If Arsenal’s performance against Sevilla yesterday was a taster for what’s to come this season then buckle up and enjoy the ride. Gabriel Jesus looks like a guy who’s been playing for Arsenal for years, Oleksandr Zinchenko too and as for William Saliba, well, what a player. Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira are yet to come, Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith-Rowe are yet to return to full fitness. Sambi Lokonga, Mo Elneny, Cedric Soares, AMN, Lucas Torreira, Hector Bellerín, Nicolas Pepe and Flo Balogun are at this moment, still in reserve although not all are likely to stay. Then Mikel Arteta has the players from the under 23 squad to call upon should he opt to play them in the domestic cups and the early rounds of the Europa League.
The game ended with a hat-trick from our new number 9, the day started with memories of an old one – Jose Antonio Reyes. Arsenal opened the scoring during the ninth minute of the match, the time when both fans applauded in memory of the man who’d played for both clubs. Newly crowned captain Martin Odegaard played a ball into the box for Bukayo Saka and just as it looked like the ball was getting away from him, a Sevilla player gave him a hefty shove in the back to send him flying. The referee pointed to the spot and Saka calmly slotted the kick home. It wasn’t long before 1-0 became 2-0. Xhaka was the provider for this one with a cross into the box which Sevilla couldn’t clear and Jesus poked the loose ball home. Next up was Martinelli with a cross from the left into the path of our number 9 in the box. This one wasn’t easy by any means but with a stretch of the leg, he guided the ball past the Sevilla keeper. Twenty minutes on the clock, give or take a few seconds and Bono totally cocked up his pass out from the back. Saka said thank you very much, scored his second and our 4th.
The second half was boring….. Just kidding of course as there was only two goals. Jesus secured his hat-trick and then right at the end, Eddie Nketiah scored our final goal of the game after Xhaka had played a ball through to Martinelli who unselfishly put it on a plate for our striker.
A packed Emirates Stadium was treated to some excellent football and lots of goals. Even so, the aim of the club is to sign more players before the end of the transfer window. Understandably too.
Thinking about last season, our top four chase went off the rails after Partey, Tierney and the already injured Tomiyasu were missing. Personally, I don’t think Mikel Arteta can expect any one of the three to go an entire season without injury. Right-back is covered with Cedric, Saliba and White in the squad, Zinchenko is our left-back solution to Tierney if and when needed but Partey is the big one in my opinion. We have a glut of midfielders but no one anywhere near him when he’s at his best. We have an abundance of creativity, two strikers, three including Balogun and Saliba makes the defence stronger but the hub, the heartbeat of any great side is the midfield. Zinchenko plays in midfield I hear you say and he does but what if he’s already at left-back because Tierney is injured?
We all heard or read what Edu said about the Arsenal plan/process so we know this is the season when a top four finish is the minimum. Like a Jenga tower, Arsenal can be great when all the blocks are all in place, but take out one of the vital pieces of wood and it can start to wobble.
That’s it though as far as pre-season fixtures go. The next fixture is for real and it’s on Friday evening against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
There’s a big fixture taking place today too but this one is at Wembley as England Women take on Germany in the Euro Final. I wish Sarina Wiegman and her players the very best and hope they can achieve something very special. I also hope Arsenal’s Beth Mead walks away from Wembley with a golden boot in her hand. 🏴🏴
See you in the comments.