Ivan’s Final Banter While Nelson & Holding Are The Future

It would be the ultimate ‘banter’. Not in Keys or Green misogynistic way but genuine banter. Ivan hiring Arsène at Milan because they “haven’t shown enough improvement”. I don’t whether to laugh or clear a space in the pantheon of Arsenal greats for Gazidis. If they then bring Gervinho from Parma to the San Siro, that would just about top it all off.

Arsenal meanwhile continue to bear down on the Invincibles 49-game unbeaten run; just 35 to go to equal the record. Sporting this week is surely another notch on the counting stick?

A win puts us into the knockout phase, irrespective of results elsewhere. That brings some comfort to Unai Emery, knowing that the trip to Ukraine before the North London derby is a game where he can rest some of the first-choice players if needed. The squad which travels to Vorskla will be one he thinks can win the game but it isn’t imperative, especially with the pointless Qarabag.

In between, there is an interminable international break. All the whoopin’ and hollerin’ can be heard for miles. And with Wayne Rooney involved, the number six dance after England have beaten the USA!USA!USA! will surely be lively. For the elderly ladies of the parish, at the very least.

The FA brushed aside criticism of Rooney’s involvement, claiming it was a way for the nation to say goodbye to a “popular player”. It’s funny but my abiding memory of him in an England shirt isn’t the actions of a “popular player”. It’s of a boorish Premier League era player who can’t understand why everyone doesn’t worship at the altar of Wayne.

The Wayne Rooney Foundation is the charity of the night and fair play for doing that but please tell me this isn’t the reason England take on Trumpland?

Words of Wisdom and Hope

There is an Arsenal-related point to this. While the involvement of DC United’s talisman will make selling the US rights to the match much easier, it’s a game where Southgate surely needs to be looking to the future?

He did so to some extent in bringing on Jadon Sancho against Croatia and Spain but there are other youngsters worthy of inclusion on ‘grab a granny’ night. Reiss Nelson is one, for example.

It’s a bit bandwagonesque, I know, but with five goals this season in the Bundesliga already he is surely worth looking at in the game? To put it into context, Robert Lewandowski has scored five goals this season as well.

Julian Nagelsmann is a similar manager to Unai Emery in many respects. Both demand more from players, publicly. That was something Arsène rarely did and certainly nowhere near as brutally as the German. Speaking after the recent win over Leverkusen in which Nelson scored, the soon-to-be Leipzig coach observed: “I am not entirely happy with his performance.”

Surprisingly for a footballer, his head is screwed on. Nelson lives in Heidelberg with his mum and siblings. I seem to recall reading somewhere his family has a Germanic heritage, which may make things easier. Or be total codswallop if I’ve confused him with someone else.

Anyway, the gist of it is that his performances for England Under-21s warrant a closer look for Southgate, as do those of Rob Holding. Harry Maguire is reportedly out of the England’s games and with a dearth of native defenders who are comfortable on the ball, surely Holding played himself into contention?

Maybe, and I’m just floating this for the tin hat brigade. Is there a conspiracy against Arsenal at the FA and Southgate isn’t picking Holding because of it?

Mellow Doubt

Of course there isn’t. Holding though is growing in confidence and not shying away from responsibility. When Xhaka played left-back, Holding was not shy in covering. When he partners Mustafi, he’s covering both central defensive roles…

The timing of the rise of the next generation of English players at the club is coincidental. Rather like Bertie Mee benefited from Billy Wright’s youth signings, Unai Emery is doing the same with Arsène’s. Like Mee – and his coaches – the continued development reaps rewards but having the raw materials in the first place is key.

It’s not about a British core, an English core; it’s about the players themselves. Which is a bit of a curious given I’ve just advocated their call-ups to the England squad. The difference is that this isn’t a marketing ploy.

’til Tomorrow.

34 thoughts on “Ivan’s Final Banter While Nelson & Holding Are The Future

  1. Like the admiring forecast about Holding. It wasn’t that long ago that his demise was certain. It just shows that some players can be late-ish developers. 😉

  2. Good stuff Yogi and its great to see these youngsters developing under some proper coaching and direction.

    Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Maitland-Niles, Holding are all players that have taken the next step in their development this season.

  3. I think you’ll find Nelson is clearly descended from Haratio and his Norfolk twang gives it away. Maybe some of the webbed feet brigade on here from the Norfolk area can confirm?

    Anyway all this speculation of his heritage is h-armless.

  4. If Gazidis hires Wenger that will confirm they were more interested in protecting their own positions than advancing Arsenal’s.

    The more time passes the more it appears Kroenke sacked Wenger and Gazidis had nothing to do with it. On the contrary he may have been protecting Wenger.

    Carry On Wenger.

  5. C

    He’s not a central defender you have in your side if you’re challenging for the title. He doesn’t even get in the German squad which I think says it all given their woes.

    To my mind, he’s error-prone and his judgement is lacking. Let’s be honest, the penalty at Palace is the kind of rash challenge we’ve come to expect. Now, I agree he played well against Liverpool but let’s be honest, that was the exception rather than the rule. And we must find a player with consistency in them. If he was a rookie, I’d cut him slack but he’s made 218 club appearances.

    He should be leading by example. And by example, I mean do as I do, not don’t do as I do, do the opposite. In my view, he will not cut it as a centre-back in a title-challenging side.

  6. nicky,

    Especially when they have a coach who develops players and inspires confidence. Perhaps the most damning indictment of Wenger.

  7. Looks like my post got gobbled up, damn. Thanks for the write up, hello all. C continues to defend Mustafi… That guy inspires zero confidence in his teammates and is probably squad rotation defender at best. He will NOT lead anyone to a title. He had a decent match against pool i’ll say it straight up. However he hits the deck about once a match and is always worth a reckless challenge. Just like Kos, that is why YW coined the chuckle brothers.

    The chuckle brothers, f***ng up arsenal cup finals since 2010. Seriously C, after watching our cup final last year against Man city, how could you ever call this guy world class. World class doesnt forget the most basic rule of defending, stay goal side of your man. Can any of you imaging one of the real quality CBs getting roasted by Aguero like that? Nope. They would knock that little mother fungus right on his ass and laugh at him as our solid defense kept us in the match instead of caving in and losing 3 nil.

  8. Sorry C – you didnt call him world class, you called him quality. Is that website you linked run by our old friend George? Seems very familiar, people going great lengths to defend mediocre players (late wenger era anyone). What level of quality is he? Not high enough for me, no thanks. He’s had his time to show change or growth, looks like the same defender to me since he showed up here a few years back. He is backup level quality on a title challenging team at best.

  9. YW,

    Lets be honest, judging based on the current German team is madness. I mean on current form ter Stegen should be #1 and Leno wasn’t taken to the world cup nor was Sane and Mueller is still an integral part.

    Your talking error prone but people have banged on about Kos being world class and he is one that has never gotten that out of his system. I didn’t, nor did the article say that he was but there is a player in there but, he must be coached up and more consistent.

    I keep hearing about how Sokaritis and Holding cover for him but the same could be said for Mustafi covering for them. Right, lets be fair to Mustafi, under Arsene, we all know defense wasn’t even in the top 100 things Arsene cared about and our defenders suffered but under Emery he has looked a different player. Consistency will be the thing for him and I fancy he will be a better defender at the end of the season than he is now.

  10. thrillbo,

    Honestly, fuck George!

    On to the rest….if we are judging defenders under Arsene especially in the past couple of years then thats harsh. People bang on about Kos but did he ever truly get that error prone situation resolved, nope but its gets overlooked. Mustafi is a good defender and with that, he is being coached up as is rhe whole of our defense. Its interesting that people say he is good enough but yet, even when Sokaritis was fit, Mustafi continued to get selected so clearly Emery sees something or no? As far as late Arsene signings, and trust, I’m not defending him or his late era as I thought he was past it, but it wasn’t about the signings but Arsene and his lack of tactical knowhow, etc. that was part of our decline.

  11. I have never rated Kos, ask YW, I spent a whole game at the Ems moaning about him a couple of years back. However, he is better than Mustafi. Mostly.

    Can’t make any sense out of the Wenger story. Just weird.

  12. Evening chaps. Great post as always YW.

    We are stuck with what we have until January or more likely the summer. Some of the team are playing for their Arsenal future. Hopefully Unai can instill some tactical nous in the team (the signs are promising).

    Unfortunately you cannot legislate for brain farts like that ‘challenge’ for the first Palace pen.

  13. consolsbob,

    Interesting, didn’t know that. I do think under Emery Mustafi can develop and form quite a good partnership with Holding at CB.

    I mean FFS, I love brasilian futbol but lets not forget Chelsea won the PL with David Luiz

  14. Still shaken from the weekend.
    Liverpool in the Europa aswell? Hopefully PSV will reuse to play in the mud and claim the game tonite. Spuds out on their mossy arses.

  15. C – I can agree with all that good sir. I actually have wondered about Sokratis, maybe he is not 100%? Or maybe Holding is playing because we are on a hot streak and him and Mustafi have been decent?. I hope Mustafi can cure himself of the koscielny yips and push on to be the dependable CB we need.

  16. It’s very strange. The pudits told me earlier that Sp*rs form at Wembley has been good, despite expectations. Yet they have 1 point. Have I missed something?

  17. consolsbob:
    It’s very strange. The pudits told me earlier that Sp*rs form at Wembley has been good, despite expectations. Yet they have 1 point. Have I missed something?

    Looking like they have 3 tonight bobster

  18. thrillbo,

    Agreed, for all the talk its been Mustafi and Holding. Nothing against Sokaritis but I always felt he was signed to replace Kos as the elder statesman and leader of the CB’s to help groom Mustafi, Holding and Mavrapano while featuring. Hopefully between Emery and Sokaritis, they can help Mustafi and Holding find the consistenncy that we need from them.

  19. What a brilliant video on Arsenal.com player . Sounds from Saturdays game.
    Great atmosphere. Nice soundtrack to play instead of Sky / bt bullshit punditry.

  20. Another tough fixture clash this week. For Freddie and his boys in particular.
    Hammered last time, down to 10 tho, and lost at weekend, game management apparently. Playing FG rovers tonite.
    But then Sporting on Thursday, a good few of the U23s would hope to be included for that aswell.
    Tough for the coaches to balance experience, aspiration, investment and momentum .
    Good luck with that gents

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