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When Rob Holding came to Arsenal, many were baffled by Arsene Wenger’s purchase of the £2.70m defender from Bolton in 2016. The Frenchman gradually introduced him into the side, giving him time and experience at the top level of English football and by 2017, Holding looked on course for a regular slot in central defence,... The post Rob Holding: the Future Defensive Hero or an Overrated and Overhyped Enigma appeared first on...
When Rob Holding came to Arsenal, many were baffled by Arsene Wenger’s purchase of the £2.70m defender from Bolton in 2016. The Frenchman gradually introduced him into the side, giving him time and experience at the top level of English football and by 2017, Holding looked on course for a regular slot in central defence, having contained, intimidated and dominated Diego Costa in Arsenal’s impressive FA cup win over Chelsea.
Like many, I thought of the defender as an emerging natural leader, a pivotal figure at the back and a candidate for the captaincy. Sadly, if anything, Rob Holding has gone backwards. Not by a little but by a lot and if you asked me if I thought he had a long term future at Arsenal, the answer would have to be no.
Holding hasn’t shown the same fire in his belly as he did against Costa and although a serious injury has interrupted his progress, the required maturity and accelerated development have been missing.
Do I believe Holding to be the next Tony Adams ? No of course not. Adams spent 22 years at Arsenal, 14 as it’s captain and made 669 appearances, winning 10 major trophies, including League titles in three different decades. Holding isn’t likely to come remotely close.
When examining Holding’s success or failure, one has to appreciate the simple truth, one manager and a head coach presided over him but Koscielny, Mustafi and Sokratis have all jumped the queue for the central defender’s slot.
Koscielny hobbled about, wasn’t fit and was in desperate need of rest but Wenger often preferred the Frenchman to his English counterpart.
Under Emery, Mustafi’s fluffy performances and shortcomings still saw him chosen ahead of Holding on numerous occasions. It was only when the fans, rightly or wrongly made the German the scapegoat for Arsenal’s failure, that he was granted permanent residency on the bench.
Sokratis has a big heart and is fully committed to the cause but Rob Holding should have ensured he pushed the Greek hard for a starting position, he hasn’t.
If you are about to mention the recent bad luck, apart from rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in 2018, Holding has had a relatively injury free existence. So why has he failed to push on ? Why did Arsenal need William Saliba and why are they looking for a long term partners such as Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
Why are Arsenal looking at the permanent signing of Pablo Mari, if Holding is the man to solve Arsenal’s annual defensive crisis ?
Surely Holding is good enough to do that ! Well no, that’s the point, it appears Arsenal don’t see him as the answer to the defensive problems that have been there since he arrived.
As Arteta settles in, he may see Holding as surplus to requirements and someone that can generate additional transfer funds. Sadly, as much as many fans wanted him to succeed, he may have missed his opportunity.
The post Rob Holding: the Future Defensive Hero or an Overrated and Overhyped Enigma appeared first on Arsedevils.
Arsenal haven’t always been sharp in their negotiations, in fact, if you needed a term for their recent contract discussions, then the word ‘pitiful’ is as good as any. That has had to improve but as yet, we have no real evidence that anything has changed but Gabriel Martinelli would be a good test case... The post Arsenal Really Need to Make Sure That Gabriel Martinelli’s in for the Long Haul Time Before Clubs Start Queuing Outside his House appeared first on...
Arsenal haven’t always been sharp in their negotiations, in fact, if you needed a term for their recent contract discussions, then the word ‘pitiful’ is as good as any. That has had to improve but as yet, we have no real evidence that anything has changed but Gabriel Martinelli would be a good test case for the negotiations team.
Since the summer, Martinelli has seriously impressed everyone inside and outside the Emirates and is widely regarded by many as the find of the decade. He has many admirers in the game and clubs around the world are monitoring the 18-year-old’s progress with a view to poach his talent in a few seasons from now.
With that in mind, Arsenal need to act fast and perhaps even consider building a team around the youngster for years to come but above all, they need to offer him a deal that keeps him at Arsenal for five years with a renewal option in the small print.
Many Arsenal fans consider that the Brazilian is going to become a global superstar and could easily rival a certain Thierry Henry in the future. These types of observations can be distorted at a young age but there are enough reasons to suggest that the majority of observers are right in this case.
Gabriel Martinelli has pace, blistering pace, which will challenge any defender and you get the impression that he relishes one to one encounters. He has confidence and composure beyond his years and plays his natural game at any level, unfazed and undaunted by pressure or expectations.
He has excellent vision that allows him to turn provider and is as adept on the wing as he is as a striker. Martinelli also has an array of passes and the predatory striker can also produce moments of instinctive brilliance, the type that wins games. Not many headers though and if I had to find a fault, that would be it but that’s being unnecessarily picky.
Ex-Arsenal winger Perry Groves was quick to praise the striker against Chelsea:
“There’s got to be a mention for Martinelli because he showed that composure and coolness when you’ve run basically from the edge of your own box.”
“You’ve got a lot to time to think about it before you get to the edge of the [opposition’s] box, and for a young player to show that amount of composure was top quality.
Meanwhile, Martin Keown said:
“He was the youngest player on the pitch out there for Arsenal and he showed the experienced players how it was done.”
Arsenal need to give this kid a mega contract. They need to stop thinking about the short term and extend his stay at Arsenal for the foreseeable future.
The stupidity of Arsenal football club continues to baffle most football observers weekly, but they are surpassing expectations at the moment by stubbornly trying to conduct loan deals when the parent club wants cash. They could have already resolved their defensive and midfield issues but are reluctant to part with cash until the summer but... The post Stupidity of Arsenal Football Club Continues to Baffle Despite Being Reluctantly Forced into Action in the Transfer Window appeared first on...
The stupidity of Arsenal football club continues to baffle most football observers weekly, but they are surpassing expectations at the moment by stubbornly trying to conduct loan deals when the parent club wants cash.
They could have already resolved their defensive and midfield issues but are reluctant to part with cash until the summer but to those clubs selling, the Arsenal name means very little when they want to reinforce themselves. They aren’t interested in complex installments, down payments, incentives and appearance clauses. They aren’t in the position to accept long winded five year deals, worked out by a team of frugal accountants and the legal mumbo jumbo of a solicitor.
Years ago, Arsenal may have been in a position to knock on doors and grab what they want on favourable terms but the world of football negotiations has moved on and if they aren’t prepared to deal in cash transactions, negotiations tend to be very short.
Several names have been mentioned in connection with Arsenal such as Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig) but £45/£50m is not something Arsenal are prepared to part with at this stage of the season. It appears Raul Sanllehi and Edu are finding it hard to buy diamonds when they are only prepared to pay pennies but the realisation that they might miss out again on another star player may just prompt action.
As we all know, Arsenal prefer to ignore Mayfair on the Monopoly board in preference of the Old Kent Road and that mentality has lead them to this current position of being as close to a forth place finish as they are to third from bottom.
So the Gunners are more likely to ignore common sense and agree terms with Jerome Boateng because of the relatively low outlay but come the summer, if they upgrade, what will have been the point.
In the World of false economy, Arsenal reign supreme and in league of the make do’s, Arsenal are kings. Year in, year out, the Gunners appear to be oblivious to their past mistakes and seem determined to make them over and over. Injured players, high profile bench warmers on loans and last minute panic purchases, Arsenal are the masters of the misfits.
Now the deal for Bruno Guimaraes has hit a rough spot with his club, Athletico Paranaense, declaring that they want to retain a 20% share of the player.
Arsenal are stupid enough to do that but what is 20% of a player ? The feet and shins ? the head and shoulders ? Who knows but it’s a shit deal, the type Arsenal like.
With the transfer window ending soon, something needs to change because if Arsenal think they can cruise to the end of the season or limp into a Champions League slot, they are mistaken.
It’s been a complicated season for both Bournemouth and Arsenal, who are not usually struggling in their respective league positions at this time. The South Coast team have certainly found life tougher in the premier league over the last few seasons but under Eddie Howe, they always had the right mentality and philosophy to remain... The post Probable Lineups, Predictions and Team News as Arsenal Square off Against Eddie Howe’s Fellow Strugglers appeared first on...
It’s been a complicated season for both Bournemouth and Arsenal, who are not usually struggling in their respective league positions at this time.
The South Coast team have certainly found life tougher in the premier league over the last few seasons but under Eddie Howe, they always had the right mentality and philosophy to remain in the division.
They could certainly do with one or two additions, which are more likely to happen in the summer if they can survive in the top flight for another term.
The FA cup is something of an unwelcome distraction but Howe will want his side to get some form of result from the contest to maintain a winning mentality after a surprising win over Brighton.
The fixtures ahead are looking difficult to say the least, with Aston Villa looking to be the easiest of the upcoming matches which include Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs.
Looking at the games doesn’t exactly inspire confidence and the odd point here and there isn’t going to keep them safe.
A reasonably lengthy cup run would only make matters worse by acting as a distraction and Howe will want to focus on maintaining his premiership status.
On the other hand Arsenal will be in a rather buoyant mood, having produced a gutsy performance against Chelsea in the premier league.
One which saw them come from behind twice with 10 men after David Luiz was sent off in the 26th minute.
It could be a defining moment in their season that has established their character under Arteta, with many claiming it was their best performance to date.
No Aubameyang or Luiz for this one, so Arteta is likely to shuffle the pack but there are a few tough calls to make. In defence, does he introduce the desperately rusty Rob Holding or bring back Sokratis to partner Mustafi ?
Apart from Mustafi’s glaring mistake, he finished strongly and hardly put a foot wrong. He even released Martinelli with a pass that saw the exhilarating young Brazilian run 64 yards for his superbly executed goal.
Is Kolasinac due for a recall on the left with Maitland Niles taking Bellerin’s right sided berth ?
I wouldn’t rule it out at all but don’t expect Ceballos to return, he might be passing time in the bench with Ozil clearly Arteta’s preferred option in the middle.
Pepe could also be rested after his recent efforts which has seen a marked improvement and upturn in fortunes.
His place could go to Reiss Nelson, who looked good on his last outing and is looking to cement his place in the first team.
Arsenal have the upper hand in this contest and after a cagey first 20 minutes, the gunners will have too much in reserve for Bournemouth.
They could even win by 2 or 3 goals by the final whistle with their pace and quality evident as the match goes on.
For stats hounds: Arsenal have played Bournemouth 11 times in all competitions since 1987, winning 8, drawing 2 and losing 1. Scoring 27 goals and conceding 9.
Ozil (4) Mkhitaryan (27) Koscielny (47) Aubameyang (59) Lacazette (78)
Preferred line up:
Martinez, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Nelson, Ozil, Martinelli, Lacazette.
Maitland Niles, Sokratis, Holding,Kolasinac,
Nelson, Ozil, Martinelli and
Predicted Score : Arsenal win 3-0 vs Bournemouth
The post Probable Lineups, Predictions and Team News as Arsenal Square off Against Eddie Howe’s Fellow Strugglers appeared first on Arsedevils.
When he arrived at Manchester United from Southampton as a £30million 18-year-old England international in 2014, Luke Shaw was meant to be the Red Devils’ permanent left-back for the next 10 years. Fast forward a little over 5 years, and his potential of becoming United’s future is under serious threat. There’s a new kid on... The post Brandon Williams Bossing the Left-back Position as his own Showcases Exactly What United Have Been Missing appeared first on...
When he arrived at Manchester United from Southampton as a £30million 18-year-old England international in 2014, Luke Shaw was meant to be the Red Devils’ permanent left-back for the next 10 years. Fast forward a little over 5 years, and his potential of becoming United’s future is under serious threat. There’s a new kid on the block now wowing the Old Trafford faithful, a product of Manchester United’s illustrious academy. It’s Brandon Williams!
Although, recent seasons as a Manchester United supporter hasn’t reaped its benefits with success, the club has still produced moments worthy of celebration. One major silver lining in an otherwise fruitless few seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, is the emergence of an exciting group of academy prospects making their name in the first team. The likes of Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Mason Greenwood, Axel Tuanzebe, to the up and coming figures of Angel Gomes, Dylan Levitt and James Garner.
Though, one kid already making a name for himself and threatening to make Luke Shaw a thing of the past at Old Trafford is 19-year-old Brandon Williams.
Thrust into the first-team because of injuries to Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams has rapidly made the position his own. He’s never once looked fazed by the pressure of filling in.
With injuries to a lack of depth in the squad, Solskjaer has had to turn to his academy and it is a risk that is reaping its rewards. Against Brighton, Williams was in fact handed the Man-of-the-Match award because of his tidy and assured performance in a game where United were desperate for the three points. His positional awareness, bravery and maturity stood out in a relatively comfortable 3-1 victory.
Where United have often been unbalanced in the back line deploying make shift options such as Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo, it’s been refreshing to see a natural left-back in the team. A position that has regularly been a problem for United, now currently looks to be solved. 14 appearances already for Williams, and United have only lost one of those.
Brandon Williams' last 7 appearances in all competitions:
• 0 goals conceded
• 0 goals conceded
• 0 goals conceded
• 0 goals conceded
• 3 goals conceded
• 0 goals conceded
• 0 goals conceded
6/7 clean sheets. pic.twitter.com/HzD6EpDt4k
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 15, 2020
The above stat tells its own story about the impact Brandon Williams is having on the whole team. He has restored a defensive resilience in United’s back-line, something that has been missing for much of the season, and never even expected after United shelled out nearly £80million on Harry Maguire. Now United have two full-backs on either flank with the full capabilities of courageously becoming influential both in attack and defence.
Sure, Luke Shaw’s had his fair share of injuries problems, though when he is fit, he’s often looked susceptible in defence and rarely offers an adequate support for Marcus Rashford on the left. Brandon Williams has filled in that role effortlessly.
One of the reasons United lack much creativity in the final third is due to Luke Shaw or Ashley Young regularly failing to provide an outlet for Rashford when he drifts in field. Because of that lack of support, it is easy for defenders to sniff out Rashford’s attempts on the left because there isn’t an alternative beside him to engage and for the forward to use as a decoy.
Brandon Williams has thankfully provided Solskjaer with a solution however, his marauding, non-stop runs off the ball down the left, driving with the ball from deep benefits United’s play. Now opposite full-backs are drawn away from the ball in an attempt to engage Williams’ movement which means Rashford or Anthony Martial have more space to exploit in the final third. It was his relentless energy and determination to get onto Rashford’s over-hit pass that gifted United the penalty in their 4-0 rout against Norwich at Old Trafford.
Such a trait is clearly being valued by Solskjaer and the whole squad, and its why Brandon Williams is being earmarked as United’s best left-back since Patrice Evra. The 19-year-old’s overall play has rejuvenated a team that’s long been in desperate need of some injection of energy, bravery and drive down the left-flank.
It’s performances like that against Brighton, Norwich, Wolves twice in the recent FA Cup ties, and Sheffield United back in November, amongst a long list of examples from Brandon Williams that is providing United fans with some real excitement in a season filled with many ups and downs. Long may it continue, the signs of Williams’ early development are very encouraging. This is a player worthy of some celebration, how the United faithful have needed those over the years.
The post Brandon Williams Bossing the Left-back Position as his own Showcases Exactly What United Have Been Missing appeared first on Arsedevils.
Chelsea’s remit was superbly executed against the Gunners in the first 45 minutes of the Chelsea Vs Arsenal contest at Stamford Bridge. They chased everything and virtually suffocated Arsenal, rushing them into a series of mistimed or poorly placed passes which saw them only briefly wander over the halfway. Arsenal aren’t good with this type... The post What Arsenal’s Magnificent Fightback Against a Dominant Chelsea has Taught us appeared first on...
Chelsea’s remit was superbly executed against the Gunners in the first 45 minutes of the Chelsea Vs Arsenal contest at Stamford Bridge. They chased everything and virtually suffocated Arsenal, rushing them into a series of mistimed or poorly placed passes which saw them only briefly wander over the halfway. Arsenal aren’t good with this type of pressure and these soppy looking balls played across the defence looked like an accident waiting to happen.
Mustafi received a ball that had Abraham breathing down the German’s neck (28) so he turned it back to Leno. The trouble was the ball was slow and short, allowing Abraham to capitalise by racing into the box with the Arsenal keeper stranded. Luiz, who had looked promising, raced in and physically upended the striker for an immediate red card.
There were no complaints really, it was an obvious offence but Luiz would have been better letting him steer the ball in and then seeing what Arsenal could offer in reply. As for Mustafi, it’s just another mistake from his repertoire of horrifying howlers.
One wonders how he ever won a World Cup in the form he’s shown since his move to the Emirates in 2015. He redeemed himself for the remainder of the Chelsea Vs Arsenal match, even taking a ball in the fatherhood zone and for once, I felt for him.
10 men away from home and 1-0 down was going to be a big ask with Chelsea appearing to relish the prospect of an even weaker Arsenal defence. Before the Chelsea Vs Arsenal match, I felt an Arsenal win was on the cards but with half time looming, I was craving another trademark draw.
A three match ban for Luiz makes Arteta’s defensive problems ten times worse and at half time, one imagined Mustafi receiving a few choice words from the Spanish coach who looked a frustrated figure as he headed to the tunnel.
Looking at the table at this point was deeply depressing with only six points separating Arsenal from 19th position in the Premier League, currently inhabited by Watford. This was going to be a long and draining evening by any standard.
Arsenal were again under siege from the whistle for the second half and the gunners were in need of a sizeable piece of luck or a moment of individual brilliance against the run of play, either would do. As so often happens with a sending off, Chelsea struggled to make the advantage count, with Arsenal managing to show determination to keep them out but also to get forward. It wasn’t over yet.
Holding was the obvious choice to come on but Ozil made way for the more battle hungry Guendouzi (55) and for a moment, it appeared that Arteta missed having someone with shaggy locks on the pitch.
Much has been made about Aubameyang’s absence but if you had to have a stand in, Martinelli is the best you could hope for. Both Pepe and Martinelli looked good together against Sheffield and they were in the thick of the only Arsenal attack of any meaning in the match (64).
A quick break saw Martinelli bomb forward, Kante slipped back peddling, leaving the Brazilian to pillage the Chelsea goal. The Arsenal fans who had been as quiet as a coach full of mourners came to life, rejoicing at the strike from a potential future club legend.
Surprisingly, Chelsea ran out of steam briefly before Lacazette thought he’d got off the mark for the first time in seven appearances but he was the length of a shopping trolley offside.(72)
With both sides feeling the pressure, it seemed as if the game might boil over, with some spicy knocks and pent up frustrations taking a firm hold. The Chelsea crowd booed and hissed at anything that didn’t look like a goal for the home side or three points.
It was now down to concentration and application for Arsenal to gain a point rather than lose all three but it made nervous viewing, not for the first time this season. I was feeling exhausted but I wasn’t prepared for what happened next…Arteta made a substitution aimed at holding on to the point. Arsenal fans would have to go back to the days of gorgeous George to experience that level of common sense and with ten minutes left, Holding came on for Pepe.
However it didn’t work, Cesar Azpilicueta got a touch from the corner (84) zipping ahead of Mustafi and slotting it past Leno. Chelsea have had a habit of stealing from Arteta and Arsenal and it appeared to be no different in this Chelsea Vs Arsenal game.
Arsenal had been heroic and deserved more for their determination and they got it from Hector Bellerin (87) who hit a left footed screamer into the corner of the Chelsea net. The Arsenal bench exploded.
You can say what you like about Arteta but he is putting together a team that won’t roll over. Wenger and Emery’s Arsenal would probably have been 4-0 down by the final whistle with their heads down and chins on the floor, but this was an exceptional performance in many ways.
The performance would have been better with a full compliment of personnel but in the plus column, Martinelli looked like the type of striker that surfaces very occasionally, with the undeniable potential to become world class. Leno was also crucial to this result with a number of instinctive saves that prevented Arsenal going further behind.
Yet each player stood firm and put in a shift in the Chelsea Vs Arsenal game. They gave a solid performance to prevent an almost inevitable defeat whilst giving hope that Arsenal can still climb up the table and away from danger.
The best performance of the season so far.
The post What Arsenal’s Magnificent Fightback Against a Dominant Chelsea has Taught us appeared first on Arsedevils.
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