Author Archives: keenosafc

Magnificent Arteta’s Marvellous Arsenal

Everyone happy this morning? I certainly am. And its not just because I got to have a freshly poured pint on Saturday.

Whilst the couple of pints of Birra Moretti I had Saturday evening went down fabulously, it was what happened earlier in they day that made my weekend.

Arsenal won, away from home, keeping a clean sheet.

2 weeks ago when we lost to Brighton, many feared the worst.

Up next was a trip to Southampton, which had not been a happy hunting ground. That was followed by the FA Cup tie away to Sheffield United. And then we had to brace ourselves for a tough run of playing Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool in the space of 11 days.

4 games, 4 wins, 3 clean sheets.

We are now nicely back in the running for a European spot through the league and in the FA Cup semi-final.

7th will be enough for Arsenal to make the Europa League. It is the position we currently occupy, and just 3 points off of Wolves in 6th.

They are queuing up behind us, however. With Sheffield United and Burnley just behind. Then a bit of a gap to Tottenham in 10th.

We play Spurs next Saturday. A game hinged with sadness as it would have been our first trip to their shiny new toilet bowl. We will just have to wait for next season.

I read yesterday that St Totteringham’s Day could actually happen next weekend.

It would require Spurs to lose their next 2 games (home to Everton, away to Bournemouth) and Arsenal to beat Leicester. Arsenal would then need to take all 3 points at the Edmonton Community Stadium next Sunday.

In a season where we have sacked a manager for the first time in 23 years, finishing above Spurs would be seen as a small achievement.

When Jose Mourinho took over, their fans all got a little bit excited.

“We have the 3rd most points in the league since he took over”.

They have since won just once in 6 games, and lost 5 in their last 12.

Meanwhile Arsenal have gone from strength to strength under Mikel Arteta.

Bar the disappointing results against Olympiakos in the Europa League and Brighton in the Premier League, Arsenal have been magnificent.

12 wins from 21 games is a solid start to his managerial career. Anyone who can not see the improvement under Arteta is either deluded or agenda ridden.

The improvement can be seen both on the pitch and our results.

Players seem to have really bought into what Arteta is doing. They have adapted quickly to the change in formation, responded quickly from the poor result on the pitch, and seem engaged on the pitch.

The form of Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Shkodran Mustafi has been pleasing.

3 players who would many would have had down as leaving this summer have stepped up their game.

The way Arteta is dealing with Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil also shows his influence.

Under Unai Emery, the manager v Ozil become a huge talking point, splitting the squad. This time round it seems everyone is behind Arteta and his decision making.

If people still deny the improvement under Mikel Arteta, just take a look at the league table pre and post Arteta:

Under Emery and Freddie Ljungberg, Arsenal were averaging 1.27 points a game. That increases to 1.73 under Arteta.

To put that in perspective, if Arsenal had averaged 1.27 points a game throughout the season, we would be on 42 points. That would have us 13th.

At 1.73 points, we would have 57 points, 4th in the table just 1 point behind Leicester.

Over a 38 game season, the difference in points would be 16. Yet some will say we have not improved…

Arteta has got Arsenal ticking again. There will be more bumps in the road as recovery continues, but there are plenty of reasons to feel more positive this morning.

I am off to Wetherspoons for a breakfast.

Have a good day,

Keenos

Match Report: Wolves 0 – 2 Arsenal

Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 0 Arsenal (1) 2

Premier League

Molineux Stadium, Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton WV1 4QR

Saturday, 4th July 2020. Kick-off time: 5.30pm

(3-4-2-1) Emiliano Martínez; Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Sead Kolašinac; Cédric Soares, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Kieran Tierney; Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Hector Bellerin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Alexandre Lacazette, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Matt Macey.

Scorers: Bukayo Saka (43 mins), Alexandre Lacazette (86 mins)

Yellow Cards: David Luiz, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 48%

Referee: Michael Oliver

Attendance: A maximum of 300 attendees due to UK government coronavirus restructions

Today’s match will be a perfect test for us, as this is a very tricky game indeed. Our opponents are six points ahead of us, in sixth place in the Premiership, and have set stadiums alight with their scintillating football throughout the season; we, however, have had a stop/start campaign with disappointments abound in various cup competitions here and there, not to mention the Premiership too. However, we do know that football is an unpredictable beast, and one thing that can be certain, is that in football, absolutely nothing is certain, and if we’re thinking that as supporters, then rest asssured that Mikel Arteta will be doing so also. No doubt that he and our team will have a few tricks up their collective sleeves for this early evening clash in the overcast West Midlands.

As we expected, it was a very lively start indeed with Emiliano Martínez saving at point-blank range from Adama Traore, who ran onto a pass from Raul Jimenez, as early as the first minute. The match settled down, as most games do, and to be fair, the game started to get a bit clogged up in the midfield areas, as both teams seemed unable to break through each other’s defensive patterns. Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were linking up very well on the left, whilst David Luiz was playing a comanding role in the defence. The home side were proving to be a tough nut to crack, as they were playing a pressing game, trying to contain us within the confines of our own half. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was unfortunate not to score on the twenty-fifth minute, when he somehow managed to get a shot in on the Wolves goal from a corner, which was comfortably saved by Rui Patricio. The first yellow card of the day was handed to David Luiz for a late tackle on Adama Traore, and just minutes later, Eddie Nketiah was unlucky not to score when a snap shot was pushed onto the post by the Wolves goalkeeper. Two minutes from the break, a pass from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found the advancing Kieran Tierney, who crossed the ball, which found the sweet left foot of young Bukayo Saka, who wasted no time in blasting it into the back of the Wolves net to give us a well-deserved lead at half-time

In an unfortunate accident, Romain Saiss took a whack to the face from Bukayo Saka as they both jumped for the ball just a minute or so after the restart, which will obviously add time at the end of the half. The home side put pressure on our defence to try to grab the equaliser, but the lads held firm regardless, with Sead Kolašinac holding the line magnificently. Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaced Kieran Tierney eleven minutes after the restart, and although we were pinned down in our own half, our defensive structure held firm. After the drinks break (which was late today), we gave away two free-kicks in succession, both of which came to nothing, thankfully. Joe Willock and Hector Bellerin replaced Bukayo Saka and Cédric Soares fourteen minutes from time, and almost immediately the substitutions made a difference. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was booked for a challenge on Joao Moutinho, whilst it was becoming patently obvious that due to the home side’s pressure, we would have to try and play a “smash’n’grab” tactic to try and get the goal that would surely seal the game. Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah were replaced by Lucas Torreira and Alexandre Lacazette with just eight minutes left of the match, and a couple of minutes later, the second goal happened. Joe Willock cut in from the right, crossed a low ball for Alexandre Lacazette, who turned Willy Boly to score a fabulous goal; a minute or so later, we had a Joe Willock shot cleared off the Wolves goal-line by Ruben Neves. Our tails were most definitely up now, and our chaps were finding holes in the Wolves defence to try to grab a third, if possible, but it was not to be; we finished the match as two-nil worthy winners in this tough match in the West Midlands. 

A superb victory; so many good and positive things came out of this match today. We kept a clean sheet, we were disciplined, the defence played as a coherent unit, and five shots on target, with two goals scored. And we were away from home against a top side too. The young Guns were superb again, and Mikel Arteta’s game plan worked to the letter. A week or so ago, nobody would have even dared dream about such a victory and performance, but now, who knows what’s possible? Just keep it going, fellas, just keep it going. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Leicester City at Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU on Tuesday, 7th July at 8.15pm (Premier League). Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

The Pub, The Arsenal, Saka, Martinelli & Aubameyang contracts

Who is off to the pub today?

I’m giving it a miss.

Nothing to do with my worries about Covid19 (I have no worries) and more to do with me not being bothered to wander round the streets of London looking for a boozer that is allowing people in.

Many pubs will remain shut, and those that are open will be at around 70% capacity. And that is actual capacity, not football day capacity where there can be hundreds in a pub which has a capacity of less than 100.

If you’ve booked your table for 2 hours, fair play. If you haven’t, go and get a few cans and sit in Finsbury Park, Highbury Fields or whatever open space is closes to your house.

Personally, I will be in my garden. The garden bar will be open. BBQ on. The game on my outdoors TV. And at £12 for 15 bottles of Amstel, plenty of money will be saved by all.

Out of nowhere yesterday Arsenal announced a new deal for Gabriel Martinelli. It came out of nowhere.

“Pay parity with Saka” a mate mentioned. And that’s probably true.

In Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, Arsenal have two of the most exciting teenage attacking talents in Europe.

It makes complete sense to ensure both players are on similar money, with similar length contracts. These two are our future.

Hopefully within the next week new contracts for the future is followed up with a new contract for the present. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Reports began to leak that Aubameyang is on the verge of agreeing a 3-year deal with a salary “up to £250k”.

This would represent a 2 year extension, with his current deal having 1 year to run.

It will be an interesting deal when it comes down to the money.

Not too long ago the squad agreed a 12.5% temporary reduction in wages for the 2020/21 season. The reduction would be halved if Arsenal make the Europa League.

Aubameyang’s new deal will surely take into account the squad agreement.

So if it is agreed he is to be on £250k a week, he would immediately take the 12.5% reduction, which would take him down to about £220k.

That would be the sensible action to do to ensure squad happiness.

It would be wrong if Arsenal have asked players to take a reduction, and then give Aubameyang a big new deal with no reduction.

You would be annoyed if you were a player sitting there on £100k a week, now earning £12.5k less, then seeing a teammate, who was already paid more than you, receive an extra £70k a week.

Arsenal will have to be clever with the deal, negotiating incentives with Aubameyang. A pay rise in 12 months time. Even a nice signing on fee or end of contract loyalty bonus making up the missing salary.

Today it is Wolves away.

A tough game but 3 points is essential.

Get to together with your mates. Have some beer. Watch The Arsenal. Stay alert. Stay safe.

Keenos