Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Nketiah will do it again, Balogun will do it next season

 By 1970's Gooner

I had no reservations backing Nketiah to do the business against west Ham in my last post. He had a very good all round game, receiving and protecting the ball under pressure and laying it off to a team mate, contributing to the built up and of course scoring that wonderful goal to put the game out of West Ham's reach. 

I think that was a breakthrough moment for him which will serve as the catalyst to propel him to higher levels. With the newfound confidence gained he is likely to score against Brighton next Saturday. 

He will of course have a run of games before Jesus returns and my feeling is that Arteta will have a difficult time deciding who to start.

The emergence of Balogun must not go unnoticed. He has scored a brace tonight for Reims against Rennes bringing his total in France to ten just behind Mbappe (12) and Neymar (11). I watched the game and Balogun has developed attributes which are important: Strength, confidence on the ball and of course goal scoring at a higher level than he was used to. 

I say 'must not go unnoticed' in the sense that Balogun can follow in Nketiah's footsteps and provide the competition for that number 9 spot in the not too distant future. 

What we do need now is more competition for the wide places in the team. Martinelli and Saka is all we have and the addition of someone like Mudryk will provide a high quality alternative.

Arteta will also be provided with more flexibility in the short term in case Nketiah becomes unavailable, by moving Martinelli in the centre forward position and playing Mudryk wide. 

Mikel is building a strong squad with depth and high quality players which will keep Arsenal not only in the top 4 but continue to be a major contender for the title for years to come.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Nketiah to the rescue

 By 1970's Gooner

The West Ham game appears to be a critical match for Arsenal. If it was a game happening without the World Cup breaking up Arsenal's winning run which has catapulted them to the top of the League, then you would expect an Arsenal home win is on the cards.

Of course, the break for the World Cup may have changed everything with the momentum some players had, interrupted. The same applies for both teams of course. But the onus will be on Arsenal to win more than it is on west Ham.

I expect that Moyes will set up the Hammers to stifle us and break on the counter. Arsenal will need to play with patience and move the ball about quickly.

A lot of pundits are forecasting that West Ham will get a result. One of the reasons they site is the absence of Jesus and Nketiah's indifferent form in the recent friendlies.

I consider Nketiah a very capable striker. Given that the rest of the team create the chances then he has the knack to be at the right place to stick them in.

He has done the business last season when he was called in to take over from Lacazette and I see no reason he can't do it again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Saliba to start against West Ham?

 By 1970's Gooner

All the Arsenal players on World Cup duty seem to have returned to London Colney. Those who were knocked out in the earlier rounds of the tournament have already been assimilated back into the squad and are getting valuable training time preparing for the West Ham game. These are White, Ramsdale, Xhaka, Saka and Turner (the latter two had a very good World Cup), Partey and Martinelli.

The exceptions have been of course Jesus with his well known injury problem and Tomiyasu who seems to have been carrying an injury. The latter has not featured in any of the friendly games and will be doubtful for the West Ham game. In any case Ben white will start at the right back position on Monday.

The only remaining player is Saliba who was part of the France squad but did not get any time. If he takes the week off after the World Cup final, as he is entitled to do, then he will only have had a day with the team and will most probably be out of the West Ham game. 

But even if he did return right after the end of the World Cup then he will only have had a week's training with the team. Taking into consideration that he didn't play at all during the tournament then one week of training will probably not be enough to get him up to match fitness.

Which leads me to conclude that Rob Holding will be starting on Boxing Day as he has been training all throughout the time the others were at the World Cup and played in all of the friendly games in Dubai and at the Emitates. 

Saliba may be on the bench.

The other position that Arteta will need to decide is the left back. Zinchenko has been carrying an injury and even if he shakes it off he has not been able to train much but more importantly he has not played in any of the friendlies. Tierney has and looks fit and ready to go.


White Holding Gabriel Tierney

Partey Xhaka


Saka   Nketiah  Martinelli

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Arsenal game vs Brighton apparently live on TV

 By 1970's Gooner

The usually very reliable site has indicated that the Arsenal game will be transmitted live from the Iranian tv sports station IRIB Varzesh HD.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

And Charlie Patino scores!

 By 1970s Gooner

Charlie Patino scored his first goal for Blackpool which equalised a controversial goal awarded for Millwall when the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line.

It was a fine team move with slick passes culminating with the ball being laid on for the on rushing Patino in the box to slide it in off the goalkeeper's legs.

Charlie is playing well showing no signs of rustiness having been out with an injury.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

And now Balogun scores!

 By 1970s Gooner

I got what I wished for. Balogun scores with a header with his first effort on goal after coming on in the second half in the match between Marseille and Reims.

Tavares had already scored for the opposition with the last kick of the first half and I did hope that Balogun will score too. 

Tavares scores a screamer

 By 1970s Gooner

It seems that what a lot of us Arsenal fans thought about Nuno Tavares is increasingly being proved correct.

And this is that Nuno's best attributes lie in his attacking ability. In tonight's debut game for Marseille he has spent most of the first half in the final third of the pitch almost as a winger.

And in the last minute of the half cut across from the left and unleashed a screamer from outside the area with his right foot. It went straight in with the keeper having no chance.

Balogun is on the subs bench for the opposition, Reims, and he will probably come on later. It will be wonderful if he gets on the score sheet too....

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.