Red Star win could open the door for new star Nketiah

Good morning to you up there from down here where it’s just approaching midday. I’ve been out for a run through the Botanic Gardens, and that hurt. I had a back injury playing 5-a-side a couple of months back so I haven’t been able to do any exercise apart from walking, but it was nice to get out and run.

As an aside, can anyone please explain to me why it is the coffee here tastes so good? It’s definitely nicer than it is in Ireland, and similar to the coffee you get in Spain. Is it the water? Whatever it is, I like it.

Although the spectre of Man City looms large on the Premier League horizon, we have to put that to one side for now, and concentrate on the Europa League tie with Red Star Belgrade tomorrow night.

Update: Of course Red Star is on Thursday night. I genuinely thought today was Wednesday.

It’s hard to look past Arsene Wenger doing what he has done all season and rotating heavily, particularly with what’s to come at the weekend, but if we get the right result, it might give him a bit more room for experimentation in the final two games.

A win would put us on 12 points, meaning we’d win the group with two fixtures remaining. Those games are an away trip to Cologne, and then BATE Borisov at home. While it’s good to be able to give some senior players like Wilshere, Giroud, Walcott etc some minutes, and throw in some youngsters like Willock, Maitland-Niles and Nelson a go, I think it’d be interesting to show a bit more variety.

And by variety, I mean Eddie.

Now, this isn’t to start building him up as the next big thing, or to say he’s going to take the world by storm, but after what he did in the Carabao Cup against Norwich, it’s surely worth giving him a chance to see what he can do from the start. With the greatest of respect to our more experienced heads, we know what they’re capable of and how they play. Not to mention how the team plays with them in it.

It’s very rare that a manager gets the chance to throw in a young talent like Nketiah in a competitive game, but with the kind of safety net we’d have as group winners. And as the Europa League progresses, as we get to the knockout stages where the competition becomes a bit more intense with the teams that have dropped out of the Champions League, it will be more difficult to provide him with that opportunity.

Indeed, if we continue to progress, he’s going to have to really think about how he balances his sides, because he may well have to start using more ‘first XI’ players in it. So, if we do what we need to do tomorrow night, I’m on board the Nketiah bus for the final two games in the group.

Bar the Everton game, the most interesting things we’ve seen this season have been in Europe and the Carabao Cup, and this would certainly be something people would like to see. His impact against Norwich was so sensational he merits further chances, and I really hope we get to see that.

Elsewhere, we had an interesting question on the Arsecast Extra yesterday, asking if Aaron Ramsey was, after scoring two cup final winners, an Arsenal legend. While I realise he’s a player who frustrates many people, I don’t know how you can’t be a legend (or future legend) if you have done that.

Of course he could do something like join a rival club and thus render himself ineligible for legendary status, but assuming he doesn’t I think what he did should cement his place into the history of the club.

First up, he scores an injury time winner to complete a comeback from 2-0 down against Hull, helping the club finally end that nine year trophy drought. Then, as Chelsea fans were still celebrating their equaliser in the 2017 final, he gets on the end of Giroud’s cross and heads home the winning goal to win us the trophy and, of course, prevent them from doing the double.

Alan Sunderland’s goal in 1979 ensured he took a place in the Arsenal pantheon; Andy Linighan might not have been the greatest player we ever had, but everyone of a certain vintage would remember his winner in the 1993 final. Alan Smith did much more besides score the only goal in the 1994 Cup Winners Cup Final, but it’s probably his most iconic goal besides the one that just about flicked off his hair in 1989 😉

Big goals in big games make memories, and Ramsey has twice made the difference, so unless he completely blots his copybook in the years ahead, he’ll definitely go down as some kind of legend. What do you reckon?

Right, the manager should meet the press ahead of the Red Star Belgrade game today. We’ll have team news and all the rest on Arseblog News. More from the coffee capital and from me tomorrow.

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  1. Yup legend in the making. I also think his world class ‘goal scoring’ year in central midfield is something fans will look back on. Maybe some with a sense of frustration he wasn’t able repeat it. He has also scored some absolute belters so he is already a YouTube legend.

  2. I dont mind Ramsey being an Arsenal based upon a handful of rare good performances. But does he have to be the first name on the team sheet, week after week?

  3. I can’t help wondering what Giroud thinks when ge sees Eddie score 2 goals in the Carabao cup. Does he think oh fuck not another rival. This was supposed to be my competition

    • It’s no big deal. These things happen. Sanogo also scored some crucial goal for us but you won’t say he is suddenly the next big thing.

      Sometimes you sub in an unknown and the other side doesn’t take him so seriously, fail to track him and the unknown gets plenty of joy.

      I think we have to be careful with this whole hype nonsense.

      Not too long ago many were hyping up HOlding over Metersecker. Many still complain about Mustafi or Granit’s passing when HOlding makes even more mistakes.

      The same issue happened with Bellerin. He was super star a season or so ago and now its settled a bit, doesn’t mean he is suddenly a poorer player. The league players have got to know him a bit better.

      Also lest we forget the Jeff not too long ago, Zelalem.

      Reality check a bit.

  4. I feel like “legend” status should come after a player has retired, whereby you can look back on all of their career and make that judgement. It feels a bit early for Ramsey, like erecting statues of people who are still alive – it just feels a bit odd.

  5. I really love Ramsey. I feel so bad for him for the stick he gets sometimes. He works hard every game and never hides, scores goals, makes goals, likes a tackle, and scored 2 FA cup winners all after having his leg shattered by orc scum. Yes sometimes he passes it sideways but so often he looks up, has nothing, so plays it safe.

    I think his problem is he stands out so much when he has a bad game because he’s still trying to get on the ball all the time. Pretty much when any player has the ball Ramsey is giving himself as an option.

  6. I would say Ramsey has all the ingredients to become an Arsenal legend, and his cup winning goals will do him no harm in that regard.

    I think we’ve seen glimpses this season of the form that made him our standout player a few seasons ago. If he gets back to 50% of that this season and maintains it, signs a new deal, eventually retires with us, then yes. I would say absolutely 100% he could be considered an Arsenal legend at the end of his career.

    Of course, if at the end of Wenger’s tenure, the next manager decides Ramsey is surplus to requirements, sells him on, then I’d still consider him in that bracket. Other players (Henry, Viera) have left the club, played elsewhere, are still considered legends due to their overall contribution. Ramsey’s overall contribution has, to date, been good. Let’s hope he helps us win many more things ?

  7. I love Ramsey. He stayed with us while the likes of fabregas, nasri and VP left. He showed heart coming back from the shawcross debacle and hitting unbelievable heights in ozil’s first season at the club earning him a spot in the pl team of the season(something Sanchez and ozil havent managed to do). With a bit more consistency and play in the box to box role, only few midfielders can contest Rambo. Legend all the way

    • Agree completely. Needs to play games and has suffered as a result of injuries. Always needs 6 games or so to get back to his best. Mature, speaks his own mind. I would make him the next captain!

  8. Hi Arse,
    Lovely blog as always, I’m here to.comment on the Ozzy coffee though. I remember thinking exactly the same thing, it’s bloody brilliant. Well apparently ita so good because the first coffee shops (in melbourne at least) were set up by Italian immigrants who brought excellent beans and coffee making equipment with them. They’ve kept those supply chains going, so they still get some prrtty fine coffee, and they embedded a proper Italian coffee house culture going so a lot of the barristas are actually proerly trained.

    Anyway, it’s amongst the best tasting stuff in the world. Enjoy!

  9. Interesting point on Ramsey. I agree that the answer should be yes! If we just forget all the current pain and heartache (which we will) it is obvious he is. He won us trophies!

    Much the same as I don’t really remember if Kevin Campbell was any good – I associate him with the 1991 league winning campaign! Hashtag ledge.

  10. So, the coffee thing is basically what’s known as ‘third wave’ coffee and this basically means ‘not shit’ coffee. I think it has its origins in Melbourne and/or Auckland when people decided they were sick of shitty, ‘old fashioned’ coffee that was an afterthought and decided to put some effort into it. This kinda proliferated in Australia and beyond, to the point where you can also find many such purveyors of fine coffee in major cities worldwide (although they are less prolific than they are in ‘Straya), often run by Aussie or Kiwi expats. There are loads of them in London and Berlin, for instance. To that end I’d be very surprised if similar cafes with high quality coffee couldn’t be found in Dublin (or even Barcelona for that matter).

  11. Turned down Man U for the Arsenal, came back from a career ending injury, the frankly incredible 13-14 season where he was arguably one of the best midfielders in Europe, a triple FA cup final winner (scoring the winners in two of them), a highlight reel of worldies, over 300 appearances for the Arsenal and just under a decade of service at the club…and only 26 years old! He has also, in that time, been the perfect role model for young fans and the youth teams both on and off the field. Club legend if he retired tomorrow imo.

  12. The way I see it, Ramsey deserves ‘Legend’ status in the same way Giroud should be considered an Arsenal Legend. In the rather loose sense of the word. One, a scorer of vital, cup-winning goals. The other a centurion scorer of magnificent goals. Just saying..

    • Great thing about Ramsey is he can get better and still plenty of career left with us.

      Giroud IS legend.

      Aside from several wonder goals, just the way he carried the community shield should be enshrined in some sort of statue.

      I don’t think he will go past this season with us so hoping for more wonder goals and a trophy to close it with for the big man.

  13. Aaron should be given a go behind lacazette alongside one creative player. This will make room for a more creative player in midfield in the carzola mould (thinking of jack) or a powerful 7 ft giant midfield genral. He definitely has the work rate n stamina to ensure that we cover our defensive suties.

  14. Hi Blogs. Of course for those of us already here in Oz it’s good evening to us down here from you also down here. Aussie coffee is definitely some of the best in the world. England has only chain outlets. We generally only have independent outlets like Italy and Spain.
    Ramsay is a legend, yes.

  15. Happy to hear you’re enjoying yourself in Melbourne blogs – I spent a couple years there for Uni and you’re right, the coffee there is something else, even the 7-11 coffee that you can get for a dollar is decent stuff.

  16. Rambo has been wonderful down the years! Faithful as ever. Of course prone to some costly mistakes at times but his commitment, energy and timely goals has overshadowed his errors. This in my opinion has earned him a legendary status. One of my favorites in this current Arsenal team. That’s why I wear his jersey all over Lagos, Nigeria! If he hangs his boots as a Gunner, raise him a statue at a prominent place at the Emirates Stadium please!

  17. Hello Blogs
    On your point about legends, I believe that it’s about a little bit more than banging in a couple of key goals even if it’s in a showcase match.
    Ramsey would be a legend if he delivered a bit more or was part of a team that had done something exceptional (e.g. Invincibles or 1971 double winning player). Frankly I think he has underachieved a little although whether that is entirely his fault or Arsene has to share the blame is debatable.
    No doubt on his day a great player, but like so many in the squad he is to comfortable and cosseted and lacks drive.
    Just my humble opinion.

  18. How can you not pull for Ramsey? He came back from a massive injury and has shown his creativity in the final third again and again. With a nickname like “Rambo” and 2 FA Cup final goals to seal both of those games, he’s already an Arsenal Legend to me!

  19. Once people get some distance from us & him not being perfect, Ramsey should go down as a legend. On top of that, James made a good point on the pod about his role possibly increasing with Per retiring soon, which could help. I think the doubt about his legendary status was made clear though, as at the end of the podcast you guys both said you weren’t sure whose name you’d get on the back of a shirt, showing perhaps he’s not there yet.

  20. Rambo has always had my backing, granted his form dipped at times and he’s had some lengthy injuries that interrupt the flow of games, but he’s generally a dependable player and a valuable one at that. Definitely legend in my book for those FA Cup final goals. I challenge all Gooners to remember how they felt when he scored that winning goal in ET in 2014 after such a long trophy drought and a rollercoaster of a match – it felt LEGENDARY!

  21. To describe Ramsey’s current status I would use the Football Manager status of club ‘Icon’. One more cup final winner or a PL title and he gets ‘Legend’ status.

  22. You can thank the waves of Italian migration to Australia for the coffee. The coffee culture in Australia is huge, when I was there starbucks were closing most of their Australian coffee shops because everybody knows good coffee and nobody would drink that crap. Mostly the only starbucks that remained would be in very central touristy areas.

  23. Getting a bit carried away.

    Eddie is a talent but we do no favours putting too much hype on him. Remember Zelalem and the Jeff.

    More important for us to continue to sharpen some of the fringe players so they can also push the first team.

    I’m talking of course about players like Debuchy, Jack.

    I think Eddie will get his chance but starting :


    If Theo doesn’t do the business, by all means put in our wonder boy.

    My worry is the back line. To be fiar, Elneny hasn’t done too poorly considering it isn’t a natural position for him and maybe he might make this a position he can thrive but he lacks steel sometimes and gets passed by or pushed aside too easily.

    Holding isn’t experience as well and we have seen (same hype), he is fallible particularly with passing. Debuchy is rusty and still not at 100% in terms of fitness so also susceptable to mistakes.

    AMN IMO has done pretty well for us again even if LWB lacks options at the moment and it isn’t his natural position.

    Nelson too is on a learning curve so in as much as we have some firepower going forward with Giroud, Iwobi, Jack, maybe Nketiah later for Theo, we must be very wary at the back even if it is a home game.

    Coquelin is another I hope will regain some sort of form particularly with the new formation, hopefully he can find some form and then some sort of accomodation with Granit.

    Plenty to develop within the game let alone bank the 3 points and book ourselves into the next stage.

    Will be an interesting one to say the least.

  24. The coffee in Melbourne (and Sydney) is pretty much the best in the world… I’m surprised you weren’t aware of that. It’s not really a scientific thing… but more so a cultural phenomena.

    I’d invite you to watch the match at my house, and enjoy a strong ‘flat white’ on Friday morning but it seems you’ll be gone already.

    Finally, I completely agree with your comments regarding Aaron Ramsey, let alone the idea of seeing Eddie play again.

  25. Great piece ! How refreshing to read and relish and to remind people that a football club existed before 1996 . The aforementioned football club also achieved it’s fair share. 5 FA Cup finals between 1970-80 .2 European finals and a Double, not too bad for the club AW built . ( Mischievous pop) and that was the decade where tapas of mediocrity was all that occupied the gunners menu if the adolescents and <35s are to be believed. Let's remember real Arsenal values .Style over substance,more than lip service paid to defence and promote from within. Goodnight from half pissed Gooner
    Love to you all.

  26. I’m a Londoner in Sydney and can confirm the coffee here is better than London! It’s something these convicts do really well!


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