Football Insights - Emmanuel Petit
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Football Insights - Emmanuel Petit

Former Chelsea and Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit gives his verdict on another superb Arsenal performance in their win over Liverpool, Chelsea and what their season will look like under new manager Graham Potter and more.


Thoughts on the Arsenal v Liverpool game?

Arsenal have started very well but theres still a big gap between them and Man City. They showed last week against Spurs that theyve improved so much and the fact theyre scoring goals so early shows their mentality and their motivation.

It doesnt matter which team they play against, they still show the same identity and personality. It was a great game against Liverpool as they had to score again and again and again, 

We all knew Liverpool were an injured beast, but they showed at least theyre still a big team and have a big players. I felt it should have been a draw.

 

Were Arsenal fortunate with the last penalty decision?

Ive watched the highlights and the foul from Thiago Alcantara is not a big, big foul but Jesus was the first on the ball so you could see the touch. It was a penalty.

 

Has Martinelli got a good chance for the World Cup now?

Brazil played against Tunisia and Ghana and won both games and of course Martinelli wasn’t in the squad. I think its too early for him as there are players with more experience who are more efficient than him.

Were in the middle of October and the list will be done in early November. Hes having a great season, but is it enough to go to the World Cup? This is Brazil. If he keeps on going in the form hes in, he will be part of it but I think its too early.

 

Thoughts on Trents performance?

Trent is one of the best in offence, but hes not a defender. The way he fights, the positions he gets in, hes always far away from opponents and lets them do what they want with the ball.

There is always space for players to run in behind him all the time. For me, hes not a proper defender so when you play a 4-2-3-1 you have to defend and it has to be the priority. If you play a 3-4-3 its different as he can be higher.

But I wont point the finger as theres so many players who can be better. Trent needs to know that his ticket to the World Cup is far from confirmed. It will be a surprise for me if he goes to the World Cup.

 

Gabriel looked a bit shaky, do you agree?

I thought Gabriel looked nervous and if I was Sailba, Id have talked to him straight away and told him not to touch the ball, let it bounce and let our players come back in defence.

If you have a 50/50 percent chance of getting the ball youre at risk of it being played in a dangerous area and he allowed this to happen yesterday.

He was late with Darwin Nunez to fight for the ball when he scored his equaliser too. His positioning wasnt perfect and he showed he was nervous when he was fighting with players on the pitch - like he did with Henderson. 

It showed hes not 100 percent confident. 

White and Saliba have been terrific but Gabriel is not 100 percent confident in his head. 

 

Thoughts on Xhakas brilliant displays this season?

Xhaka is a survivor. When I look at his run with Arsenal since he signed - especially during the COVID-19 and he threw his shirt on the floor - everyone thought that was it.

But he came back and Mikel Arteta is responsible for that in a good way. Xhaka is not a crazy horse on the pitch anymore, he doesnt make a late challenges to get yellow or red cards, and Arteta has managed him perfectly on the pitch.

Xhaka can now make an important pass, score a great goal, but most importantly he has a smile on his face. I cant remember the last time that happened and it shows that the fans and his teammates have forgiven him

 

Who should Arsenal sign in January if they want to challenge for the title?

I dont think Arsenal will win the title but they will definitely qualify for the Champions League and that is a big achievement considering where they were when Arteta came to the club.

If they are to strengthen I think they need wingers because Saka, Martinelli and Jesus have been great but they have no-one to replace them if they get injured.

Smith-Rowe is injured, Nketiah just signed a new contract but can he be the next striker if Jesus gets injured? My answer is no.

All the big teams have big wingers. Theres a few in England that would be my dream for Arsenal. Allan Saint-Maximin would be a great signing. Can you imagine the damage with all the players around him?

Wilfried Zaha of Palace too would be great. But they also need a central midfielder and centre-back as Im not too sure about Rob Holding.

 

Is it time for Mason Mount to kick on after his first two assists of the season?

Something has changed on the pitch. The ball is going quickly to Mount and its more direct and that suits Mason Mount. 

He likes to play direct football, but Mount needs to do more and more if he wants to go to World Cup and play at the top level in the Champions League.

 

What did you make of Pulisic against Wolves?

I heard what Pulisics father said on the social networks - that he should show more respect and get more playing time etc.

But like I said with Mason Mount, you play for Chelsea and the competition is very high. Look at the dressing room, how many international players and quality players are there?

When he gets on the pitch he needs to show what he can do, and he did that against Wolves.

Im pretty sure he wont be starting against Milan in the first XI but if he makes a difference when he plays, hell get more and more minutes.

 

Thoughts on Chelsea target Rafael Leao?

Rafael Leao used to play for Lille. He didnt play for long but then he was sold to Milan - just like Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.

Hes tall, powerful, fast and physical. Hes got a great ability to score goals as well as anger and ambition. He’d be a good signing.

If an English club is able to buy him then they should go for it as he will provide a lot of goals and adapt to the league quickly.

 

What would be a good season for Potter? Can Chelsea challenge City?

If the Cyborg [Haaland] doesnt get injured… theres still such a big gap. Arsenal are right behind City and Chelsea have great depth and have enough options to do well.

Chelsea wont fight for the title, theyll fight for the Champions League spots.

A good season would be qualifying for the Champions League and if he can win a title, an FA Cup, or go on a good run in Europe that would be a good season.

 

How far can Haaland go? Can he emulate greats like your ex-teammates Henry and Zola?

I thought I had seen everything with Ronaldo and Messi, but then Mbappe and Haaland came and those guys are breaking records as well. They prove theres no limit to what modern football can produce.

Haaland has 15 goals already and thats already double the amount of Harry Kane, who has eight goals.

Hes got so many great players around him that understand his movements in the penalty area.

He will be the best striker in this season and I have no idea what his limits are.

 

Is it time for Chelsea to cash in on Kante?

Kante has been tremendous for years and years. Hes been running around the world all the time, but I can understand Chelseas position.

How can they pay so much money for someone who is always injured? He cannot play a proper game. 

I heard hes back from training and will be fit soon, but I understand Chelseas position.

Hell be a great bargain if he doesnt sign a contract as hell be available for free and some clubs will be interested to get him for sure

 

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V: 1.26.0 All rights reserved. August 2021
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