49 Comments

Arsenal vs Dundalk

Tonight we play  Dundalk, serial winners of the League of Ireland. What I know about them and the team we might put out against them, could be written on the back of aa postage stamp, with room left for something else.

We are down to one and a half fully fit centre backs, so that’s the first problem facing Arteta. Can he risk either of them with a trip to Old Toilet at the weekend? Can he afford to play any first team players, Eleney and Xhaka perhaps? In their place? Not really. Sead perhaps? Youth team players? I have no idea.

The rest of the team should be less of a problem, with fringe players and the likes of Nelson, ESR and Willock coming in.

The inclusion of these youngsters should make it an entertaining game, something we haven’t seen for a long time.

Let’s hope Arteta remains seated and let’s them play football, rather than practicing the regimented line dancing he normally directs for the side lines.

Any sort of good game would be welcome relief.

See you all on the other side

Pedantic George

49 comments on “Arsenal vs Dundalk

  1. I imagine Dundalk will sit back and go all out for a 0-0 draw. We seem to have the most problems breaking down these kind of teams although latterly we are also struggling against more confident opponents.

    More worryingly, with the constant tweaking of players and positions, I’m suddenly almost back to where I was during the Emery Era. The players look confused, and, much more importantly, so am I.

    I’m hoping it’s a mere temporary aberration brought on by the intensity of the season, the bedding in of new players and the accidental deployment of Auba anywhere else other than up front and in the centre.

    But I could be wrong, I often am.

    Either way, with a game tonight and on Sunday likely to prove testing, by Monday morning we’ll have a better idea of where we are – or are not – going with all of this.

    If it DOES go as badly as some fear, where on earth will we possibly turn to for creative inspiration in our frankly lack-lustre midfield?

    Where, indeed?

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  2. well George on the CB’s, we actually can’t play any of the youth as no CB above the U18’s are eligible, all the U23 CB’s who could have played have been sent out on loan, and we did not register Saliba, and its actually laughable to hear Arteta shed crocodile tears about not been able to find room for him in the squad, cos he thought Mari would have been back by now.
    On the CB situation, Holding took part in full training yesterday so he might be available for Sunday’s game v Man Utd, Arteta ruled him out of tonights game. I would expect its Mustafi and one other, well that is if Mustafi has not embarrassed Arteta and the club enough with his comments about Ozil training hard and not being able to say a bad word about Mesut.

    Dundalk should have beaten Molde, and were by far the better team for the first 45, and had a half time lead, but sent too much into their shell in the second half. Also were unlucky on both goals, a deflected effort off one of their defenders and a soft penalty.

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  3. so Arteta says the way he sees us breaking down packed defenses are for our CB’s to bring the ball out from the back

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  4. Happy Birthday to Arsenal legend Robert Pires, who turns 47 today

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  5. reports that Florian Balogun is a sub for tonights game, it would be his first inclusion in a match day squad for EL and first game under Arteta

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  6. team
    Runarsson
    Cedric, mustafi, kolasinac, Maitland-Niles
    Willock, Elneny, Xhaka
    Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson

    subs
    Leno, Hein, Bellerin, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Partey, Willian, Saka, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Balogun

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  7. Royal Antwerp have beaten spurs 1-0

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  8. Runarsson with the first save of the game, from a long range shot.

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  9. we’ve had them penned in for the most part, but not testing their keeper

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  10. Eddie Nketiah gives us the lead firing home after their keeper fluffs his punch and it rebounds off a defender, our striker was quickest to react

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  11. Joe Willock fires home from just inside the area after Pepe shot is blocked but falls to him, it was an outstanding finish, 2-0 to the Arsenal

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  12. HT: Arsenal 2-0 Dundalk

    Nketiah and Willock with our goals, both had major slices of luck to fall at the feet of our scorers.
    Dundalk have not caused us much problems as they have been penned in for most of the half. Having said that up to our goals we had not over exerted them either, lots of possession but not breaking them down.

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  13. Football Ramble
    @FootballRamble
    ·
    12m
    Mourinho, after refusing to comment on Alli’s performance: “My future choices are going to be very easy”

    Translation: he’s fucked

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  14. we’ve had 15 attempts on goal, 4 on target

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  15. Pepe with a brilliant finish form edge of the area just 30 seconds into the second half, a right foot shot too

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  16. Top notch goal from Pepe. That’s where he needs to be around the box. Not near the sidelines with 4-5 players between him and the box.

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  17. this ref has been giving Dundalk defenders some very soft free kicks

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  18. 3 up and we bring on Ceballos and Willian for Mustafi and Pepe

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  19. our CB pairing is now Xhaka and Elneny

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  20. Tierney and Balogun on for Xhaka and Nketiah

    its Balogun’s first team debut

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  21. balogun must be wondering what he has to do for a team mate to get the ball to him

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  22. that was some performance from the Ref, seemed to think he was there to fill the gap in quality between the two teams, he actually never gave a foul against Dundalk in the entire game, gave them 20 though

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  23. Enjoyed it up until ceballos came on, my god hes so negative and seems to slow our play down as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Nketiah scored his first European goal tonight, his 10th goal in all competitions for Arsenal, in 47 games

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  25. Three goals in quick succession gave a much-changed Arsenal side another Europa League win on Thursday, and Mikel Arteta was a happy man at the final whistle.

    Here’s what he told the media afterwards

    on our performance before and after the goals…
    I’m really pleased with the way we went about the game. It’s always a danger that you feel it could be a comfortable game and then you make it really complicated. That wasn’t the case. I think our attitude from the beginning was spot on. We knew they were going to use a really low block and what we had to do, I think we did it better [than against Rapid Vienna]. We were insistent in the way we attacked. We generated a lot of situations in the box and we got the right goals in the right moments. After that, we could manage the situation. Overall, the fact that we gave the chance to a lot of players who haven’t played many minutes this season is something that’s really positive because they showed that they are well prepared, they are at it and they are ready when we need them.

    on resting the ‘big’ players…
    We had everybody involved because we know how these games can turn around but obviously there are a lot of games coming up. It’s not because they don’t deserve to play, it’s because there are a lot of players who needed minutes and opportunities. We used them, they’ve done well, so now let’s prepare for Old Trafford.

    On what he made of Dundalk…
    I didn’t know how they were going to play. They’ve been playing 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 all season and I knew they could come here after what I’d seen the last few weeks, and then play with five at the back. We were prepared for that but they are a really committed team. The way they go about every ball, they try hard and credit to them for what they’ve done in the last few months. I’m happy to beat them.

    on Dundalk trying to play from the back…
    I think it’s their style, it’s their philosophy and the fact that they tried to do it shows the personality that their coaching staff have and how much the players believe in them. I think that’s a really positive thing to show, that it doesn’t matter where, they can adapt the way they play. Again, their style of play doesn’t change.

    on whether any of tonight’s team have staked a claim for a place v United…
    Yeah they are always in the frame to play. It’s not because we lose or win, it’s what they bring to the team, how they play and what they have shown. The results at the end are the consequences of many things but individually how they do things is what determines whether they have the opportunity to play or not.

    on Joe Willock…
    They [Joe and Reiss] looked good tonight and always looked like threats. They looked like they could do something different in the game to change it. They were good around the box, they were creative, they had courage to make the right decision in the right areas. I’m pleased with both of them.

    on Granit Xhaka at centre back…
    We need one or two players who are able to drop into that position in the way that position looks at the moment. We need to try them and the best way to try them is obviously in training, but sometimes you have to do it in games so they have a taste, the feeling and the confidence to do it as well. It was good that they got through that, got the clean sheet and obviously that will bring them some confidence as well.

    on Nicolas Pepe and whether he feels the pressure of his price tag…
    I don’t think he’s got that. I think he’s so willing to do well and show everybody – first of all, his team-mates and myself – and also the fans that he is a player that can make the difference every week. Obviously, he’s not been first choice in a lot of the games at the moment but, to be fair, he’s played quite a lot of the moments, some better than others. It’s about finding the consistency. Not through the games, but during the games as well to be most instinctive and to be able to do the right things in many, many occasions where he has to make the right decisions on the pitch.

    on what he thinks Pepe is missing…
    It’s nothing to do with his attitude. He’s a player that takes risks. He’s a very creative player and this is the most difficult thing in football, when they all know what you can do as well and how much they want to prevent your space and the overloads that they generate to defend you as well. So to create situations for them is complicated, but sometimes it’s the simple things: the deliveries, the amount of situations he is able to create or attract and then make the right decision to keep evolving that final ball, the finishing, the positioning inside the box which he has to be more consistent at. We are working on that and hopefully he will be doing that much more efficiently.

    on whether he thinks the price tag does affect him at all…
    Well, knowing Nico and after speaking to him, I don’t think it’s something that worries him too much. It’s about him hitting his best every single week. I think this is where he believes he can do better and we have to try to help him.

    on whether it was encouraging to see Nico scoring with his right foot…
    It’s nothing to do with me, that! That was his action and he scored a magnificent goal.

    on if the next step in his development is to become less predictable…
    Yes. He’s been doing that recently a little bit more, going on the outside. It’s something that he can do. It’s just about that one, he attracts people as well and frees someone else with the last pass or the last delivery, which foot he needs to use to attack the defenders as well sometimes to make things easier for him. His starting position, sometimes, is not right. But he’s trying really hard and he’s a player that loves to play the game and we need to give him more help to try to be more successful.

    on Folarin Balogun and if there’s any news on a new contract…
    He’s a player that I really like. Obviously I’ve got this situation and I believe it’s later than what I would like because I wasn’t here when everything started to develop but yes, he’s a player that I would like to give chances to. That’s why he was in the squad today and I showed him that yes, we count on him and we believe in him and if he wants, he’s going to have a future in the club.

    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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  26. OT Blimey it’s Virgil watch on Sky Sports. Jaysus compare and contrast. Clear statement of who’s challenge it was and still banging on and on. Ramsey Broke his own Leg if I recall. Makes me sick

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Folarin Balogun became the 876th player to play for Arsenal

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  28. We’re back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon – and it’s a big one, too, against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

    Mikel Arteta sat down with the media ahead of the game to discuss our structure, creativity and the possibility of playing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang through the middle.

    Here’s what he said:

    on how he adds creativity and freedom…
    That structure is just to limit our opponents to certain things when we lose the ball. The other structure can flow. We have so many different patterns to try to attack these situations, depending on the formation that they play, and the value of spaces. That will be in different things. It’s more about our aggression, when we have the ball, our purpose, our aggression, our runs in behind. When do players take someone on and think, ‘I have to make something happen’? We want them to think about themselves, not him or him, we want them to take accountability. They need to want to put the ball in the box more often, because this is what top teams do. If the other team want to defend the box, make sure they’re defending the box all the team, and that we’re being very aggressive in the final third. It’s something we haven’t faced so much since I arrived here, but I think it’ll happen more and more.

    on the progress of our defensive structure…
    It’s a lot of things that we’ve improved on in my opinion and we have all the stats to do that. Our thinking after Leicester, the reason why they did what they did in their game plan, to sit so low against us when they are not normally a team that do that – they’ve been really dominant and play really attractive football – I came to the conclusion that we have the respect from other teams for them to do that. Now we have to try to change our strategy a little bit and try to train against more certain blocks that I think are going to happen a bit more often. We have made teams think, ‘If we do that, we’ll be in trouble so we have to try to do something else’. We’re going to work on that and the moment we improve that, we’ll become even better.

    on whether Aubameyang could play centrally…
    It’s one of the options that we have for sure in the team, to evolve it. The moment he doesn’t score in three or four games, people will say, ‘He needs to play more central’. It was great for him to play on the left because he wasn’t picked up by central defenders. There was more freedom for him to do that. [Criticism] is a part of this industry.

    on Nicolas Pepe…
    He needed some time. It’s not easy when the club makes the investment that they made on him, the expectations are high. He’s handled the situation really well, he’s better adapted and he’s a player that is unpredictable, that has something special. It’s just about doing it in a consistent way.

    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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  29. Folarin Balogun became the 876th player to represent us in a first team game after coming off the bench in our 3-0 win over Dundalk on Thursday night.

    The 19-year-old forward has forged a reputation as a formidable goalscorer at both under-23 and under-18 level – and was duly rewarded by Mikel Arteta with his first senior minutes.

    Here’s what Folarin told us after the game:

    on making his debut…
    Yeah it feels great. It’s a moment I have been waiting for for a little while so to finally get it feels great. I can only thanks Mikel ad the staff for this opportunity and I look forward to doing it more often.

    on the journey to get here…
    It’s been tough, I’ve been at a few other clubs doing trials and stuff like that but I’ve been working my way through the academy and I think as time has gone on I’ve become a better player. I think that’s shown in my performances and I think it’s good now to get the recognition that my performances deserve.

    on being told he’s going on…
    Loads of emotions really. I knew that this was the moment I’d been waiting for but at the same time I knew there was a job that needed to be done. So I just tried to come on, make runs, be a nuisance and just help the team.

    on what the fans can expect from him…
    They are going to see lots of energy, and I’d like to say lots of goals. But yeah I think I’d like to carry my performances from the youth team into the first team. That’s what got me here so it’s important I carry on playing the way I do.

    on no fans in the stadium…
    Definitely, that was the only thing missing from tonight, the fans. But I’m sure they were supporting from home.

    on the group position…
    As I said, the boys did well, dealt with the game professionally and I just hope I can get more opportunities and push on from here.

    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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  30. Like to think Balogun’s debut may increase chance of him staying. Also I suppose some possibility our contract negotiator Fahmy leaving could alter picture, but I doubt that.

    Wonder what fortunes will be in end of the promising attacking talents of recent years. Who will reach highest level of Nketiah, John Jules and Balogun. Hard to make predictions as Eddie the only one with high level senior football under belt. Certainly like look of other two in youth games.

    Then there’s Coyle, who I believe was stellar talent till what must have been a very serious knee injury, and Mavididi, who got himself a 6 mill move in Summer but I haven’t heard of at all in months.

    I still have feeling that for all the talent and potential it’s possible that in a few years time Saka may be the only one who full on makes it to be starter with us. hope not. Love producing our own.

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  31. well rich its not possible for them all to make it, and we will soon be talking about the next hotshot striker coming through the U18’s or U23’s, maybe Edwards or new signing Moller, its the nature of the beast. For young players a lot is about being in the right place at the right time to get their chance, and then for them to take it. Very cut throat

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  32. so now Huss Fahmy is gone, is there anyone left who was hired to take over Wenger’s role at the club.

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  33. Arsenal U23’s play Liverpool U23’s this evening

    Graczyk
    Norton-Cuffy, Saliba, Dinzeyi, Lopez
    Akinola, McEneff, Azeez, Cottrell
    Moller, Balogun

    subs: Hillson, Kirk, Taylor-Hart, Cirjan, Ideho

    lots of very inexperienced players included in that squad, think its both Graczyk and Norton-Cuffy’s debut at this level
    first AFC squad new signing Ideho has been included in since his deadline day signing from Ajax

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  34. goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk is 17 and right-back Brooke Norton-Cuffy is 16

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  35. Arsenal Academy
    @ArsenalAcademy
    ·
    57s
    We’ve been forced into an early change…

    🔛
    Catalin Cirjan
    ⬅️
    Jordan McEneff

    #AFCU23 0-0 #LFCU23 (5) | #PL2
    🏆

    Like

  36. Goal for Liverpool – Clayton the scorer.

    We’ve made our second change of the evening through injury…

    🔛
    Alex Kirk
    ↩️
    Jonathan Dinzeyi

    Like

  37. Arsenal Academy
    @ArsenalAcademy
    ·
    2m
    Our third change of the evening…

    🔛
    Kido Taylor-Hart
    ↩️
    William Saliba

    #AFCU23 0-1 #LFCU23 (77) | #PL2
    🏆

    Like

  38. Arsenal Academy
    @ArsenalAcademy
    ·
    7m
    Defeat for #AFCU23

    #PL2
    🏆

    i’m sure the idiots in the fan base will be calling for Bould to be sacked, they have been looking for his head for years now

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  39. Getting louder every game calling for him to go. I enjoy keeping track of youth teams but it’s making it a drag seeing their comments under every tweet.

    So little concession to fact we have unprecedented number of players on loan. 3 starting cb’s plus Bola, who has played in 3, in one night in League one midweek

    Do worry we’ll go down this year though, and if PL2 is ropey environment due to pathetic protection from refs, next one down is undoubtedly worse.

    We can’t afford to get in situation where only string of near perfect results will keep us up as (a) team prob isn’t strong enough to achieve that and, more importantly (b) I think the ref instinct to do us when get a chance will intensify with relegation in sight.

    Match reports seem littered with reds, pens conceded and pen claims turned down as it is so far this year.

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  40. a question for any of you on twitter, do you know which arsenal supporting account is it that puts up lots of little jokes, plays on words etc. for example the other day he put up one that went something like this

    to deter trick or treaters I answer the door naked, oh look here comes two more of them dressed as cops.

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  41. On the loans and luck front, Ed, disappointed to see Zak Swanson loan in Holland going poorly so far.

    Really liked what I’ve seen of his technique and feistiness, and heard talk of him being highly rated- Dutch 2nd division seemed strange choice, especially with all our other loans this year. Only played about 18 mins of their last 6/7 games.

    20 now and not sure many youth players can afford a wasted year at that age if have any shot with us.

    Mcguinness for me has probably shot from way back to be man most likely to make a big career, maybe with us. Ballard should also be prem footballer so long as has injury luck (worry on that front is one big knee injury already and seems type to be insanely committed)

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  42. well rich I see Ballard after two man of the match performances, got sent off in his third game for blackpool

    medley can’t so far hold down a starting spot at CB for Gillingham, and has now been played at full back. coyle in and out of the Gills side too.
    McGuinness was unused sub up to this week with Ipswich, but got named man of the match on his debut midweek.
    FA Cup winner Matt Smith has been impressive for Swindon so far.
    Bola doing well too at Rochdale and Oldham’s results have improved since Clarke got in the team too

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  43. yeah rich it seems that not a game goes by without mention of a good penalty shout for us being turned down by the ref

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  44. Eddie… Think the account you’re looking for David Moggy’s.

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  45. The problem now is we have a young coach in his first role unable to stand up the owners and trying to create a team in the image of some great former coaches.
    The tactic of trying to rely on CB ‘s to start the creative process will not work until the CB’s and the rest of the team are set up to do so and right now we don’t have the personnel.
    Our best goalscorer all round game is poor, our supposedly creative midfielder is negative, our record signing winger can’t take players on cross the ball or get it past the first man on a corner, the CB’s struggle for speed and at the moment are not skilled enough to find accurate passes into the forwards or midfielders and a keeper who is not confident in the air.
    At the moment I still think we will get better especially when we are able to field the same defence game after game after game.
    However Mikel will have to play bravely and not enforce his team to be so cautious.
    At three nil up after 46 minutes against minnows Arsene would have been putting on 13 year olds but Mikel was putting on first eleven players.
    Unai was getting stale and Mikel has started that way hopefully his team will morph into a perpetual motion.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. thanks Labo, that is the one I was looking for

    Like

  47. Dan Critchlow@afcDW·
    5h
    Arsenal u18s win 5-1 against Norwich. Taylor-Hart with a hat-trick, Khayon Edwards with a goal and two assists, plus a goal for Luke Plange and an assist for Charlie Patino.

    Their first really dominant performance of the season. They have the talent to play like this regularly.

    Arsenal u18 team: Ejeheri, Laing, Monlouis, Awe, Foran, Patino, Edwards, Bandeira, Plange, Hutchinson, Taylor-Hart.

    Bench: Francis, Vigar, Flores, Butler-Oyedeji, Mitchell.

    Like

  48. Centre-back Joseph Olowu set to return to Arsenal after loan spell at Cork City

    Defender Joseph Olowu is set to return to Arsenal following his loan spell at Cork City.

    Olowu played 15 times for Cork in the league but couldn’t prevent them from suffering relegation from Ireland’s top tier.

    Given that Arsenal U23s are short of central defensive options, especially after Jonathan Dinzeyi suffered an injury against Liverpool last night, Olowu’s return is timely.

    The 20-year-old could be added to Arsenal’s Europa League squad for the remaining group games.

    Like

  49. I’m here with a new load of bollocks.

    Like

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