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Guendouzi to Marseille – Well, That Was Expected

Arsenal agree deal with Marseille for Matteo Guendouzi | Metro News

The latest transfer rumors surrounding the club is the imminent departure of Matteo Guendouzi to Olympique Marseille for a measly £10m. For a player that had the huge potential tag hovering around his shaggy hair, losing him for 10 million quid is downright shameful for the folks at the Arsenal negotiation table, but that’s not news, as Arsenal has a poor history when it comes to player sales. However, one has to consider the fact that Guendouzi isn’t a player that would command a mammoth fee, as his performances have shown at Arsenal and most recently, Hertha Berlin.

Guendouzi, on the other hand, didn’t cover himself in glory, and should have been in contention to make the central midfield position his for the taking with Granit Xhaka leaving for Roma but he burnt his bridges with Arsenal gaffer, Mikel Arteta, to the point of no return. That debacle at Brighton two seasons ago should not have escalated to the level it did, but hey, football has its own drama, and we are here for the show.

Guendouzi is set to leave Arsenal after only 82 appearances and the solo goal in the convincing win against Qarabag in the Europa League. It is believed that he ruffled some feathers from a disciplinary standpoint while at Hertha Berlin last season and with him returning to the club this summer, many believed that his time was up at the club. At 22, he clearly has his best years ahead of him, but they will not be at the Emirates Stadium.

I hope he does well for himself at Marseille, and try to ‘grow up’ because his disciplinary issues will place an unnecessary dent on his reputation. It’s meant to be about the football, you know.

With Guendouzi and Xhaka leaving, having some new bodies at central midfield is an absolute must, that’s why I am drooling at the prospect of Manuel Locatelli joining us, which will be a very welcome addition to a playing position currently deficient in quality and quantity. 


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The Curious Case of William Saliba

Olympique Lyon v OGC Nice - Ligue 1

William Saliba is a player that was lauded by Arsenal fans on his arrival two years ago for a reported £27 million from St. Etienne. A relatively unknown entity with a lot of potential waiting to be unearthed, the fans understood that he probably wasn’t going to compete with the much senior defenders in the side, so a loan move to his former club, St. Etienne, made sense at the time, and he featured regularly for the team, had his struggles with injuries, and with the COVID-19 pandemic complicating his loan terms, especially with the drama surrounding the Coupe de France final at the end of that campaign.

One assumed that last season would be the campaign we would finally get to see Saliba in action for the club, but after a couple of preseason games, it was evident that he wasn’t going to play a part in the campaign following a botched deadline day move as well as failing to register him in the competitions, so he spent the first half of the season doing nothing but training. I felt really sad about the situation because the Europa League would have been a good breeding ground for Saliba, and shockingly, he didn’t feature in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup as well. 

January couldn’t come quickly enough for Saliba as he was shipped to OGC Nice and actually started, you know, playing some football, earning rave reviews even to the point were he was nominated for Ligue 1 Defender of the Season despite joining the outfit in January. 

David Luiz finally leaves the club and we anticipated that the likes of Saliba will finally get the nod for the new campaign, but what does Arsenal do – try to delve in the market to sign Brighton’s Ben White for a reported £50 million, and according to recent reports, prepare another loan move for Saliba to Marseille this time.

For a player we spent 27 million quid on, we sure don’t rate him that much. Obviously, I’m not Mikel Arteta that watched him play in training, and in all honesty, I did not follow his progress in his loan spells at St. Etienne and most recently, Nice, but for the lad to be in contention for a Ligue 1 Defender of the Season spot, he must have had quite the campaign in the heart of Nice’s defense.

Arsenal has Rob Holding, Gabriel, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers as their registered center backs for the season, and with Ben White’s imminent arrival, one can see why Saliba may not cut it again this season. However, I feel that there is an underlying issue between the player and his gaffer to the point where it seems that Arsenal has no plans for him at all, and its more annoying with the fact that he pulled out of the French Olympic Team in anticipation of participating in a full preseason with the club, only to be potentially shipped out again.

Well, he signed a five year deal with the club and it seems like we won’t have a real glimpse of him in the first three years of his career with us. 

A real curious case.


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Arsenal 2-1 West Ham: Nketiah Delivers Sucker Punch

Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah combine for winning goal against Arsenal  against West Ham a week on from bust-up before Fulham game

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Arsenal 2-1 West Ham (Lacazette 25′, Nketiah 86′ – Antonio 45′)

Arsenal XI (3-4-3): Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka (D. Luiz 89′); Willian (Pepe 64′), Lacazette (Nketiah 77′), Aubameyang

The fans expected more from the team following the convincing victory over Fulham last week, and they faced a West Ham side bereft of confidence after their poor showing against Newcastle at the London Stadium. There was a cause for concern at the start of the game when Kieran Tierney pulled up short and had to be replaced by Sead Kolasinac shortly before kickoff. The gaffer confirmed in his post-match press conference that it was a small muscular problem and Tierney complained about it before a decision was made to replace him in the matchday squad. 

For some strange reason best known to Lord Voldemort and his cohorts, Arsenal put up a very disjointed performance early on, misplacing passes, engaging in sloppy play and in all honesty, the opening goal seemed to come against the run of play, with some good attacking play on our favored left hand side saw our contract signing club talisman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang loft in a sumptuous cross that was headed home by Alexandre Lacazette. It was a relief for Lacazette as he had spurned an early chance created by Willian in the beginning stages of the game.

The equalizer for the visitors came at the stroke of half time when a non-existent midfield did nothing to stop the attacking threat from the Hammers and Bukayo Saka was caught in No Man’s Land as Jarrod Bowen and Hendricks charged down on Kolasinac before executing a neat cut back that was buried aplomb by Michail Antonio. Rob Holding had a disappointing night and should have done better to close down the West Ham forward but it was not to be as both teams went into the break level. One would have expected Arsenal to come out firing on all cylinders in the second half but it was West Ham that had the better chances with Antonio clipping the cross bar with a header and the Arsenal defense continued to be barraged by the visitors.

Mikel Arteta responded with some attacking changes, bringing on Nicolas Pepe for a clearly jaded Willian and Eddie Nketiah for Lacazette. Despite his goal, he had one of those frustrating nights where his blushes were spared by a teammate replacing him. The move turned out to be a stroke of genius as Nketiah turned to be Arsenal’s match winner after some brilliant work from Saka and Dani Ceballos. The Real Madrid man returning for his second loan spell fed Saka and drifted into the danger area, only to be located by a special pass from the youngster but he had the presence of mind to see Nketiah on the clear before feeding him on a platter.

The score line clearly didn’t show a true reflection on how things fared in the game but we are on the back of two wins from two games, sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League. Yes, we are under no illusions but it is a very good position to be bearing in mind that the club has a tough run of fixtures. However, we have to give credit to the lads for not giving up, even if they didn’t perform on the level expected of them.

More on the Liverpool game in the coming weeks.


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