PLAN B TRANSFER WINDOW PAYING OUT ALREADY – Le Grove – The Arsenal Opinion Blog

Ooohhh, look at the Grovers in the comments section slapping me on the wrist for being too negative on Aaron Ramsdale yesterday. A rebellion of sorts occurred after I aired my slight views on concerns that Aaron isn’t in the form he should be and that could cost us.

I’m not budging.

Here’s where I will give some leeway, the player is only 24 years old. At that age, Allisson was getting benched by Wojciech Szczęsny. Ederson had just landed his move to Manchester City at 24 having played only 37 senior games for Benfica. Being a goalkeeper is hard, not many have it sussed at 23, so there’s plenty of room to grow.

My bigger concern is the keeper coach Arteta rolls with, he doesn’t exactly have a sparkling reputation, and here we are again… 5 months of fabulous form from Ramsdale, followed by a bit of a rut as far as I’m concerned. You have to be able to coach him to better if you were allowed a second keeper pick after Runarsson.

Let’s hope Aaron gets back on track. We’ve seen the highs of his game, I’d like to see that with his shot-stopping, because clearly, we’re getting it with his outrageous distribution.

Trust is the most important thing you can have a device. If the defence believes in your stability, it brings calmness to everyone… at the moment, I think there are nerves in the defence, and some of that comes from Ramsdale’s erratic form of late.

He’s made of strong stuff, so let’s hope we see him bounce back hard in the next batch of games, because at core, I am still a Ramsdalian.

It was interesting to hear Arteta talk about the performance of Granit Xhaka after the game. He said that we’ve asked him to play a more advanced role, but that position could also be occupied by Fabio Vieira at some point, or Martin Odegaard. I guess the whole point is that now we have enough technical quality in the squad to move players around. That gives us an unpredictability we haven’t really had under Arteta.

I also like some of the comments the manager made about the speed of what we’re doing. Arsenal players are making better decisions, faster, with outrageous precision. I said at the start of the season we would be an awful team to play against, it’s already playing out. There aren’t really weaknesses in the squad unless we’re making individual errors. Leicester couldn’t press Arsenal, they couldn’t play a high line, they couldn’t sit back against us. We now have answers for everything.

If you need more than the eyetest to confirm how good we are, just watch the Brendan Rodgers post-match interview where he dishes out a lot of praise for what is going on at Arsenal.

Back to why our system is banging:

We’re not relying on one player for anything. Martin Odegaard didn’t stand out like he we know he can yesterday because others around him were, particularly Zinchenko when he inverted. When you look back on Martin’s highlights, you realise he DID have a big impact on the game. His movement on and off the ball was purposeful, he created openings with his runs, he started moves early on, and he gave players opportunities in front of goal. Why is that interesting? Because overreliance on key players makes you easier to play against. Under Unai Emery, all you needed to do was cut off the Tierney overlap. Early Arteta, you just needed to silence Auba and stop that trigger with the ball into midfield. There’s no key to shutting down our game this season. That counts for BIG progress.

I’m also going to go for a comment that was both predictive and 20/20 hindsight.

I am glad Arsenal failed on two transfers I was very excited about.

#1 Dusan Vlahovic

#2 Lisandro Martinez

Keeping our powder dry in January was the right thing to do. Sometimes gratification in the moment costs you something in the future. We have a better squad now because we didn’t spend £65m on Vlahovic and we have been able to spend more on players.

Our plan b on Lisandro Martinez was Zinchenko.

Our plan b on a striker was Gabriel Jesus.

We have ended up with a plan b that is multiples better than the plan A (and cheaper by about £47m).

The City boys know the Premier League. They have won the Premier League. Both are giving their peak years to us. Both know Mikel and his demands. Both have been coached by the greatest manager in world football in the system Mikel Arteta is using.

Like, honestly, talk about derisking your transfer spend.

Lisandro Martinez was subbed off after 45 minutes yesterday after getting spanked around by Brentford. Say what you will about it being too early to judge him (it is), if Arteta was yanking our marquee summer signing after 45 minutes, there would be carnage online.

There are still some gaps in our squad that need to be addressed before the window shuts. The winger position is quite clearly the priority because we know who the club wants as a business and they’ve not bid. Edu is in Valencia today, heading out on a Ryanair jet like a man of the people. Is he there for a player? Or there because he has friends and family in the city from his playing days? Who knows. But whoever the winger is will be someone that has numbers to back the outlay.

If we sign two more players before the window is out, then we’ve had a window so good, it is pointing us in the direction of winning the Premier League in 3 seasons’ time.

Having watched everyone so far this season, I am still targeting Arsenal pushing for 3rd place this season.

I think Spurs and Chelsea are probably favorites over Arsenal. THEy have more experience and NOW players than us. But I just think our system is better and I think the lack of pressure from the media on us placing high might work in our favor.

Oh, forgot to mention: I loved the Gabi Jesus interview. He was annoyed he didn’t score four goals. He said he is happy to be playing as a #9. He also took time out to praise Eddie’s qualities, claiming Arsenal have two very good forwards. I love those vibes. I also liked how angry Zinchenko was over his role in Leicesters’ second goal.

Final point before I exit the chat.

Arsenal fans are fucking excellent these days. I love the injection of young blood with the Ashburton Army and I absolutely love that the fans are not only supporting like they did last season… but they are supporting our young players in the bad moments. What they did for Bill Saliba after that own goal was just beautiful. Young players don’t need you when things are going well, they need you when they are going badly. Arteta mentioned that the moment perked Saliba up and gave him the extra wind he needed to see out a very good game.

A happy fanbase… who’d have thought that’d be the case a year on from our worst start in Premier League history?

2 games. 2 wins. 6 goals. Sexy football. Stacked squad. ‘Be excited’ vibes all over the world for Arsenal.

Right, jump on our On The Whistle podcast right now and also hope that Chelsea smashing Spurs stays the same.

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