A half-baked attempt at talking religiously about Jesus’s “resurrection” from injury…


Just as we thought Jesus had risen, putting in an effervescent shift in the 5-3 thrashiing of Barcelona, he was left out of the squad for Wednesday’s Emirates Cup clash with AS Monaco. Because his name is Jesus and he’s going to return soon, we’re obliged to discuss this in religious terms. Instead, let’s go with Michael Corleone, adapted ever so slighty: just when we thought he was in,…they pull him back out. To allay fears, Arteta said it was a “little procedure” to deal with what he called “some irritation.” Rest easy, Goonerland.

Addressing the issue, Arteta explained that Jesus “had a little procedure this morning. He had some discomfort in his knee that has been causing some issues. It’s not something major but he is going to be out for a few weeks I think… he’s been feeling some discomfort in the last few weeks and we had to make a decision. It’s something related to the previous injury he had and the surgery. He had some irritation in the knee and we had to get it resolved.”

At first, news that Jesus was injured probably had more than a few hearts in throats. If we’re take Arteta’s words at face value, Jesus will miss the Community Shield, Nottingham Forest, away to Palace, and perhaps Fulham. That’s just over three weeks and three very winnable matches. Those inclined to worry should remind themselves that we have options—maybe not options galore, but options.

First, of course, there’s Nketiah. He played well against Monaco and might have bagged a brace had Trossard squared for him after running onto Jorginho’s delicious through-ball. Aside from the goal he scored (which came from an insightful run and deft touch), he linked up well, his pressing seemed sharper, and his hold-up play was strong. Was it an electrifying performance? No. If it had been Balogun putting in the exact same shift, there would have been calls to sell Nketiah immediately or insist that we won’t sell Balogun for anything less than £75m. Nketiah was adequate the last time Jesus went down; he’s improved a bit since then.

Balogun, by contrast, didn’t even make the squad in what was one of his last chances in this preseason to prove his worth. I’m sure some will suggest that it’s Arteta playing favourites. It could also be that he’s giving playing time to those who earn it—but I will admit that conspiracies are more fun.

Trossard—remember him from before I slated him for failing to square for Nketiah?— has proven to be one of the sharpest signings of recent years. Rescued from exile at Brighton as a short-term stopgap, he’s been a revelation and plays in a way similar enough to jesus that he can slot in at CF and drift wide to drag defenses out of shape and create space in behiind for Martinelli, Havertz, Smith Rowe, or Rice to sluice through, and he’s astute enough to slip the ball to where only they can get to it.

Beyond those two, I’ll admit, the options get a little more…creative and perhaps a little less desirable. We’ve seen Martinelli play through the middle on a few occasions, such as when he scored twice against Everton back in March. Yes, I know it’s Everton, but all I’m saying is it’s a position he can play when necessary.

Last, at least for now, is Havertz. It’s sometimes a blessing and a curse to be versatile enough to almost anywhere, and Havertz has played on both wings, as an attacking midfielder, a false nine, a second striker, centre-forward, and probably several others. Since coming to Chelsea, he’s played that centre-forward role 69 times, going for twenty goals and five assists. Not stellar, but he’s also struggled due in part to all of the turmoil at Chelsea. Granted some greater stability and more-meaningful feedback should see him start to rediscover the form that made him such a coveted signing a few years ago.

At a risk of driving home a point I’ve made a few times in the last few weeks, we’ve gotten a lot closer to having the kind of depth that will allow us to push through these injuries. We saw glimpses of this last season when Jesus went down during the World Cup. Players stepped up. By the time Saliba went down, that lack of depth became all too apparent. Between the options we now have, we should be able to through the next month knowing that we have more than just Nketiah to turn to. Maybe even Balogun will get another chance…

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20 thoughts on “A half-baked attempt at talking religiously about Jesus’s “resurrection” from injury…

  1. Kelechi

    Jesus has…disciples or followers? Either way, you could of extended the religious metaphor a lot more!

    1. Eoin ó Conchobhair

      The “resurrection” comparison is inevitable but let’s hope we don’t have to see it ever again because that would mean Jesus hasn’t been injured again. I just hope his knee isn’t just permanently crocked.

  2. A Simple Truth

    (1) Balo was supposedly injured, so he wasn’t a healthy scratch…of course he might have been shelved simply to insure his health in case of a pending transfer

    (2) Eddie wasn’t an inspiring option up top last season, then he got injured, so the prospect of him leading the line is rather underwhelming

    (3) Marts isn’t made to play in the middle of the pitch as his main strength is his ability to take on defenders in wider positions

    (4) Havertz has proved thus far, in the PL, that he’s not the answer to anyone’s Striker questions, unless maybe if we deployed 2 up top

    (5) I would suspect that this will open the door for Trossard to play as a false 9, thus allowing MA to play his preferred tactics…as for Tross, before you get too carried away with all the revelatory chatter, he scored all but one goal for us last season…that said, he did contribute 10 assists, which is nothing to sneeze at…regardless, that might not cut it, as we need more goals from the Striker position this season in order for us to succeed both domestically and abroad

    (6) not sure how anyone could spin this as a positive knowing full-well that many felt that we needed to acquire another viable Striker option even before Jesus went down…as such, things could get rather dicey if we were to underperform against some of the lesser light clubs, like we did in the business end of last season

    of course, if Jesus does manage to return to full fitness prior to the start of September, we should be able to survive and thrive without him for a relatively short stint, but considering MA’s disingenuous past when it comes to injury news, we might not see Jesus for a considerable period of time…Cheers

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I hadn’t seen that Balogun was injured. That does offer some useful context and might even offer me a bit of crow worth eating.

      Eddie, for as much as he may or may not have improved, is indeed underwhelming. I would much rather see us sign a Vlahovic or a Kudus over relying on him. If he was open to a loan to a club like West Ham or Palace in order to play regularly, I’d be all for it.

      Martinelli through the middle is less than ideal but could be enough as a stop-gap over the three to four matches Jesus misses. He and Trossard link up well and exchange fluidly whatever their original/nominal positions are.

      Havertz is still an enigma even if he was most productive as a CF for Chelsea. He’s shown flashes and spurts during the preseason but hasn’t set anyone’s world on fire.

      Last season showed that we can manufacture goals without a dominant, goal-scoring CF. Jesus even before his injury was more a facilitator/catalyst than he was an outright scorer. I think we’ll see another season in which we have 4, 5, maybe 6 players register 15-20 combined goals & assists: Martinelli, Jesus, Saka, Odegaard, maybe a second tier that gets 10-15: ESR, Rice, Havertz.

      With only a few weeks left in the window, it gets less and less likely that we’ll sign the kind of CF we’d need unless we’re willing to break the bank for Joao Felix or Harry Kane, each of whom would become the most-expensive Prem signing ever. We may have to pin our hopes to the idea that Rice, Timber, and Havertz will give us the depth & flexibility to build on last season’s abortive potential…

      1. A Simple Truth

        although I appreciate the more pragmatic tone of your above responses, in comparison to the bordering on unfettered optimism of the preceding article, I do worry that you’ve put too much stock in what I would suggest is misinformation and some rather suspect data

        in regards to the former, you appear to be under the impression that MA was speaking truthfully with regards to Jesus’s timeline, whereas I would suggest otherwise…for much of his tenure Arteta has been incredibly disingenuous when it comes to the injury status of a myriad of players, for whatever reasons, so why would this scenario would be any different…in fact, considering the stakes and his seemingly incessant need to both control the narrative and always have a readily available excuse in his back pocket, I can see why he might of felt it best to undersell the potential seriousness of this situation so as to allay some rather obvious fears and to not derail any of the momentum gained as a result of his unprecedented summer spending…unfortunately, these deceptive practices, regardless of their original intent, usually come home to roost…should things go sideways, we both know the first thing out of his mouth will be some nonsense about how he was sewered by what he “thought” would be a short-term injury to his star Striker

        as to the latter, I would somewhat question your belief that we have more than enough goals in us to make up for any Striker shortcomings…now if the variables involved were the same as they were when Jesus got injured during the WC, I might have a decidely different mindset, as we hadn’t been “figured out” yet, so to speak…according to the measurables we were a rather pedestrian side, at times, in the second half of the season, so much so that we even struggled against several “relegation” sides…once there was a blueprint or two out there, MA’s lack of tactical nous was exposed for all to see…now you might counter this argument by speaking of our off-season additions, to which I would reply, none of these players were lighting it up last season, especially in the goalscoring department…all that said, I do have a lot of faith in the likes of Saka, Marts and Ode, I’m just far less convinced by MA’s ability to provide them with the requisite amount of grade A opportunities, from a tactical adjustment standpoint…have a good one

        1. Jon Shay Post author

          AST, I’m not naive enough to believe any manager’s statements regarding a player’s availability. I couched my reaction by saying “If we’re take Arteta’s words at face value…” and perhaps should have added “and we shouldn’t” to make the disclaimer more-clear.

          However, it seems cynical to insinuate that it’s only Arteta who plays these games. It would be foolish, naive even, for a manager to share precise information about a player’s return from injury (assuming that such precise information is even available in the first place). With that in mind, it starts to feel like your critique goes too far.

          The Community Shield is a toss-up, and we really should be able to take nine points from our first three matches with or without Jesus. Our additions this summer, expensive as they have been, give us options for formation & tactics, and I’ve written previously about the pressure this puts on Arteta to prove that he can manage those options.

          1. A Simple Truth

            thanks Captain Obvious(lol)…of course one should typically take most injury news with a moderate-sized grain of salt, but few have used this particular narrative as a means to a selfish and/or gutless ends so often…remember that Marts had to actually resort to using social media to dispel MA’s claims that he was unfit and he clearly attempted to artifically quell concerns when Saliba went down by manufacturing a much more hopeful prognosis…sorry, but I can’t remember these being commonplace managerial occurences…knowing this I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus returned in 5 weeks or not until after Xmas, but I’m pretty damn sure he won’t be back in a couple weeks, as he suggested…that said, I hope I’m wrong in this specific case, which btw would in no way erase what has transpired in this regards since his arrival at the Emirates…have a good one

  3. Andy

    We scored 88 goals last season. That’s 6 less than the best team in world football right now.
    Do we really think a lack of striker options put a stop to our title charge last season, or was it our lack of squad depth?
    I’d say losing Saliba was the biggest factor and TP not managing a whole season certainly didn’t help.
    Sure, losing GJ for a few months doesn’t help either, yet we still managed to out score every other team in the prem bar city.
    Yes an upgrade on Eddie would be nice, but is there a Haaland out there who is willing to share game time with Jesus? Or are we suggesting that we upgrade Eddie and bench GJ?
    We have added top quality to our squad in the positions we were short. We now have options all over the pitch, as cover or tactical subs.
    I’m not sure why Arteta is receiving so much stick. He has a clear plan and is moving us forward in a way we’ve not seen since early Wenger.
    I really don’t understand the negativity.

    1. Eoin ó Conchobhair

      A Simple Truth has a negative mindset most of the time he’s on here, he’s anti-Arteta to the nth degree. Best not to take the bait.

      1. A Simple Truth

        or a much more realistic and commonsensical approach to all things Arsenal-related…btw Andy didn’t officially take the bait, as he opted for a much more passive aggressive course of action by not hitting the reply button, even though everyone and their brother knew who he was attempting to address…btw if you’re all so confident in your beliefs about the state of the franchise and/or our current manager why would you care so deeply about one man’s take on club matters…as such, this speaks far more about you than me…take care one and all

  4. Andy

    I didn’t hit the reply button because I don’t want to become involved in a long running spat. We are all, I assume, wanting the same thing come the end of the season, although it does seem that you would actually rather be right, than Arsenal have any success. Either that or you are not actually an Arsenal fan at all, and are just on the wind up. Have you ever been to The Emirates or Highbury? Have you ever experienced that match day excitement? The train to Finsbury Park, the walk to the pub filled with other excited fans, then into the ground which never fails to take your breath away? There is nothing better. The only thing that spoils that build up is someone spouting their negativity all day.
    So maybe my comments do speak more about me than you. Maybe I just love Arsenal no matter what. Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced the highs and lows of this magnificent club first hand. Standing on the terraces of Highbury watching George Grahams brand of 1-0 football, to the revolutionary Arsene Wenger brand of total football, and all those in between.
    So now we are on the upward trajectory once again, I’m not going to sit back whilst someone sucks the fun out of it, I’m going to enjoy the ride. Take care everyone 😘

    1. A Simple Truth

      oh I get it, you’re one of those entitled ticket holders who think they know best simply because they’re in the stands on gameday…btw not only have I seen them at the Highbury and the Emirates, I’ve likewise been to a multitude of matches on the continent, 3 times in Asia and twice when they were on tour on the United States…constantly settling for whatever’s on offer isn’t akin to being a better fan…furthermore your obvious desire to justify your investment means jack to me, so save that braggadocious nonsense for someone who actually cares…you’re part of the problem, not the solution, as you remind me of all the gameday AKBers who willingly enabled our former manager to stay long past his best before date…finally, for someone who didn’t want to get embroiled in a “long running spat”, you sure have a funny way of showing it…see you on the grounds big guy

  5. Andy

    Sorry to disappoint, but I am neither an entitled ticket holder nor an AKB.
    I became a member at Highbury, (when it became a thing), and continued my membership to The Emirates, I had to phone up for tickets like everyone else. I gave up my membership when I moved to the other end of the country so now, unfortunately, I only get to watch the games on tv.
    As for the AKB comment, like most, I was all for replacing Wenger 5 or 6 years before he actually left. He had far too much control by then and his lack of investment infuriated me. Probably why I am a big fan of MA. To my mind he appears to have a plan and invests where needed to bring us back to the top table, hence I don’t understand why you have so much negativity towards him. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t get it.
    I am also not one to brag. I am just a proud Arsenal fan with strong opinions. I don’t claim to be more knowledgeable about our great club than the next man, I’m just passionate about it.
    At the end of the day, the comments section is where everyone is welcome to express their opinions. Not all of us think alike, that’s life.
    So don’t assume I have an agenda, I really don’t.
    If I read something I disagree with, I’ll probably comment.
    If I read something inspiring, I’ll probably comment, simple as that.

    1. A Simple Truth

      sounds fair, at least in theory…I would simply ask that you reread your initial response to my Eoin reply, with fresh eyes, so that you might better understand why I responded as I did…I’ve never suggested that people can’t hold vastly differing views about our club, but, much like yourself, I will generally provide my 2 cents worth when I don’t agree with something that’s on offer…btw I could provide a plethora of similarities between the latter incarnation of Wenger and our present one, but I feel like it might fall on deaf ears…to each his own…have a good one

      1. Jon Shay Post author

        you two had me a bit nervous here (AST knows that I can be the fretful sort). I appreciate how you each applied the handbrake a bit there. Nothing wrong with disagreement – in fact, I encourage it – but I squirm when I see Gooners starting to have a go at each other on a personal level rather than debating the ideas. Raise a glass and make it clink, whether there’s coffee, tea, beer, scotch or some combination thereof within.

        1. Andy

          Apologies Jon, I don’t mean to offend fellow Gooners, I just get carried away sometimes. I shall try and be more pragmatic in future.
          Have a great day, come on you Gunners!!

      2. Andy

        Fair point, I have reread my response and can see how it may of come across, and I apologise if I caused offence.
        I was trying to paint a picture of my experience of The Arsenal, unfortunately I’m no artist and just got carried away with the paint!
        I don’t think I’m going to agree with your similarities between latter Wenger and MA, but you’re welcome to try me and I’ll try and respond with a little decorum.
        Enjoy the game today.

        1. Jon Shay

          I don’t want to quash disagreement, Andy, I just don’t want it to get too tetchy. I appreciate your willingness to climb down a bit but hope you’ll continue to state your claims and defend them This isn’t an echo-chamber, after all.

          Add to that the fact that we won, even if it was only the Community Shield, and we’ve all earned a chance to have a pint and celebrate!


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