Tag Archives: Moises Caicedo

Partey's injured? Sign Caicedo at £75m—please!

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. Or something. Going into the FA Cup fourth round tie with Manchester City, it looked like we were going to have our cake and eat it too. Despire a fair amount of rotation amid the hostile environs of the Etihad—wait—does jaded diffidence count as “hostile”? Were it not for the boiserous away fans, one might have thought we were back to COVID-lockdown era empty stadiums. Anyway, a mixed squad had Man City on the ropes for long stretches until Thomas Partey picked up a knock and had to come off. Instead of all that cake, we came away with the blurst of times: got knocked out and suffered a major injury to a vital player.

Okay, so “major” injury might distort the situation. We don’t know the extent of Partey’s injury ot the length of his layoff. From the look of things, Kevin de Bruyne delivered a sharp elbow to his rib cage. Whether he cracked a rib or only has a boo-boo that can be fixed with a My Little Pony brand bandage, we’re looking down the barrel of a gun where the light at the end of the tunnel is the same stumble we suffered at the end of last season. This is arguably the one position we’re most vulnerable at. Elneny’s injury means that Partey’s most-reliable backup will also be unavailable for some time, and Lokonga sadly showed that he’s not ready to deputise. 

All of this makes crystal clear what all of us—including, I’m sure, Arteta and Edu—have worried about since the start of the season. Painful memories from the last few weeks of last season now fade in comparison. Instead of clinging desperately to fourth, we’re now standing proudly atop the table, five poitns clear with a game in hand. It could all just slip away again…

…unless we can pry Moises Caicedo away from an increasingly stubborn Brighton, who may resent us somewhat after taking the frozen-out Trossard off their hands. He has after all already shown his quality in his two brief appearances since joining. Whatever the thinking is over at Brighton doesn’t seem to make much sense. They’ve apparently told Caicedo that he will not be in the squad when Brighton face Liverpool on Tuesday and to stay away from the training gound until the transfer window closes on Wednesday. While they have a right to be irritated at Caicedo’s statement in which he stated that he “would be proud to be able to bring in a record transfer fee for Brighton”. I also understand their reluctance to sell this late in the window, which doesn’t leave much time to actually use that record fee. Last I checked, the Seagulls had a reasonable chance at Europa League qualification.

All sympathies aside, we have a Prem title to chase. If our credentials were fragile before, they look positively shattered now. I’m not one for hyperbole. There’s nothing I hate more. Nothing. Much as I would love to see Brighton finish above Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham, I would thrill to see us win the Prem. Caicedo is Prem-proven and on the radar of many other clubs. For as maddening as the Mudryk saga was, it showed that we do have a few quid laying around—something Brighton have surely noticed as well. They’ve been obdurate in their opposition to selling him, but everyone’s available if the price is right. What we have to do then is to find that right price, that Goldilocks zone between what they want and what we’re willing to pay. I’ve supported Edu’s stance of not getting into bidding wars and of walking away if a fee exceeds his valuation…but I hope there’s some elasticity to that stance.

What’s Caicedo worth? How high should we be willing to go? Is this all just an overreaction to what may end up being a mild bruise?

Brighton Preview: they're droppin' like flies over there…

The nay-sayers will point out to you that we’ve only won twice in ten outings against Brighton, including a 1-3 loss in the League Cup back in November. That match does stand out as one in which Arteta got it wrong, not so much in fielding a heavily rotated side (only Saliba and Tierney started among a bunch of back-benchers) but in panicking late on, throwing on Martinelli and then Big Gabi and Zinchenko and Jesus and finally Xhaka in what looked like an increasingly desperate grasping at straws. Arteta may have learned from Pep that it’s imperative to fight for each trophy, but if he had wanted to win, he would have started as we finished. Ah, well. Water under a bridge or off a duck’s back. This is the Prem, a competition we know not to take lightly…even if our hosts will be lacking key players.

Since coming on back in September, Roberto De Zerbi has struggled to make his mark seeing Brighton to slipping from fourth place on matchday seven to their current seventh-place status. Things don’t get any easier, given the hand he’s been dealt (or the cards the referees have dealt…). In addition to missing Alexis Mac Allister due to his participation in the World Cup, De Zerbi may be without Danny Welbeck but will definitely be without Moisés Caicedo, who picked up his fifth yellow card against Southampton and will serve the subsequent one-match ban on Saturday Further shortening his bench will injuries to Jakub Moder and Adam Webster (Moder hasn’t played yet this season, so his absence matters somewhat less than Webster’s. In Webster’s absence, De Zerbi has had to rely on the 19 year old CB Levi Colwill, who has acquitted himself quite well so far in his five starts. To circle back, though, we should know better than to underestimate this squad given that they’ve been a bit of a bogey side for us over the last few years.

As for us, a lot of eyes will again be on Eddie Nketiah to see if his performance against West Ham was a one-off, as many of his critics will loudly proclaim; or if he can build on that. TO be frank, I don’t understand why so many of us deride Nketiah. He may not be Hale End, but he’s been here a while, he’s worked hard, and he’s gotten better and better. Is he good enough for our ambitions? No, not yet, but it’s not his fault that the injury to Jesus has thrust him front and center so suddenly. As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, we may not need a dominant, prolific, goal-scoring striker when the chances and assists and goals are coming from all directions. Heck, even the healthy Jesus was part of that attack-by-committee before going down. Nketiah did show against West Ham (as he’s shown in previous starts) that he is comfortable being more than a traditional big man in the middle, moving off the ball and across the front three to exchange positions with his mates to stretch defenses and create openings. That said, I really do hope he bags a brace or more, not just for the result but also for his development and, last but not least, to offer up a few more servings of humble pie or crow or their own words for his critics to eat.

He wears the shirt. He works. He presses. Heck, he scores. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and so I struggle to understand why so many still lambast him.Much as I understand that players sometimes use criticism to get themselves fired up, I’m not foolish enough to believe that this is what motivates the critics. They have axes to grind and evidence to cherry-pick. Let them talk. I’m sure (okay, more like hopeful) that Nketiah will walk the walk.

My prediction: Brighton 0-2 Arsenal. Both goals from Nketiah. I’m feeling sassy. What say you?