10 things we learned from Arsenal v Reading.

By Bulldog Drummond

Here are ten things that could be taken from last night’s performance.

1: Jeff Reine-Adelaide is ready and could be the player we truly promote this season.

Mr Wenger said in the programme, and has been hinting as much by not letting him go on loan and by giving in a lot of bench time.

He was superb on the left, and could be the player who breaks through this season to keep up the one a season record.  All that needs to happen now is for radio and TV journalists (who inevitably are way behind in such matters) learn how to pronounce his name.

But still, they have a lot to think about – like where the next drink is coming from.

2: Maitland-Niles is a super holding midfielder.

Mr Wenger’s comment was aimed to keep the lid on everything and everyone’s expectation, including Maitland-Niles’ mum, when he said

‘I felt Rob did well, Ainsley  played some nice passes and Jeff had a good game too.’  So maybe this year we will have two breakthrough players!  Or three.

This is not to say Maitland-Niles is fully grown and ready to step up – different players manage it at different times, but he sure does have the skill.  And he turned out 30 times for Ipswich last year, which shows that he is not the skin and bones some papers are suggesting.  And he has 22 England caps at different age levels.

3: Giroud is back.

Olivier Giroud played for 25 minutes and nearly scored.  One more appearance as a sub and he will be there.    He nearly got a goal as well, as Habsi saved his headed ball and Moore cleared off the line.   Which means we now have a centre forward to come on and change a game when we are faced with an eleven man defence and it is 0-0.

4: The Ox must not be allowed to go.

Injuries will come and even if he is not first choice at the moment he must continue at the club past this January.  He has scored five goals this season which is not to be sneezed at, and we do need this quality of back up to win the league.

Speaking of the Ox Mr Wenger said, “Before, you felt he acted in front of goal like he didn’t deserve to score.  Now, he has added some belief to his finishing and we have hope that every time he has the ball, something can happen. He has worked a lot mentally to be really focused. He is not a young player any more. At 23, you become a player who is a finished article.”

So we have both Theo and the Ox playing well.  But there are plenty of games to come and there will be times when one fades or gets a knock or simply needs a rest from the relentless pressure.  We really do need both of them.

Speaking of the two players together Mr Wenger said, “They are lifting each other.”  An interesting concept.

5:  Mr Wenger has an alternative look.

There is the smart suit, the big keep-you-warm duvet thing, and now the casual look: trainers, tracksuit trousers and jacket.  Always good to have a different outfit for each competition I think.

6: Martínez may be unlikely to get a game behind our two regulars but he is ready if needed.  

He particularly made a double-save from Kelly and Samuel that earned his wages.  Let’s hope we can keep him.

7: Bitching about the opposition is never a very clever idea

While everything went smoothly for Arsenal, it was the usual bump with reality for Tottenham as Pochettino said that the Liverpool beach had double standards.

Liverpool started the moaning and whinging by complaining about various fouls carried out by the Tinies in the traditional Tottenham style.  Poch then said Alexander-Arnold should have been sent off for a foul on Davies which happened much earlier.

“I think it was a bit strange that their whole bench started to complain about our actions when their full back, Arnold, should be sent off with the big tackle on Ben Davies,” he pronounced. “It was strange when their bench started to complain with another bench. It is the referee’s authority to say if it was a penalty or not or a foul of not. Maybe they were lucky to finish with 10 men.”

What Poch needs to realise is that this is Liverpool!  They do things different up there.

And that moaning never does anything to help.

8: The Press will always find the negative angle.

“21 shots for Arsenal, although they only hit the  target with seven”.   Oh for goodness sake.

And no one wanted to admit just how many games that makes it unbeaten.   It is 13 now, in case you were wondering.

9:  Jenkinson is back and fit and a very solid addition to the squad.

Mr Wenger said, “It’s fantastic to see Carl back.  He did well and had no fitness problems at all, which shows that he prepared well.”  He is now 24 and has played 37 times for Arsenal and 52 times for State Aid United.  Let’s hope we can keep him and he gets games.

10:  Holding must not be forgotten.

“I felt Rob did well,” said Mr Wenger, but it was more than that.  This young man is really, really good, and £2m transfer fee once again looks ludicrously small.

All in all not a bad night’s collection of observations.

Recent tales from Untold 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

League Cup: Arsenal – Reading 2-0, The Ox with a brace

Arsenal vs The Spectacles. The teams and other stuff.

All the young dudes – but which one is this year’s breakthrough kid?

The gross incompetence of England’s football authorities exposed, once again

Why the TV audience for football is falling, and what it means for the future of football

How are some of this summer’s big value transfers doing thus far? A case study



16 Replies to “10 things we learned from Arsenal v Reading.”

  1. Thanks for the summing up, Tony. Gives you a warm glow to hear all these nice things about our second string players. What a strong squad we have!

  2. Let us hope that this team progress further and hopefully win some silverware this season , while some go on to play for the first team or at the very least in the FA Cup.

  3. It was a good run out and great to see the Ox inspiring the team! We need him to be the Serge Gnabry. Ps does anyone have a article coming up on the recent AGM?

  4. I wasn’t at the AGM, Drake; but this year I understand from reports it was quite peaceful. The newspapers that covered it really had to work very hard to find their normal negativity. The Sun ran the headline saying Mr Wenger’s future is in jeopardy but all the story contained was a note saying that the board would sit down with him at some time to consider his future. In other words, he stays as long as he wants and goes when he wants.

  5. Another observation, Lucas’ mobility was a positive for team and a threat to the opposition. I would also like to know the extent of his injury. He badly needs game time in order to realise return on investment and for his confidence as well.


  6. I think Le Prof has correctly summed up what Alex Iwobi needed to add to his playing to have a balance to his game. Despite the fact that he’s not yet at the finish article level, that notwithstanding, It’s now left for Iwobi to do something positive about this shortcoming in his game as Le Prof has said, if he’ll hope to keep his lucky regular starting spot in the 1st team which is strongly being contested for by the resurgent Oxlade Chamberlain who is able to play in 3 front positions in the team.

    Our backup team did very well against Reading yesternight and I commend them for spanking the Royals 2-0 to qualify for the next round of the competition. However, save the Ox, I fault 3 of our starting front 4 for fluffing their lines. 4 goals were on the cards for us to put past Reading without any reply by them. But because of this lines fluffing by Lucas, Iwobi & Adelaide, we can only thank Oxlade for coming to our rescue. Otherwise, the 2nd tier Reading team might have taken the game to extra-time and even possibly to a shoot out.

    I wouldn’t like to speculate much on who amongst Rob Holding, Renie-Adelaide & Maitland-Niles will break into the senior team this season. But I think Rod Holding has already broken through into it despite he’s still in the Under 21 team. He has already played a couple of games in the PL as a starter for Arsenal this season. And that should be a breakthrough by him to the senior team I would imagine. So the contest for a breakthrough to the senior team this season should be between Niles and Adelaide to trash it out. Right? Let’s wait to see who le Prof will give his node to between them.

  7. Excellent analysis, Tony, thank you. And it chimes with my own view in all details.

    Good comment at 11:14 SamuealAA – very well put and I too look forward to a very good season and hopefully a winning one with the players you mention.

  8. I hope I am not being greedy, but I just want Arsenal to win the league cup, and the FA cup and the Premier league and the Champions league. I really think we have the quality and the depth in the squad to do so! Just need a rub of the green!

  9. OT: Former Gunner trivia

    Podolski scored a hat trick!

    I think Giroud would like to get one this season.

  10. In reading followup on the game, one notices that Reading has “their medja”. Their medja is writing articles from a Reading (FC) point of view.

    One article says that they gave the game to Arsenal. Another article says that Arsenal were makeshift, and there to be had.

    Swansea is another team that has “their medja”.

    There is a blurb about Akpom, which may or may not be true.

    It seems he has hurt his back (again?), and will be out a couple of months.

    Someone mentioned good play from Martinez in goal. And the fact he has 2 players in front of him. Goal is going to be problematic, because the position has significantly more longevity than outfield.

    Cech, Ospina, Szczesny, Martinez, Macey, Keto, (others). We could soon be int he position to field a startin XI, entirely composed of goalkeepers. Bound to be one of the tallest average height teams one could think of.

  11. I attended last night with my daughter, son and two grandsons and we all enjoyed the match. It was great being able to buy five tickets together in the West Stand online at bargain prices and good to see so many youngsters there enjoying themselves. The only downside was that at kick off many were unable to get in as it was so congested and putting the start back fifteen minutes might have been a good idea.

    The team played well and I thought Martinez and Holding were very competent but a bit concerned with errors from Gabriel. Pleased for the Ox getting the goals and with the substitute appearance of Giroud who gives the attack other options.

    The stadium always looks beautiful and although I loved Highbury I love the Emirates too.

  12. Good thought provoking article. Nice to see we now have a base from which to continue to develop.

  13. lucas looks to be very composed in his passing,he finds players with good passes.once he adapts i think he is going to be very good 4 the team(bench)

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