We won the Emirates Cup! Arteta has done it again!

Of course I’m being a bit flippant and, unlike Richarlison, you could see when Martin Odegaard lifted the trophy last night by the way he looked so sheepish that this is hardly the ‘big prize’ that we were after, but I suppose a win is a win. Even if it did come about by penalties.

At least the players are getting plenty of that practice in this summer…

Because of the timing of the game starting at 6pm I couldn’t get myself out of work on time to watch the match and instead had to contend with finding out about how the game was playing out on my phone yesterday evening, but as I’ve said all season, this is more about the way we played rather than anything else. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound as if we were in particularly sparkling form, although there might be some mitigation for that, as Arteta admitted we were leggy and the team had been put through a few days of tough training and perhaps there was a little hangover from the USA tour and some possible jetlag. If you’re going to stress test the players then in that sense I kind of get it; make them work hard, feel knackered, then go and try to put on a display against Monaco at home in a friendly. The players are going to have to get used to a lot more games with more intensity this season because of the Champions League, so Arteta is obviously prepping them for that early on by cramming this midweek fixture in ahead of the trip to Wembley on Sunday.

So perhaps there are some caveats that need to be drawn with the performance, which by the sounds of it looked a little shaky defensively and not completely cohesive in attack. There was no Saka – who had an illness so wasn’t risked, there was no Odegaard, who was reserved for the bench, plus as we now know there was no Gabriel Jesus who has had some surgery to his knee which Arteta has said will keep him out for a few weeks. That is a real shame because we could do with him firing from the off at the start of this season, but I suppose Eddie did come in and bag a goal so that’s good. He’s fine for a few games, as I think most of us will admit, but if we’re talking anything longer than a month to six weeks, then I think that is where we will struggle.

There was no Balogun at all in the squad though and I think that pretty much confirms to me that his Arsenal career is probably finished before it ever really got started. Inter have pivoted to Scamacca now which is fine by me given they weren’t prepared to pay an acceptable price, whereas there has been one or two noises of Premier League clubs being interested. If West Ham is one, they better be ready to give back half of what we paid them for Rice, that’s for sure.

But back to the game, in which we went behind on the half hour mark and I think if he’s honest, Martinelli will know that he got beaten way too easily by Camara for the Monaco goal. Then the header in from Fofana was another one in which a few Arsenal players will be disappointed there. Kiwior was a little bit all over the place, Partey didn’t pick up his man and it all felt a little too easy.

We were only behind for 11 minutes though as Rice’s deflected shot spewed out for a corner, only for Martinelli to whip in a decent ball from the subsequent corner for Eddie to slot home. Again, like ours, I think Monaco will be asking some questions about who picked up Nketiah because it looked rather easy to me.

Monaco should have been 2-1 up on 48 minutes though and the way in which they cut through us on that right hand side, then Ben Yedder getting to the ball first in the middle of the pitch is a real concern for me, I have to say. I know that this was a heavily rotated side that played the bulk of this game, but we are going to get more injuries this season because of the intensity of games, so we are going to need to be better at the back than what we were last night. Again, I thought Kiwior probably could have done a bit better and looked a little flat-footed for that chance.

In terms of individual performances it is difficult for me to pinpoint anyone in particular given that I didn’t watch the game in its entirety, but by the sounds of it there was a pretty even contest, Trossard is looking sharp and although Eddie scored, I do wonder if Mikel will think about Leo in the false nine position ahead of Eddie for the weekend and the first game against Forest. Eddie played 83 minutes before coming off for Marquinhos, whereas most players tended to only get an hour, or at least 30 minutes coming on. That’d be one I’d keep an eye on I think because I suspect that this Sunday’s Community Shield match up will be one that will look very similar – perhaps identical – to the one that lines up at home against Forest.

It will be interesting to see what Arteta does with Partey and Rice. Again, having not watched the game, I’m not sure of the positions that Rice took up, but it sounded like Rice played as a left eight rather than him and Partey being a deeper double-pivot. Partey has been impressive so far and so I don’t think he should be losing his place any time soon, so I did say I thought we might try Rice and Partey together potentially in deeper roles. I wonder if Arteta thinks the same, only playing Rice as an eight on Sunday, so I think that might be an interesting one to look out for.

Other than that there probably isn’t too much we can say other than it’s more minutes in the tank and I look forward to seeing what we can do against the treble winners on Sunday. Should be a fascinating watch.

Catch you wonderful people tomorrow.

Have a good’un.