RAMSDALE SHINES AS ARSENAL MARCH UP THE TABLE

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I thought I’d take the later post today, see how things pan out, then get into the mixer on the Leicester game.

So overall, we teed up another, THIS IS THE DEFINING moment for the club. The reason Leicester was so important was quite simple, they are a really good side and they will be in the mix for top 4 at the end of the season. We were also dealing with an away game, an area of inconsistency for sure.

Well, we certainly picked up where we left off against Aston Villa. We started with outrageous ferocity, we nearly scored after 2 minutes with Saka weaving his way into the box. For the next 27 minutes or so, we ripped Leicester apart. They had no answer to our pressing, they couldn’t deal with Lacazette, their midfield argued with each other about being overrun, and we actually made the pressure count… twice.

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EDDIE MAKES THE CASE, BUT FOR WHO?

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Well hello my darlings, how are we today? Good I hope. VERY good.

Hot topic of debate is the Eddie issue. He looks… good. Right? This isn’t just the one game he played, this is his mindset since preseason. He looks more powerful, his game is more deliberate, and he looks very focused. Amazing what the insecurity of having no new deal can do… and what growing up a little bit can add to your game.

I think there’s some concern at Arsenal that if he doesn’t sign up, he could be a sleeper-Emi Martinez for us next season. He’s a good player. He’s extremely young. He could add a lot of value to many clubs in the Premier League. As fans, we do tend to get into the mind that you are either an elite 17 year old or you are a failure. Not everyone can break like ESR or Saka. Ivan Toney is 25 years old, he’s making waves in the Premier League this season. There are loads of examples of players that are not great until they are. Patrick Bamford at Leeds is a prime example, even Leeds fans lamented how poor his finishing was… then things clicked last season and people were talking about big moves. He’s 28 years old! Let’s go a step further… Serge Gnabry was binned off by Arsenal at 22 after failing to stake his claim under Tony Pulis, now look at him? You can’t tell me anyone saw that coming.

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BENNY BLANCO LOOKING RICH ON THE PITCH

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Arsenal continued their solid run of results with a win against Leeds at home. That has taken our unbeaten record to 8 in all competitions. Not the be sniffed at.

The club struggled with a non-covid bug going around before the game. Pablo Mari and Benjamin White had clearly been sharing cheeseburger, the Spaniard missed the game entirely, White had to come off as a sub after a storming performance.

I’d call the League Cup starting 11 a serious team. It was a blend of fringe players and first-teamers. The objective clearly was to win the game and progress.

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LEEDS MATCH DAY BLOG

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Arsenal vs Leeds is always a special game for me. Family connections, heated early 2000s rivalry, it’s usually a fun 90.

The big question this evening is how junior Arteta goes. Some are saying we should be going for the League Cup as we have limited trophy options. I agree with that, but also think we need to give some development minutes to players that aren’t out on loan.

Rumour has it that Salah is going to join the squad, possibly because Charlie Patino picked up a slight ankle injury. The attacking midfielder has been a regular feature in the post-game comps with the kids. He signed from Feyenoord on a free last season and apparently he’s a beast of a worker in training. His footwork is great, he’s very creative, and he looks like the type of player that is going to have goals in his future.

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ARSENAL NESTLED IN THE PACK

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Well hello my DARLINGS.

It’s Monday morning and I am just going to say it: That United beating kind of fired me up? You know that feeling when you’ve seen a fight in a pub? Or you’ve just watched Mike Tyson knock someone out and you want to go out fighting? That’s how I felt yesterday. Blood was in the air and I wanted some of it on my hands.

Is that weird? Maybe.

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SOME PROJECT PROPAGANDA AFTER A GOOD WEEKEND

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Results have been a bit of a mixed bag for us since Friday, but still positive. Arsenal will be 3 points off top 4, regardless of how the rest of Sunday’s games go (United getting pummelled, so we’re on the same points as them).

That’s where we need to be on January 1st. Why does that date matter? Because my suspicion is that by then, our players will have bedded into the club, performances will be of a higher level because the cognitive style of the system will have matured, and we don’t have any Europe to contend with, so we’ll be fresher.

Post-Christmas last season was very good for us. If we’d been within spitting distance of top 4 by January, we’d have been in the top 4 at the end of the season. It wasn’t to be.

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LACAZETTE, THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

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Mikel Arteta didn’t just need three points against Aston Villa, he needed a proper performance. Boy did we get one! I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the 90 minutes on display was probably the best of the season so far. Arsenal beat Aston Villa 3-1 and performed to a very high standard for about 80% of the game.

Every mediocre result at the moment brings a mediocre analysis from certain parts of the fan base. The Palace and Brighton games weren’t about bad tactics, the rain, or the end game of a destructive manager that plays dull football on purpose. They were a result of inexperience and a lack of confidence. Team sport is about psychology. If you are getting pressed hard and you are confident, you can break that press a few times early on, then put the opposition on the backfoot. If you let the press happen to you, you fall back on the easy option… long balls. We let Brighton have their way with us because the midfield wouldn’t show and the defence wasn’t confident. We panicked when we went a goal up against Palace, hoped we could defend, and we invited bad times. Villa was different.

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