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Man, if my life were a kids song right now, it’d be The Wheels On The Bus are struggling. We’re not even out of January and I have gone from ZERO illness in years to a second bout of something horrendous.

But… I’m here for you. You are the sick one. Sick in the head because you need a fix of Arsenal content.

I’m also here to remind you that after saying TP05 would be back for the Forest game next week, the club finally dropped the pictures.

Absolutely crazy that his return to first team training coincided perfectly with Ghana exiting AFCON. Which will make it even wilder if he somehow manages to cram three weeks worth of training into 6 days and make the bench in 6 days.



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Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest should be a good game. I’m actually watching it in the Midwest with an English Forest fan. So should be fun.

For Arsenal, it’s a return to no-drama business. The pain of December needs to be truly laid to rest with another clinical afternoon in front of goal. My Forest friend said the issue they have in the midlands is their defence is not very good, and sadly, Matty Turner is a bit of a basket case in goal so far this season.

Arsenal players will know the weakness of their ex-teammate, and I really hope they take a moment to rip off some nice early strikes. The team also needs to test his passing early. He’s uncomfortable with the ball at his feet, he hates being pressed, and his big problem is he let Ramsdale affect him because ambition kicking is part of his game but without the talent of the Englishman.



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Well, my friends, it would seem the xG warriors and the underlying performance pirates are on the rampage, pillaging old tweets of folk who went far too aggressively against the team in December.

With a shot chaser from Scott Willis.

… and hot dang, I’m feeling frisky. Gabriel Jesus might only have 3 Premier League goals this season, but his impact on the team from an xG perspective is a sight to behold. I know people find these performance metrics boring, but to have a better output than Liverpool, the league’s xG monsters, is surprising to me.



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Well, happy Monday to you!

Starting a little 10-day break from the Premier League is always nice after delivering a walloping. Liverpool, who dished out another xG-defying win against a decent Bournemouth, played three games to our one before they meet us. It might not make a difference now, but I can’t imagine fighting on all four fronts is going to do them any favours in the long run. They can’t even flop out of the FA Cup because they play Norwich. They’ll beat Fulham and get to a cup final that’ll come in the February crunch and move Premier League games to later in the season.

Arsenal have a much simpler two months coming up. The big question is whether Arteta can learn the painful lessons of seasons’ past. Will he get too excited, lose track of the bigger picture, and blitz the same 13 players until they break? Or will we see more intention when it comes to rotating his faves so they are fresher when it matters?

The Palace game looked like a new Arteta. I know we were winning handsomely, but when has that stopped him from giving full 90s to everyone? This is a guy who took a full squad to PSV for no real reason other than winnertivity and macho vibes.

There are some key players that’ll be crucial – the first is Zinchenko, who has had an up-and-down season in the eyes of the fans. He was fantastic at the weekend, we saw exactly what we miss when he’s not in the side. Bravery, verticality, and ambition. We are better with him in the side, but he is always on a countdown to a calf injury. Can Arteta lean into Kiwior more often? Can he get rotated more when Tomi comes back? There needs to be a plan to ensure he plays the big games.

Gabriel Jesus is another player who spends a lot of time out injured. I’d rather give Eddie some starts than have to roll with Eddie for 8 weeks. We can’t afford to be without our number 1 chaos merchant for the run-in.

The real star man hasn’t played in months, but Thomas Partey could be in the mixer for Forest, and if we can keep him fit, anything is possible. I don’t want to see him as right back, but I do think his fast passing and aggressive play from deep could be really valuable. He gives us tools we don’t have right now. He won’t be here next season, so he owes us a really good sign-off after a drab 3-4 years of 3-month stints.

Jurrien Timber could be in the mixer for the Manchester City game if you track the return dates of typical ACL injuries. That’s only 10 games time. He’s a magical player and he could be very useful for the action part of the season. We might be getting a bit too excited about his return, he’ll be very rusty, but at the very least, he offers us top cover from the bench.

The final two we need to keep an eye is Saliba and Gabriel. Arteta took the Brazilian off early at the weekend. It’s hard to pick the player who is more important because I think Gabriel has been outrageously good all season, and I can hardly remember an error since he was dropped. Saliba broke down last year because of a stress fracture, and he has shared minutes with no one this season – a bit of a concern if you ask me, but at least he’s not being loaded up with cup minutes. Keep those two fit, and anything is possible.

My hot take for the rest of the season is kind of where I was at the start: I think we’ll finish second.

You have to be a realist and put a true perspective on who we’re trying to beat: The greatest team ever assembled. The greatest sporting department, buying players for the greatest manager, with no limits on spending. We just aren’t at their level, and nor should we expect to be. Beating City with our current squad just ain’t happening this season. It won’t for Liverpool either, and they have the second-best manager in the world with the best keeper, centre-back, right-back, and right-winger.

We are one transfer window away from being a true threat to City’s dominance. We don’t have a striker, we don’t have cover for our wide players, and we haven’t yet mastered playing Champions League with a Premier League chase. You need those elements if you’re going to upset a group that has done it all. Bang the table all you want that I am weak saucing this, I’m not, I’m just being blunt about what it takes to be the best. United tried to buy their way to better than City, but failed. Newcastle have tried to bully their way to contenders, everyone feared them last season, they are further away than ever before. Chelsea spent a billion and they might not make Europe. If you think you know a better way of beating City, let me know. I think the way Arsenal are approaching it is the right way and it’ll bear fruit at some point… maybe even the Champions League this season. But the league is gonna require more time in the kitchen.

Ok, that’s me done. Check out our latest free podcast with Janan Ganesh. He’s one of the finest writers in the UK, a huge gooner, and I really enjoyed our hour chatting about Toney, Liverpool, and Arteta’s obsession with atmosphere.


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Arsenal fizzed back into the season with dazzling style by pummeling hapless Crystal Palace with 5 goals. The Le Grove narrative during the break was that results would catch up to performances and that the entire team would get their confidence back again, and that kind of came true in the smallest of sample sizes.

The doom and gloom was out of place in the extremist world of online opinion and we all got a bit of a reality check on the nature of football. Sometimes things don’t go for you in front of goal, sometimes they don’t work in your own box, and every now and then it happens at both ends.



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Guys, I fell for a Fabrizio tweet that said Arsenal were going to move Emile Smith Rowe to West Ham on loan.

How could I be so silly?

Mikel Arteta came in STRONG in denouncing the rumor.

I’m really happy with Emile, he’s on the right trajectory now he’s settled and he’s training really well. You know that I’m not going to talk about any individual situation.

No change, Emile is Emile. He’s got incredible qualities, we are really happy to have him and what he needs now is chances to put all those desired qualities on the pitch. In order to do that, we have to give him minutes.

Now, this could be a negotiating tactic to get a bigger fee from West Ham for a loan, OR this could be the realization the manager had with Eddie a few seasons back after totally ignoring him for the majority of the season.

I’m going to take a big drag of hopium and say this… I really hope Mikel sees the light on ESR. We’re lacking final ball output and finishing. This is a player who brought that in bucketloads when he debuted during a nightmare period three or so years ago. If you can’t finish, why not give a player who can finish a go?

My bigger concern here is if this is just media guff, it would be better to send him somewhere where he’ll get meaningful minutes. He’s a long way off his £45m valuation when Villa were sniffing around. If we give him 12 minutes in H2 of the season, he’ll be lucky to fetch £20m. This is a player who will be pure profit on FFP, max out his value now, give him time to show his talent. Hey, maybe he’ll show that he’s a great again?

I will say it regardless: The biggest weakness of Arteta is the transactional nature of his personality. When you are hot, you’re given the captains armband and a £350k a week deal, when you are not, you are given away for free after returning late after seeing your sick mother. We let Auba go for nothing – Chelsea bought him back for €14 million. In a world of stringent PSR, every penny counts, especially with Hale-Enders.

The hot trend amongst the ITK accounts this season appears to be predicting players returning to the first team early. We had it with Thomas Partey in December when people determined he’d be back for the Liverpool game, 4 weeks later, he’s finally a consideration.

The rumor doing the rounds this week is that Jurrien Timber will be back in February because the Arsenal IG has him doing some ball work.

Don’t do it to yourselves…

Arsenal won’t rush him back and getting him into the squad in February really would be a miracle. He has to continue working on building his muscles and his game-day fitness, and then he has to go through the psychological pressure of stress testing the knee in training. This isn’t a quick recovery; there will be setbacks, and the club won’t rush it. I penned this blog last night, and guess what, Mikel came to give some clarity on whether he’d be back before May.

There is a possibility, but at the moment he’s still very, very far from competing, that’s the realistic picture of it,” said Arteta.

“Are we hopeful that he can have an impact at the end of the season? If everything goes well, it looks like there is a chance that that might happen but I think it’s too early to make that call.

If I were putting money down, I’d say it’ll be early April. Yes, I know Arteta said May, but I think at this point he’s protecting the player from desperate fans and setting expectations that this will be a complicated return. He could technically be ready by late March after the international break, but Manchester City isn’t the game you bring a player back into. Early April we have Luton and Brighton. I’d maybe expect Arsenal to arrange an international break friendly to get him into game action before he plays.

The main reason not to believe this new breed of early-injury-return-ITKs is you don’t rush returns from ACL surgery – the consequences are too dire. This player could be with Arsenal for 8 years, there’s no reason to risk losing him for 18 months by rushing his return.

Crystal Palace is our opponent this weekend, and I’m excited about the prospect. They had a tough replay against Everton midweek and lost the MIGHTY Sean Dyche. That’ll be a rough trip back and the extra fatigue is never great. Joel Ward, Michael Olise, and Jordan ‘killer only against Arsenal’ Ayew will all be missing as well.

This game is poised for an Arsenal loss or a total battering for Crystal Palace. No in-between.

I’m feeling positive about the game. Arsenal have had a summer break to Dubai, Arteta seems to be very positive about what he was able to achieve, and as Jacob said on the podcast ‘Arsenal are always better when Arteta has had a long stretch with them.’

It was great, it was a phenomenal camp in every sense. We worked really hard on things that we wanted to do, and we recharged our batteries. The context and the change in environment in beautiful weather helped, and the togetherness and the moments that we shared together were great. We feel fully recharged.

I think it gave us an opportunity to look at things with a bit of perspective and analyse what we’ve been doing, and I will take a lot of positives from the first six months of the competition. Even though results haven’t gone our way in the last few games, when you look at what we have produced in terms of the Premier League and any other team, we are up there.

This is an important piece of the December narrative. Results did not reflect performance. Perspective in a different environment can be really useful. The message of ‘keep doing the same, and the good times will come’ can feel counter-intuitive when combined with the painful feeling of losing games. But it’s true of anything. If you keep doing things the right way, eventually, performances will match the underlying data. Luck is not a long-term strategy, having a good system and coaching players to master it is. We can’t lose sight of our system being one of the strongest in the league, and we can’t forget that our lack of experience combined with bad luck hasn’t been helpful.

But don’t doubt Arsenal. Arteta sees the issues with clarity and if we’re thinking it, he’s thinking it. I’m sure we’re going to bang after the break. This is a faith-based assessment, but that’s what sport is about, believing that doing the right things will eventually pay off.

That isn’t to say there aren’t things we can be working on.

We have to continue to be ourselves but there are certain details and marginal gains that we have to improve and evolve, and the beautiful thing about my job is to constantly find the evolution of a team and what it needs to keep winning.

My basic assessment is the team needs to be working on moving the ball faster into our speed monsters, and there needs to be more aggression and killer instincts in front of the goal. If we want to win the league, we need more non-penalty goals than Nottingham Forest. We’ve lost collective confidence, but remember, it takes one individual moment of magic to get that back. We have to hope it comes against Palace.

3 wins out of the next 3 games is imperative to our campaign. I don’t want to be in the muck fighting for 4th and 5th this season. I want to be battling with Liverpool and City for the league title.

Ok, long post today. I hope you are enjoying the uptick in LG content. See you in the comments, but before, listen to the latest podcast with me, Matt, and Jacob.


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I have never experienced cold like I have this past week… negative 21 celsius. I live in a 200-year house with wood windows that are ornately huge. They were such a perk in the summer. In the winter? A damn deathtrap. It was so cold in my kitchen, it froze the food in my fridge. I had to chop wood for the fire, buy 2 heaters, and beg the energy gods to show mercy to my weak and decrepit furnace.

Not good.

However, the upshot, is -12 today actually felt warm. Am I… midwestern?

Less about the weather. Let’s talk about Arsenal.