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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.




Thursday, April 08, 2021

This is where Saka should play against Slavia

 By 1970s Gooner

Arteta should resist the temptation to start Saka in a left back or left wing back position. 

Firstly he is so much more effective playing on the right wing in a 4 3 2 1 formation. He pushes the team forward with his runs and he also provides a real goal threat.

Secondly in order for Saka to be effective playing in Tierney's place, Arteta may need to revert to a 3 4 3 formation which would allow Saka to bomb forward.

However this means changing to a system that the players have become unaccustomed to which may create problems with the effectiveness of the team as a whole.

And lastly Slavia are likely to adopt a more conservative  approach as they did very effectively against Leicester and Rangers. So when they do attack on the counter you need proper defenders to defend. 

You will also need your creative players playing up front so that a maximum number of goal opportunities can emerge.

Leno

Chambers Holding Mari Cedric

Partey Xhaka

Saka Odegaard Smith Row

Lacazette

Yes please drop Aubameyang Mikel. And when Lacazette begins to tire bring on Martinelli as a centre forward.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Arsenal's venue for 'home' leg in the Europa League finally set

 By 1970's Gooner

As reported first on this site a few days ago Arsenal's home leg against Benfica which was to be hosted in Athens came into serious question due to the lock down imposed by the Greek government.

Well it now seems that after a lot of comings and goings Uefa are due to announce that Athens will indeed be the venue of this fixture!



Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Arsenal's return leg in the Europa League unlikely to be held in Athens

 By 1970's Gooner

Uefa are now searching for new venues which would be eligible to hold Arsenal's "home' return leg as the Athens solution is unlikely to be available. 

This is because the Government of Greece has announced  today Tuesday that a lock down will be imposed on the Attika area, which includes Athens, until the end of February.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The four almost out of the box alternatives for Tierney's place

 By 1970's Gooner

It doesn't look like Tierney will be available for Monday's game against Newcastle. The fact that he has gone for an MRI implies that his injury might be a more serious one than at first thought of. And even if the MRI comes up clean Arteta should and probably will rest him for this game just to make sure.

So he has to consider what alternatives he has available as, with the loan departure of Colasinac, there is no recognised left back in the squad that could step in.

1. Saka

The young man has played there before, originally under Emery and for Arteta too, and he didn't disappoint. He is versatile enough to carry out his duties adequately and to bomb forward trying to create in the other end. He will have the space to do so as it is anticipated that Bruce is very likely to adopt similar tactics as he did in the cup game.

Arteta can compensate for Saka's absence from the attack by bringing back the fit again Martinelli to play on the right wing. This option will have the added bonus of Willian and Pepe sitting out as I think they don't deserve a chance to start. Lets hope that Arteta is not stupid enough to start either of them.

2. Xhaka

I bet you are surprised by this option but he has also played there before and he did perform ok although his lack of pace might be against him. Nevertheless the very probable inclusion of Partey in the starting line up against Newcastle will displace one of Xhaka and Ceballos so a midfield pairing of Partey and the more creative Ceballos might be the way forward. Especially when taking into consideration that creativeness is what is lacking recently when playing teams with a low block.

This option will allow Arteta to select Saka in a more forward role where he is more effective. In this scenario I would like to still see Martinelli start and either Aubameyang or Lacazette dropping out. Let's face it, neither did enough to warrant a place in the starting line up especially Aubameyang who has been off colour for 17 of the 18 games that Arsenal have played so far.

And may I remind you that in the fantastic win over Chelsea it was a front three of Martinelli, Lacazette and Saka that started and this is what I would recommend Arteta to select if he wants to win the game. A sure way to get the sack would be to select players that are simply not performing, like Willian, Pepe and Aubameyang. This team is not yet that strong to carry one passenger let alone two or even three..

3. Soares

Yes he is a right back but if needs be he should be able to fill in as a left back. The advantage here is that he is a defender so from this point if view he is experienced enough to keep a tight defensive line and defend properly any attackers coming his way. It also allows Arteta to freely choose the rest of the team without dragging someone from other areas of the pitch.

4. AMN

This would be the option that Arteta will choose I feel. He looked rusty against Palace as he hasn't played recently which is understandable. He will be given specific training and instructions to get into forward positions and improve his deliveries something which didn't happen often enough.


My preferred team:

Leno

Bellerin Holding Luiz AMN

Partey Ceballos

Saka ESR Martinelli

Lacazette


Arteta's probable selection: 

Leno 

Bellerin Holding Luiz AMN

Partey   Xhaka

Saka ESR Aubameyang

Lacazette