Arsenal vs Westham and Folarin Balogun

Before the Game: What’s the Deal with Folarin Balogun? Arsenal & Westham

Table of Contents

***This is part of the podcast transcript. I realised today that I write better than I speak…Dear me!***


What’s the deal with Balogun? What should you expect from our game against Westham and Szczesny can’t breathe? Like, for real, he couldn’t breathe during a game. 


Welcome to Arsenal. Stories by Mister Spruce.

Yes, thank you. I’ve been on a partially self-imposed hiatus. It used to be just a Mister… can’t speak now. It used to just be the Mister Spruce blog, and I would just churn out news chasing readership. Sigh… but now, now this whole thing has changed direction.

It’s an emotional investment now. A feel-good channel blog, whatever.

After Wenger, there was so much vitriol in the blogosphere and I had to step back…


Blogosphere… Is that even still a word?

Anyways, so welcome to Arsenal Stories by Mister Spruce. It’s going to be about celebrating our club players and fans. And no, you wouldn’t get stats here at least not like that.

Maybe barely even.

No, no stats. Can’t be constipating myself on stats. Leave that to the experts Canon on stats and maybe a different knock. And if you haven’t checked both their, channels and substack, you should.

Now, moving on to the meat of OK, that came out so wrong… moving out to the crux of this podcast.

What's the Deal With Folarin Balogun?

So I hope you like the piece that we did with, AI using, Folarin Balogun. 

Yeah, AI is scary, but moving on. We’re gonna be talking about the deal about for… and I just want to get my notes here because I put down some things that we’re going to talk about now Folarin Balogun. My Nigerian compatriot has been OK, I’m claiming him now because he’s so good. But, you know, whatever, he’s been the revelation of the entire European season.

Maybe I think, I mean, we know that there are good players, the players that we expect to be ‘Wow!’, you know, to have that ‘wow’ effect. But nobody really expected Balogun to go and do what he’s done with Nice… no, with Reims. And yes, I know people would say that the French league is a Farmer’s League, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the man has scored 18 goals in 29 games and had two assists! 

Now would he be able to do that in the Premier League? 

I don’t know. 

You know where the defenders are tougher, stronger, and probably more aggressive. And thank goodness he didn’t play in the time of Ryan Shawcross, poor boy’s legs would have been muddled up, you know? 

But the question remains, you know, can he do this in the Premier League? 

And we also have rumours. I was reading The Athletic and there have been rumours that AC Milan, Inter, Monaco and Leipzig – if that’s how to pronounce it – are after his signature. Now, let me just go quickly to The Athletic article, because I have that open on my laptop here. 

They, talk a lot about, how he’s got competition in Gabriel and then Eddie. And if he would be able to dislodge those guys now, a lot of people on Twitter are saying they’ll take Balogun over Eddie Nketiah. 

I don’t know… but I know Balogun offers something different in that he is bigger, taller and maybe more of a target man, I don’t know, but, you know, a lot of people are saying that they would sell Eddie and keep Balogun, and maybe rightly so.

The Athletic brings up the fact that we’ve made good sales with people like Alex Iwobi who were surplus to requirements and with Joe Willock, who’s been doing amazing at Newcastle, by the way.

Now if you think we should sell Balogun and keep Eddie because obviously there’s no point talking about selling Gabriel Jesus, it’s not…that’s not even a topic up for discussion. But between Eddie and Balogun, who would you prefer? 

Who would you rather take? Let me know in the comments below. OK, and also, we are also looking at someone who could potentially because he’s younger and his ‘market’ is really burning up right now. He could probably fetch us more than Nketiah could. I’m just saying, he’s English and he’s really good. At least right now. He’s really good. 

So maybe we take the money for Balogun and add that to maybe Caicedo which will be coming to later in the podcast. We’ll be talking about that and what Arsenal fans think.

Arsenal vs Westham

I’ve been talking with a couple of us this week.

So moving on, we talk about our game, we’re moving on to our game against West Ham, and by the way, if you want to link to read the article about Folarin Balogun, it’s in the description below. It’s available if you’ve got a free subscription to The Athletic. You should be able to read that, I don’t think it’s behind a paywall anyway. 

It’s moving on to our game against Westham. 

What are the odds? 

I don’t want us to go into that game thinking we’re all that, yes people! People have been pandering the phrase: ‘Every game in the final’, and maybe rightly so. But, you know, I just want us to go and build confidence with that game with a win going forward and when we eventually meet tougher teams like City, obviously, and Newcastle – and I think we have Chelsea – we need to win. 

Win every game right now. 

Yeah, So I was talking to a seasoned Arsenal fan this week after work, and he said he would prefer he’d prefer Caicedo over Declan Rice as Partey’s cover. 

So basically he’d rather we got to cover for Partey and then he prefers Caicedo over Rice but would want Rice as Xhaka’s cover. So you see, I mean, obviously, Xhaka could end up being Rice’s cover. But the point is, if he had to choose one person, if we only had to buy one, he would choose Caicedo. But he’d rather that we had both. So that Rice, you know, takes Xhaka’s place and then Xhaka acts as cover because he’s getting older, but has got unquantifiable qualities that will be beneficial to the team. And then he’ll take Caicedo as Partey’s, successor. 

What do you think? 

Let me know in the comments. 

But do you think we can actually afford both? Say we sell, Folarin Balogun, for, like, £35 million or £40 million and add that to the transfer kitty and then go ahead and splurge on two midfielders, Rice and then, we just make do with what we have upfront. 

Maybe get a winger? That’s not pressing. 

Anyways, for the game against West Ham on Sunday, We need to be careful of Paqueta. He seems to be finding his form now. Bowen and also Rice. Rice would probably want to put on a show for Mikel Arteta, you know, let him know what he’s missing. 

So right, Rice might want to put up a show, but those are players that we should be worried about. And then, there’s Michel Antonio who can be a pest. He can. He’s strong, he’s fast and he’s a pest, so we’d have to keep him quiet. We can’t make any silly mistakes at all. 

And for the love of God, once, we are one or two goals up, can Mikel put in Kieran Tierney? Because he”s much better defensively. I think we suffered a lot in our game against Liverpool because Liverpool kind of figured out that we were weak on the left after a while, so they kept peppering. Zinchenko. 

I have no issues with Zinchenko, it’s just that the fact remains that he’s better technically than Tierney. But when you need someone who can give you good defensive qualities and as well whipping in decent crosses. His passing may not be sublime as Zinchenko’s but you need a Tierney. 

And I would rather we sold… what’s his name? This guy we loaned to Olympic Marseille. Oh, dear God, I’ve forgotten his name. I’m pausing this and I’m going to look for his name. Give me a second. Nuno, Tevares. Yes, I know, he’s been gone so long, I’ve almost forgotten he’s there. 

So I’d rather we sold Nuno and kept Tierney. I know he’s injury prone. But if we have, if we keep Zinchenko and Nuno, we basically have one left back that can score and is prone to horrible mistakes and maybe has a little bit of an attitude problem. And Zinchenko, who’s beautiful in the midfield and with passing, but just basic defensively or decent defensively. We need a left-back that can defend. That’s why I’m thinking Nuno for a decent amount and, you know, keep Zinchenko and keep Tierney. Yeah, those are my thoughts. 

Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Now moving on to Chesney…

Szczesny Can't/Could'nt Breathe

I think I know this is old news, but it just got me worried because, he can sometimes be an annoyance, but, there’s no doubt that he loves Arsenal. And seeing that news that he struggled with breathing in the game against, Sporting Lisbon – I think yes, who they did pretty well against, I think they won that game – it got me worried. 

Footballers and health issues, especially with their hearts and lungs and such. But I hope he gets better soon. Guys send him goodwill messages on his Twitter, on his Instagram, and wherever he is on social media.


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