A Night Of Positives At The Emirates

Online Editorial: Arsenal shadow team demolishes Forest

A Night Of Positives At The Emirates

The were only four things that weren’t great about last night’s 3rd Round Carabao Cup game against Nottingham Forest. The problems on the trains leading to a delayed kick off, the squally rain that welcomed fans on exiting the match, the concussion suffered by Emile Smith Rowe and the underwhelming display of captain for the night Mesut Ozil.

Aside from that, it was all good and thoroughly enjoyable. Hector Bellerin was on the bench rather than the starting eleven, but better that than rush him back and suffer another injury. It indicates that Calum Chambers will probably retain the right back spot for the trip to Old Trafford. However, both Rob Holding and new signing Kieran Tierney played the full 90 minutes, and both must be in contention for next Monday evening’s game. And Arsenal kept a clean sheet to boot, limiting Forest to five goal attempts, only one of which was on target. Now granted, the opposition are a Championship team, but they currently sit sixth in the table, two points off top place. And they had a reputation for a mean defence coming into last night’s game. In mitigation, they only started four of the players that played three days earlier at home to Barnsley, although a 5-0 scoreline never looks good, whatever line-up you put out.

Arsenal obviously played on Sunday and none of the starting eleven from the win over Villa began against Forest. No surprise as Emery gave match time to those in need of it and some of his younger players. Forest were combative early on, but Unai Emery’s side soon took control of possession and territory. They needed a goal to get through the thicket of opposition defending and fortunately, it came after half an hour courtesy of a decent header from young Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli, who latched on to a sweet volleyed cross from right back Chambers. Things opened up a little, but it remained 1-0 at the interval, by which time Smith Rowe had been stretchered off to be replaced by Buyako Saka.

The second half saw Forest gradually tire as they tried to establish parity. However, symbolically, the gap between the sides widened when Mesut Ozil was replaced by Dani Ceballos. Ozil trudged off in predictably funereal pace. He’d not made much impact, in spite of the level of the opposition, and presumably considers the Carabao Cup a level beneath the matches he should be playing in. Yet it’s up to him to make a convincing argument for a return to the first team, and he’s had enough opportunities under Emery without convincing anyone, aside from the home win v Leicester last season. The only reason he is still at the club is his inflated wages, and the hope is that for everyone’s sake, including the player’s, he can settle in pastures new where he will be less marginalized in the matches he plays. Hindsight has told us that the decision to secure Ozil on mega wages was one of the worst in the club’s history, an unfortunate waste of what could be over £60 million in wages. Ozil is a rich man, and enjoys London life (although whether that is true since the attempted carjacking incident during the summer we can’t say). But he isn’t enjoying his football anymore, as last night demonstrated.

The future though, feels a little brighter after the performances of the younger players in the second half. Joe Willock found the net, as did Reiss Nelson, and Martinelli grabbed a second deep into injury time with the goal of the night. In the midst of that, it was good to see Rob Holding score in his comeback game, a goal that saw all the players quite evidently delighted for him.

Hector Bellerin came on for Tierney with 13 minutes left, as Chambers switched to left back. Bellerin gave the assist for Joe Willock’s goal, whilst Chambers did the same from the left wing for Reiss Nelson. Bellerin looked comfortable, and we look forward to his contribution once fully fit. I suspect his first start may be in the home Europa League match against Standard Liege on Thursday next week, when we are likely to see a fair few of the faces from last night, given the visit to Old Trafford is only three nights before.

So a very enjoyable night’s work and a good few well taken goals to send the fans into the late evening rain. And to make things even better, Spurs demonstrated how playing a lower division side can end in humiliation. Arsenal, of course, have been there before, so although we can have a chuckle, memories of crashing out to League Two Bradford City back in 2013 have not, sadly, been erased as yet.


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  1. Nos89

    Sep 26, 2019, 12:31 #114977

    Well what can be said about chambers. In the 3 matches he's started we've kept 3 clean sheets he has scored 1 and 3 assists. He has to be given a chance in the starting line up against Manure. Forest are a good championship team this season and that result should not be dismissed given it was a totally different starting eleven from the Sunday win against a struggling Premier League team. They showed no fear, unlike the current incumbent of the captain's armband does. Chambers for Xhaka in the midfield, absolutely. In fact Chambers could take over Perry Groves' dream world.

  2. itsRonagain2

    Sep 26, 2019, 10:07 #114976

    That CC Cup draw recalls memories of 2007 or 8(forget the exact year). Working in Cheshire at the time and went to the FAC Game on the week end and the CC game on the Tuesday . 3-1 and 6-3 wins. Project youth was in full flow back then!

  3. John F

    Sep 26, 2019, 7:37 #114975

    And ignores Chambers Mark .What could go wrong is that he starts the same midfield and defence that he started the Villa game with.As for Liverpool 2nd team v Arsenals,for the first time in ages I fancy our chances up at Anfield as long as Dick plays the same team.

  4. markymark

    Sep 26, 2019, 6:55 #114974

    This must be the best time to play UTD at Old Trafford since the last best time to play UTD at Old Trafford. What could possibly go wrong ?

  5. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 25, 2019, 22:18 #114973

    Not saying the draw is fixed but I managed to predict Chelsea, Manure and the scousers against us.!!

  6. markymark

    Sep 25, 2019, 22:09 #114972

    Can Arsenal officially stop shitting themselves at UTD considering the latest Manure (Greatest Youth Team in the World) performance against Rochdale We will see. Was OGS smiling after tonight ?

  7. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 25, 2019, 21:30 #114971

    Certainly no Don Howe!! We have a good group of youngsters coming through and have brought some good youngsters. So there are positives and moves to improve. Would be far more impressed with the current owners if they were to reduce the cost of tickets to match the current position the club is in but will not hold my breath. We have the makings of a good side as GR says let's hope Dick can see what we can and plays players in form rather than sticking with Xhaka, Sokratis & Luiz. We are due a result at OT and will not get a better chance than Monday..

  8. markymark

    Sep 25, 2019, 19:44 #114970

    Just some points about Arsenal selling on or at least being seen as a stepping stone. In theory nothing wrong with that if we get the right price. Gnarby sold for £3m was plain ridiculous and summed up the dying reign of Wengo. Guendozi going to Barcelona for £65m in two years feels ok at this moment . We also have to look at the state of football right now. We have Messi , Ronaldo , Neymar , Griezman and Mbappe , hugely expensive and very difficult to move. Both Barcelona and Madrid are breaking up. So the Spanish monster clubs may even retract themselves out of the macho market , call an armistice almost. Only the Italians seem happy to buy big at the moment. Our youngsters seem genuinely good. Whilst Over at the theatre of dreams apparently they’ve got the best youth players EVER! At least OGS will make them smile. So maybe the spotlight is best left on Manure whilst ours nurture away. Back to Emery is he a Howe or a Rioch? If he puts Xhaka in against UTD he’s a hell of a lot worse then either and really does deserve sacking!

  9. Bard

    Sep 25, 2019, 18:39 #114969

    Good result and fun to see the 'youf' players at work. Good post Ron. It was only Forest's reserves so lets not get carried away. Despite the bull Arsenal have been piss poor with youf players. We have only produced Gibbs and Jack in the last 20 years, we have sold the rest as sub standard. Maybe two or three of the current crop will make it but its unrealistic to think they are all going to morph into worldies. The really significant news is that Arsenal have announced that Josh's previous comments were rubbish and they arent going to be in the market in Jan. This suggests to me they arent going to back Dick because he isnt going to be there. Watch this space.

  10. John F

    Sep 25, 2019, 17:02 #114968

    This does remind me of the mid eighties when Don Howe struggled as manager like Dick but left behind a very good group of youngsters for an Ex Arsenal midfielder to bring on .

  11. John F

    Sep 25, 2019, 16:50 #114967

    The movement and speed of attack was very good yesterday.There has been false dawn's before regarding younger players coming through and failing to make the grade but I think this current crop look very talented and I agree with GR the future looks good.Could it have something to do with Freddie and if so I wouldn't mind if these youngsters came through with him in charge.Martinelli alongside Saka look very good and with Nketiah doing well at Leeds we could have a potent front three.


    Sep 25, 2019, 16:25 #114966

    We should not read too much into last night BUT we do seem to have some real talent coming through - everyone who has followed Tierney seem to regard him as an exceptional talent & I really liked the look of Martinelli in pre-season. Probably Dick isn't the guy to harness this & it would be great to get a top, proven coach like Allegri BUT, as Ron says, does the Yank regime see AFC in that light? Also, the likes of Allegri & former top, top talents like Maureen in his prime tend to want to bring in expensive players at their peak or maybe just past it. Works in Italy but in the EPL & with dubious sell on value?

  13. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 25, 2019, 15:52 #114965

    Every time Chambers has been called to step in, even if he's told to play out of position, he shows a lot of solidity defensively and finesse on the ball. It's interesting actually because you have to remember we paid a then large fee of £20m for him back when he played great for Southampton and they had a real project youth going. He looked quality before joining us but of course Wenger's appalling gung ho set up regressed him. I think the year he did at Fulham just focusing on defending has really helped him get back to his true level. The thing is - and this is testament to how poor a coach Emery is - we are actually SO close to a complete squad. The only areas we need to fill are DM (Luiz perfect for that) and the two CB roles (Chambers and Holding). Yes we need to buy Ceballos ideally, and maybe Upamecano, with Saliba already coming. Chambers could be our DM long term perhaps. You couldn't do much better than that for a squad overall, however. The thing is, there's a real scarcity of top players across Europe - just look at the plight of the European superpowers Bayern, Real and Barca if you want proof of that. This season is a real 'make or break' for us as I feel not getting CL football will break up this nearly complete squad. Ideally we get CL football then let Emery go.

  14. itsRonagain2

    Sep 25, 2019, 15:16 #114964

    GR - hi matey. All good comments as usual. A note of caution though as we used to hear those words' grow and get better together' during project youths high point and then again after the 'english spine' was being touted as being enduring for many a long time. Neither happened as 1 the players were not very good and 2 its unrelaistic intodays game. The chances are many if not most of these players will see AFC as a stepping stone to bigger things just as Fabregas and Van Persie, Nasri, Clichy and co did. The Club will need to buy some quality to support these younger players if they want to avoid the better ones upping sticks to find a team that will challenge at the top of the game wherever. Arsenal cant avoid it forever and if the said players do leave, albeit for good prices as you rightly say and nor can they be blamed for doing so if they do. I fear Arsenal just see players as assets on a balance sheet and the need to couple that will sporting glory isnt even close to mattering in truth. The last 12 years have wised us up enormously. Nobody is going to buy into another project youth and be persuaded to listen to the club preaching patience again.

  15. GoonerRon

    Sep 25, 2019, 11:49 #114963

    The first time we’ve totally dominated a game for ages, although we need to take into account the opposition. Slowly but surely we are changing the complexion of the squad - with lots of older players sold/released in the summer and a swell of very promising younger players coming through / purchased. Considering Tierney, Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, AM-N, Willock, Guendouzi, Torreira, ES-R, Nelson, Saka, Martinelli, Saliba, Nketiah and Pepe are aged 18-24 (and average age under 21), sprinkled with a few diamonds at their peak like Aubameyang and Lacazette, we have the makings of a very good squad that will grow and get better together. Speaking purely in a financial sense, we are creating and giving chances to players that either show sufficient potential to be first team regulars now or in the near future, or if they don’t quite make it with us will be very saleable, profitable assets.

  16. itsRonagain2

    Sep 25, 2019, 11:38 #114962

    Good positives indeed Kev. I never saw the match but perspective is needed despite those positives. It was a shadow Forest team wasn't it after all. It says a lot when teams in the Championship disregard the early rounds of the CC as much as ever the PL teams do. The Ozil issue is an enormous black cloud hanging over the club and i think that until hes gone, any work that Emery does will be overshadowed and tainted by the very fact of Ozil just being at the club, despite Dick not being responsible for that. The man is a shirker going through the motions and doing just enough to avoid the accusation that he refuses to play to his best abilities. Its borderline though isnt it. Its a scandalous state of affairs and the club should be ashamed of itself. How can the younger players play with him and not be affected? Its a wrong and a blight brought upon them in my view.