Morning all.

Just before Arsenal kicked off against Man City, David Ornstein stole the headlines by announcing Gabriel Martinelli has agreed to stay at the club for another four and a half years. Excellent news and hopefully, Bukayo Saka and William Saliba will be next. I know a new signing or three are always exciting but tying the above three down to new contracts is equally, if not more important.

Talking of new signings, Fabrizio Romano caused a flurry of excitement by announcing on social media that Arsenal had submitted a £60 million offer for Brighton player Moises Caicedo which was quickly rejected. All sorts of speculation about the player telling Brighton he wanted to move to Arsenal and was prepared to submit a transfer request to do so followed, but then came this from the player himself on Instagram:

I am grateful to Mr Bloom and Brighton for giving me the chance to come to the Premier League and I feel I have always done my best for them. I always play football with a smile and with heart.I am the youngest of 10 siblings from a poor upbringing in Santa Domingo in Ecuador.

My dream is always to be the most decorated player in the history of Ecuador. The fans have taken me into their hearts and they will always be in my heart so I hope they can understand why I want to take up this magnificent opportunity.

The only question in my mind is which magnificent opportunity is he talking about? Helping Arsenal to push hard to win the league and working with Mikel Arteta or joining up with his old manager at Chelsea, a club behaving like kids in a sweet shop after being handed a fiver? Is it the offer made by Arsenal which has made him speak out….

We were beaten 1-0 by Man City last night meaning were out of the FA Cup for another season. For once, I’m not bothered. Mikel Arteta made six changes to the team which started against Man Utd, Pep Guardiola made just two. Thomas Partey started but by half-time, injury had struck and had to be replaced with Sambi Lokonga. Nathan Ake scored City’s winner but in my opinion, other than the goal, there was nothing between the two sides. Rob Holding battled hard against Haaland and for 45 minutes, did well but eventually, his shirt pulling and general bullying of the big striker, earned him a booking. No doubt fearing a repeat of what happed against Totts last season, Mikel Arteta did the smart thing by replacing him at half-time with William Saliba. By the end of the game, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko were on the pitch but the scoreline remained the same.

We had goal scoring opportunities though and quite a few but just lacked the killer instinct when they came.

I think we could have got much more out of the game. We had big situations in the game and we didn’t put them away. We can take a lot of positives, I think the way we approached the game and competed. It is really difficult to win against this team but we went head to head with them. In the big moments, in big matches, you have the make the difference. That is how you win these games. – Mikel Arteta.

I thought Matt Turner was very good, Leandro Trossard too, the latter played like he’d been at the club for a long longer than a week or two.

Arsenal still have to play City twice in the Premier League and although the media believe City now hold the advantage after last nights result, I think that suggestion is poppycock. As already mentioned, six of who I believe are Mikel Arteta’s first choice players weren’t in the starting eleven last night so Arsenal were far from being at their best. Pep’s strongest against Mikel’s strongest and I think we’ll see a very different game. At The Emirates, Arsenal will have their twelfth man and they can make a difference. Saying that, one might have thought the match was at The Emirates last night because the away fans were fantastic. Far louder and more supportive than City had from their own fans.

That’s it then, just the Premier League and Europa League Cup left for Arsenal to fight for. Six more weeks of League fixtures before Thursday/Sunday football returns. City however have the FA Cup, the League and Champions League fixtures to contend with. The latter of which restart in a couple of weeks time.

Our next six fixtures are:

Everton – Away
Brentford – Home
Man City – Home
Aston Villa – Away
Leicester City – Away
Bournemouth – Home

Everton will be tough, especially as Sean Dyche will have had a week with his players. We’ll need a strong referee for that one.

Thomas Partey is having a scan either today or tomorrow so keep everything you can cross, crossed. We need him. I’m hoping his ‘injury’ is Mikel telling the board to sign a midfielder. I can hope can’t I?

See you in the comments.