Jesus and Saka show who might be saviours next season
Morning all, hope we’re all feeling fine and dandy?
Having not watched the game last night, it is difficult for me to be too details-orientated on both individual and team performances, but Arsenal’s continued good pre season form carried on and we beat what sounds like a pretty lacklustre Everton team with goals from the two guys I think most of us are expecting big things from this season.
I’ve watched the highlights reel on the official site and watched a couple of other performances, but Gabriel Jesus’ goal yesterday was one that I hope we can see repeated again and again in this upcoming season. His touch was lightning quick to control the ball as it dropped to him at the back post, his finish was with authority in to the roof of the net and forgive me for being dismissive of our previous number nine, but even something like that move I don’t think Lacazette would have delivered last season. It wasn’t about pace, it wasn’t about athleticism, I just never saw Laca get in to those positions very often for us last season and if Gabriel Jesus can keep cropping up in places like he did for his goal yesterday, then we’ll have a gem on our hands.
Again, just highlights reel, but his shot in the first half for Pickford to make a decent save was well taken too. He anticipated, he knew exactly what he wanted to do and took a snap judgement which forced a save. From the little i’ve seen of Jesus so far, it looks like we have a player with a lightning quick mind and the ability to act on it to boot.
The second goal was also of his making too. I think it was fairly obvious he was looking to flick the ball to Martinelli who was in a more central position, but Saka in at the back post to mop up and touch the ball in was a great sight to see. We’ve all seen those Saka goals coming centrally, or composed finishes like the one last season against Watford which springs to mind, but some more of those back post poacher goals will be great to see and I think with Gabriel Jesus, Odegaard, Martinelli and Smith Rowe all able to take up those positions for us in attack, I hope – and think – we’ll be seeing more from our wide players coming in and sniffing opportunities at the back post.
By the sounds of it we got decent enough performances from our other newbies who were available too. Turner maade a couple of good stops and Saliba looked composed in possession. Because there’s so much hyper around Saliba I did see a video comp of just his touches and interventions in the game and whilst there was nothing particularly spectacular about it, he looked calm and assured on the ball. Arteta revealed afterwards that Ben White had a knock but getting a good 70-odd minutes for Saliba in this first game would have been good for him and Arteta also said he looked good too.
And this is why we need that many decent players in each position; White had a knock and so we rested him and there was no discernible drop in quality for the replacement. When you consider that to what sounds like a pretty average second half, in which a lot of the players with one foot out the door got minutes on the pitch, it shows you just why we need players like Saliba to come in and share minutes with the likes of White and Gabriel.
Of course I do wish we had another right back, as Arteta confirmed a slight knock to Tomiyasu and if we get Zinchenko – which is looking all the more likely now – then that covers the left back slot for the injury prone Tierney, as well as a midfield option. But on that right hand side we still are a Tomiyasu injury away from having to field Cedric and that is a cause for much concern for me. Smith Rowe had also picked up a knock but apparently all of those players are fine and should be available for the next game. But I guess that’s the point of upping the quality in the team, isn’t it? Because if somebody does pick up a knock, we don’t just patch them up and send them out there next season, like we had right at the end of the season in defence which eventually cost us the Champions League spot. Arteta clearly feels like we need to make sure that game up at Newcastle never happens again and that’s why I think he’ll heavily involve Saliba in games this season, as well as Zinchenko when they arrive. These guys aren’t just going to play League Cup and Europa League matches; Arteta will hopefully shuffle his pack so we don’t see an end to the season with our team looking like the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan.
Which is why I am hoping that some kind of secret deal is being done for a proper right back cover. It’s why I was quite hot on Aaron Hickey as an option, because he was a true option in both right and left back and given Tomiyasu’s injury problems as well as Tierney’s, you could probably have guaranteed Hickey between 25 – 30 starts in a season, minimum. But that ship has sailed and it looks like Arteta is going to stick with Cedric for another season at least.
Other than that there’s little else to report on, other than the fact Arteta said they were hoping for a few more incomings. I would suspect that one is Zinchenko and many still believe we’ll go for Tielemans. I’m not so sure now, but would certainly welcome it, because I think he’s a player who would really bring us up a level. But for now we must contend with the speculation whilst we wait for confirmation on the Ukrainian, then noises from the journo’s as to where we’re looking next.
Right, I’m offski to enjoy the sun in my garden. Catch you all tomorrow.