Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

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.