Gabi J has been surgery-ied for his knee. The prognosis is 8-12 weeks. The injury isn’t going to break his speed or ability to come back at a high level. Big Mo had a similar injury and he was back in 8 weeks. Best case, he’ll be back for the Manchester City game (7 missed EPL games). No reason to think that target is too aggressive: he’s fit, he’s young, and the footballing gods are Arsenal fans.
So what solutions do we have?
There’s talk about bringing Folarin Balogun back from loan, do-able, but… is it the best thing for his career if he’ll be going back to #3 after 7 games? I’m not so sure.
There’s talk of a new striker, but again, that is only amongst panic-stricken fans who seem to forget that injuries are part of the experience at a football club. Buying can’t be the answer every time. We can’t keep living in the world of ‘WE’LL NEVER HAVE A BETTER CHANCE.’ I’ve heard that in the past 3 seasons. Each season, that sort of commentary looks more and more ridiculous.
Here are the facts: The last 4 Premier League winning teams have had an average age of 28 or older.
Arsenal’s average age is slightly lower than 24.
That means there are 4 more years worth of experience to get into the system before we should start worrying about winning the league title.
It might feel painful to be honest with yourself, but Arsenal are not supposed to be winning the title this season, and it has always been highly unlikely. The target is getting into the top 4.
The team is on a sharp learning curve right now, every major disappointment builds the muscles, one of the muscles we need to build is leaning into new ideas when a current one has a problem.
Gabriel Jesus has dropped out of the team. Eddie has to step up. There couldn’t be a better moment in the season for this to happen because Arteta has Eddie at a training camp for the next 20 days. Now everything can be focused around how the starting 11 gets the best out of our main striker now.
So what does Eddie have?
He’s the most natural finisher at the club without question, he hits the target more often than not, and he’s a great poacher.
He’s faster than Gabi J over 100m, so beating defenders by hanging off the last man is more of an options
What does Eddie lack?
He doesn’t occupy defenders in the same way Gabi J does, he’s not a constant problem for a whole game, you don’t always feel him.
He doesn’t press with the same tenacity for the whole game. He does it, no doubt. But it doesn’t always feel as snappy.
Those are coachable elements and I don’t think it’s wild to say that we’ve seen a bit of that from him already this season. I thought the biggest advancement in Eddie’s game last season was his ability to drop deep and do Lacazette things (with the ability to join the attack)… that was new… he was clearly paying attention to the Frenchman. Why wouldn’t he be watching Gabi J looking to replicate some of the great things he does?
This is also a good time to gauge the intelligence of the team and the tactical nous of MIkel Arteta. Because there’s time to coach and 3 games for Eddie to warm-up in, we can go into the new season without the need for 3 games of ‘he’s just getting started.’ The team won’t need to relearn how to play with Eddie because they’ll know.
Everything will be focused around his strengths… and guess what… I think he’ll surprise you.
Eddie is a player that needs rhythm, he has to feel out his surroundings, and he has to get proper minutes to really thrive. He did it in a short space last season; now it’s time to do it again, and prove the doubters wrong.
I’m genuinely excited to see what the entire club can do to make sure we don’t have a massive fall without our £45m powerhouse forward.
There’s some work to be done in January, my gut says it’s going to be a winger, and if our transfer strategy is anything to go buy my guess is it’ll be Mudryk we chase down. He’s the exceptional talent on the market, he has pace for days, and he’s talking WAY too much for this not to happen. Also note that he’s putting up his transfer market value on Instagram. My guess is Shaktar are asking too much and he wants them to lower their price target. This sort of behavior really works in our favor.
Then the question becomes: Do we go hard for a #6 this window? Danilo presents a future option that could be nice, but we’ve just seen Declan Rice throw his summer transfer request in during an England press conference. He could be our blowout summer and I really wouldn’t be upset about that. He’s 23 years old, has mountains of Premier League experience, and he’d be perfect to replace Thomas Partey eventually. Both options have their advantages, but one has more certainty for what it’ll do for our squad levels, but that would have to wait until June.
I think it’s a given at this point that we’ll be looking at Tielemans and I can’t imagine that Evan Ndicka over at Frankfurt isn’t on the radar as look to bolster the centre-back position.
These ideas mean NOTHING if we don’t secure Champions League football this season… but my word, if we do the business in H2 of the season, we’ll have a squad ready to challenge for the league… and… say it quietly… we’ll be competing to win the Champions League.
You remember last season when people were calling this sort of blog post carry-on ‘toxic positivity’… WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Ok, short one today. Get on the Eddie hype-train, because he’s going to be excellent.