RC LENS – MATCH DAY BLOG

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Did I start a conspiracy theory about the Saka injury – promoting the idea that Mikel Arteta was in cahoots with Saka about his problem in a bid to throw Pep G off the selection trail for the weekend? I did. Unfortunately, my next-level galaxy brain thinking was incorrect… but the outcome was the same. Bukayo is READY and not injured. Is there a player in the league better at taking himself off before a breakdown? I don’t think so.

The bigger story here is that Bukayo has had injury scares twice in the past two weeks. He needs a rest. I’d really love him to fake an injury when we’re 3-0 up against City this weekend so he doesn’t have to go away on another international break.

Our second jaunt in the Champions League is upon us. RC Lens at Estadio Bollaert-Delelis should be an interesting test of Arteta and the players. My suspicion is the manager is prioritizing qualification for the next round as fast as possible so he can rest in the latter games. That means we’ll likely roll with a big starting 11 this evening. The manager COULD rest a key player or two but he can’t afford a slip before the biggest game of 2023.

My hope is we can get ahead in the game nice and early, kill Lens momentum, then sub key names out late on.

If Martinelli and Thomas Partey are to play a role on Sunday, you’d imagine they have to be on the flight out there and that they have to have some minutes. No player is equipped to start against City cold. A few late laps around the track in France could be enough.

Lens is a possession-based team, it’s slow build-up from the back, and they lean on springing fullbacks into action. Their model was very successful last season, putting them within spitting distance of PSG at the end of the season (1 point difference).

It’s been harder for them this season. They lost key players. Their game has been disrupted and they started poorly. This makes them perfect for Arsenal, we love gifting a coach a boost, so we’ll have to be sharp.

The most important thing tonight is to avoid anything terrible happening before Manchester City. I don’t even mind an away day draw as long as we don’t have an injury pile-up.

City play away in Germany against a RB ‘we don’t want the ball’ Leipzig. City are obviously better, but Leipzig will want to avenge an awful result in the Champions League earlier in the season. The Germans are in fine form, City are in a crisis by their standards, it’ll be interesting to see how Pep approaches the game.

Come join us right after the game… big love x

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Leftside

Are we now third in the group?

salparadisenyc

Missed some big chances tonight, Trossard, Tomi and now that one.

allezkev

I hope that Ten Hag gets a contract extension, he’s doing a brilliant job

Habesha Gooner

That was unlucky.

Aaron

3 goals AFC if we finished…

WengerEagle

Puts pressure on us travelling to Seville now, that game has become a must-win.

Aaron

Viera is invisible

MidwestGun

CL coverage isn’t big on replays are they? Still havent showed the shot.

Useroz

Poor fk Vieira

GD4

What a horrible free kick by Viera.
Absolute rubbish

Guernsey GUN

Is it? Raya looking like onana in goal znd 105million of dog shite in havertz and viera. I suppose utd have their own Chelsea fraud in mount, but it’s fine margins.

TheLegendaryDB10

How to waste a free kick.

That wasn’t great from Fabio.

WengerEagle

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Vieira take a quality set-piece, why is he still on them?

Madhu

What a mess. When it should have been a confident side going into Man C match we are now a bundle of nerves against them.

Useroz

Last corner c’mon c’mon

TheLegendaryDB10

Mid

I think they are sparing us the blushes on the disaster that this second half is.

Aaron

AFC needs a change in CL…..

Vickingz

Galaxy brainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

Pv4

As much as tonight’s result pains me, kudos to peanut head Ten Haag for trying to lift my spirits. Love seeing United lose no matter what. Fucking hate them

karim

Poor

LoveSausage

All this supposed “positional fluidity” just makes us look the way we did 3 years ago. Better results (for now) but the same robotic predictability.

LaPlonk

Well Arteta effed that up good and proper

GD4

Fcuking Aretha constructed this bottle job

MidwestGun

Damn… first loss of the season… and it doesn’t feel good… at all.

salparadisenyc

Terrible result bare minimum was a point especially if your going full strength.
Sevilla with Ramos it is now a must one.

Leftside

Ramsdale needed keeper competition to keep him on his toes. Same can be said for his manager.

Never good enough when it counts.

Dissenter

Poor night for the Arsenal

Madhu

Great result for Lens very well played sir. This one is on Arteta. Side needs a kick on the backside. Not good enough. Poor poor performance. Pedro will spin something for this as well.

Aaron

We are a no go in KO games, damn….

chas

Disgraceful tonight absolutely disgusting

David Smith

One good, then one bad this season.
Know why he had to go to move forward, but Xhaka has not been replaced, not even close, and we miss him.
Very poor tonite

Left Testicle

Vieira and Havertz = The Invisibles.

TheLegendaryDB10

Ouch.

I don’t think that this was in Arteta’s pre-written playbook.

Arteta really underestimated RC Lens here.

They really wanted to win this game more than we did.

rollen

Bulshit, not good enough. Raya fucked up first and should do better on second, Ramsdale should start next big game.

Sakablyat

Lego head ain’t a manager for European cups

chas

What a poor performance and in game management… we look like we are on for a right hiding on Sunday!!!!

Tets needs the watch this game back through a different lens to see where we went wrong tonight…

Matt

The praise Vieira has been getting on here recently like he had become some kind of world beater after a couple of decent assists was ridiculous like he was the second coming of David Silva. Squad player at best.

What a totally shit night!

Habesha Gooner

A poor night from us.

Dissenter

The United result does not give me any consolation

TR7

Things will go poor to worse if Harvertz experiment continues. With him in the side we are playing with 10 men.

WengerEagle

Yeah that was shite.

Something is definitely off so far this season, we may still be picking up wins but the quality of football has come off a cliff compared to our best last season.

We spent 230m so I’m not sure how we’ve regressed…

Foxy

Why do we consistently make average European sides look good?

allezkev

Man United bottom of their group with zero points…

Useroz

Fucked off a loss to Lens??

Lucky Psv and Sevilla drew

Still 2nd in Group

Mr Serge

LeftsideOctober 3, 2023 21:50:40
Are we now third in the group

No

Dissenter

I don’t blame Viera though
Putting him on for Saka is just bizarre, considering we had better options on the bench

salparadisenyc

Had the chances to win comfortably but it doesn’t take a genius to see we’re carrying a passenger in the mid with Havertz. Offers so very little for what required.

A more mobile option who makes driving runs was what we needed to complement the skillsets on hand. Shame Liverpool signed two clear options without the German manager taking a sniff of Kai.

MidwestGun

Yep Sal… when you go near All In … you have to get points.

Marko

Don’t be fooled by that unbeaten start the football is way worse this season. Side to side heavy on the stat padding for defenders bullshit is what it is.

Mr Serge

Psv result saves us

WengerEagle

ETH gotta be on thin ice by now, no?

Foxy

Adrian Clarke on Arsenal.com basically saying Vierra was crap and Zini can’t defend.

Pv4

Yeah we’ve had moments of great football, but not often enough. Could be kick up the backside we need. We’ll see

Josip Skoblar

Utterly gutted! What a poor performance. No fight. Lens was supposed to be the group weaker team!

Leftside

We’re playing worse this season, and carrying an irritating sulky player in the midfield so we’re effectively a man down.

We needed to add to the squad to build on last season and challenge but we look worse.

Useroz

At this point, care less about manure…. v poor performance where’s the hunger, drive and at times look so static

Why’s tomi and Gabriel passing to each other and Nelson not making runs , the less talk about Vieira the better. Ditto Havertz…. we have a bunch of these

Esr did more than most in the last 20 minutes, that we lack penentration and players with individual skills/wizardry becomes a problem

That’s why Bellingham type is priceless

allezkev

Vieira isn’t a right winger, should have put Nelson on for Saka and played Vieira inside left in place of Havertz, probably….

TR7

“We spent 230m so I’m not sure how we’ve regressed…”

I would say last season we overperformed. In numerous games individual brilliance bailed us out. It was expected that level of Saka and Martinelli would drop this season. To make things worse Arteta is making wrong choices every game.

psuedo warrior

“We spent 230m so I’m not sure how we’ve regressed…”

Its very simple

For all his athleticism, Rice is not as good a footballer as Partey
For all his height and strength, Havertz is not as good a footballer as Xhaka

Partey and Xhaka were what made Arsenal so good last season

Habesha Gooner

This can be a nothing game, but we have to win away in Seville now. If we do that, I trust we can do the job at home.

Josip Skoblar

Arteta made very bad calls today: Saka’s selection, late and poor substitutions. And Havertz on the pitch! Oh dear, what are we gonna with him?

Henley Gooner

Commentator said that Havertz gets into good positions. So we bought a yoga teacher for £60m.

Matt

At least our confidence will be high going into the city game!! 😳

WengerEagle

TR7 touched on it the other day and he’s right. Havertz in 10 odd games now has shown virtually zilch on the ball or any remote level of quality that justifies such an outlay.

I actually think Pepe was hard done by now seeing how easy Havertz has it in comparison, I never seem to remember him being given a charity pen or all of these excuses about duels and off the ball nonsense.

SUGA3

Fact of the matter is that we got played off the park by the team currently sitting in the bottom half of an inferior league with mere 7 points from seven games.

Pep must be quaking in his boots ahead of the weekend game.

TR7

May be I am a bit biased when it comes to ESR but I think most people will agree ESR showed more in fewer mins that Viera and Harvertz. Yet we all know ESR will continue to be behind them in the pecking order.

Leftside

Partey and Xhaka were what made Arsenal so good last season

Mostly Partey, who I have said is arguably our most important player.

Marko

TR7 I’m not sure there was an expectation of a drop off in Saka and Martinelli. I think the problem is the 200+ million spent wasn’t spent well in Havertz and an injury to Timber but it’s mostly down to the manager. Something is off at the moment a lot of players are going down late Sept early Oct and the football looks absolutely thoughtless

Habesha Gooner

You can’t win every game. But that wasn’t needed on the eve of Man City. A negative result against them now will mean we go in to the break in poor atmosphere.

Selection was poor too. Saka wasn’t needed. We played him and we still lost. Viera should never play on the wings again unless we are winning and need to recycle the ball.

We also failed to take big chances that landed our way. Lens took two of the three they got.

Pv4

I feel sorry for ESR, how the fuck is havertz getting gametime over him

Mr Serge

We missed martinelli and partey so much this season

Marko

Not one bit of Declan Rice slander. He’s hit the ground running to the point where he’s looked like he’s been here for years. He ain’t the problem

Left Testicle

I’d like to see a Partey + Rice midfield but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Samesong

TR7

ESR played ok. Just needs more minutes.

Paulie

This was a wake up call to anyone who thinks our chequebook manager has the ability to win anything major. Absolutely unforgivable to spend 65 million on Havertz when we haven’t got a decent striker at the club. I could live with this if lens were actually good but they are absolutely crap but let’s face it we have a team of big time Charlie’s who continue to bottle it all the time

salparadisenyc

Agree Marko Declan looked right the fuck up for it tonight, one of the few.

Eagle
The entirety of Le Grove has touched on Havertz and his lack of skill to take the left side of midfield.
Such a bizarre signing.

TR7

Weagle

Yes I don’t care if Harvertz hasn’t got even one assist or goal except the generous penalty but how can a supposedly technically sound player fail to produce even one moment of quality attacking football.

I didn’t have high hopes from Harvertz but honestly it’s unbelievable how bad has he been. The likes of White, Saliba etc. show more confidence with ball at their feet than Harvertz.

psuedo warrior

“Not one bit of Declan Rice slander. He’s hit the ground running to the point where he’s looked like he’s been here for years. He ain’t the problem”

Doesn’t matter if he’s hit the ground running, he’s not Partey level. It was painfully apparent today

Habesha Gooner

Rice did his job tonight. He was getting the ball to our players. They just didn’t do anything with it. They never risked anything. He played well.

Leftside

People saying Lens played well, bit strange for me. We dominated the ball, dominated chances created and had more shots but have come away with a loss. They were clinical at least.

This was a weird game, played with no urgency and lacking in application- almost as if we thought it would be an easy night in France.

WengerEagle

Yeah Rice has been excellent, I thought he was one of the only ones to come out with some credit tonight.

Did we overpay for him? Maybe a little yes considering 105m got Real Jude Bellingham who has literally been winning them matches on his own but considering Rice ‘s age, personality and ability I now have no problem with the signing. Marko is right, he is so far from the issue.

Timber injury was crazy unlucky but the Havertz signing was just mind-boggling and not bringing in another game-changer going forward.

Even someone like Kudus would have been welcome.

psuedo warrior

‘Something’s looking off and changed about Arsenal’. Yes geniuses, the midfield is what is changed. Everything else is more or less remained the same

TheLegendaryDB10

The Viera for Saka sub was really odd.

Nelson should have been subbed in.

It shows how much Arteta wants to rely on his favourites first instead of making the logical sub.

Arteta does not make logical decisions.

Havertz is given all this leeway when a player like ESR is crying for game time to get match fit.

Saka is played anyway when he should have been rested.

The list just goes on.

Aaargh this loss was so self inflicted.

Guernsey GUN

I wish arteta would tell us all why havertz and viera get so much game time. They are shit. Arteta is a flawed character dripping with narcissistic traits. ESR on the bench no doubt at the weekend. Giving kai his cheesey bullshit penno at the weekend solves shit, he’s a passenger we cannot carry.

WengerEagle

Sal

Eh? Have you met Nigel, AFC Forever, Tom, I could go on.

Havertz apologists.

David Smith

Teams need very few chances to score against this team. Why has that not been looked at from the coaches? Getting almost Wengeresque

Leftside

Rice is quality, and has played well this season but our midfield this season to this point has been inadequate compared to last season. Two things can be true. It is early days, but I have seen enough of Havertz to know that he is not the full ticket. I can’t see it clicking and the sooner Arteta realises this then the better for our season’s prospects. It will be a long season if we keep messing around with the like of Havertz, and Viera to a lesser extent. There are more capable players not getting half as much the… Read more »

Jamie

Finished 2nd in the league last season playing quick and incisive football, then Tets decides to introduce ‘unpredictability’ into tactics by playing worse. Galaxy brain.

Habesha Gooner

We were toothless, and didn’t take the chances that fell our way. Jesus missed one, Nelson, Trossard and Havertz too.

Lens were just organized and looking for a counter. And they took two out of three chances they had.

We were toothless in a sense we didn’t do more to open them up. That 2nd half performance especially was crap. We didn’t do anything bold or risky with the ball and that is why we lost.

Jaffa

No cutting edge up front without Marti and Saka. Arteta had a bad one again with the subs.

chas

ESR has to start Citeh game alongside Odegaard Rice and Partey… That’s our strongest midfield atm! FACTS

salparadisenyc

The XG going to be ugly reading tonight.

TR7

Jesus a very good footballer but not a great striker

Eddie has good striker instincts but not a great footballer

We have a striker problem too.

Leftside

There is a reason why people have said we need to take the emotion out of our game and be more measured. We are being managed by an emotional wet wipe who operates kff emotion in place of logic.

Havertz, Viera being subbed in for Saka (incidentally we only looked like scoring when he was on the pitch and he was very quiet) and Saka playing to begin with are all emotional decisions. They are devoid of logic.

Havertz will single handedly ruin our season.

psuedo warrior

This game also highlights Ode’s deficiencies as a playmaker

Habesha Gooner

PSV and Sevilla drew too. That is a good result for us considering the circumstances. Still second in the group. We have to go and get a good result in Seville though.

Matt

There is no way Havertz is getting dropped. Can you imagine how hard he must have gone at Josh to get that signing agreed. Arteta would have all but sworn a blood oath that he could make Havertz a world beater.

He is going to play him until it becomes absolutely untenable to continue and we are nowhere near that point yet!

Topside Northbank

Rice was like a one man midfield.

Havertz and Odegaard, just no chemistry.

Arteta just will keep playing them but away games like tonight Rice with someone alongside him to control the game gives us a better platform.

Lens wanted it more, we were passive on the ball and weak without it. Very poor.

Muppetman

Nelson was pretty bad when he came on. Just running it into touch.