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.