Arsenal 20-21: Artetenal and/or Kia Joorabchian Futebol Clube

FWIW, buried within Ornstein's latest article for The Athletic is this tidbit:
Arsenal agree deal with PSG medic

The Athletic reported in June that Arsenal were working on a deal to recruit Brazilian medic Bruno Mazziotti from Paris Saint-Germain and it can now be revealed an agreement has been reached.

Mazziotti will join once the terms of his exit from PSG have been finalised, having left the French champions after their run to last season’s Champions League final. The 42-year-old arrives at Arsenal after head of physiotherapy Chris Morgan moved to Liverpool. It is not clear what job title Mazziotti is to take but he will work alongside head of medical Gary O’Driscoll.

Mazziotti has a close relationship with Arsenal’s technical director Edu after the pair worked together at top Brazilian club Corinthians and the Brazil national team.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Rumors out of France today that we have agreed terms with Aouar and submitted a bid to Lyon for him yesterday. Let's hope it comes true. It seems like the Coronavirus has given us a relatively free run at him that we wouldn't normally have and it would be a shame not to take advantage of that opportunity.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Yeah, I am hoping. This is an opportunity that the club really needs to lock down.

How dare he prefer Barcelona or Juventus over Arsenal? Hah.
According to a report from French outlet Telefoot, Houssem Aouar has agreed to join Arsenal.

However, before you throw a party – inviting only a couple of people and observing social distancing rules of course – it’s not quite as exciting as it might sound.

They say he preferred a move to Barcelona or Juventus, but as no bids were forthcoming from those sides, he’s plumped for Arsenal.

Bear in mind this is – if accurate – only the player’s decision, and not evidence of an agreement between Arsenal and Lyon. They say that the two clubs will have further discussions to ‘refine the proposed amount’.
 

67YAZ

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Aouar is going to be a monster. Liverpool & Arsenal are definitely fishing in the same waters now.

Should be a fun week ahead. I think both managers are likely to roll out some new wrinkles to keep the other guessing.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I like Adrian Clarke's take on the importance of getting Aouar in the latest Athletic article:
“With Xhaka and Ceballos as your deep midfield it puts all the impetus on the front three to make it happen. Aouar is more of a box-to-box guy who can bridge that gap and unlock more chances.
...
"Because Ceballos isn’t that athletic they end up retreating a bit and playing two deeper players. Xhaka and Ceballos are good passers, good on the ball, but not speedy. It really just worked for that time but it can lack something especially against those teams that sit against us — a fleet-footed guy in midfield who can break the lines and unlock the door. Aouar is that guy. He is good at pressing, which fits with Arteta. He is quick and we really lack legs in midfield."
He then later comes around and says Arsenal just need to get both Partey and Aouar, ha:
“A midfield of Xhaka, Partey and Aouar would be awesome in terms of the combination,” he says. “I still think the team needs both rather than one. All the successful Arsenal teams I can remember have had a big powerful midfield enforcer. Getting Partey would make a huge difference. I would say is if we persist with this 3-4-3 long term then he is a better fit in a two-man midfield — he’s more of an all-rounder, he can defend and attack, he has that athleticism and power. In this system Partey is more important but Aouar is definitely the missing link. Let’s just get both. Let’s just sell everybody and get those two!”
 

shaggydog2000

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If we could find takers for Guendouzi, Torreira, Xhaka, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Chambers, and Ozil we could afford both. But we all know we won't find enough buyers for that. There is a whole lot of reshaping left to do and it's hard to expect that to all get done before this deadline.
 
There's no shame in losing to the reigning champions on the road, but can someone tell me how trying to pass the ball out of the back over and over - and **repeatedly** losing possession within 25 yards of your goal, with your defenders out of position to actually defend - makes any sense at all? Only some good luck prevented Arsenal from conceding an even more ludicrous goal than the one they scored tonight.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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That's the expected result when anybody goes to Anfield these days so I can't really complain. I also don’t mind the overall counter-attacking tactic. If there’s a fixture for playing the 3-4-3 and trying to hit them on the break, this is the one. But there were two things that really bothered me in this match.

First, I just can’t understand leaving out Dani Ceballos. The entire match turned on their high press vs our ability to break that initial pressure. I honestly just cannot comprehend the logic of leaving out Ceballos, who is not only very secure in possession but has the quality and little bursts of creativity you need to break pressure. As soon as he came on, in quick succession first he sets up a little backheel that allows Bellerin to pick up the ball in space and charge upfield unimpeded, then on another occasion he does this little fake-a-sideways-pass-then-quickly-swivel-upfield move and breaks the pressure himself. We put on a midfielder with a little quality and balls and all of a sudden things open up. Crazy. He then goes on to play two nice throughballs, one of which Laca really should have put away for 2-2.

My second gripe is Arteta's total unwillingness to change shape or tactics with his substitutions, which is becoming a repeated theme. Everything is always a like for like substitution of a tired player. At this stage in the season maybe players aren’t fully fit so there is more need of that. But if we’re chasing a match and there are only 20 minutes left then it would be nice to see him try something different and test the other side’s ability to adjust. Take off AMN for Saka, go straight 4-3-3, and see if Saka can move around between the lines and draw away Fabinho so that things open up. Or make the same substitution and play 4-4-2 with Auba now taking up central positions and Saka on the left wing. Just do something other than playing the same way with different players.
 

mikeford

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It would help to just not play or employ Mohammed Elneny.

Sorta feel like Arteta kinda punted this game. I know winning the league is not really the realistic priority this season but not even really trying to give the champs a go at their ground sucks.
 

JimBoSox9

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It would help to just not play or employ Mohammed Elneny.

Sorta feel like Arteta kinda punted this game. I know winning the league is not really the realistic priority this season but not even really trying to give the champs a go at their ground sucks.
On the other hand, what better way to make clear to ownership that Xhaka and Elneny can't be considered midfield answers, in the last week of the transfer window? It's the only angle from which not starting Ceballos makes sense.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Initially, I came away from the game not too concerned about Elneny because he was not making any obvious mistakes and he completed 94% of his passes, so it was not blatantly obvious that he was a problem. But when you dig a little deeper and realize he only attempted 4 forward passes the entire game (2 completed), you can see the issue. Arteta obviously wanted extra protection for his defenders and hoped for long-ball counter-attacks, so he went with a defensive minded midfield and hoped Luiz or Tierney would connect with Aubameyang on the counter. Xhaka also made a progressive pass that led to the Lacazette (admittedly fluky) goal, but yeah, seeing Ceballos come on late and break the lines with at least 3 excellent passes was revealing.

Liverpool were all over Xhaka as soon as he touched the ball, so I almost felt bad for him. This was the "heavy metal football" that Klopp used to talk about at Dortmund. Really my biggest take-away was how good Liverpool looked. Their press was intense, relentless, and nearly perfect. The talent on the team is undeniable and when they are playing like that, you almost just have to give them a tip of the cap and be thankful that the scoreline was not worse than it was.

I did enjoy seeing that the xG actually was better than the scoreline (2.29 to 1.56) until I realized that this year xG include attempts that are later flagged offsides in the xG tally, meaning Lacazette's first one-on-one attempt with Alisson (where he was offsides, so the goal would not have counted) got included in the xG tally.

Also, I am happy to see Bellerin is looking healthy, but two throw-in violations? I hope he bumped into Liverpool's throw-in coach on the way off the pitch and absorbed some tips through osmosis.

The next several Premier League games will provide a challenge and should offer an honest assessment on the current state of the team (Sheffield United, Manchester City, Leicester City, and Manchester United).
 

shaggydog2000

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Supposedly Lyon have agreed to terms on a deal for a player to replace Aouar, so that's good for Arsenal's chances. I don't think Arsenal can get Partey as well during the window, but maybe some of the deadwood can get moved. We'll have to see.
 

mikeford

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On the other hand, what better way to make clear to ownership that Xhaka and Elneny can't be considered midfield answers, in the last week of the transfer window? It's the only angle from which not starting Ceballos makes sense.
If this results in us actually landing a real midfielder, I will agree it was worth the punt in that case
 

PedroSpecialK

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Yeah Leno has been outstanding, probably the best player on the pitch for either side thus far

0-0 and we go to penalties lol - I imagine Leno has a significant upper hand given his performance tonight and that he's up against Adrian
 
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shaggydog2000

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That is a good draw. No trips to eastern Europe to play a league champ. I see a lot of time for young players in the Arsenal side.
 

mikeford

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Arsenal gets what looks to me like an absurdly easy Europa League group: Rapid Vienna , Molde and Dundalk. (Plus, not much traveling required, which is nice.)
What a shame that there cant be fans for any of this. Away days in Ireland, Norway and Austria seem like a really nice time considering the other possibilities.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Lots of buzz that we are about to pay the release clause for Partey. Not going to to completely believe it until its done and dusted though.

I think Aouar would have been the smarter move from a squad building perspective, given their respective ages, but Partey would definitely take our midfield up a few levels in the next couple years.

We still really need a creative midfielder, especially if we plan to play Auba up front more, which I really hope to see. Otherwise Arteta better have a lot of faith in Emile Smith-Rowe and Reiss Nelson because we will be pretty short in the wing/cam department with just Saka, Pepe, Willian, a Martinelli that doesn't return until December and the corpse of Ozil.

I still think Emi Buendia from Norwich would be a really good cheap buy and Championship players are available for another 10 days.
 

bosox4283

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Thanks for updates. Spanish publications Marca and AS are both reporting that Arsenal seems inching closer to paying Partey's clause. I think Atletico has no choice but to make this move since Atletico could not find anyone interested in Vitolo, Lemar, or Herrera.
 

67YAZ

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Several sources have cited Partey’s high wage request as an impediment or getting a deal done. But if they have agreed to pay the full clause, then they must think they can bridge the gap?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Several sources have cited Partey’s high wage request as an impediment or getting a deal done. But if they have agreed to pay the full clause, then they must think they can bridge the gap?
I have no idea what to believe regarding his wage demands but I'm a bit skeptical about those stories. He was on very low wages at Atleti and Arsenal were the only club seriously looking at him this summer, so he doesn't exactly have a ton of leverage. He is also at an age where every year he goes without signing a big deal represents a pretty big risk that he'll never get a big deal, so I think he would be much more motivated to lock in the money now than a player like Aouar, who has his whole career in front of him and probably knows that he'll get even more money if a big club like City or Barca comes for him next summer. I have no doubt Partey will sign a nice contract befitting a high level veteran player but I would be surprised if its some kind of megadeal.

Whatever the contract might be, I think it was probably agreed well prior to today by the player and club. It wouldn't make sense to pay the release clause and still have to negotiate the deal with the player.
 

Kliq

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Getting rid of Gunnersauraus, easily the best mascot in the EPL, is a terrible look. I have to think he'll be back soon; the guy has been doing it since 1993, fans will crowdfund his salary if they have too.
 

shaggydog2000

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Getting rid of Gunnersauraus, easily the best mascot in the EPL, is a terrible look. I have to think he'll be back soon; the guy has been doing it since 1993, fans will crowdfund his salary if they have too.
I think it's a sign that they don't actually expect fans back any time soon.

Plus, got to pay for that Partey buyout clause somehow.
 
View: https://twitter.com/atletienglish/status/1313237300189507587

From Atletico's official Twitter account (in English): "@Arsenal pay Thomas Partey’s buyout clause at LaLiga headquarters. The player has unilaterally terminated his contract with our club."

So that looks done for all practical purposes - Partey had his medical earlier in Madrid. Meanwhile, Torreira has also gone on loan to Atletico (in an unrelated deal).
 
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Arsenal sacked their longest-tenured player, Gunnersaurus!

Getting rid of Gunnersauraus, easily the best mascot in the EPL, is a terrible look. I have to think he'll be back soon; the guy has been doing it since 1993, fans will crowdfund his salary if they have too.
View: https://youtu.be/uMJ6wP_BjBk?t=78


I mean, Gunnersaurus could've even do that. Needed his wage off the books to afford Partey...
 

shaggydog2000

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You'd have to think the more creatively oriented player who was also 22 instead of 27 would have been the better long term move, but at least we brought in a high level player at a position of need. But if this means they bump Xhaka from the regular starting line-up and are able to play a 4-man defense the increased creativity may just come from having another midfielder out there. Maybe Saka and Ceballos?
 

The Gray Eagle

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Ozil wants to keep Jerry Quy around so that he won't be forced to get in the suit himself. "Ozil refused to follow direct instructions to help the club on matchday, so we are terminating his contract..."

Or maybe Ozil will hire Quy to be his own private mascot, Ozilsaurus-- a big mopey-eyed creature who sits in the stands holding a parasol during games.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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That was an exciting end to the transfer window. It was the first window Edu handled as the main man, complicated by the fact that Sanllehi was sacked halfway through, and I think there were both plusses and minuses in the end. I do think they screwed up some things - somehow Saliba's loan got fucked up at the last minute, we should have at least found somebody to take Sokratis for free, there was clear interest in Kolasinac but we couldn't close anything, and we really probably should have sold Balogun. But the two biggest transfers of the window came off and I think they'll be pretty transformative for the side.

The big picture is that we invested the lion's share of resources in two athletic, physical guys who also have very good ball skills to play in the 2x2 CB/CM box that is the pillar of any defense. If you're going to try to boss games in the Premier League and commit a lot of players forward in attack, you really need athletic players in those roles who cover a lot of ground and defend comfortably in one on one situations, otherwise you just get hammered in transitions. City hasn't really been the same since Kompany left and Fernandinho declined, Liverpool went up levels with Van Dijk and (to a lesser extent) Fabinho, etc. I'm not claiming that Partey and Gabriel will be of comparable quality but you can see why Arteta wants players with their profiles and to build the team from the spine outward.

There is a lot of speculation about these acquisitions facilitating a move to a four man backline and either a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 setup, perhaps not immediately but certainly eventually once Partey is settled and we get past the tough away matches at the Etihad and Old Trafford. I think that's right but that two follow up questions are a bit more interesting. First, will we see Auba finally move back into the center forward role? We looked so much better and more fluid after Arteta made this switch against Sheffield United. Second, and relatedly, can we find a setup that is more balanced between left and right? The way we have been playing the 3-4-3 hybrid is incredibly left side oriented. Even when we flip in possession toward a four man backline, the guy that joins the midfield (Saka or AMN generally) really plays as an attacking left sided midfielder, with no comparable player on the right. My read on this is that Arteta liked the idea of clustering several of our best players - Tierney, Saka, Auba - closely together on the left so that they could combine well. But it has created a very lopsided team and made it really difficult for players on the right to get anything going. Auba through the middle would go a long way toward creating more balance.

The setup I'd like to see is more like the one we saw against Sheffield United, with Willian as either a 10 and a duel pivot of Partey/Ceballos behind or with Willian and Ceballos as twin 8s and Partey pulling the strings and cleaning up behind. Then have a frontline of Saka-Auba-Pepe, with Saka sometime switching with Willian, and a backline in which Tierney and Gabriel are mainstays when healthy and the RCB and RB positions flip between Luiz/Holding and Bellerin/AMN depending on matchups and tactics.

One implication of moving to Auba to the center is that will create more chances, but also more responsibility, for some of our young players. If Saka, Willian, and Pepe are the three most advanced players behind the striker, our depth options for those positions are going to be Nelson, Martinelli (when he comes back), Smith-Rowe, and Willock, with the added possibilities of Ozil returning from the dead, using Maitland-Niles in those roles in certain situations (like defending a lead), and of bringing on an additional striker in Laca or Eddie in other situations (like chasing a game). That is leaning pretty heavily on a group of players between the ages of 19-21 but I'd also be very happy to see them get the chances. We need to figure out whether guys like Smith-Rowe and Nelson have a future with us (Willock I'm pretty sure doesn't, Martinelli I'm confident does as long as his knee is OK) and if one of them pops this year it creates a ton of value as buying a top player next summer in those advanced positions is going to be expensive.

Overall, its an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan. I still think it'll be tough to get top four this year given the competition but the team is clearly going in the right direction while also putting into place a pretty solid foundation on which to keep building. We could plausibly see a regular starting team with 7/10 field players that are 25 and younger as of today, plus another 7 players that are significant contributors as key subs or rotational players (although Saliba may still get loaned). And half of those 14 came out of the academy at Hale End.

Saka (19)
Auba
Pepe (25)
Willian
Ceballos (24)
Partey
Tierney (23)
Gabriel (22)
Holding (25)
Bellerin (25)

Nketiah (21)
AMN (23)
Martinelli (19)
Nelson (20)
Smith-Rowe (20)
Saliba (19)
Willock (21)
 

shaggydog2000

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Nice write-up, MMS. Only quibble is that I think Ozil is fully dead as far as Arsenal is concerned...but I don't sense you feel at all differently.
Arsenal is 2 players over the limit for non-homegrown players right now for the Premier League. I would be enormously surprised if Ozil isn't one of the players who gets left off the list, along with one of the defensive players they were trying to move (Kolasiniac, Mustafi, Sokratis).
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Nice write-up, MMS. Only quibble is that I think Ozil is fully dead as far as Arsenal is concerned...but I don't sense you feel at all differently.
Arsenal is 2 players over the limit for non-homegrown players right now for the Premier League. I would be enormously surprised if Ozil isn't one of the players who gets left off the list, along with one of the defensive players they were trying to move (Kolasiniac, Mustafi, Sokratis).
Looks like you guys could be right. I believe we have until October 20th to finalize our list for the Premier League but we have to submit our European list soon and the Mirror (shit source, but maybe accurate in this case) is claiming that Ozil will be left out.

View: https://twitter.com/OsmanZtheGooner/status/1313880615394172929
 

shaggydog2000

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Looks like you guys could be right. I believe we have until October 20th to finalize our list for the Premier League but we have to submit our European list soon and the Mirror (shit source, but maybe accurate in this case) is claiming that Ozil will be left out.

View: https://twitter.com/OsmanZtheGooner/status/1313880615394172929
And it's Ozil and Sokratis that were left out of the Europa list.


They're both in the last year of their contracts. Maybe making it clear there is no chance they will be included in the rosters will push them to take buyouts? Sokratis might be loaned or sold for a minimum amount in the Januray window, but we know nobody is giving up anything for Ozil at his wages.
 

OCST

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If you're not familiar with the work of footy cartoonist David Squires in the Guardian, you should check him out.

34805
 

mikeford

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Pretty sure the roster for the league includes Özil and leaves out Pablo Mari (makes sense, he's crippled right now) and Cedric Soares.