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