Tag Archives: Emi Martínez

Let's all laugh at Emi (and other reactions to the Villa win).

I don’t know if you could have scripted a better scenario than the one we witnessed on Saturday. Twice going down a goal, twice pegging our hosts back, and then…madness. Absolute madness, courtesy of none other than Emi Martinez. By the time Simon Hooper finally booked him in the 84th minute for time-wasting, he had seemingly wasted a similar amount of time, and so it was all too fitting for us to find not one but two goals in stoppage time—both of them also attributable to Martineze’s own numbskullery. The lyrics to a certain 2 Live Crew song bubble up from the memory, but we’ll leave that alone for the moment.

Let’s quickly revisit Martinez’s words upon leaving for Aston Villa. He claimed that he “always said it was a step up” to leave Arsenal to go to Villa, adding “when I decided to come to Villa it was because I trusted the manager and the club’s ambitions”. The manager at the time, Dean Smith, would last barely a year past Martinez’s arrival. As for ambition, they’re rooted quite comfortably mid-table. So it goes.
Back to the match. Caught flat-footed for Saka’s equaliser and then beaten by a soft shot from Zinchenko, Martinez suffered the humiliation of watching Jorginho’s shot strike the crossbar and then go in off of his face in the third minute of the stoppage time he helped to create. Still not satisfied with all of the attention this onanist had drawn to himself, he decided to go rogue for a late Villa corner, charging up the pitch to see if he could score. Instead, Vieira picked up the ball and played it through to Martinelli, whose lung-busting run gave him little else to do but take a touch or two before tapping home into Martinez’s empty net. Aces. 
Emery said after the match that he was “very, very disappointed. I am embarrassed about the last goal. I have never told my keeper to go forward….today he decided it was his decision. He knows now.” Well, I don’t know about that last bit. The Argentinian has never struck me as the meditative, reflective type. I wouldn’t be surprised if Emery gives him some time on the bench to ponder.
As for us, this was the almost-perfect tonic to what’s ailed us of late. Villa, to their credit, were spirited and deserved both goals that they scored—but we showed signs of the almost-familiar fightback, the growing defiance in the face of conceding, that has been a hallmakr of this season. Although doubts had to grow as the clock wound down, neither goal came as much of a surprise, and that feeling of inevitability, while still new and not entirely reliable, is back in fashion. 
Jorginho looks to have been the steal of the January window, and not just for his game-winning goal. His all-around performance and his leadership have been stellar (it was he, for example, who told Zinchenko to take up a position outside the box on the corner, putting him in position to score his first-ever Prem goal). He may not do everything as well as Partey does, but it’s getting harder to write him off as just another pensioner picking up a paycheck at Arsenal after leaving Chelsea.
Looking farther afield, Man City stumbled to a draw at the City Ground, all but cancelling out their midweek win. We’ve restored a still-tenuous two-point lead over the holders but do still have that game in hand. Those who had written off our chances at winning the Prem just a few days ago will have to go back and delete a few tweets here and there. We’re going into a series of fixtures that, on paper, are quite winnable. Of course, as Nottingham Forest have just shown, there are no guarantees. Still, there’s a decent chance that we could arrive at the Etihad on 26 April still nursing that same two-point lead or, perhaps, sometihng more closely resembling an actual gap.
Between now and then, of course, we’ll have Partey back, and Smith-Rowe (who made the bench on Saturday) is hot on his heels. Waiting not far behind them is Gabriel Jesus. It would be too much of a fairytale to have him available for that clash at the Etihad, but who knows? It might be a heart-warming fairytale. 
We’ve suffered our first real wobble of the season, and things are now considerably tighter than they were at the end of January. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the resolve, hunger, and determination on display against Villa seems to to be drawn from ample reserves. We’ll need those qualities and more, but this day showed that the well is deep. Previous squads would have folded after going behind just three days after losing. This one stared adversity in the face and swatted it aside. This side doesn’t quit. Rocky Balboa, the king of dramatic comebacks, has nothing on us.
One last thing: I’m excited to announce “March Merch”, a little competition of sorts in which the top commenters will be entered into a raffle to win some Arsenal merchandise. If you haven’t already, set up a Disqus account (which you can do with a new Disqus account or through a Twitter, Facebook, or Google account) and start commenting. I’m eager to build an online community and am not above offering enticements to attract new members. I look forward to hearig from you!

Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I reached a point at which I wanted us to score a third not so much to beat Aston Villa or take all three points or get back to the top of the table but to humiliate Emi Martinez, and, boy, did Jorginho deliver with a cracking shot from distance in the stoppage-time Martinez created with all of his time-wasting. The fact that it hit the woodwork and then went in off of Martinez himself made it all the more delicious. What can I say? I’m a spiteful, petty man. For Martinelli to then net a fourth with Martinez having come forward to try to score from a late Villa corner added some sumptuous schadenfreude.

Click here to get to the poll. The infographic will be available tomorrow, but real-time results can be seen here.

Arsenal's KEY role in gifting Messi this World Cup…

Well, one thing’s clear now that Argentina have won the World Cup. The debate that has raged well-nigh these many years is well and truly over. Messi has finally emerged victorious. About that there can be no doubt. I refer, however, instead, to who is truly responsible for Argentina’s triumph. It’s not Messi. It’s not even Martinez. Set your faces to stunned: it’s our beloved club. Yes, it’s true. Take a trip with me down memory all the way back to the hallowed days of yore, 2020, when a French or Argentinian striker injured a German keeper. I refer of course to that dark day when Neal Maupay (who is eligible to play for either the French or Argentinian national teams but has played for neither—go figure) leapt into Bernd Leno with no attempt at playing the ball and essentially ended Leno’s time at the club. Into the breach stepped Emi, who would go on to play well enough to make a case for being our starting keeper. He’d go on to win help us win the 2020 FA Cup. Who knew he’d turn out to be such a massive, massive thundercount of a person (I’m not sure if that’s a typo or misspelling back there)?

He’d earned the right to be a starting keeper somewhere, but, at his age (and, possibly with his attitude), it was never going to be here. Anyway, his performances for us and for Aston Villa are a big part of why he became Argentina’s #1 for this World Cup. He’s come a long way from the keeper in that infamous, shambolic 7-5 win over Reading. Heck, he’s come a long way from the keeper whom we loaned to Reading.

Apparently, he’s come a long way from the modest, hard-working bloke just happy to get a chance. I’m sure he’s still hard-working, but he’s long since droppped the “modest” tag. First, there were his comments after Argentina defeated the Netherlands, calling the referee “useless”. Fast-forward to this final and he’s shimmying after making a save, tossing the ball away before France’s pens, and…I had to check this…wielding the World Cup Golden Glove trophy like, well, like the bellend that he is. Here he is, an ostensibly grown man aged 30, having reached the pinnacle of his career, and he’s celebrating it like he’s Jay Cartwright bragging about shagging some slag (how’s that for some rhythm and rhyme? Eh? Eh? (As you read that, I was elbowing you in the ribs suggestively, by the way)). That’s right. I closed the second set of parentheses. 

Anyway, Argentina owe us a debt of gratitude, and we apparently owe them an apology. On one hand, we helped Martinez become the player that he is. On the other, we apparently encouraged or at least tolerated the person he’s become. I’d like to congratulate him for his role in helping Argentina deliver the World Cup to Messi, who, despite his impressive resume, still comes across as a diligent, humble player and person…but I just can’t bring myself to stoop to Martinez’s level. 

In the end, my joy at seeing Messi hold aloft this trophy far exceeds any scorn I feel fro Martinez for how he held his. I just hope that this unbelievable tw*t remembers where he came from and how much he owes us. We stuck by him for years when he clearly wasn’t good enough to a be a first-choice keeper for us. Szczęsny, Fabiański, Mannone, even a past-it Čech were superior to him. He then burst forward and did finally deliver some impressive performances and promptly demanded he be given the keys to the car. We made him who he is now. Something makes me suspect, hwoever, that this idiotic man-cnild is going to hog all the credit for himself.

Brighton 0-0 Arsenal: Well, at least Maupay didn't maim anyone…

Yes, it’s a point claimed, but, more importantly, Neal Maupay didn’t jeoardise anyone’s careers like he did towards the end of the 2019-20 campaign, going in for a pointless and reckless challenge on Leno, crashing into Leno, who had already claimed the ball. That gave rise to and eventual sale of Emi Martinez, may have ended Leno’s position as our #1 keeper, and almost certainly spelt the end of Matteo Guendouzi’s tenure as well. All of that because of the actions of the kind of smirking, malevolent, thirteen year old who’d step on the heels of your sneakers, swipe  your Galaxy Minstrels, and act like he invented the calculator trick in which you type 55378008 and turn it round for some naughty word-play. As if to show that his juvenile delinquency has spread throughout the club, Brighton tweeted out an image of Maupay in a mock-crying pose because, well, playing the part of the antagonist from Diary of a Wimpy Kid is apparently something to aspire to. #Lifegoals, Neal. #Lifegoals indeed.

Enough about that pissant other than to say it’s a pity he didn’t have a go at Ramsdale, who’s built like a brick shithouse and would have sent Maupay to the shadow realm, never to return. There was bound to be an emotional letdown after thrashing Spurs last weekend, even moreso because the result suggested to us that we had rounded a corner and were set for smooth sailing. Unfortunately, Graham Potter knows what he’s doing (as evinced by the fact that we faced him and his squad this week as opposed to last week).

The proof is in the pudding. As was to be expected, Brighton were well-drilled, organised, and stout defensively whilst also being adventurous going forward. They had a number of point-blank chances, some they fluffed, some Ramsdale saved, and we should certainly see this as a point earned rather than two dropped. Our brightest lights were strangely dim aside from a few flashes here and there, and credit Potter and his squad for keeping us on the backfoot for most of the match. Potter himself said in the post-match that “in terms of performance, it was as good as I can remember…this performance gives us a lot of hope and belief going forward.” It’s perhaps a sign of how different our fortunes lie that a scoreless draw prompts such optimism from our opponent while we have to clench our teeth and grumble. Then again, it’s not as if our manager selected a side that left more than one million pounds in weekly wages on the bench as Ole At The Wheel did when he left Ronaldo, Pogba, and Sancho on the bench. But I digress.

At any rate, we’ve now taken 10 points from our last four matches and have moved from the bottom of the table to the top 9/20th. For as good as our defense has been since the debacle at the Etihad, there are some urgent questions still to be asked about our attack. We’ve scored just five goals in the league so far, three of those against Tottenham, and we’re only club in the top half of the table with a negative goal difference. We have a number of tricky but winnable fixtures coming up after the international break— visits from Palace, Villa, and Leeds (that one in the League Cup) and then a trip to King Fox to face Leicester. That’s four matches in 12 days. It would be just splendid to see us take a minimum of seven points from the nine on offer while advancing to the League Cup quarterfinal, seeing as how that’s step one of our domestic treble. We’ll have to find a more a remedy for this toothless attack, though.

Speaking of toothlessness, we may have escaped AmEx without serious injuries, but I’m bemused to report that Gabriel has once again lost a tooth against Brighton. That’s two.

Sayonara, Szczęsny: loan to Roma might equal an Arsenal adieu…

Wojciech Szczęsny has agreed to a season-long loan to Serie A’s Roma, but the deal apparently does not allow Roma a £3.5 million buy-out clause, implying that Szczęsny would return to Arsenal for next season. On its face, the deal might make sense as it gives him a chance to play ahead of De Sanctis (38 y.o.), Lobont (37), and Švedkauskas (21). It both strips Szczęsny of the comfort he’s enjoyed over the last few seasons while allowing him to play and develop, albeit without the mentoring and modeling that Petr Čech would offer. That brings me to my stunning realisation…

This loan is a prelude to shipping Szczęsny out.

After being benched for a short stint in 2012-13, Szczęsny ended sitting out almost half of the 2014-15 season after getting caught smoking in the changing room after his own errors allowed Southampton to beat us 2-0. It’s one thing to smoke while out on the town amongst mates, but to do so in the changing room all but dares Arsène to make a move. Szczęsny ended up watching as Ospina did tolerably well as we climbed to as high as second, however, briefly. When he did come on in FA Cup matches, he failed to convince, and we now have Čech as our presumptive #1 goalkeeper.

The original impression was that Čech’s arrival would offer Szczęsny motivation, mentorship, and modeling, and it would be Ospina out the door on his way to Fenerbahçe. Perhaps Arsène didn’t want to provide van Persie any help. Instead of the Čech-Szczęsny partnership, though, I wonder if we’ve seen the last of the latter. Put simply, our recent history of loaning out players doesn’t work in Szczęsny’s favour. Setting aside youth-products, the last five years of loans suggests that Arsène uses them as a polite way to ease a player out or dispense with him entirely. In those last five years, only two senior players from twelve who have been loaned out have made a successful return to the club: Ramsey and Coquelin. Among the departed: Mannone, Vela, Frimpong, Arshavin, Chamakh, Santos, Djourou, Park, Bendtner, and Podolski. On the bubble are Campbell and Jenkinson.

Ostensibly, a loan offers a young player a better chance at regular playing time in order to develop before returning to his parent club. In many of the cases listed above, that was occasionally true, but in just as many, something different occurred, as the loaned-out player simply left Arsenal. Out-of-favour players who had logged significant minutes in the Prem—such as Santos, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner, and Podolski—were deemed superfluous or not quite good enough.

Back to Szczęsny. While his loan is set for one year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we learn a year from now he’s been sold, whether to Roma or some other club. After all, Čech probably has as many as five years of top-quality performance in him. By the point that he’s showing signs of his age, another Arsenal keeper should be ready, having absorbed all of that motivation, mentorship, and modeling that might have been intended for Szczęsny. No, not Ospina. I’m referring to Emi Martínez. He’s 22 and has shown flashes of potential. While these are not quite apples-to-apples, they still offer food for thought:

  • At Anderlecht in the first leg, Martínez conceded just one goal. 
  • At home against Anderlecht in the second, Szczęsny conceded three.
  • At Dortmund in the first leg, Szczęsny conceded two goals.
  • At home against Dortmund in the second, Martínez kept a clean sheet.
Again, these stats can’t stand as a direct comparison, but there’s still something in them to consider. Szczęsny, for all of his cock-potential, still doesn’t convince. In fact, if anything, he unnerves. By contrast, Čech, in his two appearances, has already inspired greater confidence (even if it was against Singapore and Everton…then again, if confident performances against those two inspire confidence, Szczęsny’s problems are profound indeed).
Arsène has stood by Szczęsny through thick and thin, but there’s been a gradual progression in how he’s handled Szczęsny’s misdeeds. 2012-13: bench the lad briefly. 2014-15: bench him for half the season. 2015-16: loan him out. What’s next for Szczęsny? Will he be brought back into the fold, or will he be sold?

Jump down to the comments-section to share your thoughts!