by .

The beasting of Kai Havertz has been brutal. But for every amateur analyst demanding we know he’s terrible, another top pro manager pipes up and says they think he’s high qualidee.

This time, it’s Julian Nagelsmann – a manager a lot of Arsenal fans fawned over back in the day. He decided to go toe-to-toe with Mikel’s big galaxy brain and probably knocked him to the canvas by dropping him into the left-wing back position.

“Kai won’t always be in this position. I have a great idea, he’s an exceptionally good footballer. This is a very good option. He won’t always play as a classic left-back.”

Well, Kai opened the scoring for Germany and they went on to win.

Ok, they didn’t win. But that’s not the point. He scored a goal. THAT’S the point. Right?

Who knows where Kai’s Arsenal career is going to go, but hearing top footballing minds talking about how good he is does skew my view that he’ll probably come good. He’s a players player. A manager’s first pick. Clearly he has attributes that top coaches seem to love. We just need to see him bring a bit of bang-bang to proceedings.

My biggest takeaway from all of this is the thing that everyone said he’d be rubbish at (defending) seems to be the only thing he’s currently good at. I’m happy to put chips on his attacking game coming good when considering the managers that played him as a striker.

Arsenal are being linked with players this January — the list of players at the moment seems split between midfielders and strikers.

On the striker side, it’s Ivan Toney and now Dusan Vlahovic.

On the midfielder front it’s Douglas Luiz and Ruben Neves.

Let’s talk midfielders. Those two players, in a normal market, are £50m players. Both are versatile midfielders that can play as 6s or 8s… but the deeper role is where they thrive. For me, the only way you make that kind of deal happen is if Thomas Partey leaves the club. Neves is an outrageous technician who can’t go to Newcastle and Luiz is a free-scoring midfielder who is very unsexy but he’s never injured and he’s keeping an Unai Emery midfield going. He’s also exCity.

Midfield wasn’t where I saw Arsenal investing in January, but I think Arteta really wanted Thomas P involved this season, especially without Timber, so it would make sense.

The striker position is clearly a massive target for Arsenal, but £100m for Ivan Toney isn’t acceptable, and though Dusan Vlahvoci is a good player, what change out of £100m are we getting for him? 4 goals in 10 this season. 14 in 42 last season. Hard to say he’s banged.

If we can’t find a bonified goal-scoring freak this January, we should just pass. No point wasting good money on someone we’ll be lumbered with for 5 years. The player we sign needs to be pure glory. I’m not sure we’re getting that in 6 weeks time.

Arsenal have a new hype-child: Chido Obi-Martin

The Dane scored 10 goals against Liverpool U16s this weekend. He’s a U17, which is kind of cheating, but regardless, that is a big goal haul at a level in which you would not expect a scoreline like that.

Is he the next Jack Jebb?

The next Fran Merida?

Is he Arturo Lupoli?

Who knows… but it does seem like Arsenal’s production line continues to churn out the big names!

David Raya made his Spain debut against Cyprus… he conceded one goal off three shots on target.

Martinelli scored a lovely goal from a Vini Jr assist.

Saka did NOT get injured in very boring England win against Malta. 3 shots on target. How embarrassing.

Ok, a painfully slow week. The last international break is always the worst. So if you’re bored, check out the latest Patreon podcast below.

280 Responses to “KAI AT LEFT-BACK?!?!”

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  1. allezkev

    The way things are going for Fabio Vieira is if he remains a bit part player at Arsenal his value will just haemorrhage even more than at present, so I wonder if there’s any truth in the rumour that Marseille’s want him on loan this January?

    A regular game for Marseille in a less frantic league might just see his value recover enough to make it worth selling him next summer?

  2. GD4

    And Joelington forgets he’s not playing for English refs at Newcastle. Promptly red carded.

    Ahhh ok nothing there … that’s a horrible red card

  3. GD4

    Midwest you’re right he’s in.
    The feed I was watching flashed him across that he was subbed but I just saw him in the scrum.
    Screw Brazil.
    This is BS

  4. allezkev

    Jesus probably wouldn’t have started at Brentford anyway, too much travelling and too little recovery time, might be touch and go for Martinelli and Big Gabby as well?

  5. Sensei

    Ouch. Hope our boys aren’t too affected. Gabby J and Marti both played pretty well although Marti needed to show more for those far post runs, could have had a goal

  6. China1

    Coaching issues aside I just don’t think the Brazil squad is that good

    They’re are overrated and living off their reputation

    The Brazil teams in the late 90s and early-mid 2000s could absolutely destroy this team

    Aside from Neymar, they have very few players who you would put in the world class category, just lots and lots of good and very good players.

    But the Brazil teams of old were way better than good and very good. Ronaldo Ronaldinho rivaldo kaka Cafu Carlos Adriano coming at you in waves was the stuff nightmares were made of.

    I love Martinelli and I like Jesus but these are two of the best Brazilian attackers and I don’t think opposition teams are going to be having sleepless nights about facing them. That’s not an insult just an observation that there’s levels to this and this Brazil team is simply not scary enough

  7. China1

    Allez I can’t agree about letting vieira go in Jan

    We’ve really got to move past looking to slim down a squad that is already thin

    ESR is a crock. Havertz’s form is mixed. Ode can’t play every match and has also been having some injuries lately. Vieira is going to be needed

    Not all players are equal and some will play much more than others, but we haven’t won a title in 20 years and in a season where we are thus far in the title race, the last thing we should be doing is worrying about whether or not vieira drops 10m in value because we didn’t loan him out. We need to win the title. He will play games.

    Same applies for all our players linked away from the club – ramsdale, kiwior, Nelson, vieira, partey

    I honestly don’t care who of these wants more game time (all of them). Teams that win titles have big squads and decent players on the bench. We’ve finally got some half decent players on the bench and the first reaction is to let them go mid-season because they don’t play every week. That’s not how you win titles.

    In the summer, some or all of those players can and probably should be dealt with one way or another, but mid-season our priority needs to be what do we need to do to get over the finish line first, not how can we preserve a little bit more of a squad players transfer value or make sure everyone gets exactly as many minutes as they would like

    Need to be more ruthless now

  8. China1

    Case in point is Nelson last season

    He barely played but in the second half of the season made a decisive contribution a couple of times to win us points. If he’d been on loan or sold in Jan to appease him who would’ve been playing on his place?

    People make the case for selling partey in Jan (usually the same suspects). Great so if Rice has a bad injury in the second half of the season we’d be depending purely on Jorginho and el Neny (unless partey is replaced). But second half of the season of rice is injured or needs a rest I know I’d much rather have one of the best DMs in the game replacing him than hoping and praying an inferior player does the job

  9. GD4

    And like I mentioned before, so it begins.
    The Good ‘old boy Establishment network is circling the wagons
    and using their media sycophants to teach those arrogant foreigners (Arsenal)
    a lesson for having the audacity to call out their incompetence.

    Take a read at this article.
    How bent and openly biased can some of my fellow Brits really be?
    Disgusting hit job on Arteta.


  10. China1

    Yeah and GD4 it was no accident that the authorities didn’t punish arteta at all at the time for his outburst. They let the dust settle and attention go elsewhere First so that people would forget how justified he was when they throw the book at him.

    Transparent as hell

  11. China1

    Also lol that PGMOL are going to set up an independent commission to review how their VAR review communication can be streamlined

    Fuck right off

    PGMOL are the ones who know first hand what the current communication looks like and what the risks and pain points are. They do not need to waste time waiting for an independent authority to advise them. This is nothing short of an excuse to bide more time before they deliver any actual improvements so that the next time they fuck up and there is outrage they can say ‘yeah we’re waiting for the independent commission to advise us. That’s why we haven’t improved at this yet’.

    It’s just all so obvious. How hard is it to invite all the officials onto a call to discuss and list down all the ways they normally communicate and review to what extent it’s clear and where they can make improvements? This is a 30 minute job in total and I’d expect the improvements to be applied before a ball is kicked on the next match day

    Independent body to review it? Fuck off fuck off fuck off

  12. Markymark

    I took a look at that article it’s Oliver Holt who’s a pompous prat for most of the time used as a writer for the Daily Mail campaign.
    Interesting that most of the comments were having none of it.
    Attacks on refs in lower leagues is an issue and Pgmol is an issue. Conflating the two I’m not sure holds water

  13. Un

    Brazil lost the samba beat when Ronaldinho and Ronaldo went and they’ve never recovered
    They are full of workhorses now
    All about energy and pace rather then technique and flair
    Sad to see

  14. Bob N16

    Slightly conflicted- great that Jesus could get through 96 minutes but concerned that it was too much in his first game for four weeks. Would it be a sensible move to start him from the bench on Saturday?

  15. Siddeeq

    Players like Haaland, Kalajzic, Havertz Maguire should be doing javelin and short put,
    Auba, Adama Traore, Solanke should be 4 × 200 relay
    Vieira , Mudryk figure skating,
    Not polluting my great sport of football

  16. Positive pete

    Yeah Markymark.That Northern Monkey Holt is indeed a hell of a pompous prat.So bloody obvious what he’s up to.C **t.

  17. Positive pete

    Oh yeah.He hails from Manchester & conveniently supports Stockport county( cover name for one of either Manure or Oilers) .Part of the larger Cartel of NW PGMOL sychophants.

  18. Rich

    There’s a strong argument for resting Jesus + Martinelli, last time Martinelli came back off the internationals he did his hamstring on the Sunday in the NLD.

    Trossard has played well in the last 2 games, should probably keep his spot in some capacity.

  19. allezkev


    Good and fair points re:Vieira, I don’t have any strong feelings one way or the other tbh I was just commenting on the rumour and what may or may not be behind it, but your view on keeping a strong squad at this time is very sound.

    I guess it might all depend on what business, if any, that we do in January?

    Getting sent off for a dumb challenge won’t have FV in the Arteta good books that’s for certain and you piss him off at your peril.

    I did hear that the club are very happy at the progress that Patino is making and he’s happy to stay if he’s given a chance.

  20. Chris

    Agree about the Brazil NT.

    I grew up watching my dads VHS of the 1970s team and was a kid when Romario, Bebeto, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Denilson (not our one!) etc and then along came Ronaldinho.

    It may be symptomatic of the way the majority of football appears to be in this era, overly tactical and restrictive of individual talent. This may have started years ago but is starting ti show in youth level as they have been taught this way since earliest proper coaching. Of course always one execptions but they seem to be few and far between.

  21. Positive pete

    The Brazil of today & yesterday are like chalk & cheese.They’ve been Europeanised in their style of play & skillset.What flair they traditionally had had been ground out of them overtime & they now largely live off their flamboyant football rep.The reality is that players of the calibre of Richarlison & joelinton become internationals,who in any other era would be laughed out the training ground.

  22. Rich

    Mavericks are going out like the dinosaurs.

    Unless clubs can secure one of the rare freaks… Building teams seem much more about clubs deciding how they want to play, and then targeting specific profiles to operate within that system.

    At Arsenal we’ve got some exceptional players now, but the system is designed to be the superstar, so even if the level of quality drops, the functionality of the team stays intact.

    In one system a player could look like a world beater, in a system that doesn’t maximise that player’s strengths, and also hide their weaknesses, that same player could look incredibly poor.

    Clubs don’t want big egos in the dressing room, one rotten apple can ruin a whole bunch, 2-3 rotten apples can fuck up the whole orchard.

    One of the things even the most anti-Arteta fans would have to begrudgingly accept, is that Arteta has fixed the culture and the dressing room.

    We’ve now got a really likeable squad of players who all hate losing, and at least appear to care, and have pride in what they do.

  23. Markymark

    Positive Pete – of course well spotted another one of these Northern chaps who mysteriously supports the smallest club in the area. So holding some sort of Ethical Purity for us to behold whilst hiding their true allegiance to a northern big boy team.
    They should be more honest and just support West Ham as the majority of southern hacks do

  24. jwl

    Ode was in training photos yesterday, presume he will be fit for weekend.

    I think arsenal are used as bait by media, we are online middle class fans and we clicking on the headlines that annoy us or phone in talksport when they taking piss. Arsenal are number one London football club, London is number one media market, so we obvious target. I always thought it was odd how gazidis and others would present online numbers like they mean something, the number one fan base on twitter or whatever it was.

  25. China1

    Allez agreed – if we do get in one or even two good players in Jan then that reframes our situation certainly and outgoing a in the same position could be justified

    Just really hope we don’t see any charity outgoings ie those which are designed to appease a player who wants more game time or a club which wants a good deal. Gotta put the club first and get that first title in 20 years. Nothing else matters to me!

  26. jwl

    Orbinho stats –

    – Arsenal (21.5) are ranked 7th for Expected Goals this season, just behind Brentford in 6th (22.9).

    – Arsenal haven’t lost back to back Premier League away games since May 2022.

    – Christian Norgaard has scored in two of his three Premier League appearances against Arsenal

    – Leandro Trossard has scored in three of his four Premier League appearances against Brentford.

  27. Un

    Positive Pete
    It’s got nothing to do with European
    Like there’s no flair in Europe
    Italy 98-02
    Dutch teams from 70s-00s
    France 98-06
    All were loaded with skill and flair

  28. jwl

    “Likeable will win you nothing …”

    Sid – I don’t remember which player it was but I read interview during TH14 era and player said he hated losing so much he cheated while playing board games with three yr olds. And ever since, I’ve thought we always need two or three players who are so maladjusted about winning they cheat while playing games with their children.

  29. Bilbo

    A lot of fair points here regarding Brazil and mavericks. There’s just so much money in football, most clubs have fairly well developed academies & deep scouting networks that draw youngsters in, coach out the unpredictable side and gear them towards being adaptable within systems. There will always be players who slip through the net and make mid-career leaps like Wrighty or Vardy but they will increasingly become the exception rather than the norm.

    Unfortunately, Brazil is moving the same way: producing talent for sale to Europe is the commercial model for most clubs.

  30. TheLegendaryDB10

    That DM article that GD4 posted earlier was really vile.

    The attacks he was making against Arteta were pretty staggering.

    I practically wonder whether he was paid off by PGMOL to write such a load of BS.

    It’s borderline defamation to the point where I wouldn’t mind seeing Arteta/ Arsenal sue DM and the author for writing such tripe!

  31. TheLegendaryDB10

    Ha ha Rich, now that would be hilarious to see Sp*rs docked 10 points!!

    If it was me, I would dock them 20 points just because they’re Sp*rs!!!

    I am glad to see that the author is questioning why it is taking so long for Man Cheatty to get punished. But we all know that with their army of lawyers and briefcases full of printed paper, they will drag this one out as much as they can.

  32. TheLegendaryDB10

    Got a bit bored and while reading Arseblog stumbled upon this excellent, excellent article by Tim Stillman of Arseblog re the lack of diversity in the Women’s game.


    I know someone mentioned this here a while back re the lack of diversity on The Arsenal’s women team in their last photoshoot.

    This long read article by Tim really delves into why this is the case and what needs to be done about it.

    Really interesting read for those who wish to read it.

  33. MidwestGun

    . Haha Ya right… Marky Mark… if you think those countries are safer… go ahead and head off to a nice vacation … in Haiti.. or El Salvador, enjoy!

    Before you go though… might want to take some clean water, food, and pray to God you don’t need medical attention or get in legal trouble. I hear the Haitian police force and legal system is especially nice…… as it does not exist.

  34. MidwestGun

    I’d imagine the 3 Brazilians are going to be on the bench for Saturday and not starting.. That was a pretty brutal game as far as physicality, and humidity. Both teams looked gassed at the end.

    So might be something like … Trossard, Eddie, Saka
    …………………………………………………………Rice….Jorginho….. Ode
    …………………………………………………………Zinchenko…TT…. Saliba…. BW

    Just guessing based on recent… lineup decisions.

  35. TheLegendaryDB10


    That line-up looks weird on my phone until I turn the screen in panoramic view. Haha.

    But I think you have that line-up nearly nailed on.

    The only change I would make to your line-up is to have Tomi as RB and have Benny as CB to keep a tight partnership in the middle of our defence.

    I somehow think that Tets will squeeze in Kai but that line-up makes perfect sense to me.

  36. TheLegendaryDB10

    I have to say this interlull was fucking excruciating.

    Thankfully, football resumes on Saturday.

    Brentford are going to be tough to deal with, but I see us getting the job done with a 1-2 win away.

  37. Nigel Tufnel

    Tim Stillman is an intelligent analyst of football and Arsenal, but he’s a bit of a di*k because he inserts his political views into blogs and pods.

    Always whining about Elon Musk while he uses his platform to increase his own exposure for his brand.

    For me, skin colour, religion and ethnicity don’t exist when it comes to Arsenal. I love all our players regardless. I only judge them on effort, attitude, performance.