Tag Archives: Matteo Guendouzi.

Everton, Matteo Guendouzi, Emile Smith Rowe and more…

Everton

We play Everton tomorrow in our 2nd game of 4 in a row at home.

After 2 defeats in the opening two games, we have now won 4-in-a-row.

Victory would propel Arsenal towards the top 4 and would keep the club on course to get around 75 points this season – only once has a club got 75 points or more and failed to finish in the top 4 – ironically Arsenal in 2016/17.

Just as important as the victory would be the first clean sheet of the season.

Arsenal have already conceded 9 Premier League goals this season – the fifth highest in the league. Add conceding 2 against FC Vorskla and it is a slight cause for concern.

There is only so many times you can keep scoring 3 or 4 to win a game before you start dropping points.

I wouldn’t say no to a boring 1-nil to The Arsenal tomorrow.

Matteo Guendouzi

The incredible thing about Matteo Guendouzi was when he came on against FC Vorskla on Thursday, no one saw him as a youngster getting a run out.

Making his debut in that game was Emile Smith Rowe, the 18-year old becoming the first player born after the turn of the millennium to play in Arsenal’s first team.

Guendouzi is just a year older than the Englishman, but the feeling around the pair is remarkably different.

Smith Rowe coming on felt like a kid getting a chance, Guendouzi coming felt like a senior professional coming on.

At £7million, Guendouzi so far has been a terrific piece of business.

Even if he was 22 or 23 years old, we would be saying that Guendouzi  was a great find by Sven Mislintat, coming from the French second division. The fact he is just 19 further highlights how important good recruitment is in the modern era of crazy transfer fees.

He has jumped ahead of Mohamed Elneny in the pecking order, and whilst Lucas Torreira should start ahead of him, his signing and development is going to save us millions in the future.

Between Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles we have two quality young central midfielders. Even if their potential is to only become squad players, that will result in about £50m worth of talent for just £7million.

Guendouzi still has plenty of rough ages to be polished, and it is too early to compare him with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Patrick Vieira; but if he stays injury free (Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere) and motivated (Denilson) there is no reason he can not reach the top.

Emile Smith Rowe

On Emile Smith Rowe, he had a great little cameo.

A lot has been talked about recently of young Arsenal players leaving the club in their droves.

Stephy Mavididi (Juventus), Marcus McGuane (Barcelona), Chris Willock (Benfica), Donyell Malen (PSV), Kaylen Hinds (VfL Wolfsburg), Daniel Crowley (Willem II) and Vlad Dragomir (Perugia) to have left the club in the last 12 months for a new challenge abroad.

Instead of it being a negative that Arsenal have lost these players, I actually see it as a positive.

Arsenal are either offloading, or not getting in the way of players who are simply not good enough, and ever really likely to make it.

Someone like Mavididi was let go because Arsenal had Eddie Nketiah coming through. Nketiah is a year younger than Mavididi and ahead of him in the pecking order.

Smith Rowe would have ended the Arsenal careers of a few players who were older than him.

On the list of players who have left, you have to think him coming through was why we did not work harder to keep Chris Willock or Daniel Crowley. He has also now moved ahead of Joe Willock – who is older.

Just 18-years old, he showed some nice touches. At times his passing was a little heavy, but I look forward to watching his development – both in the Europa League and against Brentford in the League Cup.

We have some very good youngsters coming through and are reigning Premier League 2 Champions (U23). If we have a talented 17-year old breaking through who is better than a 19-year old within the squad, we have to make the tough decision in the best interests of the club.

New Spurs Stadium

Over the months I have tried to keep abreast of what is happening at the Spurs stadium. This is more to do with my day job than my interest as an Arsenal fan.

It was well known back in March that there were major problems and that it would not be ready for the start of the season. Despite know this, Tottenham still sold season tickets based on playing at the new ground, and created an advertising campaign that the new Tottenham Stadium would be the only place in London to watch Champions League football this summer.

There has been more than one major issue during the complex build, and the chaos is starting to make national news.

The root of the problems is in how the deal to build the stadium was structured.

Normally with a build as big as this, you leave it to the experts. You appoint a main contractor to oversee the entire project, sub contract the packages out, and maintain full operation control of the build. All the “client” does is visit the site, keep an eye on things. Arsenal did this with Sir Robert McAlpine and the Emirates Stadium.

Teamwork and exemplary management made sure the award-winning Emirates Stadium was in a league of its own is the quote that go’s alongside details of the project on the McAlpine website.

Tottenham chose to have direct commercial relationships with individual subcontractors, which also meant it appointed Mace as construction manager rather than overall main contractor.

Some subcontractors have felt they were being “pinched” by the terms of these direct deals with the club. Tottenham pushing down the prices despite the cost of builds in London increases.

This led to some trades acting purely in their own interests, rather than also considering overall project progress, which led to further complications and delays. Cutting corners. Rushing jobs to get out of there.

Up against things financially, they did not want to spend any more time or resources on the project then they had to, and their work was unsupervised with Mace only able to “advise” subbies – normally onsite the main contractor would be at the top of the pyramid, in charge of all those below them. Instead everyone reports directly into the Tottenham project management team.

In construction, there is a long held theory of buy cheap, buy twice. It feels like by pushing down sub contractors and going for the cheapest possible options, the overall project is actually going to be way over budget. And it already extremely late.

At the time, Daniel Levy probably felt he was getting a good deal on the stadium, but as costs move past the £1bn mark and the stadium set not to open until 2019, the cheap route has ended up the wrong route.

And by maintaining full control, it seems the financial punishments for late delivery of a project that a main contractor would be liable to pay do not exist.

Keenos

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Out with the old, in with the new

March 2006, Arsenal v Juventus in the Champions League. ‘The King is Dead! Long Live the King!’ was the first line of the match report as an 18-year Cesc Fabregas dominated a 29-year old Patrick Vieira in the middle of the park.

This Champions League tussle had gone worse than Vieira could ever have anticipated. Humiliated by his old side, booed by his old fans, the Juventus player’s performance had gone some way to vindicating Arsene Wenger’s decision last summer to say a sad farewell.

You know you’ve been slow to react when Robert Pires, not exactly known for his tackling, pinches the ball from behind with a neat sliding challenge. That ignomy befell Vieira on the halfway line just before half-time and if that made him feel bad what happened next would only have made things much worse. The resulting move was both simple and devastating. Pires to Thierry Henry, Henry to Fabregas.

The 18 year-old slipped the ball confidently past the stranded Gianluigi Buffon before ecstatically wheeling away to salute the West Stand. Over on the other side of the pitch Vieira stood motionless.

The match not only justified Wenger’s decision to finally allow Vieira to leave after about 5 years of flirting with Real Madrid – the Frenchman was a shadow of his former self; but also vindicated his decision to replace him with a teenage Spaniard.

Not content with just a goal that night, Cesc also added an assist as he dominated the midfield.

Fabregas, by this stage, was totally bossing the match, linking up constantly with Henry in the attacking third. It was beautiful to watch: two world-class talents in riveting form.

The promise soon turned into something solid, something wonderfully inventive when Fabregas embarked on yet another burst into the box. Once Alexander Hleb had spotted the run, the result was almost a foregone conclusion. Drawing Buffon and two grasping defenders, the composed teenager slipped the ball sideways to the waiting Henry. Goal number two and a very useful cushion to take to Turin.

Now Jack Wilshere was certainly no Patrick Vieira. Not even close, and Matteo Guendouzi is some way off 18-year old Cesc Fabregas – but then has any teenage central midfielder ever done what he has done? but the comparison is clear and obvious.

In the summer, 26-year old Wilshere decided to call time on his Arsenal career as Arsenal failed to meet his terms. The Englishman had been beset with injuries for years, and like with Vieira, many felt it was time for him to leave.

Joining the club was 18-year old Guendouzi from Lorient in the French second division. Not really seen as a replacement for Wilshere, a few good performances in pre-season pushed him up the pecking order to the point where he started against both Manchester City and Chelsea – games Wilshere would have been in the starting XI for.

Guendouzi has quickly become a fans favourite and against West Ham will face the old Prince of Highbury, Wilshere.

Wilshere has already spoken about how he has a point to prove that Arsenal were wrong to get rid of him. Interesting use of language there that the Englishman sees him leaving on a free transfer as Arsenal’s decision, not his.

Young Guendouzi, meanwhile, will be motivated to show that Arsenal were correct in letting Wilshere leave, and looking at younger, fitter players.

Since he joined the club, Arsenal have released Josh Dasilva to Brentford.

Dasilva was rated highly by many of those that had seen him, but he is 6 months older than Guendouzi, who is clearly ahead of him in the pecking order.

Like with Fabregas, it is easy to forget that Guendouzi is barely an adult. He only turned 18-years old in April this year.

Against West Ham, and against Wilshere, he will have a chance to have his Fabregas moment. To show that he is better than the man he replaced.

Like Vieira defined the beginning of the Arsene Wenger era, Guendouzi  could be the man to kick start the Unai Emery years.

Keenos

Teenage Arsenal star quickly becoming fans favourite

Just two games into his Arsenal career and Matteo Guendouzi is quickly establishing himself as a fan favourite.

It is easy to forget that the Frenchman only turned 19 in April, and last season was playing in the French second division.

If he was a young English lad, who had stepped up from the Championship to put in the performances he has done against Manchester City and Chelsea, the press would be going mad, saying a new star was born.

Instead (and luckily) he is French. Which means he will not be overhyped by the media too ear.y

In fact, the exact opposite has happened:

You have to question how and why Garth Crooks is still employed by the BBC, paid for by the British tax payer.

As a pundit he offers zero insight, and his “team of the week” are beyond parody.

This weeks contribution saw him pick a left back (Marcus Alonso) on the left wing, a left back (Benjamin Mendy) at centre back, and a central midfielder (Gilfi Sigurdsson) on the right wing.

I think we are safe to ignore anything that comes out of Crooks’ mouth.

Another BBC pundit, and Arsenal legend Ian Wright had a different view point

Guendouzi will make mistakes. He is certainly not the finished article, but the performances he has put in have been well beyond his age.

I saw one fan comment “it sums up how poor Arsenal are that Guendouzi has been our best central midfielder”.

Personally, I prefer to see it another way. The fact that he has been our best central midfielder shows how good he has been.

No one was complaining in 2004 when a 17-year old Cesc Fabregas was out performing Edu. It does not matter how old you are, if you are good enough; you are good enough.

What will also quickly connect him to fans is how he acts.

He was as disappointed as all of us when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed…

Guendouzi was also only one of three players to go across to the away fans and thank them for their incredible support. Only a small gesture, but will quickly get fans backing you.

He has probably already wrapped up Arsenal’s Player of the Month Award and should now start against West Ham on merit – and not because other players are not fully fit.

As long as he continues to work hard, stays fit and focused, and gets the luck every player needs, Guendouzi will develop into a top, top player.

Keenos