By Tony Attwood
In the preview of this game Untold said, “Elneny is certainly one of those players the pundits and bloggers like to ignore – he doesn’t fit with their image, and yet as the manager showed by playing him in the two games of this season so far that we have been able to see, he rates Elneny.”
And so it proved. We didn’t see a single line-up prediction with Elneny in it, as far as I remember, and only Untold mentioned him as a possible player for this match, noting that he had played in the end of season / pre-season games – and so it was. He was mentioned on the commentary (as far as we could hear it in the pub) hardly ever, and yet he looked like his own version of the invisible wall.
Media Referee did predict Willian being in the team, and thankfully the manager took notice (or made his own decision).and the old new boy got three assists.
Gabriel Magalhães, tipped not to be playing by and large was there and scored.
Meanwhile, the Guardian was on an alternative planet noting that Fulham “almost took advantage of the defensive uncertainty that has blighted Arsenal’s preparations…” noting also that Arteta and said he was worried about the ability of the players to communicate with each other. And then off we go with comments about near misses for Fulham.
So let us consider this uncertainty that has blighted Arsenal’s preparations. What uncertainty was that? As far as I can see only the uncertainty that has been talked up by the newspapers.
Which means that newspaper inventions are now becoming more true than reality, and when they don’t come true the paper can still talk of some mythical thing having “blighted Arsenal’s preparations”. Talk about the non-existent fantasy prophecy.
As predicted Leno started because Martínez is about to transfer to either Aston Villa and Brighton. Also apparently Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah had a disagreement while on the bench. We didn’t see it on the TV (or if it was there, I missed it). But obviously important since the newspaper men lapped it up.
It however makes the Guardian report as does surprise that Rob Holding can play and juggle the ball. Ah well, if they watch with fewer blinkers they might know.
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As you might expect Arsenal had 56% of possession according to R E Ports (our man with the computer). As for our team, most of the pundits we looked at predicted it quite wrong. The unused subs were Saka, Willock (our most used sub of last season), Kolasinac and Macey. Celallos, Pepe, and Nketiah came on.
According to the Mail “Willian and Gabriel, Arsenal’s new boys from Brazil, were outstanding here as Arsenal eased their way into the season,” adding “Arsenal are slowly building a quiet confidence.” And yes having watched it on TV I’d go with that.
Another Mail comment is “Gabriel, the centre half dropped into a Premier League debut perhaps sooner than Arteta might have wished, looked as if he had played here all his life, heading balls away like a stalwart of English football rather than a Sao Paulo native who cut his teeth with Lille in France. In the centre of a back three, he was commanding and authoritative.”
Which considering that the defensive three has been seen by some as our big deficit, that is high praise. They add,
“Willian, another native of Sao Paulo state, is more familiar to the ways and memes of Anglo Saxon football and is thoroughly adapted. He was busily doing those things he did so well for Chelsea these past seven years, darting in from the right, causing Joe Bryan constant problems. And providing three assists for the three goals.”
And so the team – not as the pundits predicted, by a very satisfactory team it was…
Holding, Magalhaes, Tierney, Bellerin,
Elneny, Xhaka (Ceballos), Maitland-Niles,
Willian (Pepe), Lacazette, Aubameyang (Nketiah)
Smiles all round.