Happy Tuesday folks, hope you’re having a good one and you’re planning on making this a great day. We only get so many of them on this planet so try to make as many of them as memorable as possible.

Difficult without the footy, granted, but at least the matches are stacking up now and with PSV to come on Thursday night, I’m already looking ahead at that and starting to get excited and hopeful that we could get ourselves confirmed for qualification to the knockout rounds of the Europa League when that kicks off in the new year.


I think what is also happening is that because Sunday’s game wasn’t exactly one that you want to bask in for a few days, I’ve already switched my gaze; we got the result in Yorkshire and we can all be happy about being four points clear at the top of the league, but in reality it wasn’t one too many of us want to spend thinking about and if the team can show up and do the business against the Dutch side, then it’ll set us up nicely for the weekend and another tough away trip to Southampton.

PSV are second in their league at the moment, just smashed Utrecht 6-1 at home, which was a follow on from the 5-0 smashing they handed FC Zurich when we were in Norway, so I suspect that they’ll go in to Thursday’s game with plenty of confidence behind them. That’s fair enough and I wonder if this week Mikel is having a proper look at the squad and wondering how he’s going to juggle his team for Thursday and Sunday. The good news is that we are at home on Thursday so there won’t be the same travel logistics for the players. However, PSV are a better outfit than both Bodo/Glimt and FC Zurich, so he’ll be looking at the players in training and trying to work out how he manages the loads of some key men. Does Sambi share minutes with Partey or do we start Partey from the first minute against PSV? Where is Zinchenko? What will Arteta do about the left back position, given that Tomiyasu didn’t work as well against Leeds as he did against Liverpool? Does he flip Tomi to right back and give White a rest? Should Cedric be given some minutes? If you regularly read my ramblings you’ll know that is not a thought I really want to ever be thinking about (Cedric) but we’re at a point here where three points against PSV being followed up by three points against Southampton away at St Mary’s, could be absolutely massive for us.

But looking at how these two matches are falling and what we need from them, I am finding it increasingly difficult to work out the best course of action over the 180+ minutes in which these games are played. That’s because I just don’t think we have too many options to rotate in certain positions, with the players that sit as understudies in a few positions just not really feeling like they are going to do the business. I think in goal we’re fine – Turner can replace Ramsdale on Thursday. I think bringing in Holding should also be fine, although PSV will give us more to worry about and so Arteta may be tempted to stick with his first choice back two. On the left we’re fine, but in the middle of the park the gulf in class between Sambi and Partey is quite marked and up against the likes Sangare and Gutierrez will be a little more difficult than what he’s faced in the Europa League so far. But you can’t risk Partey for that and Southampton, can you? It doesn’t feel like it to me.

Odegaard has a natural deputy, which is fine, but Xhaka doesn’t. Nketiah will get the nod and I’m ok with that, but either side of him Marquinhos is still raw and Nelson didn’t really pull up any trees in Norway. Perhaps with a home crowd behind him we see more from him, but my concern is that when you start to scratch under the surface of the Arsenal team, we can’t really afford to have too many injuries. We have players who can play across multiple positions, like Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, White, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus, etc, but the actual squad depth itself still feels a little light.

That’s why, when we come to January, I hope the club have some options lined up. Thankfully Douglas Luiz won’t be one of those options, as he’s just signed a new deal at Villa and they are welcome to keep him. We need a player who will properly elevate the squad depth in this team, not just a younger version of Elneny. I do wonder if those Danilo rumours will come back in January and given our growing Brazilian contingent right now, it doesn’t feel completely absurd. The Brazilian league starts in April and finishes in November each year I think, which means after the World Cup those Brazilian players will have a fair bit of time off. When January hits then it’ll have been a month or so since the World Cup has finished and a couple of months since the ending of the Campeonato Brasileiro and Palmeiras might well be open to selling him for some decent cash, to fund a spending spree, to set them up for the 2023 season. We’ve got recent history dealing with the Brazilian clubs, Edu will know the officials, plus they are unlikely to ask for the kind of silly money you see from clubs in Europe. This feels like the sort of deal we could do and if it adds a little more depth in a position we need, then I’m all for it.

There’s plenty of football to be played before then though and there are going to be plenty of instances in which we need to make do with tapping in to that layer of players underneath the first XI. The question is whether that starts this week or if Mikel tries to push the maximum from the likes of Partey and Sambi. We shall have to wait and see, which won’t be until Thursday I don’t think, because he won’t give anything away tomorrow in his presser. we’re all used to that by now.

And that’s probably it from  me today. More thoughts ahead of the game in the next few games, but you have yourself a good one, then I’ll catch you all tomorrow.