Get Rid of Them All and Just Play the Youth, Mikel! Yeah Right!

Just play the youth, Mikel. They cannot be any worse than the expensive bunch you sent out every week and who are all just losers! Get rid of the lot of them; we will be fine.

However romantic and attractive this thought may be, it is of course a naive nonsense. It is something we can say from our armchairs and keyboards but if we were responsible, really involved in the club we would know this would never wash. I have heard people suggest to play something like this from now on (and bench or sell the rest):

Really? I like every single player of this team and have high hopes for them all, but it is a fantasy to think that they would keep us from relegation this season, let alone get us into the top six.

The Premier League is unforgiving and the standards are very high. Most(!) of the best managers in the world earn their living in the most competitive league in Europe. Most clubs have a decent amount of money to play with and have become very shrewd in buying quality players, on or off the radar. The days of Arsene finding unknown, high quality gems are truly over. Our competitors are fully attuned to the wider football world now and have put in place great management structures to make the most of their resources. Many teams have also excellent youth academies; we are not alone.

Arsenal football club, and we the fans, cannot afford to be romantic, and of course the former will not do this. We are in a huge battle to stay in the top six, let alone getting CL football or win the league. Arsenal are miles away and it is no time for dreaming, however appealing such escapism is. The only option Mikel has is to keep working with the squad, experienced and youth players, and get back to winning ways.

Who knows, the team above could well be very good in 2023 or 2024, but they really would stand little chance with the current top-ten teams, and possibly other league teams too.

I know it looks like some of the experienced players are not pulling their weight and they carry a bigger burden than the youth players in turning it round. I can see how much there is on Auba’s shoulder at the moment. He is a natural introvert and so not everybody will see how he is struggling, but I have no doubt about his commitment to this club.

There is no excuse for Granit’s action on Sunday, but, as Arteta said, this may have been down to over-eagerness and frustration rather than flippancy. He was having a committed and good game until he saw black and then red.

Elneny, Laca, Willian, Hector did really put in a shift and I saw real commitment to win the game, but we are just down at the moment and in need of a bit of luck, renewed confidence and then momentum. Over the next 12-24 months all of these players will be challenged by our young players, and that is healthy and great!

The sensible thing to do is for Arteta to make some subtle changes and yet to keep everybody reasonably happy. Again, we can have all sorts of views on this but if you are responsible like Arteta then you know you have to look after all the players – who are not just fellow human beings but also very, very expensive assets to the club. A fine balance is what it is all about.

Like many on BK – thank you all for keeping this site sane and passionate in these turbulent times – I feel a few young(ish) players are now ready to get much more PL time. AMN is so ready to make the jump, Eddie needs to play five to ten games in a row, and Balogun should be getting 30 minutes stints as a sub. Same goes for Joe and ESR, in fact they could start a few games too, but possibly not together. Nelson and Chambers should also get more opportunities.

But we will continue to rely on the return to form of the senior players, who in my opinion are all intrinsically motivated rather than mercenaries, to really get us back on track.

See the source image

Inevitably, everybody is putting enormous pressure on the manager and the senior players to make it happen. With so many games coming up there is no time to breathe or think, they just have to find a way to get back to winning ways again. I believe in them, experienced and young, to get us back where we belong. VCC.

By TotalArsenal.

40 thoughts on “Get Rid of Them All and Just Play the Youth, Mikel! Yeah Right!

  • I want us , I mean the players to relias especially our right back and left back when the game starts. For example, if by 2 minutes we conceive goal , it will kill every game plan we have for the day. But if we can nock that ball within ourselves for 5 minutes. It will help us to study our opponent and canter actack them. Forget about the pressure now and enjoy the game, if chance come we score, if not we play draw. I hope that will be cool for fans. Iduma uchenna 07066202856 from Nigeria

  • TA, while its the popular ramble from everyone when the team is doing bad, what everyone including me actually feel is a healthy mix of Academy and Experienced players. For instance, we have seen apart from the match against Fulham, Willian has been pretty average. What every fan wishes is for mixing Willian with say a Nelson depending on the opponent. Similarly a Xhaka with a AMN, Laca with Eddie/Bologun and mixing ESR and Willock. Lets say at least 2 of them starts in every match or subs for each match. What we are disappointed is that these exp players keep playing and not making any difference to the match.
    You cannot just condone what Xhaka did and there are multiple reasons.
    1. Thomas is injured with no date for return – Xhaka should be aware of this and his actions will exacerbate this situation
    2. Festive period with at least playing twice a week – we cannot afford to loose players
    3. VAR – for me this is huge, players will need to learn how to use this technology for their benefit. you cannot be petulant and catch someone by throat knowing very well that Referee will surely invoke VAR.
    Surely we expect better match management and footballing intelligence from these matured players, else lets send a message and play youngsters in the mix.

  • Cheers, Madhu.

    That is a very sensible comment and agree with the principle of giving the young some more chances and not to rely too much on the experienced players alone. But some are seriously suggesting to just play the young ones from now on, which I accept as an opinion but not as a solution.

    What Xhaka did was bad, Madhu, and I am sure Arteta will deal with it. I just loathe the way all that anger is continuously aimed at him and the way the fans treat him in general.

  • Very measured TA, perhaps too measured..

    Where you saw effort from Laca I saw a player hiding behind defenders, Willian making the easy pass and Bellerin wanting to be the centre forward.

    If I cover both eyes I might see something different…in the land of the blind…

  • Cheers Pete, I appreciate that. Look, I am no big fan of Laca but i don’t see him as a shirker. But we all see it differently and that is fine. By all means try ESR in the hole or Eddie or Balogun in attack for a bit. Re Willian, I just don’t get it why fans are so down on him. Is it because he is a former Chav? Would we treat him like we do if he came from say Montpellier Schalke 04 or Atalanta?

  • From the BBC

    “He is one of the best managers I’ve ever worked with and seen directly,” Guardiola said of Arteta.

    “I don’t have to publicly give my support because he knows he has it. Sometimes a club needs time when it comes from a period where it is not so good.

    “I don’t have any doubts about his quality and capacity to put Arsenal in the place Arsenal deserves to be. There is no-one better to lead the club this year and in the next ones.”

    The Gunners will look to make signings next month but Edu is adamant their squad is a good one and it is down to individual players to take responsibility for overall improvement.

    He also defended high-profile summer arrival Willian, after the 32-year-old Brazilian midfielder’s below-par performances led to calls for him to be dropped.

    “It is just a question of time before Willian is performing how we know he can,” said Edu.

    “Do you expect it straightaway? Boom. Willian can be the best one. But you need time to know the other players.

    “When we signed David Luiz, he mentioned to me: ‘When I drive, most of the time for all my life, I turn right to go for one road. I’m experienced but I am facing a situation now where I turn left. It’s quite strange to come here and I need time to get used to it.'”

    With league games against Southampton, which will be played behind closed doors at Emirates Stadium after London was placed in tier three of the UK’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions, and Everton, before an EFL Cup quarter-final against Manchester City and an with Chelsea on 26 December, there is no easy way out of Arsenal’s predicament.

    But Edu added: “We have faced so many changes. Now is the time to try and be a stable club in the old sense – externally and internally. We need that.”

  • TA, you really got me worried over the lead. 🙂
    But we are on the same page generally, and surprisingly in disagreement with HH with whom I usually also in agreement with on most topics, but the ‘complete clear out and rebuild’ theory is not one of them.
    I think we have a great squad capable to perform on a very high level, but something limits them, not only from realizing their true potential, but merely working on operational temperature as well. I tried to provide an extensive list of explanations under the last post.

    Regarding the “mix youthful exuberance with leadership and experience” I don’t have any age-based quota in mind. It’s nothing new or revolutionary, simply I would prefer if the best in-form players would indeed play, disregarding the type of competition. It worked last season when Nketiah started ahead of Lacazette a few times, but I haven’t seen it applied ever since.
    I have nothing against Hector, but the team, Soares/AMN and probably even Bellerin would benefit from some form-based rotation. Willian should also sit out a game or two, and maybe Auba could try to play the role of the supersub once in a while. Furthermore I don’t doubt the skills or attitude of Saka, he hasn’t been playing much better than the rest of the team, and while he shouldn’t be a scapegoat by any means his constant presence in the starting line-up prevents Arsenal to play in the best formation (in my humble opinion) which is a shame we couldn’t really put to the test.

  • Cheers PB.

    I don’t think that is what HH would want but let him respond to it. I am talking about some who just radically want to stop using the experienced players and just play with youths as much as possible from now on. And that is not just a few who believe in that.

    I didn’t think that was a list of explanations you produced but rather a list of possible causes – some sort of brainstorm session without much explanation behind it….?

    I think Arteta has said on a number of occasions that he picks the players who perform best during the training sessions… The problem is that when we lose we believe that those who did not play would have played better… This could be true or false – we just don’t know.

  • On another topic, looks like Dortmund is in a bit of mess though not as much as us. Should we look to pinch a player from them this january, although don’t see nay reason why any player would join us.

  • Morning all.

    Gloomy day’s for Arsenal fans – but there are many game ahead and hopefully new recruits. in January. I confident that things will improve – poor finishing and poor decisions in the final third have been our downfall and I fully expect that Arteta knows this and will make the required corrections.

  • Here are the results of the prediction competition.
    For the week:-
    Tied for first Total & Gooneris with 3/6 plus 2 bonus points each.
    Tied for second Kev, JWL & GN5 with 2/6
    Last PB with 1/6.
    Season to date:-
    1st Kev with 58 points
    2nd Gooneris with 42 points
    3rd GN5 with 37 points
    4th PB & JWL with 35.33 points
    5th Total with 30 points.

  • Here are this weekends selections:-
    Southampton v Manchester City
    Everton v Arsenal
    Newcastle v Fulham
    Tottenham v Leicester
    Manchester United v Leeds
    Barcelona v Valencia
    Make your selections prior to Saturday.

  • Southampton v Manchester City A
    Everton v Arsenal A
    Newcastle v Fulham A
    Tottenham v Leicester A
    Manchester United v Leeds H
    Barcelona v Valencia H

  • Thanks PB here are my predictions:-

    Southampton v Manchester City = D
    Everton v Arsenal = D
    Newcastle v Fulham = H
    Tottenham v Leicester = D
    Manchester United v Leeds = H
    Barcelona v Valencia = H

  • Very reasonable post I think. Just rotate in more, the names you mention T. It will give some physical rest to the regulars, make the fans happy, and build for the future. Now the media pressure makes it a little more difficult, but the fans are almost all for doing it. We know there’s no top 4 race for us, and that we can’t but a new squad, so we know it’s necessary.

  • PB and TA, just to clarify I never said let’s go for a full rebuild and just play the youth!

    All I said was that what Arteta is currently doing in the league is the definition of insanity – playing the same senior, out of form players, losing each week and expecting different results will cost him his job if he doesn’t change it up. I constantly hear Arteta say that we lack the quality to fully play the expansive way he imagines for this club, but when you’re using the same players over and over again, I find it difficult to sympathize with him if he barely tries anything new or “risky”.

    The classic argument against playing the youth is that we’ll lose. News flash: we aren’t winning any games right now! We need competition for these out of form senior players and mixing in one or two more youth into the line-up could help with that. If we lose and look worse, then so be it. I can at least then say that Arteta is trying to mix it up, but it truly is the quality of the squad that is lacking.

    When I look at the squad 1-25, I don’t see a 15th place team. I see one that should at least be in the top 8 and that’s what concerns me most about Arteta.

  • Cheers TA! Well reasoned article and I don’t think we’ll see drastic changes aside from Xhaka, Bellering and potentially Willian and Laca. My preferred line-up for tomorrow’s err loss (lol) to Southampton:


  • Hyperbole aside TA?
    There is a time for change. As I’d mentioned yesterday there are several players who start every match who need to sit. Not all at once. But interchangeably, yes.

    Last post:
    “I had hoped we’d see an evolution in the squad over the course of the season. A changing of the guard toward season’s end. But circumstances change. The veterans are not getting it done. We really need to see a couple of the youngsters step in and step up. Now– would be good.

    AMN needs to be in the first XI. Where he plays? Is wherever he’s needed. I’d suggest RB. Nelson on the right wing. ESR in the hole where Lacazette was yesterday. Maybe not all in the same XI. But they need to play PL matches. The time for these changes– is now.”

    Bellerin has not been helpful on the right paired with Willian. Give me Nelson (or Pepe) with AMN for a match. Our midfield is a blackhole of non-creativity. Why not plug ESR (or Willian) into the spot Lacazette played vs Burnley?

    When we were winning tight contests throughout the Summer– Bukayo was playing as a LB. Maybe Arteta pairs Tierney with Gabriel in a back-4? AMN and Saka as the fullbacks.

    With the exception of Emile Smith Rowe and maybe to a lesser degree Reiss Nelson– the following have all racked up extensive PL minutes at their respective positions.


    Other than the ‘3’ in this 4-2-3-1 — the lineup is experienced. Where Nelson, ESR and Pepe have skill, speed and can create. I’m doubtful this lineup will feature tomorrow– but this is at least imaginative within the confines of ‘plausible’.


  • Southampton vs Man City.. A
    Everton vs Arsenal…………. D
    Newcastle vs Fulham……… H
    Tottenham vs Leicester……. D
    Man Utd vs Leeds Utd…….. H
    Barcelona vs Valencia…….. H

  • Thanks for the excellent comments, guys. I will get back to you tomorrow, also to you Madhu. 😊

    GN5, thanks for the update and I will email you soon. 🤗

    Night all 🌌🌌🌌

  • I am sooooooooooo impressed by all the armchair managers whining and moaning on this site about how they’d improve our current form. Thank God we have so many experienced armchair managers running the Arsenal. How long will it be before the Arteta out crowd start spewing their vitriol and BS all over the place?
    Good overview TA but some supporters don’t realize that the issue is far more complex than just changing managers, players, formations, tactics or the entire friggin’ club, could address. What methods would all these ¨experts¨ apply to improve the following;
    1) the significant drop in goal scoring from our sharpshooters since one month,
    2) the misfortunes in defence which are due to hazard more than poor defending,
    3) the evolving team chemistry which is showing a gradual improvement in the interplay between defense and midfielders,
    4) the usual injuries that deprive us of our best talent at crucial times,
    5) the need to integrate our very promising youth talent into first team tactical, strategic and competitive situations, without seriously unbalancing the team,
    6) the obvious Arteta-inspired approach to a transformative style that is neither Wengerball, City-style or Mourinho’s dower but effective approach which will see us defending and attacking as a smooth unit, a la Barcelona.

    There are a dozen other issues, including unpredictable officiating, the joyfully negative press relishing AFC’s ¨demise¨, the rotten extremities inside our supporters cohort who prefer to demean their team than support it, the influence of COVID-19 on the players, staff and management, etc.,etc. Let’s NOT forget that we lost many of our games by 1 or at the most 2 goals, and that in times past we won those same games by a similar margin. The pseudo-supporters and armchair managers should ask themselves how we can do so well in the Europa League (even IF it is of a lower standard than the EPL) and in the Cups as well and yet crash horribly in the EPL and especially at home. Here is my prediction for the coming games; we WILL start to score, we WILL start to win and we will NEVER face relegation but rather we could even win the EUROPA, if the above issues are satisfactorily resolved.

  • omgarsenal, from one Arm chair manager to another one :). Amen to your prediction that’s all everyone needs. Thanks for injecting a dose of positivity. Way to go

  • OMG, you’re right about the hate from the mob and media. But I think Europa is looking the hardest this year than I can remember.

  • Southampton v Manchester City: A
    Everton v Arsenal: D
    Newcastle v Fulham: H
    Tottenham v Leicester: D
    Manchester United v Leeds: H
    Barcelona v Valencia: D

  • Hi Madhu,

    Are Dortmund in trouble? Didn’t know that. Have they got a great right back?

    BTW Madhu, where are you based and how did you become a Gooner?

  • Cheers HH, mixing it up a bit makes sense, and with injuries and suspensions he has no other choice anyway. He believes in his experienced players and has seen them getting closer to scoring goals again, so I get it why he stuck with them until now. I have no doubt that if we were to drop them all and go for a team as in the post we would get relegated this season, or get very close to it. It is a balancing act, is what I was trying to say.

    I like your line up and you are likely to be close with it.

  • A sensible comment, Jw, and I like the line up too. Just as with HH’s, I am worried about the central midfield pairing but there is an attractive attacking line there.

  • OMG, come on man there is no need for the snidy tone at the start of your comment. Relax a bit.

    Other than that it is a good shout to remain positive.

  • Tier 3 in the U.K. is getting on everyone’s wick and just when the good vaccine news was filtering through. Up one minute, down the next it’s just like watching the Premier League Arsenal and the Europa Arsenal.

    Playing the yoot has a certain refreshing feel about it, our own lads are invested in the club they grew up with and playing with their mates is great, no baggage, no ego and nobody going through the motions as they wind down their last big pay cheque.

    It could work, but there’s only so far that enthusiasm will take you and I worry about damaging our youngsters for the long term even though you can’t protect them forever. Eventually you have to let them have their head, you have to trust them and they must stand on their own two feet in this unforgiving industry. It could be the making of them, well some of them because they won’t all make it as there is a high wastage among young footballers and of course sometimes you just need a bit of luck as was the case with the injury to Mathieu Debucy and Hector Bellerin.

    It’s just that the nature of the fan has changed since the days of yore and that worries me. Patience is in short supply and young players haven’t got that reservoir of experience to fall back on when the brickbats start flying about on social media.

    Arteta has to consider all these things, he is fighting for his Arsenal future, dealing with the enemy within, working on a tight budget and trying to develop young players whilst trying to halt the worst start to an Arsenal season since 1974/75.

    There are some interesting parallels between this situations and the then Arsenal manager Bertie Mee who had been a novice when he got the job in 1966, Mee had been the club physiotherapist when he was offered the position and was given time as was the habit in those days. Mee employed two great coaches in Dave Sexton and Don Howe who dealt with the tactical side allowing Mee to stick to the organisation of things and team selection. Mee had been a footballer in his youth so he did have some knowledge of how a club should be run.

    In 1968 and 1969 the Mee/Howe combo got Arsenal to League Cup finals which we lost. Today there would be uproar and Mee would be sacked. Back then things were a little more sedate and in 1970 came the reward when Arsenal won their first ever european trophy, the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, the forerunner of today’s Europe and a far most attractive trophy to boot. A year later Mee/Howe took Arsenal to their first ever League and Cup Double, those were heady days for a young man like me, it seemed as if it was easy, this winning trophies lark.

    By 1974/75 the Double Team has pretty much disintegrated and Don Howe, the tactical genius, was gone. The club was full of disaffected senior players who were going through the motions and the club was sliding towards disaster in the league when Mee began to bring through the young players like John Matthews, Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton, Wilf Rostron, Trevor Ross etc and they revitalised the squad and saved the club a fortune. Not all of them made it but it opened the door for others like David O’Leary and Graham Rix the following season.

    So maybe we’re at that stage again now?

  • Very interesting comment, Kev. I love the Bertie Mee comparison and you could be on to something. Like you I have high hopes for our youngsters and believe that they need be eased in. Arteta has a good opportunity now to give the key youngsters more PL exposure. The big question is who is capable of playing at top PL level and make a difference?

  • The Premier League level of today Total is obviously higher than the Division One level of 1974/75 for sure, but then the level of our youngsters is higher than it was back then, today they are athletes. Bertie eased them in, never more than two in any given game, but they energised the old cynical players who were at the club at that time, those who were bothered like George Armstrong, John Radford and Peter Simpson upped their game again and it gave us fans some hope.

  • The way Arteta sets out his teams in the Premier and the Europa and asks them to play is it so radically different? If not then why does our Europa team play with more energy, more enthusiasm, more ambition and progressive play than the seniors. It’s not all down to the opposition it’s probably down to their hunger and desire to make it at Arsenal. Not for them a £1m per month deal that they can just sit on and hardly break sweat.

  • They play without any weight on their shoulders, Kev. Free as birds with not a concern in the world. Very different from the experienced players who have to turn the tanker round somehow. But I guess we will see this differently for a while! 😉

  • With all due respect to all of our bloggers my analysis of the Burnley game is very simple.
    This was simply a self inflicted loss firstly Xhaka, stupidly, got himself sent off by an unnecessarily angry response to a player purposely trying to rile him. Secondly Auba got his head in the wrong place and gifted them an own goal.

    The loss has nothing to do with Arteta’s abilty or tactical nous as prior to Auba being sent off we were on the front foot and looking good to win the game.

  • One caution, I’d say. Arteta gave in a little to the pressure from everyone wanting us to play prettier football. Maybe there’s pressure too because he comes from Peps man city… but It has hurt us in a few games, especially spurs. Southampton is a team that can score, and look pretty good lately.

    We were on the right track last week with the effort and defending, just couldn’t close on those chances we created.

    I’d play Elneny as dm and let Ainsley go box to box, or Ceballos. If we start chasing goals recklessly, the season can get out of hand as it did with Emery. He was flailing around trying to find a formula that works. Even though we were on the right track, I don’t want Lacazette starting unless Auba is being rested, and then, only as a traditional 9.. that’s what he is.

    Of course I’d like to see some youth mixed in thoughtfully. I think we all pretty much agree on that.

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