Dinos Mavropanos gets run-out as U23s batter Man City

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dinos mavropanos arsenal

As Arsenal fans continue to worry about the quality of our defence, the news that Dinos Mavropanos competed 71 minutes of the U23s 5-1 win over Man City this evening will be welcome.

Goals from Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Robbie Burton and Xavier Amaechi gave Freddie Ljungberg’s side a convincing win, and the return of the centre-half was a little bit of icing on the cake.

The Greek defender has been out action since the summer, picking up a groin injury in pre-season which was initially supposed to see him return in October. That date kept getting pushed back and having come back to first team training in the last few weeks, the next step was some competitive action.

A return to first team action is probably still a bit down the road, not least because of the calibre of opposition we face in the next few weeks, with crucial games against Chelsea and Man City, as well as Cardiff City whose dinosaur manager hates the rest of the world.

There’s also the fact that Mavropanos has only ever played three games of top flight football, two of which were meaningless end of season fixtures, and the other saw him sent off – so expecting him to come in and be the answer to our defensive issues is a bit much.

Still, if he can make a step up and push some of the others for a place, then that’s something we can all get behind.

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Devlin
Devlin

Three games of top flight football “in England”, I think you meant to say.

Unlike most of our young players, he has been playing week in, week out be for he joined us. Maybe the quality of opposition might be an issue, but he also has players of greater quality at Arsenal alongside him.

Ivan Drago
Ivan Drago

Hadn’t he only played about 20 matches in the Greek league before joining?

Mc1892
Mc1892

Given our continued use of Guendouzi I think we can safely say that’s not necessarily an issue either way!

Gooooooonnnnaaaaaaaa
Gooooooonnnnaaaaaaaa

True. But he’s played 3 top flight appearances in one of the major competitive leagues. However, the quality of the Greek first division can’t be any less competitive than the French second division, and yet Guendouzi has transioned into our first team relatively smoothly.

I’m realistic about my expectations of Mavrapanos but I’m optimistic about his potential in the long term and feel he has it in him to push for a starting place this season.

Goonerink

This is my point on young Rob, he was relegation troubled, championship bolton’s player of the season when we grabbed him.
It only seems to be the top end of top flight that DOESN’T blood youth…

Russ
Russ

Aww, a little bit of good news! Hoorah!

Cacho
Cacho

It’s a little bit, how you say, like a new signing.

Santori
Santori

Good to see hi groin back in the right sort of action.

That said these sort of performances can be misleading particularly to many of the more impressionable fans who want to see certain things.

I think there’s too much hysteria and predetermined views on certain players. We need to take stock wisely and bear in mind we cannot buy and sell willy nilly.

Therefore realistically we have to deal with imperfections in certain places but play up our strengths whilst we iron out those imperfections over the course of the season.

I now see Inane criticism of Unai who has lets remember only been in the job for half a season.

Arsenal fans are some of the worse around for levity.

Lets take stock :

1) Leno – He’s an OK keeper. Decent enough to develop and potentially hold long for the future. He’s done reasonably well, some dodgy moments but again he’s just in his first season and the backline has been less than assuring at times as well. (Keep)

2) Cech – I don’t think we have to rush to conclusion that his days are over at the club. At 36+, he has no need to go out to impress further to make a stake as his Nation’s number 1. And for our own selfish reasons, a great back up to keep should Leno falter. (Keep)

3) Bellerin – Our problem with our backline is as much a struggle to keep a regular backline. Bellerin is still leaned on as the player to give threat and width to our right side which has been a problem since Wenger’s tenure two odd seasons ago (even with Alexis). We have to be careful certain clubs may not come in to pry him away if we should not make top 4 again.
(Keep)

4) AMN – I said it last season and through the summer we should be looking at playing him right back or RWB since he impressed last season on the left. Right is his natural side. He’s a good player to develop and he needs a regular berth. That said, I find him too casual in recent games and he should be reminded he is playing for his future (Keep)

5) Lichsteiner – This was a band aid solution (again) at best by the Transfer team. We did nothing to resolve our Cback issues and as mentioned Rback had internal solutions already. Chambers is another one inexplicably loaned out when he could have had good function for us on right side of a back3. Lichsteiner is way past sell by date (Sell)

6) Mustafi – Some people like to blame him for every little mistake he makes. He wasn’t there for Soton, BHA or Liverpool. He is an imperfect player yes but many prefer to amplify his ills and disregard the good parts of his play. He provides good play going forward and some of the mistakes he makes are conveniently ignored when made by others. BUT the main issue I have is we simply don’t have that much better options at the moment. Even if we bring in a new Cback, Mustafi is still one of the stronger Cbacks to keep for numbers particularly if we play back 3 because midfield is still porous. I would be cautious to sell him now when we have far poorer assets to rid of. (Keep)

7) Sokratis – He has been decent for us but he has also had dodgy moments that could have cost us. Recent games, his Greco-Roman wrestling in and near the box could and eventually did cost us. Yet some people who like to fault Mustafi celebrate it as putting in the fight. He cost us free kicks in dangerous areas and they will have him as taking one for the team yet when Mustafi gets a yellow in a less dangerous area, they have a moan. In truth Sokratis is one of our better performing players at the moment but we neglected to fully find the best solution last summer when there were other Cback options around. Again our issue at Cback is as much a question of getting a regular backline. When we had Mustafi-Sokratis-Holding, we had precarious moments but we kept 19 games unbeaten. (Keep)

8) Holding – He has been good this season but I won’t exaggerate that he has been the best Cback. He has also made mistakes. BUT he is encouraging and definitely when he recovers will be our future Cback. Excellent composure and reading and still time to develop further. (Keep)

9) Koscielny – In last season with us. Coming back into reasonable match sharpness but clearly not quite the force he was. Still a good option to have to cover left side for rest of the season with Holding out. Whether we can risk him injury free is another thing but I suppose Monreal is also cover there particularly at Left side of back 3. I don’t think Koscielny at this point is any stronger than Mustafi but maybe he will work back into his better form for us till end of season is the hope (Let go)

10) Kolasinac – He has some deficiencies defending but going forward, he has been a colossus. Quick feet and best at LWB with some cover to give him license to destroy things on his raiding runs from the flank. He can get better defensively in a flat back 4. (Keep)

11) Monreal – I don’t think he is as good as some imagine him to be. BUT he will give cover at Lback, Left side of back 3 until we find solution to compete with Kolasinac on left side. Likely he will go on for one more season but like Koscielny, wear and tear issues will start to show and he isn’t the quickest (Keep 1 more season)

12) Granit – Has improved under Emery but recent pull back into the defense then pairing him without Torreira has set him back a bit again. Needs to be in the midfield with a consistent partner and one that covers his deficiencies. Otherwise he has been provider of some very good balls from deep giving us quick impetus further forward (Keep)

13) Torreira – He seems to have hit the wall perhaps physically. Some people will shy away from mentioning the unpopular but he was poor against Soton, BHA and Liverpool conspiring to give the ball away on 4 occasions at least 3 of which led directly to goals. That said, he needs to play with Granit in the midfield with some consistency. (Keep)

14) Guendouzi – As much as Cbacks and defense have been fragile, midfield has also gone back to poor habits not screening or following runners. Guendouzi last match guilty at times.
He’s energetic and there’s much to admire about his play but it would be uncharitable to say the least to fully fault him for some mistakes bc he is a young player still learning his craft. Which is why many I’m sure won’t disagree we can do with another option for the two deep lying positions. (Keep)

15) Elneny – He’s a limited player who provides energetic effort. BUt we need better capabilities now if we need to punch through to top four. (Sell)

16) Ramsey – Clearly talented and puts in effort for us, I’m not sure why the transfer team cannot seem to come back in to renegotiate especially with Juve rumoured to be only offering 140K per week. At 27yrs, he has more up side than Mhki or Ozil and with Brexit issues, we may find it more than difficult to replace with a like player of similar capability level with the experience he has (Consider Keeping)

17) Ozil – Of course manufactured or otherwise, speculation persist with his no show. Clearly a talented player but regularity in performance is the issue. Considering his wage package, likely hard to move on but we should have also renegotiated on Ramsey when we did Ozil last January in truth. I’m not sure he will have suitors for him willing to pay the wages thereby we may as well try and get the best out of him (Keep)

18) Mhkitaryan – Last January, we needed a Rwing player and we got this bloke. Mslintat laid us prey to United/Raiolla. In truth we have 3 similar type players and Mhki is the weakest of the 3 (Ramsey and Ozil the other 2). nor does he have the pace or guile to pass his man on the wing. He was a hedge against Ozil leaving at best but we don’t need him. (Sell)

19) Iwobi – Still a lot of people like to criticise him and he’s barely 23yrs. He is one of our more effective players out there willing and able to take players on, engage them and pull them out of position. That the responsibility lies solely with him is in itself a problem. Sure he will miss some and misplace some (much like Alexis) but he looks after the ball well (Better than Auba) and creates things for us. One of our better players (Keep)

20) Auba – He’s joint top scorer but he needs to be far more lethal yet in front of goal. Conspires to miss far too many chances and he does not look after the ball well or attempt to compete for high balls played in from the back. When you see what RVP did fashioning out his own opportunities, you get a better perspective of what world class should be (Keep)

21) Lacazette – He may not match Auba for goals but he contributes to competitiveness up top and works hard for us. Needs to also regain some sharpness but clearly much improved this season with hold up play, distribution then when he first came in and was under the shadow of the very effective Giroud. BOTH Auba and Laca are hitting 30yrs so we will have to rejuvenate the frontline sooner than later. (Keep)

22) Nelson – Why is he out on loan? Its great for his development no doubt but detrimental to the team as we need someone like him right side to balance out Iwobi on the left. Again likely a disconnect between the transfer bosses and the gaffer that must now be addressed in favour of Emery and his strategic vision/tactical needs of the current squad.

Discounting youth/Academy hopefuls like Nketiah, Willock, Saka who we should all continue to develop, Mavropanos for me is still relatively young and unproven and could also benefit from a strong loan much like Bielik.

So we really have only 21 first line options which suggest at least room for 1 or 2 more operators.

Oh I forgot Jenkinson. (SELL). Problem is won’t fetch a value bc no one rates him.

Clearly if we can bring in at least one player for either :

Rwing, central mid (with ability higher up the pitch) or Cback.

I don’t see a Cback bc we have options imperfect as they are and Emery may choose to wait for better choice in the summer.

But the players linked to us currently at Rwing and CM have reason to leave. We should strike the iron whilst its hot rather than wait again like last January and invite a competing or better resource club to come and raise price/swoop in for them.

The other thing to consider of course is should we be out of top 4 again in the summer, we won’t get access to the top top talents unless we are willing to pay over premium.

High gooner
High gooner

i only read your descriptions of Koscielny and Sokratis because i just KNEW you would compare them to Mustafi.. hey, we know you love mustafi, but switch up your posts a little bit.. most people dont like mustafi because he is one of the worse defenders in our squad today, if you ranked them.. that is just a common opinion of the gooners.. because.. thats what we weekly see in the games.. yes our other defenders arent world class, but they are better. switch it up now, pleeease

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

I honestly think Mustafi is the worst defender since the stadium move

Mesut O'Neill
Mesut O'Neill

Worse than Squillaci? Sylvestre? Surely not

db10s
db10s

Maybe. The way I see it is that Mustafi has all the right abilities and the Squillaci and Sylestre were old and physically declining.

Mustafi frustrates me because he’s already 90% a good defender but he can’t seem to iron out his need to go to ground and/or over commit.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

I scanned it for his usual Elneny attack.
He was surprisingly reserved today.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

As soon as I reached “conspiring to give the ball away on 4 occasions at least 3 of which led directly to goals,” I knew right away it was Santori’s post 😂
Nonetheless, good analysis, I agree with much of, but not all, of your analysis.

A Different George
A Different George

I read it all the way through for once. Mostly agree (including about Mustafi; I am just amazed how he is blamed for things that are completely ignored when someone like Holding does it–calm down, I like Holding). I think he over rates Iwobi (“Sure he will miss some and misplace some (much like Alexis)”)–no, not like Alexis, who could be maddening but also kept winning matches for us.

Truthsayer
Truthsayer

How much football do you watch, Santori, outside of AFC games. Auba misses too many chances, last I heard he had one of the best shots to goals ratio, one of the best minutes to goals ratio, and one of highest percentages for them being on target. He has done this for a decade. Not sure what games or players you’re watching buddy. People/fans, just come up with their own notions of how it’s supposed to be done. Different type of player to RVP – Auba’s running, his finishing, linkup play, and his know how to be in the right place, is what makes him one of the best poachers around, a predator. You should get out more buddy, take a look every once in a while.

Alex James legend
Alex James legend

Willy nilly indeed.

Marble Balls
Marble Balls

You seem to have forgotten about ESR, whose emergence I suspect to be a key factor behind the barmy Rambo situation.

scott rice
scott rice

I agree with most of the above. I also feel Mustafi deficiencies are exaggerated. He is far from perfect but he is not as bad as many of these posts suggest. One of his good points (that is rarely praised) is that he attempts forward passes more than Sokratis and Koscielny. They are much more likely to stick to safe sideways passes. Mustafi occasionally tries a long forward pass. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t but surely that is better than pass after pass going sideways or backwards.

A Different George
A Different George

I agree, but a fit Koscielny was always looking to advance the ball. His current conservative play is a result of his not being match-fit; at least I hope so–that it is not under instruction.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

The issue with Mustafi is that when he makes a mistake, it’s so shocking, one that you would never expect a senior CB to commit. That’s why his mistakes really stand out, and that’s why I think he deserves criticism.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

The issue with Mustafi is that he’s symptomatic of being a quintessential Wenger CB of the past decade; a defender who was seemingly bought more on his attacking attributes than his defensive quality.

Thesoulofpdavis
Thesoulofpdavis

Can’t believe the time ive lost in my life reading tgat nonsense. We are all entitled to an opinion but bloody hell man, get off the fence and have an actual opinion.

If we were to carry on managing the squad in the manner you suggest we will never get any better. There are many in this current squad who are at risk of being axed. Putting “(keep)” next to their names ain’t gonna save them.

Christopher Wreh
Christopher Wreh

Not even going to bother reading that

Man Manny
Man Manny

Well, Cech has just announced his decision to retire at the end of the season.

Tony Adams Nose
Tony Adams Nose

This is a ballsy post because it is an opinion and subjective, so well done for having a go.
I’m okay with most of it except Mutafi has to go along with Kozzy who I’m sure will join TH in Monaco in the summer.
We need a new left back, Kolasinac should go and Nacho, as you said, has one more year as a back up.
What I’m excited about is the new young guns. Nelson on the right wing ahead of Bellerin is going to cause teams all sorts of problems.
Willock is going to give Iwobi a run for his money next season and ESM is a knock out and I agree, probably the reason why Emery has no plans to keep Ramsey.
Ozil is a ridiculous situation and has to be sorted one way or another very soon and we need a new CB to support Soc, Mav and Rob.
If we are going to spend a shit load it should be on the left, full back and winger.
The young guns coming through with Freddie at the helm is very exciting and if they can put 4 past Citeh’s wealth of recruits, we are on the right track.

chuffy
chuffy

Liked the look of Xavier Amaechi. Plus Willock is too good for this level now. I’d give him a go ahead of Guendouzi, who is being overplayed.

Richard Krivonozka
Richard Krivonozka

Maybe he should go out on loan so he’s good for next season?

Jimmy
Jimmy

Warnock likes a moan but doesn’t seem to hate the rest of the World any more than the next man, to be fair, so a bit of an odd comment…

Cygans Parting
Cygans Parting

Mavropanos Mavropanos, Mavropanos, Mavropanos Mavropanos, Mavropanos, Mavropanos Mavropanos O O O Mavropanos, come and rock me Mavropanos!!! ( All to the tune of “rock me Amadeus” by Falco. The 80s Euro pop king not the shit footballer???……..sorry, I’ll get my coat.

On a more serious note. It’s fantastic to see Xavier Amaechi back playing so well after lengthy injury. I said after watching the Sp**s under 23 match earlier in the season that we could have a very special player on our hands if he continues to develop at his current rate. He seems to glide across the pitch in these age group games. He has the potential to be the best of our current crop of young attacking wide players.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

He can’t be worse than Mustafi.

scott rice
scott rice

Please see my reply to Santori (above). Mustafi is not great but he is not as bad as his reputation. In addition (as stated above) he tries to get the ball forward. Sometimes I feel the other defenders would be happy spending the whole game passing back to the goalkeeper. Drives me nuts!

Rich
Rich

He seems to have all necessary physical attributes to do well, however I’m not sure Arsenal is the best place for young players to grow

A Different George
A Different George

Don’t think he would be eligible after Brexit anyway, Rich.

allezkev
allezkev

So many positives from this game, the result of course but the performances of Mavropanos, Saka, Burton, Willock and Amaechi, with the next step for these lads being a huge one. Our crop of great youngsters keeps me positive during these times of mixed results from the seniors.

Thesoulofpdavis
Thesoulofpdavis

And ffs guys. The lack of quality in our back line is not bloody debatable. There is no nuance here. We had the very best defence this country has ever seen in the 90’s. Tony Adams, hungover, wearing bin liners under his kit to sweat out the alcohol was better than this collective defensive shower of shit.

I don’t want to come across a complete fool but seriously even Kos at his best wouldn’t have made the Invincibles nor would he have made the team any time between 1989-2006. This is the problem. We have had a steady downgrade as time goes by.

Alex
Alex

Anyway better than Özil to warm the bench against Chelsea.

karl
karl

He has a very low bar to reach at Arsenal in defence, so I still have hopes that Mavropanos will contribute something. Playing alongside Sokratis should make him settle.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

I often wonder if Sven recruited Sokratis with Dinos in mind.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Listen blogs, you’re right to temper expectations, but hope springs eternal. I’d rather hope in the promise of Dinos, than revel in the reality of Mustafi and his limitations.

I’m fully supporting Emery, and everyone speaks of his conservatism (which, imo is realistic considering his MO coming in was to fix our defence…which hasn’t worked lol), but I really wish in these times of desperation, he looks to youth.

We’ve lacked ball-barriers and direct dribblers all season. If we won’t find a solution from the market then F it, give a chance to Saka on the LW and put maybe Iwobi as a CM in a 3-man midfield with Xhaka and Torreira.

Got nothing to lose at this point.

Chilli
Chilli

Ball Barriers are certainly needed and certainly better than our human defence.

Man Manny
Man Manny

The fact that he was red carded in one of his three matches keeps popping up every time an analysis of Mavropanos is made here as if that has any bearing with his readiness to play for the first team.
I find that puzzling and a meaningless statistic. You see veterans red carded virtually every week for goodness sake!

Absolut
Absolut

I think he showed plenty of grunt against Utd last season. A definite contender when fit. Good luck to him.

A Different George
A Different George

Are Man City under 23’s any good? Not sure you need to bring many young players through when, in the last Prem match, your bench (your bench!) included Aguero, De Bruyne, and Mahrez.