… in the world.

The Xhaka move is edging along at a snail’s pace. The latest from Italy is the deal will be announced at the end of the Euros. Fantastic if it happens, whatever the price.

Arsenal has nearly reached a deal with Mavropanos for a loan to perm move that could total £5m. Now, I understand that Europe is broke, but I cannot fathom why we can’t land more money than that for a player that is young, starting games in a good German side, who one of the best scouts in the world really rates. The only thing I can imagine here is the sell-on clause is something disgusting?

Let’s be honest, there’s a way to go before Arsenal are in Liverpool’s league for selling on duffers for mega-money.

The selling doesn’t stop there. Big rumours in Italy that Torreira is going to find his way to Lazio in a deal worth about £18m. Look, let’s be honest, he was a bit shit, Adam’s data proved out that he was the worst of our midfielders, I’m just happy to land a fee at this point. A misfire, but one you could tolerate because it looked clever and had data that sat behind it.

The dirty rumour that is doing the rounds is the Rob Holding is attracting a lot of interest from 5 Premier League clubs for his services. Now, I like Rob Holding, but the limitations are clear. Moving on a player of his standard is something Arsenal rarely do though. We ship out the best and the worst, but never players doing an above-average job. I’m not totally sold on this happening, but it wouldn’t surprise me because something has to give in that centre-back pile-up we have at the moment.

Any concerns that Pierre is going to take the gaming seat like Ozil did and bum around for his last 2 seasons has been put to the sword. Pictures emerged of him in Mykonos with their team getting some fitness practice in for the new season. I think there’s a really simple equation out there next season: Maintain the defensive solidity of last season and get Auba back to 25 goals and you are going to be right in the mixer for top 4. Auba very much performs to his xG. Give him chances and he will score. Fingers crossed he gets back to his best this summer.

Kieran Tierney, future captain, hero to the working glass, god on the left… has signed a new 5 year deal with Arsenal. I think this is a superb piece of news. If we’re looking for positive signs about the project at Arsenal, look no further than 1) We’re mostly tying down important players after 5 years of being very bad at that, Bravo to Edu 2) Players we want to keep are bought into whatever is going on at Arsenal. You can listen to the noise that says we’re making a grave error with our managerial approach, or you can look at who has put pen to paper… Saka, Martinelli, Tierney, Auba… next up, ESR.

FINALLY, Londoners can land themselves a covid jab at the stadium. So book here. Outside of being protected from a nasty virus, the main side-effect is feeling supremely smug about life. It takes a couple of weeks to hit peak… but honestly, what a feeling. Protect yourself and finally feel comfortable attending those cosplay events you’ve been missing you massive nerds.

See you in the comments. x

931 Responses to “SATURDAY ROUND-UP”

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  1. Gonsterous


    I agree that lots can be said and asked during meetings and whilst trying to recruit players but if we use subs and rotations effectively (which arteta has not been doing), we could create a happy team where the competition is high and everyone is maximizing their output

    Like any other sport, players have different strengths, an example being ode and ESR, both play in the same position but in a different manner

    Can the manager recognize this and form tactics according to his players strengths? It’s how mou used to do in his prime, make changes with subs in the 35th min and try to change the game

    Or is arteta trying to find players that are very similar so he uses only one system, which will keep confusion at bay but at the same time, will create favourites for the manager and make him use subs around the 88th min

  2. Ishola70

    The backpass

    “Personally, I think Arteta sees ESR as the wide playmaker, so getting a Maddison or Odegaard won’t stop ESR from starting as shown last season”

    And where does this leave Pepe?

    On the scrap heap?.

  3. The backpass


    “And where does this leave Pepe?On the scrap heap?”

    Where did it leave Pepe last season when Odegaard and ESR where playing together? Your pocket?

  4. Ishola70

    We also have to remember that there will be less games next season for those that are not seen as nailed on first team starters.

    No european pub teams next season to play.

    Only League Cup.

    And Arteta is likely to go very hard at the FA Cup taking no chances in that competition either and no need to with less overall games to play.

  5. Gonsterous

    I don’t think we will be starting with the same 11 every game, so it’s fair to have competent players on the bench

    How many times over the years have we looked at our bench and gone, ffs, who can come on and change this game?

    Would be nice when we look over to our bench and we see a good CAM back up, laca, pepe and martinelli,

    Pepe is a great player to have, especially as an impact sub, Like wise martinelli

    The real question is, do they get 5 mins to change the game or 20-25mins?

  6. Ishola70

    the backpass

    “Where did it leave Pepe last season when Odegaard and ESR where playing together? Your pocket?”

    The noises from many posters are that Pepe is improving and he will show that next season.

    If Smith Rowe takes Pepe’s place in the team that will mean the continuing failure of Pepe.

  7. The backpass

    “The real question is, do they get 5 mins to change the game or 20-25mins?”

    18 months in, hoping Arteta has finally found how to use his sub’s rightly.

  8. Champagne Charlie


    Totally agree, the biggest failure at the club at present is the absence of quality/fit in senior XI – particular midfield/attack. Lots of good players, but a distinct lack of any identity or talent profile as illustrated by our expensively assembled mess of a front 3 (Auba, Laca, Pepe).

    Arsenal should have an enviable first XI with a bench of Saka, Martinelli, ESR, Eddie, Willock, Nelson types who either make the grade, or fall short and turn a profit for the club.

  9. Gonsterous

    As I keep telling, the way we use our subs and rotation will have a huge impact on bringing out the best from out players and keeping the direct back ups happy.

    A player can be stinking out the game (looking at you, Willian) and arteta will be standing on the sideline with his hands in his pockets, or shouting at where bellerin should be.

    This season we had almost 0 impact from the in game management, can arteta improve that? I’m not optimistic about that, he doesn’t look like a guy who sits down and thinks, what did I do wrong.

  10. Avi

    But as said to others in basically demoting Smith Rowe you do realise this could stunt Smith Rowe himself don’t you? Young players generally need that first team football on a regular basis to really kick on”

    Not really a demotion now would it? Basically you’ve got to fight for your place and give the manager a tough time leaving you in the bench,

    Can you see ESR commanding a starting berth at City, Dippers, Chavs or UTD? There’s always more experienced but various options to ease the pressure on a youngster if really you want him in the squad

    Throwing him as an undisputed starter is more likely to affect him negatively with all the pressure and what not, he’s gonna burn out

    Exactly what literally killed Wilshere

  11. Gonsterous


    No he is not an impact sub but you can see where I’m going with this.

    Your stance is, either a player is labelled a starting 11 or back up

    I, on the other hand, want 15 players feeling they are the first 11′ this means they can act as an impact sub in one game and start the next. End a game strongly and you will be on the team sheet the next game.

  12. WengerEagle

    And somehow 72m for an impact sub/rotation piece isn’t even the worst money that the club has spent these past few years between Ozil’s wages, Saliba’s fee and Torreira’s.

  13. Ishola70

    “You tired yet of stating the obvious?”

    Well you are obviously not one of those that think Pepe has had his worst times at Arsenal and showed improvement later on in the season and is ready to kick on this coming season as stated by quite a few posters.

    Can’t say I’m totally convinced though myself.

    Another terrible episode from Arsenal this Pepe failure though isn’t it. You can sweep shit under the carpet but can still smell the shit.

  14. Rich

    Against teams who cede possession, keep a good shape, and look to counter

    When Smith-Rowe started on the left he drifted inward, to create almost 2 x No8s with Odegaard in possession

    Tierney then creates the overload on the left, and Xhaka dropped into almost a third centre back/defensive midfielder hybrid

    We played variations of this for a lot of the second half of last season

    When we played with Saka + Pepe, it was Saka who would come inside in possession to play as a No8, to create space for Chambers down the right, and I think Willock is also tailor made for this type of role on the right as well

    When Smith-Rowe started on the left, he only moved there out of possession, in possession we’d almost be playing a 2-3-4-1 or 2-3-5 particularly when Lacazette was playing, because he dropped very deep

    In possession

    ………….Holding Gabriel
    Chambers Partey Xhaka
    …..…Odegaard Smith-Rowe

    Then out of possession Chambers and Tierney would drop back in at full back, and Xhaka + Partey would form a central midfield shield, with Smith-Rowe + Saka tucking back in to help the full backs

    If we sign someone with Xhaka’s ability to progress the ball, but with elite athleticism and recovery pace, and then put White in instead of Chambers, we’ll be able to move that defensive midfield trio in possession forward 10 yards

    It’s a shame Saliba is going to the olympics and that’ll take away his chance to impress, because he looks tailor made to cover the space in behind and progress the ball

    I can understand why Arteta might be reluctant to throw a 20yr old centre back next to the relative inexperience of Gabriel next season, particularly when he’s walking on thin ice, and the margins are so fine

    But both defenders are made to be sat on the halfway line, all we’d need then is a sweeper keeper to patrol the space in behind in the mould of Ederson or Alisson

    Unfortunately managers aren’t given enough time to develop young players, but something like this could be the future in possession

    ………Saliba Gabriel
    White Partey Camavinga
    .Odegaard Smith-Rowe

    The links to Isak don’t make sense from a numerical point of view, but from the little I’ve seen and what I’ve read, he has the ability to drop deep like Lacazette this season, but with much more power and athleticism to goin behind and become a focal figure

  15. Gonsterous


    You can admit that pepe blows cold sometimes, does he keeping getting games?

    No, you put him on the bench, hoping he regains his form by being an impact sub. That’s how subs are useful, it’s not just for the manager to do something so he isn’t left out. It’s for him to impact the game in the 90 that is being played.

    I have liked pepe ever since he got here and I have always defended him, but in order to get the best out of all our players is to sometimes keep them on the bench.

  16. The backpass

    “I, on the other hand, want 15 players feeling they are the first 11′ this means they can act as an impact sub in one game and start the next. End a game strongly and you will be on the team sheet the next game.”

    Well said.

    Last season, if Saka had been rested when he was running on fumes and Pepe given minutes, maybe just maybe.

    I hope Arteta improves next season, I really do.

  17. andy1886

    Saka an impact sub? The same Saka that has multiple MOTM performances for te club and another for England at the Euros? He’s earned his place by being good enough. Cesc was good enough, Adams was good enough, Rocky & Merse were good enough and so is Saka.

  18. Gonsterous


    I enjoyed reading that post. I didn’t get to watch a lot of games because of the time difference, so I found that very insightful.

  19. Ishola70

    The backpass
    “With Xhaka gone( almost), would Pepe be your next obsession?.”

    Do you see similarities between the players yourself backpass?

    Both a bit mentally weak really aren’t they despite Xhaka improving in that aspect in his later time at Arsenal.

    No to answer your silly question the only way Pepe could annoy me in the same manner as Xhaka is if Pepe plays every week for the next five years while obviously not being of the required standard and hurting the side. But you have alreay assured us that Smith Rowe is taking Pepe’s place in the team so we are fine on that front aren’t we.

  20. Avi

    Benado Silvia had a rubbish Euro tournament and looks to be declining, would have been perfect as someone to really ease in ESR as a starter in the next few years whilst giving top4 a real crack

  21. Gonsterous

    The backpass

    Last season, if Saka had been rested when he was running on fumes and Pepe given minutes, maybe just maybe.

    Yes, this got me fuming last season.
    Unfortunately for arteta he has learnt from 2 managers that are terrible in the in game management
    Wenger was useless at it with his customary 60min sub
    And peps idea is to sub one 50m player with another 50m player

  22. Sid

    Man c give Villa over 100m for Grealish, Villa give Arsenal 55m for ESR, Arsenal give Brighton 55m for White

    Man c and Brighton are happiest, Villa is happy, the less said about Arsenal the better

    You heard it here 1st!