Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Sunday round-up: Premier League fun, Reiss Nelson

Morning.

A quick Sunday round-up for you. There was some fun stuff in the Premier League yesterday, so I watched a bit of Match of the Day last night. Times have changed, the old rivalries are not what they once were, but seeing Manchester United get beaten is always good fun.

We go to Leicester in a couple of weeks time, so it was good to get a reminder that on their day they’re a team that can produce performances and goals. Youri Tielemans’ was the pick of the bunch, a superb finish into the top corner after Leicester pressed high and caught Harry Maguire on the ball. Something for Mikel Arteta to take note of, given he nominally wants his team to play out from the back.

I say nominally because it’s been very much a pick and mix situation of late. Sometimes we do, sometimes we definitely don’t, but I have to think that the players must be well aware of what they’re supposed to be doing, even if it leaves us a little non-plussed. The lack of any real target man means that playing it long is going to leave us with work to do, but perhaps there might be more focus on winning the second ball.

Anyway, back to United, and it’s now two defeats and a draw in their last three games. As I said, it’s not like it used to be with them but I want any team which has Cristiano Ronaldo in it to lose, and if it’s managed by an odious little man like Solksjaer, then I want that defeat to hurt even more. So, United getting it back to 2-2 and then conceding immediately from the kick off was hilarious. I know we have our own issues right now, but if you can’t enjoy that kind of thing, you might as well give up.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa – who we play on Friday – were 2-0 up against Wolves, before conceding three times in the last 10 minutes to get beaten. It’s not that I want Emi Martinez to do badly, but I hope he lets in at least three against us next week. Other thoughts: if Adama Traore had 25% more end product, he’d be an astonishing player, while it’s interesting to note Emi Buendia has had a slow start to his Aston Villa career, just one goal so far – so let’s hope that continues until after next week.

Meanwhile, in Holland Reiss Nelson finally made his debut for Feyenoord, coming off the bench in their 2-2 draw with RKC Waalwijk. Considering he left on loan on August 31st, it’s been a little while coming, but there have been fitness issues. Afterwards, Feyenoord coach Arne Slot said:

“I think he was initially frustrated and annoyed that he couldn’t start from day one. He has worked hard to become fully fit.

“You notice that he is getting stronger and stronger now that he is competing. I am sure he wants to show that in the matches. I think he will get that chance in the coming weeks.”

I saw it suggested that his lack of fitness was down to Arsenal’s training methods, which could be the case, but isn’t it much more likely that after a season in which he got just 19 minutes of Premier League action he simply wasn’t match fit? There is a level of fitness you get from playing week in, week out, and he spent an entire campaign basically not playing, so had a lot of work to do to catch up. It’s an interesting one for the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Flo Balogun, and even Alex Lacazette whose chances this season will be minimal bar injury/suspension, or a lack of form for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Eddie in particular should have gone somewhere to play at this stage of his career and with his contractual situation the way it is. It means wasted weeks and months at a key age, and Reiss Nelson’s struggles are a consequence of a similar scenario last season. However, let’s hope that now he is knocking on the first team door at Feyenoord, he can make the most of this loan spell and remind people why he was such an exciting prospect not too long ago.

Righto, let’s leave it there for this morning. There’s a Premier League preview podcast on Patreon for your listening pleasure, back tomorrow with more – including all the build-up to the Crystal Palace game.

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