Arsenal’s opening fixtures moved for TV and the problems Arsenal are left with




By Tony Attwood

We now have a new round of amendments to Arsenal’s opening schedule and here they are… 

Monday, August 21
8pm: Crystal Palace vs Arsenal (Sky Sports)

Saturday, August 26
3pm: Arsenal vs Fulham 

Sunday, September 3
4.30pm: Arsenal vs Manchester United (Sky Sports)

Saturday, September 16
5.30pm:  Everton vs Arsenal (Sky Sports, but could be moved  if Arsenal are drawn away in the Champions League the following tuesday)

Sunday, September 24
2pm: Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur (Sky Sports)

So what do Arsenal have to do before then?

My own view is “keep on keeping on,” since everything is moving in the right direction.  In the latest news Nelson has signed a new contract which I am very pleased to hear, and Xhaka has finally gone to Bayer Leverkusen which we have been expecting for months, 

In a move that took all of us here by surprise Steve Round, the first-team assistant coach has left the club while having two years left on his contract.  Time will tell if he had another job lined up, or was simply disagreeing with the way the first team were being coached, or whether Arsenal already had someone lined up, and told him he would have to fit in with another person.

Thankfully, there is no sign that Albert Stuivenberg is moving and if he did that would be an absolute shock.  Nor indeed the other assistant coaches Carlos Cuesta and Miguel Molina are going anywhere.  Stuivenberg has worked with Feyenoord, Al Jazira Club, the Netherlands under 17s (winning the European championship twice), and then their under 21s, before coming to Arsenal.

So is everything fixed and ready?  Not according to the media it is not.  For an article in The Analyst says “Arsenal need to figure out what to do with their options behind first-choice striker, Gabriel Jesus.”

Now that is one of the more bonkers and bizarre things I have read this summer, and believe me there are some bonkers and bizarre things around at the moment.   To see why, let us have a look at the goal scorers at Arsenal last season, first in all competitions.

In fact, things are not always happening behind Gabriel Jesus because quite often Gabriel Jesus is dropping back to allow things to happen in front of him.  This is what draws defenders out from the back to keep an eye on him, allowing Martinelli and co the chance to move in, in front.

Here’s to goal scoring chart for last season….


Player Starts On as sub Goals Goals/game Pens
Gabriel Martinelli 40 6 15 0.40
Martin Odegaard 39 6 15 0.38
Bukayo Saka 42 6 15 0.36 2
Gabriel Jesus 27 6 11 0.41 1
Eddie Nketiah 18 21 9 0.50
Granit Xhaka 43 4 9 0.21
Gabriel 45 3 3 0.07


Gabriel Jesus was only the fourth highest scorer, which might not look very impressive except for two things.  One is he only made 18 starts in the season because of the lunatic world cup in which he was seriously injured, and the other is that he had the highest rate of goals per game in an Arsenal team packed with scorers. 

Still having asked the silly question, the article did better by asking are Arsenal “comfortable with Eddie Nketiah being his back up? Do they stick or twist with Folarin Balogun?”

This is a slightly more reasonable question, although wrongly phrased, for I think the issue is, “is Eddie ok with this role for another season, and if so would Balogun accept another loan spell?

We have to remember the same issue arose with Saliba, with most people being shocked by the third loan, and then cries of anguish at how well he was doing in France.  But that extra loan made him ready to roll with Arsenal, and maybe that could happen with Balogun.

Oh, and just one other thing from the article on this: “For all the qualities that Jesus brings – and there are a lot – finishing has never been his strong suit.”   This of the man who had the best goals per game ratio at Arsenal last season!!!!!!!!!

So yes there is the question of Balogun – should he be sold, go on loan or be in the first team squad, but I suspect much in relation to that depends on his own attitude and youthful demands for action now, and how much he is able to wait one more season while being the absolute star of the show once more, elsewhere.

One Reply to “Arsenal’s opening fixtures moved for TV and the problems Arsenal are left with”

  1. If Balogun goes out and stars again he could write his own contract. Patience is not for the young.

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