By Sir Hardly Anyone
It appears that we have just bought a new Vieira (oh, oh). This one being Fábio Vieira from Porto. And lots of people are saying he is a jolly good player, which is rather nice. Although not a massively experienced player, which means he might take a little while to settle in.
Last season he played 27 times in the Portuguese league, (Primeira Liga) and scored six. He also played for the Portuguese under 21 team. He was Primeira Liga “Midfielder of the Month” in April this year and Uefa “European Under-21 Championship Player of the Tournament” in 2021. Last season he played twice in the Champions League and three times in the Europa League.
He hasn’t yet been picked for Portugal but it seems only a matter of time as he has been a regular in first the under 19s and then the under 21s.
So all told last season his record was 27 league games (six goals), 5 main domestic cup games (one goal), two league cup games, and five European games, making a total of 39 games and seven goals.
Arteta in talking about the transfer spoke of Cazorla, Rosicky, Arshavin, Ramsey, and Mkhitaryan playing in the attacking midfield pocket. He then added, “We have to renew that cycle, because if not, those kind of players won’t be there for us anymore. They are a big part of what any squad needs.”
But then, don’t we have some attacking midfield players already? Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe for example. That is four for three places already – and now it is five.
So what is going on?
One thing that might be about to happen is that Gabriel Martinelli could start to play as an out-and-out forward, rather than a winger, perhaps playing alongside Eddie as a new forward pairing, which would leave Odegaard, Saka and Smith Rowe behind the front two.
But there is another point to notice. For the media will already have set up its “thick and fast” phraseology for daily use between 1 October and 5 November. Because during this period we play in the league…
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Leeds United
- Manchester City
- Nottingham Forest
There are not any league cup games during that spell but there is one on either November 8 or 9th. Now of course we don’t put out the full first team for league cup games but I think that once again Arsenal will take the League Cup more seriously than Mr Wenger always did simply because Mr Arteta knows that it is time for another trophy.
Arsene Wenger was Arsenal manager for 22 years and won 10 trophies – and was then “moved on” in an ultimately amicable (although I still think very silly) divorce. So one trophy every 2.2 years on average is not enough for this club, it would seem.
Mikel Arteta has been Arsenal manager for just over that 2.2 year period, and indeed has won one trophy in that time so he is staying at the Wengerian average. But there will be a need for a second trophy very soon – ideally in 2022/3. Otherwise there will be calls for his head from the usual idiots.
Clearly we won’t be the League because Liverpool and Manchester City are a long way ahead of Arsenal at the moment, and unless miraculously Uefa and the Premier League rise to the challenge of reigning in expenditure, Chelsea will be in that list as well.
So we have to look to the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup to add to the cabinet either this season or next. One trophy is needed, remember, every 2.2 years or else the natives get restless.
Looking at the Europa League between October 1 and November 5 we have four games.
- Matchday 3: 6 October 2022
- Matchday 4: 13 October 2022
- Matchday 5: 27 October 2022
- Matchday 6: 3 November 2022
There are no league cup matches in that period but there is one on either November 8 or November 9th.
Now I am not saying that the full first-team squad needs to be put out for each Europa group stage match nor each League Cup match, but some of the first-team squad will be required for some of these games.
Last season in our home win in the League Cup against Leeds United we included in the starting XI, Soares, White, Smith Rowe, Martinelli and Nketiah. Lacazette and Tavares were among the subs that came on.
So during this spell between 1 October and 5 November (a total of 36 days if my calculator is doing its stuff correctly), we look like having 12 games.
One game every three days!!!!!
Of course, that is utterly bonkers and idiotic and could only have been dreamed up by someone like the Premier League anxious to ensure that its favourite teams are going to win the trophies once again each year.
But to operate in that 12 games in 36 day period we are going to need a significant squad and so an attacking line up of
Eddie Nketiah, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, Fábio Vieira, Nicolas Pepe and Folarin Balogun,
is needed to keep the machine running. And that still leaves us a bit short.
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