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Trusty Moves to Sheffield United and Arsenal Bids for Raya

Arsenal sign 23yo Auston Trusty from Colorado Rapids

Welcome and Goodbye Trusty!!!

Auston Trusty has been around the block for a while, but his Arsenal journey began in 2020, when the Gunners signed him up from KSE-owned Colorado Rapids. After staying back with the American team to finish the MLS campaign, he moved to North London and was immediately shipped out on loan where he featured consistently for Birmingham City.

In 44 games for Birmingham City in the Championship, Trusty scored four goals, including a brace in the 3-0 win over Bristol. He used his tall 1.91m frame to great effect, averaging 3.1 aerial duels won per match. Reviewing his other defensive stats on WhoScored, Trusty averaged 2.3 tackles per match, 1.5 interceptions per match, four clearances per match, 1.1 fouls committed per match and 0.8 blocks per match. His passing stats leave a lot to be desired with an average of 32 passes per match, 1.6 long balls per match and a pass completion percentage of 68.7 percent.

His performances were so great that he was named the Birmingham City Player of the Year award, which was a testament of his footballing service to the club. With newly-promoted side, Sheffield United, losing Iliman Ndiaye to Olympique Marseille, they turned their attention rather swiftly to Trusty, and approached Arsenal for his services. Within days, terms were agreed (a reported £5 million), Trusty completed his medical and Arsenal has officially announced that he has completed his move to Sheffield United.

Following the completion of the move, Sporting Director, Edu Gaspar, had this to say regarding the transfer,

“We are so proud to see how far Auston has come and the journey he has been on. If you look at him when he joined us compared to now when he is leaving us, he has achieved so much.

“We see him now, a USA international having won Player of the Season with Birmingham City in a competitive league, which you have to remember was his first in English football. He now moves to a Premier League club where he will play top-flight football.

“Everyone involved in Auston’s progression to this point should have great satisfaction in the steps he has taken, moving on to this new challenge.”

Arsenal had spent over £200 million to complete the signings of Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice and it has been well publicized that Edu and Arteta want the squad to be trimmed down, with the most notable departures, if you exclude the youngsters, being Pablo Mari, Granit Xhaka and now, Auston Trusty, for a reported £32 million.

As a left-sided center back, Trusty was never going to get ahead of Gabriel, Jakub Kiwior and the Swiss Army Knife, Takehiro Tomiyasu, that consistently features as a center back for Japan, so a move to another Premier League team that will clearly be fighting to retain their status in the division will be an interesting battle for Trusty.

I wish him all the best and I hope I get to see him play consistently, as an avid Premier League lover that I am.

In other news, Arsenal has taken their transfer saga with David Raya up a notch by placing a bid of £23 million for his services. This includes a fixed fee of £20 million and extra £3 million in performance-related add-ons. Raya has already agreed personal terms with Arsenal, so the meat of this proposed transfer would be the ongoing discussions between Arsenal and Brentford for an agreeable transfer fee. The ITKs say that Brentford £40 million for Raya, and have already purchased Mark Flekken in anticipation of their main goalie’s imminent departure.

Flekken hasn’t filled anyone with confidence from his debut performances in the Premier League Summer Series preseason tournament, but I guess those early nerves will be settled when he’s probably assured of the No. 1 jersey when Raya leaves. However, you have to feel for Thomas Strakosha that left consistent first-team football at Lazio for the allure of the Premier League, only to rot on the bench for an entire campaign, and see his place taken by another in his second season with the club. After notching up 208 appearances for Lazio in six seasons, Strakosha has only played twice for Brentford – one FA Cup game and one Carabao Cup game.

At Arsenal, the signing of Raya will have a significant impact on our current reserve goalie, Matt Turner, who is heavily linked with a move to Nottingham Forest, but word on the street is that Nottingham Forest owes millions of pounds to some of their players and agents, who are planning to take legal action if those overdue payments aren’t honored. Following promotion from the Championship last season, the club signed a whopping 21 players and flirted with relegation for the entire campaign. This summer has seen them sign three more players – retaining Chris Wood after his successful loan spell, Anthony Elanga from Manchester United and ex-Fulham fullback, Ola Aina.

With Keylor Navas returning to Paris St. Germain and the club struggling to reach an agreement with Manchester United over the services of Dean Henderson, Nottingham Forest currently has two goalkeepers in their books – the veteran, Wayne Hennessey, and the returning Ethan Horvath, that had a successful loan spell in the Championship with Luton Town.

Turner would know that Raya’s arrival will spell the end of his short Arsenal stint, and if you add Ramsdale, Karl Hein, Arthur Okonkwo and Runar Alex Runarsson, Raya’s imminent arrival would mean that Arsenal will have six goalkeepers on their books, which is unprecedented. For a club that has been wailing about how they need to trim the squad, something drastic has to be done about the goalkeeping department. 

I fully expect Brentford to reject Arsenal’s offer of £23 million and the Gunners resolve will be tested on the transfer.

Speaking of Arsenal keepers, I’d urge you all to get a read of this fantastic article on Aaron Ramsdale tagged Oh Shut Up, Ramsdale on the Players Tribune. It’s really amazing to see what goes on in the personal life of footballers when they choose to open up. Our amazing goalkeeper’s wife suffered a miscarriage last season, and he just soldiered on the pitch, going through that emotional rollercoaster while trying to focus on his job. Trust me, it’s worth a read.


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Some Love for Ivan Toney ❤️❤️

Brentford's Ivan Toney dominated Arsenal's William Saliba in the air

Toney put up a dominant display at the Emirates

Ivan Toney was one of the standout performers in the disappointing draw between Arsenal and Brentford at the Emirates Stadium last weekend. Early on in the game, Toney created a big chance for Rico Henry when the visitors hit their hosts on the break, but the full back couldn’t sort out his feet in time to do anything meaningful with the ball. 

Toney had four shots on the day, with a 50 percent accuracy.

Toney’s shooting against Arsenal

The first shot was supposed to be match opener for Brentford as he smashed the cross bar after receiving a carefully threaded pass from his strike partner, Bryan Mbeumo. The second attempt from Toney was rather speculative, smashing in a surface-to-goal piledriver from close to 30 yards but Aaron Ramsdale was on hand to make a routine save. Toney’s third shot was very close, missed by a lick of paint but his fourth shot was the most telling, as it turned out to be the equalizer, making Arsenal drop two valuable points in their bid to win their first title since 2004.

Toney was also a colossus in the air, winning 86 percent of his duels (12/14). Ten of those 12 duels Toney won were against William Saliba, who clearly struggled all game long against the English forward. He was substituted in the 89th minute for Kevin Schade, after a good day’s work for his team, but we are appalled to learn about what happened after the game.

Shortly after the game, Toney was subjected to racist abuse on social media, prompting the Brentford hierarchy to release a statement,

We are disgusted and saddened that Ivan has had to deal with this yet again.

We will not tolerate it and we will do everything we can to pursue the individuals involved. 

Ivan was subject to similar abuse in October last year, and the perpetrator is now facing the consequences in court. 

How many times does this need to happen?

We call on football fans everywhere to relish the competition and rivalry that exists between us, but to respect and embrace our differences and celebrate the diversity that exists throughout the Premier League.

There is no room for racism.

Arsenal took to Twitter to show solidarity with Brentford on the matter, and in all honesty, its quite unfortunate to see Toney go through this ordeal again this season. Arsenal themselves, are no strangers to these trolls, with Bukayo Saka, alongside Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho suffering vitriol and abuse following their shortcomings from the penalty spot in the European Championship finals against Italy last summer.

Football is a game that is universally enjoyed by everyone, and its a game that promotes a lot of good things, which we as fans, love and have become accustomed to. Friendships and relationships have been established because of the beautiful game and the camaraderie that is been expressed from individuals sharing the same ideas and thoughts have grown exponentially.

However, issues like racism creates barriers that makes things hard for those on the end of it and we can only hope that it stops. The players will still bend the knee before kickoff and show their support but we as fans have to do our bid to show the same support, because nobody is supposed to be on the end of such abuse.

I trust the tech folks to do their bit to catch the perpetrator and pass him through the full course of the law, but we stand with Ivan Toney and everyone else that has been on the wrong end of racial abuse.


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Arsenal 1-1 Brentford: Gunners Drop Points Yet Again

Arsenal 1-1 Brentford: Gunners slip up again to open the door for Man City  - Football365

Toney celebrating the Brentford equalizer

Match Report  Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Arsenal 1-1 Brentford (Trossard 66′ | Toney 74′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka (F. Vieira 81′); Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli (Trossard 62′); Nketiah

In my match preview, I stressed how important it was for the Gunners to pick up the pieces against Brentford, following the bad run of results in the North West that saw Arsenal eliminated from the FA Cup as well as drop three valuable points away at struggling Everton. Brentford arrived at the Emirates in very fine form, unbeaten in their last nine matches in the league, winning four of the last five. They had also boasted of an imperious defensive record, conceding just three goals in their last six since the Post-World Cup break, so the Gunners had their work cut out for them.

Brentford usually plays a 4-3-3 formation, but Thomas Frank switched to 3-5-2, which transitioned to 5-3-2 when the Bees were in defensive mode. Their tactic was to soak up pressure as much as possible, and spring Arsenal on the counter attack, which worked quite effectively all game long. For the home side, there were players like Gabriel Martinelli and Ben White that haven’t been in good form, but the manager trusted his starting XI, fielding the same team in the Premier League for the sixth consecutive game.

The opening chance of the game arrived as early as the fifth minute when Brentford hit Arsenal on a counter attack with Ivan Toney swinging a dangerous ball to the box that got to the feet of the overlapping Rico Henry, but the full back couldn’t sort his feet on time to do anything meaningful with the ball, lashing it wide. Arsenal responded when Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard connected well at the edge of the Brentford box with the Englishman bearing down on Raya’s goal. Saka was nudged from behind but he still tried to get a shot out that was saved. If he had hit the deck after he was shoved from the back, it would have been a different conversation, giving the VAR team something to analyze.

Brentford should have gone one up when Toney found Bryan Mbeumo on the edge and crept into the box unmarked. His Cameroonian strike partner found him and he lashed at the ball, smashing the cross bar. That was a massive let off for the Gunners, as them having so much possession and being caught on the break seemed to be the theme of the game. Toney, who hassled William Saliba all game long, fashioned an opportunity for himself, smashing the ball goalwards from 30 yards to catch Aaron Ramsdale off guard, but the Arsenal goalie reacted well to make the good save and bring the ball under control.

Arsenal should have had the lead just before the break when Eddie Nketiah threaded a cross from the right wing that was cushioned to Martinelli’s path by Granit Xhaka but the Brazilian let one rip with his left foot and blasted it over the bar. A little more composure and the Gunners would have been ahead because Martinelli was in a fantastic position.

Early in the second half, Nketiah got the better of Kristoffer Ajer and found Odegaard at the edge of the box, but the Arsenal captain’s shot with his right foot was fired straight at David Raya in the Brentford goal. Toney kept probing at the Arsenal goal and almost handed Brentford the lead when Arsenal failed to clear their lines, allowing Mathias Jensen to tee Toney up at the danger area, but his side-footed effort missed by a lick of paint.

Then came the inevitable substitution with Martinelli departing the pitch for new signing, Leandro Trossard. Four minutes after his introduction, Trossard made his mark when Saka and Odegaard combined with a delightful one-two before Saka drilled the ball from the byline that was finished aplomb by Trossard, sending the Emirates to raptures. It was no less than the Gunners deserved.

Leandro Trossard scores 1st Arsenal goal in EPL game v Brentford - Futbol  on FanNation

The goal caused the Brentford gaffer to make two substitutions which included former Arsenal scholar, Josh da Silva, changing Brentford’s tactical approach to a more attacking setup. Three minutes later, the visitors got their equalizer. In a goalmouth scramble that saw the Brentford players win three consecutive headers in the Arsenal box, Christian Norgaard anticipated the ball before an onrushing Ramsdale to cut back the ball for Toney that guided the ball to an unguarded net. VAR did their bit to give Arsenal hope but it was not to be as a Thomas Partey’s swinging hand kept the last Brentford attacker onside in the buildup to the goal.

The goal came early enough, and we expected the Arsenal team to respond. Mikel Arteta brought on Fabio Vieira for Xhaka to give the team more attacking impetus, but Brentford resorted to Satanball tactics with Ben Mee and Toney hitting the deck for injuries. If the visitors were still losing 1-0 and needed an equalizer, I’m certain those players would be exceptionally fit. Five minutes stoppage wasn’t enough, as the ref’s final whistle ensured that the Gunners had dropped points in back-to-back league games for the first time this season, and if Manchester City defeats Unai Emery’s Aston Villa today, the gap that should have been eight points would be only a meager three points. The prospect of this more scary with the fact that if Manchester City get a favorable result at the Emirates this Wednesday after a win against Villa, they would return to the summit of the Premier League on goal difference.

The game on Wednesday would worry about itself but this is hugely disappointing, as we expected three points against Brentford ahead of the all-important Manchester City clash. It’s also worth noting that Arsenal has found it difficult to break down teams that are defending in a low block, resorting to a lot of side passes to the wingers, and always get doubled up by the opposition. I would expect Manchester City to play their attacking game against the Gunners, but Arteta needs to come up with an alternative measure to mitigate this issue.

Another thing worth mentioning is that I am in the opinion that the team needs a slight shakeup in the starting XI. White hasn’t played well for a couple of weeks and Takehiro Tomiyasu needs to get a nod at some point. Trossard seems to be a whole lot more influential in his cameo appearances than a Martinelli that featured for the best part of an hour. At some point, he has to favored for a start. But hey, I’m just an Arsenal blogger with my only managerial experience obtained from playing Football Manager 2023. 


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