Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Dinos Mavropanos gets run-out as U23s batter Man City

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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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

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


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


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.


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…


Aww, a little bit of good news! Hoorah!


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


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… Read more »

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

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

Mesut O'Neill

Worse than Squillaci? Sylvestre? Surely not


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

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

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

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.


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… Read more »

Alex James legend

Willy nilly indeed.

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

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

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

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

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.


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

Not even going to bother reading that

Man Manny

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

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… Read more »


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

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


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…


Why would Warnock hate the world because he wants to leave membership of a foreign bureaucracy that he believes we’ll be better off out of? 17.4 million ppl agree with him, the EU certainly isn’t Europe, it’s an illegitimate construct that nobody in Europe has ever voted for, in fact every time they’ve been asked, they’ve voted against it, then they’ve either been completely ignored, or asked to keep voting until the establishment get the answer they’re looking for. The ppl are sovereign, we borrow that sovereignty to parliament every general election, then they give it back to us, unfortunately… Read more »


I think that remark was aimed at the Japanese PM, who said that the rest of the world was wanting May’s deal to pass the commons.
Incidentally, Japan paid exactly nothing for their FTA with the EU, they also didn’t have to concede any of their sovereignty or pay £39 billion to run a £80-90 billion deficit of goods alone.
So in this instance I agree with Warnock, to hell with the rest of the world, they should stay out of our democracy and stop trying to tell us what’s best for us

Crash Fistfight

Well, it’s an opinion that the majority of the people who voted at the time shared, at least.

Whether or not the other half of the country who didn’t/weren’t eligible to vote did, is unclear.

A Different George

David Squires cartoon in The Guardian:

“He regaled the media with his razor-sharp political analysis, that in no way exemplified all the worst conversations you’ve had with relatives who’ve half-remembered stories they’ve skim-read in The Daily Express.”

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… Read more »

Dobby the house elf

He can’t be worse than Mustafi.

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!


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

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


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.


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… Read more »


Anyway better than Özil to warm the bench against Chelsea.


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

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

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… Read more »


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

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!


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

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.

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