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We play Sevilla tomorrow in an Emirates Cup special. This is the test run. The game we need everything to click. It’s where we all get down on our knees and pray to each and every god out there that no one gets injured.

Palace is next Friday.

I cannot wait.

That’s the hardest game of August. They’ll be fired up, the atmosphere will be electric, and they’ll know they smashed Arsenal a few months earlier.

This time, we’ll have Thomas Partey in the midfield, not hungover from Ghana.

We’ll have Zinchenko at left-back and Ben White at right back. A much better pair of options than Cedric and Tavares.

Our forward line will also boast a striker that can occupy defenders, run, create from nothing, and score goals.

Things should be different. All the news I hear from training is positive. The players are enjoying each other, the culture is strong, the intensity is really high in each session, and there’s a buzz that something special could happen this season.

We’re going to look at the season in phases like we did last year. We do this because it allows you to break off chunks of the season and give a little more context to each. Some phases will have more away games, some will have more games against big 6 sides, so you do this to keep track of where you are.

Phase 1:

  • Palace (A)
  • Leicester (H)
  • Bournemouth (A)
  • Fulham (H)
  • Villa (H)
  • United (A)
  • Everton (H)
  • Brentford (A)

The first 5 games are very favourable. Arsenal really need to be collecting 11 points. I’d take a draw at Palace. You’d also hope we can collect 7 points from the following three games. The biggest is United. Win that and we’ll start believing.

If we take 18 points from 24, we’ll be in the top 4 for sure. If we collect more than that, then you’re heading into the first international break absolutely fired up, from there, who knows where the confidence will take Arsenal.

The squad, as is, has moved forward.

Everyone is built for the system. The character of the players has moved up a level. They’re all highly intelligent players. At the very least this season, we are going to be a nightmare for most teams, because there aren’t a lot of weaknesses when everyone is fit. We are City light now.

  • Everyone knows how to press
  • Everyone is comfortable on the ball
  • We can go long, so a high-line is a bad idea
  • We can play through a press at speed, so you have to double-take going for us
  • We can unlock deep-blocks because we have pocket-pickers

Do we have fear factor like City or Liverpool? Not yet. We haven’t been good enough in the final third for that. But we are certainly not an enjoyable side to roll up against. We’re relentless, well organised, fit, and the technical level is very high.

Adding some killer to our side is going to be really beneficial for us next season. If we can find a goalscoring winger that has some of that special sauce, we really could be a bag of unpredictability.

I’m super happy where we are as a team. We’re not winning the league, but we’re going to ask questions of the Premier League Order this season and hopefully lay the foundations for a big push the season after.

I’m genuinely excited about where this club is going. I hope you are too. 2 more players and this window will go down as one of the greatest.

Right, check out our latest Patreon from Johnny and Matt Kandela. I’ll be doing a football and tech podcast next week with someone very interesting. We’ll be On The Whistle for Sevilla if we can!

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313 Responses to “FRIDAY NIGHT ROUND-UP”

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  1. Nigel Tufnel

    Great line Dissenter.

    “Force multiplier”. Explains how I’ve been thinking.

    Alexis vibes, but less selfish. Could not possibly be a better fit for this squad and manager.

  2. Emiratesstroller

    Bob N16

    There is too much nonsense written about Xhaka. Yes in a weak team he has from time to
    time been left exposed and made some unnecessary mistakes.

    However, Xhaka has been playing well in the current team. The argument for recruiting Tielemans is to ensure that we are able to rotate the central midfield in what is going to
    be a demanding season.

  3. TR7

    Partey is such an immense player that you play even Lokonga alongside him and he will look good. People have seen Xhaka for more than 6 years and still don’t understand how he limits us. Mistakes aside he is a fraction late in releasing the ball which makes all the difference. Look at Partey and how he plays. His amazing touch and quick passing catches opposition unaware. A similar calibre mid can raise our game by one notch.

    Youri when on song can be absolutely brilliant in his attacking game and our team is crying out for another technician in the midfield. The likes of Spurs, Palace, Everton, Liverpool make absolutely mince meat of Xhaka season in season out. Xhaka should not even be a matter of debate after all these years.

  4. Marko

    Yes in a weak team he has from time to
    time been left exposed and made some unnecessary mistakes.However, Xhaka has been playing well in the current team

    First time to time… it’s been what 5/6 years for fucks sake and secondly it’s preseason don’t read much into what that fuck up does in preseason cause we know what we get from him.

    Maybe this will finally be his year… yeah I doubt it

  5. Nigel Tufnel

    Emirates ….
    right on point.

    I’m hoping for Tielemans and backing Edu strategy of waiting. We don’t know what ridiculous price Leicester has quoted us.
    We took care of the absolute necessities first.
    Get in Jesus to blend with the squad in time for week 1, no last minute bullshit as Arsenal usually do. We even overpaid a little for this luxury.

    Same thing when Zinchenko became available… Tierney not going to be ready for early season… got him in right away. No dicking around. As much as I want that Xhaka upgrade and as Partey fill in from Tielemans…. the other 2 were much bigger EARLY priorities.

    Very smart transfer business so far. Well thought out.

  6. China1

    If we’re signing Tielemans to only be a rotation option for xhaka then we’re doing it ass backwards ES lol

    Surely arsenal wouldn’t be that silly

  7. Zacharse

    i think liverpool are due some bad injuries this year. milner, thiago, henderson who played 60 games last season… the world cup…gonna be very strange w the WC

  8. Jonnygunner


    Whilst I get the fact that you think ‘the season only starts at Palace’, why the fuck can’t you get a single bit of enjoyment out of the fact that we just spanked a half tidy team 6-0 ?
    We weren’t perfect,and you’d have a point in saying that against Premiership opponents we’d have had more of a battle on our hands,but as far as pre season friendlies go that was nigh on perfect. No injuries, and a good look at how we will line up next Friday. Be fair, contrast that with last season’s opening game and starting 11 and surely you’d have your tail up?
    Personally, I want us to win every game, friendly or not- it’s my Club, even if we play a team of one legged arse kickers I’d want us to pan them. Cheer up you miserable sod !

  9. Thorough

    Ive not been fortunate to watch any of the preseason games save a few highlights. What’s obvious is that we’ve become a little relentless and cohesive and long may it continue..if we can manage to keep this form till world cup and be in a good position I hope we don’t sit on our hands in January.

    Partey has needed a partner/deputy/capable replacement since forever. And I don’t think Tielemans is that man. I wanted Gravenberg or Bissouma. I won’t mind that beast in Lens midfield now that my 2 favorites have moved. We absolutely must not go to shambles because of Partey’s absence. As we’re making provision for subs for every other position so should we also make for Partey. Our season may survive or die on this singular fact.

    And btw Jesus has surprised me.