KING KAI AT THE GOALS AGAIN!

by .

My first game back at The Emirates since I paid £400 to see us beat Manchester United.

What a great evening!

One of the reasons I took a job in the midwest to work on a new football club was having the chance to impact the experience of people who will grow up with football their whole life. When you return to the experience that pock-marked your upbringing with all sorts of impactful memories and moments, it’s special. You’re back where you were 8 years ago when you were season ticket holding. There is literally nothing better than being a season ticketholder at Arsenal. Nothing.

I wasn’t sure how the game would go. We boast a particularly moldy record against Brighton. They are mini-us and they seem to relish playing against their richer brethren.

Well, not last night.

It was a brutal display of JdP football from Mikel Arteta from arguably his strongest side – and can I say it? A very peak-Arsene-Wenger-frustrating-evenining. I mean that as a complement. We absolutely battered Brighton for the whole game. 26 attempts at goal, 9 hitting the target… and in the end, it felt like Brighton could have escaped with a point after a mini-flurry at the end.  Very Charlton circ-2004ish.

It wasn’t to be. Eddie Nketiah came on and combined with Kai Havertz to make the difference. His slick reverse pass into his run ended with the German poking the ball under the keeper for a BIG GAME winner.

I’ll talk about our first goal now because it was weird. The easiest of the match. Not the type of Arsenal goal we seemed to want in a game where we were seeking a multi-pass masterpiece. It was a corner that found Jesus open at the back post for a diving header into an empty net. Thierry scored one of those against Liverpool once, and his celebration was a shrug of the shoulders.

‘Ugly can happen to me’

That win was even bigger considering the wider context of Manchester City dropping 2 points late against Palace and Liverpool playing a bore draw against United. That leaves Arsenal back on top of the league heading into a MAJOR Liverpool game.

We have freshness on our side with Liverpool managing a quarter-final against West Ham in the League Cup.

I’m also finding it hard to forget about how bland Liverpool was against United. The results say they could win the title, but I’m not feeling sexy about how they play in general. They look one or two injuries away from problems. A lot is going there way. But the late losing moments they are turning around come from dismal displays, not unfairness like Arsenal.

Our big players are putting on big performances. Delcan Rice was monstrous in midfield again, he covers so much ground, he always knows where to be, and some of his one-touch-line-breaking passing is delicious. He looked like the new Vieira yesterday.

Martin Odegaard has surfed the waves of criticism, but he was back on top last night. He was everywhere, even with those final ball passes we don’t see enough of at times. It’s been a slow start hampered by injury, so hopefully, we’re going to see a turning point for him.

It’d also be remiss to ignore King Kai and the major shift he put in. The man is so fast, so aggressive, and so good in that left 8 position now he’s got a bit of confidence about what he needs to be doing in our system. £65m players have final action output and my word is he starting to look like he could be the output machine he was at Bayer Leverkusen.  The critics are VERY quiet at the moment. Just remember who couldn’t see it with Kai, because there were a lot on his back.

Oh, Gabriel Jesus. The man is the most world-class striker we’ve had since Thierry if you exclude goals. He has it all. He defends, he attacks, he picks balls out of the air without breaking a sweat. He is a nightmare machine for defenders because he plays where he wants and it is so hard to deal with his dazzling feet. Last night, he was sensational, and he scored. Can’t knock it, can you?

Final word for Eddie… the man has a great all-around game but his assist numbers are dreadful. It was brilliant to see him contribute to a game that way, because a lot of us were huffing at his inclusion.

Now I’ve done some tourist fandom, I do have to say, there were a lot of empty seats around the stadium yesterday, and the common theme when talking to people is the atmosphere ain’t the same. Instead of bottling what was working, it seems the club has broken something in the drive to clamp down on ticket touting (and driving towards fairness in how tickets are distributed). Sometimes, the best policies can have unforeseen circumstances. Making it really hard for fans to transfer tickets most certainly reduces some touts, but the bigger issue seems to be that it makes it really hard for people to fill tickets last minute. There shouldn’t be red gaps at a Brighton game when you’re chasing the Premier League title. The atmosphere shouldn’t be meh in an exciting game, but I’m afraid it was.

Ok, final, final. I don’t know why people are so keen to keep dropping rumors that Jurrien Timber will be back way early. But I have to be real with you, this feels like pipedream stuff. He’s not a superhero. Players don’t recover from injuries as serious as his one that much earlier. March should be where your head is at so you don’t get disappointed. You also have to remember it’s a long road to recovery after those sorts of injuries. You have the little niggles that can plague returns, and you also have the psychological challenges that come with learning to trust your body parts won’t explode. Gabriel Jesus came back last season and he was nowhere near the player he is now. Then he had another minor surgery to clear out issues. Now, he’s finally playing like a megastar again. Serious injuries take time, don’t buy into the fake twitter accounts telling you otherwise.

Ok, now catch The AOP.

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NORG

Currently the Premier League is way out in front of the other European Leagues. Business wise they are the kings. Will the European Super League get off the ground – ask the Saudi’s.

Chris

Perhaps UEFA only have themselves to blame for tipping the scales with the way they changed the champions league back in the 90s, allowing multiple teams from the top nations to compete. Now 30 years later you never get a fairytale champions league winner, the last unexpected team to win was perhaps Porto or even Liverpool in 05. The likes of your Red Stars and Steaua’s are unlikely to be seen again. The way it is expanded from next season will only make it worse with it inevitably going to be 5 teams from the Prem every season from some… Read more »

Un

Brian

We might not like it but you can’t deny that they are a huge club
2 championss leagues
5 titles
1 europa and a dozen domestic cup wins since we won our last title
Also spending more than any club in the world

Northbanker

Last thing we want is to play Partey from start. He is not match fit

Spanner

Wrighty said we ought to give West Ham another 20 million for Declan. Such an outrageous fee yet what he said doesn’t seem to be so shocking.
He’s virtually peerless at present and is still on the up.
I noticed Smith Rowe got 5 minutes and was very happy to see him arriving in just the right place at the right time for that volley.
Next time and that goes in, then we’ll have another option to consider.
I still don’t want him sold but brought back to full fitness and doing it for the Arsenal

Marko

I’d personally sell ESR as soon as possible. Get a decent fee for a player who struggles to stay fit and hasn’t contributed enough for the last couple seasons

Un

Spanner
Agree
Get and keep him fit and he’s one of the best young attacking players in world football
He’s that good and that’s why he’s worth persevering with

Marko

Would you sell him to a rival? Nobody else is gonna pay big money for him
Villa or Chelsea or Newcastle
Fuck strengthening them

China1

Antony is really looking so far like one of the worst PL signings ever in terms of bang for your buck

Amazing, amazing stats. This season he ranks 77 out of 81 PL forwards for shot quality but wait…in the 330 mins of football in the PL in which Antony and Hojlund have played together prior to their match at anfield, Antony had only passed to him TWICE 😂😂😂😂😂😂

That’s some next level stat. Fml I hate stats and always talk up the eye test but COME ON that’s the best stat I’ve read in years 😂😂😂

China1

Tbh I think continental football has in my lifetime never looked weaker In the early 2000s there were loads of teams you’d be wary about facing in the CL. Right now, I don’t assume arsenal will beat anyone because we have a poor record under arteta in the EL, THAT SAID, if we show up like we do most games this season I’d not be worried about facing anyone in the CL aside from Bayern, Madrid, city and atletico. There are no other teams which on paper I’d fancy to beat us over two legs. That’s not me being complacent… Read more »

Marko

Whoever pays what we want. Right now people like ESR and Partey are literal passengers in a team fighting for a championship.

jwl

Manchester United icon Dimitar Berbatov names Arsenal star Kai Havertz as the player who is most similar to him

Giving his reasoning, he stated: “The Leverkusen link, but not because I came from Leverkusen and he came from Leverkusen. But he has that way of moving around the pitch and not necessarily in a way that he’s in a hurry. He’s watching, he’s studying, he’s taking his time. He has a good touch as well on the ball. So I like him to be honest and I wish him all the best at Arsenal.”
https://talksport.com/football/1683672/dimitar-berbatov-kai-havertz-arsenal-premier-league/amp/

Spanner

Un yeah, Smith Rowe really is worth persevering with.
He was playing very well, through discomfort and ultimately an injury requiring surgery.
He’s not managed to catch up fully yet but I don’t think he’ll be a Jack Wilshire and be a perpetual treatment room member.
Partey on the other hand is a guy fast approaching the credits of his career. He has to go soon ish.

Pierre

Un “The really promising thing about Kai is that he was still making the right runs even though he wasn’t scoring” . 100%. … He’s scoring a few goals now which is good, his movement in around the box has always been good and playing as a no.8 is a dream for any Arsenal player as the best chances tend to fall for the player arriving late in the box. Some say that it is not important if he scores or assists but playing as a no.8 for Arsenal should bring a good return due to the amount of chances… Read more »

Spanishdave

Pierre you are boring about Eddy.
Ok he scores goals , that’s his job but we all know it’s the rest of his game he is lacking.

Un

Pierre
Does it always have to come back to Eddie
It was Ozil
Then Odegaard
Jesus mate get some variety

Chris

China

Agreed, just look at how stacked the Italian and Soanish teams were in the early 2000s, the Valencia team that made 2 straight CL finals for example, Mendieta was a rolls Royce footballer. Still funny how he had a stint at Middlesbrough!

Un

I’ll tell you one thing
Jack and Ramsey would d well in this set up

China1

Pierre whilst I’m not going to bag on Eddie as I do like him, the goals scored stats are a bit misleading as you’ve got number of goals there and number of starts which if no one is paying attention would lead someone to think havertz scores in about a 5th of the games he starts whereas Eddie scored 6 in 12 which is a mightily impressive (elite) 1/2 record But then you think about the goals they’ve actually scored and you notice half of Eddie’s goals all came in a single match against relegation fodder. They were brilliant goals,… Read more »

China1

Also the won drawn and lost stats are pointless

The team won, drew and lost those games. No one player is fully accountable for the teams result

Rice has played pretty much every game so might have a worse win ratio than some of our other players who’ve played less but broadly always been on the winning team. Doesn’t mean anything

raptora

Pierre: “Smith rowe is now in the running for a starting place and he would be ideal for getting on the end of those chances created for our no.8 as he is without doubt a more accomplished finisher and a better striker of the ball” Yeah but off-the-ball ability also matters and a ton as well. You’ve been asking Arteta to build a team of colossuses, because physicality is that important nowadays if you’re trying to win things. Well Havertz, as you’ve said before, belongs to that group of big players with strong physicality. How much can ESR give us,… Read more »

China1

For reference Pierre I think rice’s start/defeats record is only 3% better than Eddie’s this season…. Now there’s a pointless stat if ever I saw one but since you’re putting these numbers out for Eddie vs havertz as if it’s meaningful when you see the same for rice it underscores how completely meaningless it is. Rice is the best player in the PL so far this season – if the number of starts va number of losses is supposed to be reflective of anything meaningful then does it mean Eddie is also in the top 1% of PL players? You… Read more »

Marko

Why is it someone says something nice about Havertz and Pierre has to make it about Eddie Nketiah. It’s just sad at this point. Look when he ends up at Palace or Bournemouth is there any chance you can piss off with him.

Siddeeq

The Saudi league offers more to players than la liga, Serie A and MBS will have you in jail if you make monkey chants.

Rich

There’s talk of interest in Eddie from Palace, West Ham, Brentford. Eddie probably starts for 10-12 PL clubs, and while he’s not United or Chelsea first team starter standard… There’s an argument he might start for both of them, as their current options aren’t great… Or he’d certainly be in contention for consistent minutes. Been talk of £30 million, which would be good money.. But that only works if we can replace him adequately. I believe Arteta has firstly gambled that Chelsea had profiled Havertz wrongly… That he’s not a false 9 that drops into the pockets, and that really… Read more »

Siddeeq

Anyone praising Havertz while claiming Nketiah is Not good enough, has the reasoning of Gary Neville.

psuedo warrior

Pierre, Havertz is far more the cultured player. Both play the simple pass is a bogus argument. There’s other things as well – First touch, receiving the ball under pressure, keeping the ball under pressure, weight and accuracy of the pass. And most importantly the consistency at which these are done properly

raptora

Rich, I heard we value Eddie at £40m minumum. I think that’s a fair appraisal.

Marko

Anything above 20 million should be considered daylight robbery for Nketiah. Take it and run

raptora

Marko would rather buy an unknown quality from the continent. Maybe another Vincent Janssen. Than keep a player who’s won us many points this season.

raptora

Marko, should we sell Eddie for 20m and get Santi Gimenez, who’s got 20 goals, 5 assists in 21 games this season, for 70m? Yes or no?

Un

Marko

If Antony is going for £90m and Balogun is going for £35m then Eddie has to be around the £40m
He scores goals. That’s a rare commodity in modern football. An era where even decent strikers are rare
I have no doubt Eddie would be successful at a club who plays to his strengths but even though he’s not quite arsenal level, he’s still valuable in todays market due to low supply and high demand
I’d be mightily offended if we took less than £35m for him

Un

Careful spending £70m on players from the Dutch league
Especially attacking players
Who from that famous Ajax team went on to replicate their Ajax form once they left? The Dutch league is littered with players who didn’t cut it when they tried to step into a big boy league

Habesha Gooner

The next striker has to be a bags man. Giminez in Eridvisie might look a sexy signing but I would steer clear. It has to be one of Toney, Osihmen or Vlahovic for me. All have experience and have at some points scored goals a lot in their leagues. The Eddie rumours aren’t surprising. He was always going to be sold at some point. I am pretty sure he wont pass the summer if anything drastic like a long term injury doesn’t happen to Jesus or the striker we sign. I am not sure there are better over all players… Read more »

Guns of SF

Good choices but not so sure about Vlahovic

Anyone rate Solanke, the click bait was talking about that. 6’2 striker
Nothing special IMO

id like Toney or Osimhen. Osimhen summer, but other teams will also be after him

Marko

Who says Gimenez is going for 70 million?

Brian Muff

Un – For me, a relatively recent trophy haul doesn’t equate to ‘huge club’. Huge Club status takes many many many decades. You need a long rich history to be a huge club. Swanning in with all the money and buying even 20 years of trophies doesn’t cut it for me. Yes it certainly makes you a recently successful club, but that’s a different thing altogether. Sorry to be pedantic (perhaps), but I can’t bear to add the likes of Chelsea and/or City into football’s hallowed list of great clubs, the ones that carry an awe as they echo down… Read more »

Habesha Gooner

Guns
Vlahovic has disappointed this season and at the end of last season. But you don’t become a bad goal scorer overnight. Allegri’s dinosaur tactics have also not helped. The price would also be attractive. He is my third choice as it stands though.

Un

Brian

They re a huge club now and have been for 30 odd years since gullet and vialli went there
Yeah of course they or city don’t have the history or prestige of us or clubs like real United Liverpool and juventus but they aren’t in the draw for the champions league and my point is that it’s odd to have so many big clubs missing
The teams we’ve come expect to be there

Rich

Arteta clearly favours a certain profile of defensive forward Guardiola called Jesus the best defensive forward in the world… Havertz is another defensive forward. Martinelli works like a demon.. Saka statistically has added more duels to his game… Ødegaard won the ball back in the attacking third more than any other player in Europe’s top 7 league’s last season… We could always change it up… But when teams try to dominate the game in the attacking + middle third like we do, and try to cut off the supply line at source… I refuse to believe Arteta will throw in… Read more »

Un

Rich

Yeah that’s all true but it’s not made the game a better spectacle has it? All this hard work and athleticism. Like Owen said, there is a lot less footballing talent in the modern game but if you work hard, follow instructions well and run a lot then you’ve got a good chance at a premier league career. The game has suffered for it

englandsbest

-I’m one of those who believe in a centre forward of the old kind – or at any rate one who is a lethal goal-scorer. Practically all the top sides, the title-winners have had one. Right now, Arsenal don’t. But the game has changed, and maybe Arsenal will break the rule and do it without one. Or maybe Eddie will step up a pace and become that lethal finisher. IMO it’s there within him, screaming to come out. One thing is for sure though – there’s no sense in replacing Eddie unless the player is at the topmost – the… Read more »

Markymak

Steve Cooper sacked at Forest – a good honest boss I thought

Guns of SF

Griezmann would be a good defensive forward. Dude can still ball out.
But we need a taller profile

Rich

Un I certainly don’t think we’ll see Ozil, Le Tissier, style players again, unless football goes full circle. Impact players are going out like the dinosaurs, unless clubs can secure one of the rare freaks with outrageous end product. But then Suarez is by far the best centre forward of a generation, and he still worked like a demon. I seen a statistic a while back, that PL players between 2004 and 2013, were running on average 31% further a game… PL players are on the ball for an average of just 1 minute and 49 seconds per 90…. So… Read more »

Un

England is best
Chelsea won 3 titles and a champions league without a lethal goal scorer
Drogba was great on his day but that side was all about sharing the goals and hard core defensive unit
Man City had their century season without a lethal goal scorer didn’t they? Record points total with Jesus getting some games from the wing.
Liverpool won the league with firminho as their striker and their wide men scoring the goals

Pierre

Rich “Ødegaard won the ball back in the attacking third more than any other player in Europe’s top 7 league’s last season…” Actually, according to this link Odegaard wasn’t even top in the Arsenal team last season in winning the possession back in the final 3rd per 90 minutes.. In saying that you are correct when you say “Controlling the game in the middle and attacking thirds, is as much about defence as it is attack.. And arguably we’re currently the best team in the world at doing that.” Rice and Havertz have made the difference in that respect, Odegaard… Read more »

Rich

Pierre

I can’t be bothered to find the stats in Europe, but I have seen it by more reliable sources than you.

Here’s the ones for the PL last season.. Applied more pressures, and also won the ball back in the final third more than any other player, and by some distance.

https://theanalyst.com/2023/05/martin-odegaard-arsenal-complete-midfielder/

Guns of SF

Would love a striker like Suarez, even RVP type both are immensely skilled and aggressive with a lot of nasty.

englandsbest

Un

They all had lethal goal-scorers – I shan’t mention their names because you know very well who they were – and who they are now.

Rich

Guns

Yeah… Suarez is the benchmark.

Ruthless finisher, left foot, right foot, headers… Could win games on his own.

Elite movement, tireless work rate, creativity.. Boundless energy + aggression… Maybe the best finisher I’ve seen, certainly the most explosive.

Missing out on Suarez in 2013 was a huge disappointment, that was our Cantana moment, and we missed it… Opportunities like that rarely present themselves.

He was banned at the time, but I still can’t believe we were the only club in for him…

Thankfully we didn’t make the same mistake with Rice, and forced that one over the line.

😇🚗🌞

Nah, Bergkamp was our Bergkamp moment. Top 3 player in the world, around which we ultimately built up to the Invincibles (which btw we almost did a few seasons before Wenger arrived). GTFO that Suarez would’ve been “our Cantona moment”.

Raulishuss

So yes, we’ll done to Havertz for going some way to justifying his fee and wages.. As spanner said, Smith rowe is now in the running for a starting place and he would be ideal for getting on the end of those chances created for our no.8 as he is without doubt a more accomplished finisher and a better striker of the ball. Frankly anyone pinning for esr to be sold is clueless. He’s a different profile to all our midfielders and imo has the highest potential but we shouldn’t forget we literally changed our entire midfield (rice ode and… Read more »

Karsa

I’m all for ESR realising his potential but, as things stand, he makes Partey look robust.

Raulishuss

raptoraDecember 19, 2023 16:15:10 Pierre: “Smith rowe is now in the running for a starting place and he would be ideal for getting on the end of those chances created for our no.8 as he is without doubt a more accomplished finisher and a better striker of the ball”Yeah but off-the-ball ability also matters and a ton as well.You’ve been asking Arteta to build a team of colossuses, because physicality is that important nowadays if you’re trying to win things. Well Havertz, as you’ve said before, belongs to that group of big players with strong physicality.How much can ESR give… Read more »

Karsa

I hope you’re right.

ESR scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final would be quite the comeback.

Raulishuss

raptoraDecember 19, 2023 16:48:18 Marko would rather buy an unknown quality from the continent. Maybe another Vincent Janssen. Than keep a player who’s won us many points this season. This is it in a nutshell. The amount of development Eddie done in training(cuz he’s been feeding off scrap minutes most of his arsenal career ) should be commended not frowned on. Players like Darwin Nunez and gakpo etc that were bought for big feed with plenty hype can’t touch Eddie’s production and he didn’t cost a thing but fans can’t seem to see through their dislike or hate for whatever… Read more »

LoveSausage

Wow, so much Eddie revisionism going on.

His finishing is solid PL level. Everything else isn’t. Off the ball, he mostly jogs around unless he thinks he can intercept a back pass. And he rarely contributes anything of use in the buildup. He’s basically a Haaland without the output. Get rid.

Raulishuss

LoveSausageDecember 19, 2023 21:17:18 Wow, so much Eddie revisionism going on.His finishing is solid PL level. Everything else isn’t. Off the ball, he mostly jogs around unless he thinks he can intercept a back pass. And he rarely contributes anything of use in the buildup. He’s basically a Haaland without the output. Get rid. Haaland has improved tremendously his hold up play even last season at the Etihad he tore us into shreds and decided the game before he even got on the score sheet. It’s not so much about Eddie revisionism but the facts and that that Eddie has… Read more »

Un

Sausage Cmon I’ve been quite vocal that I think Eddie’s game is not sufficient for a side that plays like we do but his work rate isn’t some thing to complain about The lad runs his bollocks off Sometimes I wish he would work smart and not hard though like he did v Psv last week Jesus and Saka work hard but they have more to offer than that. Eddie is talented but his lack of ability on the ball or to occupy defenders reduces his impact He doesn’t offer a knack crucial goals with low minutes like a solakjaer… Read more »