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Inhaaaaaaale… breath out… inhaaaaaale… CuuuuuuuKAAAAAAW… CuuuuuuKAAAAAW… channel that inner eagle you powerful beast. 🦅

Quite simply put, if you are not preparing mentally for this game to the sweet shrieks of eagles, can you call yourself elite?

Categorically, no.

Here is a video so you can prep.

Barclays Premier League Day is here. In a few hours, Arsenal will roll out for a season opener against Crystal Palace.

Patrick Vieira is no mug when it comes to coaching. He’s aged down the Palace squad, he’s brought some Wengerball to the Selhurst Park Turf, and he wants to kick on this season after making some shrewd summer signings. Paddy signs street footballers that entertain, he moves on those fancy Youtube comps we all like, Palace are going to be trouble this season.

… that said, word has it their preseason was a bit of a disaster because they went to Aus and loads of their players were anti-vaxxers. They only took TEN senior players there. So who knows, maybe we’ll be more fit, you can hide anti-vaxxers in the US no problem.

Last time we went to Palace, it was after an international break that Partey and Tierney went to, they promptly picked up injuries during the break and during the game and we were beaten quite badly in the first half. I’m not sure we deserved to lose over the 90, but we did, so there we are.

What is different this time?

Well, we’re still missing both our first-team fullbacks, but this time, we have much more capable back-ups. Ben White will slip in for Tomiyasu, he’s been really impressive there so far, but Zaha is a different ball game. At left back, we’ve got ELITE cover in Zinchenko. A player that knows the league, can play the system better than Tierney, and is more than ready to stake a claim.

Midfield will be Xhaka and Partey, same as last time, except one didn’t go out partey-ing after a World Cup qualification. Cut it however you like, those two together have a great connection, and they’ve been very impressive this preseason. They are extremely brave and I do think the more advanced Xhaka is starting to pay dividends. He’s contributing to the assist tally, he won’t be there all season, but he’s less exposed in more advanced positions, and he’s adding a bit of boldness to his passing. I think we all forget that you are never too old to improve at your craft.

Odegaard will captain and drop in as a #10.

The frontline we’re going with tonight will be very different. Saka will occupy the right, Martinelli will take up the left, and Gabriel Jesus will be playing through the middle.

I cannot tell you how different life is going to be this season. Even if we have a bad game tonight, what you won’t see is a freeze in the frontline. Finally, we have the specificity in every position we need.

We have 5 defenders who can play through a press and pick out Hollywood passes. We mostly had that last season, but if you don’t have runners, what’s the point in having longball specialists.

There’s more chaos in our forward line this season. Gabriel Jesus is a nightmare, he comes deep and he’s problematic, he goes wide and he’s a nightmare, he’s standing still and he can create something, in the box he’s ahead of everyone, this guy has changed the game. Last time we played Palace, we had Lacazette who lacked power, speed, and ability in front of goal.

The biggest shift we have tonight is winnertivity. Two players can make a huge difference on nights like tonight. Zinchenko and Jesus have done it consistently at the highest level. They understand patience, they know how to dig deep, and their experience will inspire the young kids around them.

Johnny made a great point on the Before the Whistle. I’d much rather Palace in the heat of August than on December 27th in the freezing rain.

Ideally, we don’t go a goal down this evening, I’d rather not test our abysmal record of clawing back, but I am less worried about that part of our make-up than I was last season.

Last season was the worst start imaginable, COVID and late business nearly killed this project before it started, this August is the chance to put some points on the board and make amends.

11 points from the next 5 games would be very, very good. 7 points from the next 3 would put us top 4 before the international break. That is where we need to be. I believe we can do it.

Before I leave.

I’m very excited about this season, as fans, we’ve been through a lot. Finally, it feels like there’s a bit of structure at Arsenal, a boatload of ambition, and we seem to have the right people driving the vision.

This season, we have to learn a few lessons from what happened last year:

There will be downs and they will feel very painful.

There will be long runs that will feel like we’re title contenders.

Key is not to get too carried away with the bad or the good times. We’ll be up there at the end of the season, then it’s a roll of the dice who has enough to kick it over the line.

Also… just remember that every team will have down moments.

It is easy to be there for the good times, but as you’ve seen from that documentary, our fanbase is most important to the players when we’re there for the bad times.

The journey is always better than the destination. Enjoy the feeling of being underdogs. Eat up those predictions tables that have us behind Spurs this season. Take names and numbers of the people that doubted The Arsenal.

Right, that’s me done.

We will be ON THE WHISTLE at 10pm BRITISH time this evening.

SUBSCRIBE to the Youtube so you get the notifications, or just tune in below.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Jonko


    Liverpool did not really do anything in the City match either. Were totally off the pace and only won because City did not have a proper pre season.

  2. LoveSausage


    A bit of both. Liverpool didn’t have the sort of intensity you expect from them. Lost a lot of those duels where they usually turn over the opposition. But Fulham looked good. Mitrovic looks like he might finally be able to replicate his Championship form in the PL. Absolutely dominated TAA for that first goal.

  3. Ishola70


    “Absolutely dominated TAA for that first goal.”

    lol you don’t say.

    Trent Alexander Arnold being involved in an opposition goal again.

  4. Ishola70


    Do you think it is good for the side to keep chopping and changing the front line as you are implying?

    I understand changes for games against lesser opposition but keep on changing the striker as you imply by stating plenty of games for Eddie N suggests chopping and changing the striker for a lot of games.

    Is that good for team chemistry and players gelling?

  5. Un


    At the rate both strikers charge up and down the pitch neither can play full 90 that regularly. Both will need rests and ir would be poor squad management to play Jesus in Europa league group matches and league cup when we have Eddie raring to prove his worth

  6. Akinzo

    I join the rest of the Arsenal family to celebrate our victory yesterday over Palace. It was massive not only because its the opening game if the season but because, we were made to look clueless by the domineering performance of the Viera tutored side.
    Our performance might not be great in the reckoning of many but I dare say it its the baby steps towards becoming a far better team than the drab we’ve been in recent years.
    Prior to the match, many would have taken a draw but what did we get; A win!
    The season is just unfolding. Liverpool barely managed a draw to Fulham, that ought to shine more light on the significance of beating Palace on their home ground.
    We would not be sustaining the blistering pace we managed in the first half hour of the game. Therefore, we would need a CM in the mould of Fabregas or Carzola to control games. This was noticeable in the preseason games.
    We need more positivity here than we currently get. Yes, some are perennially negative but they need to realize that the blog is for all. Yes we need to criticize play and management but some of the criticism are indeed very odd.

  7. Ishola70


    I already said that Eddie N should play the earlier Europa League matches and games in domestic cups.

    What interested me in the Rich comment was “plenty” of games for Eddie N.

    That would imply quite a few EPL matches as well.

    I understand the notion of keeping players fresh but that can also backfire in regards the frontline gelling and getting an understanding by playing regularly together rather than being changed too much.

  8. Pierre

    I expect joe Willock to score at least 10 this season , he was unfortunately injured last pre season and consequently , through lack of match fitness, was unable to replicate his superb goalscoring form from the previois season ….playing a more defensive role didn’t help him as for some reason he is always
    Judged by how many goals he scores, unlike or central mids…
    I’d put money on him scoring today.

  9. Pierre

    “What interested me in the Rich comment was “plenty” of games for Eddie N.”

    You’re flogging a dead horse with your constant sniping of Eddie , he’s good enough , he’s proved it before and he’ll prove it again .

  10. Ishola70

    I don’t even mind Eddie N Pierre.

    It’s your huge bias in your posts about him that is funny that’s all.

  11. Nigel Tufnel


    Good sentiments.

    One more thing about Jesus/Eddie.

    Pedro showed us Jesus production as a starting player for Pep was excellent.

    This is because he was managed perfectly with their huge, quality bench..

    He is not accustomed to playing as much as most players… that, along with his extraordinary energy output means… be careful with his condition and minutes.

  12. Un


    If we are in the latter stages of cups then I’d expect Jesus to be selected in some of these games over some league games
    Personally I’d like us to prioritise top 4 and league futures for our best 11 as cups are only a distraction

  13. Markymark

    A direct quote from an aggrieved Spud on the Fighting Cock

    Ward prouse the cunt always the same shit against us…

  14. Rich


    We have no chance of becoming a club that remains competitive consistently across 4 competitions, if we don’t utilise our squad, have quality in depth, not just numbers, alongside a high level of specificity + versatility

    You only need to look at City + Liverpool’s squads to see that, City rotate more than Liverpool, but Liverpool still have serious depth + specificity.

    Look at the way just 3-4 injuries derailed us last season, and that was playing mainly a game a week for most of the season, and being just 19th in the league for missing players with injuries across the season, we won’t always be amongst the least effected.

    Some players are more durable than others, but we need 2 teams, and a level of specificity in our squad, so even if the level of quality or experience drops, we can still sustain a consistent style of football.

    We also need hybrid players who can seamlessly step into a couple of different positions, without disrupting the system.

    We’re slowly getting there, we’re still a bit inexperienced to overtake the top 2, but I think we’re just 3 top players away from having a squad that’ll be equipped to compete on 4 fronts, without needing to prioritise which competition we go for, or compromise on our style of play.

    If we can clear the deck, I wouldn’t be surprised if we spent another £75-£100 million before Sept 1st.

  15. Ishola70


    The argument wasn’t about across four competitions for the whole season.

    Should Eddie N start ahead of Jesus in a fair amount of EPL games as well?

    That’s the question for you in regards your “plenty” term.

    I can’t see how that is good for team gelling and understanding by playing consistently together without change every two or three games.

  16. Un


    Liverpool were saved by Darwin coming on
    They are only one or two injuries away from a relatively poor season themselves
    If any of salah taa vvd or Alison are injured (after losing Mane, then they could struggle. Fulham were the better side today for large spells and only Darwin coming on salvaged anything for them. I think he’s gonna be a big player for them when he finds his feet with Taa and Robertson popping those crosses in.

  17. LoveSausage


    To be fair, no one rotates as much as Pep and that hasn’t prevented City from gelling. It’s more a question of whether you have the right talent on the bench and how well they understand the system.

  18. Rich

    Under 21s beat United 3-1 this afternoon.

    Marquinhos apparently got a goal, and 2 assists, and Tomiyasu picked up 45 minutes,

  19. Ishola70

    Well Man City have had quality players right through the team that they rotate rather than just a choice of strikers to rotate.

    A bit of a different scenario to Arsenal.

  20. LoveSausage


    That’s my point though. Rotation in itself isn’t an issue, the quality of your players has is. It comes down to whether you believe Eddie has enough quality. IMO, he isn’t at GJ’s level but he’s good enough to get a decent amount of PL games, esp against weaker opponents.

  21. Rich


    It’s about utilising our squad, who knows where we’ll get injuries + absences?….

    In the unlikely event we get no medium – long term injuries amongst our forward options, then Eddie will likely be restricted to 4-5 PL starts, plenty of sub appearances, while starting the vast majority of the cup games.

    But in all likelihood Jesus will pick up knocks + niggles, and will need dropping out at some stage,

    We’ll get absences in the wide positions, and either Jesus or Eddie will have to play wide, with the other going central.

    There may be a few games where Arteta goes with both down the middle.

    I expect Eddie to get plenty of minutes regardless, 20 starts minimum, but there’s too many variables regarding injuries, and how far we go in the cups, to see how many he’ll start in the league.

  22. TR7

    “It’s more a question of whether you have the right talent on the bench and how well they understand the system.”

    Pep rotates Laporte, Stones and Dias in central defense which is probably the most critical position and still they are rotated seamlessly by Pep because he has ensured that all his players understand the system.

    I think Arteta may try to emulate Pep in rotating White, Gabriel and Saliba in central defense. Likewise I see no problem in Jesus and Eddie rotating for CF position.

    My only worry is Arteta seems to always pick Xhaka and Odegaard who I don’t think are suitable for all the games. It’s essential that we rotate ESR/Viera in CAM position with Ode and Lokonga/new CM with Xhaka in no 8 position. I hope we see players picked on form and ability, not on intangibles such as leadership etc.

  23. Un


    What Pep and klopp do so well is coach their system into their squad so that not only is their role second nature, their team mate’s roles are too. This allows for a more telepathic fluid approach in games but also fluidity in swapping roles and new members stepping in and out of any said position
    It’s ingrained into them
    That’s why they hold new signing back and integrate them slowly until they are up to speed on the system and don’t disrupt the flow

    Arteta is clearly doing the same with our squad. Eddie and Jesus will swap and dovetail as and when it’s decided

  24. Ishola70

    I think some of you are thinking we are better than we currently are.

    It can be important for a team to get players having an understanding and gelling by playing multiple games together if the back-up to the whole side is not abundant. Not just the strikers but the whole side.

    I don’t understand this comparison to Man City all the time.

    We are nowhere near them still in comparison to the quality of player they have been able to rotate.

    If a team doesn’t have an abundance of quality to rotate then getting in a relatively fixed frontline that gels and has the understanding can be beneficial.

    We are not on Man City’s level where they have team absolutely hammering teams at home in the EPL the past few seasons.

  25. Berg10kamp

    We may not be at man city level yet, but we are much better than last season. When our injured players are back and we get in 2 more, after a few games in when players hit form and start clicking we will be cooking. All the team needs is confidence and I’m sure we can beat anyone on our day.

  26. TR7

    Barcelona will be able to register all of their new signings when De Jong is sold to Chelsea and Memphis is released on a free transfer.

  27. Dissenter

    The exit of those two players won’t be enough to offset the entry of Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen.
    They are yet to meet the financial requirements of La Liga to sign 5 new players because of their debt issues,

  28. izzo

    Mousa Diaby. I approve. Get it done! Gives us finishing/dribbling/assists from wide areas should Martinelli’s form dip/need resting/even as a starter. Perfect foil for him. Very Sadio Mane like. He would start tbf but martinelli will still get enough games regardless. I against beasting our 11. Arteta needs to pick it up as that was my biggest concern with him last season. Waited too long to sub tiring players again but i’ll give him a pass as its the opening game.

  29. TheLegendaryDB10

    Had to be over at a mates house in Birmingham this Friday and today and he is not much of a football fan in general so failed miserably in trying to get him out and into a pub to watch the game. So pretty pissed off that I missed the opening game (followed it on Arseblog).

    I am going to watch the replay later on this evening. I don’t usually watch replays. Knowing that the game is not live doesn’t appeal to me. But this time I’ll make an exception. I am really keen to see how we played so I can gauge the teams progression.

    I am really happy to know that we won our first away game of the season. Really pleased that we have set our marker down. This victory most certainly would have boosted the team’s belief.

    And I am really happy for Gabby to have scored. This will also have boosted his confidence astronomically and hopefully we will get to see more goals from him this season.