Pepe’s First Assist, a Frenchman is MOTM, Emery Got Away With It: 8 Observations Arsenal v Spuds

Arsenal 2 – 2 Spuddies in a nutshell:

  • A game of two halves, as so often under Emery;
  • Great fight back and spirit from the boys; 
  • Great support from the home crowd;
  • Tactically all over the place but full of NLD passion and commitment; 
  • Hate the former, absolutely love the latter;
  • I remain unconvinced by Emery’s tactical ability and use of our fabulous resources.

Arsenal krijgt te weinig in zinderende stadsderby tegen Tottenham

Eight observations from a frantic, cup-final-kind-of-a-game that felt both like a win and a loss after the final whistle:

  1. Whilst we sat back against Pool and invited their pressure with hope to beat them on the break, against the Spuds at home Emery wanted to attack relentlessly from the start. The result was a tornado of a game with a restlessness that never subsided. It was brave to play the PALs from the start; a shame, though, Emery did not dare to add a proper nr10 to that lethal trio. Ozil started on the bench and never came off it. Instead, we played with a flat midfield-three in which everyone seemed to be allowed to play anywhere they liked, and, especially, anyhow they liked. With Emery, Arsenal have a very busty/sexy top, a lose/wobbly core of a midriff and some fine legs that are nevertheless left to fend for themselves. The Spuddies like to absorb pressure and play on the break and they punished us severely for some limpid defending; with 2-0 up they almost made it to the break, and Pochettino must have thought ‘how easy is this?!’; his tactics were the superior ones during the first half.
  2. This style of midriff-less football does not suit the likes of Xhaka and Torreira at all. The last gasp defending and getting back in some sort of position is a nightmare for them, and I can well imagine they do not like how Emery is setting up the team and his ‘tactical’ instructions. Xhaka DID make a bad mistake and all the Xhaka-haters will see their one-dimensional views confirmed. They will not have seen how he recovered in the second half and how some of the best passes came from his foot. The Xhaka-hatred will not go away after that avoidable penalty give-away, and he will have to cut out fast such mistakes, but with 1.7 key passes per game he remains very important for us (and no doubt will remain the first on the team sheet for Emery).
  3. The second half was much better as Arsenal pushed the Spuds more in their own half and left far less space behind the attackers for them to play the ball out from a turnover. The midfield played much more disciplined and our attackers got much better service. I was pleased that Emery did not make any changes at half time but decided to talk to his players instead, much helped of course by Laca’s late first-half goal – without that it could have been totally different half time tactics and offerings to the Gods by the wizard from the Basque country. The final part of the second half was something else, though, and, as much as I liked our desire to win the game at all costs, the space we gave away for the Spuds to win it instead was just mind-blowing and an attack on my vital organs.
  4. MOTM by a mile was our First Warrior of last season, Laca. He single-handedly saved us from a thumping by scoring a great, Messi-esque goal just at the right time. What a fine control of the ball and powerful finish with his left foot. I also liked David Luiz positioning and organisation of his often unprotected defence, and I thought the full backs had a very effective game. A special mention should also go out to Guendouzi who was allowed to move all over the pitch in Emery’s approach and therefore looked often good. He made some good interceptions and blocks and of course he produced a fine assist for Auba that he finished exquisitely. At just 0.5 key passes per game (13th in the Arsenal team league for key passes), Guendouzi has a long way to go, but he now has his first assist of the season and hopefully many more will come.
  5. Big point is, though, that Emery kept Ozil on the bench and yet the game screamed out for him. I really don’t get what is going on with the Spaniard: wanting lots and lots of passion and drive is great but football is still a game in need for calm and intelligence – for silver-serving the PALs. Guendouzi is doing relatively well for his age but we have the king of assists and key passes rotting away on the bench (if he is actually picked to warm it).
  6. Leno needs to get those wrists sorted so he can push away further the low shots fired at him. The first goal, despite bad defending by a number of our players, was avoidable with a stronger push out by our nr1 goalkeeper. But it must be said, he also kept us in the game with a couple of fine flying saves and a strong personality in and around the box.
  7. What a baptism of fire for Pepe this home-NLD was and how well did he do?! I absolutely loved his drive and involvement and it is really great that he produced his first assist. He just has to find a little bit more composure before he pulls the trigger. As an attacking trio the PALs will have to get used to each other, though, and I am not sure whether playing all three of them is the best option for us. We should note that our attackers managed to get just under a third of our shots on goal whereas the Spuddies had two third of their shots on goal. But Pepe was not intimidated and took full part in this topsy-turvy derby game  (is that a tautology?), and that goes a long way.
  8. Finally, a few quick and dirty observations. Kola replaced the sadly missed Nacho and he did a good job. Mkhi was brought on and clearly was rusty and had issues with his first touch, but he still added a bit of intelligence to our potent attacking threat. Is Nelson – a half time Emery ‘sacrifice’ v Burnley – totally out of favour now? In my view, Reiss could have made the difference at the end of the game as the Spuds were weak on their right side and we were breaching their defence quite well there. A winger with close ball control was missing though and Nelson could have made the Spuds pay for it. Ceballos brought more energy and a bit more intelligence too, but I do worry about his risky ‘keep hold of the ball for too long’ style of play that leaves us vulnerable to turnovers. Clearly, Emery also rates his fellow Spaniard higher than the king of the key pass which baffles me beyond belief.

By TotalArsenal.

40 thoughts on “Pepe’s First Assist, a Frenchman is MOTM, Emery Got Away With It: 8 Observations Arsenal v Spuds

  • I agree with practically everything.
    It’s a joy someone not seeing Xhaka as a one-dimensional calamity, but an (indeed error-prone) creative CM with great passing range and skills.

    While there is a lot to experiment with the CB partnership – I can easily imagine Chambers-Holding being just as effective as Sokratis-Luiz – but I definitely start Ozil in the midfield trio (making our attacking trident a truly lethal OPAL diamond) especially at home games, and start Ceballos away matches.

    Guendouzi is indeed a great talent, and so is Nelson, Willock and hopefully Nketiah, Martinelli and Saka too, but they should start at cup games and not occupy starting line-up positions. Even if Matteo has played the game of his career, he has more to offer from the bench.

  • Welcome pbarany, and thanks for commenting. Love the OPAL diamond analogy.

    It really is amazing how many ‘supporters’ cannot see further than their nose when it comes to Xhaka. It was a stupid mistake and we paid for it, but he really played well in the second half and was probably my MOTM during that period.

    Where are you based and for how long have you been supporting the mighty red and whites?

  • Ah come on Total, isn’t this a place for debates? Not forcing your own opinions into others. Though admittedly it’d be better if Ikya supported his own comment with some cold-hard facts.

    Surely even you have to admit Xhaka didn’t look match sharp, he was slow to most balls yesterday and gave unnecessary fouls. Even Laca looked like he was only 85% of his usual lofty standards, his holdup was good but he failed to distribute the ball efficiently unlike last season.

  • Okay Lucas, who said debate is not possible here? A one-liner deserves a one-liner, and that is what he got.

    Who did look match-sharp in your opinion? If you play without midriff and all is focussed on attack, attack, attack the midfielders will often look under par. If we don’t play with a nr10 then Laca will have to play like he did in and around the D, and he was constantly under a lot of pressure so his distribution was under a lot of challenge. Yet he saved the game for us with a world goal at the right time. Furthermore, the impact of Emery’s tactics should be taken into account when valuating the players’ performances. And I invite you to watch the second half again and still say Xhaka didn’t play well… 🙂


  • TA, fine observations, as always. I also thought Xhaka had a great (perhaps, one of his best) game for Arsenal in this NLD. I will be curious to see his numbers but my guess is they will show he was our most effective (defensively, in particular) player of the back 7, overall. It was silly to lunge at Son like he did in the box, but he was looking to block a shot which didn’t come, and his momentum forced him closer to Son than he’d want in the circumstances, while the spud promptly made the most of a mild touch. Notice Xhaka was pulling back while Son ensured the touch happened.

    I liked Guendouzi’s performance the most, though. His contributions belied his young age and I daresay, he will be starting a lot if he keeps playing with such courage. He was the left side midfielder, covering for Kolasinac when he went on his bombing runs forward; he only appeared on the left (or centre) when making recoveries off our set piece (corner kicks) situations or when Ceballos came on and the instruction came for him to go cover for the departed Torreira, since Mkhi was also operating from the left. So, in my view, there was some clear organization in the appearance of chaos. Ozil can not be the direct replacement for Guendouzi as Ozil won’t carry out the defensive actions Guendouzi would and the boy does do a lot, to be fair. But, I get the point that we would be better served with a midfield trio of Xhaka, Torreira and Ozil, at home against any side. When we need energy and running, plus a bit of skill, Guendouzi is the man for the game. He kept running yesterday while the likes of Kolasinac was out on his feet.

    Finally, Laca scored the all important first goal, but he can’t have been MoTM on his play yesterday. In my estimation, there were, at least, 3 occasions when he took the wrong decision to seek space for a shot when teammates were buzzing all around him for the pass that would have created a more defining goal chance. It frustrated me that he failed to play the quick pass in those moments; almost like he wanted to bring the pacy players flanking him to his own pace or appreciation of speed. If we have to pick one, I’d go for Guendouzi or Xhaka as MoTM.

    It’s going to be a long two weeks.

  • Fair and well argued assessments, Eris. 🙂

    The second half was definitely better from a tactical point of view – except for the last 15 minutes as per post, when the ‘order in the chaos’ dissipated once again imo.

    Nice call re Xhaka and a big statement! But I love it.

    Re Laca, agreed re some of his decision making at times but, as said above in a comment, he had to do a hell of a lot by himself. Auba is a great attacker but his ‘field-football’ is not that great and Pepe is new to the team, so Laca, without a nr10 to play with, had to produce a lot of magic. But for me he gets the MoTM for THAT goal. I strongly feel that we would have lost the game, and possibly handsomely, IF Laca had not scored there and then. So this, plus his work rate, deserves MoTM imo. 🙂

  • Well, who can argue with you here? 😜😜

    It would seem that Laca has picked up a hammy, from the sounds of it. But Emery did say it isn’t a severe one.

    The choice of MoTM May remain left for opinion; but basically, as gleaned from the EPLreview site,
    “In Premier League football match, Man of The Match award is often given to the outstanding player in a particular match. This can be a player from either team, although the player is typically chosen from the winning team. In Premier League, MOTM receives a small black and gold trophy for their performances.
    In general, players who had greater number of chances or assists created than any other player on the field, would be officially named Man of The Match. Normally, players who score a hat-trick or goalkeepers who keep a clean sheet under pressure would get the award.

    Generally, the certified commentators of Official Broadcaster or a sponsor decide Man of the Match, mostly based on the below match winning factor serially, the certified commentators of Official Broadcaster or a sponsor decide Man of the Match, mostly based on the below match winning factors:
    * Goals Scored;
    * Goals Assists;
    * Chances Created;
    * Passes Completed;
    * Tackles Won;
    * Saves (for goalkeeper);
    * Clean Sheet (for goalkeeper);

    I thought Guendouzi ticked more midfielder boxes than Laca did striker boxes, though. 👊🏽

  • PS: on Guendouzi in my first post, 4th line, 2nd paragraph, I meant to say “…he only appeared on the right (or centre….”

    And, it would seem the club’s website agrees with me that Guendouzi was “main man”, as they described him. Lol.

  • TA, very little to disagree with in your observations. Great match for the neutrals or for those who value high drama.

    To the more technical eyes, we were great with the ball but incredibly open without it. It is not the way to go. At the heart of this openness, I believe, was an undermanned midfield which is a consequence of an overmanned attackers. We played two wide men (Pepe and Auba) who haven’t got defending in their locker, plus a fullback (Kola) who was under the impression that he was a winger. That’s too much of a luxury to carry by the team.

    Auba, inspite of all his goals is being underutilized at the wings. His goal yesterday exhibited his uncanny skill around the box. There was a lot behind that simple goal, which included psychology. He read accurately what Guendouzi was about to do (I was blind to it). Then he timed it all to perfection. If he’ll always play there, within a short time, he and those feeding him would develop a telepathic understanding. I hope Emery would begin to play him more as the central striker.

    My MOTM was Guendouzi if one is to sum all the fragments of play.

    There wasn’t that “heart in the mouth” playing out of the back. It seems the Tots never really mounted the 1st press and that helped us open up our game. I just wonder whether we get bogged down to playing out of the back as an end when we get pressed. Never, under Emery, have we dominated territory so much.

  • I have a feeling that Pepe’s exuberant style is bring M-Nikes out of his shell. Does he know how to caress the ball? Bellerin has a fight in his hands.

  • Did this match tell us anything about where we are? I think it says we are nearly there.

  • Thanks for the warm welcome, TotalArsenal.

    I live in Budapest, Hungary, and I became a Gooner when Bergkamp signed from Inter.
    That unfortunately makes me an inexperienced and halfhearted Spurs-hater, as I didn’t grew up in this culture and atmosphere. In fact I probably despise Chelsea, MC (and recently United) even more as the spend ridiculous money on players which they didn’t actually earn but were rather handed them to spend). I used to feel some kind of comradeship with Tottenham and Liverpool as they often couldn’t keep their best players (Modric, Bale, Suarez, Van Persie, Sanchez) and had to invest in relatively unknown starlets (Dier, Alli, Gomez, Origi, Chambers, Holding, Torreira) and the academy (Winks, Kane, Trent, Bellerin, AMN, Nelson).
    Anyway this is the past, and such view doesn’t make me a popular guy. 🙂

  • Thanks for the background info, pbarany. Budapest has been on my wish-list for a long time. I have been to Vienna and Prague but next up is Budapest. Are there quite a few Gooners in your city or is it a lonesome affair for you?

    I get your point re money and self-developing players etc. I have also a big dislike of the cash for trophies clubs and have always said that if Arsenal becomes like that I will stop actively supporting them.

  • Dear TotalArsenal,

    I accept that there might have been things I missed out while soaking in the thrill of the NLD yesterday and that you may have been right. I have taken the opportunity to rewatch the entirety of the second half again to reassess my thoughts.

    I have to say Xhaka was better than I remembered, but I still say his decision-making was underpar. Attacking wise, he was per usual, distributing the ball well and he even drew a foul which caused Son to be booked. But his decision making while defending was poor. Yes even though he won quite a few headers.

    An incident that summed up his defensive performance was when Son was running alongside Kane in a 2v2. He turned his head to check if there was any late runners incoming. None. He still decided to put on the breaks instead of tracking back and making it a 3v2. In the end, he was 15 meters away from the defence when Luiz, thank goodness, won the ball. Another one would be abandoning his screen position unnecessarily and causing unnecessary pressure on the defense.

    I’ve mentioned this on past posts, he is wrongly labelled as a DM, thus he shouldn’t be judged as one. But you don’t have to be a good defensive player to correct these mistakes. It’s common sense.

    Back to your comments on my post, I never said Xhaka didn’t play well. I said he wasn’t match sharp, he didn’t win balls he normally would and it’s surprising he didn’t get a yellow sooner.

  • Well GoonerEris, who can argue against those criteria, hey?! 😀

    For me it is simply who made the biggest difference. That would be Auba and Laca, but Laca’s goal was the one that got us out of jail. MotM for me.

  • re-Lacazette…
    He scored a crucial goal, defensively played good(even took a yellow in the 62nd minute to stop a dangerous counter).

    Like I said, he held the ball well. But once the ball was under his control, he didn’t execute the simple pass right or made an extra turn and lost possession. Give him 2/3 more matches and he’ll do it right.

  • Lucas, kudos to you for watching the second half again and when I have a bit of time I will do so too. You are right he is not a full DM, but then there are only a few left of those in the top teams. For what it is worth, I reckon that for example Kante would also have suffered yesterday if he had been wearing the mighty red and white shirt.

    For me Xhaka would be better suited in Pochettino’s team. They have better defensive shape and sit back more and then the Swiss maestro only needs a hard working DM type next to him to play his best football. We have such a player in Torreira (but not a typical DM either), and I have high hopes for Willock too, but Emery just does not want to play like that (with Ozil ideally in the hole to come and get the ball and work his magic in conjunction with Torreira and Xhaka). In Emery’s system, Xhaka is exposed and not properly supported to shine, but still the Spaniard cannot do without him as he remains our fulcrum despite everything.

  • hi, TA
    unai’s treatment of mesut keeps baffling me as well
    i was harsh on guendouzi lately, but it would be utterly foolish to deny his level of performance yesterday
    only the thing is he didn’t deserve to be a starter in the first place; i do wonder what unai’s problem with hale end might be: he axed reiss after 1.5 game, and now he benches joe who – in my opinion – is a far more interesting prospect than matteo, and had an unblemished start of season
    unai’s team selection antics are exhausting; i wrote this somewhere else before, but there is something i just can’t get through my thick head:
    1. city and ‘pool almost got 100 points last season
    2. pep always pick five of the following players: bsilva-de bruyne-dsilva-sterling-mahrez-foden-aguero-jesus-sané; plus walker who may be regarded as an extra attacking force (mendy would be another one if he was fit)
    3. klopp starts writing down these three names on the teamsheet: salah-firmino-mané; plus wijnaldum/the ox, and 2 full-backs who are actually wingers … and then picks the rest
    … but for some reason (which beats me), we couldn’t start with the following forward line:
    pépé-willock (ceballos)-mesut (ceballos)-auba
    with lucas as a shield in front of bellerin-holding-luiz (chambers)-tierney
    … i just don’t get it
    this club had a wonderful attacking soul for 22 years, but now i’m starting not to expect any magical team move any longer, i watch, i appreciate the lads’ commitment – we do have a great squad, which is the reason why unai’s “strategies” are so infuriating – and just hope i won’t be disappointed by the result (and yesterday’s is disappointing, let’s not be fooled by our comeback )

  • Hi LE GALL,

    Good comment and mostly agreed. We play like a mid-table team with a phenomenal attack and underused midfield potential. It is a waste of resources and I will keep pointing this out as long as it is obvious to me. 🙂

  • Excerpted insights from Robert Pires on Arsenal lineage– emphasized through a great story on his first NLD– per Lee Dixon.

    Penned by Amy Lawrence at ‘The Athletic’* —
    ‘Guendouzi is a warrior’: Pires believes Arsenal leadership and lineage in safe hands after spirit shown against Spurs.’

    Pires likes to talk about the history and life of the club to the young players. “Always,” he confirms. “As an Arsenal player it’s important for them to know where they are. This is an important club. The shirt is important. The history is important. Talking about that helps to build confidence in the players. That’s why for some of the old players, whether it is me or Thierry or someone else, like to give their advice.”


    “Finally,” breezes Pires. “I love Arsenal and when I see the club wanted to integrate Freddie into the first-team staff I was happy. When I saw Edu return in his sporting director role I was happy. Because these guys can carry the values, can help the players in the team. I try to help by continuing to go to London Colney. We all want what is good for the club.”

    For Guendouzi, these messages were subconsciously there on the pitch with those lung-busting runs in the second half that helped Arsenal avoid an outcome that must not be allowed to happen. “We had to keep going to score,” Guendouzi explains. “The older players tell you how Arsenal against Tottenham has been a special match for so many years. We know we can’t lose it. But we really, really wanted to win it. I particularly like these hot matches. These kind of games where you need to give the max on the pitch mean a lot.”


    Supporters like to think that there is a thread woven into the fabric of their club that represents values and idiosyncrasies that stretch through the generations. Such is the pace of change at Arsenal over the past couple of years, with substantial churn in the playing squad and coaching staff, it is vital that key principles are passed on.

    Gone are the days when the significance of a north London derby meant new players might find themselves grabbed around the throat and told in no uncertain terms what was expected. Lee Dixon, Manchester-born and signed from Stoke City, tells an unforgettable tale from his first experience of how local rivalry works in this corner of the capital.

    In the dressing room before his first taster he was suddenly acutely aware of being glared at. “I was just minding my own business putting my shinpads on and getting ready to go out and I looked up and a couple of the players are looking at me across the dressing room,” he recalls. “I’d been there a while now so we’re mates. Tony Adams was staring at me. Paul Davis was too from the other side of the room. I was looking down at my kit thinking, have I put my shorts on back to front or something? Because it was a bit of a weird look and then we all kind of stood up. Mickey Thomas had a little glance and Dave Rocastle is looking down at me. I just thought, I’ll ask what’s going on. But I didn’t have to ask them because then they had me up against a wall before we went out saying: ‘It’s the north London derby. You don’t really know what this is all about and we just want you to know that you’ve got to play well today and if you don’t you’ll be in trouble.’”

    * * *

    Regardless of emotions and reactions in the wake of Raul’s hiring, AWs departure, and Emery’s uneven approach 60-matches-in (popular theme here at BK, and elsewhere in my blog-travels…) may have disrupted Arsenal’s culture? Comforting to hear it said, there runs an unbroken current that, at its’ core is committed to pass-on the ‘culture of the club’ to the next generation(s) of Gunners.


    (*Subscription required. Reposting respecting ‘fair-use’ guidelines; not too often.)

  • Great post match review TA. Personally, I’d go with Matteo Guendouzi as my MOTM. He was excellent yesterday, running everywhere and putting in both good defensive and offensive shifts. He did earn his 💰 yesterday unlike in previous matches when he was simply average. I am starting to see what Unai is clearly seeing in his beloved Douzi on the training grounds. I hope he keeps his head down and keeps at it. The future looks very bright for him, for us, and for France. Good job Matteo.

    Xhaka played very well too, but he seriously need to play a bit more intelligently especially when defending in the box. I keep wondering why we (as a team) always seem to panic in our box when we should just stay calm and defend strongly? We gave away cheap penalties like that last season, I hope this is not the beginning of the same shit we saw last season. Xhaka is apparently our No.1 Captain and will most often start, so we should put his silly mistake behind us and support him because we do need him. On the flip side, he too needs to do his part and play with a bit more brain and cut out the recklessness.
    Taking a quick trip down memory lane, this is what (our greatest manager) Arsene Wenger had to say about Xhaka’s tackling:

    “He is naturally not a great tackler. It is more the way he tackles that is not convincing. I would encourage him not to tackle, to stay on his feet… Tackling is a technique that you learn at a young age but when you are face to face, you stand up”. That was Arsene Wenger in January 2017! If I remember correctly (someone please correct me if I am wrong), this was after Xhaka got red-carded after a bad tackle.

    I have watched the penalty incident a few more times since yesterday and I still can’t decide for sure if Xhaka was trying to tackle Son or was simply trying to block the shot. It could be 50/50. Only Xhaka knows what he was trying to do. Either way, his reckless momentum carried him into Son and he gave away a cheap penalty. I hope he goes back and heed Wenger’s prior advice and “stay on his feet”, when in our box. To his credit though, he did not let this affect him and he came back stronger in the second half and put in a great shift. Mistakes do happen on the pitch sometimes. You get up, you learn from them, and you carry on with the job. Kudos to him for a good display of professionalism.

    Sokratis’ mistakes were a lot worse for me. First, he tries coming for the header, Xhaka tells him off, he backs away then comes right back into the mix, misses the ball completely, doesn’t run back fast enough, was caught ball-watching and doesn’t look to his left (slightly behind) and see a free Erikson ghosting in for a simple tap in. What the hell kind of defending is that, big Sok??? Then, he had the nerves to look at his teammates and lift both arms up like Mustafi often does. We need Sokratis this season, so he needs to cut this out quickly and get back to solid defending (his Dortmund days), or he will find himself on the bench. Frankly, I can’t wait until Rob Holding fully returns to give them all some good competition.

    Finally, what is going on with Emery and Ozil? I actually thought Ozil would at least make an appearance (even a cameo one) yesterday especially when we were on the ascendancy in the second half and keeping the Spurs in their own half. Not only is Ozil the master of assists, but he is also the master of pre-assists (key passes). I understand most people don’t like his defensive contribution especially away from home, but at home when going for the win against our bitter rivals, he has to feature, no? Does Unai even have any confidence in Ozil? Remember, Arsene once said that Ozil needs confidence to thrive. I wonder where that confidence is right now… I could be just me but I do miss Ozil in our team. I miss the fluidity, the sexy through-balls, the extravagant combination plays in the final third, the beautiful goals. Oh well, it is what it is…!

  • Good report T, before reading the comments I want to say I agree with your final bullet point about Emery’s tactics. I think he is completely wasting a great resource in Torreira. Some people observing thought he was in a an attacking midfielder, I remember Emery pushing him to get forward last year, and now we have an advanced dm to go along with our two attacking cb’s. An incredible resource being squandered. One of the best dms we could have.

    When Emery was first hired, I will never forget his quote that he would prefer to win games 5-4 than 1-0. I was worried as soon as I heard that. It’s especially egregious in big matches.

    On a different note, in many ways Ceballos reminds me of Ramsey physically, similar ball skills, hustle, defensive work. The only difference is that he doesn’t make those great scoring runs into the box. Intelligent player too.

    I think Leno doesn’t get enough credit for coming out and clearing balls because of our suicidal defenders and missing midfield shield. He gets kudos for the spectacular saves, and usually makes good decisions and distributes well.
    But every time I see him trying to deal with 2 wide open attackers with 2 of our defenders desperately scrambling back to defend a counter, I give him credit. He would have a right to complain, and I blame those moments on the manager.

  • Fine stuff TA.

    Only seen the highlights but I thought we deserved the 3 points and had Atkinson spotted the clear penalty on Sokratis late in the game we would have had them.

    Our defence is still finding it’s feet and clearly requires continued work but I feel confident we will become a better unit at the back, especially as Torreira gets full fitness.

    Like others I am baffled by the Ozil situation especially as it is Mhki who has left (thank goodness). I fully expected Mesut to be on a plane to Italy/Spain/Turkey. Delighted he is staying and expect him to get regular playing time but I am not UE, and UE appears not to trust our little genius. Ozil reminds me of George Eastham (before most of you became Gooners) ,wonderful intelligent player but not best suited to a battle, and better left on the bench in the NLD

  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined Serie A side AS Roma on loan for the rest of the season.

    Micki joined us in January 2018 from Manchester United and during his time with us, has made 59 appearances in all competitions, scoring nine goals. His first start for us was memorably marked with a hat-trick of assists in the 5-1 win over Everton in February 2018.

    Micki is a history maker for his national team. He is Armenia’s all-time top goal scorer, scoring 27 goals from his 83 international matches and has been named Armenian Footballer of the Year seven times since 2009.

    Everyone at Arsenal wishes Micki all the best for his season with Roma.

    The loan is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  • Current 1st team squad (plus the under 21’s)

    Hector Bellerin Defender
    Calum Chambers Defender
    Rob Holding Defender
    Sead Kolasinac Defender
    David Luiz Defender
    Konstantinos Mavropanos Defender
    Shkodran Mustafi Defender
    Sokratis Papastathopohulos Defender
    Kieran Tierney Defender
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Forward
    Alexandre Lacazette Forward
    Gabriel Martinelli Forward
    Nicolas Pepe Forward
    Bernd Leno Goal Keeper
    Damian Martinez Goal Keeper
    Dani Cebbalos Midfielder
    Matteo Guendouzi Midfielder
    Ansley Maitland-Niles Midfielder
    Mesut Ozil Midfielder
    Lucas Torreira Midfielder
    Granit Xhaka Midfielder

  • Erik the Red: Im a big fan of Özil and i do think that the guy knows how to battle: check out his titles. I think that a NDL is nothing compared to a Classico and he won more than a couple of them.

  • Why why why does Xhaka even get a game???? The best formation with the best players available at home is 433 with Guendouzi as holding def mid Cebbalos as LCAM and Ozil as rcmid and ALP, and away 433 with 2 holding def CMID and 1 cam front line the same and Ozil or Cebbalos ACM Guendouzi and Torreira as def CDM

  • There is REAL change taking place at Arsenal – is it for the better or worse?

    Arsenal’s Ins and Outs for 2019/20

    (either permanent move or loans)

    OUTS: Aaron Ramsey, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Cohen Bramall, Julio Plegezuelo, Charlie Gilmour, David Ospina, Daniel Ballard, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Ben Sheaf, Xavier Amaechi, Krystian Bielik, Takuma Asano, Carl Jenkinson, William Saliba, Danny Welbeck, Dominic Thompson, Vontae Daley-Campbell, Eddie Nketiah, Alex Iwobi, Nacho Monreal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mohamed Elneny, Kelechi Nwakali.

    INS: Gabriel Martinelli, Dani Ceballos, William Saliba, Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz

  • Cheers for the comments, yesterday. I reckon there is a lot of common ground and all agree both Lacazette and Guendouzi had a good games, and I fully understand why some believe the latter was our MoTM. I am also happy to see that many agree that leaving Ozil out was a mistake by Emery, and I am hoping we will see him back as a regular starter soon. Hoping but not expecting that is as Emery looks out of love with the German.

    Thanks for the info, GN5!

  • TA. I don’t agree it was a mistake to leave out Ozil. He has yet to start a game this season and it would be been a risk to start him in such a high tempo game.

    However, I think he could have come on as sub when we were 2-2 and knocking on the door.

    With a little distance I see this game as 2 points lost.

  • Erik, I reckon he is a fit as a fiddle and would have had no problems with strutting his stuff on Sunday. Emery is not playing him because he does not rate him and wants him gone. I had hopes this was not the case, but it looks like sooner or later Ozil will (have to) leave us.

  • I hope you are wrong TA – there are very few players who have the touch and vision of Ozil. He gets criticized for not being an “all rounder” but he can change the course of a game with a single pass. With a front 3 of Auba, Lacca and Pepe with Ozil supplying the ammunition it could and should be dynamite.I

  • Well, Emery is stuck with Ozil now for the foreseeable future, till the January window comes along. So, better use his talent and make him work for his pay, while you can. Win-win.

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