Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Arteta impressed by Tierney/Martinelli combo

One of the standout features of this evening’s 3-1 win over Chelsea was the way Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Martinelli combined on the left hand side.

The two seem complementary in terms of how they want to play, and it was something Mikel Arteta noted in his post-match press conference.

“I think both of them were really good, really good understanding, a lot of energy, really good communication and courage as well,” he said.

“They were really positive every time we were attacking, with the runs, playing forward, they were both involved in a lot of good attacking actions so I am really pleased with them.”

At 19 and 22, they certainly represent the future for this club, and while this period of the season demands some rotation, the more they’re involved the better they’ll be (and we’ll be).

With Bukayo Saka putting in a man of the match performance, scoring Arsenals third goal, the boss was pleased with the impact of his young players.

“I think today was a really good mixture today of senior players, experienced players, and young talent that we have,” he said.

“They have been showing us in the last few weeks that they are capable of starting the games and I had no doubt they would respond today and I think they were really, really good.”

Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea – player ratings

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Peter Story Teller

Strange that! Play the hungry youngsters and we beat Chelsea but play the same old dross and we can’t beat Burnley.
What happens next?


Anyone know what’s happened to Nelson? I felt like he was just starting to hit a bit of form and then boom, vanished. I’d prefer him as another attacking option over Willian


I recall Reiss Nelson playing down the left with Tierney when the Scotsman had first joined us and they also linked up really well.

I hope that there isn’t a disciplinary reason why Nelson has missed out recently because he has such a lot of talent?


Head injury. He’ll be back soon.


Think he is going out on loan in jan.


How come he’s never included in any of the injury updates?


Hope we nurture this combo better than Tierney/Saka/Auba combo. Last season, they seemed deadly, this season …


Add in Partey, Auba and Gabriel and we are looking far stronger, though that isn’t hard when comparing with recent results.

Our next 4 matches against 4 bottom half teams, so hopefully we can continue the turnaround.


I’m unsure about Auba. Not sure he can do what Martinelli did from the left, nor what Laca did up front. Yes, I want gim in the team when he’s fit but not sure where he’d fit in.


It’s bizarre isn’t it? Undoubtedly our best player before this season, but he’s not our best left winger and maybe not our best lone CF either.

Heavenly Chapecoense

You are drunk with this victory. Please get sober to remember what Auba does both from the left and the center.


Not at all surprised that some would miss my point entirely, but here we go. Of course Aubameyang is a fantastic goal scorer, but there’s far more to playing on the wing than scoring goals, and that’s also true to a lesser extent as a lone CF. If you’ve carefully watched Aubameyang’s performances this season, you’d already be aware of this. The very best wingers don’t just score goals, they’re also elite dribblers and creators, and ideally they’ll press and track and back as well. They can make something out of nothing basically, instead of being mostly poachers. Aubameyang has… Read more »


You’re overthinking it. Put Auba in the system we played yesterday and it works even better than it did. Lacazette is a very good striker, and there are some other decent striking options, but Auba is still our best striker.


The true test is if/when we see a 1 for 1 swap between Laca and Auba. Saka on right wing, Martinelli on the left.

Laca does a lot of hard work up top, and even if he struggles with it, he fights more in a crowded area when the opposition is packed in than Auba.

The question is that fight and work rate of Laca vs would we get Auba in behind their defense more or find him in dangerous areas.


He’s virtually played from the left since he joined us and hasn’t exactly failed. Ok he’s had a his first bad spell with us but please don’t suddenly write him off


See my reply above really. Yes, he’s always scored goals from the wing, but we’ve also missed the other side of wing play while he’s been there as well. The clamour to move him central has really been as much about having a more creative and energetic influence on the flanks, as it has been about getting him closer to goal.

Vic Lin

He has a handsome pay and probably his last contract. He has nothing to prove and nothing to fight for. Maybe he is what AW said about Ozil, in the comfort zone.

Hank Scorpio

He’s been isolated up front. Neither he, nor Laca or Nketiah for that matter have had the benefit of supporting players close to them. It’s been a hard toil for our forwards this season. Obviously we can’t play Martinelli or ESR every game but hopefully these forced selections are a light bulb moment for Arteta

Tete a rteta

Maybe he just got freakin tired and overworked. I remember watching Klopp players earlier as the season(s) progressed. They wore down. Now add the even more condensed playing schedule. Arteta had Aubameyang pressing like a mad man. Just perhaps, maybe, he is just a human and suffered a bit or was slightly injured as well. Being captain may also weigh on him. Honestly…we will never know but this is the challenge managers face


I’d maybe be inclined to keep Auba on the left and have Gabi in the middle. just me. In the past Gabi has shown a bit more arial ability than Auba and we all know how much we love a cross at the moment!

Xhaka’s House Keys

The problem has been structure. Having attacking creativity through the middle in the form of smith-Rowe/potential winter signing, the spaces opens up on the wings. Put Aubameyang in that system, and he will start banging them in again. The problem is that Martinelli and Saka are brilliant. Maybe Martinelli through the middle? But then Laca is crucial to our link up play… These are good problems to have though.


Doesn’t matter who we have up top in my opinion if that player has little-to-no creativity behind them. Laca worked today up top because he had service, players who will make runs, create spaces and so on. Without that, as we’ve seen many times with Laca up top too, the striker is ineffective. We;ve struggled for a while in not having players that can pick the ball up deep in midfield, and make something happen – Ozil, Santi, Ramsey, Fabregas, Vieira could and would all do this (as would Rosicky, Gilberto, Wilshere – it was very much part of Wenger’s… Read more »


I’m not sure how we slot Auba back in and still have room for Saka, Martinelli, ESR and Lacazette, because I don’t think we function as well in this setup without those four. Drop ESR back in place of Elneny, or what?


I think Balogun can do what lacazette does but with all that “inspiring and not destroyed mentality” like Saka, ESR and Martinelli. I really love to see these young players on the pitch, just really exciting times in that regard.

Anyways, great with a derby win, COYG!


Auba is not working hard enough after getting 350k per week. Should maintain Laca. He could be another ozil. Similarly Willian. Incentive based pay scheme is better option. We saw Alexis case after moved to mu.


There is no reason to believe that Aubameyang’s bad spell has anything to do with his signing a new contract.


Tony he is out of form, there were other teams interested that could have given him lovely wages.

Talking of out of form, which every player suffers, that is when other players need to stand up and be counted. Until yesterday no one did.

He scored his first goal in open play for a while just before being injured. When he comes back I look forward to seeing more goals from our best striker.

Hopefully the team and individual have turned a corner and we can put a run together.


100% true no doubting his striking ability. But does he have the all doing technical ability to fit into the squad?

The front four yesterday were so fluid and stylish you’d be loath to change it now

Dave cee

Agree, Auba is a very good goalscorer but his limitations on the ball affect the rest of the team. We need creators as much as finishers


Holding out hope for a strong second half of the season. With a couple of additions in the window we can really start to move up the league

SB Still

I hope Arteta no longer says Martinelli needs time. Arteta, needs Martinelli…players like Martinelli who give their all.


He was injured for 9 months. Of course he needs time.

Disarmed Gunner

Did he look like he needed time today? Enough excuses. Arteta would have formula 1 drivers convinced they need to 40 because risk


I think the point is that he is now at this level because we gave him time and eased him in. If we’d put him in the starting line up a month ago and he was injured there’d be hell to pay..
Exactly the same situation with Smith-Rowe. People are like ‘see, why didn’t this happen sooner’ but maybe his positive influence is due to having the extra fitness and games with reserves?


Have to be careful though recall the nature of the day injury.

In this frantic Christmas period he has to be managed.

Besides it’s clear that in the next couple of games he will be a target for some of the more uncultured nfl style defenders

Heavenly Chapecoense

TSM-ESR is the answer for the future.

Stephen Kiely

Smith roe was fucking deadly!!! No?


He HAS to start from now on. Amazing talent.


Smith caviar more like

Stephen Kiely

Also martinelli was brilliant!


We have been missing Martinelli. He, Saka, and ESR are the kind of players that can bring the ball into the box. It is no point just blindly crossing into the box when we don’t have a player who can make the connection like Giroud.
Although low on scoring, I love the energy and combative spirit Lacazette bring into the team. Xhaka and Partey should be a good combo. I bloody love Xhaka’s game yesterday.


Easy to get carried away highlithing certain players’ efforts and conveniently neglecting others that said I feel the MAIN catalyst at the moment which is preventing Arteta from his P45 is Martinelli. The Brazilian brings incredible speed and invention for us and in turn sparks Tierney. BUT We should be remiss to ignore that two of our goals were from efforts on the right. AND whilst less spectacular, Saka deployed in less familiar right not only provided (I’m sure a well intended Shross) goal but also gave Bellerin the captain better protection to bring him instrumentally into the game more.… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

I do not want Aouar. He wants Real or Barca where he will fail anyways. He can fail at Arsenal as well or prove something and want to go elsewhere like Nasri. Forget about him.


I don’t know enough about Aouar to really have an opinion but for me the best piece of business that Arsenal can do this January is to persuade Foloran Balogun to sign a new long term contract.

The Arsenal

Imagine if they could reach the synergy that Cole, Pires and Henry had on that side. Also Saka is a legend for straight faced saying he tried to chip the keeper. Ian wright in tears of joy made my day.


Time for the senior players to wake up or off you go.

Charles MMM

The hungry youngsters are obviously the way to go, except that Arteta has been scared of taking simple but calculated risk with them in the past games. Today he summoned the courage and they gave their all with the 3 points the icing on the cherry (so to say). I hope he won’t apply the brakes on them after his buddies (William and Louis) comes back from their so-called sickness. He asked for Fighters? These young stars have in them the fight, the gut and the willingness to display them (no matter the opposition). I hope he has learnt his… Read more »


Who are William and Louis?

The Arsenal

The versions we got.

Dennis Elbow

Didn’t they get to no1 with “Baby, I want your lovechild”?


Former Kings of France.

Naked Cygan

I always wanted to count the number of really good games Xhaka has had since he joined Arsenal on one hand, and now I can. Let’s not get too excited with this win. We will surely see Willian and Pepe back giving below average performances soon. The big question is if Arteta will stay strong and keep faith with the young hungry players? Let’s hope so. Saka, Martinelli, ESR and Tierney should start every game from now on.

Reality check

Yep, I hope Arteta at least gives this approach more chances at least. However, I don’t think today’s line-up was by design, he was forced by injuries and the COVID situation.. We all know how the fans will react if he sticks Willian back in and he performs as he has so far..

Dave cee

If Mikel wants to keep his job he needs to stick with a winning formula until it doesn’t work anymore. Needlessly changing things will be the end for him if it results in more losses


Tierney overlapping and Martinelli driving to the box gives us a cut-and-thrust we’ve been lacking on that flank. Saka and Tierney tend to occupy similar spaces while Martinelli and Tierney are more complimentary. Saka and Bellerin also combined well on the right as Saka’s positioning is much better than Willian’s or Pepe’s.

Will be interesting to see how Arteta sets us up in the future. In a 4-3-3, Tierney, Saka and Martinelli could form a formidable left side, but Saka is also our best RW at the moment.


Saka needs to play on the right, as an inside forward, he can put in robbenesque performances with time (without the drama and diving), we need to play as barca, with inverted/inside forwards, not the boring rw lw stuff as willian on the right, saka on the left etc. For crosses we have attacking fullbacks in tierney and hector. We need to have three guys simultaneously going to the centre, that creates havoc for the opposing defence.


Saka has an advantage of having a rather strong “weaker foot”, so he can go inside or outside from the half space. He could end up being a real nightmare for defenders at RW.


Funny how when Martinelly went out, it kinda didn’t work the same way. I remember a moment where Tierney pointed and said three times where he he wants Pepe to go (the open space) and when he passes it there, Pepe was still hiding behind the defender and never started the run. Sometimes it just clicks.


Absolutely, we immediately reverted almost to the Arsenal of seven games ago immediately Pepe came on…and it should be clear to all and the manager in particular why we have failed until now. Pepe won’t dash forward and run into space, he was just standing in line with Tierney making it difficult for Tierney to pick a decent forward pass…I just couldn’t believe how sh*t Pepe was. He killed the the team’s initiative immediately he came on. On any day, at least on the evidence of what we’ve seen so far this season, Nelson is even a better player than… Read more »

Dave cee

Honestly I’m starting to think Pepe might only really work as a 2nd striker in a free role behind a guy who can hold the ball up and lay it off. A right winger he most certainly is not

Heavenly Chapecoense

Unfortunately, Wenger isn’t around to transform him into another role.

Tony 2

Me too kojo then i remembered I took a blue pill last night lol

Give youth a chance

Might be a controversial opinion, but i’d bench Martinelli on Tuesday.

He’s just returning from 9 months out and needs to be handled carefully. We want him still there at the end of the season, not back in the treatment room.

Disarmed Gunner

He looked fine to me. Leave the decision in the hands of our incompetent, ill equipped medical staff.

Timorous Me

Apparently not all that controversial after all.

I’ll admit, I already had the thought today. Even just saving him for the last half hour might be prudent. Or I suppose he could start on Tuesday and then rest next Saturday. Either way, Arteta really needs to be cautious.

Hail Gus!

Arteta cautious? Surely not..

Disarmed Gunner

Great win and performance but Arteta has a history of when things are going good of changing them. Last season Gabi was excellent and got immediately benched when Auba returned. Laca started well this season and got benched. AMN was excellent latter end of last season… Benched. Martinez was sensational. Sold. If Arteta has any wits about him at all he will keep this lineup for the next few games. They key to any growth is ability to learn and correct ones mistakes. We have given you time Arteta and now you need to reward us by showing us what… Read more »


Make tierney the captain, and coach if arteta gets sacked


We are one Tierney-like player in the middle of the park away from challenging for the league. (Partey hope you are reading this.)


Don’t play Auba, Willian. Stick to young players, should give Balugun a chance too.


Yes let’s stop playing our best player for the past 3 years because he’s lost form for the first time? 😂😂😂

Timorous Me

And seriously, if the rest of the team plays like they did today, Auba would likely do just fine. He just seems to really struggle when the team plays with no urgency and at a plodding pace. This was the kind of effort where he thrived over the summer.


Martinelli does that one thing extra and thats being an extra presence in the box when ball is played in. As for Tierney he has the right attitude not arrogant not shy , just a leader and he links well with any player in front of him. We have almost the right first 11 but then there are the 3 or 4 positions / players that need replacing who might kill the play.


Rowe Saka Martinelli Laca THE BEST, adding THE BOSS MARI

Kieran Tierney’s Tesco Bag



Part of my feels like Auba will be itching to get going again in this rejuvenated team

I see goals coming.


It was obvious we had something special when they combined for this.

The technique from both players here is massively underrated.

Billy bob

How about a 1-4-2-3-1 formation:
GK – Leno
RB – Bellerin
CB – Luis
CB – Gabriel
LB – Tierney
CM – Partey
RW – Saka
LW – Martinelli
S – Auba

Kinda like the idea of Partey and AMN sitting in front of the defence and then bringing the ball through the middle of the park… AMN could easily join in the attack and drop into a right or left back position?

Key is fluidity


I quite like that.

I’d be worried about ANM and ESR being able to achieve every week.

I really want ANM to be good but he’s still inconsistent and hasn’t yet shown enough to justify a place next to Partey.

So clear what we’ve been missing when ESR played last night.

I really hope last night represents some progress

Billy bob

I know what you mean about doing it week in and week out but I think the carrot of being the mainstay of the arsenal team would do the trick, also you’d have Willock, Nelson and Balogun being given regular 20+ minute stints on the pitch so that the other young guns don’t get burnt out… I’d also keep Elneny, Holding, Chambers, Xhaka, Laca and Nketiah to add further depth

Billy bob

Oh yeah I’d give Pepe a chance but certain others would need to be shipped lol will-i-aint being first on my list – complete waste of money!! Not sure what is worse, him on £180k or Ozil on £350k per week!!! At least Ozil has contributed to arsenal’s history in a positive way!!

Dave cee

Delighted to see Martinelli back and playing well. He had a big injury and long layoff but doesn’t seem to have a skipped a beat. We need to protect and nurture this guy as well as giving him sufficient game time. He looks the real deal. ESR also put in a great shift and looks very promising. And of course Bukayo who I really rate. Not all doom and gloom at Arsenal with these guys around. Really hope Mikel is able to manage them as they deserve. Forget the short term fixes, build a team for the next 5 years.


But, on the whole, football is all about “short-term fixes” unfortunately. I’m not sure at all that, at present, he’ll be given 5 years to build a team. Patience (by an owner/a board whoever) and managers don’t usually go together, I fear. Yesterday’s result was obviously very good (we won, if nothing else, but won well which is a bonus). However, we got a good result against Utd but it all fell apart after that. MA needs to string together a series of wins now. The coming PL fixture list (on paper, whatever that means in reality) suggests that he… Read more »

Cygans Parting

Finally, a goodly fucking morning again!!!


Martinelli needs to be a regular starter as few on the squad have the drive and determination he does. Of course we need to be cautious with his minutes while he is just coming back and not start him every match until he can get his legs fully under him.

Really like Tierney’s game and drive, just wish we had him when we had Giroud leading the line as he fed off the type of cross Tierney puts in.


How many times Kieran has bombed forward only to pass back as his options are limited, Martinelli offers up and keeps it going aswell getting in the right place at right time, early I know but he has a style similar to Lewandowski, with Gabriel & Partey to return at last things are looking up.


4-4-2 : Auba & Laca up front. Saka, Xhaka, Partey & Martinelli in the middle: with Martinelli playing the role Ramsey used to play down the wings, a bit free to move forward and create overloads. Tierney, Gabriel/Mari, Holding/Luiz, Hector/Maity.


Don’t start covering them in cotton wool.

They’re clearly ready for a run in the side. Play them.

Willian, Ceballos and Luiz can be put on cones, bibs and tea making duties (when fit to do so)

Kendall Jefferson

Please Arteta, can we never play Willock and Pepe in the Premier League again? Use them for cup matches only, please!!!! It was frustrating to see the gulf in quality between Willock and Smith-Rowe, he couldn’t even do the simple basics that Smith-rowe had been doing all match “press”!!!! He kept standing off the Chelsea defence leaving Lacazette to do the pressing alone, even when he had the ball he just wanted to run with it even when he obviously should pass. He made it look like we took off De Bruyne for Coquelin, he looked like he wasn’t up… Read more »

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