Don’t Panic – Arsenal still have a 100% record, why are we overreacting?

No need to panic! by Angus

A lot of toys are being thrown out of prams after we couldn’t get the deal done for Luiz. Don’t get me wrong the deal made sense and would have been useful but our window has been successful, and we still have a 100% record, let’s not overreact.

Our squad is:

Martinelli (ESR) Jesus (Eddie) Saka (Marquinhos/Nelson when he recovers)

Xhaka (Lokonga) Ode (Vieira)

Partey (Elneny)

Zinchenko (Tierney) Gabriel (Holding) Saliba (White) Tomi (Cedric)

Ramsdale (Turner)

We have a full 22 squad for rotation that Arteta desired + 1 extra GK (Hein) and Nelson when he’s back. A winger/central midfielder of some sort would have been icing on the cake, but it was never make or break (that was Jesus/Zinchenko.)

Not sure why Villa turned down the bid for Luiz to be honest, no way he signs a new contract after that, and Gerrard seems to have a policy of not playing players who refuse to sign extensions much.

From Kaveh Solhekol, in HITC: “Some of the people involved in the negotiations are a little bit bemused because they were led to believe towards the end of last week that Villa would listen to offers of around £20m for Luiz.

“He hadn’t really been starting games under Steven Gerrard and he’s out of contract in the summer.”

Still there will be 18 games left to play when the window opens again and only 13 until then. So, is there any reason to panic really?

We will clearly have funds available then, and can just pick him up cheap if necessary or go for someone else.

As to those next 13 games, how concerned should we be in the DM department.

Partey is out for 3 games according to premierleague.com, although others have it as unknown. Despite many hyperbolic statements I’ve seen, Partey has played 51 league games for us whilst missing 25. That is not ideal but equally nowhere near the majority of games being missed. He’s played in 67% of league games available since he arrived which is a statistic that might surprise some. So, if we were basing our transfer plans on Partey’s historical injury record for us, we would expect him to play around 9 games out of the 13 left before the Jan window. Go back to the start of the season and we could of reasonably expected him to play 12 out of 18. Not sure all that talk of lack of foresight looks so clever in that light.

Lokonga did well against Villa, this is a guy Kompany (check out Burnley since he took over) has repeatedly called the next Yaya Touré, and that our coaches once claimed is better suited to the 6 role than Partey. He’s 22 and now has a year under his belt with us, let’s have a little faith and see what he can do!

Failing that Zinchenko should be back at least for the bench against United and could surely play in there whilst Tierney is fit. White/Xhaka are further options. Luiz would have been nice given the injury to Elneny but not too concerned, Luiz may well have just started cup games initially anyway.

Personally, I wanted a winger more ready to rotate with Saka and ease the pressure on Marquinhos to make the step up, but he looked decent enough in preseason and seems to have impressed with the youth side, Vieira is an option ahead of him on that wing in the league too whilst he gets up to speed.

So, the squad to me at least seems a lot healthier and strong in depth than people are making out. At least wait until we have a bad game before going into full meltdown mode.

Roll on United at the weekend! We are still favs in my book, even if United away is never easy. Know our away fans will be fully behind Lokonga if he starts just hoping the same can be said for online comments. He’s our 22-year-old starlet who has not done anything to deserve some of the comments I’ve seen. The pundits will try to target that area enough themselves in the coming weeks especially the ex-United brigade on Sunday, would be nice if our own fans didn’t fuel that fire themselves!

Onwards and upwards!

regards,

Angus

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43 Comments

  1. Good balanced article…

    I agree let’s back Lokonga till Partey and Zinch are back

    Excited also to see Viera and Marquinhos play in PL

    1. Vieira has gone a little under the radar, think people will be pleasantly surprised once he starts playing more.

  2. Well said Angus, you’re one of the sensible posters on JA, it summarises what’s been said by a lot of the reasonable people.

    The comment by Kaveh Solhekol at HITC shows just how wrong it is to start criticising our guys when it may well be the other club being silly.

    AON showed the same when we saw how things really panned out in the Aubameyang to Barcelona affair last season – supporters don’t really know what goes on inside the bubble (unless something like AON shows us).

    As you say, Luiz may not have been someone that was intended to start immediately, people assumed that because of injuries. I can see that would be likely because… who’d buy & play anyone from Villa right now?

    1. P.S. Mudryk was the only rumour where I was actually disappointed when it didn’t happen. That’s the kind of talent that’s worth grabbing when you can.

      1. Mudryk caught me completely off guard knew nothing about him. Seems highly rated, will try to watch Shakhtar this year. Concern there was purely that he’s more LW. Neto/Pino made more sense to me because they are more RW. Would of loved any. Honestly mostly had a soft spot for Pino because of his story. Struck me as the kind of guy that would ace the Edu personality interview but don’t know him personally so could be way off.

  3. What we need the most is the mentality of winning, which I believe MA did, and I can see that he did it for himself before the players.

    Last season we were always playing, I would call it “a shy football,” but this season, we are the aggressive/eager-to-win side!

    We just need our most important players to be at their best, and I’m sure we can always play for the win and watch some good football.

    1. See that is the one thing I understood from fans that were disappointed the football at times was “shy football” think that sums it up perfectly but where I disagreed was I thought you could see the intention behind it.

      It’s not just the individual quality of Jesus/Zinchenko that makes them look so great and has elevated the team it’s the fact they have played under this kind of positional style for a lot longer than anyone else in our team. Their quality and confidence in that has spread through the squad.

    2. P.w I totally agree with you, approach the games with the available players , togetherness and the determination to win games can surely push us higher than expected this season. the quality of players we have and the agility to compete will be key, no more dead woods era.

  4. Obviously we will back the team, but you cant deny we are light in mf.

    Lokonga should not be needed dor PL games this early and should only be required for early cup comps.

    1. That is luck. ESR should not be playing false 9 but Jesus/Eddie are injured, Tomiyasu should not be playing LB but Tierney/Zinchenko are injured.

      That is football injuries happen. That is why you buy and train players to play multiple positions. Can’t have 3 for each never mind the complaining about game time, FFP would bite you hard.

      As is with the Elneny injury Luiz would of provided an extra option but Villa played silly games, we move on. Lokonga is a top talent a run of games may well do him the world of good.

  5. Agree with you Angus

    Elneny’s injury is a big blow and of course I would have liked Arsenal to sign a new player to replace him but it is what it is. £25m was a fair offer for Luiz and £40m is no deal. Don’t want Arsenal to panic buy.

    We are thin in midfield now but that’s a great opportunity for Sambi to step up and prove what he’s made of. Other players can cover too.

    I was never worried about wingers, we’ve got plenty of attacking players in the squad and guys like ESR, Vieira and Marquinhos need time on the pitch.

    For once at least Arsenal dealt with summer transfer business early and efficiently. New players had time to settle in and Arsenal started the season really well. We’ve got a good squad to achieve CL qualification.

    GOYG

    1. Exactly, not saying we are not thin we are missing 2 players in the same position for the next few.

      One thing I love and it’s an unpopular opinion is that we walked away in Jan because we felt nothing was on offer. Same way we told Villa you are not extorting us into 40 mil, not happening.

      We got the key signings (that is my opinion not everyone agrees) done early and they settled fantastically. We are 3 up on last year with the Palace reversal, get 3 against United and we are 6 up. We had a kind start but we are already outperforming last year, United won’t change that no matter what. Let’s enjoy it!

    2. So Sambi is now holding our future?
      Well well… Most Arsenal fans are over optimistic.
      Good for the believers!! Signing Luiz was a very late attempt to gain reasonableness but too little and too late.
      We need a defensive midfielder!!! We cried out loud since June.
      WE TOLD YOU SO!!!!

  6. We will back the team no matter what, if everyone stays fit then this squad is one if the best I have seen fir sometime. I think Edu and Arteta have done very good job but the did make a mistake in January and now they have repeated same mistake. Elneny is not a quality DM and should not have been a backup for a player like Partey who has such a bad injury record. We should have targeted a quality DM from start. Even if Elneny and Partey was fit I would have still said the same thing we neglected that position. Sami is not a DM but I hope he transforms into one so that we don’t have to buy someone in January or next season even.

    1. Sorry, but even with all our players fit, we are not CL material. We would not pass the group stage.
      Europa league is now a challenge.

      1. @Can Fan, are you serious. If our squad stays fit then it is UCL material. We are in good shout to win the EL this season. By the way did you not see what Ajax did in UCL some time back. With Jesus and Zinchinko in squad now we have a good mixture of youth and experience. I believe in a year or two with more experience under the team’s belt and one or two quality signing specially DM we will challenge for title.

  7. Thank you for the kind replies above didn’t want to be the guy that says thank you after every post. Then replied to every post anyway so…… thank you.

  8. Great to know “Lance Corporal Johnson” is still alive and well!!!

    That was for the dinosaurs amongst the readership.

    Anyway, to beat United I think we need to be at full strength. It seems that won’t happen.

    Consequently, I am worried we will get overrun, and/or out muscled, in midfield, and get run ragged down the wings.

    I may be wrong, I hope I am, but my gut tells me no.

  9. I absolutely love Lokonga, it’s just a pity that he only seems to get minutes because of injuries to the guys ahead of him and not because of normal squad rotation. I am yet to see a player improve by sitting on the bench. Hope he does well again tomorrow against Manure.

    1. I was excited about the Lokonga signing but from the games I have seen him play for us I am not that convinced anyone.

      He just seems to be so slow, poor positional awareness, I have never seen him sprinting to track back, always seems to be jogging, easily overwhelmed etc.. He does not seem to have that presence in midfield..

      Against the likes of Aston Villa he could do a job but against the likes of Casemiro we will have to see. But from what I have seen so far I am still skeptical. We have tougher opponents to come so will have to wait and see how he fares against such..

    2. That’s always been a thing with Arteta. He prefers his circle and not really into rotation. In seasons past if a rotated player played badly that was it for him

  10. It’s not overreaction. Edu and Arteta dropped the ball in regards to signings. The team has even less depth than last season. Some things are just common knowledge. Why get rid of Pepe without replacing. Why rid of Niles when he could be a backup. I support this team but questions need to be asked. Why wait till the last day to sign a CM which was a priority before the injuries

  11. Everyone is justified for being nervous and in a bit of a panic. We have not addressed the midfield area once again knowing how injury prone Partey is..
    There is a very valid reason for the somber atmosphere, feeling this way at the end of every transfer window since 2006 is justified through evidence.

    We always have a weak thin squad and it always catches up to us each season..

  12. We have a very young squad. It needs playing time to develop.
    Lokonga will now get more playing time, and ESR will as well.
    It would have been panic to buy a new midfielder, if he doesn’t fit the profile for our project.
    The same goes for a new RW.
    Players, who don’t fit the profile must be shipped out not brought in. Hence Pepe was sold.
    It is not just a matter of not having too many to pay, it is also a matter of players taking time from the development of our team. Finally, if our squad is too big, some will be benched all the time, and it spoils the good harmony, we finally have achieved.

  13. If you just look at numbers the squad looks thin. If you look at flexibility the picture looks brighter. Arteta and Edu have build a team of players who, by and large, can play multiple positions.

    The most worrisome area until Partey is back is 6. I’m confident Lokonga can do the job but don’t want to see Xhaka pulled deeper as his play further upfield have been transformational.

  14. Nice article Angus. You mention rotation but we’ve seen very little of that under MA which is why our bench players are often not match fit and lack EPL experience. The time to bring on players is when we are dominating games so they come into the team with confidence, not let then get almost no game time then throw them on as a last resort IMO.

    I’m not sure why you think Partey missing a third of all the games is surprisingly good? The reality is that that’s terrible.

    Do you think in the last 2-3 years we should’ve signed a dominating DM like Fabinho or Fernandinho as examples?

    1. Rotation, or lack thereof, is my biggest worry as well. Although, to be fair, we have only had one game a week until this week. With a more flexible squad I’ll be disappointed to see Arteta rely on the same 14 or 15 players too heavily like last year.

  15. Good article.

    We could’ve done with another MF option but glad sambi will get a chance. Thought he played well against villa. Hopefully he’s full of confidence for Sunday.

    I hope we make signing Murdyk in January a priority looks a real player.

    Roll on Sunday hopefully we put United in there place

  16. We are good to go, lokonga may have adjusted to EPL this season, he impressed last week.

    In all we must not loose to united, worst result draw but I’m optimistic we will win this bout cos united don’t have the team cohesion we have….our squad is younger and will make united players run, run and run …force them to lots of error.

  17. Not sure why Villa turn down the bid for Luiz to be honest.
    The writer seems not to know.

    Well l know and its because of share bitterness in my opinion, Douglas’ Luiz a player not in their plans hardly ever starts a game, pretty clear not intrested in being there next season, but on top of that he’s not Gerrard type of player and with just a year left on his contract and getting £25mil, it makes absolutely no sense keeping the player , except for Gerrard just showing his horn.

    But its the celebration from last season at Villa park and Saka complaining about being kick, that Gerrard is struggling with.

    Gerrard said after the game I got pins in my body from being kick, was such a poor justification of why Saka should be kick. he maybe a Liverpool Legend but I will always remember that slip against Chelsea with joy.

  18. Detractors are only coming in at this time to water down AFC High momentum before we go to meet our Rivals on Sunday.
    Unfortunately for them , IT will not work.. 5/5 AFC is above all odds at this
    Point in time. We shall take the 3 point back to North London. Courage our boys. Our depth is enough to handle injuries. Pressing, Pressing, Pressing for. 90 minutes will give us the 3 points and nothing less.

  19. Personally I was not excited about the Luiz bid. May be bc he scored against us a few hours before the bid. The two games I watched Gakpo play against Rangers, I wrote him off. He’s not PL ready and can’t even deputise for Martinelli.
    Even though I have not watch Murdyk play, I invested my emotions and hope in him to come and play for us. I don’t why.

  20. I find it sad that it took injuries to both TP and Mo, for some people to have finally realised Elneny value to the squad.the guy even kept on playing after getting injured.the fact that we didn’t/couldn’t get anyone else ,speaks for itself.

  21. A fan willl only see things with the eyes of a fan.

    Why not wait to see the tactics and the strategy Arteta will deploy to win again tomorrow.

    You have forgotten that it’s possible to name someone in a position yet the person will not fully play in that position with the support of others.

    Don’t be surprise if you see lokonga in front of goal than in the DM tomorrow.

    The problem with arsenal presently is not in midfield. I tell you, if we manage to convert half the chances we create, Man United will not see us.

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