Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, December 29, 2023

The major issues Arteta has to correct for the game at Fulham

 By the Coach

The first and most important major issue is the drop off in performance from the front three. 

This has been building up recently but it became very evident against Villa, Liverpool and now the very disappointing defeat at home against West Ham.

All three forwards are below their best especially Martinelli who seems to be shorn of the confidence he has so wonderfully shown last season in particular.

Saka is also below par, nowhere his best. A lot has to do with the two pronged defence that is usually employed by the opposition. 

Saka's effectiveness is also impaired when White's overlaps are nowhere to be seen. But they are very effective because it drags one of the two defenders out of position and gives Saka a fair chance to take his defender on. 

Or White can cross the ball from a dangerous position as he did for the header that Jesus missed. 

Jesus keeps missing very good chances and I wonder how long he can keep his place in the team if he carries on like this.

I consider that Martinelli has to be rested for the Fulham game and either play Trossard there or even give Riece Nelson a chance. Alternatively Arteta might consider playing Trossard as a false 9 and deploy Jesus on the wing.

This might prove to be a more interesting option as Trossard's movement may help drag defenders out of position and create spaces to be exploited. Trossard and Jesus may also swap positions which may create more confusion. 

The second major issue in my mind is the slow built up after we get control of the ball. 

What has been very apparent this season is the unwillingness of our defenders and midfielders to get the ball to the forwards, especially to the wide players, quickly.

We seem to amble along moving the ball forward but slowly. This unwillingness to play a fast paced game gives the opportunity to the opponents to return to their positions in their low block formation and maintain their structure, which includes of course doubling up on our wingers.

Let's change that please.

And the third issue is that we rarely take shots from outside the area. How many did we have against West Ham? Three I can remember.  

But we have to give the opposition something else to worry about other than trying  to create intricate patterns with short passes inside a very congested penalty area.  They might come out of position to prevent that happening. 

Or you never know we might even score!

Saturday, November 04, 2023

Raya at fault for the Newcastle goal

By 1970s Gooner 

OK you can say Gabriel should gave cleared the ball but he completely missed it. 

Then you can say that the ball went out and it did but the idiots at the VAR couldn't be sure about it.

And then you can say that when the ball rolled down Joellington's knee the goalscorer was offside...

All decisions unfortunately went against us.

But really how can you excuse Raya for not collecting that ball from Willock. He was once again out of position and just flapped at it.

He has cost us 2 points against Chelsea again with his wrong positioning and now another 3 today.


Friday, November 03, 2023

Now is the time to introduce the most effective left sided midfielder Arsenal have

 By 1970s Gooner

I hope that Arteta does not repeat, for the game at Newcastle, the same mistake he made against Chelsea by playing Jorghino at the base of Arsenal's midfield as a number 6.

He himself admitted afterwards that when he replaced jorghino with Rice the team had better control of the game and were able to play higher up the pitch.

Jorghino cannot carry out that role effectively especially against teams that play a dynamic and pressing game based on power and strength as Newcastle do.

We must also take into account that Jorginho played against West Ham on Wednesday night in what proved to be a very demanding game.

Now if Rice is to start in the base of midfield for Saturday's game in place of Jorghino then who can play on the left side of midfield. 

I most certainly would not advocate Vieira nor Havertz as neither can play that role efficiently enough as we have all seen in the games they have participated in.

Emil Smith Row could definitely grow into that role but he is ofcourse unavailable. 

In my opinion Arteta should start Tomiyasu as a left back and push the most gifted left sided player Arsenal have, Zinchenko, to the left side of midfield. 

Zinchenko struggles as a defender but he can be very good on the left side of midfield which is his natural position anyway both with and without the ball. I consider him to be a similar player as Xhaka and certainly to be as efficient. 

This adjustment will allow Arteta to play Rice in the base of midfield where, in the absence of Partey, he is most effective and improve the balance of the team considerably.

My team:


White Saliba Gabriel Tomiyasu 

Odegaard Rice Zinchenko 

Saka Enketiah Martinelli 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

The main reason that Arsenal were not at the races vs Chelsea

 By 1970s Gooner 

Arsenal lacked control for 76 or so minutes in the game against Chelsea. The main reason for this was the deployment of Jorginho at the base of midfield. 

This meant that Rice was moved into the Xhaka role on the left. Also Zinchenko's invertion into midfield was not that apparent as he had to content with the threatening runs of Sterling on that side.

Chelsea on the other hand played with a false 9 in Palmer which meant that in their half block they had one if not more players in the middle than Arsenal. 

More importantly Jorginho was not at the races himself as he was not able to provide a decent defensive barrier nor was he able to pass the ball forward that often preferring to pass sideways or backwards.

All this  was corrected when Jorginho was substituted and Rice was moved in the anchor position.

It appears that Arteta had overestimated Jorginho's ability to control the game by repeating his fine performance vs City. He didn't of course. 

Now why Arteta didn't start Partey there is beyond me and many many Arsenal supporters.

If Arteta felt that Partey was too tired from his travels to the USA then he could have started Rice as the number 6 and brought Zinchenko as the left sided midfielder with Tomiyasu at left back.

Now that's an idea...

Even Karl Hein was worried

 By 1970s Gooner 

Even Karl Hein was worried. Raya was having such an awful game against Chelsea that poor boy, Karl I mean, was beginning to contemplate that Arteta would do what he bizarrely threatened he was capable of doing. And that is to substitute the goalkeeper midway through a match!

Honestly Arteta is loosing the plot if he thinks that Raya is a better goalkeeper than Ramsdale or even if he is better at passing the ball with his feet.

He is not.

He conceded Chelsea's second goal by his wrong positioning. This was a goal that gave Chelsea renewed belief and sunk the Arsenal players confidence.

Yet if you remember Raya committed just the same mistake against Spurs. He was out of position for a high ball from the side which luckily hit the bar. And from the same phase a great chance was created by spurs which he did well to save ( his blushes).

Take the Lens CL game. His ill advised long diagonal pass to Tomiyasu was easily intercepted and resulted in their equaliser during a period which we were gaining control of the game having gone ahead.

And what about the Man City game. He was a bunch of nerves full of anxiety and got his passing all wrong. We were very lucky we didn't concede in those crucial early stages of the game.

Surely Ramsdale comes in goal for the Seville game and deserves a run in the team.


Thursday, October 05, 2023

Partey ready for City game?

 By 1970s Gooner

Partey's participation in Sunday's game against Man City can be considered crucial in maximising Arsenal's chances of winning the game and leapfrogging their rivals in the table.

He has been in full training since last week and was on the bench for the Lens game. This shows that he is ready to help the team. Its up to the doctors and Arteta whether to start him or bring him on later in the game.

But the only reason to bring him on as a sub is if you are trying to hold onto a result. If he starts from the off he will be able to provide that extra strength and stability in midfield alongside Declan Rice. 

There's another significant benefit to be derived from his participation in the game and that is that as a result Havertz will probably start from the bench. A significantly positive change in my opinion increasing Arsenal's efficiency levels overall.

And funnily enough our draw and subsequent victory on penalties against City in the charity shield was based on the same midfield of Partey, Rice and Odegaard. 

Our starting 11 for that day was :


White Saliba Gabriel Timber

Partey Rice Odegaard 

Saka  Havertz Martinelli 

Our front three are likely to be different on Sunday and the absence of Saka and Martinelli in particular didiminishes Arsenal's attacking threat significantly. Remember these two players scored 29 goals between them last season as well as assisting 17 times.

As a result Arsenal's ability to keep the ball in the attacking third for long periods of time is likely to be jeopardised. And that is another reason why Partey can help provide a strong shield in midfield.

My starting 11 for Sunday would be:


White Saliba Gabriel Zinchenko 

Partey Rice Odegaard 

Jesus Nketiah Trossard 

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

In the absence of Saka the starting 11 to face Man City

 By 1970s Gooner 

What was obvious to everyone except Arteta has happened. It was so apparent that Saka needed a rest but Arteta obviously thinks that he is so important to this team he ought to play even on one leg! 

Well it's now very unlikely in my opinion that Saka will be able or allowed to start on Sunday. 

Given that Martinelli has not trained at all yet with the team shows that even if he is declared physically fit he most certainly will not be match fit either.

Just like Trossard was against Lens where he wasn't able to affect the game and fluffed the great chance he had to score.

I would start him on Sunday however and hope that he has gained some sharpness from last night's game.

Just to mention also that Arteta's substitutions came late last night and this is also another area he has to improve on. It was fairly obvious that Lens had started to gain ground about 10 minutes before they scored their second and that was when some substitutions should have been made to steady the ship.

It's now a new game on Sunday and there are two weaknesses that have to be addressed. 

The first one is the openness of our left hand side where Zinchenko's inversion into midfield leaves a gap which Lens did exploit and Man City surely will. Especially since Havertz does not have the skills nor is he really adept at falling back to cover for that side unlike Xhaka used to.

So in the starting 11 consideration should be given for Partey to start which will add more steel in our midfield and allow Rice to play more to the left to provide the necessary cover.

Partey was on the bench against Lens and has trained with the team so I think he can start on Sunday. Remember he was playing the last time we played against City in the charity shield.

If Partey is not fit to start then Arteta may think a little bit out of the box and bring in midfield Zinchenko and start Tomiyasou at left back. This arrangement looks promising to me.

The other weakness was on our right side where White was benched against Lens but Tomiyasu was not able to be as offensive as White can. White has to return of course.

And lastly who replaces Saka? Well Arteta has two options. One is to bring back Nketiah in the middle and play Jesus on the right side (last time he played on the left). And the other is to give Nelson a chance as I don't consider Smith Row to be able to play that role and I would certainly not play Vieira there as that's not his position really.

Ramsdale should start but Arteta will probably start Raya..


White Saliba Gabriel Zinchenko 

Odegaard Partey Rice

Jesus  Nketiah Trossard

Alternative 11


White Saliba Gabriel Tomiyasou 

Odegaard Rice Zinchenko 

Jesus Nketiah Trossard

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Arteta's lost the plot

 By 1970s Gooner 

There are four reasons why I believe Arteta has lost the plot.

The first one is his obsession to tinker with something that wasn't broke. In fact it was working smashingly well last season until injuries, squad depth and inexperience of a young team took its toll.

His tinkering has confused the Arsenal players as was so evident with choosing a midfield player to play as an inverted right back. Fulham's first goal came about from Partey ignoring or not being aware that Saka was under pressure and rushed to position himself in midfield leaving a huge gap behind.

Furthermore Arteta has removed White from right back which had the knock on effect of depriving Saka the excellent relationship he had with White. This was a major reason last season which unlocked the spaces behind the two defenders who are usually assigned to stop Saka.

Secondly amidst all this tinkering he insists on starting Havertz in every game when it is blatantly obvious that the boy is not delivering. He can not mark well, link with Martinelli nor score. WHAT CAN HE DO?

Start Trossard there, ESR, Vieira or better still DROP him and play Rice there. He can do the job for sure.

Thirdly why did he have to go with a false number nine? Especially with all the confusion created with all the tinkering in the rest of the team. Start Nketiah there for all of our sake. He has proved that he is up for it.


Dropping points like this and insisting on carrying on with this tinkering will mean that we are now out of the title race unless City hand it to us.

Your target now has to be to finish in the top 5.

This is what has to be done:

1. Reinstate Gabriel in defence and White at right back 

2. Drop Havertz and play Partey, Rice and Odegaard in midfield

3. Give Nketiah a run he will score goals for you

4. STOP TINKERING, you and this squad is not that experienced to copy Pep and his tinkering. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

No wonder Saka and Martinelli are below par

 By 1970s Gooner

Arteta's tactics of using an inverted full back into the midfield spaces has served us well last season. but that was because Zinchenko was so good at it AND Xhaka was playing that role of the box to box left sided midfielder who could attack, link up with Martinelli and come back and defend. 

This season Havertz cannot play that role as effectively as Xhaka did and this is the major reason that Matinelli has been less effective so far (as well as missing Jesus who would move away from the middle allowing Martinelli to move inwards).

This season so far Arteta has tried to go one further with inverting Timber from right back AND playing Partey as an additional inverted right back. In the absence of Timber against Palace he reverted to just inverting Partey from right back. 

But this has greatly affected Saka because now White, who has been moved from RB to the centre back position, cannot bomb up and down the flank to offer support to Saka and Odegaard and help distract the two pronged defence usually employed to stop the wonder boy. Partey is more occupied in central midfield and when he does offer support to Saka he is not that effective with it. Its not his game really.

I think these are the major reasons that in our two games so far we have enjoyed almost total domination of the ball (when playing with 11) but have not been creating enough chances to blow the opponents away. And this leaves you vulnerable to allowing the opponent to feel that they can come back at you as the score is still tight.

I hope that against Fulham Zinchenko could return and play that inverted role and that Arteta reinstates White at right back and brings in Gabriel at centre back. 

I would also be happy if Havertz is dropped and Partey, Rice and Odegaard are cemented as our three midfielders.

In this way the team will be more balanced both in defending but also in creating and scoring more freely.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

We expect Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey to join us next week

 By 1970s Gooner 

This is the statement put out by Arsenal today when announcing the squad to travel to the USA for preseason training and games.

Emil Smith Row's absence is understandable. His last game was with the U21s winning the uefa European Under 21 championship against Spain on the 8th of July. Add 15 days and you can guess when he will join up with the rest of the group in the USA. 

But Partey had no such commitments as far as I can tell. He was of course in the starting 11 to face Nurnberg in Germany last Thursday. 

But Arsenal are 'expecting' him to join the squad next week alongside Emil Smith Row.

Let's hope there is no injury involved or some kind of transfer activity going on.

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Partey should stay at home

 By 1970s Gooner

It looks as though we've got Rice and that's wonderful especially as Xhaka has already gone. 

What a tremendous trio of midfield players we could have next season in Rice, Partey and Odegaard. A midfield which would put the fear in most teams in the Pl and able to compete on an equal basis with Man City and the other top teams.

But if what is being rumoured, that Thomas Partey could leave in this window, proves to be true then we surely cannot rely on Jorginho or Elneny to fill that gap. Especially against a more demanding opponent.

And of course Rice can fill that void but I don't think that Havertz can do the box to box Xhaka role as well.

So imo if we allow Partey to go then we haven't improved our midfield at all. And we would still need to splash unnecessary cash to replace Partey as well as facing the risk that the new midfielder may not prove to be an adequate replacement. 

Let's face it Partey is able to control games as a sole pivot in the middle. No one can do that job as well as he has been doing it. Granted his injury record is not that good but if need be with Rice we now have a very good replacement which we didn't last season.

Partey should not be allowed to leave.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Arsenal are not likely to sign any new central defenders

 By 1970s Gooner 

It's great news that Saliba will most probably sign a new contract. In my opinion Arsenal should have offered him the rise he was asking for a long time ago as it is obvious he is absolutely worth it. 

Gone are the days when only goalscorers would get massive contracts. Goalkeepers and defenders are just as important. And this is ofcourse now more widely recognised.

Arteta's transfer strategy for this window seems to be concentrating not on defenders but midfield players. 

This seems logical to me as the current squad is very light on central midfielders taking into consideration Xhaka's imminent departure and the absence of a viable deputy for Partey in the squad. 

But it can also help provide quality backup for the defensive options we so desperately missed when Saliba got injured.

Let me explain.

The acquisition of Rice would go a long way towards replacing Xhaka but it will not be enough as we will still be vulnerable to the possibility of Partey being incapacitated with no viable replacement (Elneny imo cannot fill in adequately).

And this is where the acquisition of an additional defensive midfielder will help solve two problems. A midfielder like Caicedo can play in central midfield but also as a right back thus releasing White to move into a central defensive position if and when needed. Partey can play as a right back too.

Tomiyasou can also play that role but it's not clear if he will be ready when the season gets underway. 

In conclusion, the addition of Rice and Caicedo will go a long way into bolstering the strength of the squad in various positions. A squad that will have to compete for the title again and in the Champions League. 

So let's concentrate our scarce financial resources in getting these two transfers over the line and go again....

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Arteta's selections confuse everyone including the players

 By 1970s Gooner 

For some reason only known to himself Mikel Arteta selected  a back line which rendered the whole team and its style of play incapable of functioning.

Partey was playing at right back. White was moved sideways as a right centre back. Gabriel remained where he was but inexcusably Kiwior was selected at left back with Tierney on the bench!!!

These selections had even more serious implications for the efficiency of the team moving forward as well as in its defensive capability. 

 Kiwior as a left back was nervy and kept passing the ball back to Gabriel rather than forward to Trossard. This meant the Trossard was out of the game completely and the team became very unbalanced.

Additionally the other defensive players stopped passing the ball to Kiwior! All our efforts to go forward were directed towards Saka. Forest realising this had three players blocking him.

Xhaka also tended to stay back not venturing forward so as to provide cover on the left side.

On the other side Partey was not bad as a right back but he wasn't a White. White has a great and very effective relationship with Saka. This was totally absent today. 

And as a consequence it also rendered Odergaard much less effective on the right side as the Forest defence only had to deal with two players, Saka and Odergaard, rather than three.

Add to all this Jesus's worst game of the season and his inability to hold the ball or even provide any kind of goal threat. So the team was even more unbalanced.

I won't go on as I will get even more depressed but I think you get the message.

I hope Arteta gets it too....

Friday, May 05, 2023

Should Kiwior, Zinchenko and Partey start vs Newcastle?

 By 1970s Gooner

I wouldn't get too excited over the demolition of Chelsea the other night. Chelsea performed at league 2 level and really Arsenal actually failed to produce their best.

And when Chelsea made the substitutions that should have started from the beginning, they scored and looked dangerous. 

Kiwior didn't impress me as much as he did with a lot of other Arsenal commentators. He only had a dismal Aubameyang to deal with most of the time and of course a way below Chelsea team. 

He also allowed a high ball to bounce behind him rather than heading it away. Just as he did in Arsenal's game against Sporting when they scored!

Which brings me to next Sunday's game. If he is not so strong on high balls how is he going to cope when Newcastle target their crosses on his side? I do think that Holding is a much more experienced defender to cope with the type of threats that Newcastle will pose. But why does the back of my mind somehow tells me that Arteta will insist with Kiwior?

The other player who is becoming a liability lately is Zinchenko who I like a lot when he is on his game as he provides a much better control of games from his inverted role. But he has been off it in the crucial games for the run in and been responsible for conceding goals.

So I would start Tierney as a left back on Sunday who can provide a solid base on the left. 

The dilemma for Arteta is who to start in central midfield. Jorginho did very well against Chelsea but I don't think he can repeat that against a much stronger, in midfield, Newcastle. 

Partey on the other hand looks as though he goes to too many parties lately because he has been awful in recent games. Even when he came on against Chelsea he only made two interventions and both of them resulted in Chelsea getting possession. The second was a needless foul outside out area.

Still he will probably get the nod as he can be a real game changer if he is on his game and Arteta will probably be working on him in training to help him get to that level.

I would also start Trossard again as he did offer a different approach than Martinelli who was ineffective when he came on last Tuesday. 


White Holding Gabriel Tierney 

Odergaard Partey Xhaka 

Saka Jesus Trossard 

Sunday's game will be a difficult one with Newcastle being strong and on form and Arsenal being below par.

We will have to perform at our stunning best like we did in the first 20 minutes of the Liverpool and West Ham games for the 90+ minutes of course to claim the three points.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Arsenal's brilliant football can bring the title home

 By 1970s Gooner

Watching Arsenal in the last two games reminded me of the Wenger teams who were so good they would go up 2 0 in the first 20 or so minutes and then start taking liberties, passing it back and forth between themselves and show boating which annoyed me no end. They would then concede a goal and would have to work hard to keep the lead.

The difference with this Arsenal team is that they showed that they can't keep the lead. One would have thought that they would have learned their lesson at Liverpool but no they go and repeat the same mistake at West Ham. 

Arteta has to also look at himself, in my opinion, who obviously didn't press the point home enough after the Liverpool performance but more importantly during his in game management for the West Ham game.

So my prediction is that we are likely to see a different mentality for the up coming Southampton game where we are likely to again dominate the ball, create and hopefully score goals early in the game. And if this happens we should not let up and carry on applying the screw until the game is well beyond the opposition.

This will allow us to close the goal difference gap to Man City but more importantly set us up for the game of the season next Wednesday. It will also transfer the pressure to Man City who will be seven points behind and will know that any slip up in Wednesday's game will give Arsenal a big boost, transferring the advantage for the title to our side of North London.

Arsenal have been playing brilliant football in the last nine games where we won seven on the trot and threw away two goal leads for the last two. But the slip ups were not due to us going off the boil, feeling the pressure or indeed playing badly. We were just too complacent. 

Once we cut that out we will surprise everyone and go on to win the Premier League.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Arsenal will bounce back but we need better management of games

 By 1970s Gooner

Xhaka should have a good look at himself. We were coasting, 2 0 up at Anfield and the opponents and the home supporters were subdued.

Up pops Xhaka to instigate a mild handbags confrontation with Alexander Arnold and manages to jee up the local partisan crowd as well as the Liverpool players. 

Reminded me of last season when Arteta had the confrontation with Klopp at 0 0 and then we let in four goals! We never learn...

One minute after Xhaka's madness they score and we go in at half time 2 1. It obviously is anybody's game after that. They are fired up, they have nothing to loose and they throw the kitchen sink at us. 

Worryingly we fail to manage the game, keep our passing game intact and hold them at bay. Arteta also makes the wrong substitutions and Ramsdale becomes man of the match, a disappointing distinction for a title chasing team.

Mikel took Jesus out replacing him with Trossard who offered nothing in keeping the ball. Jesus would have been much more adept at doing that and he wasn't that tired.

He also took out Odegaard instead of Xhaka who was tired. But Odergaard is much better at taking the ball out of defence.

But the worse substitution was the one he made AFTER they equalised. Tierney for Zinchenko. This should have been the first substitution. I am sure Alexander Arnold would not have gone passed Tierney, had he been on, so easily for the cross that led to the equaliser.

Now the margin for future errors is miniscule. 

But we will bounce back as we have done before this season leading to the 7 match winning run up to today.

The main target should be to be ahead of Man City on points, assuming they win their game in hand, when we come to play them on the 26th April.

If we avoid defeat in that game then the title will surely be ours.

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Arsenal's remaining challenges on the road to the title

 By 1970's Gooner

There are only 9 games left which if navigated without too many bumps we could be out on the streets outside the Emirates on the 28th May and at Islington Town Hall a few days later!

But I wish it were that simple. 

In my eyes we have a much more difficult run in than Man City. We have had 7 wins out of our last 7 games but these wins can be considered as games you would be expected to win anyway. And our 8 point gap isn't that big really when you consider that Man City have a game in hand and a home game against us having already beaten us in the league and the FA Cup this season. If for example City win their game in hand and against us then the gap will only be 2 points and 'Squeaky bum time' begins to tick. And then its anybody's game.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not a doomsday merchant, but we need to be pragmatic and realistic enough to understand that the effort that this youngish Arsenal team will need to put in will be by far more challenging than what they have faced up to now this season.

Let's look at the 9 games.

Liverpool away: Not at their best to say the least, the defence and their midfield way below what it used to be. But they will be playing at home, a ground where Arsenal have not won since Arteta's playing days. And they will be looking for a reaction after their heavy defeat at the Etihad (they will also be playing tonight at Chelsea). 

It is imperative that Arsenal bring back Saliba, if possible, and of course Saka. I say this because we will have to be at our best to claim the win. If we do win then psychologically the Arsenal players mentality will be propelled skywards and onwards towards a successful run in. This is a pivotal game alright.

West Ham away: Another tricky game at the hostile atmosphere of the London Stadium and a team fighting for their survival in the Premier League. City will play West Ham at home on a date to be decided.

Southampton home: As above but we are playing at home. City play Soton away.

Man City away: If we are above City on points going into this game and manage to win or even draw then I believe we will go on to win the title. City will have to navigate CL midweek games against Bayern Munich during the run in and an FA Cup semi final (albeit against Sheffield Utd) 3 days before the Arsenal game.

Chelsea home: Tricky game now that Potter has been sacked and a new manager due to come in soon which will likely give a boost to the Chelsea players. But we are playing at home. So will City against Chelsea. 

Newcastle away: Another very tricky game for me facing a Newcastle team in a hostile environment which has become much more effective with the return to fitness of Isaak and Wilson and playing more expansive football as we recently witnessed against Man Utd. This may mean of course that there may be more open spaces for us to exploit. City have already beaten Newcastle a few weeks ago at the Etihad.

Brighton home: We know how they play and we put 4 past them in the reverse fixture. City also have Brighton at home on a date to be decided.

Nottingham Forest: Will be fighting for their lives and have a good record at home. 

Wolves home: The last game of our season. They may be fighting relegation or they may be already safe. Nevertheless lets hope that we are already champions by then.....

City's remaining games are more or less similar in difficulty but they have already played and beaten Liverpool and I feel we have to do the same. 

City are however involved in three competitions (the PL title, the FA Cup and the CL) which will mean a much heavier fixture load and the tiredness that may result as well as the lure of winning the CL which may affect focus.

Arsenal on the other hand can focus on only one target. THE PREMIER LEAGUE


Thursday, March 09, 2023

Vieira doubtful for the Sporting game

 By 1970s Gooner

Arteta confirmed during last night's press conference in Lisbon that Fabio Vieira had indeed travelled with the squad.

What Martinelli confirmed in his own answers in the same conference was that his best friend was ill and couldn't be present there. And that's why Martinelli took his place.

This makes Vieira's participation for tonight's game doubtful. 

In trying to guess what Arteta will do tonight we only have to look at what he has done in all the previous games in this competition. He has gone strong with his selections. 

The fact that Tierney is absent will probably force him to select Zinchenko as a left inverted back to cover, but more importantly in my mind, to gain control of the midfield.

Especially if he rests Odergaard and plays ESR in the number 10 position.

Martinelli will most probably start as a number 9 flanked by Nelson and yes Saka.

And since left footed Kiwior looks likely to start (according to repots from Poland) he will be flanked by a right footed player in Saliba.

So my prediction for the starting 11 is as follows.


Tomiyasou  Saliba Quior Zinchenko

Georgino  ESR  Xhaka 

Saka   Martinelli Nelson

Thursday, March 02, 2023

200 low blocks

 By 1970s Gooner 

Everyone keeps pointing out the difficult games remaining in the run in. Games like Man City and Liverpool away for example even Chelsea at home if they can get their act together.

But in my opinion it's the supposedly not so difficult games that can cause you most harm. Games like Everton and Southampton away as well as Newcastle and Brentford at home have cost us dearly (9 points dropped).

Of course the reason for this is that these teams tend to play a low block packing their midfield with defensively minded players and doubling up on our wide players. You really need a particular mind set and a way of playing to get round these blocks and win the points.

The better teams tend to play a more open game which creates more spaces for us to operate in and play our own game.

Our remaining games contain more of the low block variety. Games such as Newcastle, Fulham, Forest and W. Ham away and Bournemouth, Palace, Wolves and Southampton at home. 

Zinchenko and come to that Jesus, when he returns, will prove vital in carrying us through these games with the experience they have gained with City. Where nearly every game is played against a low block.

Zinchenko in particular is dictating play from his inverted position and an important element of his play is that almost all his passes are not side ways but forward. 

They are aimed in the half spaces where Xhaka or Odergaard can receive and turn facing the opposition goal. Or even directly to Saka or Martinelli. 

His passing is not always 100% successful due to the difficulty of threading the ball through a packed midfield. But he shows the way and more often than not to victory.

He has after all gained his know how having faced 200 low blocks in his previous life....according to Arteta.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Play like that against Leicester and you're out of the title race

 By 1970s Gooner 

We have been used to seeing this Arsenal team start games on the front foot pressing from the top right from the first minute. And showing the positiveness and determination to take the game to the opponent. 

This attitude was missing away against Everton where we failed to deal with their energy and new found confidence from their coach's first game in charge.

We regained it against Brentford and in the first half against City but resurfaced again against Villa. 

We started the game nervously and without the necessary concentration. Our passing again was harried and imprecise which resulted in Zinchenko loosing the ball and Villa scoring.

Again for Villa's second goal there was no pressing when Martinez passed the ball to one of his defenders. He had all the time in the world to move forward and pass the ball to a midfielder and he had no one marking him as he effortlessly moved up the field and lo and behold two passes later they were scoring...

Where were we? What were we thinking? What a shambles first half. We have no chance of winning the League or even finishing in the top four if we keep repeating this kind of performance.

Arteta should leave aside all this nonsense of ' showing resilience' and 'character' and he should go deeply in his post match analysis of this game and get to the bottom of this first half shambolic performance. Because if it is not corrected Leicester will thump us real hard. They had a terrific first half against Utd and it was only Rashford's finishing that changed the game. 

Note that we don't seem to have that at the moment.

Friday, February 10, 2023

The two problems that need to be corrected against Brentford

 By 1970's Gooner 

Arsenal had 70% possession in the Everton game but never really looked in control through out. Right from the kick off our passing was laboured and imprecise which was quite unlike in any of Arsenal's games this season. 

Of course Everton contributed to that but you would have expected that Arteta would have prepared the players for it. 

One statistic that stood out for me and it was indeed very noticeable during the game was the awful defending of the 7 corners that Everton won.

In only one did we get the first header! This meant that we were on the back foot most of the time trying to clear the ball from inside the area rather from the edges of the area. And of course we conceded from a corner kick....

This is worrying for me.

If I'm not mistaken this was only the second goal conceded by Arsenal this season as a result of a dead ball situation.

So the issues that need to be corrected are the intensity and quality of passing which would go a long way towards controlling the game and of course defending corners, free kicks and long throws.

Brentford, having studied our performance against Everton, would undoubtedly have been training all week to hit us where they consider we are weak.

Let's show our quality and hit them with another 3 goals as we did back in late August at their ground.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Balogun's hat trick propels him to the top of the goal scorers table!

 By 1970's Gooner 

I keep telling you. This boy is a born goalscorer. In tonight's game against Lorient he has bagged a hat trick. And he had also missed two glorious chances to add to his tally.

The first came from a soft penalty awarded in the 44th minute for bringing down a Reims player when a corner was taken. Balogun struck it hard in the middle of ex Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone's goal. 

Lorient had already gone 2 0 up and it looked that Reims had a difficult game on their hands. 

Balogun's second and Reims's third came in the 64th minute when he steered home a deflected cross which went in off Vito's outstretched hands.

And the third and best of all was a volleyd shot in the 68th minute with his left foot which arrowed in on the far corner.  

This is I think his first hat trick in top flight football. It also takes him to the top of the League's scorers chart with 14 goals, one ahead of Mbape who is in action later tonight.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Are Arsenal the real deal now?

 By 1970's Gooner

Jorginho will become the 12th player to represent both Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League. But in my opinion he will become the major jigsaw of the puzzle that Edu and Arteta have undertaken to make Arsenal a top top team.

Their first major task when they took over was to get rid of the very expensive dead wood that was also holding the whole team down from reaching its potential. Among others the most significant moves out of the club were Ozil and Aubameyang who were earning huge amounts and contributing very little. Lacazette left when his contract run out and Pepe was moved out on loan.

They then proceeded to blood in the first team young players from the academy such as Saka and Smith Row as well as Martinelli who joined Arsenal very young. The recruitment policy was again centred on younger players such as Ramsdale, Ben White, Tomiyasu, Odegaard and Saliba (who was brought back from loan).

These players were blended with more experienced players such as Partey from Athletico Madrid and Xhaka who was convinced to stay by Arteta when he was on the verge of leaving.

The icing on the cake came when Jesus and Zinchenko were recruited from Arteta's previous job, Man City. They added experience and high quality as well as a winning mentality which is proving vital in propelling Arsenal to the top of the League.

All well and good with the first team but the depth of the squad needed to be strengthened especially in the wide areas where Saka and Martinelli plough their trade as well as in the midfield area where Partey Xhaka and Odegaard operate.

The imminent addition of Jorginho and that of Trossard from Brighton, proven and experienced players in central midfield and in the front positions respectively has now gone a long way in alleviating those fears.

Lets look at the squad at each position:

Ramsdale is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the League. His understudy, Turner, has proven by his performances in the World Cup for the USA and especially in the game against Man City in the Cup that he is a more than a capable goalkeeper.

At right back Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu have shown that the right back position is adequately covered by quality defenders. Both can also play at centre back equally well.

Gabriel and Saliba are a formidable partnership and a major reason we have the second most stingy defence in the League. Holding I would consider not to be an adequate replacement of either of these two. Kiwior who has been brought in in this window may prove to be so and that is the reason that he was recruited.

Tierney and Zinchenko who cover the left back position are excellent at their jobs. Tierney is an orthodox left back and very and good at it. Zinchenko is something else! He dictates Arsenal's game from coming in midfield.

Partey and Xhaka I need say no more. But now we have quality cover in Jorginho and of course there is Viera who needs this season to get to terms with the PL. Additionally Zinchenko, if need be, can play as effectively in midfield as at left back. Lokonga I do not consider as an adequate replacement player in midfield.

I also do not consider that Arsenal at the moment have a like for like replacement for the master Odergaard and this is a problem area that needs to be resolved. There is of course Emil Smith Row who can grow into that role (Man City will probably have the same problem if De Bruyne got injured).

And in the front wide areas we have Saka, Martinelli and now Trossard. Emil Smith Row can also play there.

Jesus and Nketiah have proven to be excellent up front. Trossard can also play in that position as he has done for Brighton. Balogun in my opinion will be a revelation next season when he comes back from the loan at Reims.

All in all Arsenal's first team squad now not only has a high quality first team 11 but also high quality strength in depth. 

Are Arsenal the real deal now?

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Balogun goes round Donnarumma with ease

 By 1970's Gooner 

Balogun looked really sharp tonight for Reims against the League leaders PSG scoring his 11th goal of the season. 

He showed that he has great speed, takes very good positions which give him the best chance to receive the ball and he is not averse to taking the shots when the opportunity arises.

He tested Donnarumma early in the game, a shot that the goalkeeper had to tip away to stop it hitting the net.

He led the line well receiving the ball under pressure and laying it off to a fellow player. And as the game was reaching the last seconds of a 6 minute injury time he popped up with a stunning goal. 

He rounded Donnarumma when he got one on one with him and hit a rasping shot from an angle high into the net beyond the despairing PSG defenders. There was no time for PSG to kick off it was that late! Final score 1 - 1

Having watched the whole game tonight I consider Balogun as being at least at par with Nketiah and would deserve to be considered for first team duty when he returns. 

This would give Arteta a hell of a headache come next season.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Beware of Spanish managers bearing gifts!

 By 1970s Gooner 

Isn't it strange that Pep Guardiola on the eve of the FA Cup game with Arsenal has been giving glowing reports on Arteta but more significantly in my mind on the quality of this Arsenal team. 

'It is a different competition, the FA Cup, it is a final,' he said. 'And of course, more than Arsenal to prove ourselves how is our level, when the team make 50 points it is because they have been the best, and they are.

'We have to prove how far away or how close we are and the best way to notice is to perform our best level. Otherwise, against a team at that level, it will be difficult'

He is on the one hand trying to push his own players to perform at the high level he thinks they have not reached on certain occasions this season.

But on the other I get the feeling he is trying through his eulogy of the quality of this Arsenal team to lure the Arsenal players into a false sense of security  and make them rest on their laurels.

I think we should play a strong team with only a few changes so that we can get a result and really show them how far we have progressed.  

But more importantly lay down a marker for what is to follow in those two crucial games coming up against Man City.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Football pundits get it wrong again!

 By 1970s Gooner 

It was obvious to me that Nketiah would prove to be a very valuable asset for Arteta and Arsenal after watching him lead the line in the last few games of last season when he was called in to replace Lacazette. 

He showed then that he had improved his all round game significantly especially receiving, holding the ball under pressure and laying it on to a colleague. Of equal importance was the run of games he had been allowed to have in the team which helped his sharpness no end resulting in the goals he scored.

So it was a surprise to me that when Jesus was unavailable due to injury that the majority if not all the so called pundits were predicting that Jesus's absence was a major blow to Arsenal's chances to winning the PL or even finish in the top four! And that Arteta needed to get a new centre forward in.

But to those of us who watch and think and analyse Arsenal and its players including those playing for the academies or out on loans it was not at all gloom and doom.

Apart from Nketiah's qualities which became apparent as described above there was another element that the pundits did not take into account.

 Nketiah will be leading the line in a significantly much improved Arsenal team. A team that had been creating a lot more chances than last season but which Gabriel Jesus was failing to convert.

So it was not really rocket science to predict that Nketiah will thrive in this Arsenal team.

I said this in previous posts and I'm saying it again: Arteta will find it difficult to choose who to start when Jesus is fit again...

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Diaby the real deal or should we look at other positions?

 By 1970's Gooner

Mousa Diaby has those characteristics that would indeed excite Arteta and the Arsenal fans. He is young at 23 which fits the profile of the type of player Arsenal have been strategically investing as of late. He is also lightning fast and scores the goals from the wing. He has scored 6 goals and provided 3 assists in his 15 appearances for Leverkusen which is at par overall with what Saka and Martinelli have achieved so far in the PL.

However his club are of course asking for Arsenal to pay through the nose (88m) as they have seen how much Arsenal were prepared to pay for Mudric. In my opinion they are quite entitled to do that as the market is showing what the price is now for such wingers as shown by the fees forked out by Man Utd and Chelsea for Antonio and Mudryk respectively. 

But there is also a far more important reason they are quite entitled to ask for these fees as Diaby is a much better accomplished player than those two, playing and impressing in a far more advanced league in Germany.

So I hope that Edu can pull this off and persuade both the player and his team to agree to the transfer. I do however feel that it could face obstacles as Leverkusen want to keep him for this campaign and also we still don't know the player's preferences.

If this approach does not produce dividends then I would be happy if Arsenal keep to what they have which in my opinion can prove to be quite adequate. And let me explain:

Emil Smith Row is now back to fitness. Don't underestimate him. He has played on the wing in the past and also in the middle. I would consider him as very viable option  for deputising for Saka and Martinelli without needing bedding in time as a foreign import might do. And he was Arsenal's top goal scorer last season with 11 goals...

Reece Nelson is due back in a few weeks. He has shown this season in his few appearances that his sharpness and development have improved him a great deal so that he can be an important member of the squad. 

And lastly Gabriel Jesus will come back (probably end of February or beginning of March). This will offer Arteta the flexibility of having either him or Nketiah as a very real option for the wing.

In my opinion Edu and Arteta should concentrate their efforts and of course Arsenal's financial resources in getting in a viable alternative to Thomas Partey. That is where the team will hurt most if anything happens to him which will leave us very vulnerable indeed.

Friday, January 13, 2023

How the NLD may pan out

 By 1970s Gooner

The NLD is always difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy. But there are a few aspects that we can more or less expect to happen during the game:

Arsenal will start the game on the front foot, pushing and pressing the Spurs players higher up the pitch.

In parallel Conte's Spurs will likely adopt their usual tactic of dropping back with the aim to counter attack through their very fast and dangerous forwards (Kane, Son).

I expect that Zinchenko will be a major player in this game. He will move from his left back position to the left midfield taking over the distribution of the ball from that side thus allowing Xhaka to move further up in a more attacking position.

In contrast Ben White will likely stay back to form a three at the back defence with Gabriel moving slightly to the left side to cover for Zinchenko.

Tottenham on the other hand will be pressing to win the ball and spring lightning counter attacks. A tactic that suits the type of players they have in midfield and up front. 

They will have been practising for this all week so I expect that we will witness a very attacking, albeit a different kind of play from both sides with Arsenal having the majority of possession and Spurs springing forward when possession is won.

I expect Arsenal's pressure to bring dividends and find the net with the likely scorers to be Xhaka and Nketiah.

I also expect Spurs to score but only if mistakes are made by Arsenal's defenders as has been the case in Arsenal's recent games. 

If we can eliminate errors at the back then the win will be with a high score. 

If not then the win may likely be with a narrow score.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Is Mudryk worth the money?

 By 1970's Gooner

Mikhaylov Mudryk is obviously very keen to join Arsenal. He has expressed this desire by showing himself to be watching Arsenal games, labelled Arteta a top coach and very recently liked a post asking for his 'release from prison' showing him behind bars in a prison cell!

However even if he has clearly indicated his preference for joining Arsenal his current employers may have different ideas. This is because they seem to be sticking out for a much higher transfer fee siting Antonio's summer move to Man Utd for 88m and encouraged by the reported Chelsea's interest in the player. They are now asking for 100m.....

I think they are taking us for a ride pushing for highly unreasonable amounts so that they can extract as much as possible a higher fee than they ever anticipated.

I don't see Mudryk as being worth these exorbitant amounts. He is obviously a talented player who will offer a great deal to Arsenal but consider the following:

He has only played 44 times for Shaktar overall.

Ha played 13 times for Shaktar this season scoring 8 goals and also 3 goals in the Champions League. 

Both these stats good as they are, are really not based on a reliable big enough sample. They are only good indicators for what may come in the future. The rigours of the Premier League will obviously place a much bigger hurdle for him to jump introducing a higher than normal amount of risk and uncertainty in the investment Arsenal are about to embark on.

Paying 80m or even a 100m is way way too much for such a player. Transfermarket only values the player at 40m which is a much more reasonable valuation in my estimation.

In my opinion the 62m that Arsenal have offered should be a last 'take it or leave it' bid. If Shaktar carry on insisting and drag this out till the last days of the window then Arsenal should walk away.

In the meantime Emil Smith Row should be given every chance to regain fitness and form having been top goal scorer last season with 11 goals! He will be a much better proposition at the moment than a highly overpriced and unproven in the PL Mudryk.

Arsenal should save the funds so that a decent Partey replacement can be recruited instead.