ESR AND SAKA THE MEN THAT SHOWED THE BOYS

by .

Well, the first game in a while I haven’t been able to properly review because I didn’t see it. I can’t even get it on ESPN after the game. Really weird to not have any coverage.

Still, at least the stadium saw 50,000 home fans for a game against a very small side. That’s fantastic. The fatalist view that the stadium would be empty this season seems to be as far off the mark as the idea the fans would make their feelings known in the stands.

Arteta didn’t give us the League Cup side we wanted. Patino didn’t make the bench and there wasn’t much in the way of youthful surprises, but he has a first-team to take care of and winning momentum is obviously high on the agenda.

A lot of people struggled with the idea that Thomas Partey started, concerned that he should be rested. I’m not sure that’s ever going to be a goer when the player is struggling for match fitness after a slow start to the season. He needs minutes. Bodies need to be stretched early in the season. It was the right decision to play him for 60 minutes.

According to pals sending me voice note match reports, the first half was a bit average bar the decent penalty, then Saka and ESR changed the game and ‘were the men that showed the boys where the level was’ (Alfred & Sam from the GC). We exited the game with 19 attempts at goal, and a pretty average 5 shots on target… but Wimbledon didn’t hit the target and were reduced to just 4 attempts at Leno’s goal.

Bukayo looked good when he came on at right midfield. It’s his best position and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him deployed there against Spurs.

Martinelli won the penalty, but still looks a little bit out of sorts. This is the problem we’ll have all season with our young players, they’ll bounce in and out of form as they learn the game. He has too many of the raw ingredients needed not to be a roaring success.

Lots of fans praising Sambi, the kid is a star in the making, it’s going to be a huge shout for Arteta to drop him with Granit coming back into the side for the NLD

Is there something worth moaning about? Of course. It’s a bit sad to see Balogun not landing minutes. He signed a new deal with Arsenal to play games, he’s not getting them, and Eddie who is leaving, is getting them. Eddie is clearly further ahead, but it seems odd to give that game time to the 3rd choice striker who is out. Based on the Brentford game, Balogun should have taken a loan, he’s quite a way off where he needs to be, but hopefully, there’s some time for him against Leeds.

My other major concern is that we’re absolutely bland as algebra if we don’t have our creators on the pitch. We take up the right positions but don’t know how to bang. We need a Patino like kid to make the break, because a midfield of Mo, AMN, and Partey ain’t cutting it.

Over the other side of North London, Spurs rolled with a strongish team to beat Wolves away from him. Harry Kane got the Thomas Partey treatment and obviously scored.  They still couldn’t win in open play though. The longer game should leave them feeling a little leggier than Arsenal. The shit nights sleep will certainly benefit us as well.

3 wins on the bounce for Arsenal. Things are getting better, very slowly. This weekend is really all that matters. Huge for both managers, both clubs, and both sets of fans. Let’s see what we have!

Recording a new podcast a little later today.

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231 Responses to “ESR AND SAKA THE MEN THAT SHOWED THE BOYS”

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  1. The Bard

    Kris list the youth players Wenger brought through. Your argument that when we don’t produce players it’s because there isn’t the talent is complete rubbish. Wenger was at Arsenal for 20 years and as far as I’m aware we only produced 3 top class totally home grown players?

  2. Nelson

    The NLD is too important for the fans. It would be total madness to drop someone cold in the starting lineup. Arteta may put his vice captain in the bench and subs him in to celebrate with the rest of the team if we were leading by 3 – 0.

  3. China1

    Englandsbest I find it very curious that you were scathing in your critiquing of wenger the other day yet fawn over Arteta a guy who has not even demonstrated 10% of wengers ability to date

    Are you Pedro in disguise???

  4. China1

    Wenger blooded millions of kids but not all were good enough to be elite

    But I think he missed a trick with a few. Carlos vela should’ve been kept and nurtured more. He was a fantastic prospect but never quite appreciated for some reason

  5. Pierre

    The Bard
    What i will say is back in the wenger years, for a young player to brek through into the first team, they had to be exceptional rather than good or even very good.

    Hence why the likes of cole, fabregas and wilshere were the only ones to make the breakthrough as the competition was fierce ..

    Also , we shouldn’t forget that the likes of RVP, Diaby, Adebayor, Cliche,song, Ramsey, Walcott, Ox and quite a few more, were at the club as teenagers or thereabouts so Wenger deserves credit for having the bottle to bring through such a young group of players whilst competing in the champions league and maintaining a top 4 position.

    Of the group now, Saka is probably the only one who may have broken into a wenger side and that is debateable when you look at who he would have been competing against …overmars, Pires, Sanchez, Hleb , though he may have got in ahead of Walcott , though i doubt if Saka will score at such an impressive rate out wide as walcott.

  6. Dissenter

    China1
    ‘ Englandsbest I find it very curious that you were scathing in your critiquing of wenger the other day yet fawn over Arteta a guy who has not even demonstrated 10% of wengers ability to date’

    Noticed that too
    The man doesn’t hold back any punches against Wenger who will always be a legendary manager, even when all his flaws are considered. That he shows a reverential attitude towards an unproven upstart says a lot.
    Wenger is 10X the man.

  7. China1

    Yeah dissenter I mean I can criticize wenger til the cows come home for his last 10 years (5 especially), but even at his very worst he was competing for top 4 with worse squads and better football

    And wenger in his first 10 years was a monster and the comparison isn’t even funny

    Can you imagine if we were told to sell our best players every summer now and still get 4th every season? Arteta would resign, clearly.

  8. James wood.

    Graham62] 13.41
    I guess I’m just used to comparing him
    with ex players like Sampson-Winterburn and Cole.
    He is non of them.a trier yes.
    But his marking club footed crossing are not at that level.
    I will watch your comment about a a more dynamic game being needed.
    I just don’t see that happening with our current players or managers
    negative play plan.?

  9. China1

    Arteta has spent 200m in the last 3 transfer windows despite the fact the squad he inherited was marginally better than the one wenger left behind (saka, Tierney, martinelli, Pepe etc). Wenger left a squad that didn’t even have one winger lol

    And we all felt he was underperforming with it whilst still getting top 6

    200m and a couple of years later and we’ll take top 8 with no particular targets for the season. Elite stuff

  10. CG

    Pierre

    ””””though he may have got in ahead of Walcott , though i doubt if Saka will score at such an impressive rate out wide as walcott.”””’

    A. Wenger and Wengerball squeezed 100 goals out of Theo’s injury plagued Arsenal career.

    Arteta has a better player in Saka and yet Saka is as barren as a brick.
    No goals in his last 20 games, although he seems to score for his country.

    Artetaball/JDP is anti goals, handbrake ON cautious.
    Wengerball/ TBG ( the beautiful game) is pro goals , handbrake OFF and risk.

    Great to see the Great man still in the thick of it and being as progressive as ever with his proposed changes to the soccer calendar.

  11. China1

    As controversial as this opinion is I never really like Cole at arsenal

    He always seemed like a gobby little shite and he was sometimes guilty of bombing forwards and casually jogging back at the opponents attacked down that flank (sometimes ending in a goal)

    But cole for England and Chelsea was much better as he had discipline in his game that he lacked at arsenal

    The little prick

  12. S Asoa

    The posts on this site been crawling to round about 160 since last 5 hours. Looks like a lot of Arsenal football Club lovers ( to be distinguished from enamoured of the man ) have taken seriously the suggestion by Pedro to go elsewhere.
    What has Le Grove ,known for vibrancy, opinions, dynamism all triggered by genuine love for Arsenal ( not the fraud), been reduced to !

  13. CG

    China

    ””””CG this World Cup proposal is awful tho””””’

    Is it really though?

    What is awful is what the greedy European Clubs tried with their disgraceful super league.

    There would have been NO more World Cups had they got the own way.
    Just the Closed Shop.

    Now, we get more World Cups and the underdog and smaller nations get a bigger slice of the cake too.

    Can’t get more progressive than that.

    Off course it ain’t perfect- but nowt is.
    Its called Life.

  14. Chris

    Having considered all the details involved in the World Cup proposal, that the public are aware of, then some of Wenger’s plan is quite logical.

    Reduced international breaks are alway going to get my vote. AW is proposing either 2 or better yet, one international break for qualification for tournaments with a guaranteed rest period of 25 days for players after a tournament. I can completely get on board with that.

    I am even softening toward the aspect of the WC being every two years. More chances to win it and with the young team we have up and coming now England has increased greater chances to win it. Perhaps keep confederate competitions to every 4 years and the players can have a complete break of 2-3 months once every 4 years.

  15. China1

    If you have a World Cup every two years what if the euros?

    The World Cup is great because of the novelty. It’s like the olympics. No one really gives a fuck how fast people can run 100m, it’s just the novelty and spectacle that excites people

    It’s the law of diminishing returns. If you have something good, having more will often stop adding value and can detract from it

  16. Nelson

    I hate international breaks. But it hurts even more watching other fans enjoying their teams playing in those European games. I don’t know what EB does during those sad days. The truth hurts.

  17. Chris

    China1

    I know what you are saying and when the proposals first came out I thought as you do. But there are othering examples of sporting competitions held biannually or even annually, the Ryder Cup for example? (If I am mistaken please excuse my lack of golfing knowledge)

    What I like about the proposal is the reduced amount of international breaks which when you think about it, are disruptive to clubs, and don’t allow much prep time for the international coaches. Plus they are downright irritating. It makes total sense for both clubs and nations to have one or two international breaks per year.

    Eventually I also think people would get used to the WC every two years and it would just become another norm thing.

  18. Kris

    China,

    Vela was a talent, but Wenger was probably powerless about him. He was physically weak for the EPL and never seemed to have that drive to succeed that top players have. Even in Spain later, he had 3 good seasons, but then sank into mediocrity by the age of 25, and then basically retired at the age of 28 by signing an MLS contract.

    I still stand by what I say abt Wenger, and again just look at the other great academy – la Masia – 1 (one!) talent coming through in about 6, 7 years.
    Wenger was in charge of the first team, not the academy. So his nurturing of young talent had to be via acquisitions of players as academy was mostly producing mediocre talents (as EVIDENCED by their careers outside of Arsenal)

    I mean, just 1 of numerous examples: Clichy was bought at 18 from a 3rd division French side and became good enough that the Abu-Dhabi-era Man City bought him years later. Is that not ‘developing a young player’ (since our academy left-backs had proved trash or mediocre)

  19. Kris

    About WC:

    Most of the world does not have the money for a top quality league. Even their mediocre leagues become shit as the talent escapes to the top 7, 8 leagues. So WC is all they have. Every 4 years?? Would you wait for the EPL to be played every 4 years? Come the fuck on! How can anyone be so fucking selfish that they would want to deprive most of the world the joy of watching the world cup every 2 years.

    I am against it, though. Mostly because I don’t watch national football at all. But if majority of the federations vote in favour, then it should be honoured because there IS a world beyond Western Europe.

  20. salparadisenyc

    Somebody needs to tell big Weng it is every 2x years with WC then Euro with process repeated…..

    From Arsenal manager whom loathed the qualifiers to now pushing for increase, guess thats what happens when the opposition starts paying bills.

  21. TitsMcgee

    200m and a couple of years later and we’ll take top 8 with no particular targets for the season. Elite stuff”

    Exactly.

  22. NORG

    CG

    The world cup every two years has more detail than just the announcement. It also is in line with changing the football season around the world so that all continents are playing the league competitions at the same time. His aim is not to have internationals during the season apart from a mid- season break.
    He had this idea years ago when internationals affected him as a club manager. He was well past his sell by date towards the end of his managerial career but was way ahead of anybody with his innovative changes to be made with the set up of football.

  23. TitsMcgee

    You can fill a stadium with all of the “star in the making” youngsters that we have had around here the last decade.

    Let’s wait until these guys actually do something besides flashing potential before anointing them the saviours.

  24. Valentin

    The issue with the international game is the fact that from a geopolitic pov, there are more continents that do not have an association. Everybody wants to join UEFA instead of joining or creating an association based on geography.

    I think that it should be:
    + Europe
    + Western/Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan,…)
    + Middle East
    + Asia
    + Oceania
    + North and Central American
    + South America

    Such division would make sure that you don’t have those insane time difference. A single association should not be across more than 3~4 time zones and 10,000 km across.

    Russia should divide itself into regional area. The same way UK is divided into multiple nations: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland. To me, Mongolia or Siberia such as far East such as Vladivostok should be part of Europe.

  25. Janky

    “The manager is shit,” explains so many problems at Arsenal.

    It’s Occam’s razor. Four words.

    It takes Pedro the better part of two years and about a million words, so many he had to start pulling from other languages, to explain us into submission. Failing that, there’s “we’re blind.” Of course, there’s always “not a real fan” to fall back on. And more, failing those broad strokes, because ad hominems are always the tactics of those with a strong hand right?

    I sure hope we beat spuds Sunday, Xhaka doesn’t play, and we can put a couple in the net. They’re no great shakes, but they also aren’t Norwich.

    Either way though, the manager’s shit.

  26. CG

    Norg

    “”” CG The world cup every two years has more detail than just the announcement. It also is in line with changing the football season””””

    True there.

    Either the greedy clubs and their oligarch and billionaire owners get richer or the smaller nations and federations finally get their share of the spoils.

    Simple soccer geopolitcs in play.

    A. Wenger putting his head above the parapet, doing his job as always this time for FIFA and making sure the money gets shared out fairer.

    Admirable.

    I am happy for a World Cup every 2 years.
    At least we get some enterainment to look forward too.

  27. Chris

    The Ryder cup is every two years also having looked it up. People would get used to a WC every 2 years I think

    Graham62

    Asked the other day but you may not have seen it. Do you get over to the AMEX at all? I am close by and usually go a couple of times a year when Arsenal play away. They have high hopes for this season.

  28. Sid

    “”””””””And more, failing those broad strokes, because ad hominems are always the tactics of those with a strong hand right?””””””””

    Comment of the day!

  29. MD-Gunner

    @Positive Pee
    “Oh dear.only been away for a short while but the “ bedwetters” are back.Zzzzzzzz”

    Well it is difficult to be excited when many media articles start with “After their worst-ever start to a Premier League campaign, Arsenal….”

    Just trying to find some player or football formation at Arsenal to get excited about. Those that have been there for a few years are under performing or are injury ridden. From those players that one can get behind they are kids under 23 squad or are less then 2 years at the club.

    So who are the ones at the club at present that are leaders on the pitch and give the club character? That is a direct reflection of the stooges at the helm of Arsenal and it is reflected in the opinions of many here..

  30. Kroenkephobe

    MD
    You know Positive Pete is one of Pedro’s many monikers don’t you? It’s basically Pedro calling visitors to his own blog bedwetters (as if that’s offensive… ). Pedro and his dry bollocks in a dry bed – whoopy-do!

    And Pedro’s also been using these easily seen-through alter egos to big himself up. It’s a little bit sad to be honest and I suspect a psychologist would be interested as it borders on multiple personality disorder. A dying blog for a manager in a death spiral.

    When you’re being fluffed by yourself, it’s no longer fluffing. It’s wanking.

  31. Janky

    I think there’s a legitimate argument that points to mike lowering the general quality of play squad-wide.

    I struggle to think of players that haven’t regressed, Auba, Martinelli, Leno…Pepe hasn’t gotten markedly better…Tierney.

    Partey is fantastic, but now he’s also always hurt?

    I look at Saka and ESR and the fact is that neither is overly productive and still, we’d be comprehensively fucked if one or both went out of the squad.

    Gabriel is a man-mountain and his play is the closest I can get to opposing the above hypothesis, but he was very on and off last year.

    The new kids look great, Loko and TT especially, but by the above hypothesis they should get progressively more rubbish as mike indoctrinates them into whatever sad sack tactics we’re attempting to implement. Perhaps it’s all starting to gel squad-wide, possible for sure, or perhaps they just haven’t had time to adjust to his coaching and start to suck more.

    Legit question. Who is playing better in our 11? Or is it just the kids that were brought in for 150 millions or so and haven’t been coached by mike the last 20 months or so that are making the difference? Or was it just that we played the two worst teams in the league and we’re not really substantially better?

    I guess we’ll get more data to digest Sunday.

  32. reality check

    Legit question. Who is playing better in our 11? Or is it just the kids that were brought in for 150 millions or so and haven’t been coached by mike the last 20 months or so that are making the difference? Or was it just that we played the two worst teams in the league and we’re not really substantially better?

    This guy gets it. Keep asking these types of questions. keep watching the Arteta circus. All will be revealed and made clear to an honest eye.

  33. MD-Gunner

    The next two games will set the tone on this blog. Sp*ds & BHA are competing for top 6. If the results are 4 points or better the posts here will be upbeat, anything less and we will have a lively banter 2 point or less and this blog will be owned my the MOBs.

    But then the excuses will roll in give the process time and the season starts post X-Mas.

  34. zacharse

    “When you’re being fluffed by yourself, it’s no longer fluffing. It’s wanking.”

    good to see the anti brigade bringing up some hard hitting points before the NLD

  35. TitsMcgee

    They’re no great shakes, but they also aren’t Norwich.”

    They also beat the team, that beat us 5-0.

    Bit supposedly that’s evidence they are shiite and we were just bad-lucked.

  36. Kroenkephobe

    Zacharse
    I’ve been meaning to ask – are you one of Pedro’s alter egos too? A ped under the bed if you will. You certainly sound like a derivative of him sometimes. Ooh fuck – I’ve just wet the bed. Piss everywhere.

    You’re soooo much more of an Arsenal fan than I am. That make you feel better?

  37. TitsMcgee

    Or was it just that we played the two worst teams in the league and we’re not really substantially better?”

    Nailed it.

    19. Burnley, 5 games played, -6 GD
    20. Norwich City, 5 games played, -12 GD(we pipped a goal against these guys, AT HOME mind you)

    😉 Stunning stuff 😉

  38. Kroenkephobe

    If you’re singing the company song, feeling secure in your adoration of something that is badly damaged. avoiding the truth and you feel fine within yourself comrade, then knock yourself out, figuratively or metaphorically.

    Oh, and I can tell when you’re lying Zach – it’s when any of your digits are hammering away at your keyboard or screen.

    Get your bumper cilit bang spray ready. Personally I never like to lose to that lot (although you’re a much bigger Gooner than I am natch) but you might be in for some serious turd polishing by Sunday night.

  39. Kroenkephobe

    good to see the anti brigade bringing up some hard hitting points before the NLD.

    Hilarious

    Zach, do please regale us realists (or anti brigade, you massive, superior all-seeing Arteta-loving alpha-Gooner) with some of your own ‘hard hitting’ points before the NLD. No? Thought not.

  40. zacharse

    Gladly phobe

    lets fuck up those spuds BAD. won’t be a better time w their new coach and their garbage club.

    also something about fluffing, wanking and that arteta and those who don’t want to kill him with their bare hands are all gay

  41. Graham62

    Chris

    Haven’t been for a while, although my son gets across to the Amex 3 or 4 times a season, mainly because he has two friends who have season tickets.

    You’re right though, Brighton will be no pushover for anyone this season.

    I honestly see them finishing top half.

  42. englandsbest

    What a sorry bunch the doomsters are. The extent they go to discredit Arteta is truly mind-numbing. Everything that goes right is a lucky accident , everything they think goes wrong is blamed on him. Unless what they think is wrong turns out to be right. I could fill pages with examples – but that might encourage them They should turn their attention to the state of the nation. Their pessimism might be closer to valid there.

    Pedro certainly does not need me to defend him, but it’s disheartening to see him made a target simply because he doesn’t follow their line. It’s a kind of totalitarian propaganda exercise.

    Me? I prefer to stay on the sunny side of the street.

    Can you hear the bouncing ball
    And that happy call is Ar-sen-all

  43. Janky

    So who starts next to Partey?

    I liked Ode there, seemed to suit his style.

    There will definitely be more to deal with Sunday than we’ve faced the last two games, but he looked proper feisty.

    I’d also love to see the relegator in goal. He’s looked impressive. Hope the trash about Leno being back was just that.

  44. Graham62

    Poulter, Mcllroy and Garcia will thrive in the hostile atmosphere.

    As soon as Ian hears those chants of “USA! USA!” he’ll be in his element.

  45. zacharse

    janky
    would be so strange to see leno in goal. plenty of opportunities for arteta to overthink and blow this game. hopefully he’s got the nous to not start xhaka- i think that’s the big one we’re all looking at

  46. Janky

    Agreed.

    Still not 100% confident we won’t see Leno. It’s like an illness.

    Lokonga or Ode both excellent options.

    So nice to finally have a reasonable expectation of no Mo or, possibly, Xhaka.

    I think China said that the other day, there’s just less shit players on the books than this time last year. Makes all the difference.

    That said, if you could settle on something like a first 11, let them get a few games together, seems like we have the building blocks of a decent team. Of course you have to avoid galaxy brain shit like Europa finals.

    I know predictions aren’t worth the key strokes used to make them, but, just the same, I do like our odds.

  47. Kroenkephobe

    lets fuck up those spuds BAD. won’t be a better time w their new coach and their garbage club.also something about fluffing, wanking and that arteta and those who don’t want to kill him with their bare hands are all gay

    I wish I hadn’t read that Zach. Not only is it incoherent and possibly homophobic, it was so hard-hitting (and insightful) that it’s caused me to micturate all over my feather eiderdown and stripy winciette (sp?) sheets. Sob!

    England’sbest – You’re now at level 6 self-parody. Take a bow Mr Gonnella

  48. Tom

    “He has walked into probably the toughest nine-month period this football club has had in its 134-year history. He’s on a long term contract and we’re really comfortable with what he’s doing.”

    Unless I’m failing to grasp the context of this quote does anyone in their right mind really believe there haven’t been bigger challenges Arsenal faced in their illustrious history that included relegation and two world wars?

    Reminds me of some leftie anti Trumpers concluding during the dipshit’s presidency that racism had never been worst at anytime before, even though blacks were still being hung from trees in the south in 1968.

  49. Tom

    What a sorry bunch the doomsters are. The extent they go to discredit Arteta is truly mind-numbing. Everything that goes right is a lucky accident , everything they think goes wrong is blamed on him. Unless what they think is wrong turns out to be right. I could fill pages with examples…

    ————
    I’d read it. It would provide some comic relief on a slow football news related Friday.

  50. Graham62

    englandsbest thinks he’s being positive.

    It’s this delusional mindset that has put Arsenal where it is.

    Oblivious to reality.

  51. Tom

    Read some of Nuno’s Q and A’s and he comes across lame as fuck.
    Way more lame than Arteta’s answers.

    Maybe after the bomb throwing Mourinho Levy needed someone with apparently zero charisma. Or there wasn’t any else willing.

  52. Kris

    Interesting fact:

    So far this season 32% of Chelsea’s action has taken place in their defensive third; only Norwich, Newcastle and Brentford have more.

    Guardiola is a genius compared to Tuchel. At least City fans can enjoy every week whereas Chelsea’s only when they win a trophy.
    Really hope Liverpool have a great season, and if not at least City cause Chelsea are the most boring title winners in a decade if they pull it off.

  53. China1

    Besides Xhaka, Leno must not start

    1) ramsdale has been excellent so far and has earned it
    2) Leno has not

    If Leno plays it’s not for any footballing reasons

  54. China1

    Englandsbest

    ‘ Pedro certainly does not need me to defend him, but it’s disheartening to see him made a target simply because he doesn’t follow their line. It’s a kind of totalitarian propaganda exercise.’

    😂😂 you might wanna use a dictionary before you throw such terms around

  55. MD-Gunner

    On ESPN-FC the talk about the NLB showed how far both teams have fallen, this game is of interest to no one except Arsenal and Sp*ds fans, because they have scored a total of 5 goals in 10 games. They added this used to be a game we spent a lot of time talking about like the City vs Chelsea game this weekend, but no longer because of the mediocrity of the two teams.

    Nevertheless AFC is made favorites to win by the bookies 5-4 versus 5-2 for the Sp*ds.