Arsenal Need the Adams-Vieira-Bergkamp Mentality to Overcome Poor Refereeing And Bully Boys

Brighton HA 2 – 1 Arsenal

“Alas,” said the mouse, “the world gets smaller every day. At first it was so wide that I ran along and was happy to see walls appearing to my right and left, but these high walls converged so quickly that I’m already in the last room, and there in the corner is the trap into which I must run.

“But you’ve only got to run the other way,” said the cat, and ate it.

Kafka, Little Fable.

Another away game and another loss. It all feels so similar. So dire.

This was a harsh one though, very harsh, and we were not helped at all by the poor refereeing, but it is also clear we are not in a good place right now. Not at all. Our spine is as floppy as wet spaghetti, especially now that Leno has also gone off badly injured. We look like a team without believe in the future, with too many players not knowing what their and the club’s next steps are. 

However, may I remind you that we are living in extraordinary times and Arsenal had to restart the season after three months of innuendo with two away games in 67 hours. If we win the next game it will all look and feel different. I think Arteta and the boys are allowed a bit of leeway for a while. Dont’ you? More on this later.

We started well and Arteta had surprised us all with playing Saka in the hole. By far the most lively AND effective attacker, Bukayo brought something we missed against Citeh: attacking unpredictability. He was unlucky not to score or to see one or two of his crosses/passes not converted into a goal, until finally the simplest of assist was converted by the Robbenesque left foot of Pepe.

Auba and Laca had a couple of half-chances each but they lacked the hunger to properly pounce and in the end that cost us 1.5 points. The other 1.5 points were lost by the rubbish defending of our team. A very poorly defended corner let to the first goal; Ceballos was easily tricked by a one-two and the cross from the 18-yards box-line was then co-fumbled behind our own line. Ugly as Seagull crap all over the car-bonnet, painful to watch and totally self-inflicted. We sat back as soon as we scored and thus invited pressure on ourselves when, since decades, our best defence has always been to keep attacking. 

At this stage it was clear that our weakness was once again in midfield. You all know what I mean with that so no more words will be wasted on it. The Seagulls had some nasty albeit ordinary steel in midfield and we did not…

The last goal by Brighton could have been avoided but I also want to give credit to a well executed attack. Fatigue played a part and we missed the quick reaction of Leno on this occasion, but these things happen. Had Auba and Laca bagged a goal each we would not have been affected by this late, late goal.

Yes the referee was poor, a disgrace actually, but we know that the general idea is that Arsenal are a soft touch and everybody without a red and white heart likes it when we get kicked; we have become national entertainment. How are we going to change this? By reestablishing the Adams-Vieira-Bergkamp mentality: boss every blade of grass on the pitch and every non red and white sorry fool on it. I am not talking about going out to hurt players but playing with dominance, focus and determination…. and pride in the shirt and protection of your mates on the pitch.

This has been made all the more difficult with injuries to Leno, Mari (I reckon Arteta had big plans for him), Xhaka, Torreira and Big Sok. So it is going to remain difficult as no team can do well without a solid spine and seemingly unhungry attackers. Can I see an improvement before this season’s end? What do you think?

This nightmare is unlikely to finish anytime soon – the mouse will keep looking to avoid the cat but to no avail I fear – but we as fans need to stay behind Arteta and the team. It is our duty.


By TotalArsenal.

26 thoughts on “Arsenal Need the Adams-Vieira-Bergkamp Mentality to Overcome Poor Refereeing And Bully Boys

  • Shrillex wrote in previous post:

    Agreed PB. Team selection from the start is very uninspiring, though the lineup should’ve been good enough to win against Brighton.
    An observation from both matches since the restart is the lack of off the ball running & third man runs to provide options to the player on the ball. Players also taking more than 3 touches on the ball consistently showed how slow the play was yesterday. Pressing is much improved though and starting positioning is a lot better in terms of structure.
    A few frustrations from the Brighton match I feel is the absolute lack of responsibility from the CBs and midfielders (Matteo and Ceballos) during the initial buildup play. Mustafi and Holding never looked to play a progressive pass into midfield, passing sideways instead to the fullbacks and each other. It’s a shame to say the same about Matteo because we’ve seen him take control of the midfield solo on many occasions before. Ceballos seems more of questionable tactics (often drifting to the right wing) because we’ve seen how effective he is in transition.
    I’m done ranting for now. Just many aspects of improvements that I hope to see in the coming weeks

  • Fair and good comment, Shrillex. Many people rate or unrate Xhaka but in this game it became clear once more what we are missing without him.

  • Morning all, I tired of making excuses for this debacle of a squad.

    Where was the skill?
    Where was the energy?
    Where was the defense x2?
    Where was the will?
    Where was the desire?

    Two games, zero points, 1 goal for 5 against?

    We cannot just keep wishing and hoping – we need to see some concrete evidence that we are moving forward, but all I saw yesterday was more of the “lets keep possession in our half” boring, boring football with our key players showing a total disinterest,

    Unless thunder strikes in the dressing room and the players kick each other into gear we are destined to watch more of the same.

    Obviously not a very happy camper this morning.

  • Brighton pretty much reverted to tactics of the last decade.kick em as much as you can.see what you can get away with.Atkinson was a disgrace.Dishing out two innocuous yellows for them.But it was nothing less than I expected from him & his ilk.Time & again he’s done his best to shaft us anyway he can.Arteta had better start with the mindset that we’re already a goal down when a batch of certain refs officiate us.But that rant over.Hed better start looking for steel in his rebuild.As you say,especially the “ spine.

  • We also need to build a team with a minimum height requirement, these kids are good but thrusting them all into the spotlight at the same time is way to much for them to handle, And also the fastest way for us as a club to move in reverse. We need those with physical body strenght, Willock is way to fragile, no speed, no great passing ability (fabregasessque), he sure can’t be an Oezil. Its shocking we have no dark skinned CB Who would be a bully to most strikers, or a gym rat, i dont know what the recruitment requirements for each position is. I’m tired of being a laughingstock. In Nigeria social media space, it is said that EPL should resume quickly because arsenal fans have become plump and well fed because no pressure on them because of poor team play and results

  • I have to agree somewhat with GN5, there were times when yesterday it looked very much as if we were watching an Unai Emery team playing cautiously out from the back, was that the players reverting to type after 18 months of Unai or was that partly the design of Arteta?

    I like Mikel very much and he’s not really had any luck since our return to playing, quite the opposite so I’m going to cut him a lot of slack, but something has to change and if you can’t change the personnel maybe you need to change or just tweak the system?

    Wenger was very much a 4 4 2 man but as things got worse and worse towards the end he tried 3 at the back to stop the rot and it almost worked as we reached a european semifinal, likewise Emery and it nearly worked for him, it’s not a system I’d choose as a first choice but needs must.

    Our midfield is non existent so maybe a switch to 3 at the back with wingbacks is an option for the rest of this season until the summer. We can’t create from the middle so try and create from the flanks, then play Aubameyang and Martinelli through the middle.
    I’m not one for systems, that’s more of a Dutch thing, but maybe it’s worth a try, at least at Southampton?

  • thanks for this glimpse of kafka, ta
    i am in “total” agreement with allezkev, about the system change
    arsène’s 3-4-1-2 at the end of the 2016-2017 provided us with two great wembley wins, against city and chelsea – and graham’s 3-4-2-1 baffled dalglish’s “mighty” liverpool 39 years ago
    in both cases the venom of doubt had been injected into our squads, and in both cases, changing the focus of the lads proved efficient … but of course both graham and wenger had the human material they needed (especially graham; i think arsène performed a true miracle – one more – that year)
    against southampton (provided lucas is not available yet), we might have something like:
    which, under normal circumstances, should be enough to travel safely to the dell, but right now … i wonder
    what is complex, i believe, is that the guys whose commitment we question at the moment, are no limp noodles: to make it to arsenal football club’s first team, you have to be as tough as a shoe sole, so much so that it takes a special kind of manager to bring them back on track, once the seemingly (to them) unbreachable level of confidence that allowed them to make it to the top, has been unexpectedly cracked open; they just don’t know how to deal with that feeling
    arsène was that kind of man, that’s for sure, will mikel be? that’s the kind of challenge I would have liked him to be spared much, much longer … but things being as they are, we’ll know soon enough now
    silver lining (?): I watched newcastle-sheffield. the blades were as blunt as can be, and one of their CBs was sent off, so why not dream of wembley again? I sure do

  • Have you seen the last ‘Breakdown’ from Adrian Clark on the club website?
    His (penultimate) conclusion was that we need to create more chances, as we indeed possess lethal attackers to convert them (in a higher proportion than most PL teams).
    Even if we forget about the Man City game – as it was unwinnable (wow, if Google didn’t underline this word, then it must exist – we lacked the creativity in midfield big time. Guendouzi has a tendency to play it safe, and Ceballos wasn’t as bold as we know he’s capable of. Besides the inclusion of Martinelli, I think we need have to reinstate Ozil ASAP.

    Yes, no doubt that these recent injuries are bad news. But I trust the squad. We have a lot of good players in every department. (I’m looking forward to see a Torreira-Ceballos-Ozil midfield at some point.) But we need reasonable line-ups and smart tactics. I thought that Arteta has already mastered that part of the game, but apparently I was too optimistic.

  • All good comments with something to think about. Thanks. For me it’s key rather to analyse than to allocate blame, and I have a lot of confidence in Arteta. He is nothing like Emery but it is hard to play without a decent central midfield. Once he is able to sort it we will start playing better and winning football again.

  • There is a common theme running through the media, one we’ve had for years, that Arsenal are a soft touch, mentally and physically weak, liable to fold at the first sign of things going wrong, but then you look at the stats and you see that Arsenal have received I believe the most yellow and red cards of any team in the Premier League.

    How does that tally with being a feeble team?

    You’d imagine, well I would, that the team with the most cautions and sending offs is a very physical team, gets stuck in, puts it about, gets in your face, you know the drill. But this Arsenal is none of those, we simply don’t have the players to do that, a Lauren or a Vieira or a Keown, so what is going wrong with our discipline as I can only think that it’s a discipline issue, that is unless there is a campaign from the PGMOL to ‘get Arsenal’…?

    When you see how easy it was for a tosser like Maupay to ‘wind up’ Guendouzi you have to wonder what is going on? Then we see Kolasinac giving Maupay ‘the verbals’ at the end of the game, when the points and the game are gone and I just wonder why he didn’t do that immediately after Leno got crocked, put the referee in the spotlight, make him make a decision, but instead most of our players just seemed to accept it with a shrug, that’s what concerned me…

    I hear this term game management a lot these days, I used to hear another term professionalism, which was a euphemism for working the referee, maybe even cheating but getting away with it, upsetting your opponent and winning some kind of advantage. Man City are experts at it, they love a cheap foul that stops a dangerous move developing but in a part of the pitch that rarely gets you a caution. I don’t see any of that from these Arsenal players, most of them experienced internationals…

  • Kev, you are a thinking man and that is a fine comment covering a number of subjects. I have a feeling it will entice the Tiger of Tahoe to come out of his mountain retreat as to answer you with the depth of his footie wisdom! 🙂

  • I would have liked the lads to teach Maupay a footballing lesson but I think Maupay got away with the push (no Yellow card at least) and got himself a goal as well. If that is the abject state of refereeing in the Premier League I would say we are screwed.

  • It must be your (un)lucky day, as I also sent a post. But mine has no expiration date, besides the Southampton game can prove me a fool or an expert. 🙂

  • Read this from Orstein in The Athletic:

    The Athletic has learned that Arsenal’s preparations for the City fixture were further disrupted by an extraordinary situation behind the scenes, as three squad members ended up missing three days of training before the defeat against Pep Guardiola’s men last Wednesday.

    At the end of the preceding week, Arsenal received untimely news that one of their players had tested positive for coronavirus and, in line with Government protocols, should self-isolate for seven days.

    Worse still, it quickly emerged that the player had spent enough time socialising alongside two team-mates for it to be classified as “close contact” (coming within two metres of an individual who has tested positive for more than 15 minutes) and both of them needed to respect public health guidance by entering a 14-day period of quarantine.

    Given that everyone involved in the previous round of Arsenal testing showed as negative, nobody was displaying symptoms and the movements of the player who recorded a positive result gave no cause for concern, Arsenal strongly suspected this was likely to be a “false positive”.

    Amid frantic activity and dialogue in the background, they took private samples on the Saturday and Sunday to double-check whether or not the player had the virus (the antigen test) or had contracted it in the past (the antibody test) and both came back negative.

    Government rules allow people to stop self-isolating earlier than seven days if they get a negative antigen test result but as this was an in-house process it could not be approved by the Premier League.

    The three players, therefore, took part in the next round of official testing last Monday and each received good news 24 hours later. The league was satisfied and, thanks to a green light from the government, the trio were cleared to rejoin training in time for a 5pm session on Tuesday.

    This was the first time in four days that they were allowed to practice.

    Following the chaotic build-up, the players were in the group that travelled to Manchester on Wednesday and featured versus City.”

    Guessing there may have a bit of chaos surrounding the team all week.
    Perhaps why some didn’t travel or make the bench?

    If it wasn’t for bad luck– Arsenal would have no luck at all.


  • Cheers JW, it just shows how difficult and confusing these times are. I really feel we need to take it easy on the manager and the players for the moment.

  • That’s true TA, I mean Arteta hasn’t had a whole lotta luck since he took over, losing Chambers, Torrieira, Mari and Leno, suffering some really bad luck in games all whilst in the middle of a pandemic…

  • Yes Kev, and if you add to that poor refereeing and us having to travel three games in a row with all these C19 travel complications. Why did we have to play three away games in a row to start with?

    I am not happy about the way we play and of course the result but these are freakish times for sure.

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