If all the kids were Saka, we would win something with kids!


Been carrying his colleagues with Tierney

The same starting eleven, with the exception of Aubameyang replacing Lacazette. Another victory. What a difference a few days and a sprinkling of youngsters can make. Instead of looking at the teams below us, we are now starting to look at those above us. Hopefully that continues with further improvement too.

Whilst our first half performance was very laboured, we improved significantly in the second. Said it before and I’ll say it again, Mikel should say what he’s saying to the players at half time, before kick off as we often look to have far more urgency and purpose after the interval. Brighton on the other hand, looked toothless throughout, perhaps unsurprising given their choice of line up.

Mikel will naturally get all the credit for his decision to substitute Martinelli, who hadn’t been as effective as he was in his previous outings, for our match winner Lacazette, who scored immediately after his introduction. Although I understand the necessity for Arteta to make changes with our upcoming fixture schedule, I personally wouldn’t play Aubameyang in a central role to begin with.



Immediate impact


There’s a famous saying about not trying to fix things that aren’t broken, yet Mikel keeps trying to where Aubameyang is concerned. In my opinion, our Gabon international isn’t suited to playing down the middle with the players we currently have. His hold up and link up play simply isn’t as a effective as that of Lacazette, who’s game appears to better compliment the younger players around him.

I’ve seen it suggested that playing down the middle is something that’s been included in Aubameyang’s new contract, I certainly hope and believe that isn’t the case. If it is, then he shouldn’t play at all because it’s detrimental to his own form and the teams too. For me it was no coincidence that we looked more of a threat once Aubameyang had moved out wide following Lacazette’s introduction.

After watching Aubameyang closely of late, it appears to me that he’s lost a yard of pace. Still has speed of course but he hasn’t looked as explosive to me so far during this campaign. He’s at the age where physical attributes can suddenly start to deteriorate but hopefully, it’s got more to do with him suffering from a combination of a loss of confidence and struggling with a niggling injury.



Confidence, injury or Father Time?


Many supporters were raving about Smith Rowe after the Chelsea game, I thought he had a better game against Brighton and you could see he’s growing in confidence. He did show some of his inexperience though by back heeling the ball late on in the game, in an attempt to earn a throw in, which resulted in the home side gaining back possession in a dangerous area. Thankfully, nothing came of it. Aside from that, he’s looked promising.

It appears that some people may have taken exception to my comments about Runarsson in my previous article. I make no apologies for them, they were my thoughts based on what I’ve seen so far. It’s a shame that some people don’t take as much time to read the articles themselves as they do throwing their toys out of their prams over the headlines.

My blogging pseudonym has the word ‘Honest’ in for a reason. I don’t sugar coat my opinions, I articulate what I think based on my observations. A lot of supporters tell privately that they agree with me but are almost too frightened to say so publicly for fear of receiving a backlash from certain readers who can be extremely patronising at times and laughably try to diminish you as a fan for daring to be critical.

As bloggers, we know that when we put our opinions in the public domain, we are here to be shot down but personally, I enjoy it when Arsenal players prove me wrong in a positive way. Believe me, I would love Runarsson to do that. If he does, I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and acknowledge him for it. I also have reasoning behind everything that I say, which means I’m happy to sensibly discuss anything that I’ve written.

I was recently asked by a disgruntled reader to consider the affect my comments have on Runarsson before putting them into black and white. Were Runarsson ever to read them, I’d like to think he would want to make me eat my words and show a bit of character and determination. If they had the opposite effect then sadly, we would know that he doesn’t have what it takes mentally to succeed at the highest level.



Would love Runarsson to bounce back and silence his doubters, including me!


Anyway, enough digression, that’s two wins in a row, a clean sheet and an away win too. Enabling us to end the calendar year on a positive note. I will also mention the significant improvement Saka has made when playing on the right. Only a few months ago he looked a little lost when not in his customary position on the left but he now looks comfortable in either. Alan Hansen once famously said “you can’t win anything with kids”. We certainly would if we had eleven of them who had Saka’s ability and attitude….



Top talent and temperament

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