Five positive things Arsenal can take from 1-1 draw with Angers

As pre-season games go this was a bit of a bore-fest but there was still enough positives in the game that Arsenal can take from the game.

Arsenal actually won the match 4-3 on penalties but that was nothing more than a sideshow and it was what happened in the game itself that is far more informative and interesting.

Five positive things

Gabriel Martinelli has immense potential

The teenager had a good game, he does need to work on his tackling and he does need to be a little more positive with his runs but he positions himself well, was in the right places at the right time and with a bit more luck could have found himself on the scoresheet.

Reiss Nelson development is going the right way

Nelson is improving all the time, he is still a bit raw but is definitely a backup now to the main guys and is assured of a good number of games once the season gets underway. He frightens the defences when he runs at them and has a nose for goal. The lad did very well.

Shkodran Mustafi responding well to fierce criticism

The German made no mistakes, he was the best defender on the day, he made two critical tackles in the penalty area, he was calm under pressure, passed well from the back and overall had a good game. If he continues this way he will prove a lot of people wrong.

Joe Willock continues to impress

The young lad really is staking a place for himself as a starter against Newcastle. When he came on he did not do anything spectacular nor did he make any glaring errors, he just looked confident, calm and comfortable and at no time did I worry when he was on the ball, not something I can say about some of his fellow midfielders.

Granit Xhaka made a difference

The Swiss international does come in for a fair amount of criticism but he made a difference today. Arsenal was second-best in the first half but once Xhaka was introduced into the game Arsenal started to get the upper hand, his passing and tackling were efficient and he played with a lot of confidence. In fact, he played like someone that has been informed that he will be captain next season.


  1. So two of our most maligned players did well enough to receive praise from you?!? Are you really saying all these players really needed was a bit of confidence to make them play better?? Who would have thought a positive attitude could have such an effect?

    I’ve always said I like Xhaka and Mustafi, who does have an occasional brain freeze, looked solid alongside Holding. Although I wouldn’t mind if he was sold and Sokratis remained, it looks like the departure of Kos is central to the CB issue.

    1. We may criticise them but they still remain the best in their positions for now in the team, maybe until better players are signed. Our youth are not looking ready, I am seeing only Willock.

      1. I think you’re right on all counts Ade, Willock looks the most ready to make the step up to the first team. I’d include Reiss Nelson possibly too.

    2. Good morning
      I cant agree with you on these two
      I am one of there biggest critics but I always want them to do well as they are wearing the colour of our beloved club
      Xhaka is ok for the bench but not a starter
      He offer nothing going forward and not good enough as a Dm
      It is always side or back passes which slows our play down
      Mustafi in his day is solid but I am afraid we never know what day that is going to be
      Xhaka is in the fortunate position of not being punished for the mistakes he has made but Mustafi does get punished and as you can see by his stats a d our results ,especially the big games. Both our current cb line to dive in. Puck up yellows and reds.

  2. So Xhaka looks good playing against Angers? Yes he would, and that is the level he should be playing at every week. He should not be playing for Arsenal, he is not good enough. West Ham are better than Angers. Watford are better than Angers. Aston Villa, Leeds United, Brighton, bloody hell Charlton Athletic are better than Angers. So what are you getting excited about? He’s still sh*t

    1. Granted the opposition was considerably weaker than your average West Ham or Brighton, Xhaka is a very good passer when he is given license to play freely. Apart from Özil, who isn’t famous for spraying 30/40 yard passes across the pitch, who else can do the long pass? Another thing, who can shoot from distance and occasionally score??

      He may not be your cup of tea but this ‘mug’ is set to stay so you might as well add the milk and two sugars.


  3. now you are priasing him but, you will hate him against good opponent.
    xhaka is a one week man, he is not ready for a team like arsenal who need all their players to be on form all season

  4. Mustafi’s had good games before. His stats overall are pretty good. Unfortunately, every 2-3 games he makes disastrous mistakes that cost us goals, it just happens far too regularly. He’s a liability.

    Xhaka gets a lot of criticism, but his stats are good and the team is always better with him in it. He’s far better than Guendouzi, who for some reason despite being incredibly slow, unable to dribble and can’t make a pass in the final third to save his life, is treated like some sort of future legend. Guendouzi will become above average at best, but the longer he’s in the Premier League the sooner he’ll be found out. He’s slow and can’t take anyone on so eventually he’ll start being consistently targeted by the opposition press and we’ll see him stripped of the ball and turning it over with increasing frequency. He’s a mature and intelligent player for his age, but it won’t make up for his lack of physical ability or talent.

    As we saw today, Guendouzi is not good at creating fast turns of play, he always slows things down allowing opposition defenders to adjust and catch up. No matter how fast Aubameyang or Pepe are, their speed will be worthless if paired with someone who can never send them on a timely run.

    What we learned today is that the youth, though they show promise, have a very long way to go before they are the finished item. They’ll get more minutes this season and that will be good, but they won’t turn the team’s fortunes around.

    Arsenal have not addressed their defensive issues–which should have been their top priority–nothing should have been more important than shoring up that leaky defence, and they haven’t done so. At best it’s an extremely risky strategy to reinforce where you need it least, at worst, it’s sheer incompetence. It’s hard to see the team doing any better this season than last, but we can hope…

      1. Stephen did you not see anything in this trial match or the previous friendlies, to not feel any positivity towards the coming season?
        Crispen, who are you referring to to get rid of?

    1. lol
      The first goal against Angers was due to Guendouzi creative play and dribbling. So, he is slow according to you?
      OMG, you have to watch better, and analyse better before writing nonsense.
      lol again

      1. He wasn’t even on the bench, so I suspect he was unfit

        We need him for the Newcastle game, because he is our best tackler and interceptor in midfield

        Unless Chambers can step up as a DM

        1. Chambers proved himself last year when he became Fulham’s Player of the season as a DM. Assuming Koscielny leaves, this is our best lineup when everyone’s fit (current players including Pepe):
          Belleri, Sokratis, Holding, Monreal
          Torreira Ceballos
          Pepe, Özil, Aubameyang

          Looking at this lineup makes me quite excited. I really like Monreal both as a person as as a player but we should buy a new LB. Holding was arguably our best player last year before he got injured. Sokratis is a no nonsense CB who loves defending and he’s been a great addition to our team. I hope Bellerin comes back to his best level.

          1. Fully agree … Hopefully holding will soon be match ready and tierney will be in … Bellerin is not ready so who plays at right back in opening games? Jenkinson is better defender than mn though not great man better going forward but not a natural defender … Am surprised we haven’t gone for a proper back up here …

      2. Torreira hasn’t long been back from his break… been working hard in the gym, so we may see him against Barca on Sunday

  5. Guys, can someone actually mention Coast from Wolves, quality and No nonsense Defender. We need someone to coach Defence and not the players. We go to Anfield and get spanked, Burnley Brighton, Leicester, Wolves etc go to Anfield and they survive by a single or so goal. Don’t think Emery knows how to coach Defence. I think with a manager who knows how to coach Defence, our defenders would look like world beaters, Coach Defence please

    1. Xhaka yes but I would say let’s wait another year before we see what Guendouzi can do.. There are not many bad players in the French National age groups.. Patience is warranted on this one. And is likely to be rewarded

  6. Mustafi played OK. Just OK. He is not reborn. At premiership intensity he will make his errors. We will lose points with him playing in important games. Wake up before more damage is done this season. In the first half yesterday we were poor…by any standards. If Emery plays Mustafi or believes he has 6 good CB’s, as he suggested we are not going to get fourth spot. I fear we will not get a quality CB. Arsenal’s grounhog day is not over yet. Are we going to make another ‘cock up’ by Emery keeping faith with Mustafi, Socratis, Holding, Chambers, and Koscielny? That would be groundhog day. Anyone else think we have pretty poor, or at best, fairly ordinary CB’s. Sorry we will win zilch with them. De Facto. A leopard cannot change it’s spots, and if things don’t change they stay as they are.

    1. Sean, in the first half the young players were given the opportunity.
      Arsenal again was very wasteful in front of goal, and like against Lyon should have been out of sight.

    2. Are u a fan or a troll, i doubt a real fan will be this negative. Xhaka is arsenal player, arsenal is my team i cant wish u lose a single point, i cant hope our players get bad just to prove some stupid point. Get out of this site you looser

      1. Adajim
        Being a supporter, and I have been for over 60 years, does not prevent me from telling the truth. Our league has never been won by delusion or fantasy. I write my comments because I am an intense supporter and always have been…will be. But I will write what I see with my eyes. Arsenal have a poor defence. Most others clearly agree. To suggest I am a troll lessens you in my eyes and devalues what you say….to me. I am a full lifelong Arsenal supporter. I hope you have the fortune to have had the great years I have had as a supporter of over 60 years. To honesty.

      2. Adijam, You are massively wrong about Sean and if you have any honour you will immediately apologise to him. You will get much respect if you do but none whatever if you do not.

      3. Adajim, you really have to tone down your attitude or you will be banned.
        If you want to personally abuse other Arsenal fans you are n the wrong site.
        Let this be a warning…..

    3. Spot on Sean and as we oldies know this long term weakness at CB is getting even worse and we are in clown defence territOry now. I cannot understand WHY the club constantly ignore the overriding gaping hole in central defence and think other positions imports will compensate for this . They WON’T! And yesterday I praised Adijam for trying his best to write, as he was concerned merely about not having great grammar and spelling.I was deliberately encouraging to him BUT now that he has grotesquely called you a troll, which is a scandalous accusation , be assured I will no longer encourage him. He owes you a massive apology. I doubt he is not a nice person but he is incredibly naive and wet behind the ears as so mamy mere “kids” often are.

    1. Sue, I just hope we are not talking about Aubameyang et al missing sitters, including spraying the ball over open goals!

  7. That article is very positive and do not realize how in bad shape we are in defense as much we great in attack. We will lose games after games.

    Glad to hear Emery is now getting involved in Kos situation he speaks to.

    He said and knows that Kos will only stay if a top CD comes on board. He is tired of working hard and no one next to him, losing europa league & EPL failure for that…

    Koulibaly and Ulmiti (can play on wing) should be our first two signings. Not pepe & saliba. They wont help fixing what kills us for few years now.

    We need 2 more top players at that position as injury are more often and this would add Kos competition.

    Every single game highlight a major defense issue; each flank needs one top player.

    Then priority should be on a beast in midfield to stand in front of that defense.

    Useless to attack if no defense has us lose games.

    Anger is a very weak team and yet our defense allows to draw or beat us. Newcastle will be a different opponent. Pepe wont help us. We must hope to score each attack in order to not lose or draw a game. But how many times you see auba laca and any player hurt when their effort is killed by conceiding?

    Season was ruined for that and we go after pepe instead of Koulibaly.

    Kos would not be mad nor we will be in a week when season kicks just as it ended but without Kos!!!

    It should have been first move Kouli; ulmtiti; in pre season to get chance to settle. It wont be case for anyone we bring in this week; if we do so, nor Kos will be ready as he would with a good pre season.

    We are less ready and weaker defense than end of last season. That is scary! Anger is no team beside one player who was in our youth!

    1. The fact that we need defenders does not neglect the demand for wingers. If you like buy a new world-class back four, with the kind of wings we had last season we will still concede. While we tend to focus on the murderous mistakes of our defenders, we have forgotten what killed us the most last season. How often were we always outnumbered when opponents were attacking us. Apart from when Iwobi was playing didn’t we noticed how often opposition fullbacks had nothing or little to do defensively, which gave them room to attack us at will. I am for us signing better defenders but we should remember that the number of goals we conceded due to individual defender mistake is nothing compare to the ones we conceded collectively

  8. I’m afraid I learnt precious little from a meaningless pre season friendly which bored me to tears.Nothing has changed defensively since last season, and until it does we will not improve our position in the PL.To be fair however Martinelli looks very good value for money.

    1. GRANDAD, Correct and as most of our first choice Prem starters were absent it was almost a trial game for youths. There seemed zero real enthusiasm when we won on penalties either, which shows that it was very much a second string work out only. Agree on Martinelli too, who looks a good ‘un and has a presence about him. Also MARTINEZ looks to be fast improving now.

  9. We cannot praise or criticise based on friendly performances, as these games are purely for fitness, experimentation, and marketing. Mustafi may have looked decent in these meaningless games, but has everyone had their memories wiped, because he has been an awful signing, with 3 consecutive poor seasons. He has never had a good season for us. He should never be picked again, even if we cannot sell him. Play Chambers, or youth ahead of him.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs