MATCH DAY BLOG – SQUAD BOOST AHEAD OF GAME?

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Well, here we are, a Saturday night game under the lights against Newcastle United.

Arsenal going all in on the atmosphere. Arteta is calling for noise in his presser, the club dropped a very nice video hyping the fans and the ‘wall of noise’, and I believe the club is running some sort of beer offer this evening. It’s a good combo of instructions… and if all else fails, get everyone wasted so they get a little bit rowdy.

Can’t knock it. How weird was it reading all the hit pieces about how it would be impossible to get the atmosphere back because of human nature? Seems the club didn’t take that advice. The incremental improvements over the past month have been great. I wrote about all the things the club could do on New Years day. You can’t force fans to sing. It’s inauthentic and fans don’t like being told what to do. What you can do is give the noisy folk a platform to create an atmosphere. Redaction and AA are whipping up their fans to bring scarves and get to their seats early. TIFOs have been getting approved at a faster clip. Arsenal has probably told their security to let people stand all game this evening. F&B are putting on offers. The club’s social media team will be making a fuss about the atmosphere. Friends have told me the club is pestering in emails and SMS messages. You can’t have a dancefloor if you don’t clear the seats and turn up the music. Arsenal are clearing the seats after realising their lack of atmosphere nurturing this season has seen them on the wrong side of Arteta and Odegaard. The steady improvement over the past month or so has been very noticeable.

People can think what they like about whether noise equates to better performances… but the only people that matter are the guys on the pitch and in the dugout. They think it’s a marginal gain, so everyone else has to agree.

The squad will be interesting today. We’ve seen some of the online rumors about Jesus and Thomas Partey. Having those two in the mixer today will give the players a big lift, even if they are just on the bench. If they don’t make the squad, I’d imagine it’s precautionary versus any sort of setback. It’s better to guarantee fitness versus take a risk on a very important run in. Having Partey and Jesus for Newcastle isn’t going to cost us the game either way, losing them because we took a chance when we didn’t need to could cost us the league title.

I wrote yesterday that Newcastle would play with 5 at the back and the leaks today suggest that is exactly what is going to happen. They’ll be packing out that box to deal with our setpieces and it’s clear they’re not coming to London to play an expansive brand of football.

They’ll load the front three with pace merchants and ping longball at them.

It’ll be a day of them digging in from minute one, time-wasting, all in the hope of catching Arsenal on the break.

The boys need to remember that they didn’t play terribly at the weekend, they were just done by a bad mistake in a game they weren’t on fire.

They need to get the fire back today and make sure a nightmare Champions League game doesn’t invite Spurs or Villa to catch up with us. We are sadly at that point in the season where a point against Newcastle will feel like a disaster. Manchester City could go the rest of the season without dropping a point and it does seem that Liverpool win games regardless of what happens to their squad. The ‘do it for Klopp’ narrative really has been like a performance-enhancing drug for them.

There’s a bug in the comments for scrolling, I’ll get that fixed this weekend, then we should be fixed on the comments!

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Marbellaron

One can’t be disappointed after the energy shown from the first minute after the horror show at Porto. Martinelli coming back to his best and for me the second goal move was absolutely outstanding and even Havertz couldn’t miss.He will never be a natural goalscorer but energy and nuisance value is improving.
We didn’t miss Jesus.ESR never got into the 25/20 minutes he got but was unlucky not to score. All in all a really good performance and Rice seems a bargain as every game goes by.

Last edited 1 month ago by Marbellaron
Emiratesstroller

Havertz is most definitely not a goalscoring centre forward, but his recent
performances suggest that he is now a useful asset to the team, because of the different positions he can play and his nuisance value.

China1

Pierre please Even world class players sometimes take the wrong decision. And in fact you know this and use it as an excuse when it suits your agenda. When people mention Eddie missing chances first thing you will do is flag Haaland missing chances to justify it But when Ode takes the wrong decision occasionally it’s because he’s not elite. There were multiple games at a time when Ozil was MIA for us and you could barely see him on the pitch let alone him making bad decisions sometimes but he got a free pass from you for reasons god… Read more »

Pierre

China It was a simple pass , there’s no getting away from the fact that it was the easiest assist anyone could wish to have but he wasted it, I’m not sure why fans and media ignore certain players failings but highlight others. fortunately it didn’t cost us as he had a very good game.. It’s stupid to bring Eddie up as no one has ever pretended that he is elite , though I can guarantee you that 99 times out of a 100 a professional footballer on a perfect pitch would have rolled the simple 5 yard pass to… Read more »

benkind

Yesterday’s win was amazing and happy the guys showed up with a good win. Watching the game with the lens of the Porto game is very interesting why English teams can struggle in Europe. There is so much ego and this need to be dominant and play football like the opposition. Porto were so disciplined and didn’t go at our pace. They weren’t trying to win the ball in our half, so they created less space. Was shocked how Newcastle were running and trying to play like us instead of just being calm. The return leg should see us have… Read more »

Pierre

I like what Havertz brings to the team, I doubt he will ever be a good striker of the ball or a good header of the ball in front of goal but positionally he is superb
His goal was a tidy finish yesterday after a lovely pull back from Martinelli , and for all sense and purposes he should have been handed an open goal when Odegaard refused the pass with his weaker foot .

Havertz did miss a one on one at the start of the second half with a badly

Pierre

Cont…
Struck shot , but generally his all round game was very good and as been pointed out his pressing was superb

Pierre

China
“Pierre please Even world class players sometimes take the wrong decision”.

My question would be “why take the extra touches” , the ball wasn’t bouncing awkwardly, he had no defenders or keeper within 5 yards of him , Havertz was clearly in his eye line and waiting for the pass to roll the ball into an empty goal, stupid to defend him , give him credit when deserved but don’t defend the indefensible..

Bob N16

You’re being overly critical Pierre. No doubt there’s a ‘Man City Pierre’ who bangs on about KdB missing a pass or a ‘ Liverpool Pierre’ who points out Salah’s errors of judgement.
Armchair experts!

Felix

Benkind

“…. why English teams can struggle in Europe”

Do they?

3 of the last 5 CL Champions have been English, and of those 5 finals, 6 teams contesting those finals have been English

Pierre

Stroller “My one major concern about the team remains our goalkeeper. His distribution is okay, but I feel that there is always one mistake in his game.” Our last 7 games Arsenal 5-0 palace Forest 1-2 Arsenal Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool West ham 0 – 6 Arsenal Burnley 0-5 Arsenal. Porto 1-0 Arsenal Arsenal 4 – 1 Newcastle. 7 games , 4 conceded , no mistakes Raya has caught every single cross that he has come for , he has made the right decisions when being the sweeper keeper and 3 of the 4 goals conceded were late goals when the… Read more »

Pierre

Bob
“You’re being overly critical Pierre. No doubt there’s a ‘Man City Pierre’ who bangs on about KdB missing a pass or a ‘ Liverpool Pierre’ who points out Salah’s errors of judgement.”

If you thinking that me expecting our most creative player under no pressure should roll a simple 5 yard pass to our striker standing in front of an empty goal is being over critical then nobody will be able to point out a player’s error ever…

Marky Mark

Attacks on Odegaard who’s winning man of the match plaudits in the media. so strange the obsessive attacks on Marti yet the blind spot over Raya – twice in the week Mr Diminutive has been chipped. Too small to be a top class keeper and diving too early. Cana needs to be sacked at the end of the season and replaced with a coach who’s 100% around improving the current cohort not about acting as a scout. Cana is a grifter with a goal keeper school side hustle. Sack Cana and then we can have a proper identification of Raya’s… Read more »

Marky Mark

Ps Ramsdale would have saved that Willock shot

Fire

Ramsdale would have saved all the goals we have conceded this season. He would have scored a couple himself

Rich

Only a few short weeks back Pierre was assuring me I was wrong for believing we could score the required goals with Ødegaard + Havertz in the team… Tried claiming we were using Havertz wrong, and really he was just some Busquets style single pivot lol… No players are omnipotent, they all make mistakes, and they all have strengths + weaknesses. If a player has weaknesses, we need to offset those weaknesses elsewhere in the team, If a player has strengths… Then we need to put players around them that help highlight those strengths… Football is a team game, and… Read more »

Emiratesstroller

Pierre

Are you seriously confident that Raya is a superior goalkeeper to Ramsdale?

At best they are both average and if that is the case then I would question why Arsenal are willing to spend £30 million on this player [if you
factor in the loan fee as well].

I have seen absolutely nothing this season which justifies his preferred
selection.

Northbanker

ES – I had the same view a couple of months ago.

But watching Raya now and seeing how he has massively increased in presence and confidence(just like Kai) I can see he is far superior to Ramsdale

I think Ram is a better shot stopper but Raya seems to be catching the ball very cleanly

And when it comes to control with feet and distribution there is no contest- Raya is simply one of the best keepers around

Overall a major upgrade now we’re over teething issues and Raya has got used to being at a bigger club

Northbanker

Much as Kai has grown on me I still believe it is a place holder until we get a Bellingham like addition for that role. Hopefully that will be Nwaneri who will be world class at some point in the very near future

In same way I’d be keen we keep Jorginho as he becomes a place holder for MLS to mature in 1 or
2 years time (no more than that needed imo)

Marky Mark

Emirates- we were hearing all about Raya’s leaping ability ( part of the PR puff ) however like you are saying there is scant evidence for it. Think Tim Peyton had a good point that even if you get some sort of 10% lift in stars with Raya. Treating a very popular member of the team in a transactional manner could offset that 10% by some way. Imo Arteta has got away with this one and I’m all about the overall performance and what Arteta brings in general. What we have with Cana is an odd combination of scout (… Read more »

T T

ES if you cant see the difference in quality between Raya and Ramsdale then I don’t know what you are looking at. Raya is not world class, he is no Allison or Edison, but he is better in all departments than Ramsdale who is not as bad as some people claim.

Emiratesstroller

TT

The point I am making is that if you are planning to replace Ramsdale in
the team then you are recruiting a world class goalkeeper and one who
will be playing in team for several years.

Raya is not in my view an upgrade and to destabilise Ramsdale and spend £30 million for the privilege made no sense.

The Porto goalkeeper is rated world class and is also considered by Transfermarkt the most valuable. I could see sense in buying him especially since he is a lot younger than Raya.

China1

Pierre I don’t defend the indefensible I defend Ode who is defendable because only a fool expects a player to *never* take the wrong decision or fuck up I am not going to set such pointlessly unattainable expectations and perfection thus I’m not going to go two footed on Ode when he’s on the form of his career and rinsing opposition teams left right and Centre because here or there he does something wrong. You did not hold Ozil to any such standards whatsoever and do not hold Eddie to any particular standards at all. So just give it a… Read more »

Bob N16

I’m of the view that Raya is an upgrade but not a major one.

With Arsenal’s buying power we need a top 5-10 GK, up to a £60m outlay. With the money we’ve paid for Raya and Ramsdale that would have been possible. City and Liverpool are our main competition and they have undeniably better keepers. It is still a position we can and should aim higher.

China1

I remember times when Ozil would get a perfect shooting opportunity in the box and he’d instead try and pass it to pad his assist stats. On occasions the pass wouldn’t come off or the receiving player wouldn’t score when Ozil should’ve just scored himself in the first place And when shit like that would happen, Pierre, it was fucking silence from your end. All Ozil had to do to impress you was sometimes get an assist irrespective of if he did absolutely nothing else. When he stopped assisting you started talking about pre assists… Ode is getting assists, creating… Read more »

pseudo warrior

Sheffield United’s gotta be sh!tting their shorts. Another thumping incoming

Rich

Via Jordan Campbell:

“Arsenal’s 11 possession regains in the Newcastle third during the first half was the joint-most in the opening 45 minutes of a PL match since 2009-10 (as far back as Opta can go).”

“The total of 14 was the fifth-highest number in the PL this season.”

allezkev

It may be my imagination but I’m sure that I don’t see opponents closing down on Raya with quite the same enthusiasm as they pressed Ramsdale, could that be because they knew that Ramsdale had a mistake in him but that Raya is more secure on the ball? Arsenal are going to concede goals, every team does, I actually think that both were just good finishes and the blame for both lays with others in the team, not Raya. I was a Ramsdale fan and I still really like him, I enjoyed his rapport with the fans and the connection… Read more »

Rich

Arteta wants our goalkeeper to create the extra man against the press. When our keeper has the ball… If we put 5 attacking players across their backline… Then we have 5 in the build up… If the opposition decide to press, they need 5 players, but then our goalkeeper creates the extra outfield player, so it’s 6 vs 5 against the opposition press. Which leaves us 5 vs 5 across their defensive line. They can’t press our goalkeeper, because that will either leave them 4 vs 5 in the build up.. Or 4 vs 5 across their defensive line. Having… Read more »

Rich

PL Stories – Santi Cazorla.. Is on at 16.30 on Skysports PL, Channel 402 later, if anyone wants to get it on record.

One of my favourite players of the Emirates era… Have a feeling he’ll come back to Arteta’s coaching staff.

Carlos Cuesta might leave in the summer, only 28, but plenty of clubs apparently willing to move on him.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Arteta bring Santi back in some capacity.

Pierre

Markymark
“Lots of us know that the last two goals would have been saved by Ramsdale.”

https://youtu.be/wjxPqYxDt-o?si=Qc_jW4p-NHnwBKG9

No goalkeeper in this world would have saved the header from willock, as for the Porto goal , it started at least a yard (maybe 2) outside the far post and the concensus of opinion was that it was a superb strike, was it unstoppable , probably not .

Marky Mark

We could get the world’s best keeper into the club and then Cana would ruin him. Get rid of him first with end of season being best time . Then replace with savvy GK coach coming in.
Raya’s cross taking is safe and his distribution mainly good ( there have been errors ) but at his size he’ll never be world class. A fair few teams may well attempt to lob him where he is extremely weak. I’m also not entirely sure about his self belief either considering comments around imposter syndrome were used to describe him.

Northbanker

“ Lots of us know that the last two goals would have been saved by Ramsdale.”

What absolute rubbish

Ram is a better shop stopper and has the spectacular save within him although he would not have stopped either

Raya is elite at control by feet and distribution which makes him a significant upgrade

Northbanker

The £30m we pay for Raya will be more than offset by the £50m Chelsea pay for Ram

Marky Mark

Northbanker – no more rubbish than theoretical discussions about how Ramsdale wouldn’t save shots as on various pods. Which is.why I’ve deliberately reversed the statement. However I do believe Ramsdale would have done a lot better over the last few games saving those shots. If you think Raya is elite you’ve got piss poor standards

Pedro

Morning people – what a game!

Jamie

“However I do believe Ramsdale would have done a lot better over the last few games saving those shots.”

A lot better over the last few games?

Raya has conceded only 3 goals in the last 6 league games. One of those goals was against Liverpool – the team with the most goals scored so far this season.

Bob N16

Alright Pedro, a Geordie mate came to the game with us and he was embarassed by how outclassed Newcastle were. Happy days!

Tom

Raya is short, Spanish, and a complete fraud. He tries to mask his miniature stature by wearing size 11 (largest made) gloves.
I’m surprised Marky, our supreme goal keeping expert, hasn’t been all over this fact in one of the many ‘deep dive’ Raya assessments if his.

Little Mozart

Newcastle came to the Emirates 4-1 reason; to explain if the ball really went out of play in our defeat at their place

Marky Mark

Simple as this – Ramsdale is not elite but a developing young keeper. We decided to stop developing him in a very arbitrary manner. I personally have a bit of an issue with that. Particularly as the coach Cana has history of poor development and keepers leaving with plenty to say to the media. You get in Raya who’s older and been shown wanting all season. There has been pick-up in aspects of his game but he’s still letting in shots that there is strong likelihood other keepers would be doing better with. Doesn’t need an expert to say he’s… Read more »

jwl

From gooner twitter –

“Arsenal have scored half as many PL goals in February as Man Utd have all season”

jwl

Kiwior doing great job as replacement, I wonder if zinny stays on bench when he healthy again. It looked like kiwi is popular with his teammates, they all seemed really happy for him when he got his goal.

Northbanker

MM – Raya’s cost is a fact; £50m is the deemed wisdom that’s available on Ram and the likely price Chelsea will have to pay. The difference is as you say based on his age – there was no gloating (ridiculous term ) despite your attempt to bring emotion into the argument

I wasn’t convinced by early Raya but take his 2024 performances and strip out your nonsense about Ram saving those 2 goals and he has performed brilliantly

Some of his earlier form was down to big club syndrome but he has now settled

Rich

Caicedo is a real nasty piece of work.. Brilliant young midfielder though.

Leaves one of someone every game.

Tom

“Tom il will bow to your expertise of Perisic – your knowledge of him was that of a genius”

Stop it, I’m blushing.
League leading assists from a wingback position on a free.
Predicting it was a child’s play.

Tell me , does “arbitrary” mean based on data in your neck of the woods?
Since every Ramsdale/Raya comparo I’ve seen gave advantage to Raya.

Chris

Got the feeling Chelsea will end up winning this which will be annoying

raptora

If that’s the best camera they have to check and offside on Wembley… It’s obviously put in such a dogshit position so they can decide it any way they want.

raptora

Nah, like it’s not even funny that’s the best camera they have. It’s beyond stupid and laughable. Corruption at it’s best.

allezkev

The League Cup final has been quite a good, tough, physical game, great to see both sides getting really stuck in, I hope it goes into extra time and penalties.

Mysticleaves

Arsenal even trolled Newcastle by bring on El Neny lol. That was lovely to see.

rollen

Ramsdale would save Porto goal as he would be closer to his line.
But he also had big mistakes in him.
Im not fan of Raya but he is better siuted to what Arteta wants.

Kpankulu

Bob N16:

We beat Liverpool with their “undeniably better keeper”. Raya hasn’t been at the club for a season but is being judged harshly to suit a narrative. Let’s see where things stand at the end of the season.

Habesha Gooner

I don’t know what to choose between this final. I obviously hate Chelsea and don’t want them to see any type of success. But I don’t want Liverpool to have a push that will help them in the prem either.

Last edited 1 month ago by Habesha Gooner
Kpankulu

Northbanker: Kai Havertz is a placeholder for no one. He was not bought as a like for like replacement for anyone, and the fee spent means that he is supposed to play a major role, position be damned. The guy can play in any position except goalkeeper, and he is placed depending on the type of game when he can help the team best. HE IS NOT EXPECTED TO PRIMARILY SCORE GOALS! The people that “hate” him use that as their determination that he is a bad player, of course the Chelsea factor comes into play, as if players do… Read more »

Habesha Gooner

Chavs are so weak defending set pieces.

Fire

Rollen
Ramsdale wasn’t on his line against sporting last season and against Fulham this season.
This Raya/Ramsdale debate is getting boring

Bob N16

Kpankulu, I am not saying Raya is a terrible keeper, far from it. My point is that I don’t think he’s top notch. He fits our system well as Rich explained well in an earlier post. The fact that we beat Liverpool is hardly relevant. I appreciate it’s relatively early days for Raya but I can’t help thinking that if we aspire to being one of the best teams in Europe and winning or seriously challenging for PL and CL, we need one of the best keepers around and I don’t think Raya is top, top quality. That is not… Read more »

Rich

That’s crazy… I’m 100% game for extra time + penalties, incredibly harsh decision though.

VAR going out of their way to chalk that one out.

allezkev

That was harsh, funny but harsh.

Batistuta

How on earth did VAR see anything wrong with that goal? What is wrong with the way it’s used in England

Batistuta

Seen Chelsea about twice this season. First half against City and this final, if they can find some kind of consistency, they’d be a good top 4 team

Northbanker

Kpankulu – if Kai turns out to be that good then great. I doubt it but he can still be very useful. If we have a chance to sign a Bellingham are you then telling me he wouldn’t take Kai’s position? Or if Nwaneri turns out to be that player

It won’t be Ode losing his place nor Rice

Marky Mark

Tom – Ramsdale was given a new contract pre season gets himself on adverts with other Arsenal players talk of being Englands number 1 . Then Bam ! Sorry sunshine you are dropped. Ramsdale’s clownish father does then come onto Arsenal social media sites to say his son has been given no reason why. Meanwhile Arteta does this incredible convoluted bullshit chatter about two keepers. Arbitrary – “based on random choice or personal whim” rather than any reason or system. “an arbitrary decision” To me it’s based on whim and according to Ramsdale’s father no reason was ever given to… Read more »

Northbanker

And I suspect at some point Bellingham will want to return to England and play in the Prem. If we are winning trophies by then we would be seriously in the race to sign him.

Rich

For a 0-0.. This game is really delivering, brilliant final so far..

Games starting to become stretched… No surprise Mudryk is coming on.. We need this to go into extra time though.

Chelsea play Leeds on Wednesday at home, and we need them to lose that game, the more tired legs or stinking hangovers the better.

Rich

New post

JW1

Bob– regarding Raya, think it was that Arteta (and Cana) have had their eye on him since Brentford was promoted. Edu made a run at him then, Brentford rebuffed. Last Summer it looked almost certain Raya would be off to Bayern or Sp*rs for £40M– both balked at the price. Brentford had already signed Flekken– so right at the end of the TW, Raya was available on loan. How it looks– this wasn’t long term planning– it was sheer opportunity– with Arteta thinking either Rams or Raya would be excellent insurance if we were in with a chance at a… Read more »

Ali

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