Saka and the world cup: a worrying scenario

By Sir Hardly Anyone

A report in the Telegraph newspaper tells us that “Eddie Nketiah on verge of signing new Arsenal deal”

After a couple of paragraphs of generalised chit-chat the paper continues, “The 22-year-old has rejected previous offers from Arsenal and has always insisted that his priority is to play more regular first-team football.   A recent run in the side appears to have prompted Nketiah, a product of the club’s academy, to change his mind about leaving the club.”

Eddie scored five goals in his last eight games taking him to 10 goals in all competitions, just behind Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

The paper adds, “Discussions over Nketiah’s new deal are understood to be ongoing but there is now increased optimism from Arsenal that the striker will be willing to commit his future to the club.”

However the paper also continues that, “A new contract for Nketiah will not stop Arsenal from looking to strengthen their attacking options this summer, with Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus their top target in attack.”

The paper also mentions Napoli’s Victor Osimhen as another forward Arsenal might sign, but they also suggest instead that Arsenal want to boost the midfield.   They also note that Mr Arteta is most certainly wanting the star of this last season’s defensive football in France, William Saliba, to play in the Arsenal team.

It was generally agreed that Arsenal needed to expand the squad anyway, and now with qualification for the Europa League, Arsenal will be having a series of weeks in which the extra European game is going to be played.  Although youngsters can be used for some games, back-up players will also be needed.

Sqd Player Played Sub Goals Pens Yellows
7 Bukayo Saka 40 3 12 2 6
10 Emile Smith Rowe 24 12 11 1
30 Eddie Nketiah 13 14 10 3
14 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 13 2 7 3
8 Martin Odegaard 36 4 7 4
9 Alexandre Lacazette 23 13 6 3 1
35 Gabriel Martinelli 26 10 6 1 2

In terms of last season’s goal scoring achievements Arsenal were the sixth most profilic team in the league, which since we ended up fifth shows the goals scoring was not that far off our position overall.  But it also suggests that if Arsenal wish to move up to fourth then more goals are indeed needed.   Martinelli will certainly oblige and we can hope that Saka and Smith Rowe will knock in more as well.

Lge pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 29 6 3 99 26 73 93
2 Liverpool 38 28 8 2 94 26 68 92
3 Chelsea 38 21 11 6 76 33 43 74
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 22 5 11 69 40 29 71
8 Leicester City 38 14 10 14 62 59 3 52
5 Arsenal 38 22 3 13 61 48 13 69
7 West Ham United 38 16 8 14 60 51 9 56
6 Manchester United 38 16 10 12 57 57 0 58

Clearly we were better than Leicester in every other aspect of the game apart from scoring and just one goal scored behind them so they don’t really need to be considered.  But Tottenham were lauded by the media for their goal scoring with endless, ceaseless, constant praise being heaped up the shoulders of H Kane who got 25 goals and Son Heung Min who got 24.

Of course we don’t ever wish injury on any player, but if either of those players were out for a part of the season, Tottenham as currently constituted would be in trouble.

As we all know Arsenal had the youngest team in the league this past season, which suggests that the club will improve this next year with extra-knowhow and so we can imagine that Saka, Smith Rowe and Eddie (assuming for once that a media report is correct) will all enhance their level of scoring.

Of course, the big worry as ever is the insanity that is known as the FA and international football.  England pick Saka for every game which means he is hardly ever going to get a break, what with the double insanity plus playing a world cup in Qatar part way through the season.

With luck Eddie and Emile won’t be picked to play for England and so they might get a proper rest from football, and be able to cover for Saka when he returns exhausted and quite possibly injured.  (We remember here Mr Wenger’s comparison of international managers with car thieves who return your car having run it into the ground, demanding that you repair it ready for them to steal it next time around.  He got fined for that one).

Saka might well be far less effective after the world cup (although we can always hope that England are knocked out in the first round) but if we have a big enough squad we might be able to cope with him until he is once more patched up.

4 Replies to “Saka and the world cup: a worrying scenario”

  1. Don’t care about the World Cup (you forgot to preface it with the FIFA they insist on using) or international football and the endless ‘friendlies’. I’m with Mr. Wenger on this and most anything. Non-Premier League refs might not let opponents scythe Saka with impunity but the damage will have been done. Hope he gets a ‘knock’ early on and gets sent home.

  2. Gary Neville has admitted that he talks gibberish – “I don’t know why I said it to be honest with you!”

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