CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: WILL ARTETA CONTINUE NEW ROTATION HABIT?

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE EVE BABY!

They said we’d never be here again, Wenger was gone, so was our future… LOOK US BABY! Tuesdays and Wednesdays mean something again. We are back with the big boys.

Kind of…

PSV is a staple of European competition and a team I have bad memories of – remember THAT performance from Brazilian Alex back in the day? Remember Cody Gakpo in our Europa phase? Prior to those years, it’s interesting to note that some of the greatest strikers EVER have had stints with them in Holland.

Romario did 5 seasons there, scoring 165 goals in 167 appearances.

OG Ronaldo scored 54 games in 58 games.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy, a player Wenger was in for, scored 62 goals in 67 for PSV.

They have heritage.

But, they aren’t a beastly Champions League club the likes Newcastle (Milan) and United (Bayern) are facing. We have been blessed by Champions League standards. No long trips, not mega clubs, 2 of the teams are in the gutter domestically.

It is VERY arrogant of me to underestimate teams in the big comps, PSV has started strong with 4 wins in 4, but the reality is Premier League is monstr0usly strong compared to the Dutch league.

The question is whether Arteta reads things that way. Does he take the opportunity to rest some of his core names? Or does he go big in the first game at home to get some points on the board.

One name I fully expect to start is Aaron Ramsdale. I’m sure part of the soft exit from the starting 11 was geared around the consolation prize of playing the Champions League. It was interesting reading the debate surrounding his exit from the starting 11. Arteta said there were two games last year when he wanted to sub out his keeper on 65 and 85 minutes. People are pointing towards Arteta being the first manager to normalize subbing keepers during the game.

A few reasons that I find this line of innovation a bit weird are as followed:

  1. The soft landing people are trying to give Ramsdale is that this switch is tactical. Well, if Arteta is talking about subbing a keeper last season, he’s almost certainly talking about taking Ramsdale off for Matt Turner. What advantage could that possibly have given us bar Aaron having a poor game and a fresh pair of gloves giving us more security? However you cut it, this regret seems to aimed at squarely at Aaron not having a good game, because Arteta has labeled this as a DEEP regret, like a top 5 type thing. Matt Turner hasn’t played a game of consequence that would merit that kind of regret.
  2. David Raya is a better shot-stopper, he’s better with the ball at his feet, and he’s top-tier for claiming crosses. That’s by the numbers – not my opinion. So based on hard data – what game state would benefit from changing keepers? What type of opposition would Aaron be more suited towards?
  3. You’re 1-0 down against Brentford chasing the game in the 70th. You have a deep bench of lock-pickers and goal threats. This defensive shape needs breaking down. What keeper on the planet is giving you something you couldn’t get from anyone else? What is the unlock a keeper gives you?
    1. You’re 1-0 up late in a game, you’re getting battered, the keeper looks a bit shaky, but he hasn’t conceded yet, but you have a feeling. Are you going to pull the rip cord and bring on a keeper to see out a game – with cold hands? Someone experienced in football talked to me about the penalty shootout when Gareth Southgate let 3 of his subs take penalties – ‘how the hell do you expect a player to score a penalty when they have no feel for the game.’ I would say this is even more relevant for a keeper. I watched a keeper in MLS get sent off the other week – the home keeper who hadn’t been sent off ran the length of the pitch to tell his best ball striker to shoot on sight. Why? Because that keeper knows how hard it is to come into a game late with cold hands.
  4. Occam’s razor. The simplest answer is usually the right one. David Raya is not here because Ramsdale was knocking it out the park. He’s here because Arteta had doubts, those doubts were realised in the first 4 games, and the change has arrived far sooner than anyone realised. People are flapping over the decision because it’s shocking and painful to see a fave hit the bench. But be real – no elite manager is making things complicated for the team if they have a keeper the manager thinks is the best. We didn’t bring in a keeper Arteta thinks is equal to what he has – he brought in one he thinks is better.

I’ve also seen some people say ‘well, we just gave Ramsdale a new deal’… guys, this is exactly what Arsenal should always be doing. Arsenal tied down a club asset to a long-term deal to secure his value. We did the same with Balogun, a player we probably didn’t think would make it in our starting 11. What we’ve done is smart business. The point of having young players is that if they don’t work out, you can get a big fee. If we’d let Aaron run down his deal because we didn’t fancy him. we’d be out in the cold fee-wise. This is an evolution of our off-the-pitch thinking – not an endorsement for a forever spot in our starting 11.

Back to the game – it’s at home. Is this a chance to bring Kiwior into the mixer? Can we give Bill Saliba a rest? Will we give Jesus a run out on the right side of midfield? Does Jorginho come into the midfield to give us control?

I’m expecting rotation for this one with a killer bench if we need to lean into it.

We have Spurs at the weekend – that’s going to require an explosive 11. Spurs has momentum, a manager everyone loved, and they have no European football game this week. They have a week to prep – we don’t – that’s a big club problem we’ve not had to deal with.

Final point, for the fans going, and the fans watching – soak it up people. We’ve been to some dark places of the past decade, but now we’re back in the big time with a squad actually capable of doing damage in the competition.

We’ll be dropping a Before the Whistle Champions League addition tomorrow.

See you in the comments. x

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Danny S

Nelson needs more game time.

His energy and pace can change a game.

LoveSausage

WE,

Yeah, we’ve had some proper cunts at the club. It started going downhill when Wenger brought Gallas over.

Goobergooner

At least kai has got himself into this half

MidwestGun

This is the way to return to the Champs League! Like we belong and playing for fun.

Useroz

Jorginho for Rice

Mee

Have to feel for Havertz… really hope he scores soon

WengerEagle

Vieira looks sharp.

Un

I LOVE that cheer for big Dec

raptora

I liked Gallas. Gave his everything for us.

NW9 gooner

Good subs with Sunday in mind

MidwestGun

Rice was the man, again.

Goobergooner

Who was it that called all these subs before the game? Haha

jabberwocky

Fabio been such a spark since he’s come on

TR7

Harvertz has been decent in the second half

WengerEagle

Gallas was a superb defender but he folded when the going got tough, very weak-willed captain.

LoveSausage

Rap,

He was still a massive cunt. Remember when he sat down on the pitch like an angry toddler? Pathetic.

Goona

Harvertz to score on Sunday???

raptora

I feel for Havertz because the twats over at the bridge keep posting stats of him 0/0/5. Today will be 0/0/6 or 0/0/7. Goals/assists/games played.

WengerEagle

This is seriously impressive, PSV are good and rarely ever get trounced.

MidwestGun

This is why I say .. I can see why Havertz plays as a 9 for Germany.. he looks better in a Muller type role. A 9 who isn’t a 9. hahaha

raptora

Havertz is a better 9 than an 8 imo.

NW9 gooner

Havertz is she tying better now – Vierra has become the player we hoped he would be – great first touch and control

WengerEagle

Luckily we didn’t lose a key player in the summer which takes the pressure off of Havertz having to deliver quickly as he is technically an addition but fuck me does it look a poor use of 65m and 200k+ a week right now…

NW9 gooner

Meant playing better

Habesha Gooner

I hope everyone that was skeptical about Rice looks at the potential of the player we have signed. He is barely enough games in his Arsenal career and he has impressed. He will get better too. Over the moon we signed him.

MidwestGun

Jorginho cracks me up … he went to the Xhaka school of pointing, apparently.

Un

This is poetry
Who’s slagging our second string now

Goona

We have bossed this game from the 1st minute…👌

Marko

Cheers for the link earlier luteo ma boi

Goona

Rice looks like he’s played for us for 10yrs…slotted in seamlessly

Marko

Nice to see ESR getting some minutes and the only thing missing from tonight is a Havertz goal

Habesha Gooner

I would rather have had Xavi Simons than Havertz. We would have looked as dangerous as any side had it been him. But Havertz needs time and nneds to play much better to continue justifying his selection.

MidwestGun

We played them off the park.. been awhile since we did that .. in a CL match

jabberwocky

Habesha I thought we overpaid for Rice but was excited about the transfer, but he’s been so much better than even my high expectations- he’s waltzed right into this team and he’s so young still, very exciting! Let’s hope Timber picks up where he left off and that Kai gets going, could turn out to be a blockbuster summer

WengerEagle

Rice has been immense Habesha, really impressed by him and I was one of his sceptics in the summer.

psuedo warrior

Smith Rowes body language is just wrong

Look at Vieira, Nelson etc

WengerEagle

Our squad is looking seriously deep, even the likes of Nelson can give you dangerous minutes and production off the bench and runs his socks off.

Just such a shame about Timber.

Habesha Gooner

And My God saliba is a gem. I havent seen any 22 year old as consistent as this in a long time. He is just flawless most games. We have hit the jackpot with him. Every game he impresses me with what he does so calmly. Genuinely going to have to fight off teams even with a new contract.

WengerEagle

Bayern don’t you dare give Utd hope and allow them to nick a point…

Goona

4-2 bayern now 😆

WengerEagle

LB is a concern if anything happens to Zinchenko though, the one area of concern in the team for me.

Kiwior and Gabriel at LB is not an experiment I want anymore a part of.

MidwestGun

Sevilla and Lens still 1-1. Good result for us as well.

Jamie

This has been a totally dominant performance.

The other game in our group looks likely to finish 1-1. Shaping up very nicely indeed.

Un

Pseudo
What was Nelson’s and Vieira body language like when they felt frozen out?

Habesha Gooner

Wenger eagle
Glad you have come around on Rice.

yeah we have left ourselves a bit short at LB. Tomi and Kiwior can play there but it looks like an experiment. Fingers crossed we dont have any injuries till january atleast.

Goona

Battered them…

MidwestGun

What a game that’s how you do it boys…. Amazing start.

rollen

Back withe the bang! Perfect game.

Jamie

Utd glorious failure lol

LoveSausage

That was the perfect return to the CL. Fantastic performance from the boys.

Samesong

Total domination.

Marko

What are we thinking about the keeper situation? New number one or is he just going to undermine everything and drop Raya for the spurs game? Cause he’s honestly looked confident as hell since coming in

WengerEagle

ETH will spin that into a positive no doubt.

Yes Jamie, starting to remind me of late-term Arsene with the excuses making.

MidwestGun

You have to stay with Raya.. dude makes it look so easy.

Samesong

If ETH loses to Burnley the fanbase will want him out.

WengerEagle

I think he’ll start Marko. 2 clean sheets, minimal fuss and looks assured.

Arteta would get crushed if he brought Ramsdale back in and he made a mistake in the NLD.

IAT-Robbie

So happy to be back in the big time. What a win.

Habesha Gooner

Raya impressive with those long diagonals.

rollen

Ramsdale looks sad, hopefully he will fight hard and not melt.

Samesong

Raya moves the ball quicker than Ramsdale.

Goona

Raya must start against spuds…

Marko

Raya just looks far more confident honestly and his passing is pretty fucking spot on. Onana wishes he could pass like him

LoveSausage

Ramsdale has had too comfortable a ride at Arsenal. He’ll be benched until he proves he deserves to start. That’s the way it should be.

Habesha Gooner

Yeah. Unfortunately for Ramsdale, you don’t drop Raya now. He has impressed with how easy he has made it look. The distribution has also been fantastic. Ramsdale will have to fight to get his spot back.

TR7

Now I can guess why Smith Row has fallen behind others in the pecking order. He does everything right on the pitch if his 20 odd mins is anything to go by but he doesn’t really run around a lot or show very high energy.

His touch was ok, positioning right most of the times but you get the feeling his intensity can appear to be deceptively low. Not a concern in my view but probably Arteta doesn’t like that I guess.

Rich

Arsenal 4-0 PSV

Northbanker will be stumbling out the boozer at 02.00.

Zomber

I have loved every moment of tonight. It was just perfect. My greatest for tonight is Benny Blanco, his performance was the greatest for me. What a night!!!

Pierre

10 out of 10 performance from Odegaard tonight.
Saliba also superb.

Watching Raya and onana of united us like chalk and cheese in the way they dominate their area.

Raya’s positioning is superb ، that’s why he makes it look easy ، whereas Onana is a keeper who is rooted to his line and rarely looks to close the angle، united will concede so many this season ..

Goona

Good win today, back to an opponent parking the bus on Sunday……

WengerEagle

Rich

Have to give you some credit on Vieira, I thought from last season that he was a no-hoper but he looked bright again in his cameo tonight.

Amazing the difference that confidence makes for so many players, let’s hope that the same can happen with Havertz.

SUGA3

Fucking A of a performance.

Marko

TR7 tbf to Emile this was his first minutes of the season more or less. He’s so off the pace

TheLegendaryDB10

Missed the first half due to a family do but caught up on the 1st half goals scored via Arseblog’s live blog. Lovely poachers goal by Saka, brilliant goal by Tross the Boss with a nice assist by Saka and a sublime goal by Gabby J. Øde’s goal was nicely taken (and opportunistic) to wrap this game up for a fantastic 4-0 start to our CL campaign. From what I have seen, this looked like a very composed and confident game. We looked in control and I would assume that this must have been how we started the game considering… Read more »

TR7

Easily the best performance of the season so far.

Raya had made the most saves last season in the league and he looks totally in command. Never got that feeling with Ramsdale.

Odegaard was amazing, Harvertz decent in second half.

I think we can easily beat Spurs on the weekend if we play anywhere close to our A level.

TR7

Ramsdale is always moving in the box in a jittery manner, I don’t like that at all. GKs should be calm, unflustered and steady.

Rich

WE

Vieira’s talented alright, and crucially he’s in Arteta’s good books, hopefully he gets the minutes to develop in the way we need him too across the season.

Martin Ødegaard though….. 👌

Samesong

Martin Odegaard reminded me of KDB when he dictates the play.

Un

Tr7
But Havertz’ intensity is low
Not every player in your team can be a clone of the rest
This team could use a maverick
Glad he got game time
He looked better than Vieira Havertz and Nelson during his cameo in my opinion

Topside Northbank

Super performance 4-0 flattered them.

Sub’s used at the right times, gave some squad players minutes and thankfully looks a clean bill of health for Sunday.

About the perfect night and return to the CL.

Pierre

Smith rowe did what the game required when he came on.
21 minutes
17 passes
94% pass completion
2 key passes.

When the team has a big lead It’s very easy for a sub to come on and look for glory ، smith rowe played with maturity in the way he made himself available and kept it simple، I’m sure if we needed a goal he would have taken a few more risks with the ball.

Pierre

Hopefully they won’t take Odegaard’s goal off him as it took a very slight deception.

Marko

Odegaard has got that eye for goal. He’s fantastic

Marko

Hard to believe we got him for 35 million

Montana Gooner

What a day. Time for a pint or 6.

TheLegendaryDB10

I have to say I was considering PSV to be the hardest team for us to play in our group.

I think that, as long as we stay focused, we should be doing more than alright with this CL group.

I really doubt that the team will underestimate Sevilla and Lens, just like we haven’t underestimated PSV.

I mean, if we are beating PSV 4-0 at home, I really think we should be able to get out of this group at the top.

Veira

This was a wonderful performance by us. I feel very sorry for Ramsdale, he has not done much wrong but he replaced our previous goalkeepers, who also have not done much wrong either. That is just the result of over analysed data based digital age football, which favours Raya.. I am very pleased for Viera, he looks some player and Arteta proved me wrong more than happy to admit it. I hope the same will happen about Havertz too. ESR appeared and was great to see, Arteta has to give him proper time for us to judge him, he was… Read more »

Emiratesstroller

Superb performance and result. Noone should suggest that Arsenal are not good enough to play in Champions League. We outplayed PSV. There will be few major clubs queuing up to play us in this competition. The decision to play Raya on tonight’s performance is absolutely the correct one. He is not “cavalier” like Ramsdale is too often on the pitch and his positional sense is first class. That is the major difference between both goalkeepers. Moreover he produce our second successive clean sheet. Frankly I doubt that Arteta will change goalkeepers for game against Spurs. Ramsdale will probably play in… Read more »

Emiratesstroller

Un

Havertz did improve in the second half.

Thorough

I’m one of the people who wanted Caicedo over Rice. Now I’m eating humble pie and I must confess I’ve never eaten anything more delicious. Long may it continue.

salparadisenyc

Well that was certainly fun, back in the big time boys!!!

Josip Skoblar

Just back from the Emirates under a pouring rain. The stadium was rocking tonight. Very good atmosphere. This was our best performance so far this season. We were composed, well organised and hungry. This said, we played a very poor and unambitious PSV side. Raya is a great addition to the side: he has a calming influence on the team, he oozes confidence and his ball distribution is second to none. Bar an accident, Ramsdale will not be playing much from now on. The defence was superb: Saliba and Gabriel are absolute beasts. Zinchenko had a good game too. White… Read more »

raptora

I hope Northbanker placed his bet at 4-0 like he said he might.

Veira

I agree with you about Havertz. What do people want Saka to do, scored a goal and assisted a goal, plays all the time as if he is a machine made of Metal never injured and yet somehow people dare to complain about him !!

Nigel Tufnel

I copied my earlier comment to make sure everyone sees it…

PEDRO WAS RIGHT !
…… and some others I disagreed with.I was sure Ramsdale would start this game.

I WAS WRONG. My hands are up.

Rich

Saka has 3 goals + 3 assist in 6 games this season, a goal contribution every 86 minutes… And he hasn’t really for going yet.

I’m not worried about Havertz yet, he had a better second half, clearly low on confidence…. A match winning contribution in the NLD would be just what the doctor ordered…. Would make him an instant hero.

Dissenter

Rich
Didn’t you suggest that we rest key players for this game because of the NLD on Sunday?

Arteta set the tempo right

Fatigue can never the reason why any player is flat for Sunday’s September NLD.

raptora

We’ll see how it goes but Havertz looks more confident in the No 9 role compared to the LAM position. So much that it’s blatantly obvious.

Nigel Tufnel

I am agreeing with a few of you about Trossard, and I’ve been saying the following all season long: Overall, Trossard is a more PRODUCTIVE player than Martinelli. (Nelson might even be more productive also).. But Martinelli is our best pace merchant, so they should all be sharing time. Martinelli starting every game is foolish and brings less from the position. We need goals and assists in the league against packed defenses… it’s not perfect for Gabby. Trossard finishing may be the best on the team considering his 2 footedness. His best goal for us last season was chalked off… Read more »

Dissenter

Our squad is really quality LARGE now

Nigel Tufnel

Can we stop simply judging Havertz by goals alone?

He’s a midfielder, he’s playing well there, gliding back with his pace and pressuring opponents, winning balls, defending….. then using his height to be a target for Raya.

The goals will come, and there will be more than Xhaka before you know it.

Obsessing over goals from a midfielder is childish. We bought a midfielder.
This is not Chelsea.