It’s still a few days till Christmas but with Mikel Arteta already unwrapped as Arsenal’s new boss, it sure feels like it came early with a genuine buzz of excitement amongst most Gooners. However, he’s not taking charge yet.
Seasons greetings all. Arsenal are at Goodison Park this afternoon for their Premier League clash against Everton, with quite a few similarities between these sides.
Following the sackings of Unai Emery and Marco Silva, both clubs are currently interimly led by former players, Freddie Ljungberg and Duncan Ferguson respectively. And with Arteta’s appointment now finalized and that of Carlo Ancelotti expected soon, both will be watching from the stands before taking over the reins.
By keeping Freddie from having his own coaching staff it was always clear that Arsenal’s chiefs were going to make a decision sooner rather than later regarding the permanent head-coach position going into the festive run. And while Arteta’s appointment is expected to raise a few brows, his return should be regarded as a fresh start for a team that have not yet recovered from their end-of-season dip last campaign.
What many should remember is that this is anything but a rash decision. The Spaniard has been on the club’s radar for some time and was expected to be Arsène Wenger’s natural successor, however, the clubs hierarchy went for Emery instead.
With the acknowledgement now that there will be no quick fix, one Arteta’s immediate tasks will be to improve performances, particularly in midfield and defense, embossing his personal touch from the outset to try stop our slide further away from teams challenging for Champions League qualifying spots.
While Arsenal didn’t get the “new manager bounce” under Freddie, despite otherwise hopeful performances, Duncan Ferguson seems to have sparked quite an upturn in form for Everton, who had a run a three straight defeats before he took over. They got a big win at home against Chelsea, followed by a well-deserved draw with Man United at Old Trafford; a result which has put three points between themselves and the drop zone.
With Ancelotti’s appointment yet to be made formal having Big Dunc, as he’s affectionately known around Goodison, in the dugout could be a silver lining; as he could take the momentum from their games against Chelsea, Man United and Leicester to the Gunners.
There are a few selection issues in defense for the Gunners, including Sokratis Papastathopoulos who will miss out due to serving a one-match-ban. Sead Kolasinac is ruled out till January, while Hector Bellerìn, Rob Holding, as well as Mesut Özil are to be assessed prior to the game. Granit Xhaka is available and ready to jump right back in.
If Hector is not ready we could see some remodeling to our defense to accommodate Ainsley Maitland-Niles in place of the Bosnian.
Alexandre Lacazette will be itching to get a start after spending some time on the bench of late.
This game is being played under such unusual circumstances that it’s difficult to predict an outcome.
Everton have impressed under Big Dunc, so what better way to sign off with three points while at the same time wanting to impress the Italian. Whilst the Arsenal players as well as Freddie would want to do the same to mark the inspirational return of one Mikel Arteta, who led the side to their first trophy of the Emirates Stadium era.
In closing this quote from Santi Cazorla when asked whether his good friend has what it takes to be successful at Arsenal:
“He has the personality to do so and those who think otherwise are very much mistaken. He is not the sort of person who will shy away from making the most difficult and drastic decisions he might have to.”
On whether he might join as an assistant:
“In the future, who knows?”
I haven’t been this excited looking forward to an Arsenal game in ages. COYG!
Yes I think there are reasons to be positive.
Interesting comments by Freddie regarding the motivation of senior players today. The implication being that the appointment of Arteta is unsettling.
I kind of get what he is saying but does it help to come out and say it ? I’m not at all sure except maybe it keeps Freddie out the firing line if they lose.
There is no doubt that the players have been through the mill with false dawns and uncertainty over past months.
It is hard to motivate yourself in such conditions but we have all been there in our place of work.
Surely if you have the skills and your new manager is watching you should try to impress and if not I can’t have a lot of sympathy.
I, like Arteta will be looking at effort and body language it will be the key to who is buying in to the new dawn.
This is sign of a good coach
Hope he get full support from the team & the board.
Maitland-Niles, Chambers, David Luiz, Saka
Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli
subs:Martinez, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Willock, Guendouzi, Pepe, Lacazette
David Ornstein says Arteta wants six backroom staff, including Ljunberg, with Steve Round and goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana coming in, so still 3 more to bring in
surprised that Sokratis is not in the squad, he is one of 5 changes from the city game, with Kolasinac and Ozil injured, Guendouzi and Pepe drop to the bench, some of this could be saving guys fro the busy Christmas period and to give Arteta fresh players to start his reign with, or maybe this is the start of Arteta’s thinking, and it will be youth, youth and more youth.
I did put in the preview that Sokratis is serving a one-match ban.
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Read somewhere that Sokratis having a ban for 1 game due to yellow cards.
Luiz playing never boost my confidence, not a great defender, not good positioning or effort.
Letting Iwobi & Monreal … what a shame
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Good young team, team of the future, with the manager of the future watching on. He has already brought positiveness to the club COYG.
35 minutes gone AFC have not had a shot, Everton have had 4
Arteta on what he told the players: I will be in the stands at Everton. I want you to know that I will be watching your attitude, your efforts and body language. I will see what you do when you lose the ball, what your attitude is and what you do when you have the ball.
Steve Round is with Arteta at the game today
Freddie said Ozil is injured but would not have played today due to his show of dissent when taken off v Man City last week
Half time its 0-0
all huff and puff and little quality, not a shot on target from either team in the first half.
second half has started much more lively than the first half was
Penalty shout for Everton but VAR do not give it, looked like it hit Torreira’s hand
joe willock has come on for Emile Smith-Rowe
Arsenal;s away fans have been singing “Arsenal Fan TV get out of our club”
Lacazette on for Aubameyang
full time: Everton 0-0 Arsenal
a poor game lacking in real quality, Everton did not have a shot on target, Arsenal did manage one or two, it was all huff and puff, but no one will have really had Arteta excited.
Chambers booked so he misses the next game. Saka booked and lucky not to have got a second yellow.
Arsenal fans singing “Arsenal Fan TV get out of our club” was probably the highlight of the game
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Xhaka, Chambers and Saka all had very good games today
Freddie told BT Sport in his after game interview “I’ve been told by the club that they want me to stay and I will have a meeting with Mikel tomorrow.”
Arteta went into the AFC changing room after the game and said a few words to the players and staff.
Chambers on Arteta
Calum Chambers also spoke about the message Mikel Arteta gave the players ahead of today’s game/
“He just wants us to be brave, take responsibility and work hard for each other,” he told BT Sport.
“Those were the messages from him. I feel we did that today. Now there’s more. We go to the training ground and there’s a lot more we can work on. His philosophy and the things we wants to bring to the team I’m sure we’ll be working hard on that this week.
“This is a promising group. We just have to work hard, build on this performance, work on things in the training ground and keep going.”
Brilliant, one touch football is back again, even tackling hard is back again, happy days are here again.
Well everything that Unai has undone is beginning to comeback, the Ghost of ARSENE’s past was starting to reappear infront of our very eyes. Young talented players playing with skill and bravery, midfielders tackling hard and breaking up play and Xhaka’s full repertoire of diagonal passes all over the pitch.
I thought we were excellent today against a resurgent toffees side at there place.
A little execution in front in goal and we would have come away with a massive victory.
Me and my boys all said it was the first time in ages we wanted the game to on.
Here’s the to the future.
from Football.london, Ljunberg’s after game presser
Freddie’s on the game
“I wanted to win the game but we’ve taken strides.
“I want to keep possession and we played through them quite well but I liked that we dominated with a young side.”
Freddie on his three weeks
“There were no people there and I tried to organise things but of course it’s been a big honour and a big challenge.
“It hasn’t been easy for Per and I have to thank him.”
Freddie on Ozil
“He walked off, and the fans were not happy and I said that’s not how we behave and I stand by that.
“He was injured but I would stand by my decision.”
Freddie on where Arsenal stand
“We are a big club but we won away to West Ham and that changed us and now we’ve kept a clean sheet.
“Now we feel a bit stable. Everton were strong but that’s what I take with us.”
Given circumstances, I’m fine with that today. Pretty solid in defence. Worked hard. Centre backs and both centre mids gave us decent stability and played reasonably well. Chambers deserved man of match and one of few who is in credit for season so far.
Got to say, Auba did not have aura of man looking forward to start of a new era.
Felt like a statement from Freddy of what he has made of senior players to go with such a young team but may well be that fitness issues decided much of that.
Level of youth involvement this year has been high. I’m pleased with that. Hard one to quantify though as the good of it is mostly delayed, i.e you have to hope that the true benefits come later on. You’d hope also it’s helpful for retaining and recruiting good prospects for academy.
Thought Ainsley pretty solid today and there was only one glaring moment- an awful pass with ten to go- that brought the questions back about concentration or whatever it is.
reports that Arteta will be conducting a full training session tomorrow.
well Rich with Bellerin, Tierney and Kolasinac out, plus Sokratis suspended, we were always likely to pick AMN and Saka at fullback, plus Chambers and David Luiz at CB. Ozil out injured and in the bad books for his show of dissent and with Freddie saying Lacca and PEA can not be played together, it meant youths were getting in up top too,
Bellerin, Tierney, Kolasinac, Sokratis, Ozil, Ceballos, all unavailable, it then came down to which 2 of Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi got picked, and it was the youthful guendouzi who got left out.
Yeah, suppose only Pepe and Laca experienced ones omitted then. Ozil would have been as well by sounds of it but only for reaction last week.
I find Freddie’s comment re Mesut somewhat tacky. It seems he took Mesut kicking out at a bottle way to personal.
Xhaka, Torreira and Saka were my favourites. Given that Everton have been resurgent and we got battered last week, that was a decent showing.
Obviously it’s not fair to lay into ESR and Nelson, though they did grow into it. Honestly think I’d be picking Lacazette central because of what he bring to the build-up, especially in a team like today’s when we needed some promising but callow players to give us a foothold up the pitch.
This has probably been said a billion times – Aubameyang is good for a goal out of nothing, but maybe you’d want a bit more from him with his back to goal.
New post is up
I think the whole team played well today although Auba looked abit off today. Xhaka, Chambers excellent, Martinelli, Saka, Torrera top mentions and Ainsley, Luiz, Reiss and Emile all putting in a good shift to. The only player I haven’t mentioned is Leno which shows how well we defended. He did catch all crosses that came anywhere near him and done everything asked of him. The subs done well as well which shows what a strong squad we have especially when you consider the amount of players we have out.
Many pundits only commentate on results but make mistake this 0-0 draw was an excellent performance.