Great win on Sunday.
We have now played Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United and gained 9 points from 12.
So much for us “falling apart” when games come thick and fast and we “play someone decent”.
The Manchester City game showed why those saying we were suffering burn out are wide of the mark.
They needed a 95th minute penalty to overcome Fulham at home. It highlights how tough the Premier League can be, especially when you are playing mid-week in Europe.
Only an idiot would now disagree with Mikel Arteta’s team selection pre-World Cup. He has shared the load perfectly.
To have dropped just 4 points in the first 12 games, and topping our Europa League group, is an incredible achievement.
We have another mid-week game tomorrow against Brighton in the League Cup.
I expect Arteta to go “full 2nd string” rather than the 50/50 team he has played in Europa League. More on this tomorrow.
We now just need to finish the first part of the season well against Wolves on Sunday. And then it is the break for the World Cup.
Final squads are beginning to be announced.
Yesterday, Brazil announced Gabriel Jesus and Martinelli were both on the plane, whilst Arsenal’s other Gabi – Magalhães – was left at home. Not a huge surprise.
Whilst the trio have been in fine form for Arsenal, both Martinelli and Magalhães have seen very little (of any!) game time for their country.
Martinelli was left out of the last Brazil squad and has not featured for his country since June.
He arguably plays in Brazil’s most competitive position – with Neymar, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo, Richarlison and Jesus all capable of filling in on the left.
Vinicius Jr will start and it was probably a toss up between Rodrygo and Martinelli for the reserve left winger. A case could be made for either. And it is a surprise that Tite has taken both.
As for Gabriel (the bald central defender one), he is still yet to play for his country.
Thiago Silva and Marquinhos are Tite’s long term preferred partnership, with Real Madrid’s Éder Militão as their regular 3rd choice centre back.
In recent squads, Tite has had a look at the likes of Gleison Bremer (Juventus), Lucas Veríssimo (Benfica) , Roger Ibañez (Roma) and our Gabi. All 4 are a similar profile, age and playing at a simialr level. Tite has opted for Bremer and Verissimo.
Gabi not being selected should not be seen a slight on his ability. We all know he is a class player and there will be plenty of Brazil caps to come.
We have previously blogged that the lack of Arsenal players going to the World Cup could be a positive.
This will be a tough season with games continuing to come thick and fast after the “break” so the more players that do not play over the 6 week period the better.
Arsenal players that do not go will probably have 2 weeks off, before returning for a weeks light work at London Colney.
They are then scheduled to head out to the Middle East for a couple of weeks warm weather training (expect a couple of behind-closed door friendly) before returning to England to prepare for the West Ham fixture.
Tomorrow it is Brighton.