Not having an Arsenal midweek fixtures to look forward to feels weird but considering the international break consisted of three matches instead of the usual two, at least our players will get plenty of recovery time between domestic fixtures. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Sambi Lokonga, who Mikel Arteta said were struggling a bit against Norwich, will certainly benefit from the rest. Although I’m sure they’d all prefer to be in action again tomorrow or Wednesday night. Maybe next season eh…
What do Arsenal fans talk about during such quiet times? For the disgruntled fans I suppose the verbal shredding of players, manager, Edu, coaching staff and tea lady might go on but what about those of us who might still hold doubts about where Arsenal are heading under Mikel Arteta but want to give the new signings a chance to make an impact on the team’s performances over the next few weeks and months?
Takehiro Tomiyasu certainly made a big impact on his debut. I thought he was very good, especially since he’s only been in the country a few days let alone get to know his teammates and how Mikel Arteta works. His recovery pace is excellent, he gets forward, crosses well and isn’t afraid to shoot if the opportunity arises. Sambi Lokonga, I love him already. Ben White, ok, he’ll seldom win an ariel battle against the big guys but he’s calm on the ball and looks for the kind of pass Cesc used to play. Ok, slight exaggeration perhaps but it’s easy to see why he can play in midfield as well as in defence. Martin Ødegaard is another gifted player who’ll only get better and better as the season goes on I think. Finally, Aaron Ramsdale. Two game, two clean sheets. Tougher challenges will come his way but I hope he’s not dropped to bench until he deserves to be, should that day come.
I’m not going to get overly excited about beating Norwich but Arsenal needed the win. Better finishing and we’d have battered them but sometimes a scrappy 1-0 will do just fine. Arsenal just needed to break the losing cycle and with it, shake off a few nerves I hope. Just as winning can become a habit, so can losing.
I’ve lost count of how many changes Mikel Arteta has made to his team so far this season but its certainly more than any other manager in the PL and that was before Saturday. Constant changing and swapping around of the team does no one any good but let’s not forget that most of the changes the Spaniard made were forced. Now though, things are very different.
However, what happens when Granit Xhaka returns from suspension which if my maths are right, will be the day of the NLD. I can hear the groans from my home. Seriously though, does anyone reading here this morning believe that there’s a place in the team for our Swiss midfielder IF everyone is fit?
See you in the comments.