It was a good away performance, it wasn’t great, I wouldn’t get carried away and say oh my god it’s a turning point. They beat a terribly, terribly poor Manchester United team on the day. They’ve done a job, we’ve seen them lose those games over the last five or six years. But I think Partey’s a massive, massive difference. I mean, what a signing.
Thats ex Arsenal midfielder turned Sports pundit, Paul Merson who not only seems to enjoy criticising all things Arsenal but also wondered how his old club managed to sign a player like Thomas Partey.
When you talk about signings in the summer, he’s got to be number one. I cannot believe, without being horrible here, that Arsenal got him. You’re thinking wow, who didn’t see this?”
Just because Arsenal have struggled in recent years, certainly as far as challenging for the league goes, top quality players have still been signed during that time. Instead of questioning Arsenal’s ability to attract such a player, he should be praising them for doing so. The same goes for Gabriel Magalhaes too.
Perhaps Merson is bitter because when Arsene Wenger arrived and began to build his successful squad, he was one of the players who soon found himself out the door. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him as an Arsenal player. He was a super gifted midfielder but now it seems as if he finds it hard to throw a compliment towards his old club.
He’s not alone though as for a long time now, more often than not Arsenal win because the opposition was poor. Man City would have beaten us had they taken their chances in the FA Cup semi-final, Liverpool would have won at The Emirates last season too had they taken theirs and not made mistakes and Chelsea would have won the FA Cup had they not suffered the injuries they did on the day. One only has to read the daily newspapers and Arsenal blogs to realise that praise for our club is hardly free flowing.
Yet if we’re to apply the same set of rules to our own club, we’d have battered Leicester, beaten Man City and probably taken something from the recent Liverpool game too.
None of us are stupid, I’m sure we’re all well aware that one very good performance resulting in a victory over Man Utd at Old Trafford doesn’t mean Mikel Arteta has cracked it. He of all people will know that but it’s a massive confidence boost. Arsenal beat Utd because Arteta’s team didn’t let Utd play.
Since his appointment, Mikel Arteta has given different players opportunities to prove themselves, to see how they fit into his plan. Some didn’t last long, whilst others carried on like Pepe, Ceballos and Xhaka. Mustafi too although injury got in his way. Mo Elneny arrived back in north London in the summer and is turning heads. Probably not Arsene Wenger’s though as he knew just what he was getting when he signed him one January a few years ago. But as I suggested several days ago, partnerships in football are key. Elneny, and any other midfield player in recent years for that matter, has seldom had the ‘right’ partner. Our central defence has been the same. However, Mikel Arteta and Edu have rectified that in one summer transfer window by signing Gabriel and Thomas Partey. Statistically, we are now the best defensive team in the league which just goes to show that with the right additions and better coaching, things can quickly change.
The area the club haven’t been able to address yet though, understandably because of the financial impact Covid-19 had on the club’s finances, is our football in the final third of the pitch. But are things up front as bad as ‘we’ think? I know I’ve been a right old misery about our forwards. That’s just frustration though and certainly not a sudden belief that Arteta isn’t the right man for Arsenal.
Willian, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Nketiah are the players Mikel Arteta has been putting his faith in so far this season. In the League fixtures I mean and right now, they’re not really convincing are they? Without wanting to sound overly cruel, Pepe’s move to Arsenal hasn’t gone well at all so far and perhaps English football simply isn’t for him. Personally, I don’t think it is, because defenders see him as an easy target to bully. Would I be surprised to see the club sell him next summer? No, not at all unless he suddenly has a change in direction. Question marks must be hanging over Lacazette too. But again, that’s for next summer or perhaps even January when overseas clubs are looking for attacking players.
January should see one big change up front for Arsenal, certainly another option for Mikel Arteta. The return of Gabriel Martinelli. A return which can’t come quick enough for me. I know he’s still young but he has everything our attack is lacking. He’s fearless, fast, a good finisher with his head as well as his feet and he has a habit of popping up in the box at the right time. He’s not afraid to shoot either.
I suppose the moral of this little story is that with Arteta’s coaching and new additions, Arsenal are continuing to improve.Sometimes it might not feel that way when we lose in the fashion we did against Leicester City but as I said earlier, if we’d have taken our chances, we’d have had the game won by halftime.
Once Martinelli returns and another summer transfer window has passed by, Edu and Arteta will have hopefully sorted our attacking unit out. Although if Nelson and Balogun can stamp their authority on the Europa League Cup competition, they might help solve one or two problems.
As the saying goes, only time will tell.
See you in the comments guys.