Author Archives: keenosafc

Arsenal look for history to repeat itself

Morning all.

An early one from me today. For some reason I am wide awake at 6:30am. Must be getting old.

Yesterday I went round a few old haunts in London, The Marylebone, Lamb and Flag, White Horse and the Old Coffeehouse.

The frustration on staffs faces as they had to turn customers away because there was “no room” despite the pubs being half empty was palpable.

If we do not reopen pubs properly soon, we are going to lose them.

Watched the Brighton v Man U game in the Lamb and Flag. Not sure why the awarding of Man U’s penalty was “controversial”.

It was a blatant handball and whilst the referee might have blown the final whistle, the rules have for a long time allowed for assistant referees (and now VAR) to indicate an offence after the whistle. The referee can still take action as long as they have not left the field of play.

Those players, fans and media complaining just highlights how few actually know the rules of football.

Chelsea produced an epic comeback to draw 3-3 with WBA, the nature of which poets of the cracks that they drew at WBA conceding 3.

There is no point them spending all that money on attacking players, and then signing a washed up Thiago Silva to solve their defensive issues.

Like Arsenal, Chelsea conceded too many last season. Thiago Silva has been on the decline for some time in France and is certainly not the player he was.

Just because he is rated 85 on FIFA, does not mean he is still a good player.

His singing reminds me of when Man U signed Laurent Blanc many years ago.

Used to be a great centre back. Clearly past his best. Will cost them games.

And onto Arsenal.

Arsenal face Liverpool twice in a week at Anfield.

It is the first time Liverpool have played the same side twice in a four days at Anfield since January 2007.

Liverpool lost those games 3-1 and 6-3 to, ironically, Arsenal. They were knocked out of the FA Cup and League Cup in the process.

Mikel Arteta has already faced Liverpool twice in his short reign as Arsenal manager – winning 2-1 in the league back in July and more recently winning the Charity Shield against them.

Can he make it 3 wins from 3? And then 4 wins from 4? Why not. History does repeat itself.

We beat Spurs yesterday in the Women’s FA Cup.

A victory over that lot is always enjoyable regardless of whether it is first team, youth team or the ladies. I read that makes it 22-0 to Arsenal in the games we have played against the team formally known as Broxbourne Ladies.

Whilst Arsenal have a long and rich history of supporting the women’s game, Tottenham do not.

Spurs have only recently made the “Tottenham ladies” an official part of the club and only turned professional 2 years ago.

The lack of support of Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United and disappointing. And the lack of cricket even more so.

The fact Man City and Chelsea get criticised more for investing in the women’s game sums up the media agenda.

The teams they love fail to get criticised for turning a back on the women’s game whilst teams that actively invest are heavily criticised .

Not much transfer news about this morning. But that’s because it is still early and the twitter ITKs are still in bed waiting for mummy to wake them up.

Enjoy your Sinday

Keenos

On the March with Mikel Arteta’s Red and White Army

Is there anyone out there that still does not think Mikel Arteta is the right man to manage The Arsenal?

Arsenal have started this season where they finished off last – in fabulous form.

3 wins from the opening 3 games; 2 clean sheets.

The win over Leicester made it 6 wins in a row (if you count the victory of Liverpool in the Community Shield) and 8 wins in the last 9 games.

In that time we have won the FA Cup and Community Shield.

Arteta has now won 62.5% of all Arsenal games he has manage. For perspective:

When you consider where we were when Arteta took over, the turn around is remarkable.

Arteta’s first game was on 26th December – a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth.

Arsenal went into the game 11th in the table with just 23 points from 18 games (1.27 points per game) – 9 points off top 4.

In the remaining 20 games of the season, Arsenal got 33 points (1.65). Arsenal won the 6th most points in the league – just 1 less than Chelsea who gained 4th most.

We might have only ended up in 8th place, but that was more to do with what went on before Arteta under Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg.

Had we continued at 1.27 points per game, we would have finished 12th. Arteta’s 1.65 points per game would have been enough to see us 5th.

When you consider Arteta took over a team low on confidence, in poor fitness and without a game plan, the recovery was never going to be a quick one.

From January 1st, just 2 games after Arteta took over, Arsenal’s points per game shoots in to 1.77. That would have been enough to see us finish 4th.

So in the 18 games before Arteta took over, we were on course for 12th. In the last 18 games of the season, we showed top 4 form.

And it is not like Arteta had it easy during those games.

Under Arteta, Arsenal have face: Chelsea x 3, Manchester United, Manchester City, Leicester City x 2, Tottenham, Wolves and Liverpool x 3.

Of the 32 games he has overseen, 10 have been against teams that finished about us in the league. He certainly has not stay padded.

Arsenal have improved dramatically under Arteta.

You can see on the pitch we are fitter, playing to a plan, and players are engaged with Arteta. Listening to him. Following his instructions.

Compare this to Emery last season when players looked like they didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

We are at the beginning of our journey under Arteta, and in upcoming weeks we trace to Liverpool, Man City and Man U.

But we have started this season in fantastic form. And having beaten Liverpool, Man City and Man U last season under Arteta, we can go into these games looking to get a result – not wondering how much we will lose by.

If anyone is not backing Arteta, then maybe football is not really for them.

Onwards and upwards with Mikel Arteta’s red and white army.

Keenos

The England youth international striker set to save Arsenal £20million

You do not always have to sign players to strengthen your squad.

A current players development can see him go from talented youth player to first team regular in the matter of months.

Even if they do not kick on to be a first team regular, they can still become an important first team squad member.

We have seen that with Bukayo Saka.

This time last year he was an U23 player. Fans were talking about our lack of left wing options and the likes of Ousmane Dembélé, Justin Kluivert and Malcolm. All of these players would have cost £30million+.

Instead of making a big money move, Arsenal promoted and developed Bukayo Saka. He became that extra option on the left wing and is now a £30million+ player.

Saka is an example of why looking at what a club spends on new signings is not a good method to compare squad improvements.

Barcelona spent £0 on Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Ineista and Sergio Busquets. They dominated Europe.

With Mikel Arteta preferring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left wing, and Gabriel Martinelli injured until Christmas, Arsenal were left with one senior striker in Alexandre Lacazette.

Heavily linked with Odsonne Edouard in a deal which would have been worth close to £30million, Edu and Arteta decided to go down another route.

Instead of signing for Celtic’s French U21 international, the club opted to go for an English U21 international. Arsenal were rewarded when the youngster came off the bench to score the winner against West Ham United.

How excited would we all be if this summer, Arsenal spent £20million on England’s first choice U21 striker? Someone who had scored 7 goals in his last 3 England U21 appearances, including 2 hat tricks. And then he came off the bench against West Ham to score the winner.

And then a few days later he scored again in his first start of the season.

We would all be sitting here this saying “great signing”, excited about how we have one of England’s best young strikers, who is ready to push for the first team.

But because he came through the youth team, the hype is not quite there.

Eddie Nketiah has been patient during his time at Arsenal.

A prolific goal scorer at youth levels, he scored 15 goals in 16 appearances for the U18s and a further 12 goals in 26 games for the U23s. He was just 17 at the time.

The next season (2017/18) he got a handfall of appearances in the Europa League and League Cup.

Against Norwich in the League Cup, he came on as an 85th minute substitute, nabbing an equaliser for Arsenal just 15 seconds after coming on with his first touch, before hitting the winner in extra time.

2018/19 was a tough one for the young striker as he missed out on a loan to the Bundesliga due to injury to senior Arsenal players. Missing out on this game time set him back in his development. Although he did score his first Premier League goal on the last day of the season.

In the summer of 2019, he got his loan deal, joining Championship side Leeds.

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa described Nketiah upon signing as a “young, important player in English football”.

Despite Bielsa also describing Nketiah as a “complete player”, he continued to pick Patrick Bamford ahead of Nketiah. Opting for a work horse striker rather than a goal scorer. Nketiah returned to Arsenal in January 2020, his loan deal cancelled.

This season, with Martinelli out injured, Nketiah has stepped up to be Lacazette’s understudy.

Arsenal have backed Nketiah throughout his career.

In 2018, Arsenal had 2 England you internationals. Nketiah and Stephy Mavididi. It was Mavididi who was released, joining Juventus. He is now at Montpellier.

This summer Arsenal had a similar decision to make.

19-year-old Florian Balogun was itching for game time. Demanding it. Refusing to sign a new contract unless he had guarantees of being in Arsenal’s first team squad. Minutes in the League Cup and Europa League.

The problem for Balogun is he had Nketiah ahead of him.

Nketiah has done everything that Balogun has achieved in the youth team, has taken his loan deal and now deserves his chance in Arsenal’s first team set-up. Nketiah is a better player than Balogun.

Moving Balogun ahead of Nketiah in the pecking order just so that he signed a new contract made no sense. Nketiah deserves his chance in Arsenal’s first team squad. Balogun doesn’t.

Ideally, Arsenal would want to keep Balogun. Send him on loan, and then depending on his and Nketiah’s performances this season, make a decision on the 2 in 2021. Balogun does not want to wait 12 months for his chance. He wants it now. And Arsenal can not give it to him.

Instead Arsenal are giving the chance to Nketiah, and it is now up to him to take it.

He took his chance against West Ham, scoring the winner. For Arsenal, he is like a new signing.

Had Arsenal signed an England U21 international with back to back hatricks at that level for £20million, and he scored a winner on his 2nd appearance of the season, we would all be shouting “what a signing”.

Instead people are still moaning that we have not improved the squad. Not made enough new signings.

Arsenal have added a £20million to the squad. Just like in Saka and Martinelli.

The 3 of them would cost Arsenal £70million if they were signed today. Instead they cost £7million.

Back the youngsters, back Nketiah, back Arsenal.

Keenos