Ready for Eddie

Overwhelmed with ability in the Striker department, it's time for the 4th choice to make his mark.

Ready for Eddie

After a spirited mid-week performance at the Bridge; 10 men down thanks to the consistent ineptitude demonstrated by Shokdan Mustafi. Less than a week before the Chelsea match he spoke about his mistakes on and I will be incredibly disappointed to see him play on Monday, thin squad or not.

This article was not written to condemn Mustafi but, rather look forward to the positives of playing Bournemouth on Monday, a chance for Arteta to show this team are capable of putting together a run of performances that could provide a great day out at the end of a season which is largely one to forget.

Whilst I do believe the Europa League should now be our priority, there is no reason, with a squad brimming with huge prospects, that we cannot take the FA Cup very seriously this year.

An incredible statistic came to light following the Chelsea draw regarding Alexandre Lacazette… that he has only scored three times against a Premier League team away from home. Moreover, the Frenchman is on an eight game goal drought and doesn't look likely to break that run anytime soon.

Lacazette doesn’t just offer goals, his link up play and hold up play is brilliant and he certainly offers plenty to this Arsenal team even when his luck is up in front of goal. I would argue that due to his lack of confidence he is not looking to receive the ball in the usually tight areas he often does, wriggling free of his man and driving us forward has been a rarer sight over the last couple of months. This is the Laca we all love and I for one get off my chair 99% of the time he does have the ball because: 

  1. He rarely loses it - 75% completed passes this year is very good for an orthodox striker. Harry Kane sits at 68% in the Premier League 
  2. He often causes damage to the opposition.

A terrific problem now lies ahead for Arteta, and his name is Eddie Nketiah, not loaning him back out was a bold move based on the wealth of talent we now have up front but, as an Arsenal fan himself I see nothing wrong with him fighting for a place in the side until the rest of the season, he will certainly have the passion and drive to do so.

As mentioned previously Lacazette’s offering to the team is more than just goals and I would agree that putting Nketiah in his place, away from home may cause problems linking the ball from defence/midfield up to our Number 9. However, this problem is resolved with the ever impressive Gabriel Martinelli, he reached 10 goals this season against Chelsea and his South American spirit combined with his talent assures many of us that he will grow into one hell of an Arsenal player… many would say he already is one.

I would look to start Nketiah upfront with Martinelli on the wing; both of these youngsters are equally adept at playing out wide but, favour the striker role. Playing out wide is something that Lacazette has never looked comfortable doing, meaning Auba has invariably took on this extra responsibility. It is for this reason I think it is the perfect opportunity to give the young Englishman and Argentinian a chance to partner up and make an early start on what could very well be an absolutely lethal partnership in years to come. 

Martinelli is superb at holding on to the ball, his link up play is perfectly sound and probably his mentality of driving forward with the ball at all costs beats Laca in this department.

So my suggestion is simple, have Martinelli and Nketiah share the left wing and striker position, if we are struggling to link our play together I would have Martinelli sit as striker for that period in the game and Nketiah’s pace is absolutely lethal which will cause real problems to any full back. By setting up this way it would also create a more fluid system up front, something I am sure Arteta would like to experiment with.

On a side note I would love for Saka to be given a chance further forward as well considering the great attitude and ability he has shown as a left back but, this does seem unlikely as it would mean Bellerin or Maitland-Niles playing in an unfavourable role. 

Overall, there is still plenty to look forward to this season, with Auba returning after this match and Sokratis coming back from injury, a terrific run in both cups could turn this season into one we look back on in a couple years and think ‘this was the season which put us back on the path of being where we belong.’


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  1. markymark

    Jan 26, 2020, 23:13 #116385

    Sorry to say that just read A Cultured Left Foot vlogger has passed away. I used to like his stuff. I understand that Gonnerholic also passed away this month so sadly lost two Arsenal sites in a month .

  2. markymark

    Jan 26, 2020, 23:02 #116384

    Hi Ron - just don’t think you’ll see the return of UTD under OGS . He’s just not up to it in terms of tactical awareness and he’s really a counter attacking merchant who’s easily out thought . I’d suggest another £350m spend for them and the players are also not so likely to say yes to them anymore , meaning over paying for talent Louis Van Gaal might have been the man. Allegri if given huge funds maybe but it looks like they are looking at Southgate who has a similar career trajectory to Ollie. On the subject of Laca and Auba a nice round 100m for the pair would be great but failing that 90m

  3. itsRonagain2

    Jan 26, 2020, 20:11 #116383

    AM. I hear you well mate and respect yr comments there. Ideally Laca would stay but I think we ll lose control over that as usual with these things. I think he s tailed off quite a bit too be truthful. His stats show well despite his goals drying up but there’s a lethargy there now I feel and its symptomatic of a player who’s in 2 minds. I think he’s still worth more than 25 mill though Marky. Nearer 35 plus I think. Auba - yr about right there. Given their ages I think Arsenal will soon look to move both on. We won’t spend big up front to replace either so this where I’ m coming from re Eddie and Martinelli. Marky - hearing you re MUFC. Despite their season I think they’re only 2 top players off having a really good side. The news feed media and the usual silly social media rubbish is just noise about them. The dreadful SKY sports channel are wanting a high profile head on a pike to give the odious fools something to drag out and debate fircwedjs on dnd followed by weeks of vacuous speculation about who follows him. I hope UTD stick by OGS just to spite the SKY vultures. Utd will be a decent side next season. Enjoy their slumber while you can. It’s not going to last forever and certainly not 12 years as ours has.

  4. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 26, 2020, 18:50 #116382

    We have to be careful with Eddie and Martinelli - look how injury-prone players have become later on after they played lots of games in their late teens and early 20s. You also have to be careful with their psychology, as no young player can easily nail consistency, so being the main man that is RELIED UPON at that age can be a real weight on the player and stunt their development. I'd keep Laca (as a 10) and Auba (as a 9) as they're old enough to deliver for a few more years and can be phased out with the younger players being bedded in gently. Could give Martinelli and Saka shared responsibility for the left flank - so taking around 25 games a year each. @Ron, I feel sorry for Maitland-Niles: he's not good enough to play in the middle but I think he's probably ahead of Nelson as a right winger (looked great there vs Liverpool). He's now below Nelson in the pecking order just because he's done a fair job at filling in for Bellerin at RB, which seems unfair really. He'll be kept as backup RB only for a year or two then sold on I think.

  5. markymark

    Jan 26, 2020, 17:44 #116381

    We should seriously look for 50-60m for Auba in the summer and maybe 25m for Laca. Martinelli and Eddie will be a serious worry for any premier defence as both are a slight unknown threat though in Martinelli case it’s pretty obvious. We need to shift Mustafi pronto and then we have the real making of a solid base. In other good news Ollie’s thrashing will give him another 6-12 months. I was beginning to worry UTD would sack him. John B I’m hearing good things about Balogun

  6. John F

    Jan 26, 2020, 16:20 #116380

    It is worth keeping an eye on 18 year old Balogun(great name for an Arsenal striker),he is highly rated in the youth team and Auba.

  7. itsRonagain2

    Jan 26, 2020, 11:10 #116379

    PS. I think Maitland Miles is one who won’t make it at Arsenal. He’s decent but I suspect is a utility type player at a lesser level.

  8. itsRonagain2

    Jan 26, 2020, 11:05 #116378

    Yes, it’s a conundrum for MA isn’t it, a nice one ( I think). Personally I think Eddie has all of the hallmarks of a goal scorer and playing him wide could neutralise that. I’ve always thought that and used to suggest we used him far more before he went on loan. I think to use the wonderful Martinelli with him , the best approach is as a 2 up top. Will we do that in football today? Doubtful. Martinelli can do everything I think so being the leader of the two isn’t beyond him and Eddie play off him. Width needs come from a good full back or a competent recognised wide player. Sako can play wide. Bellerin s strengths are over lapping. Reality is though thst whatever formula the club uses up front depends upon the central defensive issue being solved and for the club to actually go out and buy a top quality midfield player, perhaps 2 of them even. Without the latter issues being settled , any plan for front end of the team is reserved. I think both Auba and Laca will be gone before long to be honest so the issue of how best to use Laca is acedemic. If he’s not leaving, it gives Eddie a real problem and both him and club with a big decion to make on his future. Pretending he’s a wide man and shoving him out there isn’t an answer, that what Wengo used to do i.e if he couldn’t think his best to use a players best abilities he d shove them out wide. Neither the player nor the club was very well served by that. Arsenal need to use player s in the roles their most suited to and stop imagining certain players can adapt to whatever role thrown at them. That’s what the best teams do and have always done. It means some players who are too good to keep permanently on the sidelines leave. That’s life.

  9. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Jan 26, 2020, 10:31 #116377

    Good positive piece, MA needs to be brave enough to find places for this great crop of talent but importantly, keep them in the team when it goes wrong. Laca behind a front two should be tried, he has scored some fine goals and set up many for Aba, all that said Martinelli is the real jewel in the crown and the fact the club are talking about increasing his money threefold shows they realise he is a precious talent.