Arsenal’s USA Tour (and Jesus) must fill us with optimism for the new season – Be excited!


By Victor Stephen.

Hello Gooners! Excited? if you’re not, you got to be having second thoughts right? After a stellar performance from Arsenal against Chelsea in Florida. COYG! Don’t tell me it’s only pre-season. Like Josh Kroenke said in 2019, “be excited” and I am. The signs are encouraging and it’s consistency this team needs to find. Jesus I dare to say is far from a hype train since his impressive debut against FC Nurnberg in the early stages of pre-season.

Analysing his performances over the course of pre-season, it’s crystal clear that Arsenal have pulled of a fantastic bargain at £45 million. Entering his peak years at 25, premier league proven with 4 league titles, alongside an impressive record of 58 goals and 29 assists in 159 EPL appearances. Yes, it’s only pre-season, if you point that out, you wouldn’t be wrong. However, it’s in appreciating his gameplay in different match actions throughout pre-season, that you see were Arsenal struck gold in terms of acquiring his signature.

The EPL curtain raiser is just over a week away. It is then we officially begin to assess our summer signings in the heat of competition, with 3 points at stake and the pressure on. We take encouragement still in analysing their performances in a variety of match actions, the difference now is pressure,  but in truth, it’s the same game of football with repetitive match actions they have witnessed severally in previous games, against different teams, pre-season or not. This is what births experience.

Looking at Arsenal’s final game of the USA tour against Chelsea with focus on Jesus, he capped off the tour with the man of the match award. Not against FC Nurnberg, Everton or Orlando City, against Chelsea. Top tier EPL opposition. Thiago Silva and his co-defenders had no solution to Arsenal’s pressing and GJ9 was at the core of this problem for Chelsea. Arteta and the Arsenal fan base could lick their lips in anticipation of improved attacking football this season after their 4 nil dismembering of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side.

I see a team that wants to be ruthless in attack as they have notched up 19 goals in 5 pre-season games so far conceding 5. Arteta wants his team to play most of the game in opposition territory, mounting relentless pressure on the opposition defence with swarms of red and white overloads in Chelsea’s final third. Even in added time, Arsenal tasted blood and went for the jugular, with a beautiful goal from Sambi Lokonga, after a precision guided missile like pass from Cedric, Arsenal rounded off an impressive tour of the USA. Tuchel admitted in his post-match comments that they deserved to lose. A special shout out to all Gooners in the USA, the vibes have been electric through out and the love for Arsenal in America is insane. You guys kept the Goonerverse shaking from its core with earthquake like tremors felt globally.

As I fade out, I would say that this season is massive for Arsenal. They started their transfer business early and have given the new signings time to integrate. Turner, Marquinhos, Vieira, Jesus and Zinchenko so far look like good additions to the squad not just improving depth but quality as well. We still need at least 2 more additions especially in central midfield as we still look feather light there and one more winger but I guess that depends on the Pepe dilemma. We look to the season opener with optimism but first its Sevilla in the Emirates Cup at the Emirates Stadium in London on the 30th.

Alright Gooners, have a splendid time, till I sail through again.

Victor Stephen


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  1. To many false dawns with this management team for me to get excited ,I remember when we signed Partey Gabriel and tied down Auba with his new contract in the summer transfer window and I thought this is a turning point but nothing came of it and nothing as since .
    I’ll get excited when I see us playing good football again (been long enough)and starting to compete properly at the top of the league until then my opinion will remain the same .

  2. I can’t wait to see Jesus and Martinelli linking up in EPL, because they’re so skillful

    1. Nketiah has been better than Martinelli in preseason but people aren’t ready for that convo. Even the way he uses his pace and goes past players makes him better. Look how how he easily rinsed Koulibaly with one touch. Little by little it will become clear to all those who deny this.

      1. Nketiah seems better for the CF role now, whereas Martinelli is dazzling as an LW. However, I really like Martinelli’s dribbling skills

        1. The thing is he may have to deputise for Gabriel but even for those dribbling skills you talk of Nketiah is better at it and much quicker when going past players. He is just better overall. I think overtime more people will see this.

          1. Nkettiah better than martinelli is the result of your own eye test as Gabriel in my own eye test is way ahead, you seem to be on a mission to convince people that nkettiah is the second coming of Henry

            1. Nketiah is completely superior in every way. Martinelli even though good is massively overrated and will be eventually benched. People put him on a pedestal he don’t belong. Even in this preseason Nketiah has been better. If given the chance Martinelli can never start over him and that is the annoying thing that the better player is benched.

  3. It was already obvious from the eye test that Saliba was better than all our CB’s. He didn’t have to play for us for his quality to be seen. Once he got his chance there was no way anyone was starting over him. I also hope to see Gabriel replaced for Tapsoba in future. That two will be a title winning defense. As for preseason, Nketiah and Gabriel J. have been the best players for me so far. I wish Arteta would play both. Well done to Arteta and the boys for the masterclass.

  4. 100% agree with the sentiment of the article. The only thing I’d say is that it’s pretty clear other teams weren’t pressing as hard as many of the PL teams will in competition. This may come as a shock to the massively impressive saliba (though I have no doubt he would overcome that initial shock), and will generally make it more difficult for us to play the way we have in preseason – it’s one of the big reasons it’s unwise to read too much into friendlies.
    I’m almost completely convinced jesus will be a great signing. I’m not sure he’ll be the big goalscorer people might be expecting (although he very well could be!) but I’m sure he’ll improve the first team significantly in any case.
    Agree with the others that Nketiah has had a great preseason. He just needs to carry that form (starting from the end of last season) and show consistency in the league and cups. I’ve always said I think he has a great mentality, so I’d back him to keep going and become a major player – hope to see more of him and jesus in the same side

  5. Great article, full of optimisim and good points.
    Look forward to you sailing through during the coming season and a BIG thumbs up to those great American fans and fellow Gooners 👍👍👍👍

  6. Ken all primer league clubs should do their preseason in America, the support and resources is in abundance

    It will not only promote the game, just imagine if football should ever take off here as in many countries.
    Still making my way home from last night game, having lost my way several time last night , maybe I will not see the gunners up close again for some time to come.

    Lots of people from all walks of life turn up for this one

  7. Me Kool man not easily flustered,Lol,
    Love the match NY- Gunner, certainly never disappoint.

    Honestly I never expected this rampant display of high pressing and attacking football from us.

    It was certainly worth the traveling

    1. Nicolas Pepe never had a bad game, if he could just step up to the plate, our winger problem would be solve.

      For a minute I thought he scored with a beautiful free kick, am thinking what if the gaffer change his style with Pepe, try putting his arm around his shoulders, let him know he is a top top finisher.

      We cant give him away for £15 mil, got to try something

      1. 👍Gunsmoke a spot on assessment of Nicholas Pepe and Arteta’s man management requirements.

        1. Grandad
          Don’t want to use the word injury.

          Was just thinking if Saka should be out for any extended period of time, would be great to have quality replacement.

          Another thing one must take into serious consideration he is just twenty, dont want to burn him out.

          One more top Winger needed in the team to rotate efficiently.

          Do anyone remember Nazri complaining Wenger over played him ?

          Some time as armchair managers our memories are short, lol

      2. he has had plently of bad games. It doesn’t matter if he can dribble past an average player into a territory that isn’t dangerous and does nothing to help us score. If he is not improving the team and is not helping up win a game he is not having a good game. We need to raise our standards and admit when players are not playing well for us. Pepe cannot be relied upon. You’re saying “IF” he steps up. We been waiting for him to step up for 2+ seasons now. Fool me three times, shame on??

        1. He has not serve us well so am hoping something happens before comparison is made with Clive Allen

    2. @Gunsmoke
      Wasn’t trying to “Fluster” ya Gooner. Just saw the name and it reminded me of characters from an old tv series. No harm no foul…

  8. The problem with pepe is that his first instinct is to dribble, his second is to dribble and his third is to dribble. He prefers to look flashy than to make the team look flashy. If he could just learn to actually trust in his teammates fully and stop trying to take on eleven of the opposition players all the time, he will definitely be massive for us.

    1. Also Saka should have played Martinelli in with a return pass rather than shooting himself.

    2. Lordpoto
      Exactly my point, he’s too predictable.

      He’s definitely highly technical, and a very good finisher, a player that could be unplayable

  9. Will reserve my judgement til after the palace game … but what we clearly have is a deeper squad and a slightly better starting 11 if arteta picks the right combo … and there I have my doubts … can’t complain about spending by the kroenkes which shows some commitment …. though still want them to go … but would like to see more signings and critically in midfield which looks the least balanced part of the team … in any event can only wish the best of luck to all for now and hope that things click from the getgo .. so it’s more optimism of the will with reservations of the mind for me!

  10. Arsenal holding a meeting with Jared Bowen representatives next week. Fingers Crossed! That would be killer signing.

  11. Although it is only preseason the signs are very encouraging indeed. GJ seems to be the signing of the season for us and hope his City teammate Zinchenko puts in a similar shift when the season starts proper. I think throughout the tour Cedric seems to have played well consistently and maybe that is the reason Arteta has not gone to sign a back up RB to Tomi, considering Ben White can also play RB. That said, I still feel we are light in central midfield and hopefully we sign Tielemans. All in all really looking forward for the season to start.

  12. I am definitely excited, but we clearly need another midfielder for the coming season. We WILL get some injuries and need to always get a top notch midfield out. We have made some really good signings, not least William Saliba, who has poise and athleticism. Jesus, Zinchenko are class acts. Viera we are yet to see. I love to see the attitude of players like Cedric, who are genuinely striving to become more than they are. We must be careful in EPL games that players like Xhaka, never get sent off, or we will lose self destructive, anger led, points. In a few weeks when Tomiyasu, Tierney and Viera are on board we are going to be in a great position defensively, but it would be good to try for, Milinkovic-Savic, or the little ‘Xavi’, Arthur Melo, or even the bargain Youri Tielemans. That opportunity may not come around again. We could do it NOW, we live in the NOW, and end up with a team that can challenge at the top, even this very season. We are two squares away from the full jigsaw. A midfielder, and someone like ‘Mr Plan B’, Olivier Giroud.

    1. I think you summed it up with Cedric comment, Sean. Seems to have all been triggered by Jesus’s attitude. There is a confidence, a swagger and a willingness to improve and entertain, particularly noticeable in some fringe players eg Cedric, Lokonga, Martinelli, Nketiah, even Tavares. Heck even Xhaka was showing off. Have to exclude Pepe Holding and AMN though! Suddenly the fringe guys didn’t look liabilities. Agree we need a MF as cover for Partey and Lokonga and Vieira may still disappoint. Darned exciting though!

  13. @kev,talk about positioning,pressing and finishing nketiah is better but talking about pace, dribbling and creating chances/assists martinelli is way better.i don’t see the use for this argumen cos both players are different in style of play and the position they play in but as it is according to whe their strenght lies guys like nketiah won’t shine without guys like martinelli in a team.the leeds home second leg of last season is a very good example.

    1. Whilst I agree that GM IS overhyped he has a way higher ceiling than NKetiah. They both have different pro’s and cons but are also both improving at an impressive rate. I can see them sharing that one starting slot all season as I rate them at almost the same level.

    2. Martinelli’s dribbling is not that special and he’s very predictable. That was why Spence pocketed him. His moves can be repetitive. Nketiah is faster and knows how to use his pace to get past players better . If Nketiah gets the same chances as him it’s over. There is no way he gets back his place because he poses a higher threat infront of goal and being able to do more than what Martinelli can do.

  14. From reading the comments…

    Martinelli Will come good especially now he has GJ who has hit the ground running . Eddie is a worthy backup to GJ who played well on the tour.

    Others said the Fri he players looking comfortable now but remember this is just friendly , relaxed preseason stuff under the sun:) it isn’t the real deal.. this was the key line in the whole article for me ‘the difference now is pressure’…

    That’s how when we were in the driving seat we again capitulated handing 4th to our north london bed fellows;/

    That said, I can’t help but be excited by the teams performance especially against chelski. With zinchenko spraying crazy long cross field defence splitting passes you can see the quality he has. He will be a fantastic player for us.

    Xhaka and Petey did well but I want to see someone like paqueta come in to challenge Xhaka and offer greater depth.

    Kudos to the Top support in America for the team from travelling fans to the home nations ones.

    All in all a positive preseason with the caveat that it is only pre-season and the decisions made by Arteta and the consistent shape, effort, experience and skill of his team will be the deciding factor over the season.


  15. Scamacca is joining West Ham. Player I wished Arsenal would get this summer. We really needed someone of his stature in the front. I am glad we got Jesus but someone like Scamacca would have been a welcome addition too alongside Jesus. A proper target man.

  16. Those who know, know. If Edu and Arteta are saying we still need more incoming then we need more incoming.

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