Being a lazy not-so-little oik, I can’t be bothered to search through my recent blog poss, but if I could I’d be pretty sure that I’d find the blog in which I talked up what a good move to Leeds United the Nketiah deal was for him, for us and potentially, for Leeds.
He scored again last night and that’s two in about one an a third appearances and with Leeds fans singing his name come the final whistle, it’s hard not to wonder if this kid is going to light up the Championship this season, which would be great to watch.
Great because I’ll be honest and admit that I just couldn’t see him deposing Aubameyang or Lacazette at all and at any stage. It’s not even an age thing; I just didn’t think he was good enough for us and I thought it was getting to the stage where we had to look like we were going to cash in. So if he can have a storming season and bag himself a hatful of goals, it’ll give Emery/whoever is in charge next season, a fantastic headache trying to contemplate how to bring him in to the gold and get him game time.
Of course it is still very early days. He’s barely even begun his spell at Leeds and a lot needs to happen between now and June when he returns for us to start talking about whether he should be looking at game time. And let’s not forget the Premier League is harder to score goals in than the Championship. Just look at Patrick Bamford. Tore it up in the Championship with a couple of teams, but never quite looked the part in the Premier League, so never really got close to the Chelski first team. Hopefully that fate doesn’t befall Eddie but right now we can be pleased that he’s at least got his goal scoring off on the right footing.
His situation does also make me think of Dani Ceballos and us too. We’re all delighted with his performance at the weekend but I wonder if the Real Madrid fans are too? After all they have hardly seen any of him since he was signed from Betis, he’s a young player like Eddie, eager to prove himself and like Eddie ultimately he’d probably prefer to go back to his parent club and be a success there. In the Ceballos situation we are very much like Leeds and so I wonder what Madrid fans will be thinking when they hear about performances like the Burnley one at the weekend?
Of course the only difference between us and Leeds is that Leeds fans are a little more au fait with loan arrangements and having a player for just a year, whereas at Arsenal it’s not something we’ve seen too often, and certainly not to any degree of much success. So as a result we’re looking at Ceballos and hoping that he comes good and suddenly decides he loves London and all things London life. Perhaps that’s a naive assumption but more performances like Saturday’s and we’ll be desperate for him to develop an affection for fish and chips, shepherds pie, roast dinner and a good curry.
Like Eddie though, Ceballos has to prove himself over a number of games and on Saturday evening he’ll probably get the sternest test this season as we come up against a Liverpool side who aren’t averse to giving us a good battering. Unai will probably do a press conference today as the team travel up to Liverpool tomorrow and I’m hoping we get a full bill of health from the squad ahead of the trip. Xhaka, Özil, Kolasinac; all coming back and being 100% would be nice. He doesn’t have to pick them all to start but having the options at least gives him the chance to formulate a game plan with the best possible team.
Last season that was far from the truth as we fielded the likes of Lichtsteiner, Iwobi and Mkhitaryan who, let’s face it, all pretty much failed in 2018/9, so the hope is that the new crop of players and the availability of a few more players will be better for us to at least keep the score line down!
It’ll also be interesting to see if we can glean any hints of the style he’ll adopt on Saturday. Last season it was a three at the back with wing backs but so far this season he’s pretty much avoided it. Three at the back is detested by so many Arsenal fans but I’m not as averse to it; certainly that’s the case if you’ve got the players who can play in the style. I think Luiz works well in a three and with Sokratis and Chambers either side it’s a better composition compared to Mustafi and Lichtsteiner. In Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles we also have wing backs who are comfortable in that position. There’s a question mark over Xhaka in a midfield base but Ceballos’ performance makes me wonder if Torreira, Ceballos in the middle with Willock in front – in which they both switch too like Saturday – would work?
The front two pick themselves and Pepe can be an impact player in a hostile atmosphere.
There you go! Sorted for Saturday. Somebody get this to Unai and tell him not to worry.
Of course I’d be surprised if that’s the line up but you never know. I’d love to be able to get a hint of what he’s going to do but no manager worth his salt is going to give away any details two days before a game. So it’s patience and waiting for me, as well as thee, until Saturday.
Speak tomorrow, friend.