MASSIVE PERFORMANCE -> MASSIVE POINT FOR ARSENAL

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I’ll spoil the content right away for you: that was a brilliant, brilliant performance by Arsenal and any complaints show how ridiculously far we’ve come as a club.

People hammering 4-time Premier League winner Oleksandr Zinchenko for his error need to think about how much good-football-privilege you need to have to go there. We’ve had to watch Andre Santos in the last decade, now we have a Rolls Royce left-back who got done by a start-to-finish wonder goal from the best winger in the league at the peak of his powers. I can’t be having that. Is his defending as good as Tomiyasu? No. But can anyone in our backline open up a game like him and play with consistent bravery even after an error? No. Zinchenko is our TAA, a net plus that will always get into the big games because he is so, so good.


As fans, we’re moving into Luxury FC problems. It is mad to gripe about a draw at Anfield with a team like the one they have, with a manager like Klopp, playing in a cauldron that had gasoline poured all over it.

Does that mean I won’t talk about those luxury problems? No way.

Bukayo Saka needs to have a chat with a dark arts coach. He’s too kind. Butter doesn’t melt with this man and it needs to vaporise if he’s to find the next level (which is very high). That moment when he broke through on goal he had two chances to make bad things happen… he could have slowed down for a Joe Gomez clattering, then he could have gone over Allison and landed another penalty. Those are the dirty tricks Liverpool and City has with older, more seasoned professionals.

Saka had a really solid performance outside that. I thought he looked a menace all game, he moved with grace, opened up space, but was a little off with final decisions. Still, this is Liverpool, it’s always gonna be a game of fine margins, next time, he’s getting a winning assist or goal.

Martinelli was a little problematic for me. He’s a wonderful player, but still very much a head-down merchant. He doesn’t look up and scan, so even when he’s beating people in his one-vs-one attacks, he doesn’t know where to put the ball. His next level is better awareness of his surroundings. He’s a Ferrari engine, with an Amstrad chipset. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him dropped for West Ham. Still, always frame who he was playing against and how old he is.

The main difference between Arsenal and City is the age of our professionals. Saka and Martinelli are 7 years away from their peak. Exciting, because their levels are so high, sometimes frustrating because in big games, they don’t have the tools someone like Salah has. The goal they scored was really good, however you cut it. Perfect long ball, the perfect player receiving it out of the air with a deft touch, Zimchenko struggled to show him down the line, he allowed the cutback, and the finish was out of the top drawer. Zinchenko should have done better, but remember, Tomiyasu made a gross error against City last year. Big teams punish you, and it hurts. The criticism is far too harsh for a defender who played in a starting 11 that reduced Liverpool to their lowest xG conceded at home of the season.

Declan Rice. Need I say more? You already know the review. It was a draw last season, but the difference this time of year was the defensive solidity we had. He was THE guy. Kai was also excellent, but he doesn’t combine all the attributes Declan has… and he doesn’t have that Patrick Vieira aura. I just can’t get over his size, power, speed, all wrapped in a bow made of TOTAL CONTROL material.

William Saliba and Gabriel also need a shoutout. I feel like Gabriel is Andy Murray in a Federer era, he was so good yesterday. He’s cut out the errors this season, he’s playing at a really high level, but he’s always overshadowed by the main man… Bill Saliba. Is it weird to call him the Dennis Bergkamp central defenders? The way he moved the ball around, his fierce concentration on his surroundings, and the classy way he passes just remind me of the Dutchman. We just watched the two best centre-backs in the world and I think Saliba showed he’s better.

Gabriel scored the goal though with a towering header – so he can share the crown.

Let me also say that Eddie’s cameo was really, really good. No goal, but he added to our attack with his direct running and some clever ‘smack me over for a foul’ play. He’s a good player we’ll need for the second half of the season, because we’re very unlikely to get a striker in before the summer.

Away day results haven’t gone for us, but the underlying metrics are Premier League winning. xG conceded (shots on target conceded) in tough away games: Liverpool 0.98 (3) Villa 0.63 (3) Newcastle 1.12 (2). Arteta won’t like the lack of points, but losing two games and drawing one off of 8 shots on target and just under 3 xG isn’t sustainable. We will turn losses into draws and draws into wins. We are doing so, so well with a team that is nowhere near peak.

Arsenal are hard to play, just listen to players talk about us. The team is big, relentless, and trained as well as any in the world. We need to be in the race until the last day this season and we need to be ready for a City ramp-up. My gut says Liverpool fall away, they are at their max now. Arsenal are still in 3rd gear with two more to go.

What a moment to be an Arsenal fan.

Ok, that’s me done; check out the podcast below. This one was SPICY.

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Ben kind

I think you mean merry Christmas everyone
Happy holidays 🤦🏻‍♂️
So millennial

Matt B

Played Pedro: Beautiful business baby and good shout with Gabby at the back, bossed it even in the presence of that majestic Rolls Royce of a performance from King Saliba

It’s on this season

Matt B

GoH: 🤣🤣🤣🤣❤️

Cannonball

We are… top of the league, top of the league… top of the league!!!!

Guns of SF

Merry Christmas Le Grovers!

JohnG

Merry Christmas grovers, even you Guns
2. Nice away kit

allezkev

Merry Christmas one and all.

Mr Serge

Merry Xmas to all you guys

Jollof Rice

Merry Christmas to you Pedro and to all you stroppy Grovers out there!

georgia boy

Merry Christmas fellas

Berg10kamp

Merry Christmas boys!

Ben D

Merry Christmas Grovers. An excellent piece on Zinchenko and related matters: https://open.substack.com/pub/cannonstats/p/oleksandr-zinchenko-and-arsenals?r=2iv56d&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email

zomber

We are keep losing points because of Zinchenko, he is the tactics for all opponent teams. Is not it enough to bin him? What he does at attacking looks good but I do not see it as very much useful. And I bet Martinelli would be better with a proper left back supporting him. Zinchenko is liability, Arteta binned Ramsdale for much less. For me Kiwior is superior to Zinchenko

Markymak

Merry Christmas Le Grove !

Mysticleaves

It’s all about net gain with players like Zinch, Trent and Salah. Salah and TAA on the right is recipe for disaster for any team but Klopp always gambles that even if that right side give up 2 goals, they will combine to score 4. As far as zinch contributes more than he lets in, he will be there. He’s not really an undisputed starter anymore too. Tomi on occasions has inverted from the left and been every bit as fantastic and progressive as Zinch. So even though we can upgrade on Zinch, for now it’s not a pressing need.… Read more »

Mysticleaves

Also Zinch improved so much in the 2nd half that Salah almost didn’t get a sniff. Even though he think he was moved more centrally when Klopp made some subs.

Merry Christmas le grove

TheLegendaryDB10

Wishing everyone on Le Grove a Merry Xmas!!! I didn’t watch the game v Liverpool as I am in France with family (but kept tabs via Arseblog live blog), but I have to say that I am very happy with getting 1 point. I skimmed some comments and noted the sentiment that we didn’t play very well. Well, I can only concur with Pedro’s post, that, coming away with 1 pt from Anfield, is actually very good. Liverpool are playing well and Anfield has always given previous Arsenal teams the sweats. So, the fact that we were able to get… Read more »

Bilbo

Merry Xmas LG – hopefully not the last.

Northbanker

Merry Christmas Le Grovers

Northbanker

West Ham conceding 5 goals in every other game so it’s time again . Playing us at the Emirates next! Perfect!

Useroz

Media reporting on Flamini’s company valuation ..

“It’s claimed that in biochemicals that estimates put the value of the market at more than £64billion.

OMG

Useroz

Same report also suggests Flamini worths £21m (so ~30%+ share of rhe company) and would mean 40x the reported £500m net worth of CR7…

The magic of business….

G

I thought zinny could have done better but I also thought over 90 mins he done really well v Salah..

Anfield showed me we can win the league.. if we keep the spine of our team fit

jod

There’s two ways of looking at the game. One is in isolation, a point at Liverpool is a good point. But there’s also what it does in terms of the title chase. In that respect Arsenal and Liverpool both dropped two points, as did Villa, and Newcastle dropped three. If City win their rescheduled game its good news for them. In the meantime its Spurs, seemingly defying gravity, and amazingly West Ham who are the actual winners over the weekend.

Un

The reason zinchenko grew in the second half is because we pinned them back once martinelli went off He was the key to this game as their strongest side offensively was down their right but it was also their weakest defensively Had martinelli really got at them taa would have been pinned back and roasted and salah would have had his supply line severely reduced This would have been a great game for xakha as he could have swapped with zinchenko and still fed martinelli. Havertz had a good game but he can’t do what xakha does Shame tomi wasn’t… Read more »

psuedo warrior

Martinelli wasn’t that bad. Jesus probably let us down the most, considering his experience.