I’m a bit late to the party on the Brentford game, but I have some hot takes.
1. That was a GOOD win.
Brentford doesn’t get beaten at their place often… we delivered a very clean win against a team packed with first-teamers. I thought we’d lose that game because of the amount of changes made. I was wrong. We’re finally getting to a stage where we’re a ‘next man up’ kind of club. Gone are the day where the player doing the domestic cups would mail it in. I loved the make-up of the squad, it was youth, a bit of experience, a random debut, and a spirited performance. For all the embarrassing histrionics we’ve seen this season, we’re now at 6 wins and 2 draws. Pretty decent, wouldn’t you say?
2. Aaron Ramsdale
He’s here for the fight. The performance was vintage Aaron. A few shaky moments, but mostly all good. He made a brilliant save that contributed to the win, his kicking was really bold (even though his completion rate was a smidge over 50%), he also commanded his box really well. Will he start against Bournemouth? Doubt it. I think he’s the domestic cups guy now.
3. Kai Slander
People are now fully in the mode of critiquing performances that don’t merit it. He played well. His game is simple at the moment. I thought he did well in possession, he connected play really well, and he gave the side solidity from a defensive perspective. There was no goal or assist – but those are coming. The biggest concern about him in Xhaka’s position was defensive diligence – he has that, and now people are worried he might not be able to attack. He’ll come good there, we’re gonna get Leverkusen Kai. We have to remember, he’s learning a new position, he’s under extreme pressure, and things aren’t falling his way. When they do – just remember the slanderers.
I thought he looked good. There were no real concerns over fitness. Some folk on the internet reckon his issues with Arteta come from a lack of pressing. The player himself said he sometimes doesn’t take instruction well. It’s simple for him – get it together and make a case to stay. Or mail it in and leave in January. I hope he stays, he’s a lovely player to watch, and he deserves to be playing at our level.
I might be imagining it, but the bulk we wanted Vieira to put on seems to have gone to the Polish defender. He is a BIG boy, has he been stealing from Fabio’s plate? I loved his game. He’s a menace. Very strong in the tackle. Good passing range. He’s also very aggressive. He’ll be knocking on the door soon I’d imagine. Remember, we picked him up because the club worried he’d become a £50m defender if we left him in Italy for another season.
We have West Ham in the next round, that should be a fun game, we can call it the Declan Derby.
There are some injury rumours doing the rounds at the moment. Reports suggesting Saliba might be carrying a knock are worrying. But I do think it’s worth noting that Arteta revels in the confusion around who is and is not available.
My guess would be this: The only players not in the squad tomorrow will be Partey and Martinelli. We could see some names rested, especially after good performances against Brentford. But by the time City comes around, we’ll have a full batch of players to choose from.
I think having Partey and Martinelli in the mixer for City would be HUGE for Arteta – I just hope he isn’t rolling the dice on fitness so early in the season.
Right, short one today – get on the latest Patreon BEFORE THE WHISTLE if you need the content in your life.
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— LE GROVE (@LeGrove) September 29, 2023