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Sunday, June 26, 2022

I don't agree with Paul Merson

 By 1970's Gooner

I must say that I cannot agree with Paul at all. Eddie Nketiah has shown that he has what it takes to become a very prolific striker in the Premier League. He has shown that given a decent run of games and the confidence of his manager that he has the attributes and the determination to rise to the occasion, improve his game and contribute towards achieving at least a top four position for next season.

The addition of Jesus will provide the fantastic forward that Arsenal so lacked last season. But you can't rely on only one forward all season. You need to have at least two who will push each other but also give support and step in when injuries, suspensions and loss of form occur. 

But they can also play together as Jesus is just as good playing on the wing or indeed they can play as a front two if Arteta feels that a switch to that formation especially when chasing a game is merited.

In my opinion Nketiah will kick on now and prove everyone who doubted him wrong. In fact don't be surprised if at some point he puts in such performances that he gives Arteta severe headaches in having to choose who to start up front.



 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Newcastle was a must win game and that's how Arteta approached it from the kick off

 By 1970's Gooner

Well it was a must must win game and that's the way Arteta approached it right from the kick off. This Arsenal side have shown in the past that when the chips are down they respond. Just as they did after those dismal three defeats against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. They thrashed Chelsea away, put  three past Man Utd at the Emirates, got that difficult away win at West Ham and then brushed Leeds aside at home.

Now they knew that after the indiscipline shown in the NLD added to some questionable, to say the least, referee and VAR decisions they had to respond.

And respond they did. 

Both Arsenal and Newcastle went for it right from the beginning and this suited Arsenal. It was Newcastle's last home game and with Premier League safety assured they had nothing to loose and they did want to please the home crowd who had turned up to celebrate. 

Arsenal had to draft Tomiyasu in at centre back as Gabriel went off injured against Spurs (he will not feature against Everton in the last game of the season) and Holding was out due to the silly second yellow he received against Spurs.

This meant that Tavares came in at left back and Cedric stayed at right back. The other notable change was Emil Smith Row for Martinelli.

The open game adopted by both sides suited Arsenal's full backs especially Tavares who took very dangerous positions in Newcastle's half. Granit Xhaka was mindful to cover for him during those forays. 

And it was indeed Tavares that opened the scoring coming in from the left inside the area past his man and unleashing a powerful shot in the opposite corner with his right foot.

This obviously gave the Arsenal players a huge lift but it did not last long as Ben White went down holding his right thigh. He did not look right from the off and it was now obvious he couldn't carry on.

Arteta decided to draft Xhaka alongside Tavares and brought Lokonga on in midfield. Eddie How immediately encouraged Saint Maximin to operate more from Arsenal's left hand side now that cover for Tavares was not expected to be as efficient.

Half time ended with Arsenal defending the 1 0 lead.

In the second half Howe brought on Trippier at right back so that even more emphasis was given on attacking Arsenal's left and put on Callum Wilson to operate alongside Wood in attack. 

And those changes gave Newcastle an impetus as they started to push forward looking for the equaliser with the Arsenal players dropping back to keep their lead. 

And when it looked as though Newcastle might get some joy out of their second half dominance a rare Arsenal attack resulted in a corner. And on this occasion it was a VAR decision that came to the rescue for a hand ball from a raised hand that was initially waived away by Darren England, the referee.

On this occasion it was Xhaka who took it as Saka had been substituted earlier for Azeez who came on to bolster the midfield.

Final Result

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2








Friday, May 06, 2022

Adjustment to Arteta and Edu's transfer strategy might keep Nketia at Arsenal

 By 1970's Gooner

Eddie Nketia has shown, in the last few games he has been used by Arteta, what a lot of us have suspected for along time now. That given a run of games he will improve exponentially. And in the last game, the difficult win over an obstinate West Ham side, he has shown what a tremendous player he can become for Arsenal.

So it makes footballing and also financial sense (in increasing his sale on value) that he stays at Arsenal and fulfils both expectations. We know that he has not signed a new contract and that he is a free agent at the end of this season. What Edu and Arteta can and should do is adjust their transfer strategy so that Nketia can feel that he will be given ample opportunities to claim the number 9 position.

Firstly they should remind Nketia that there are not many if any teams in England or abroad that will guarantee him to be their main striker come rain or shine. Everyone has to earn that right by performances on the pitch. If you look at the possible English PL teams that might be interested they all have decent forwards. 

W Ham have Antonio, Wolves have Himenez, Brighton, which is a possibility, have Maupay and Wellbeck among others (and he will have to fight for his place there of course), Crystal Palace have Mateta a 40 million buy and recently Edouard, Aston villa have Ings and Watkins and the list goes on. The same would apply if he went abroad of course.

Secondly, they should aim to bring in only one new forward who would also be capable of not only playing the number 9 position but also be just as good at performing on the wings. This will show Nketia that he has to fight for his place but like any other player if he does produce the goods the new signing can be accommodated otherwise and will not thwart his progress.

This strategy might not only go a long way in helping Nketia to change his mind but will allow the club to fill the gap in the squad that the impending departure of Pepe will create and recoup some of the initial investment made!

The above arrangements will result in substantial financial savings at not having to buy two new strikers.

Lastly and as a result of the financial savings, Arsenal can offer two more sweeteners in the mix. Offer Nketia a substantial rise in his salary (currently 45,000 a week) AND agree to a new short term contract (maybe two years?). 

This will allow Nketia to feel that he is not tied down to what can prove a frustratingly long contract, he is only 22 after all, and it also allows Arsenal to recoup some money from a possible transfer at the end of the first season if things don't workout.

If thigs do work out then everyone will be happy.









Monday, March 14, 2022

White and Martinelli could prove key in beating Liverpool

 By 1970's Gooner

Last night's convincing victory over Leicester  has helped keep the players confidence at high levels which could lay the foundations for a victory over Liverpool that will shake the football world.

For this to happen Arteta has to choose the right tactics and work in parallel on the players mentality. 

He will remind them of how close to a victory over Man City the players were earlier in the season and how it was snatched away from them by key referee and VAR decisions.

He will also remind them of the much healthier state they are in at the moment as compared to when they last faced Liverpool ( for the Carabao Cup). And we weren't so far away from them...

Tactics will be be important of course. But a paricular tactic that was used effectively in the game against City at the Emirates proved quite effective. The ball behind their right back for Martinelli with Tierney supporting him. This stretched Man City quite a lot and resulted in Arsenal's goal.

I mention this because Liverpool like Man City push their back four quite high up. They also have Trent Alexander Arnold push even further up to support their attacks. But this leaves gaps behind him and Ben White with his long ball accuracy can connect with Martinelly and I hope the rest will be history.....




Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Partey is on his way home!

 By 1970's Gooner

Ghana has had an awful afcon. They needed to win tonight against Comoros to have a chance of qualifying for the next round.

But having been reduced to 10 men as early as the 25th minute they managed to get to 2 2 having initially gone 2 0 down. 

But Comoros came back with a third goal and that was that. They are out.

Partey is coming home...

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Make midfield selections for the cup games having in mind the big one

 By 1970's Gooner

The big one is of course the Spurs game on the 16th of January. The six point game that will go a huge way to deciding who will finish fourth. Win this game at their own ground and Arsenal will be sailing away from the rest to claim a Champions League place, something which, at the beginning of the season, will not have featured even in the most optimistic Arsenal supporters dreams.

The biggest problem facing Arteta however will be the depleted squad left after the departure for the AFCON of two of its five central midfielders, Partey and Elneni. And if the rumours of the impending departure of AMN to Roma are proven true then it leaves us with just two, Xhaka and Lokonga! 

This would not have been so bad if the Spurs game was the only one we would have to play before the departees return to the fold. However there is the FA Cup game at Forest and the first leg of the Carabao Cup against Liverpool away. 

Surely Arteta should not risk playing Xhaka and Lokonga in both of these two games in case they get injured (or red carded). 

The point I am making is that the players that will start against Spurs should be protected as best as we can.

And having this in mind I think that Arteta should consider delaying sanctioning AMN's departure for Italy until these two cup games are played and consider playing Chambers as a defensive midfielder, a position in which he performed very decently when on loan at Fulham. It is also an opportunity to give starts to Nketia and Balogun and to some of the promising youngsters like Patino. 










Friday, November 19, 2021

How should Arteta approach the Liverpool game and which players should start?

 By 1970's Gooner

We should not be carried away with the noise coming out of Liverpool with regard to who is injured and who is available to play for them. For one thing you should not trust it and on the other whoever plays the difficulty of the task remains very high.

There are usually three main approaches to a game. One is to go gang ho and press from the the first minute from the front, win the ball high and squeeze the opponents in their half. I don't of course think that would be suitable here. 

The other extreme would be to drop very deep, with two banks of four in front of the box (park the bus) and go for the quick counter attacks.

The middle way would be to employ a midblock around the half way line, press and squeeze in a disciplined way and counter attack with purpose. This is what West Ham did perfectly and this is the game plan I would go for.

There are two other things that Arsenal should also pursue. One is to give emphasis to corner and free kicks as we have been brilliant in this area so far and Liverpool have shown a weakness there, especially their goalkeeper and right back (Trent Alexander Arnold).

The other is to target our attacks towards Liverpool's right hand side which is often left vacant by Arnold who likes to roam forward a lot leaving spaces behind.

Overall it is vitally important to approach the game with self confidence and belief and be ready to hurt them in every opportunity, otherwise the game plan would go into the waste paper basket.

I would go with the same 11 that started the last game but I would have Lacazette playing slightly behind Aubameyang in a 4 4 1 1 formation to give more support in midfield when without the ball.

I would also start with Tierney in defence rather than Tavares as he has much more experience in this position in the Premier League and of course could exploit, along with Smith Row, the right hand side of Liverpool's defence using his pace and crossing ability.


Ramsdale

Tomiyasou  White Gabriel Tierney

Saka Partey Lokonga Smith Row

Lacazette

Aubameyang





Monday, September 20, 2021

The negatives from the Burnley win

 By 1970's Gooner

It's funny how a victorious outcome in a difficult away game tends to make a lot of people kind of overlook those aspects of the game that didn't go quite well. And there were some significant ones.

The defence was immense but you've got to question Ben White's display especially in the second half when we were bombarded with high balls and Burnley pushed further up the field. Ben also looked nervous when confronted one on one way before he made that back pass. Arteta will have to work  with him during this week mainly on boosting his confidence because our defence will be put under a lot of pressure, albeit of a different kind, against Spurs.

One cannot overlook also how below par the performance of the front three was which is in direct contrast to how well Arsenal played defensively and in the middle of the park where Odergaard and Partey were supreme. The front three lacked cohesion and didn't play with each other as a unit. Passes were often astray or the wrong option was chosen especially when counterattacking as Burnley left gaps at the back.

Saka has not been at his best this season so far and he will need to up his game for next Sunday's derby. 

Pepe who has improved a lot this season showed how he added combativeness to his game often tracking back and stealing balls from the opponents. However his decision making and calmness on the ball needs to improve. 

Aubameyang, although he was a willing runner and a player who needed but did not get the proper service has not recovered his form of yesteryear and I, as well as probably a lot of you, fear whether he will. But this is a debate for the next summer transfer window....

Arteta not only needs to get the tactics and team selection right for the derby (I hope he doesn't bring back Xhaka) he also needs to get his front three to raise their game and play together as a unit.






Saturday, July 31, 2021

Get the cheque book out again Mr Kroenke

 By 1970's Gooner


I've said it before and I will say it again. Odegaard is the man to go for and if need be splash the cash to get him. He is needed more than Ben White who will bolster a defence which was in any case one of the better defences in the League last season.

What Arsenal really need is more creativeness and in Odegaard that is in abundance as was so evidently proven when he arrived on loan for the second half of last season. That's when results started to get a lot better.

Now that Real is willing to listen to offers I believe that Edu should strike early and convince Mr Kroenke to get the cheque book out.

Judging by his technical ability and his young age (22) anything up to 40m is a fair price to pay and one I think Real would accept.



Sunday, June 06, 2021

If you can't get this player then stick with what you've got

 By 1970's Gooner

If you are to believe the papers Arsenal are out of the race to sign creative midfielder Buendia having initially bid 30m. This would have probably risen to around 40m if negotiations had been given a chance to take place. Aston Villa seem to have won that race.

During his loan spell Martin Odegaard has obviously been first choice by Arsenal and rightly so. He has assimilated wonderfully in the team and the way they play. He has also shown those qualities that are ideal for a player in that number 10 position. 

Ability to hold onto the ball, creativeness in his passing, leadership, goal threat and a real work rate to press and close spaces off the ball. I believe he has the potential to easily surpass Ozil who was only very good for the first two of the attributes described above.

For these reasons I believe that Arsenal should concentrate the financial resources available to make an offer that Real will have difficulty in refusing. Remember the player is only 22 and his resale value will easily recoup any initial outlay Arsenal can make.

Now if Real are not willing to sell the player then I doubt if there is another player that will offer what Odegaard has shown. In this case Arsenal should bring Willock back to the fold and give him and Smith Row a real chance to show what they can offer on a consistent basis.