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FUL v ARS: Happy Enjoyable Victory By Arsenal Without “Him”

New Podcast:  Yours truly, Shotta and Blackburn George, aka the Arseblagger, observe that it was a happy, enjoyable victory by Arsenal without “Him”. George was happy with the performance of the team and all the players who made an appearance on the pitch. Also we discuss “Him”, as well as Arteta’s appointment as manager of the 1st team and much more.

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Your comments are welcome.

47 comments on “FUL v ARS: Happy Enjoyable Victory By Arsenal Without “Him”

  1. just a thought on the sale of Martinez, and the reports that his fate at AFC was sealed once Arteta told him he would not be rotating the keepers much this season, with only training sessions to impress in. Don’t forget that Arteta picked Leno for the knockout games in the EL, despite all the words of praise for Martinez, it really does look like Arteta did not trust him, and it might very well be likely that but for Leno’s injury Martinez would not have seen any action, not even in the FA Cup if Leno had stayed fit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. reports in Italy say Torino have reached an agreement to sign Torreira, €24m

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Both agree you that you don’t know what’s going on re the Özil situation then go on to lament the club about them trying to get him off the pay roll. He might be acting like a twat in training we don’t know. I doubt Arteta wouldn’t play him and waste that resource just doesn’t seem like him unless he had a good reason.

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  4. But Jules, the trying to force him out isn’t an unknown, we know the club has been trying ,the only unknown is why.

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  5. I believe when the transfer window shuts,he will start appearing in squads,maybe play in certain games.Of course when January comes round the trying to force him out will probably start again.
    All guesswork but the whole thing makes no sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A pity about the keeper as i thought he was a good’un. Wonder how much wages came into the decision as well, as I expect Leno is on a pretty good wage and would need that to be matched by any new club before he considered a move. Funny old game though – if Leno hadn’t been butchered at Brighton my abiding memory of Martinez would have been the 7-5 Reading thriller, and Guendouzi would probably be playing instead of Elneny.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t remember when I took liking to Emi or picked up belief he might make top keeper. Read through his wiki to jog memory and appearances are spread out over number of years, with number of loans in between. Think I read he had a 2 or 3 game sequence at one point few years back. Could also have seen him in number of reserve games.

    Think I may have liked his handling and way seemed to catch and hold quite a few shots others would parry, to go with stature and presence which is my goalkeeping ideal.

    Feel he proved himself (and, ok, me) in that run. of course the real proof has to come with more games, But I’m very confident he’ll do it, and think good chance bigger team will be after him in year or two.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes George but Arteta wasn’t trying to force him out pre-lockdown. I imagine it was a mixture of Raul and the pay cut business that may have caused him and Arteta to fall out and he might be acting out in training. A young guy like Arteta taking over such a huge first job can’t show any weakness and if Özil is showing dissent in any way due to whatever reason then I imagine Arteta would freeze him out. That’s my only explanation with obvious guess work. Be a shame if it isn’t sorted out and soon. It’d be nice if Özil ended his Arsenal career on a high. Wasn’t too long ago the entire away end were singing his song at Anfield.

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  9. Go to say the budget option back up goalie has lot of appeal to me now. Somehow it sits better with me than spending most of Emi money on keeper who probably isn’t nearly as good. Better to spend only a little on someone who also isn’t nearly as good, but is probably much closer to some 10-15 mill signing than that signing is to Emi (and Leno)

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  10. I do wonder if when the transfer window shuts we have 18 non home grown players will Ozil be the one to miss out of our 25 man squad, would AFC sit him out of our EPL squads for 3 months in the hope of forcing him to move in January, after all we sat him out for a couple of months at the end of last season, so why not the first 3 of this season

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  11. media reporting that West Ham are offering AFC a £5M loan fee for Rob Holding

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  12. Oh boy! Are we going to make an announcement video of him deleting his tweet

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  13. Is that genuine?

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  14. I found it on reddit Marky, but apparently so. Fans found it on twitter after he the links to Arsenal start and he subsequently deleted it after some backlash. The same way they found those tweets of Doherty.

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  15. That tweet should exclude him from consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Any sign of who he supports and why? I have seen fake tweets for Janey Godley for example so who knows

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  17. reports that Arsenal have turned down a £3M + add ons for Florian Balogun from Sheffield utd, seems we rate him at £15M

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  18. Well he’s finally signed a contract extension trouble is I don’t rate him

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  19. I think this extension is significant. His numbers obviously speaks for itself and with Willian now, Premier League tested and still enough left in his tank, the “bounce” from Arteta this next two seasons could be very interesting.

    Obviously Emi will be a miss, just for the depth in the GK department, however, AMN (staying on) and Auba truly feels for me like new signings. And we actually also got depth now at centreback.

    Who needs Aouar and Partey? We move!

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  20. Trae Could scores the winning penalty as. Gillingham go through in the League Cup

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  21. Dan Critchlow
    @afcDW
    ·
    31m
    Martinez has just posted a video on Instagram confirming he’s leaving Arsenal “through the front door”.

    Says the club supported his decision, and he’s grateful to the fans were always there for him and trusted in him. Ends with “thank you Arsenal”.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. View this post on Instagram

    Thank you @arsenal

    A post shared by Emi Martinez (@emi_martinez26) on

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Relieved Auba has signed, I expect some great things from him this season, with the likes of Willian to put things on a plate for him. Wish Ozil would be doing the same, but it seems that isn’t going to happen
    And Martinez, what a class act, glad he leaves as a highly regarded player and trophy winner after all these years. His performances were superb, if he was t to be destined to be number one at Arsenal, he fully deserves his chances elsewhere, wish him well, Villa are getting a great keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. You don’t rate Auba, Ian?

    I was underwhelmed maybe a bit unimpressed in early days but certainly not any more.

    Do think he’s way better from out wide with central striker doing bulk of hard dirty work. Also think it suits him to be in a team which does a lot of countering as opposed to trying to crack deep defences.

    That clip I saw of young Dortmund player may get to heart of it : said things started improving for him there once he understood Auba always likes to get ball in front of him. Course shape of game at any point dictates whether that’s possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Auba’s alright heh.

    Think we know the Why George.
    Agent Kia’s latest belligerent interview on behalf of the Arsenal football club was the giveaway.
    Laying into the good Doctor almost as if Ozil’s agent winds him as much as he did Raul. Oh. Did Kia not like…something?

    Same as with Ramsey and others, Ozil is simply guilty of having an agent who is smarter then the SuperAgents out there.

    It’s predictable, so predictable that we were predicting what the super agents would do if the K’s wanted them in when AW was still at the club.
    Is the K’s most recent cunning plan as many mused to just swap one house of super agents for another? We shall see.

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  26. Admittedly Willian will be one of the signings of the season if he offers up even some of the form he’s had for his old team over recent seasons, he’s been their best attacking player since they lost Hazard.
    Always thought Costa was the better footballer but has he hit the same levels as Willian?

    A good signing, I simply ask you to forgive me if I don’t want to see even the remote prospect that the Arsenal up like Shaktar Donetsk or even Arsenal Kiev.
    Or Leeds. Took them a while and a top manager for them to recover. I’m Going to enjoy every minute of Arteta’s Arsenal.

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  27. some reports that Ozil has bought a mansion in the Cotswolds,

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  28. When you find out where, let me know Ed. My in-laws are in the Cotswolds so it’s be nice to bump into him when nipping out for a paper. Got a feeling Tony Adams is in that neck of the woods too.

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  29. some Royals and the Beckham’ are there too

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  30. some reports that if Balogun signs a new deal at Arsenal we will loan him out to Sheffield Utd for the season

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  31. Auba is every bit as talented as our two “greatest strikers” were and as “one-footed” as Henry was.

    That we finished 8th last season was down to his shortcomings but rather a crappy first half to that season mired in confusion, overall poor play across the team and Xhaka in exiled for two months prior to Arteta’s arrival. Auba was also banned for three matches for a tackled we seen refs let others get away with.

    Also, him scoring such a large percentage of our goals is because of the lack of goals from other players.

    I’m over the moon he extended his stay and with the two Brazilians now this a season I’m really hopeful that we can at least improve on our poor away record of recent seasons, that has been our handicap.

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  32. *** NOT down to his perceived shortcoming

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  33. Yes Labo, as a goalscorer Auba is right up there with the very best this club has had, and any other club in England. But no amount of joy will make me put him in the same class as Henry as an all around player, Wright yes, absolutely, but not Henry, or peak RVP for that matter. And it’s not just the headline stats like assists either, I’ve seen his hold up play, link up , vision, and especially his passing, those are more than perceived.
    I think he’s a great player but I won’t pretend he is great at everything.

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  34. RVP had one good season for us and then he left. He couldn’t hold his end up to link with the supporters what it means to playing for this club, because the visions didn’t match that of his.

    Yes, those fans that made Wenger’s last few years miserable are treating Auba like a demigod and their hypocrisy suck, but I don’t see why that mean we shouldn’t enjoy having him extended his stay.

    Arteta is trying to rebuild this side after the disappointments of the last few seasons and it helps nobody to undermine that.

    Emery is gone, Raul is gone, its time we all move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Move on to what Labo? There has never at any point been a bigger advocate of Arteta than me. But I refuse to accept the shit being dished out to Ozil, and Ramsey before him, to worship at the feet of Auba, because he is one bad injury away from being the next poor fucker thrown under the bus.
    You are fine to forgive and forget, I will when I think things are well, which isn’t right now, despite Mikel’sbest effort and the PR being spun around him and Edu. Fool me once………

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  36. reports are that AFC are set to sign Runnarson from Dijon for £1.5M and Raya from Brentford for £10M, but loan back Raya to Brentford for the season

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Mikel Arteta was quizzed at length by the media on Friday ahead of our Premier League clash against West Ham.

    Unsurprisingly, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new contract was top of the lost, but he was also asked about Willian, new signings and more.

    Read on for a full transcript:

    on how good is it to have finally sorted Auba’s future…
    Obviously I knew what was coming so I was bit more relaxed, but I am really pleased to have convinced Auba to stay at our club as well in the terms that we have done, and with the passion and determination that him and the people around him showed to stay at our club, how happy they are with what we have achieved and as well really pleased to see the reaction of everyone, firstly here at Colney at our club and as well our fans, to keep him.

    on how has Auba been to work with off the pitch…
    It is enjoy to work with him, I think we have a really transparent relationship. We have been really clear with each other on what we were trying to do, how big Auba was to my plans for now and for the future and the way he trains, the way he behaves himself and the way he performs is exactly what I want from him. I want him to do that consistently for the next few years.

    on whether this was the one deal he wanted to do this summer…
    Yes, it took a lot of work and a lot of effort from the club, so thank you very much for supporting us as it was key to achieving it. It was a thing that was worrying me because it is so hard to find a replacement of a striker of that calibre, so I am really pleased.

    on the role Mikel played in convincing Auba to stay…
    I think the big reason Auba is staying is because we have an incredible football team, football club, we have some fantastic people working here and because he feels how much love he has from the fans. I played my part, which is part of my job, to try to explain to him what we are trying to do and how important he would be while we are building and that is it. The club has to take credit for that and the people who have been able to put a project and a package to him to stay at the club.

    on offers from other big European clubs for Auba…
    Yes, but the size of our clubs is as big as those names. That is what I am saying, the most important thing is the club, what we inspire, who we are as a club and what we can achieve in the future as well, and how we can explain what we are trying to do so the players believe in our project.

    on whether we need to sell to bring in more players…
    We are trying all the time to adjust the squad in the most efficient way. It is clear at the moment that it has to go both ways and in order to achieve that we still have some time but we are pretty clear in what we are trying to do.

    on a deal for a new goalkeeper…
    Obviously with the departure of Emi, which is a big loss and someone that I think we all wish the best to for what he has done for the football club as well as the person that he is – we have to replace him. We are looking in the market and I think we will shortly in a position to announce a new signing.

    on how close that is…
    I don’t know, in football the hours can become days and then something that looks unlikely can happen straight away, so unfortunately I cannot tell you.

    on whether he needs one or two keepers…
    Well, depending on what is going to happen with our third goalkeeping position as well because we had some talks about that over the past few months so still the market is open and things can change.

    on being linked to some big names in midfield…
    Sorry, unfortunately I cannot talk about players that are not at our club but I appreciate the question.

    on Mesut Ozil’s possible involvement…
    I think they have all been training really, really well and the spirit at the training ground is great and we are happy because everyone is pushing each other, so let’s try to maintain that.

    on assessing West Ham’s threat…
    Always a threat, we have a good example of the game we played against them last March. It was really difficult, we managed to win the game but we had a lot of problems, so we better be ready because after a defeat teams are always more dangerous.

    on the boost Auba’s re-signing has on the other players…
    It was a big boost because everyone was hoping for Auba to stay but it was creating some uncertainty around the place and obviously it is great to finish that speculation, move on and find some more stability.

    on the statement the deal gives to the rest of the game about Arsenal…
    I don’t know, we made the decision because we believed he is the best for our football club. We are not trying to send any statement, just trying to get the right decisions and the right people around us to be as successful as we can.

    on the competition for places all over the pitch…
    Well this is what we want to produce, some days it is not easy for us managers to deal with that when you only have one game a week. But it is great to see how the players are training, competing with each other but it is very important as well that whatever the decisions are, that they keep supporting each other and we are able to maintain a good, but natural competition between them.

    on Willian’s performance against Fulham…
    I think he was great, he was decisive and that is what we are looking for him to do in a consistent way. He is a player with tremendous quality and knows the league really well, and we knew he wasn’t going to need a lot of time to adapt to our way of playing.

    on how we will approach West Ham…
    Well they have many strengths and some weaknesses, like we all have. I know David, the manager, really well and I know what he will be trying to do tomorrow to hurt us as well. It will be a tough game and I am expecting a difficult battle tomorrow.

    on what Auba means by trying to become an Arsenal legend…
    Well, I think he’s done some great things since he’s been here, individually some of the things he has achieved in terms of goals and assists, it’s been incredible. Now we have to take it to the collective and take it to club level and in order to achieve that there are a lot of small things that you have to do every day to achieve them. Auba is very aware of that and if we are able to take the person and the player into the next level, I think we are all going to benefit from that and the day that he leaves the football club I think it will be in a different way.

    on how much the rest of the squad need to reach the next level…
    That’s the next step but for now, the goals that he has scored in the semi-final and the two finals are bringing titles to the club, which is something that is going to stay there and is going to stay in the history of the club. And now, all of us have to push to support him and for him to maintain and improve the level that he has – not only for scoring goals but in his overall performance, whether it’s in aspects related to our attacking phases or defensive phases – is going to make us better.

    on West Ham being the last game before he tested positive for coronavirus and whether the game is poignant for him…
    Well, it was ages ago. But obviously when I started to look back at the game and what we did, I think we were lucky that day to win the game. They created a lot of issues, we did not control certain important aspects of West Ham’s threats and we have to be better tomorrow.

    on the return of Bale to the Premier League…
    The Premier League in its history has always had the best players in the world. I think Gareth has been one of the most significant names that left the Premier League years ago to go to Spain, so I think it’s really positive to bring really important players back to the league and it will be a challenge because we know at his best what he can do.

    on whether it means we will have to work harder to make north London red…
    I think the competition from every club, the way they are all recruiting and improving their squad, is making this league harder and harder.

    on the long-term project now that Auba has ended speculation on his future…
    Well, you can have a lot of great thoughts about the long-term in football but the reality is that the daily decisions, results and things that happen that are sometimes out of your control, that’s what determines a lot of the future. What I find at the moment is that we are all on board, from the top of the club with the ownership, with all of the board, with Edu, myself and the staff around us, of what we are trying to do. We are very united and I feel we are in a strong position to move forward in the future. But again, our demands are tomorrow and today in training and we try to maintain and improve the team as much as we can and create a sustainable model that brings success and brings joy and happiness to our fans.

    on whether he’s under pressure to let go of players he doesn’t want to because he can’t move on players that he would prefer to let go…
    No. Again, with all the players that we have here, we’re going to try to get the best out of them. We’re going to try to improve them as much as we possibly can and create the right environment for them so that they are happy at the club, because I believe it’s the most important thing for them to perform to the level that we want. After that, obviously in the market there are things that we cannot control. There are things that we can control and let’s try to manage in the best possible way.

    on whether Auba is our penalty taker despite Willian’s ability…
    Yes, Auba will start taking the penalties.

    on whether choosing Leno as his first choice and letting Emi leave has been the hardest decision of his managerial career so far…
    Well, there’s been many challenges since I joined the club! Obviously that one was tough but before that, as you can imagine, there were some conversations in the background about things developing in one way. So I knew what was going to happen with Emi. I had many discussions with him and I think we all finished in really good terms and we decided that Bernd was going to be the starter.

    on what convinced him that Bernd was the long-term option…
    I was very clear with both of them that it wasn’t a #1 and a #2 and that they had to compete for the place like any other position in the team. To be fair, Bernd was superb before he got injured at Brighton and Emi was absolutely excellent with all of the games that he played and how much he helped us as well with winning the trophies. But at the end of the day, that created a big competition, some big expectations from both of them and we had to deal with that. We were really open, trying to have those discussions and at the end, Emi had a really good offer, really well-suited to what he wants to achieve long-term and short-term and we allowed him to leave the club.

    on Sead Kolasinac being linked with Leverkusen for family reasons and if it’s hard to stand in a player’s way in those circumstances…
    I think in every case you have to try to take it individually. First of all, try to understand the reason – if that’s the case – when they want to leave and why. If there are things that you can help them to change, to give them more, you have to try to maximise those options and when it comes to a point where it’s obviously something that you cannot control and cannot help and it’s evident and clear, then you open the door. But then it goes down to the club to decide when and how and that’s a player with a contract that has to get the right value and go to the right club.

    on whether he expects Sead to leave the club this window…
    At the moment, I’m not expecting anyone to leave very shortly. That’s where I am.

    on how he keeps motivating Auba now he has signed a new contract…
    Before motivating them after they sign the contract, I try to do the opposite thing. I try to make sure that I can motivate them and in order to do that I have to get to know the player really well and the people around him. What he needs in order to be as motivated and not with flat feet, to try to improve and as well, the player has to see that he has some room for improvement and that we are the right people for helping him to achieve that. And to be fair, all those boxes are ticked with Auba so I think we will be able to do that with him.

    on whether David Luiz comes straight into the team now that he’s fit again…
    David is training with us today again and he’s feeling much better. He will be available for tomorrow.

    on Jack Wilshere and how he feels that he won’t available…
    Sad. First of all for Jack as a person. I was going to say as a kid because he was a kid when I played with him, but he is such a special character. With the talent, the personality and the ability that he had on the pitch, he could have achieved much more but injuries have been really tough on him. But he’s shown time and time again that it doesn’t matter how bad those look, he always finds himself in a position to get back. So hopefully he can do that again and I think not just me but everybody here wishes him all the best.

    on whether David Luiz will come straight back into the starting XI…
    David is training with us today again and he’s feeling much better. He will be available for tomorrow.

    on Jack Wilshere not featuring for West Ham this weekend…
    Sad, it’s a big shame. First of all, for Jack, who as a person – I was going to say as a kid because he was a kid when I played with him – but he’s such a special character with such, talent, ability and personality on the pitch. He could have achieved much more, but injuries have been really tough on him. He’s shown time and time again after that it doesn’t matter how bad those look, he always finds himself in a position to get back and hopefully he can do that again. I think not just me, but everyone else here wishes him all the best. I hope he can come back, he’s done it many, many times. I hope he can maintain that mental strength and that willingness to still be as good as he can, because he deserves that.

    on Emi Martinez’s departure and whether it was necessary for future transfers…
    Well, at the end of the day we have to find some balance between what we want to achieve with our squad and our finances – and it gets to the point where if you want to achieve certain things, you need to sacrifice others. Time will tell whether we are weaker or not and obviously the recruitment we are planning to do to try and get our second goalkeeper, they will hopefully bring a really good performance level. We can see Emi being successful at Villa and we are all happy for him.

    on whether he spoke to Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah about their clash in the warm-up last week…
    Well, I was surprised first of all because it isn’t a common thing to see at the start! To be fair, I didn’t like too much that image in public, but then I understood what happened and I understood how much both of them wanted to play and their level of frustration they were managing. I really liked the way things were resolved, though. First of all between them personally, and then publicly with that picture. It was the end of the story and now we can learn from that and move on.

    on whether it was mostly frustration about not starting…
    You can see the way Dani and Eddie came on the pitch in the last few minutes and how committed they were and how much they wanted to play. I cannot demand the players all the time to be 100 per cent and pushing, but then to be soft and have a really bad body language during the rondos. If you give me the choice, I don’t want them to kill each other! But it’s okay, it’s not bad!

    on whether Reiss Nelson will go out on loan…
    I think they all realise the competition we have in forward positions. I’ve already spoken with Reiss about it and I really like the way he’s training. I think we both agree about how much he’s improved in the last few months and he’s going to carry on pushing himself and the rest of the team. He needs to be ready because in football, unfortunately, or fortunately, things don’t take three months to change, it can take three minutes and you have to be ready when that opportunity comes.

    on whether Reiss Nelson needs to be playing regularly to really progress…
    I think if you ask any of those 27 players if they need to play, they will all say ‘Yes, of course. I need to play regularly and I need minutes.’ But at the moment it’s just not possible playing one game a week and with this rule of just being able to have 18 players, it’s very difficult to give everyone the same minutes – impossible.

    on whether he ever doubted that Aubameyang would sign a new deal…
    To be fair, at the start when I joined I wasn’t as positive as I was a few weeks ago. Obviously financially we were in a position where it was difficult to get what we wanted to get and I think Auba had his doubts at the time – but things evolved in a natural way and I had a feeling that the club wanted to move forward. I had a feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to put those things together, and that can sometimes take some time, but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we’re happy.

    on whether Auba signing his new contract will attract other players…
    I don’t know, but certainly I think it’s a decision that’s been received in a really positive way outside the football club and with a very clear direction that we want to maintain and look after our better players, as well as promoting and challenging our young players.

    on whether it shows that Arsenal are serious…
    Yeah, we had to do some structural remodelling because we couldn’t maintain the size of the club with what’s happened in the last three years and the coronavirus, but we cannot forget that we’re Arsenal Football Club and our history demands success and excellence. And in order to achieve that, whether it’s our people, our staff, or our players, we have to maintain the quality as high as possible in order to maintain the best possible chance to be successful.

    Copyright 2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

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  38. Michael Oliver ref tomorrow,one more obstacle in our way.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. My take on Auba,
    Of course I was happy when he signed because when a club tries hard to hold onto a player it is bad if it doesn’t happen.
    Football is a team game and the best players complement the team and pull it together.
    While I’m quite aware how popular he is within the squad and how fantastic his numbers are however I still can’t understand how people rate him as world class when his all round game is average (in my humble opinion).
    Auba’s reading of the game and anticipation of where the ball is going to land is world class, which is why he scores so many goals, but if you look at the rest of his game in separate sections they certainly aren’t great.
    His first touch is like a wall and in that aspect both Bentner a

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Ian, Auba scores as many goals as the current best strikers in the league. So the criticism is basically that if he was better he would be outscore them by a mile.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. and Giroud are streets ahead of him in that area. His assist rate is poor and I think that is because his decision making isn’t great and his passing is average.
    Defensively he has started putting in lots of effort but tackling is poor and positionally he is often caught in no man’s land.
    Lastly he just isn’t an onion bag man in other words he misses loads of chances and I’m not confident when he’s one on one with the keeper.
    Now before anyone says about his conversion rate you could score one goal from three difficult chances and that would be good but you could score one from three easy chances and that would be poor.
    The Henry trick of the lean to the left and bend with the right is something he seems to of perfected recently which is good and I do think his all round game is improving however when a player scores lots of goals sometimes the team over plays to him and relies on him to much at the expense of the goals coming from the rest of the team. If you look at the rest of the team the goals have not exactly been flowing.
    When Ian Wright was there the team suffered until he became a less often starter and we then won the league.
    So I like Auba but the team would not fall apart without him in the long term.

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  42. LG, sorry I was only half way through my point.
    Basically just goals do not make a player.

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  43. His first touch is poor when he has his back to goal, but really good when he has the goal in front of him. He also has that happy knack of shooting with power half a pace before keepers expect him to. I shall always regard him as Arsene’s last gift to the club and I think for our critics he has done annoyingly well. I base many of my judgments on a player’s ability to make result changing plays and Auba has certainly done that recently, elevating him from my inital sense of ‘nothing more than a flat-track bully’ to ‘genuine match winner’. It would have cost more money than we proably are willing to spend to have found a replacement for him so I can only hope he stays fit and hungry for a good while yet.

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  44. Like I keep saying football is a team sport historically teams have not replaced goal scorers with a like for like players but instead set up differently and replacing the goals with two or more players.

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  45. Like many of us here I am mystified and saddned about the Mesut Ozil situation. There are so many possible explanations for it, and with luck one day we may know which was the right one. What I find so hard is the seemingly binary choice it forces on me: is it Mesut or Mikel who is the bad guy? Or are these two only the outward faces of the real dispute between Club and Agent? I want to believe the best of Mikel, want to have my love of Ozil unsullied. Want, deep down, to have the club, managers and players I support to be as clean as the driven snow. Want to be eleven years old once again, starry-eyed, innocent and full of hope.

    And yet the Arsenal is worth zillions, owned by a man I will never know and who will never know what it feels like to work out whether he can afford to pay both the Sky and BT subscription. And yet the current boss, rightful heir ( I think) to the one sporting hero I would like to meet above all else, left Everton for Arsenal at a moment’s notice, and who then jumped ship, not long after Arsene had stood by him through his last two injury crippled years, to sup at the altar of Pepchester Oil Well Inc., will, I fear, not lose any sleep over my moralistic concerns. And what of the player, trousering a cool £350,000 a week ( 10 times as much as I am paid a year, and I am one of the lucky ones), content to post enigmatic posts on Social Media while drawing his money, without either revealing what the situation is or going to play for someone else while he still has relative youth on his side. God alone knows: if we are lucky we spend a long time time hardly able to get out of bed, let alone chase a ball. Why waste it Mesut? What is your motivation? You’ll not get your Thirties back. Do something: tell us, go play. Be the you I think you are.

    So where does that leave me, 62 years old (but 63 next week, at the risk of reigniting an old trope), apparently now in the front line with classrooms full of sneezing children to teach (so far September colds, not Covid), with two teenagers of my own back at school and a shielding wife forced to rent a flat nearby for fear of what any of us three may unwittingly yet unavoidably bring home?

    Well, and probably unforgivably, it leaves me just about where I always am on a Friday night, and especially so at the beginning of the season, quiveringly excited about the game tomorrow, all rational (and decent and grown-up) thoughts pushed to one side. We will batter West Ham, and surely go on to win at the very least the Double (though I can’t shake off a sneaky feeling that we may land the Eurpa League as well). This team, this club, this familiar and every weekness of the soon to be long winter, gives me the out I need. Just for a while, on this site and on Twitter, I can dream.

    And if Mesut starts any time soon and Mikel embraces him when he comes off after yet another stellar perfomance, then that is only the cherry on the cake I have been deceitfully icing since the games began again after Lockdown.

    And even more than that, though I fear it will not be for a year yet, is the thought of turning left out of the Arsenal Tube Station and making my way past the smell of frying onions and the cries of Rosette sellers….

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  46. Brighton U23’s 2-2 Arsenal U23’s

    Cottrell and Olayinka with our goals, Saliba played for us

    Hillson
    Alebiosu, Saliba, Ballard, Bola
    Akinola, Olayinka, Cottrell,
    Salah, Balogun, Lewis,

    subs: Ejeheri, Oyegoke, McEneff, Cirjan, Azeez

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  47. Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has revealed that goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana is playing a key role in the club’s search for a new goalkeeper.

    The Gunners are on the hunt for a new goalkeeper after selling FA Cup hero Emi Martinez to Aston Villa this week for £20million.

    Arsenal are close to signing Dijon’s Runar Alex Runarsson for around £1.5m and they are also tracking Brentford’s David Raya.

    Both are players who previously worked with Cana and Arteta has confirmed he is leaning on him for suggestions over new recruits.

    “It goes down to what I expect from my staff. At the end of the day I bring in staff with very special qualities to add to what we are trying to do,” said Arteta.

    “And then I have to give them responsibility because I want them to be accountable for the tasks that I give to them and the clear roles that I have give to them.

    “When it comes down to the goalkeeper, he [Cana] has a big say on how we are going to implement our methodology, how we are going to train them and how we are going to treat the goalkeeping position in the short, medium and long term.
    In Pictures | Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signs new Arsenal deal

    “Obviously at the end it will be me who makes the decision [as to which goalkeeper we buy]. But is very important that the people around me, who have on many occasions a much clearer criteria and specificity than me, that I really listen to them and try to follow what their feelings are.

    “I have big faith in Inaki as I do with the rest of the staff that are here. I will take that into the medical department, with the physios, the kit man, every department that is here.

    “They have much more expertise than me. I want to control them, I want to make sure that they share their values and direction we want to take.”

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