First Test Of The Squad




Just four weeks after bringing the curtain down on a rather peculiar 2019/20 English football season, we raise it back up again to kick off the 2020/21 campaign with Arsenal facing Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium.

Good day one and all.

It’s a quick turnaround but with both sides still on such a high from winning the FA Cup and Premier League respectively, they will be filled with optimism and renewed energy.

The Gunners can take confidence from their victory over The Reds at the back-end of last season, which they followed up with wins against Man City and Chelsea on route to lifting the FA Cup. However, Mikel Arteta will be well aware that there’s still a lot of work to be done if we are to bridge the massive 43-point gap which separated these two sides in last term’s final league standings.

With the signing of Willian, who had an impressive spell for Chelsea in Eden Hazard’s absence with 11 goals and 9 assists, and appearing as if we have managed to keep hold of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it should be a good first few steps if Arsenal are to improve their record against the “top-six” sides.

What is there to say about this Liverpool side that hasn’t already been said. Having finished the last two league campaigns with 97 and 99 points respectively, they will no doubt go down as one of the best in their rich history. If they want to be amongst the very best in English football history though, Jurgen Klopp will know all about the difference between achieving success and maintaining success. Be that as it may, the Merseysiders are still the team to beat.

Both sides come into this encounter having played two and one friendly games respectively. The Reds recorded a 3-0 win over Stuttgart before coming back from two goals down to draw with Red Bull Salzburg. Whilst the Gunners have beaten MK Dons 4-1. Today’s match will be the last chance for both coaches to have a look at their squads, as numerous players will leave for international duty shortly after.

Team news

Arsenal have quite a few players carrying injury issues over from last season, but we have new boys Willian and William Saliba whom many fans are excited about.

With uncertainty over the futures of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Dani Ceballos and even Matteo Guendouzi, although Arteta seem to have offered him a chance to redeem himself, we welcome back forgotten man Mohamed Elneny, who scored from 35-yards on Tuesday night.

Bernd Leno has recovered from his injury and is likely to start despite Emi Martinez’s solid claim for the number one jersey at the end of last season.


It’s only the first competitive match, but it is an early chance at silverware. Going on squad depth The Reds should be favourites, but the Gunners won’t be short of belief and this could actually be a cracking start to the new domestic season. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

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51 comments on “First Test Of The Squad

  1. posted this about today’s game on the last thread

    four weeks ago today we won the FA Cup, with this team and subs

    Emiliano Martínez
    Rob Holding, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney
    Héctor Bellerín, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles
    Nicolas Pépé. Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c)

    Substitutes:Matt Macey, Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Sead Kolašinac, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock, Matt Smith, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah

    today we face Liverpool in the Community Shield, how many of the cup final team/squad will be involved today.
    We know that two of that 20 man squad will take no part in today’s game as neither are at the club now, Caballos’s loan has ended and Matt Smith has gone on loan to Swindon.

    This was our squad for the midweek friendly v MK Dons
    𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗫𝗜: Leno, Cedric, Saliba, Holding, Tierney, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Saka, Nketiah, Aubameyang

    Subs: Macey, Ballard, McGuinness, Bola, Azeez, Cottrell, Olayinka, Oyegoke, Willock, Lewis, Nelson, Smith Rowe, John Jules

    so of the cup final squad still with us, Martinez, David Luiz, Bellerin, Pepe, Sokratis, and Torreira were not involved midweek. Ozil not involved in either game.
    Of those players there are transfer rumors about Martinez, Bellerin, Sokratis and Torreira. Must say there are transfer rumors too about AMN and Lacazette who played midweek.

    So can we expect those seniors players to be in today’s squad, or will we see a squad very much like the one v MK Dons.

    Will Willian make his debut for us today.
    Arteta suggested that the likes of Guendouzi and Ozil have a clean slate and can get back into the team, but somehow I think this is more about trying to keep up Guendouzi’s sale value
    Some reports suggest that there are 4 AFC players in quarantine as they were on Holiday in countries on the list. Martinez the only name mentioned of the four that I’ve seen
    Oddly the only training photos shown on Arsenal.com has been of the 3 new coaches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Resumption of last season felt pretty strange but that’s got nothing on this one for me.

    Playing it before, far as I’m aware, any photos released of squad training, with little or no idea about who is back, how far along they are etc.

    Seems a bit ominous that Liverpool seem to have been training as full squad for two weeks. Also that the style and tactics we used to win against 3 big teams at end of last year probably don’t fit that well with the occasion and circumstances.

    I’ll be happy with a decent showing, players looking on way to fitness for fortnight’s time and avoiding anything which will hit confidence.

    In my mind, it’s barely halfway towards what a normal charity shield game is.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. an interesting thing about the midweek game v MK Dons was that Arteta stuck with the 3 at the back, or was that 5, when many have convinced themselves that Arteta is a 4-2-3-1 man. I do think that 3 at the back with Tierney as a CB is a waste of his talents, and yes once Gabriel deal is done we can expect he will go in as the LCB and Tierney will go back to LWB.
    Maybe when our transfers are done Arteta will go to four at the back, it might be that we are playing with 3 CB’s cos Mikel does not trust any of them to be good enough in a two.

    I also wonder was the 3 at the back to try and fit AMN into the team, to convince him to stay. Latest reports on him is that Newcastle came in for him but have been put off by AFC asking for £25M.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emi news thrown me a bit. Massive feel good factor to him coming in last year, after all his time waiting, and delivering as he did.

    For years I’d looked at him as a keeper who has so much going for him, hoping his time would come.

    Ah, I don’t know: bottom line I have a strong preference for him over Leno, very good keeper though the German is. Emi Ticks every box in what I want in a keeper, including on crosses and commanding area. I think he has the edge now, is the one who is more likely to improve and also very likely has some intangibles in his favour- connection to club,etc.

    Don’t see why you wouldn’t delay the crunch for a little longer by putting Emi number 1, getting new contract signed, and take it from there. Suspect tight finances are the answer. Though what the mooted 10 million would get you is questionable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rich, I’ve seen comments on twatter how £10m and £20m for Emi and AMN respectively will be “100% profit”. Because apparently to these idiots we’ve put zero investments into them and should be happy that clubs want to take them off our hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. latest reports are that both Aston Villa and Leeds have bit £10M for Martinez.

    Martinez has made it clear he is not willing to be a back up keeper any longer, so something has to give, I see no other option other than one will be sold, be it Leno who many seem to forget was in running for our Player of the Year award, or Martinez

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wonder how AFC fans would react if we bought a 23 year old with only 53 EPL games & a total of 132 games, never been a first choice at his club, for the grand sum of £25M

    Cos many of them seem upset that AFC are reported to want “only” £25M for Ainsley Maitland-Niles

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Deyan Iliev, has been named in the North Macedonia senior squad

    Liked by 1 person

  9. David Ornstein
    Excl: Newcastle close to signing Rob Holding from Arsenal on season loan. Lot of interest in 24yo CB but #NUFC winning race. Quarantine/injuries mean set to play #CommunityShield before finalising move. Unlikely to include option to buy @TheAthleticUK

    will be interesting to see if he is in the team/squad today

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So who would it be for you between two Ed?

    Not case of forgetting Leno’s qualities from me but I have preference for Emi nonetheless.

    Something has to give, as you say, but seems to me having Leno number 1 to start year means decision made, now, as Emi understandably won’t sign contract and will see it as clincher.

    But other way around, though Leno will presumably be instantly very unhappy, there won’t be same instant pressure to sell. Probably has two or three years on contract and, in theory at least, could be easier to take on basis of ‘Martinez has spot now because of form, but I can challenge and get it back’. Not so other way around.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. well Rich I like Martinez’s skillset, think its much better suited to EPL, but not sure if he can play a full season at the level he did for most of his run at end of the season, that is the doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Martinez
    Bellerin, David Luiz, Holding, Tierney, Maitland-Niles
    Xhaka, Elneny
    Saka, Nketiah, Aubameyang

    subs: Leno, Cedric, Saliba, Kolasinac, Willock, Olyianka, Nelson, Smith-Rowe, John-Jules

    Lacazette and Torreira the surprise omissions from the squad
    guendouzi and Ozil not being in it not such a surprise

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pace yourselves, lads. Just don’t get hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good day all, I to prefer Martinez to Leno mainly because of his ability in the air.
    Although we have lots of CBs I think we will need alot because of age, likelihood of injuries and glut of games especially if we play 3at the back.
    Today’s mission should be primarily about avoiding injuries then about style of play and then about the win as nice as it would be.
    The line up looks good although we know nothing of the fitness of each player and how well the replacements will help us finish the game strongly.
    Personally, although the cup final was only yesterday, I am still excited to see the lads back COYG.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. No Ozil again, fuck this for game of soldiers.


  16. HT: Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool

    Aubameyang with our goal, it was a fine goal too. Nketiah could have had a couple of goals too.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Incredible to reflect that Guendouzi got starts ahead of Elneny let alone Ramsey.

    Fuck my football boots what a disaster the Emery era was. Raul and Unai almost ended the Arsenal! Whilst being cheered on by the “I really like Raul” “Ozil and Ramsey can’t play together” ****s.

    Arteta showing his qualities in spite of the squad handicap in midfield Raul and the Kronke’s left him. Result in this match doesn’t matter. I hope Mikel’s love for the Gunners keeps him Per & others’ etc here for longer then just one more season.

    Auba has been admired on these pages since he arrived, not without some reasonable and balanced commentary. I still wonder what would’ve happened had he been eligible for those Atletico games.


    Liked by 1 person

  18. George I like to think Arteta has been schooling the ****ers upstairs. Could be wrong. However:

    He saw the old gaffer front up for them and get pelters.

    Just yesterday Mikel’s words on Raul were dripping with honey. After he’d seen him off in less then 12 months. Hehe.

    My manager!

    I wrote here sometime last season that with Mikel’s support I hoped that Ozil would see off Raul, after having seen off Unai. It seemed too much to hope for at the time.

    I am optimistic Ozil will be starting games soon enough, especially during an abnormally congested fixture list. Josh Kronke’s long impression of Forest Gump can’t have impressed many people at and around the club. Mikel is letting him down gently, the poor little lamb.


    Liked by 1 person

  19. < I guess that Mesut will be back in after the close of the transfer window.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Have to agree with Fins on Emi and AMN. MA has pretty much made his case for keeping them. Let’s hope Josh defers to the gaffer and underlines this higher understanding by welcoming Mesut back into the fold with wide open arms.
    Incorporating our maestro, Willian, and hopefully Ceballos is very important to maximize the full potential of this lovely squad. Partey joining really would make us a contender for the league.Fingers crossed.

    If Ornstein is correct…Loaning Holding to the Magpies for the season is tough but understandable. I’m just glad he’s not being sold. Our CB overload means at least 2 have to leave. Wonder what it means for Chambers though? Sokratis’ time is probably up and I will be a tad sad to see him leave. A feisty character all about his team. Best of luck to him.

    Happy birthday AMN and congrats to the boys for winning the Charity Shield.
    It was great to see Mo’neny strut his stuff and claim another medal at our 2nd home.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A very impressive win.
    Hope we don’t lose AMN, especially as we will not get a decent price for him in this market

    Liked by 1 person

  22. seems AMN was man of the match and just called up to the senoir national tema whihc is nice!
    Hope he stays and fights for his place there are many matches to go round…

    Liked by 3 people

  23. If Arteta wants AMN to stay, the board should honour his wish, not sure I would be pissing off Arteta at the moment if I were them, he is going to me a man in demand, not as if he is asking for anything unreasonable either . AMN is worth a lot more to this team than they are going to get for him , home grown as well

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Plenty to talk about. Very pleased with Saka’s first half showing. Looks close to being a player you expect to take a good touch, make good decision, right pass, right weight, etc. Those players are rare. Our other youngsters, for instance, though talented, are not like that

    2nd half pretty gruelling for much of it, (hard to understand why didn’t freshen up earlier ;Eddie especially looked done for a while before exit) but it’s hard to argue against methods at this stage, in these circumstances, with recent results in big games so much improved.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Even in such unusual times, seems very unusual to have three starters in the game, all popular figures in own way, and all relatively young (take 3 years off for keeper), heavily linked with moves away.

    Add in not knowing the current fitness status (or whereabouts!) of quite a few and all feels even stranger.

    Makes today’s win all the more creditable given Pool were much closer to full strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Well done to the lads and Arteta again played the, safe approach of counrer attacking unlike Wenger’s mission to kill. AMN and Xhaka were immense and AMN was rightly judged Motm.
    Infact I would say it’ was a Wenger’s team all over the places coached by Wenger’s son. 9 players on the pitch yesterday were Wenger’s sigingns or from Arsenals Academy. We can proudly say Wenger has done it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. well finsburyp while out walking this morning your post came to mind, especially your hope that Ozil will soon be back in the starting 11, and I really have my doubts. There is no place for him if we play 3-4-3, something we have done a lot since coming back from lockdown.
    The way we play 3-4-3 there is no room in the front 3 for a no.10. Its also why I really doubt there is any truth in the rumors about us being in for Coutinho.
    Now of course the 3-4-3 might be only used in the games where our opponents will attack us and allow us to play the counter attacking game. 3-4-3 as we play it is not a good fit when facing a blockade of defenders, like we face so often outside of the top 6 teams. That is where an Ozil is needed in a 4-2-3-1, but this has not been a formation seen much if at all under Arteta.

    Some have put forward the theory that Arteta will abandon the 3-4-3 once he has the 4 defenders he wants and trusts to play a 4 at the back, I think that notion might be more wishful thinking than borne out of facts.
    If he does go to a flat back 4, will it be a 4-3-3, with still no room for an Ozil at no.10. For me I think Arteta will have a first choice 3 that will see Pepe and Aubameyang wide of our main striker, whoever that may be. That means no Ozil in our starting 11 regardless of formation. Only way Mesut comes in is if we go 4-2-3-1. Maybe if we sign Partey and he is as good as so many of our fanbase claim, then that will be our formation, Partey and Xhaka anchoring the midfield. I really do have my doubts.

    I will do a follow up post on what our selection might look like in the different formations

    Liked by 1 person

  28. on possible selections in different formations when all fit

    the GK choice is Leno or Martinez, for me Emmi has the most useful skillset for EPL football but both are fine keepers


    I think we are likely to see Saliba, David Luiz and Gabriel (when signing completed) as our first choice CB’s, this would in turn mean Tierney going to left wingback. The right wingback position is one with a lot of questions over, will it be Bellerin, Cedrid or even AMN.

    Our CM 2 in a 3-4-3 will be Xhaka and one other, will Ceballos be brought back in, Arteta clearly wants to sign him, and says the lad wants to come back, even if reprots in Spain say Dani wants to go to Betis, but then what about our claimed interest in Partey, little room for both he and Ceballos if its a 3-4-3 formation. So is it one or the other, if we can get either. If if don’t bring in a shiny new CM, might Ainsley Maitland-Niles get that role, or would Elneny surprise us all

    our front 3 in any formation is likely to be Pepe and Aubameyang flanking our main striker, will that CF be Lacazette or Nketiah or might we see a new one signed.

    Saliba, David Luiz, Gabriel
    Bellerin, Xhaka, AMN, Tierney
    Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang


    if we go for a flat back four I would expect the CB to miss out early on this season to be Saliba, the youngest of our senior CB’s, but as the season progresses I would expect that it would be expected he would take over from David Luiz

    our 3 in CM could be Xhaka, AMN and a new signing, in fact a 3 man midfield would be on the cards if we sign both Partey and Ceballos, again AMN could do the Ceballos role in a 3.

    as in the 3-4-3 I would expect the front 3 to remain the same

    Cedric, David Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney
    AMN, Partey, Xhaka
    Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang


    the back four would be basically the same as in the 4-3-3
    the midfield 2 would be good if we bring in Partey to partner Xhaka and it might mean Saliba in the team sooner
    in this formation we could have Ozil in the team, flanked by Pepe and Aubameyang

    Bellerin, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney
    Partey, Xhaka
    Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang

    I have in listing those teams included a swap or two that could easily be either on any given day, such as Cedric or Bellerin. I have not put Saka in any of the teams, nor Nelson, but either could be in for Pepe.

    so which of those line ups would you think is the strongest and would best see us progress up the table.
    What do you think will be our most used formation and most likely first choice players

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Still work to be done, but it quite incredible what Arteta has achieved since he arrived, when you look at the shambles, near broken team, and issues behind the scenes he inherited.
    I thought Arteta was extremely gracious in his words about Raul departing with honour etc, I imagine if it hadn’t been for Raul, Arteta would have returned to the club a lot sooner . Really think Arteta is destined for great things, lets hope the board ensure as many as possible of his achievements will be with this club. They can start by ensuring players Arteta wants kept are kept

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Mandy, do you think Arteta would want those players kept though if it means missing out on any targets he is very keen to bring in?

    Hard to know what’s really happening, with money, etc, but it seems very likely to me that’s sort of scenario/dilemma we face.

    Could well be a crazy time ahead for football before window closes, especially as greatest player of all time may actually be about to move, with a lot of the action packed into final weeks/days. Just have to keep everything crossed it works out ok for us. There’s the tantalisation of some players seemingly available Arteta feels could be massive for us – Partey, Auour- but the worry the money just isn’t there to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. yes Mandy, the players Arteta wants to keep need to be kept, this is probably as vital as if not more vital, than bringing in the new signings he wants.

    Arteta made it clear yesterday that he wants to keep both AMN and Martinez.
    I found it a bit odd that he was not asked about Holding seeing as media are claiming deal very close for him to go on loan to Newcastle for a year. I think it is likely Rob will leave this window, as will Sokratis. That would leave us with a healthy group of CB’s, David Luiz, Saliba, Gabriel, Mari and Mustafi.

    I do wonder with the AMN situation will it mean we sell Bellerin to help make room for AMN to get in the team, or is it now his time to get a central midfield role, which would be a little odd seeing as Arteta has not played in there at all yet, well maybe once.

    I think regardless of Arteta’s comments about Guendouzi starting with a clean slate, that he will be sold if we can get any sort of decent fee for him

    For me Lacazette’s future here is the big question. I feel that he is no longer automatic first choice and again if a decent fee was offered for him I think he will be sold. That would mean we would have to bring in another striker.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. On Hector, thought he started yesterday like man who’d been out night before but, once settled, started looking really sharp.

    Quite comical how many of our key players some of our most vocal and certain fans would have kicked out door. Xhaka, always Xhaka, but Luiz too.

    There was a lot of moaning when he signed a new deal, experts who’d have been happy if City league game was his last.

    Doubt we’d have won yesterday without him, nor the cup semi, nor the final. A key man, same as Xhaka, in giving us those great days last season and, of course, oh so important European competition. But on the dunderheads go, never doubting their wisdom.


  33. Have we had an ode to Granit on here before by way? Think so, but he’s worth another anyway.

    Mean of him yesterday to be near flawless as it denies the…I don’t know what they are (Nevilles?) their comfort.

    Thought even for him- very often good, quite often excellent- it was a top game.

    I find it enjoyable to watch, too. The skill involved, the intelligence, the balls. He has so little margin for error, given fact recovery speed is his main weakness, but he’s always there, wanting ball, and so often takes just the right touch or does the right thing.

    Also think the nous, edge and competitive spirit is invaluable to us, the free kicks won, the fouls made. Love him. Intrigued by who Arteta feels is ideal partner for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. The idiots claimed that Wenger has left us with a big mess in Ozil Mustafi Xhaka and see Arteta played all 3 to steady the ship and won the FA cup as well. I am sure Ozil will b back soon as the season starts.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Ed – those are interesting thougths on formations, but I can’t understand why you don’t include Willian in any of your calcuations. Unless he was brought in completely against Arteta’s wishes I would have expected him to play as an attacking midfielder.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Thanks Ed, hope the walk was good!

    Arsene had Ozil playing in a similar 343 when the team outplayed the champions in the 2017 cup victory.
    The now famous Herr Flick and his mentor Lowe also played Ozil in a three, though that was with younger legs and he had to do the running for two players (Klose/Gomez!).

    Who knows what will happen after the window closes. As long as Arteta is the coach I think that I will he enjoying the football.

    I was one of the dunderheads who thought Luiz had lost his focus and commitment as well as fitness amidst his contract negotiations at the restart.
    Contracts can be confusing and not much fun to sort out, I should’ve given him more of a chance at that time.
    I’d like to think Holding if he goes on loan will return to fill the gap after Luiz retires.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Ed I see the team as follows

    Bellerin. Mustafi Luiz. Tiereny
    Xhaka AMN
    Willian Ozil. Saka

    Bench/cup games

    Cedric. Saliba Holding Kolasinac
    Elneny willock
    Pepe Neketia Lacazette


  38. afcstuff
    Colossal Sports Management, who represent Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, say Wolves have been ‘priced out’ of a move due to his England call-up & recent performances – the deal is off. #afc

    Liked by 1 person

  39. **Ed I see the team shaping up as follows

    Bellerin. Mustafi Luiz. Tiereny
    Xhaka AMN
    Willian Ozil. Saka

    Bench/cup games

    Cedric. Saliba Holding Kolasinac
    Elneny willock
    Pepe Marinelli
    Nekitia Lacazette

    Kola Pepe Lacazette will be first choice incase of injury/rotation on their respective positions.


  40. Reckon we’ll have many friendlies before kick off? I’d guess another couple, maybe more if mixed teams playing. Got a feeling we normally have a game against Brentford in recent years. Wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a few prem on prem games next week either due to no playing top flight foreign opposition at present.


  41. rosicky I had forgotten completely about Willian.
    I would say Gabriel will be a certain starter so one of your two CB’s will have to drop out. Mustafi is going to miss start of the season so depending on results he might get it hard to get back in our first choice 11
    I would also say that Aubameyang will not be our CF, he gets his goals cos he gets more space coming in from the left, and is normally heading towards goal when he gets the ball, if he went CF he would be marked more tightly and would also get a lot of ball with his back to goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. rich I don’t see when we can play any more pre season friendlies, a good chunk of the squad will be away on International duty till the 8th which is madness as we play Fulham on the 12th

    We have senior, u21 and u20 players all going on international duty for next 10 days or so.

    I haven’t see a full list of our players who have been called up, but these have
    Leno, Hein, Illiev, Saliba, Ballard, Tierney, Saka, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah, Xhaka, Guendouzi,

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Ed you may be right about Gabriel as Mustafi is set to return in October.
    But anyway Mustafi will remain first choice whenever fit as we saw Post Emery he played all matches when fit ahead of Sokratis and Holding.
    Re Auba I reckon if we have two supply lines in Ozil and Willian Auba can score as both midfielder can cut the defence and give incisive passing for Auba to score. Your point that being CF he will be tightly marked I think even as a Forward winger he wil be tightly marked as opposing managers will start to fear him after his profilic goal scoring this season. With Aubas
    clinical finishing he may be more lethal as a CF with Ozil and Willian feeding him.
    But surely Arteta knows better than us. He will be having a plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Whaaaat. The international break is now? I presumed it was after couple of weeks of prem action. Admittedly that doesn’t make much sense on my part but, bloody hell, nor do international games now, with an incredibly short turnaround and pre-season plans already all over the place.

    Bit gutted to be honest. That’s a blow to my hopes of seeing a few more games, u23 guys getting a shot playing with some first team, preparation for kickoff, etc,etc. Not normally a fan of internationals but in this case times that by ten. Complicates any transfers even further I’d guess.

    Can’t get to grips with current schedule at all. Be glad when it’s settled down somewhat.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. So whereas Smith-Rowe would normally get 3-5 pre-season opportunities to impress manager and perhaps decide destination for season, that runaround against Milton Keynes was it? Damn.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. “ Mandy, do you think Arteta would want those players kept though if it means missing out on any targets he is very keen to bring in?”
    Very good question Rich. Guess we just have to trust Arteta.. Unfortunately, the fact is, with our model, and what seems like some poor negotiating under Raul, and of course a pandemic, it might be one or another. And perhaps AMN and Martínez would love to stay, but feel they would get more chances elsewhere, would be hard to deny them that of that is indeed the case. But if Martínez or AMN are going, hope there are damn good reasons, they have been fantastic , and seem to have embraced all Arteta has asked of them
    Lacazette, Very valid point Eduardo. What is his future. Again, would be sad to see him go, some vital goals for us, and another who seems to have bought into the spirit of the non negotiables.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Just had a look at Van Den Beek on hearing he is supposedly going Utd. Got me thinking about goals from midfielders.

    With him, Pogba and Fernandes they have (49,96,66) 211 centre mid career goals compared to (guess these are our current three cm’s) Xhaka, Torreira, Elneny’s (23,14,14 ). 61.

    Their stats may be inflated from weaker leagues etc, and pens while here, but still a reminder of our current shortage of cm goals. Puts a heck of a lot of onus on our forward three to score.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. On this day in 2016: Arsenal completed the signing of German defender Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia for a fee in the region of £35m.

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  49. reports in Spain suggest Valencia want to take Guendouzi on loan for the season with an option to buy next summer, they don’t want an obligation to buy as they have some financial troubles and don’t want to commit to a deal they may not be able to pay for.

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  50. reports from Italy suggest Sokratis is joining Napoli in a €4.5M deal, so we could this week see Holding go to Newcastle on loan and Sokratis leave full time, with Gabriel finally completing his move to AFC

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