Author Archives: keenosafc

Harry Kane v Thomas Partey – The Big North London Duel

I can not beleive that is is already Wednesday of a North London Derby week and I have not yet begun blogging on it – probably highlights how the Nations League break has driven me too boredom.

Hopefully England’s relegation might see Gareth Southgate give fringe players and youngsters a run-out rather then the same old boring 14 or 15 names. Relegation could benefit England’s future.

Anyway, we move on.

So Saturday we face Spurs at home.

Since our 21 game unbeaten run against Tottenham ended in 2008, the North London Derby has more often than not been “home advantage”.

At White Hart Lane, Tottenham have lost just 1 of 14 Premier League fixtures – winning 9.

And our record at the Emirates is even better – also losing just once in 14 games and winning 8 times.

Two away wins in 28 North London Derby games. But of course, we go into the fixture knowing anything can happen.

And with it being a 12:30pm Saturday kick off, the result will either make or break your weekend.

Win and you will be on the beer in celebration. You will riding a cloud for the weekend and float into work on Monday morning with a smile on your face.

Lose and there will be a cloud over you for the weekend, and Monday you will be keeping your head down hoping no-one asks you about football.

Arsenal’s key player will be Thomas Partey.

Hopefully Partey should be fully fit following his most recent injury. He was selected by Ghana for the latest international games, but withdrew on the eve of the first game with injury – hopefully this was no more than a pre-caution.

They really do need to bring in restrictions on national teams calling up players returning from injury.

Partey has played just once in our last 6 games. Was there any need for him to be caleld up to the Ghana squad for friendlies? It shows the national team not looking long term – Partey has a history of breaking down again soon after an injury if rushed back.

It would have made more sense for him to rest and recover in North London for two weeks, building fitness for the World Cup rather than risk playing him and him having a recurrance of the injury which could rule him out the World Cup.

My mind goes back to December 2020.

Partey had missed four games through injury. He was then rushed back for the North London Derby but lastest just 45 minutes. Spurs scored their opener whilst Partey was limping off the field.

He went on to miss the next 9 games.

The big match up of the weekend will be Harry Kane v Thomas Partey.

Kane’s new role in Antonio Conte’s long-ball system is to drop deep and flick the ball on to Spurs’ speedy widemen.

If he drags a central defender with him, it gives Son, Kulusevski, Lucas Moura and Richarlison the space to run into.

To protect against this, it should be Partey that challenges Kane when he drops deep. That will allow Gabriel and William Saliba to drop off and be in a better position to defend the flick on.

Tottenham’s midfield is also their weak point. I would expect Granit Xhaka and Martin Odergaard to be able to dominate even whilst Partey is focused on doing a job on Kane.

You stop the supply to Kane, you stop Tottenham.

Enjoy Wednesday.


Sanllehi has his say on Arsenal exit


Yesterdays Arsenal news is all about the Raul Sanllehi interview in the Athletic.

I do not subscribe so have only read the snippets on social media.

From what I have read, he comes across as respectful towards the club and management, whilst also disagreeing with the decision they made – not unusual for a senior leader when they are made redundant.

“Arsenal had decided to move on from Wenger – one boss who did everything. I do not agree when clubs call the first-team coach ‘the manager’.” Sanllehi said when talking about his philosophy.

“First-team coach, that is enough. Nowadays, the workload is overwhelming & I need him to concentrate on the first team.”

“It’s funny now, but I remember in December 2019, I had dinner with the four guys: Mikel Arteta, Edu, Huss Fahmy & Per Mertesacker. On the toast, I said, ‘Now, it is on us. It is exactly the model I asked for’. Then in March, everything just fell apart. I was sad.”

On his time at Arsenal, Sanllehi said “I loved it at Arsenal. You cannot imagine: the people in the club, the history of the club. I really felt I was at the top of the world there, but the last 10 months there were horrible. I had to lay off 55 people, without knowing I was the 56th.”

“I don’t feel betrayed by the Kroenkes. They had the LA Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids & all of a sudden, all those teams could not play [Covid lockdown]. You still had to pay the salaries. You did not have guaranteed broadcasting revenues.”

It is clear he was employed to take Arsenal in a certain direction, then those above him made a decision to change that direction and he became surplus to requirements.

Whilst many will be criticism of his time in charge – and we have been – he also did some good.

Yes, you have the Nicolas Pepe “scandal”, the internal review of which probably led to Sanllehi leaving. But he also oversaw the recruitment of William Saiba, Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Tierney.

Whether Sanllehi’s approach or Arsenal’s new approach was the “best direction for the club” will only be resolved over time.

As it stands, we are top of the league with some of the best young talent across Europe and one of the brightest young managers.

If we continue on this upwards trajectory, then I think even Sanllehi will concede that the new approach was correct.

Tomorrow we begin to focus on the North London Derby.


World Cup, Transfers, England and More

Morning all. Hope you had a good weekend.

Slow news today which is usually expected due to the international break.

Yesterday I wrote a little something about what players I expect will be heading off to the World Cup in November & December.

We may end up with as few as 6 players out in Qatar.

Whilst some might look at it negatively that so few players could be in Qatar, we should see it as a positive.

Those players that do not play for their country get a 6-week mid-season break. They will return in December stronger and fitter than the players that did go. And will have less miles on the clock come the business end of the season.

Key first team players Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Martinio Odergaard, Kieran Tierney, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Magalhães missing out will leave them fully energised for the second half of the season.

We have some boring transfer speculation floating about (newspapers still need to fill those column inches!).

None of it is probably worth repeating.

Edu has shown in his time at the club that he has a plan when it comes to transfers. I imagine whoever we are looking to buy in January (if anyone) has already been established and negotiations taking place.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Danilo come in from Palmeries.

He is a player we have been watching for some time, and certainly fits the profile of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

The Brazilian season will be on its summer break, so it will be a natural time for us to sign the 21-year-old.

It would then give us 8 months of embedding him into a new country (and team) ahead of the 2022/23.

With Mohamed Elneny at the club, we will not need to rush Danilo if he is not ready to cover Thomas Partey. And then after the 6 months bedding in period he should be ready to go!

Ignore the Dusan Vlahovic rumours. It won’t happen.

England have another game tonight. Hopefully Gareth Southgate does not give Bukayo Saka a run out – give the boy a break!

Not much more than that happening!

Enjoy your Monday (and the game tonight).