Photo from Arsenal.com

 

Morning all.

That was alright wasn’t it? A mixture of players from the entire squad with Ben White and ESR the only two included from the team which beat Aston Villa. I was surprised to see them both start especially as Mikel Arteta said after the game that White had been feeling unwell. Thankfully, when he went off, it wasn’t because of injury.

No, there is a bug going on, we lost Pablo today as he wasn’t feeling great and Ben had it as well in the last day or two. He wasn’t feeling great, so we decided to take him off. – Mikel Arteta.

The game could have gone either way really but when Ben White left the pitch, Calum Chambers replaced him and with his first touch of the ball made it 1-0. Eddie Nketiah scored the second, proof that if a forward player chases down what appears to be a lost cause, anything can happen. Excellent ball control from the player although when it came to putting the ball in the net he very nearly fluffed his lines. However, he didn’t and he got a goal his commitment deserved.

I have no doubts about what he can offer. Whatever you throw at him, he wants more, and demands more of himself, and he’s another one that I am delighted to see the performance and for him to score the goal and help the team, because he totally deserves it. But there’s a lot of players who play in that position, and with a personal situation [with his contract running down], but I try to leave that aside and try to [reward him] because he deserves it. – Mikel Arteta on Eddie Nketiah.

I do wonder if Mikel Arteta is reluctant to give players who are in their final year of contract as much of a chance as others whose Arsenal contracts still run for a while. Mo Elneny, Alex Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah can all leave in the summer and the club won’t get a penny for them but I’ve no idea if any of three have been offered, let alone turned down a new contract. If it’s the latter then the club will have a decision to make come January if offers come in for any of them. I can’t see Lacazette or Nketiah being allowed to leave. Not when the FA Cup will come into play and Aubameyang will be off on international duty.

Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, not a name I’m familiar with but he’s been training hard according to Mikel Arteta and excelling for the under 23’s and last night he was on the bench. With the five substitute rule in place, it’s a shame he didn’t get a few minutes at the end of the game just for experience but being on the bench probably felt good. Maybe that’s the idea, experience the atmosphere for a game and then make the next step gradually.

Anyway, we’re in the quarter-final and we’ll find out who we face next on Saturday. I’m hoping it’ll be Crewe Alexandra or Preston at The Emirates.

See you in the comments.