May 8, 2021

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KT McCabe | Arseblog … an Arsenal blog

Good morning all. I hope you’re okay. Some excerpts this morning before Mikel Arteta meets the press before the return leg of the Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.

Fitness issues are something he will be addressing, and yesterday the club posted photos of Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney in training. Full training too. No light jogging on terrain separated from everyone.

This weekend, following the 2-0 win over Newcastle, the manager was asked whether those players would be available for Thursday, and said:

They haven’t trained with the team yet so I think it’s unlikely they will.

I suspected that was the reason Granit Xhaka continued at left-back, to provide some continuity under his recent selection there. Now I guess both have a chance. It would be a risk, but if there was a bet, the one worth it is Tierney. Aubameyang was back in the action to score the goals on Sunday, and I guess he’ll start up front (unless we play Willian linked to Cedric as some kind of fake 9 experiment on a human centipede), so Lacazette , if successful, would provide some bench depth. Good.

Having Tierney available at the left back obviously changes the way we play – which is why, by the way, I hit the Saka on the left back drum in his absence. It’s too late now, but I wish we had, as the disturbance caused by Xhaka in this position is just too great. You have to play someone – usually Dani Ceballos – in that left-side midfield pocket, your left-back doesn’t overlap and offer no offensive threats, and rather than just changing a player for a similar player ( Saka can basically do what KT does), you have a number of moving parts. Either way, it’s what it is now, but two wins in four Premier League games since Tierney got injured shows you that it hasn’t been a huge success (and I know that ‘there are other factors to this).

Without Ceballos tomorrow night because of his avoidable red card in the first leg, I think we need Xhaka back in midfield – even if Tierney doesn’t make it. If he can fill his Tesco bag with his shin guards, play the 90 minutes so all the better. He makes such a difference, but I guess the risk isn’t just making the knee injury worse again, it’s also how ready he is for a game of this magnitude. I would never doubt his demeanor, but after a month away there might be a lack of sharpness that could see his level of performance below what you need. Lots to think about for Arteta, and without a doubt, we’ll hear a bit more about his prospect of playing later.

Good news for Arsenal Women as Katie McCabe signs a new contract. It’s been a long time since an Irish player with a sensational left foot did great things for the first team, so I’m going to live vicariously through her! What a season she’s had, in all honesty:

She says:

I am absolutely delighted. I love this club and feel like we are in a really good position and are ready to continue. I am delighted that this is done and now I am ready to go and help this club win more trophies.

Director Joe Montemurro says:

She’s been thrown every challenge since the day we brought her back on loan and she’s grown into a world-class left player. All credit goes to her, she personifies exactly what we expect from our team.

Katie scored a goal and won a penalty as Arsenal beat Everton 2-1 on Sunday, and with the departure of Joe Montemurro and the departure of a new manager, it was extremely important to secure Champions League football for next season, and she played a big game. participate in this. She’s also from me here in Dublin, so it’s great to see how great a player she has become for Arsenal and Ireland.


Elsewhere, I have to admit, I love watching Phil Foden, and he was sensational last night as Man City beat PSG who, very pleasantly, lost their temper on being kicked out of the Champions League. Angel di Maria’s red card was one of the most hilarious things I’ve seen outside of a Fail Army video where a fat man decides he can use a homemade swing to cross a canyon and falls 15 meters on your back because the rope breaks. .

What an incredible story though: a brave little club funded billions of dollars by an oil-rich nation-state that just weeks ago signed up for a Super League project to keep it going. the chance to win the UEFA Champions League for the first time.

The pure and pure magic of football there.

Yesterday I did a Patreon podcast with Tim Payton of the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust about their meeting with Daniel Ek, fan involvement at the board level, club ownership reform of football and much more. I think this is the kind of chat that should be heard more broadly, so I will be making it free to everyone later this morning, but if you feel like signing up with Patreon to support everything we do here to Arseblog, as well as to get ad-free podcasts, apps for iOS and Android, Discord chat, free audiobook, and more you can do at

Well, we’ll be covering Arteta’s presser on Arseblog News this morning, and the build-up and excitement of tomorrow night can begin.

In the meantime, calm down, take care of yourself.