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March 2021

State Aid United v Arsenal: no Jenkinson, no Santi, and the problem of moving home

By Bulldog Drummond

Interesting reports today that even though Héctor Bellerín and Mathieu Debuchy, are out injured Carl Jenkinson won’t play at the Tax Payers Stadium (TPS) because Mr Wenger feels Carl is suffering a crisis of confidence.

Traditionally psychological reasons for not playing players have been scorned by the pundits and sneered at by the morons but the reality is that a player has to be fit both physically and mentally to be able to perform in front of a baying mob – which is what Carl would get at the TPS.

Speaking on the issue Mr W said “The Jenkinson you see at the moment is the Jenkinson who can play but is not completely Jenkinson because he has no confidence. That will come back. He will be in and out and, suddenly, after one or two months, he will make the step and play. It is natural and very difficult. Today it is even more difficult because he gets quickly hammered by everybody on social media. I hope he doesn’t read all that and focuses on his game.

“Jenkinson has not played for a long period,” he added. “He had knee surgery after he had two shoulder surgeries and what he is going through at the moment is, for me, normal – but very difficult to live with for a player.

“You think you are there … you play and realise you are not as good as you think you should be and you lose confidence. He is going through that period at the moment. Bellerín is one of the best in his position certainly in Europe but Carl can compete with him. At the moment, no, because mentally he has not found his total level of his confidence.”

What this means is that Gabriel Paulista is most likely to play with Ainsley Maitland-Niles perhaps on the beach – unless of course the manager thinks Maitland-Niles is ready to be thrown into the running track.

Besides Gabriel at full back with the regular two centre backs could be a particularly good move with the Andy Carroll character on the pitch.

Bellerín of course is still out and will probably miss the games against Basel and Stoke, but could come back after that.

So that is one problem that will repair itself over time.  For the other issue (what to do now Santi won’t be around for a while) is still open to discussion, although maybe Mr Wenger already knows.

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As we pointed out the other day there are six options

  • Coquelin / Elneny
  • Coquelin / Xhaka
  • Coquelin / Ramsey
  • Elneny / Xhaka
  • Elneny / Ramsey
  • Xhaka / Ramsey

which is better than there being just one and not being very happy with it.  A pairing involving Xhaka looks the most likely as Mr Wenger said, “We are close with the balance as Granit Xhaka in midfield is moving upwards.  He has a different influence to Santi. Santi is more of a guy who gets out of very tight situations with a very short technique, right and left foot, while Xhaka has a pass and is not a dribbler. He passes through the lines.”

As for the notorious ground, and the wild and whacky Karren Brady [“The move has been a complete success on every level … Be in no doubt, we are part of the most successful stadium migration in history,”] Mr Wenger said that Upton Park was always a favourite place to visit, particularly when he first arrived in England 20 years ago. “I preferred the first version of the West Ham stadium, which was very tight; one of the most intimidating stadiums I knew. I must say the atmosphere was always very heated but quite respectful always.”

Mr Wenger also agreed with the analysis we gave in the It’s the stadium stupid article, saying that he thought it could take years for West Ham to settle at their new home.  The Independent noted that Arsenal suffered what it has called “teething problems” at the Ems but adds, “That is nothing compared to the issues at West Ham’s Stratford base with the problems lying deeper on and off the pitch at the London Stadium.”

The contrast between the teams is profound at the moment if we look at the home and away comparison

State Aid Utd have won just two league games at home in four months, and on this Mr Wenger said: “It takes a few years, because you have to make memories and build a little history.   For a while, when you move from the marble halls at Highbury, it was full of history, and suddenly you move to a stadium where nothing happened before you came in there.

“You feel a bit lonely there, so you have to rebuild the environment from the results that you had before.

“For the supporters it is the same. They sat every time next to the same guy, and they talk and say ‘Remember last time we were here, we beat this team’ and then suddenly they sit away from them.

“You cannot create something artificially something that doesn’t exist. I feel as well the players at the ground, before when you played at Highbury, you kind of had a picture.

“When you play up front you know where the goal is, because the signals coming from the crowd.

“You know where the adverts are and sometimes you have no time to make your decision, but you have a geographical reference when you stand on the pitch that is linked to the stadium. You have to recreate that.”

It’s an interesting point, and I remember Lee Dixon saying that he could always tell how far he was up the pitch because of the season ticket holders in the front row.

Four of Arsenal’s next five games are away, and Mr Wenger added,  “I believe that from the strength we have shown away from home, we have the belief that we can do well absolutely everywhere,” he said.

“We have the numbers and the quality and secondly, in the January transfer market, you will not necessarily find a Cazorla, even if you want to.

“What has gone wrong is that he has an inflammation at the back of the foot and nobody knows where it comes from. The anti-inflammatory injections have not got rid of it.

“We have the numbers and the quality and secondly, in the January transfer market, you will not necessarily find a Cazorla, even if you want to.

Asked if he is tempted to buy a replacement, Wenger said: “No, not really. In midfield we have many players.


  • Up next, the teams and the recent form
Tales from Untold 

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

When the press start saying Arsenal will win honours it is time to start worrying

West Ham v Arsenal Saturday 3 December 2016 – The Match Officials

Three times as many arrests at Arsenal as at State Aid Utd? Up to a point Ms Copper

Santi Cazorla out for three months. Now what?

A kinder Arsenal world

As darkness descends on the football world what can the response be?


8 comments to State Aid United v Arsenal: no Jenkinson, no Santi, and the problem of moving home

  • Leon

    My first ever attempt at team selection based on available players and the oppositions perceived strengths/weaknesses.

    Paulista Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Coqueline Xhaka
    Ramsey Ozil Oxlade Chamberlain
    I select Ramsey in the wide right mid position to give some defensive support and Ox on the other side for the same reason as we can expect West Ham to attack down both sides to get crosses into Carroll (who’s expected to play), and we know what he’s capable of.
    I have no plans to apply for the coach’s job as Mr Ralph Hasenhuettl has already put his name in the frame.

  • blacksheep63

    WHU’s move was always going to be a struggle even with such a genteel fanbase and such a competent executive like Ms Brady in the saddle. We used to do quite well at Uptown-top-rank-in Park so I hope we can impress this evening.

    On Wednesday I went to the Emirates to watch the reserves play Southampton in the EFL Cup.The problems of the (still) new stadium were manifest as they often are on evening games and cup matches. The Emirates does of course allow more Arsenal fans to attend (there really isn’t a problem for most matches if you want to come along. It is hard to get tickets for premium games, true, but if you are prepared to watch the club site and be aware of when sales start you can usually get a seat.

    But despite there being pockets where regular fans sit (or stand more often) it is much harder to generate an atmosphere in the home end/s. On Wednesday it was pretty dire to be honest. Partly because I didn’t feel the team’s heart were in it really but also because the support was so fractured. Again we had a stadium half empty at KO with ‘fans’ arriving 10-20 minutes after the whistle had blown. Many must have been casual supporters, who expressed surprise that Giroud was not playing or wonder who that guy Martinez is. Others were tourists – literally so, people turning up to see a London football match. I have vowed not to attend LC games any more despite the cheapness (£10-£20) of the entry price. It’s not worth it expect to see the youth team and I’d rather make the effort to join Andrew one day it I want to do that.

    West Ham have been handed a tremendous advantage by Boris Johnson and his cronies but I fear for them they might have exchanged what was a ferocious little ground for a gaping cavern at the Olympic Park. I’ve always had a soft spot for the ‘ammers (fill in your own punchline Brickfields…) not today of course, I hope we stuff them. But in the long term I hope they succeed and make the State Aid stadium as atmospheric a venue as the Boleyn.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    For our West Ham match tonight, I would preferred to see Le Prof stick to his strongest Gunners starts so far this season but a few changes done to them at RB&CMF as below:

    Gabi Mustafi Lolo Monreal
    LeCoq Xhaka
    Walcott Ozil Iwobi

    Ospina Niles Holding Gibbs dOx Ramsey Perez.

    The likelihood of this match becoming a possible gaining PL match points on the Blues, the Citizens & the Reds today and later tomorrow for Arsenal is there on the horizon for us to see. Therefore, Arsenal SHOULD not make the mistake to drop points tonight in their ever first visit as a team to the London Stadium.

    The Gunners MUST take all the available 3 points at stake in this match. I wouldn’t want the Gunners to totally rely on their away form of this season in this match. An away form which has seen them not lose a match on the road but dropped points in some games shouldn’t be what they should solely depended upon. Rather, they should in this West Hammers game inculcate total fluency and urgency into their game and hold on to them to the very end of the match. This inclucation if done, should see us through very successfully in this match.

  • para

    We just have to be ready for what WH will throw at us and not get surprised while playing our own game. They can spring a surprise as we know even when they appear not too good atm.

    It’s a must win game today, no doubt, mind you i said that last time too.

  • Bloggs

    Samuel AA and Para why are you 2 bigots still commenting on a site that has been considered and cleared officially by AFC? You are homophobic and your comments don’t belong in the modern world go now before this site is closed down beca8of moron’s like you

  • Pete

    Bloggs – you are an effing idiot.

  • Leon

    Just seen your 8.11 pm comment
    The correct procedure for your complaint is to contact Tony directly on his email. Believe me you will get a sympathetic “listen”.
    Trolling of this nature gets you nowhere and is very impolite.

  • Richard

    Well we played well and got a result, but let’s be honest whu were shorn of players and were poor in everything they did. However, that said we scored some great goals and had their keeper not been in good form that score could easily have been 8 or 9. For me it’s nice to see a ruthless edge and not just go three goals up and cruise because we have the game won. I’m struggling to decide whether the ox’s or Sanchez little sit down the keeper moment was the best goal for me. We now have three tricky ties especially the two away ones. However, if we can get a result at the ethiad we could really finish cities title aspirations. For me we need at least 11 points out of next 15 available to put ourselves in a good position to challenge for the title. You could pretty much say that the title this season has now become a five horse race as I don’t believe any team under the spuds can challenge for the title now.