I’m very happy at Arsenal. I said it many times. This is my club. I love to be here, I love the city, the club, everything about Arsenal. I want to stay. I’m very happy. ‘They just need a pen.’ When I knew that Arsenal wanted to buy me… it was one of the happiest days of my life.
The above is from Gabriel Martinelli and it’s in every sports outlet this morning. There’s even a video of his interview on Sky Sports. It’s fantastic news for Arsenal FC and us, the fans. I know he’s only one player but what a player he is. He would walk straight into many of the top club’s first team in my opinion but it looks like he’s staying for a while yet. Arsenal keeping hold of players of his quality sends out a message I think. A big message. Come Edu, give the guy a pen. William Saliba and Bukayo Saka next I hope.
Why wouldn’t the players want to stay at the club and be a part of what appears to be unfolding? Even Reiss Nelson, who has struggled to get a break at Arsenal has said he’s never been tempted to leave and all he wants is to stay at the club beyond next summer when his contract expires.
Are the injury tables turning slightly I wonder. Son suffered a nasty injury during Totts win in France and according to reports he needs surgery. If true, he’ll miss the next few fixtures and possibly the World Cup. Last night, Ben Chilwell limped out of Chelsea’s game and he’s also reported to be a doubt for England’s World Cup challenge. Graham Potter played a pretty strong team last night which surprised me considering Chelsea had already won their group. Good.
Barcelona dropped into the Europa League even before they kicked their final fixture off last night but Atletico Madrid were dumped out of Europe altogether. Mikel Arteta has been linked with a move to Barcelona to replace under fire Xavi but as he said in his interview yesterday, he’s happy and proud to be where he is.
During his pre match press conference, Mikel Arteta was asked whether Saka is getting enough protection from referees:
I’m sure that the referees have looked at all the incidents and the amount of fouls that our front players are getting and it’s their job to manage that situation in the best possible way.
Nothing will change though because if Bukayo Saka, a player expected to be crucial for England at the World Cup later this month, isn’t getting the free kicks he should be getting, then what hope is there for the rest of the Arsenal players?
Tonight, it’s simple. We need a win. As do PSV Eindhoven in Norway but Arsenal’s destiny is in their own hands. Win and it’s job done regardless of the other result.
Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mo Elneny are back in full training and surprise surprise, Bukayo Saka is fit to play tonight. Granit Xhaka misses out though as he’s suspended. Barring ESR, the rest are good to go.
Mikel Arteta said he’ll rotate his players tonight but the team will be competitive. No surprise there as that’s what he’s done in the Europa League fixtures so far. We need to see a much better performance than the team produced in Holland though, otherwise we’ll have two more fixtures added to what’s already a hectic season. One of Barcelona, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus Sporting Lisbon, Sevilla and Red Bull Salzburg await whichever club comes second in the group.
Come on Arsenal, just get the job done…
See you in the comments.