by .

A wise man once said…

‘You CAN read into preseason when it’s one game out from the start of the season’

… and I believed him.

Arsenal ripped Sevilla apart in an outrageous afternoon of elite football.

Calling us City Lite last season felt like a sleight; this season, I think it’s going to be a warning.

We pressed like monsters. We were setting traps to get the ball back. Everyone knew their job and there were NO passengers.

Our defence looks fabulous, Saliba played like the VVD Regen we’ve been dreaming of, we didn’t miss Tomi or Tierney, there were no weaknesses.

Thomas Partey was absolute silk in the middle of the park, he was at ease on the ball, he pinned the midfield on his own, and he had a stunning flair about his game.

Have you been whinging about Granit Xhaka? How many assists does he have to get before you realise he’s the best midfielder in world football right now? Ok, I took it too far, but he has been in great form.

CAPTAIN ODEGAARD. Perfection, the kid is a leader, he’s a role model, forget about my daughter, I WOULD MARRY HIM. I just love his intensity, he’s playing like a man on a mission, it is a delight.

The front three were electric. Bukayo is BACK. Top class all the way. Martinelli is clearly LOVING his Brazilian pal to play with, his diagonal cross was outrageous.

GABRIEL JESUS! As Benny Devito said in the comments of The Arsenal Opinion Podcast. He IS the resurrection of Arsenal.

What a talent. Forgive me father for my blasphemy about his height, I AM A SINNER, punish me with goals. SO MANY GOALS.

Then to cap a wonderful day off… a moment that said it all about CULTURE. Granit released Martinelli through the middle, the Brazilian could have gone solo, instead, he put his mate EDDIE KRUEGER in for a tap in. That’s when you know the squad like each other.

So where are we?

Our squad looks fit and cooked to the perfect temperature.

Everyone knows their role.

The squad is VERY strong.

We are scoring goals for fun.

I’m telling you, this season will have ups and downs, but keep focused because we are going to be a problem this season.

Everyone can play the ball out the back.

Everyone is press resistant.

Everyone has a fighting spirit.

Now we have goals.

We’re on a very exciting journey this season. Let’s enjoy it. Let’s not catastrophise bad results. Let’s buckle in. The hope is underpinned by truth this season.


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  1. Pierre

    Saliba would have played 30 odd games last season, taking into account tomiyasu injury, white and Gabriel out due to injury or suspension, plus domestic cup comps, and who knows , there is a good chance that saliba made the centre back position his own last season when you take into consideration that he had already shown to be much classier on the ball than our present defenders..

  2. izzo

    The fact that Saliba looks mustard now is because we allowed him to go on loan rather than throwing him in. Look how his mate got injured being overplayed at Leicester. He was successful and named young player of the year and now is back and fully integrated into the first team. This is a clear success story and all the bad rumours are put to bed so why keep talking about the past that clearly wasn’t the case. I blame the media and all these false dailymail daily mirror or whatever stories that people just lap up as truth. Get over shit that has past and talk about the present and what we can expect from the team this season.

  3. Nigel Tufnel

    Leno to Fulham. Torrreira to Galatasaray. Bellerín to Betis. Tavares to Marseille. Marí to Monza. Balogun to Reims. Even if we’re not taking in as much cash as we hoped, it still feels good to make space.

  4. Bertie Mee

    I agree we couldn’t sell a fridge in the desert but we do also ( hopefully ) save the wages of those players on what is left of their contracts .
    Following that misogynistic garbage earlier may I say how good it was to see players not diving for penalties or screaming like a stuck pig every time they were tackled. It was brilliant to see a defender who was imperious without having to go to ground to tackle and which first teasmers at our place would you back to score Ella Toone’s chip? Not many I can think of .
    Women’s tennis is a separate sport which has its own charm and merit . Women’s football is the same . I enjoyed the match and I’ve enjoyed the games I’ve been to see live .
    I was going to watch the women’s weightlifting earlier on but they can’t lift as much as the men so it’s worthless .

  5. Rich


    If Tierney + Tomiyasu get injured for sustained periods throughout the season, and Holding’s inclusion, alongside burning out other defenders, who we need to overplay as a result, hurts our chances of success at key stages of the season?…..

    And If Holding pushing up in games costs us vital points, or gets us eliminated from quarter + semi finals, after putting ourselves into competitive positions?….

    Then don’t say I didn’t warn you, Holding isn’t equipped to do what we need him too, Tierney’s fitness is a major issue, and Tomiyasu + Partey’s fitness are a real concern.

    We potentially address all those risks, with just one astute acquisition at the back, who we’re arguably going to need for 15-20 games anyway, even if everyone stays fit,

  6. Dissenter

    ‘ And If Holding pushing up in games costs us vital points, or gets us eliminated from quarter + semi finals, after putting ourselves into competitive positions’

    If that were to happen…and when it’s happened in the past
    It will be on Arteta for not setting up tactics with player’s strengths and weaknesses in mind.

  7. Pierre

    Tomiyasu and Tierney can and have played centre back in a back 3 , on top of White , Saliba , gabriel and holding at right back we have white , tomiyasu and cedric, left back tierney and zinchenko plus tomiyasu is comfortable playing on the left

    The fact that we have options means that Tierney and tomiyasu will not play every game and possibly only used as subs for many games.

    And as Bob said , we are in the europa league , meaning we could play our 3rd team and probably still qualify from the group stages , so do everyone a favour and change the record.

  8. Pierre

    Where do you want to park another central defender?
    If Arteta wanted a 5th CB, he would have kept Pablo Mari”

    Please ….don’t encourage him by bringing mari into the conversation

  9. Nigel Tufnel


    What’s this “end of discussion” mic drop you’re trying?… who TF are you really? …not so cool on an opinion blog where responses count.

    I want Xhaka upgraded with someone more suited to the position he’s currently playing. I was hoping the Roma deal would go through last Summer.
    I’ve been totally consistent for a long time. A new midfielder has been my biggest concern all summer. For quality and depth.

    Stop trying to play “gotcha” with me.

    When I’m wrong I’ll admit it, and when I change an opinion I’ll always state it. No shame in doing that.

    Along those lines, I will say, I think I’d kind of hate to see Xhaka go now, even though I’d still love a Tielemans, etc to take his place.

    After a good season last year, and hearing much more detail the past couple weeks about his leadership role, I think I’d rather keep him around, especially the way he’s looked in preseason.

    Partly because I like him as a player and individual, and mostly to see the haters here lose their minds.

    So yes, upgrade Xhaka. If he’ll accept the cut in playing time, I’d be fine with keeping him. If he wants to go, accommodate him as well.

    Sorry to ruin your cool “end of discussion” line.

  10. Habesha Gooner

    Chelsea have been all over the place through out the transfer window. Deligt, Fofana, Kounde, Ake, Gravidol, Pavard, Kimpembe have all been linked to them as a CB target. Kounde and Deligt chose Barcelona and Bayern respectively. Ake to chose to stay at City. And they are having trouble with the other targets. The forwards have also been as variable as anything. Sterling (which they got), Jesus, Raphinha (who chose Barcelona), Dembele who chose to stay at Barcelona, Gnabry who chose to stay at Bayern have all been targets. It seems a little chaotic and unplanned. But you can understand their issues with no director of football and with the owner playing that role. Still they will be strong if they get Cucurella and a CB on top of Koulibably and Sterling.

  11. Rich


    I don’t want a 5th centre back, I want us to dispose of Holding + Mari + Bellerin

    Then sign a left sided centre half, who can also play as an inverted left back.

  12. Rich


    You’re the one who previously made the case for Mari, not me.

    Your understanding of how teams press and + stay high is non-existent, you might want to sit this one out.

    You previously needed it explained to you that pressing was about directing the opposition, shutting down passing lanes, and having defenders who make the pitch smaller, by stepping into midfield.

    I remember you previously not having a clue when I explained to you about inverted full backs stepping into midfield in possession.

    You think football is a simple game, if it was that simple then Guardiola wouldn’t have needed north of £1.2 billion since 2016, and a high level of specificity + versatility throughout his squad.

    You want us to become a high press team full of young + vibrant players, that’s something we’ve generally agreed on.

    You’ve previously stated that Arteta needs a certain style of player to install his vision, which is pretty obvious.

    But then you don’t want us to eradicate the one weak area in our defence, that potentially shuts down the entire system, not just in the way we defend, but the way we attack + press as a team.

    We won’t get away with this across 60 games, we’ll get into a good position, but then choke, because we won’t have the style of defenders to play the way we need to when we inevitably get absences.

    If you’re banking on Tierney + Tomiyasu staying fit for the duration, it’s certainly possible, but it’s one hell of a risk.

    I’m not talking about top 4 here, we’re in with a decent chance of 3rd or 4th, I’m talking about getting on the shoulder of the top 2, breaking away from the teams between 4th-6th

    While going for the Europa + both domestic cups.

    We’ve gone full circle, I was accused of lacking ambition for not being surprised by 2 successive 8th place finishes, and for not thinking Emery’s first season was a disaster

    I was accused of being over optimist after our first 3 games last season, when I said we’d finish 5th, and compete for 4th, and laughed at when I said we were a few astute adjustments away from this team banging.

    Now I’m being accused of having too much ambition, because I desperately want us to address the 3 weak areas in our squad, that’ll make us an outside bet for the title, while remaining competitive in all 3 cup competitions Simultaneously.

  13. Marko

    It’s quite possible to praise Xhaka for recent performances and still want an upgrade

    When people say recent performances do they realize they’re talking about presason friendlies?

  14. GoonerDave

    Rob Holding is very useful if we are leading 1-0 against a top team with 20 or 30 minutes to go. We won’t always be able to impose our high line for 90 minutes. Holding can help us here. I think we should keep him unless we receive a great offer.
    Pablo Mari is a weaker version of our best defenders but Holding actually gives us a different option when we need it.

  15. bacaryisgod

    Let’s put a little context on the situations of Leno (who I would have kept this season regardless), Torreira, Bellerin etc.

    I don’t doubt we’ve made mistakes on the selling side but there has been the larger picture of the lockdown and the massive decrease in spending ability of those teams without billionaire owners or that can bank large streams of revenues.

    It means a team like Arsenal that pays Top 6 wages is going to find it especially hard to move on players to teams below our playing and spending level. Of course we would have loved to have sold Torreira and Bellerin at some point over the last 2-3 seasons but the best deals we could secure were loan deals.

    The market dictates so much and teams are fully aware of these players and still passed on buying them. What does that tell you? Liverpool do seem to be the outlier here but that’s partly a by-product of their success. Teams look at a player like Neco Williams, on relatively low wages, that was able to get playing time for a dominant team and will be prepared to take a chance on a decent transfer fee.

  16. GD4

    So is the bar for Xhaka, simply not being calamitous?
    Jeez. You’ve gotta be kidding me.
    No surprise that every coach that’s retained him has failed to make Top Four and has been eventually fired.
    That’s the biggest Star ever!!!

  17. bacaryisgod

    Strenge that there’s so much focus on defence today on the blog.

    Here’s our probably depth chart:

    RB: Tomiyasu, White, Cedric
    RCB: Saliba, White, Holding, Tomiyasu
    LCB: Gabriel, Saliba, White, Holding, Tomiyasu
    LB: Tierney, Zinchenko, Cedric

    That’s also assuming that we move on AMN, who we know can do a job for us at RB and LB.

    We’re really set for this season at the back. The focus should be on providing more midfield possession/control with the addition of a player like Tielemans. He would be perfect because he can offer a Xhaka alternative alongside Partey and I have no doubt he could also be an option if Partey and the underrated Elneny are unavailable. Sorry, but AMN is not good enough for our central midfield.

  18. Mr Serge

    MarkoAugust 1, 2022 19:46:01
    It’s quite possible to praise Xhaka for recent performances and still want an upgradeWhen people say recent performances do they realize they’re talking about presason friendlies?

    I am in this camp I want him gone butt he has had a few decent games
    You know at some point though he will shit the bed as usual

  19. TR7

    Rich and his obsession with a ball playing CB is quite something. So fixated to go toe to toe with City and Pool that he forgets that the first step is to get top 4 and then think we can start to think about City and Pool. If Partey misses large chunk of our season we wouldn’t get top 4 even with 10 ball playing CBs.

  20. Pierre

    “You’re the one who previously made the case for Mari, not me.”

    I think you will find that it was you who was rambling on about how Mari/Holding were so crap , i just happen to point out that the Holding / Mari partnership only conceded 5 goals in the 10 games they played together in the 2020/21 season…which included games against the league champions, the champions of europe and 2 games against the team that won the europa cup.

    And no , I didn’t say i wanted mari to start ahead of our present centre backs

  21. Ishola70


    Majority of fans don’t give up on players just for the sake of it.

    They witness plays from the player that they don’t like.

    This is the case with Mari in particular.

  22. Nigel Tufnel


    Karsa gets it, but he’s not too busy sh1tting on Arsenal to understand, as you are.

    One more time since you’re slow.

    Upgrade number 8 … that’s a Xhaka upgrade.

    Keep Xhaka around, unless he’s not satisfied with less playing time, in that case, allow him to leave.

    Not that difficult. Repeating myself just for you as a courtesy, or else you’ll misquote me and pull one of your fake, baseless attacks.


    I think we’ve all been praising lots of our players for their PRESEASON performances. Including Zinchenko, Saliba, Jesus… almost everyone really..

    But you’d say that Xhaka can’t receive the same fair treatment when he plays well in preseason. Great supporter.