Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Arteta fails to respond + Ramsdale, Jesus

Morning. A few bits and pieces for us to get through.

First, when Mikel Arteta was charged by The FA last week for his post-Newcastle comments which, according to them, were ‘insulting towards match officials and/or detrimental to the game and/or bring the game into disrepute’, he was given until Tuesday of this week to respond.

Yesterday, it emerged that an extension had been granted until Friday. It didn’t say why. Perhaps Arsenal requested further time to prepare their response. Perhaps we just didn’t respond at all. Or if he did it was in such cryptic fashion that they’re still trying to work out what it is.

“What could this mean? Do we have any youths who might understand this emojicon business?!”

It could be a delaying tactic based on information that a possible touchline ban is incoming, and maybe they feel a home game against Wolves or a trip to Luton might be easier to deal with than an away game at Brentford. That’s just speculation on my part, but let’s see what happens, no doubt we’ll hear about it tomorrow at some point. Arteta’s press conference is in the morning so someone is sure to ask him.

Speaking of Brentford, this is a big weekend for Aaron Ramsdale. David Raya is on loan from them and therefore can’t play, so it’s a chance for the England international, and it’ll be an interesting sidebar to the 90 minutes. He played there a few weeks ago, let’s not forget, and played very well as we won 1-0 in the EFL Cup. The home fans sang ‘You’re just a shit David Raya’ at him, but that’s the kind of stuff he loves. He made a couple of very good saves that night, and I suspect he’ll have to do likewise again on Saturday.

It’s a difficult one for him though, because I don’t really think his performance in this game will have a huge impact on the manager’s team selection going forward. Once he’s available, I think Raya will come back in. I think you could make a good argument that giving Ramsdale a little run in the team might be beneficial to him, the team in general, and even his competitor for the goalkeeping position. Play him against Brentford, then give him his Champions League debut, then Wolves at home. Let there be competition, but I don’t think it’ll work like that.

And this is where the challenge for Ramsdale is. I don’t doubt for a second he’ll be professional and do his absolute best, but it must be really tough knowing that however well you play, it doesn’t make much difference. It’d be sort of like being back-up to Bukayo Saka or William Saliba. If they miss a game for whatever reason, they’re straight back in as soon as they’re available. The thing to say about Ramsdale/Raya is that I don’t think the gap as is as big as the other two I mentioned, but that’s the reality in which he finds himself.

There are some comments from Gabriel Jesus doing the rounds after Brazil’s defeat to Argentina during the week. His record at international level isn’t brilliant, it’s 19 in 64 games – a little under a goal every three games. However, it looks (at least via transfermarkt), that it’s just 1 goal in his last 27 internationals, a record that will obviously come under scrutiny – especially for a Brazilian forward.

The bit where he says ‘scoring goals isn’t my strong-point’ [paraphrasing], will undoubtedly add some fuel to that fire back home, but I don’t think it’s really a big issue for us, because having watched him since his arrival from Man City, you can understand completely what he’s saying. I would like him to be more clinical in front of goal, but to me it’s unquestionable that our attack is more effective when he leads the line. That’s taking nothing away from Leandro Trossard who has done well recently, or Eddie Nketiah who has chipped in when Jesus has been absent, but we are more fluent as a team when he plays.

I remember Arsene Wenger once describing Robert Pires as ‘the oil in our engine’, and although I don’t think it’s quite the same with Jesus, it’s similar. His movement makes space for others, his hold up play is above and beyond anything we can get from the other options, and as we saw in the recent game against Sevilla, there are things he can do which can spark us into exciting life and win a game for us.

Also, Brazil have just one win in their last five games, that’s not down to Gabriel Jesus who, as we all know, worked very hard to make himself available for this latest game – stepping up his recovery from a hamstring injury. So if he’s the focus of attention for losing to Argentina, people are looking in the wrong place.

Right, that’s your lot for this morning. I think we might have an Arsecast for you a bit later today, it depends on a couple of things, but all going well I’ll push that out later on, and we can preview the Brentford game on Patreon tomorrow. Something to ease some of the Interlull tedium.

Have a good one.

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