The Wink of Clarity: Black Cat’s luck runs out at Arsenal – Ohhhh Charlie Patino! [ARS 5-1 SUN]

The Wink of Clarity


Before we start I want you to try to not get annoyed at how many pictures of Charlie Patino I’m going to add to this blog. I’m excited. Got Patino fever. Pretending I’m 30 years younger than I am and I make no apologies 😉


There’s the first one. Pretty silky looking posture. Oversized football probably because he was playing with the 15 year olds. Terrible kit, Luton!

Anyway, here we go with some thoughts…

These games just before the transfer window are really quite handy. They give the coaching staff an interesting last look at those on the periphery. Although the opponents aren’t the level we normally face we get to see who is motivated. Focused. Sharp. I thought that the most interesting general thought was that the game was set up for individuals rather than a team. Very clever. There is no point in trying to make a group of guys who has never really played together as a unit, accountable for being fluid as a team. You tell them that the focus is leaning into their personal strength. This puts them at ease.

He gave Pepe the chance to shake off multiple markers with Cedric overlapping. Cedric got to demonstrate his best quality, crossing. Tavares was encouraged to play high and go past. ElNeny got to play as an anchor and was instructed to play with safety in mind which is his strength. Odegaard and ESR had the freedom to play as 8’s and float. Not something that a league one side normally has to deal with. Nketiah is a 6 yd box finisher and was given 3 big chances to gobble up. Although the 4-3-3 looks high risk until we get a specialist as a pivot with all the athletic qualities and the nous to know when to foul, I’m not sure that we have the players to execute, but that’s for another day. Let’s have a more recent picture of Charlie…


The clarity that came out of this appeared all over the field.

Leno was generally fine but has limits compared to Ramsdale. Cedric is a good overlapping full back. His timing is very good and his delivery is subtle and intentional. White and Tavares continued to show why they are of another level. Quite impressive that Tavares is so consistently dangerous and defensively reliable at his age. Holding looks absolutely ready to help in the rotation coming up and I can see him staying and becoming a leader. This will only improve his game as he has to self reflect if he is to advise others.

ElNeny is ElNeny so if you want an ElNeny you know that ElNeny is what you’ll get. They do everything safely. Normally backwards but an ElNeny will fool you if you only watch the first 1 minute and 43 seconds of his YouTube video as you will think he is an expert from long range and will net you 15 goals a season.

Odegaard is becoming more and more willing to make the difference as his confidence rises. ESR got more minutes back in his legs. Pepe is Pepe and like ElNeny, you have to accept a Pepe as he’s going to Pepe. A Pepe will be responsible for your team conceding. He will miscontrol the ball at the wrong time. He will take way too much time to attack his defender and attract a crowd unnecessarily. Then he will get 3 assists and score. So what do you do with a Pepe. Firstly, if you are going to keep him, you stop talking about 72M British Pounds. You erase that from your mind because it’s the reason why your doctor just prescribed you blood pressure medication. You pretend that he cost 43 British Pounds with a buy one, get one free voucher to use at Lille at your convenience. This way Pepe is a razzle dazzle, ‘gotta get his name on the back of my replica jersey’ mega success that we can sell for 28M and make a profit of over 27M! What do you think, Charlie?


Charlie likes my Pepe idea. Thought so.

Eddie was the player that stepped forward and offered us the most clarity. He had the direct comparison to Balogun on view and Balogun disappointed somewhat. Eddie showed us that not only does he deserve a start in the upcoming fixture congestion but he may well now have a shot at taking Auba’s minutes and rotate with Lacazette. It also might nudge the club to not only using him but getting him to re-sign as the clarity also sends Balogun on loan and removes two strikers from Eddie’s path.

Of the subs it was Xhaka that impressed. It is however important to note that he had no pressure on him which turns Granit from return to sender to expressive line breaking genius.

So now before we get to the man in every single picture I’m inserting, let’s take another look at him…


That’s a rather interesting picture that I imagine will be on the walls at Colney. Academy off, academy on because the Academy is everywhere 🙂

There wasn’t much to report apart from his goal but I did want to ask you to watch him off the ball. Many focus on his on ball talents which make the game look easier for him than most. If you watch him off the ball you see a young man preparing for the ball. A good time to remind that good players can get out of trouble but top class players rarely have to because they see the trouble earlier and escape it with a scan and better spacing and quicker ball movement. Maybe he was a cub scout. ‘Be prepared.’

You will also notice that his goal was off the back of a very intelligent run. As he enters the box he slows down so as to not arrive and have to be static. Fast, slow, fast. Impressive.

Finally, our coach is starting to make a noticeable difference at half time. As much as our team needs consistency to remain 4th, Arteta has to be consistently 8/10 too.


    • Back to Eddie. I wonder if Arteta will see him as second choice striker and 4th choice wide man too. Save himself from buying his second/third choice in January and give himself until the summer. His movement is superior to Laca and Auba. The bar is very low to be fair as they both use movement as an after thought. Auba is predictable and lives at the back post and Laca is tardy. Eddie’s second goal was brilliant movement. Wandered between CB’s then darted in front. The finish was that of an instinctual striker who believes he will score, as was the third goal. Like Pepe, Eddie is almost the perfect 20 minute sub. Personally, I’d be good with only buying one striker to replace Auba/Laca and letting Eddie back up a ‘DCL type.’  I’d play Eddie on Sunday too and Laca on Tuesday whilst Eddie is hot.
    • I wonder if overlapping will return permanently?  I’m a fan especially in the world of inverted wingers. It not only opens up lane 1 and 5 but it moves defenders away from the player on the ball.
    • Maybe the best use of Pepe is when you are chasing the game? When you care a little less about structure and have to live with chaos. He was really a huge difference maker. Now that he isn’t the focus of our attack he won’t be such a conversation for opposing coaches. Either way, looking at Arteta/Pepe’s body language after the game, it looks over as soon as someone gives us what the club will accept. Perhaps a loan might raise his value in a league where structure is less the fashion.
    • There hasn’t been a Charlie picture in a while….


  • I was going to talk about the improvement in quality in the final third but I think it’s best said than read. I’ll chat about it in the podcast below.
  • I was impressed at the second half game management. Against Leeds we were pushing in the second half and losing possession unnecessarily. At 4-1 yesterday we were far more secure in possession and only pushed when it was 80/20 not 40/60.


  • I know what we all need….


…. a picture of Charlie with ESR’s ugly brother on the carpet.

  • The 19th minute. There was a loose ball on the right wing. The CB came across and Pepe was 10 yards further away from the ball than him. I’ve never seen Pepe run that fast which begs the big fat question, why? Why is he holding back if he can move that fast at full speed. Why not run off the ball behind the defence at top speed? Why not run at full speed at defenders? I don’t get Pepe. I don’t think Arteta was ever going to keep a player around that believes in freedom in a system so meticulously prepared.
  • The single pivot pushes their central midfielders back. I like that. What I’m less sure about is that it only leaves 1 CM facing their goal and likely less sure about line breaking passes as he is alone and does not need to make errors. Perfect if you are ElNeny but not what leans into Partey and Xhaka’s strength.
  • I’m being picky here but did we need Partey AND Xhaka on the bench? Why not have one of them and a youngster. The likelihood was that the game was going to allow opportunity for more youngsters and I would’ve loved to see Hutchinson have 15 of Pepe’s minutes.


  • I was disappointed to not see AMN out there. I really hope he isn’t sold in January but I fear. His last game was his best game which seems to occasionally be the death sentence for Arsenal players.
  • Arteta has mentioned ‘behaviour’ when referring to Balogun and Pepe’s lack of minutes. He mentioned that Balogun has improved his which makes me think that he needed to and this is why he went back to the U-23’s. Pepe’s attitude will see him sold.
  • I hope you like my last Charlie picture…



The mood at Arsenal is changing. The process is coming to fruition. Merry Christmas and thank you for reading and listening to my blog and podcast (below)  @Mike_Mmcdonald



, , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to The Wink of Clarity: Black Cat’s luck runs out at Arsenal – Ohhhh Charlie Patino! [ARS 5-1 SUN]

  1. Norm December 22, 2021 at 12:21 pm #

    Another great report…..could have done with a photo of Charlie though!!

  2. Francis Redheart December 22, 2021 at 2:44 pm #

    Hello Mike,

    Great post as usual. Keep up the good work. Wish you a happy Christmas.
    Have a lovely celebration with your loved ones.

    I don’t want Eddie to be sold but unfortunately he has made up his mind to leave in search of regular football.

    What a night for Patino and I feel because we are not in Europe, chances would be few for our youngsters.

    Arteta has got the team playing very well and everything about Arsenal these days seem to be just positive vibes. Even Auba’s absence hasn’t hurt us in anyway.

  3. allezkev December 24, 2021 at 4:54 pm #

    Yeah, thanks for the post Mike and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    I was quite happy with the squad myself (sorry mate) although I get what you’re saying about Hutchinson etc but to me Arteta is focused on winning and that means young players have to be very special to get into this squad and maybe Omari hasn’t quite shown enough in training yet?

    Wenger gave copious debuts to a whole bunch of his young players but how many of them actually made the senior squad/team? And I’m talking about players who came up through our Academy and not the many 16 year old signings from other european academies.

    Saka, Smith, Balogun and Patino are special because we’ve brought them up through our schoolboys (Hale End) and they’re wedded to the club through that connection.

    Every time one of our young players comes through the system I just think that that’s one less player we have to look to sign and Patino is certainly one of those. It’ll be interesting to see what we have in Miguel Azeez when he returns to Arsenal next season? And Daniel Ballard, Harry Clarke, TJJ and Nik Moller…

    Enjoy your turkey Mike, I’ll certainly enjoy mine buddy.

Your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Designed by Batmandela

%d bloggers like this: