PSV Eindhoven Preview: Champions League is Back!!!

Arsenal win over PSV sends Cody Gakpo warning after Premier League audition  | Football | Sport |

Arsenal host PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League for the first time in six seasons, which is a welcome delight if you ask me. It’s funny to think that there was a time when Champions League qualification was a norm for Arsenal, and the fans got so used to it, only to come to a time in our lives when it took a long while to return to Europe’s elite competition.

Arsenal take on a PSV Eindhoven side that is flying high in the EreDivisie under Peter Bosz and much of this great form is attributed to their captain and talisman, Luuk de Jong, that has scored nine goals so far this season. PSV started the season well with the Johan Cruyff Shield win over Feyernoord, and they have won all four of their League games, scoring for fun.

The prospect of listening to the Champions League anthem tonight at the Emirates fills my heart with joy, as we welcome the continental competition, but we have to focus on getting out of the Group with maximum points, as we also have the threat of Sevilla and RC Lens to contend with.

Arsenal will have to soldier on tonight without Gabriel Martinelli that pulled up short against Everton, which will give Leandro Trossard a chance to play in the Champions League for the first time. The Belgian was excited for scoring the winning goal over the weekend and was also happy in featuring in the Champions League for Arsenal. With the North London Derby in the horizon against a much-improved Tottenham side, Mikel Arteta will have to rotate his squad to keep them fresh for the Derby.

On potential change will be the return to goal for Aaron Ramsdale, who was on the news after he was dropped for David Raya in Goodison Park. Kai Havertz will have another opportunity to strut his stuff and hopefully score his first Arsenal goal, as Fabio Vieira is knocking on the door for a first team berth. Players like Emile Smith-Rowe will be itching for a start or to at least feature in the squad tonight and I have a hunch that Arteta will give him some minutes tonight.

Regarding injuries, Arsenal still have their long-term absentees, Jurrien Timber and Mo Elneny, and we are not expecting them anytime soon, but the medical team will be sweating over the fitness of Martinelli for the North London Derby.

PSV has managed to conduct some good transfer business bringing in the likes of Hirving Lozano, Ssrgino Dest, Noa Lang and Armel Bella-Kotchap while losing Xavi Simons and Ibrahim Sangare. However, as their form as shown, they have coped well and are doing great in their league, so they will be no pushovers.

PSV will also take some comfort from the fact that they beat Arsenal last season in the Europa League, even though it was the Cody Gakpo show that night.

Arsenal and PSV Predicted Lineups

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Kiwior, Tomiyasu; Rice, Havertz, Odegaard; Trossard, G. Jesus, Saka.

PSV: Benitez; Dest, Bella-Kotchap, Ramalho, Teze; Veerman, Schouten, Saibari; Lozano, de Jong, Bakayoko.

Injury / Suspension Updates

Arsenal: Jurrien Timber (knee), Mohamed Elneny (knee), Gabriel Martinelli (hamstring)

PSV: Armando Obispo (knee), Fredrik Oppegard (knock), Mauro Junior (knee)

Form Guide

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W W D W W
  • Last Result: Everton 0-1 Arsenal (Trossard 69′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard (2)

PSV Eindhoven

  • Last Five Games: W D W W W
  • Last Result: PSV Eindhoven 4-0 NEC Nijmegen (de Jong 37′ 49, Lang 38′, Pepi 87′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Luuk de Jong (4)

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 1 win.

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily.

Visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Much Goalkeeping Ado About Nothing

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta explains why Aaron Ramsdale has been dropped for  David Raya - Mirror Online

The goalkeeping union

When Nottingham Forest failed in their pursuit of Dean Henderson, following the departure of Keylor Navas to his parent club, Paris St. Germain, they initiated a move for Matt Turner that allowed Mikel Arteta and Arsenal to rekindle interest on an old transfer target that didn’t come into fruition three seasons ago – another pursuit of David Raya.

The Spanish goalie had refused to sign a contract extension with Brentford, forcing the club to sign Mark Flekken, putting a price tag of £40 million for their wantaway goalie. Bayern was interested in looking for a heir apparent to the legendary Manuel Neuer who was still recuperating from a nasty injury he received last season, keeping tabs on Raya’s situation, but when Arsenal came calling Raya wasted no time in joining the exciting project brewing at North London, confirming that he couldn’t say no to the opportunity to play for the Gunners.

Unlike Turner, no disrespect to him of course, Raya wasn’t coming to Arsenal to seat on the dugout and play a handful of cup matches, so the onus was on the head coach, Mikel Arteta, to manage his newly-formed goalkeeping union adequately. Arteta’s current first choice goalie, Aaron Ramsdale, had his struggles in his first Arsenal season but showed massive improvement last season, starting all 38 games in the Premier League for the Gunners, making 94 saves and keeping 14 clean sheets. Ramsdale also grew in influence in the club, and right earned himself a new contract extension.

Raya put up some monster numbers last season for Brentford, helping them to their mid-table finish with some breathtaking goalkeeping displays. He was first in the Premier League last season for saves (154), first for saves from outside the box (64), first for touches (1,550), first for long passes completed (410) and second for crosses caught (50), garnering 12 clean sheets along the way.

In direct comparison with Ramsdale, Raya faced 205 shots and conceded 43 goals while Ramsdale faced 138 shots and conceded 42. However, Ramsdale beat Raya to win the Best Goalkeeper award in the London Awards, as well as the Premier League Team of the Season. Like Ramsdale, Raya is an excellent shot stopper, contains bags of bravery and can build up from the back. So Arteta signed a goalie that can offer just as much as Ramsdale in goal.

The season commenced with Ramsdale between the sticks against Nottingham Forest, while Raya sat on the dugout. Games against Crystal Palace, Fulham and Manchester United followed with Ramsdale starting all. The international break comes along and everyone expected Raya’s debut to come in the Champions League opener against PSV Eindhoven as the ‘Cup keeper’, but to everyone’s surprise, Raya was between the sticks against Everton, and the Goonersphere came up with all sorts of theories and postulation. 

“Ramsdale has been dropped. He hasn’t been in good form anyway.”

“Raya has always been Arteta’s first choice, it was only a matter of time”

“What did Ramsdale do to get dropped?”

“Just like how Ramsdale got the nod ahead of Leno, it’s Raya’s time to usurp him”.

The person that made the decision, Mikel Arteta, was expectedly asked about the goalkeeping situation and had this to say,

“It’s something that has been historically done like this, but I cannot have two players like this in one position and not play them. David has tremendous qualities like Aaron has, like Karl (Hein) has, but we have to use them,” he said.

“I’m a really young manager. I’ve been in this job for three and a half years and I have few regrets with what I’ve done. One of them was that, on two occasions, I felt between 60 minutes and 85 minutes, in two games, to change the goalkeeper in that moment. But I didn’t do it.

“I didn’t have the courage to do it. But I’m able to take a winger, a striker, or put a central defender on to drop to a (back) five and hold that result? We drew those games and I was so unhappy.”

It is clear as day that Arteta preferred Raya for the opposition in question, Satanball FC, and it was the right decision, as Everton kept pinging loads on balls into the box and it was bread and butter stuff for Raya. In the entire Premier League last season, he was in second place for crosses caught, which was going to handy in such a game.

We tend to forget that goalkeepers are also ‘players’ too. Arteta made some succinct points that he wasn’t challenged about his decisions to leave first teamers like Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz on the bench for Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira, but everyone seemed to put the spotlight on the goalkeeping situation.

If Ramsdale plays against PSV and Raya gets the nod in the North London Derby, would that automatically mean that he’s No. 1? What if Ramsdale plays against his former club, Bournemouth, just after Raya managed to keep in the derby? One thing Arteta promised us this season was unpredictability in his selections, and this is just one of those decisions.

In the first two weeks of the season, Gabriel, who had played consecutively for 73 Premier League matches was on the bench and people attributed a potential move to Saudi Arabia as the reason he was in the dugout. Arteta came out once again to state that the reasons were ‘tactical’.

It’s seems like an arduous task trying to achieve parity between two leading goalkeepers, but the camaraderie in this squad is very great and I believe Arteta has what it takes to make this work. 

So let’s calm down and enjoy the fact that Arsenal arguably and enviably has two of the best goalkeeping pairings in the Premier League, and fussing over who’s starting ahead of who is as valuable as English refs actually being consistent with their VAR decision making.

Much goalkeeping ado about nothing.


Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily.

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Everton 0-1 Arsenal: Trossard Ends Goodison Park Hoodoo

Trossard goal secures the points for Arsenal at Everton

Match Report – Match Highlights Player RatingsPost-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Everton 0-1 Arsenal (Trossard 69′)

Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Raya; Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 80′), Saliba, Gabriel, White; Rice, F. Vieira (Havertz 80′), Odegaard; Saka, Nketiah (G. Jesus 66′), Martinelli (Trossard 24′)

The mere fact that Arsenal had not won in Goodison Park for six years must have played first and foremost in the mind of Mikel Arteta, a manager who garnered over 200 games for the club but somehow failed to get a positive result anytime he visited. It would have also played out in the minds of the players, but they would have taken confidence from the way they won against Manchester United before the international break, and everyone returned unscathed from their national team sojourns.

The Arsenal manager made some huge changes with David Raya making his Arsenal debut against Everton, ahead of the incumbent goalie, Aaron Ramsdale. The manager also favored the mercurial Fabio Vieira ahead of Kai Havertz, with Eddie Nketiah retaining his place ahead of Gabriel Jesus as the Brazilian works his way to full fitness. 

Everton were okay allowing Arsenal have all the possession as they maintained a very low block, unlocking Satanball on full display, which was disgusting to say the least, but Arsenal continued to probe and carve out chances in the game. The first clear cut chance arrived when Fabio Vieira threaded in a delicious pass in behind the Everton defense to Gabriel Martinelli, and the Brazilian winger wasted no time in side-footing the ball past Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal, but the VAR chums ruled the goal out, as Nketiah was adjudged to have won the ball from Beto from an offside position. 

It turned out to be a double whammy as Martinelli pulled up short and had to be substituted for Leandro Trossard. According to Arteta’s post-match press conference, it is believed to be a hamstring strain, which will certainly rule him out of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven, and the medical team will be sweating on his fitness ahead of the North London Derby against the high-flying Spurs.

Everton soaked up a lot of pressure and hit Arsenal on the break, and almost punished the Gunners when Abdoulaye Doucoure made one of those his trademark slalom runs and hit the deck in the box after William Saliba stretched out his leg. It was a heart in mouth moment for Arsenal fans because the inconsistency of the VAR system has seen such penalties given. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the penalty wasn’t given. 

Martin Odegaard certainly put his shooting boots on and fired some stingers that were dealt with by Pickford and it was looking like one of those nights where everything Arsenal tried was repelled by Everton. The Gunners stopped floating in their corner kicks because of the height advantage the Everton defenders had, so they resorted to short passing and that was where the match clincher came from. After some intricate passing play from the right, Bukayo Saka teed up Trossard who blasted a one-time shot with his left that clipped the post and crept in.

Looking at the numbers, Arsenal had 74 percent possession to Everton’s 26. 1.02 xG, 13 shots, 595 passes (to Everton’s 159) and 11 corners. Pure dominance against a team that had nothing to offer but it bodes for the squad, as the changes galvanized the side and even the subs that came on put a good shift. 

The win makes the North London Derby on Sunday very massive, but all business moves to Champions League football on Wednesday and we will preview the game in good time. 


Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily.

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List