Yes, I know that we are looking to finish in the top four and that, in fact, we are the first in the league. But I thought he would be in my top 3 players of the season so far. Look, there’s no football and I’ve already done parts of the World Cup this week, so without further ado, let’s do the top 3.
But wait. Why couldn’t I make a top 4? There is no reason. I could change the title, but that would show that I am not fixed on my initial ideas, there is always room for improvisation. Here we go. As always, just like player ratings, these are subjective. You’re free to disagree on the names and rankings, but in the end, it only made up for it with one man’s blog, so don’t stress too much.
1 – gabriel jesus
Yes, I know he hasn’t scored in a while, but his impact on this team goes beyond the goals. I think the Chelsea game was the perfect example of this. While everyone was worried about the inevitability of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring against his former club, Jesus showed us all what a center forward can bring even if he doesn’t score.
63 ball touches, 3 shots, 2 key passes, 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 2 interceptions.
Compared to the former captain’s 8 touches before he was sent off in the second half, that’s quite a lot. And he shows how selfless he is to the Brazilian player. The goals must come back, there is no discussion there and he would be the first to admit it, but what he has contributed since his arrival in the summer has been an important part of our position at the top of the table.
two – Xhaka Granite
The challenge with Xhaka is to talk about what he’s doing now without having to reference what happened before. I get that certain sections of the media love a story, but the way it’s been presented at times this season is like it happened overnight. I think it’s fair to say that despite a few bumps in the road, Xhaka’s performances under Mikel Arteta have been consistently good.
What he’s doing this season is just a continuation of what he was doing last season. His form has gone from good to very good to excellent. If you had asked me which Arsenal player would be the ghost of the penalty area, arriving unseen to score goals and chances for others, I don’t think I would have picked him as the man to do that.
I mean, he’s a big guy. It’s not hard to tell, but he somehow he has the ability to flip a switch like Airwolf going into stealth mode, and then bam! There’s a Swiss helicopter in your box. And is there a better compliment you can pay a soccer player than that?
3 – ben white
Before the season began, I wondered if Ben White, a player Mikel Arteta clearly loves, would be the biggest impediment to William Saliba’s return to Arsenal. He started the first game of the season at right-back, and while it perhaps felt temporary at the time, he is anything but now.
We know the coach gets upset when a player loses a game, and of our top three defensive starters this season (White, William Saliba, Gabriel), he is the most prolific game winner in all competitions with an average of 6.35 games. won per game. Saliba is at 4.55 while Gabriel is at 3.79. By the way, this doesn’t necessarily mean Gabriel will lose more duels, he leads the trio in interceptions averaging 4.33 per game (104 overall), with White second (averaging 4 and 73) and then Saliba ( 3.34 on average and 75).
White’s consistency is fantastic, his ball skills are impressive, he can overlap, he can play inside, he blends well with Saka and Odegaard, and he has a couple of assists to his name as well. Most of all, though, I like the complete unwillingness of him to take any bullshit from anyone, be it the opposition, officials, or post-game interviewers.
He is the grown adult son of Mikel Arteta, but I would gladly adopt him.
4 – Guillermo Saliba
For a 21-year-old to get to the Premier League and do what he’s done is extraordinary. The composure is off the charts. He doesn’t have ice running through his veins, he has something colder. Super Ice. Mega frost. It’s so cold there that when it melts they’ll find the remains of a woolly mammoth or something.
This young man can play. You can see players who love to defend, and he is one of them. He doesn’t get nervous and the physical presence he brings to Arsenal’s back line is very important. Has it been flawless? No. Far from it. There have been mistakes, some pretty bad ones, but luckily we’ve dealt with them as a team, as we should when any player makes a mistake.
But that’s the thing with 21-year-old central defenders, no matter how impressive they are, they still have a lot to learn. What has annoyed me about some other defenders in our not too distant past is their complete unwillingness to do that. They do something stupid, but instead of using that to develop, they just go back to doing something stupid. And again. And again. Then blame someone else.
Saliba is not that player. He will learn, because you can see how much he cares about his work. When you combine that seriousness with that level of talent, you have something special on your hands.
Well, that’s all for this morning. Feel free to discuss with each other in the Butts.
Finally, today, so far, Goodly Mug sales have raised over €5,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin. So thanks! We’ll let this run for another month or so and make our donation in mid-December. If you want to get a cup and help a great cause, the link is here: https://p1r.es/GoodlyMug
I’ll be back tomorrow with more, and an Arsecast.