Arsenal have three fixtures to get through before the October international break is upon us.
Wimbledon FLC H – tonight.
Toots PL H – Sunday.
Brighton PL A – 2nd October.
I’m sure the League Cup isn’t a priority for Arsenal this season but nevertheless, the competition is important in many ways. It gives squad players time on the pitch, a chance for players to show Mikel Arteta what they’d bring to the team if he opted to play them and for one or two of the under 23’s, it’s their time to shine.
Mikel Arteta is likely to make a number of changes for tonight’s game with Leno, Lacazette, Nketiah, Balogun, Holding, Chambers, AMN, Mari, Tavares, Martinelli and Elneny, if fit, expected to be involved. Xhaka sits this one out again, the last of his three match ban. There has been talk of Patino being involved tonight as he, along with Tim Akinola, Salah-Eddine and Ryan Alebiosu, trained with the first team yesterday.
This is today’s AFC Wimbledon, not the one which many of us will remember.
👏 What a shame this wasn't a goal! A total of 28 passes in a move that sums up the new-look Dons with Robbo at the helm. Get your ticket to watch us at Arsenal on Wednesday! https://t.co/5hCyMTAHaV #AFCW pic.twitter.com/9T2z3nPOOK
— AFC Wimbledon (@AFCWimbledon) September 20, 2021
If the Arsenal players think tonight’s opposition will just turn up and play hoof ball, they’re likely to come unstuck. Of course they’ll be physical and won’t hesitate to go route one if and when needed but they can move the ball around too. Despite the chance above not being finished, Wimbledon score goals with seventeen so far in all competitions but they concede goals too.
Wimbledon have shared their goals across the team with Rudoni and Nightingale their highest scorers with three. Aubameyang is our top scorer with four, three of those were against West Brom, but no one else has scored more than one. This is a big problem for Mikel Arteta to solve. As suggested before, it’s easy to suggest player x, y, or z would have done better but no one knows if they would. However, unless the team start putting the ball in the net a lot more often, winning games is going to be hard work. Beating Norwich and Burnley was hard work.
I’ve no idea what kind of team their head coach Mark Robinson will field but with another League fixture on Saturday, away to Shrewsbury, he too might field a mix of experience and youth. He has said that his team won’t turn up at The Emirates and park the bus.
There is no point. If I change the style of play, I am telling the players that they’re not good enough – and that’s the last thing I ever want to be doing. Everything will be the same. We still want it [our preparations] to remain largely about us. Obviously, they will throw up some different challenges to possibly what we would face in League One football – of course they will. But we want the bulk of the preparation to still be about us because that gives us the self-belief to go and perform.
Interesting comments I think because isn’t that pretty much the same as Mikel Arteta has done? I wrote the other day that his style of football started on day one of his career at Arsenal but he didn’t have the type players he wanted/needed. He didn’t switch tactics to suit the players but changed the players to suit his tactics.
With three wins behind us, no tables are yet turned, all is not perfect on the pitch either, far from it but in little spells, we can look good. The end product is what’s missing though. Perhaps tonight, Nketiah, Balogun or Martinelli will change that and give Mikel Arteta something to think about.
Regardless of this being the League Cup, Arsenal need to win and win well. As Mikel Arteta alluded to in his pre match interview on Arsenal Media, whoever represents Arsenal out there in the pitch, there must be focus, and a high standard of football. Just because a few who’ll pull on the shirt tonight haven’t played much for the first team, it’s no excuse to slack. In fact I’d expect the opposite if their intention is to push their way into the first team.
Over 45,000 tickets have been sold for tonight’s so The Emirates crowd should be right behind the team. Arsenal need to respond.
See you in the comments.