SEASONED PERFORMANCE IN SPAIN

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I have to own it… when I said we’d drawn a Europa League group in the Champions League, I was wrong. I’m am very silly.

RC Lens beat us and Sevilla, with an average squad age of 56, gave us a really good game.

Arsenal exited the evening victorious – but my word, was it a hard-fought battle.

When you’re slumming it in Europa, you tend to forget that the Champions League isn’t flowers and champagne. The 90 minutes was hard to watch, it was cagey, it felt like a chess game for large parts. The big learning is domestic positions mean nothing when the tune of the famous song hits… players up their game, fans bring out their best selves, and games become extremely equalized.

That’s why a 1-2 win feels extra special. We are not an experienced European team, we’re a group of extremely talented boys, trying to find our foothold in the biggest comp in world football. To go away to the best outfit in our group and execute a really good game plan was very impressive. We showed a lot of patience, we didn’t fall for the Sevilla traps, and we didn’t let the emotion of the night get to us.

The finishes were superb as well. Watching Jesus pluck the ball out of the sky, turn Sevilla midfielders inside out, before sliding a galloping Martinelli in for a simple-ish finish was really special. To see him kill the game was raw individual talent just showed where he could go as a striker. He created his own space, used his dazzling feet to perfection, and rifled a Thierry-esque like strike into the top corner. Can I see this Jesus a bit more regularly?

We did have time to make it spicy. We conceded a sloppy goal from a corner. David Raya also kept the Ramsdalians on his back with a duff punch from a cross late on. He didn’t keep his eyes on the ball, the cross skidded off his fists over the bar, versus 40 yards up the pitch. The important conclusion here is it didn’t go in.

3 points is all you can ask for, but we got a lot more out of the game than that.

Tomiyasu tried his hand at left-backing and did a tremendous job. He looks really fit and sharp. Technically, he was extremely sound defensively. He won his duels, he made his presence known with his strength, and he showed that there are other options beyond Timber in that position. If the weekend is a form-based decision, why wouldn’t you opt for him?

David Raya is coming under fire again. I understand why. The punch put everyone’s bowels on the floor. But we have to give some perspective here – he’s 8 games in. He’s at a new club, with new players, being asked to do very ambitious things. He was literally partaking in rondos after 10 minutes. There will be errors – but at every club with a ballplaying keeper, there are errors. The player needs support and the detractors need to back off – just remember, the same folk begging for Ramsdale to return were the same folk that were telling us signing a keeper with 3 relegations under his belt was a bad idea. Writing off a potential Spain number 1 feels like a futile exercise, but here we are, some fans do not learn.

Declan Rice put in another monster performance. He’s going toe-to-toe with Jude Bellingham this season for the best midfielder in England. I am not a huge fan of him in the more advanced position, but overall, it’s hard not to sit in awe of his defensive positioning, and some of that explosive turbocharged running he can do when he sniffs out a chance to close in on goal. What a player – how did we end up bagging a generational talent like that?

The only real flatline moment of the evening was seeing Jesus limp off. Another hamstring issue. That’s quite the number we’re totting up this season. The club should be doing a better job with these soft tissue problems. It’s too early in the season for a young team to be dropping like this so regularly. Hamstring issues are the result of wear and tear – that can be too many games, but it can be offset by being a little less intense in training. What is the root cause here? TELL ME?

No one will tell me.

But it needs deeper investigation because if we can’t survive 5 games a month, we’re going to be in deep, deep trouble come December.

So, a great start to the week. We’re in the hunting pack for the league. We’re top of our group in the Champions League. There are minimal things we need to complain about. So why not check out our latest podcast?

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Dissenter

Sal
‘ I’m pretty sure Messi will win his 9th Balon D’or next season as well as long he rocks up with a pulse and finds net a few times they’ll surely give it to.Haaland deserves it this year, monumental effort in getting the treble, bit like Ribery in 2013.’

You’re surely baiting TR7 now

Aasim

Couldn’t watch the game properly today. Watched in spurts. Could the regs please shed light on below: – how was our game play. The little I saw, I couldn’t see fast passing and great creativity. Outside the score line were we creatively dominating or were we finding it difficult to create chances – whichever bits I saw, I was craving to see ESR in action. But didn’t see him involved much. Was he very involved ? Was he positioning himself such that he was demanding the ball ? Did he have is quick 1/2s going for him ? – how… Read more »

georgia boy

EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE

Mikel Coneteta

“Even Messi at 20 wasn’t doing this. Bellingham is literally outdoing prime Ronaldo ‘s start at Real Madrid.“

Put down the joint. Bellingham has had a dream start, but let’s not start the ‘he’s been better than Messi and Ronaldo’ stuff.

TR7

“Put down the joint. Bellingham has had a dream start, but let’s not start the ‘he’s been better than Messi and Ronaldo’ stuff.”

Exactly. People get carried away far too easily.

MG42

Excellent result today for many reasons but it was against the table bottom dwellers. 1. Goal difference massively improved. 2. Eddie got a hat trick which hopefully increases his value and demand so we can sell him and get a taller beefier CF that can also head in goals and hold up play. 3. 2 points off top of the table and still unbeaten. Just one quick observation on the Chelsea results. Looks like Thomas Frank’s game plan and preparation to play Chelsea > than Arteta’s game plan and preparation. Our injuries are hurting us and everyone could see what… Read more »

WengerEagle

The emphasis was on the word ‘start’, something that seems to have gone over the heads of a couple. Nobody is comparing him as a player to Messi and Ronaldo.

And nobody’s really expecting him to continue this for the entire season but as far as starts go, you won’t find better.

Mikel Coneteta

Arteta says Odegaard has been playing with an injury in recent weeks.

“Martin has been carrying a little thing that has not been very comfortable.”

If I had to guess, that little thing is Pierre’s infatuation. Unconfirmed though.

Un

No
People do not get carried away
What Bellingham has done so far is utterly unprecedented at the top level
No 20 year old has done it. Ever.
It’s entirety appropriate to applaud what he’s done so far and to speculate on just how far he could go. Just as many have done with many young players over the years, none of whom have done what Bellingham has done as a 20 year old, midfielder

Dissenter

Anthony Taylor is such as annoying referee

Dissenter

Amazing how Trippier never gets booked

TR7

Messi when he was 20 years old in case people have forgotten :

https://youtu.be/0PHBJvcuoCo?si=o17kEUdoUtSEoq86

Wicked Willy

I think Rodri for Ballon D’Or

Berg10kamp

@aasim, was a good game overall, but 2nd half was much better as we seemed to change how we play, rotating wings especially as saka popped up on the left a few times overloading the left side. ESR was fairly quiet but did the job, so too havertz, nothing majorly bad but esr looked the better of the 2. Kiwior was pretty decent, big gabi is better I think but kiwior feels a little more composed. As I say we switched tactics mid game which is something new from Arteta. Eddie scored a really good hat trick and showed class… Read more »

Mikel Coneteta

Un

You can wax lyrical about Bellinghams start to life in Spain all you want, it’s been sensational. But name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo takes it up several notches and he absolutely hasn’t earned that kind of praise.

Performance-wise he hasn’t been close to 20 year old Messi, who was absolutely disgusting week after week.

Berg10kamp

Oh yeah esr assisted Eddie I think, so he had a decent game and will be better than havertz in the left 8 if he gets more game time.

Dissenter

They need to introduce digital yellow and red cards, for referees that leave their cards in the dressing room.

Rich

Pedro Neto really is very good.. That injury, alongside how much our wingers get kicked… Just adds a nagging doubt.

Also I’m not quite buying the argument we need another forward, certainly not without an outgoing,

Think our next 2-3 moves will be… A Zubimendi style player, Patino back from Swansea in the summer… And maybe a Chalobah style loan in January.

Dissenter

What a goal,

Justice

Dissenter

I would rather have us get Neto, than sign Toney
Better return for money spent

Mikel Coneteta

Neto is a difference maker. That pace in our front line would be tasty

Rich

Brilliant talent… But that’s my concern.

Dissenter

Neto’s hamstrings are gone

It’s happening to players everywhere

Mikel Coneteta

Ouch. And that’s why many clubs will be on the fence

Socrates

Pedro Neto has a similar injury record to Abou Diaby, the boy can’t catch a break

Dissenter

Rich
You’re overthinking this injury issue
We bought Timber who’s have been injury free at Ajax and he proceeds to get injured within the first hour of our first league game.
Things happen

Habesha Gooner

I am a big Messi fan. But I can’t say he deserves the Balondor out right this past season. The world cup was 7 games. Even if he didn’t win it I wouldn’t have held it against him. He is the best player in history for me regardless of whether he had won the world cup or not. In the same vein I can’t say 7 games holds weight over a full season and ignore what Haaland did. As players they are incomparable, but the past season, Haaland achieved something few footballers will achieve while Messi struggled with PSG. Messi’s… Read more »

Dissenter

Mikel
It’s his hammies though, not his knee
He will be Sharing minutes with Saka

Un

Mikel

I’m not claiming he’s a better player than both
Wasn’t me who mentioned their name
What I’m saying is I think he could go on to become the greatest cmf of all time
And why not? If he’s this good now and he remains consistent then he will be
I never mentioned Messi

Dissenter

Was Messi the main reason why Argentina won the World Cup

I’ll a]say no.
Emi Martinez was the bigger reason

Mikel Coneteta

Dissenter

Not sure you want an explosive player with hamstring issues though mate surely?

Remember, spend 75M to best improve the team. Does Neto with questionable fitness do that? Idk, and I love the player.

Habesha Gooner

Dissenter
Oh dont do that. Martinez had his moments. But Messi won a lot of games at the world cup for his team. He was more of a reason than Martinez. The pen saves and that crucial save at the last minute are all important. But Messi’s goal against Mexico, his assists vs Poland and Netherlands, his performance vs Australia and France, his pens all were the reason Argentina were going through. Even his team mates know that.

Belfast Gooner

Dissenter. You have your wish. Trippier booked. 3rd booking of the season, so he does get cards.

Nigel Tufnel

Coneteta I heard Ødegaard problem is a result of the Kovacic attack…. but you’re right about Pierre’s clownish obsession.

Habesha Gooner

Gary O’Neil is an underrated manager. Wolves haven’t looked this good since Nuno left. And he had Bournemouth punching far above their weight last season. He is doing well.

Nigel Tufnel

If he’s received 3 cards, he deserved about a dozen. Excellent player though.

Dissenter

Thanks Nigel
He gets one yellow for every five deserved yellow card offenses

He’s the referee whisperer of the league

Rich

Dissenter The Timber injury is just bad luck, impact injuries can happen in any game or training session. Neto has had 1 really bad injury, 1 medium term injury, and it’s a role that requires repetitive sprinting and explosiveness… Also our wide players take a lot of kicks, I called it, and minutes later he pulled up with a hamstring… We’ve already got a few injury prone players, I like him, he’s electric… But it’s too much risk. There’s always risk… But we at least need to stack the odds in our favour. Comparing the Timber injury that’s just bad… Read more »

Dissenter

Very good game of footie
It would be cruel if wolves lost all three now

Mikel Coneteta

I must be one of the few in the world who simply doesn’t rate Trippier.

Takes a good set-piece but I think he’s bang average a RB as there is. He’s a really standard defender, wouldn’t bat an eye if he played for Brentford.

Dissenter

Rich’
Did you ever play any sport, you’re just humdrumming from the couch
Hamstring injuries happen to everyone

Anyone who’s played any sport that involved moving in an erect position knows hamstring strains happen to everyone, talk-less of pacy wingers.

Dissenter

I thought Gary O’Neal took over an impossible job late in the summer but he’s doing it again
Resurrecting a poor side and making them play good football while doing it

WengerEagle

Yeah while Neto has had a great run of form it’s concerning that he’s only made 29 starts in 2.5 years since the injury and he’s only really picked up form again this season in his last 10 PL starts. He was dreadful after the injury prior to this season so I’d be extremely wary of spunking our load on him without seeing this sustained for at least the rest of the season.

WengerEagle

O’Neil kind of fell upwards given the talent discrepancy between Wolves and Bournemouth, the former were just severely underperforming before.

Credit to him though he’s got them picking up results and looking good while doing it.

Nigel Tufnel

New post

Habesha Gooner

I wouldn’t mind Neto. I love the player. But his injuries and potential of high price tag needs some consideration. If he stayed fit the whole season, this season, a player to consider in the summer though.

My guess is he will be the replacement for Salah at Liverpool.

Berg10kamp

Rugby stream anyone?

Kpankulu

I shed a tear when Tomiyasu scored. Great player. Our Japanese Swiss Army knife!

Markymark

Been catching up on Match of the day – lovely possession based football from us with ESR definitely adding to us.
Almost as good was the kings of west London -yes Brentford putting Chelsea in their place. 8 points taken in last two seasons and I believe 3 wins at Stamford Bridge on the trot . Excellent stuff

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