by .

Arsenal continued their solid run of results with a win against Leeds at home. That has taken our unbeaten record to 8 in all competitions. Not the be sniffed at.

The club struggled with a non-covid bug going around before the game. Pablo Mari and Benjamin White had clearly been sharing cheeseburger, the Spaniard missed the game entirely, White had to come off as a sub after a storming performance.

I’d call the League Cup starting 11 a serious team. It was a blend of fringe players and first-teamers. The objective clearly was to win the game and progress.

My overall view of the game is that we saw a vindication of the summer moves. There are certain players that stepped in tonight that can’t do the things that the new first-teamers can. Concentration, bravery on the ball, and movement was lacking in certain moments.

Nicolas Pepe had another night to forget. His pattern is to frustrate with the basics, then make a contribution to the result. His header to Cal Chambers broke the deadlock. It’s a real struggle for the Ivorian. He’s clearly very talented, can do things others can’t, has worked on his defensive game… but he’s can’t pull the package everything together into a consistent flow. Still, he’s working hard, there’s always hope.

Martinelli also disappointed. He’s lost his zest. The bang-bang player we loved has gone into his shell. Confidence is low. He’s a far cry from the player Klopp called a GOD OF MEN. He’s young though. It’ll click at some point. Every player goes through it. Part of it will likely be that he’s having to reimagine his game to suit the needs of the team.

Eddie was really good again. His link-up play was great, his touch was really sharp, and his goal was good. A little lucky after he scuffed his shot, but it went in. Arsenal are keen to tie him to a new deal, but I’m not sure the player will have any of it. Which is a bit of a shame because I suspect he’ll go on to score a lot of goals wherever he goes next.

Benny Blanco was a standout for me. Cries of ‘HE WASN’T WORTH THE MONEY’ are looking like they were very much formulated in a vacuum of ‘I HAVE NOT SEEN HIM PLAY.’ Still, if you’re an Arsenal fan, the best type of humble pie to eat is on a saucy centre back that has extremely unique skills. It’s like having Aaron Ramsey in defence. If you press him, he can power 50 yards past you. If you sit back he can find people from distance, consistently. It makes him a tactical nightmare. Against his old club, he was a nuisance all evening. You can see confidence is starting to seep into his game and players around him are starting to understand how to work with him.

Couple of other notable points.

Bernd Leno was superb. He kept us in the game in the first half with some very clever saves. That’s how an ex number 1 needs to roll. Like a total pro. I also loved that he dropped a daisy-cutter through the middle like Ramsdale. He’s been working on that move now he knows what gets rewarded in the new system.

I also thought Bob Holding was good. He’s not a sulker, he puts it all on the line, and did you notice he went on a mazy run like Ben White? Very fun. Good competition improves everyone. It’s great to finally have some.

So we progress to the quarter-finals of the first cup of the season. Two games to get to Wembley (I think?). That’s a nice reward if you can do it. Competition gets harder now as teams begin to take things a little more seriously.

The big one is Leicester at the weekend. Hopefully, we’ll have a full squad of players to choose from. I can’t wait.



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Jamie

    Rich –

    “In the hundreds certainly, maybe even a few thousand, definitely enough to fill out all the PL squads with exceptional talent, and consistent match winners”

    In 20 years, clubs will produce a few thousand more elite-level match-winners than the current run rate? Madness.

    Incentives on all sides already exist. An increasing talent pool of elite footballers is a natural result of improvements made to physiotherapy and sports science.

  2. Tom

    You haven’t been around so let me catch you up……..
    Ben White goes by Benny Blanco now and it’s been settled……. his transfer was a bargain.

  3. Tee

    “Agree with you on Ben white. You look at the way Saliba played against PSG and Mbappe and then compare it to white against Brentford and Norwich. I have to give credit where it’s due on the other signings as it’s a vast improvement on previous seasons, and 4 of our signings I’m impressed with, but I’m also not convinced about Ben White either”

    It’s funny how after nine matches, it’s Brentford and Norwich matches you could pick to aim your jibe at White while praising Saliba to high heaven and failing to tell us PSG played with 10 men for like 36 minutes.

    Maybe you should remind us how white isn’t good in 1 on 1, aerial duel and so on just like we were fed on daily basis here during the summer.

  4. zacharse

    you know he knows what he’s talking about because he’s constantly comparing vvd to ben white,
    how many CBs have you seen take a solitary run box to box without breaking a sweat?
    i know it goes hand in hand with hating arteta because _____ but he clearly wants a team who can batter a press and benny blanco is THE best from what i’ve seen this year- not yet reached the levels of consistency he will if he’s stays healthy. what CB passes, runs better in the EPL?
    certainly not vvd this season. and good on saliba for having a good game against mbappe, will be nice to have him at arsenal in the future

  5. Nigel Tufnel


    The Lokonga thing is completely normal for a kid jumping up to the premier league level. I expect some inconsistencies but can do without so many selfish shot attempts, they come off as immature decisions. We need a passes in that position with our forwards.

    Seems you are predisposed to be against Ben White. I get the feeling that the people not giving him any credit may have a record of many complaints when he was first linked, seems a little like clinging to a misread on the player to keep talking about the price. The guy is looking like he can handle the level, like Pedro points out, the distribution and runs……

    How can that be ignored? Very few CB’s do those things as well. Then on top of it, you compare him to Van Dyke. How would you feel about being compared to 75 million successful stud, who plays with Alison and Salah, Mane…. for Klopp.

    Pedro has a much better read on it than you, and you don’t note the way it’s inspired Holding to improve his game, and that part is obvious to anybody analyzing the games.

    Last thing… we have 10 clean sheets in last 20 games. More than any other team…. but one of our 2 starting centre halves is so bad defensively?

    Im glad to see the appreciation of Ramsdale. His distribution is much better than I expected, to go along with aerial bravery he brings.

  6. WengerEagle


    You can’t go a day in here without bitching about people who aren’t sold on Arteta, it really is a weird fixation of yours.

    I notice that you ignored all of the rest of my comment where I praises Ramsdale, Tomiyasu and Lokonga. Your position is pretty predictable on everything Arsenal, everything and everybody is great and criticism whether valid or not will not be tolerated.

    No doubt you use that embarrassing bedwetter term like the rest of the wet wipes.

  7. Zacharse

    No doubt i use bedwetter? So why dont i use it everytime Insee you post? Far as i’m concerned i criticised what you said and showed why you’re incorrect. Time will tell i suppose

  8. WengerEagle


    Yeah I like Lokonga’s potential and referenced it is expected for a kid jumping over from Belgium to have a bit of a learning period. Still that fact he is very green makes it negligent to go into the season without bringing in a proper ready to go CM partner for Partey and the panic re-signing of Xhaka.

    White has played 8 games for us so what has he got to do with that 20 game run that you mention?

    He looked very shaky defensively vs Brentford, Norwich and Palace. That is 3 of his 8 apps and cannot be ignored. I have been impressed with his on ball ability but if he has defensive deficiencies it will continue to be a problem for us.

    The Van Dijk comparison was not a like for like, it was that VVD is a genuine RR of a CB unlike White who is flawed, that was why it was referenced because the comparison was made on here in the summer when we bought him.

    Plenty to be encouraged about the team right now but I will never subscribe to the inability to criticise areas that we are weak in/need improvement and that it makes you any less of a supporter as some on here seem to believe.

    It is still too early to make any sweeping conclusions imo, mixed bag of results and performances.

    If we play like Spurs/Villa more consistently, there is a lot of ceiling to be reached.

    On the other hand, we didn’t show up in the first 3 games and were outplayed by both Palace and Brighton so the same old concerns are there.

  9. Bradybunch

    Tee. How’s that brick wall feeling.
    I made the same point numerous times about the 10 men.
    I’ve watched the 45 mins extended highlights on BT. What a poor game. Slow as fuck, PSG has NO press. I don’t think I could bear a full 90 mins of that dirge. Saliba played okay ,but not earth moving like the Arsenal knockers are making out. Glad he’s getting good minutes though,. Can’t imagine he wouldn’t relish the challenge of returning to find out how the Prem feels. Just hope it’s for Us

  10. WengerEagle


    I haven’t been on here in nearly 2 months is probably why.

    You didn’t show anything, how did White do against Norwich/Brentford/Palace? Nearly cost us 2 points at Burnley with a hospital pass too.

    He can run/pass, great. Optimal traits for a CB.

    Can he win headers/defend? Not to an above average level on this season’s evidence so far to be kind.

  11. PhD2020

    ZacharseOctober 28, 2021 17:59:24
    But glad to see you back pretending like you own the place…

    Yeah,it’s not like you stamped your authority with hot’takes’ before,during and after WE’s absence…

    A giant on shoulders on you are for sure…

    Still awaiting a monumental post from you till date,aside from your constant childish gibberish.

    Your baby bibs must need constant 24/7 laundering…

    We await your latest infantile, nonsensical outpourings.

  12. zacharse

    talk about PREDICTABLE

    like i said, he’s the best CB in the EPL at BREAKING A PRESS. this is where the 50m tag comes from whether or not i agree with it. You also forget he’s at the BEGINNING of his career.

    Check it out:
    no discussion of ARTETA
    no use of BEDWETTER

  13. WengerEagle

    Upamecano is absolutely awful, who was it on here back in the day that had the biggest hard-on for him? Think it was Marko. Remember we had a chat over him and Willi Orban, lol.

    Every time I watch him he has a shocker and makes a glaring mistake. Old Trafford last season, home and away vs Liverpool, vs Spain in the Nations League and got ripped to shreds last night by Gladbach.

  14. zacharse


    what do u want from me? same people screaming about how opinions are quashed and censored here try to use the same bullshit on people who disagree. i’ve been pretty clear about what i disagree with in what eagle says about white. whats the fucking problem buddy, i’m not the one making it personal over and over again. eagle begging me to call him a bedwetter is case in point. i dont actually care what you think of me or my opinions etc so why the over the top shit? give it, take it, its all the same its a free blog on the fucking internet.

  15. WengerEagle


    How are things pal? Nah not quite yet, will happen in the future but still enjoy it for now and much of the people although we are missing some very good posters who have yet to return and likely won’t now.

    Have to hold my hands up on Ronaldo mate, you and Radio Raheem called that one spot on.

    He is still scoring regular winners but they are only papering over the cracks. Massive detriment to the team as a unit, very happy to be wrong on this one as I hate United more than any other club.

    Isn’t being helped by having that buffoon Ole in charge, biggest fraud since AVB. And it is getting harder and harder for his Utd Mafia buddies in the media to keep the wolf from the door.

  16. Rich


    What do you make of Sancho’s slow start?

    Just teething problem with a young players settling into his new environment?

  17. MidwestGun

    *sigh* Sup y’all?. could we please stop with the name calling… You sound like the kids in my neighborhood trading insults. Grow up a little. Why is it the so called “positive” commenters are some the nasties dudes on here. So a negative disposition makes you positive? Makes sense.

    Anyhow, How’s it going Eagle.. ? I felt much like you did regarding Ben White… but he is starting to put in some top performances.. The last 2 matches he was one of our best players.. I agree he was pretty horrible at times in his start with us… First 3 matches , But Im thinking he might have just needed time to settle. It reminds me a lot of how I felt with Mertesecker when he first started with us.. I was like no way is he goign to be anu good with his limitations and he had soem really bad performances.. Bit once he settled …. he was very good for us..

    I dont know if you watched the last match but Ben White was the impetus for us getting a alarge majority of our attacks rolling with 3 or 4 long runs plus picking passes playing out of the back.. He kept Leno out of pressure too from playing he normally does. I know it was just Leeds but I have changed my opinion a lot… much like I did with Mert and Monreal over time.

    AS I said a couple of days ago if White and Ramsdale continue to play the way they have been last 3 matches or so.. I will forget about the transfer fee premiums. For me… not replacing Xhaka last summer is still my biggest concern. not so much White.

  18. Northbanker

    WE – there were a number of us in fairness that we’re desperately hoping we would sign Upamecano, me included. You go by brief snapshots of play combined with massive dissatisfaction of what we have at the time. That’s why none of us would make managers sitting in out armchairs pronouncing judgement!

    But I think it also shows that generally being a high profile new signing CB is a tough task – you haven’t learnt the system or your team-mates strengths and weaknesses and any mistakes are under a glaring microscope.

    White will need much more time irrespective of his price tag but I have seen enough to know it will be a bumpy ride but also he has the potential to be a great for us

  19. WengerEagle


    He has played 415 mins combined of PL/CL football. I’m not going to pretend that he wasn’t shit in those mins as he was but he isn’t even close to being helped by Ole not having a clue how to construct a midfield unit and being incapable of integrating players past the XI.

    Van De Beek didn’t turn into a bad player overnight. He has been grossly mismanaged by Ole and if they do not shitcan him now then you will not see the best of Sancho or any of United’s attacking players.

    Time will tell ultimately. Fabinho and Firmino both struggled for half a season before kicking on for Liverpool. I would be amazed if Sancho does not turn out to be a big success over here.

  20. WengerEagle


    Not writing off White at all, 8 games is a tiny sample size after all. He has shown excellent quality on the ball so I hope that he can iron out the defensive lapses to put it all together. He needs an aerially dominant partner though and I am still unsure if Gabriel is that man.

    Re Upa, wasn’t bowled over him by at Leipzig before thr Bayern move. Too error prone, always preferred his partner Konate.

  21. MidwestGun

    I think OGS is a terrible couch for Sancho… Young players need a strong manager that is going to stand up for you and let you make mistakes… Ole seems beholden to the old guys. And crumbles under the pressure from his superstars to do what they want.

  22. Rich


    That’s what I’m hoping with us, that we’ll see improvements in the business end of the season as new players settle into their environment

    One of the issues at United is they’ve got too many forwards, it’s going to be really difficult to keep them all happy

    Solksjaer needs to be brave, drop Ronaldo, and go back to what worked reasonably well for them last season

    I was hoping he’d do just enough to hang in there, but looking at their upcoming fixture list, I’d be surprised if he made it past the next international break, the writing looks like it’s on the wall

  23. zacharse

    I’m a nasty person now too huh? ouch.

    maybe read a few things that get thrown at me the second I point out gaping holes in the same kind of arguments being thrown around all summer about how terrible everything was. the same names attmeptin g to take the piss out of me this summer when i pointed out Ramsdale was being bought for his skill at set pieces/corners among other things, now are saying the same things when i defend white and point out what’s being missed. i have no problem fighting back against some weird fucking shit on here but i dont come on here picking fights or trying to ‘stamp my authority’.
    only reason i came back here was because things looked like they were really gonna change when arteta got the post and the apathy lifted. thought others might be excited too. how wrong i was!

    anyways i barely have time to be on here, probably best i take it easy and let the games speak for themselves. ✌️

  24. MidwestGun

    Anyhow, Im really pumped up for Saturdays match.. These are the types of matches Teta has consistently choked over the last 2 seasons when we have a chance to climb up the table and out of mid table purgatory. Time to turn that around or it’s back to being on the razors’s edge of failure or success.

  25. MidwestGun

    Sometime it takes the bigger man to not get dragged down into the gutter. Anyhow… In general no.. I don’t consider you all that nasty. Everyone at times gets involved with the barb trading.. But just saying there are a good majority of so called “positive” posters whose soul purpose is to comment on other commenters and call them names.. Dont see how that is being postive about the Club?

  26. TR7


    Absolutely delighted to see both United and Ronaldo struggle. Woodward and other decision makers at United make more horrendous decisions than those at Arsenal and that takes some doing.

    City are the most successful PL team in the last 7-8 years and the only reason they are ahead of other teams is the fact that they have players who are comfortable with ball at their feet. Pep is so obsessed with possession that even defensive players he signs are quality with the ball. United in their quest to catch up City sign players who are either counterattacking players or don’t show up for the ball.

    Look at United’s front 4

    Bruno – an off the ball player
    Rashford – livens up only when United counterattack
    CR7 – more of a goal hanger/poacher
    Greenwood – very predictable (cuts inside and shoots from his left foot)

    Pogba is the only player in the entire United squad who is good with the ball and even he doesn’t show up all the time. He is a mercurial player – absolutely brilliant on his day but doesn’t turn up consistently enough.

    In defense too, Wissaka is more effective in tackling, not good with the ball. The less said about Maguire, the better. Luke Shaw is the only one who is real quality. De Gea and Lindolf are average if not bad. A team with only 2 to 3 players with good ball skills can’t compete with quality teams such as Pool, City, Chelsea etc. I am no fan of Arteta but at least he insists on players who are decent with the ball. United have got their squad building horribly wrong, it’s not merely about Ole.

  27. AFC Forever


    I agree. The White bollocks is only about one thing and everyone knows it.

    I said last season that our biggest problem was our ability to play out from the back. We were too slow and teams could get back into their shape, forcing us to go sideways and backwards. Said it repeatedly that Arteta needed to build a team with players that could play his way. Profiling was key. Leno and the backline were a calamity against the press. Bad decision making, putting players under pressure, kicking the ball to opponents or out of touch. Sometimes we gave goals away. I said it but of course I didn’t know what I was talking about because I’m just a 58 year old ‘Arteta Fanboy’ who wasn’t in the Arteta Out gang.

    Instead some bloke who basis his judgement solely on who buys, sells or loans a player, knows best without offering any evidence based analysis to refute what I said. Hard not to laugh really. This is the shit some of them came out with on here:-

    1. Ramsdale
    Ramsdale was so utterly useless that he was solely responsible for relegating two teams. His value was a joke and we didn’t need a ‘keeper because Leno was so good. Not evidence based and the profiling argument was ignored because it was of no relevance, the most important thing was Arteta bought him. Stupid is, stupid does and all that.

    2. White. Suddenly a few sad sacks started trawling the internet to find out his true height; well actually whether he was or wasn’t two millimetres too short to hang a hat on a Moose’s hat stand. We drove this narrative, keen to further the claims he wasn’t tall enough to head the ball. As you don’t pass the ball along the ground with your head or beat the press with long passes, short passes and dribbles with your fucking head, it was quite amusing. When he beat Kane to an aerial ball creating a goal in the NLD, the head scratching could have been heard a mile away. Probably trawled the Internet to see if Kane’s recorded height of 6′ 2″, was actually 2’ 6″. Doh. Now because Whites playing well the desperation has reached such levels we’ve got this pearler, ‘Yes but he doesn’t like football’. This is supposed to be how you strengthen an already weak case of BS?

    3. Tavares. Another shit signing. So shit in fact that are few of the morons claimed Benfica fans were laughing at us on social media (!) for buying him. It’s hard not to laugh and wonder what kind of fan behaves like that. Hard to believe any would.

    Now six games in and all of a sudden these players aren’t quite as shit as they said they were. I wonder why that is?

  28. AFC Forever


    “I think OGS is a terrible couch for Sancho… Young players need a strong manager that is going to stand up for you and let you make mistakes… Ole seems beholden to the old guys. And crumbles under the pressure from his superstars to do what they want.”

    I think this is 110% on point. We need a like button.

    Don’t know if you saw it Mid but in one of the games Ronaldo was on the touchline yelling at players with Fernandez while OGS stood next to them looking sheepish. If ever there is a case of weak management and ego’s taking over, that proved it. Their running stats are 18th in the PL which says something.

  29. TR7

    Fergie had Nani, RVP, Rooney and Welbeck as front 4 – each one of them very very comfortable with the ball and could run with it. No wonder Fergie won the league on a canter when he had them playing together.

  30. MidwestGun

    Yep.. AFC.. I adit did think Ronaldo would be good for Manc U just from the financial side of things and in the Champions League. HIs goal scoring record is unmatched and proven. .. BUt I Underestimated Ronaldo’s ego. He basically wants to play all the minutes in every competiton and the way he wants to play. OGS isnt goimg to stand up to him… he just doesn’t have the clout.

    Bit like TR& regardless of how I thought it would play out… Who doesnt love a good Man. United meltdown.

  31. Kroenkephobe


    I hope this makes you feel better mate. No really.

    I sometimes wonder if you’re a little too effete and naive to strike such a belligerent pose (as you’re wont to do on here in your support of all things Arteta).

    I’d say you were snidey rather than properly nasty. In boxing parlance, you’re a featherweight who tends to aim a weak-wristed jab and then well up with hot tears when a haymaker lands in your face from a cruiserweight. Carrying on the pugilistic theme, you’re a bit of a non-contender.

    You’re a bit like the kid who hides behind real hard nuts in the school playground.

  32. englandsbest

    The anti-arteta brigade working themselves into a frenzy because Ben White doesn’t spend his time watching football matches on TV. As if it matters a damn. I doubt whether many pro soccer players watch much or any football that doesn’t matter to them. It would be like a guy who works in a supermarket spending his spare time browsing Tesco.

    Personally, I watch Arsenal and England, because the rest of the matches don’t matter to me, unless they affect Arsenal or England – and even then it’s only the result not the match, that matters.

    Another sign of them losing their cool is the constant referencing of Saliba. As if he matters either.
    He might be important next season, but not this season. My guess is that he is focused on that. The whole world watches the PL, London is a metropolis, not a Med fishing port, Arsenal a world renowned Football club. What young soccer player wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

  33. AFC Forever

    Midwest, yep hard not to enjoy them having problems

    Have to say I was stunned when I looked at the overhead camera and their pressing. You can only press in patterns with triggers, not individually. We do that quite well now, they are terrible and they’ve been together longer than our boys. I tend to take a lot of stats with a pinch of salt but the 18th in the PL on running one, proves everything. Team of egos.

  34. MidwestGun

    Englands Best _
    I dont think it’s as black and white as you portray.. I dont think all people who don’t rate Arteta, dont rate Ben White and rate Saliba highly. Neither do I think everyone who believes in Arteta doesnt rate Saliba.

  35. MidwestGun

    Yep I saw that isolation video of Pogba… their so called midfielder standing on the halfway line as his man took a shot inside the box and scored. He has given up all pretense of putting in a defensive shift these days so much that he is basically forcing himself to the bench.. which signals to me… he wants out for sure.

  36. Tom

    I’ve seen enough from White to say that I think he has enough about him to become a top CB in the league in the near future, mainly because he’s comfortable on the ball and he’s got speed.

    That said, he’s been barely above average in half the games for us so far and that’s even before you consider his price tag. This isn’t some agenda driven opinion either.
    I don’t do agendas. For example, I preferred Odegaard to Maddison and I think he’s been very disappointing so far.
    Probably the biggest letdown of the TW.

  37. AFC Forever

    Englands Best

    To be honest I don’t care who the Manager is, I don’t invest personally in people. However, I would hate to be a club that changes manager ever season. Look at Spurs, 30 years since their last FA Cup and 60 years since their last title. Worked out well for them. They even bring in a manager guaranteed to bring success – and look what Mourinho did…!!! I don’t want that.

    Again I said all along we had a poor squad. I’ve been beating the drum for him to bring in players that suit the profile of the way he plays. Ramsdale and White were great signings. Fit the profile, Home Grown, Hungry etc. Youngsters give you that desire and hunger you need. These boys are certainly a good bunch and we all like our young players. I’ve been to two games, the atmosphere is incredible, the fans like this team. Ignore a lot of the stuff on here, the anonymity means you never know the real motives of some people.

  38. englandsbest


    You’re right – everything about the anti-Arteta brigade is grey.

    Criticism of Arteta should be fair – not the ‘get him at any cost, blame him for everything’ agenda they employ.

  39. englandsbest

    AFC Forever

    Yeah I was banging the drum for Arteta because I thought he might be the man for the job (I gave my reasons at the time). He was a rookie – and that meant risky. But he has been honest, straight forward and forthright from the start -and that counts for lot in this murky world. Mistakes have been made, but, boy! what a difference he has made!

    The incredible atmospere comes across on TV – but it’s not the same as being there.

  40. Pedro

    Rich, I think I’d bring Odegaard back into the mixer. Leicester are probably going to sit back against us, so we might need some lock pickers.

    Who would you pick?