Surely It Is Not Too Hard to Support Arteta Unconditionally Till At Least the End of Season

What a roller-coaster season we are witnessing. One week we are full of hope and the next one we are down in the dumps again. I am blessed to have so many level-headed readers on BK and this keeps me going. Looking at some of the other blogs and social media just gives me the shivers and makes me want to support my team on my own; is it a reaction to the C19 crisis or are Arsenal supporters the same spoiled prats as anywhere else? 😦

Luckily, this is not needed because of the fine blogging community established here over the last nine years. I welcome honest opinion and we really do not have to agree all; something that happens seldom here anyway. But the ability to look at the bigger picture and the ‘primal’ desire to be supportive of the team and manager are vital for healthy, positive blogging. So thank you all for doing this on here.

There is nothing else to say about our dire loss v Pool than that we were pants. Arteta and his boys did not do the shirt proud. I think there are mitigating factors at play, though. The first game after an international period is always a bit of a gamble. Fitness is hard to assess and there is little time to prepare for a game with the first team. The same goes of course for Pool but they are a much more established team than we are; Arsenal, on the other hand, are in transition under Arteta and this was once again obvious on Saturday.

Then there were a number of key, unexpected injuries before and during the game that set us back. An established team can deal with this better I think, but realising quite late into proceedings that both Xhaka and Luiz will not be available was a big blow for the team and our style of play. Both are the key passers from ‘out of the back for us’, and Granit is vital for setting out Arteta’s game strategy. He was really missed. Holding did relatively well imo, but the lack of a protective wall in front of the defence was obvious. Pool had nothing to fear in midfield as Partey was left too isolated and is still looking for form and fitness anyway.

Furthermore, Arteta knew he had to do without two of his strongest ball passers, ESR and Saka; but to then also miss out on Luiz and Xhaka was a big blow. Auba and Pepe are players who do not really fit into Arteta-ball but one of them can normally be accommodated, somehow. They have individual qualities that can make a difference, but ideal for what Mikel wants to do they are not. And then came the injury to KT and all at once our left side missed two important players for such a difficult game, and it simply was too much.

On paper it still looked like a good team but a) Pool are a good team and played well on the night and b) the 11 that started just struggled to play the way Arteta had planned for. Still, I would have liked to have seen more fight from a number of players and I am sure Arteta really was not happy with them. This is also part of a transitional season. The summer will see a lot of goings and some quality comings.

For me, any judgement of the season just has to wait till all games have been played. We had a bad spell before Christmas and just a couple of wins back then would have us close to the European footie places now. I still feel we will get a good run together and end up about 3-5 places higher than where we are now. There is also good hope that we can progress to the next round in the Europa League.

Arteta is juggling between his ideal style/vision of football and the players he has at his disposal. We have a good squad but not all can play the sort of football Arteta has promised the BoD he will bring to Arsenal, that much is clear to all of us. And then, a few too many injuries do really set us back still. So let’s hope for quick recoveries of our key players and a consistent run of good form and games. All to play for. COYGs.

By TotalArsenal.

41 thoughts on “Surely It Is Not Too Hard to Support Arteta Unconditionally Till At Least the End of Season

  • Thanks TA, I think your analysis is spot on.

    In many ways, the performance confirms Arteta’s direction because it shows how awfully mismatched large parts of the squad are. Yes, you could argue that against Pool we should have set up with 3 at the back and played long balls to Auba because that was the squad we had. However, that is not a solution, although it could have been a tactical fix. Would that have worked? No idea, what are everyone else’s thoughts?

    Anyway, looking forward, there are three implications following on from TA’s observations that seriously worry me:

    1. If it takes Luiz for us to play out from the back – and I agree that at the moment it does – how are we going to make the switch to a younger, less error prone defence next season? I have not watched Saliba enough to have a view on his abilities to play the Luiz role but would expect adaptation to the PL to be enough of a challenge that he won’t be a starter in the league before the second half of the season in a best case scenario. How do we fix this then? Extend Luiz, bring in a new CB or replace Leno with a goalkeeper more assured in distribution under pressure?

    2. Xhaka is a present irreplaceable and even with Thomas fully fit we will need a third player in central midfield next season to see any progress if we don’t want to experience a complete meltdown every time one of those two needs resting (something Xhaka would have needed more of) or is injured. The answer is not Ceballos and it is not AMN either in my view. Unless Miguel

    3. Our attacking midfield has received a lot of attention due to the switch from playing largely without any creative players to ESR and Ødegaard forming a double headed creative centre similar to the best days of Ozil and Sati making it impossible for opposition to shut us down. Given the problems in defence and central midfield, any move for Ødegaard will probably need to be financed out of sales in the attack. How much can we get for Pepe and Nelson? Is selling Laca and replacing him with Martinelli / Nketia / Balogun even an option, given the link play demanded from Laca? Should we think the unthinkable about Auba who is impossible to shift on his wages anyway?

    I remain hopeful and supportive of Arteta but there are a lot if questions that need answers and once again do I fear we are all underestimating the time frame required to get the gunners firing all guns again.

  • I think that there are too many so called “fans” commenting on social media who started to support Arsenal because we of the trophies we were winning and of course due to our style of play. I would have hoped that most would have seen sense after the decline in performances in Wenger’s latter years and the disarray that was evident under Emery. Many though are still totally unrealistic in their expectations.

    As for Saturday, here are some of my observations.

    I cannot believe that the team couldn’t get fired up to start well against a team like Liverpool. Whatever Mikel said to them before the match clearly did not work but, the players (especially the senior ones) need to take responsibility for their performance. They should be setting an example to and communicating with the younger players but, I didn’t see that happening.

    We have played well without Luis this season and might have done again on Saturday. Not having Xhaka playing though was, I believe, a bigger loss although we shouldn’t underestimate not having Bukayo or ESR in the team. Our midfield was simply overrun. MA needs to take some responsibility for this as it could have been foreseen. I was certainly worried when I saw our lineup. Neither Dani or Mo proved themselves to be adequate substitutes for Xhaka. This needs to be addressed unless MA thinks that a combination of ESR, AMN or Willock may be the answer. I wasn’t surprised when Mo replaced Dani but, I think Partey should have moved across putting Mo in his normal position where he might have been more effective.

    I think our biggest issue at the back is Leno. I felt in the summer that we sold our best goalkeeper and I still think that. Emi is a better communicator and, although not that tall for a goalkeeper, a more commanding presence in the box. It appears at times that Leno doesn’t know when to stick or twist and doesn’t come and claim balls when a defender would expect that from their goalkeeper. I’m disappointed that MA has not given Mat Ryan the opporrtunity to show us what he can do.

    Mikel has been good at changing things at half time when necessary but, there was no evidence of that. Of course that may have been down to the players but, we failed to get Odegaard and the front three into the game. If Martinelli isn’t considered fit enough to play 90 minutes, he should certainly have been brought on earlier if only to help Cedric gain better control of the left flank.

    Of the three forwards who started, Laca is the most effective in helping with defensive duties but he is the only one who can hold the ball up. With all three playing so deep to try and shore up our defense we had no outlet and were penned in. Why didn’t MA try to change that until too late?

    I’m sure that Mikel will learn a lot from Saturday. I suspect that Dani will be heading back to Spain in the summer. It’s a shame, he has tried hard but it isn’t working out for him, or us. Xhaka is important to us, whatever his haters say and we play with more energy, purpose and belief when we have some of our better younger players in the starting lineup.

    We need to believe in Arteta. Saturday was a blip from which he and the team must and will learn. Let’s look forward to Thursday when we will surely play much better!

  • A very contemporary post there, TA, seeing as there appears to be a melt down amongst fans of the club and rightly so, as no one expected the rather tepid performance our lads served up against a Liverpool sides that haven’t lost their scoring touch and zip of the last season. However, they are champions and were always going to re-discover their form; bad luck, it had to be against us.
    Losing such quality players as Bukayo, ESR, Xhaka and Luis was always going to result in a drop in our offensive quality. For me, that was the problem. We just didn’t pose a significant threat upfront which made it easy for the pool defenders to push up and overwhelm Partey and Ceballos, also forcing Pepe, Laca and Auba into defence mode, rather than attacking the makeshift defence of Liverpool. Something was wrong, tactically and this is where I place some responsibility for that performance at the feet of Arteta. What is he telling the players? Is it possible he has transmitted a feeling of inferiority into the team by repeatedly referring to Liverpool’s gradual improvement under Klopp as the gold standard? Footballers are a fickle lot at times and need to be told, very often, how good they are (ask Wenger) to get the best from them. Is it possible Arteta has unwittingly sent the message he is prioritising winning the Europa league? For sure, I expect the team to play a different game on Thursday so, who knows.
    We have handled playing out from the back well, even without Luis so I doubt that his absence was the problem. I’d sooner admit we missed Xhaka’s ability to hold things together and make himself available for the passes from the CBs. The CBs missed that outlet and hoofed the ball aimlessly, too many times.

    That was not Arsenal standard and this football club deserves better from the players in the payroll. Arteta must never let this happen again or will walking on thin ice.

  • Great job, Kev. That was a good showing in the predictions game.

    My predictions for GN5’s latest picks follow:

    Manchester City v Leeds: H
    Liverpool v Aston Villa: H
    Burnley v Newcastle: D
    Tottenham v Manchester United: 1-2 A
    Sheffield United v Arsenal: A
    Frankfurt v Wolfsburg: H

  • Correction: I would go with a Draw for Frankfurt v Wolfsburg: D

    Pls update that, GN5. Hope I don’t regret that one. 😀

  • I admit up front that I’m not a hard-boiled Arteta-fan recent months, but the defeat against Liverpool is nothing I particularly mind. Let’s be fair to the guy (and the team): we could – and realistically should – lose against the reigning champions, especially when they are fired up and playing well (for the CL qualification). Last year we won the same fixture only because we were extremely lucky, that doesn’t happen that frequently. Anyway, we can lose 2 home games and draw another 2 besides winning the remaining 15, while on the road this could be – maybe only in my wildest dreams – 9W-5D-5L. The 79 points could have been enough for the 3rd position in practically every season in the past decade, and should be more than enough for CL in the future.
    So I won’t blame Arteta for having 0 points from the 4 games against Man City and Liverpool. What I do mind is – contrary to TA’s hopeful claim in mid-March about the winnable 13-15 games ahead of us – that we made 1 point from our last 3 games, which doesn’t justify the wishful statement that Mikel finally found the ideal team and balance, because Arsenal’s play didn’t look more solid than earlier in the season.

    So even though I’m not holding the defeat against Arteta I kind of agree with CvK that Mikel at least could have tried something. A different formation, some customized tactics… Or even fighting for possession and bringing our play to their half. But whatever it was trying to be, I don’t think it was only poorly executed, it was wrong from the beginning. And he didn’t adapt; bringing on Elneny does not qualify for a tactical change (and albeit Ceballos didn’t play well, it was still 0:0 when he left the field at the hour mark). TA likes to think that the players have let the manager down last night, but I don’t see the data supporting that (nor denying that to be fair, so it’s more of an emotional perception I guess). Anyway, as I said when at the end of the season we will look for the missing point we will regret the points dropped against Sheffield, Burnley, Southampton, CP – especially the 0 points from the 4 games against Aston Villa and Wolves – more than the defeats against Liverpool and Man City.

    But TA is right. This season is not over. And we have a good chance to win the EL, crowning this ugly season with a silverware and CL qualification. And if that happens Arteta deserves to continue his work as well as our appreciation. Even though we didn’t play any game or tie against a massive opponent (who were the favorite of the fixture on paper) and will not do that till a potential final against MU, but a good coach could be lucky. So while the numeric comparison between Emery and Arteta won’t do Mikel any favor, if we manage to win the final this year – yes, I know we have to get there first – then I will be willing to forget about the worst position and the lowest points we are inevitably about to have in the Premier League.

    So YES, let’s support the team and Arteta until the last game of the season!

  • Re: Leno
    The German and the Argentine are different type of keepers. Bernd is a ‘goal-line keeper’ – I’m not sure this phrase exists in English, but you obviously understand: he has great reflexes, but not keen on coming out for crosses or closing down the attacker. And to be fair, Leno has superior reflexes and capable of spectacular double and triple saves beyond Emi’s capabilities. While Saka stole the show bringing home multiple player of the month awards, Bernd consistently performed at a really high level, providing many quality saves throughout the season. But to be fair to Martinez: he would have caught the cross before Jota’s opener and probably would have blocked the angle better before Salah’s goal, too.

    So it’s hard to say which goalkeeper is better, or which keeper’s strengths suit better for the upcoming seasons. While I might be more optimistic (or forgiving) than GunnerOX10 I don’t see Bernd a liability, but clearly he has some skills to improve (including but not limited to calm play under pressing, goal kick precision and positioning within the 6-yard box) to become one of the top 3 goalkeepers of the PL. He is fighting for the German #1 jersey with Neuer and MAtS, so I trust him he’ll do his best to improve. Maybe a good goalkeeping coach could also help, too.

  • TA the ever optimist, one with the glass full :). Good on you mate for being so positive and probably an excellent way to keep ones own emotions under control. For me though the loss was not such a big problem as i didn’t have much expectations precisely for the reason that you have mentioned. What i was upset about was the level of performance and the fact that till their first goal went in we had 2 shots on target which is poor considering that pool didn’t have VDV, Gomes and a new CB pair with Alison who has had some howlers lately.
    I have been pro-Arteta from the time he was hired/ considered , but i do have a problem with his handling of youngsters and particularly Martinelli. Arteta should look at his own position where one of the biggest clubs in England has given him reins and backed him to the hilt without any first team experience. Least he can do is to extend that similar logic to youngsters within the team. We are not talking about youngsters who haven’t proven, but someone like Martinelli who reached 10 goals last season., despite that fact that ESR and Saka the youngsters who have been catalyst for this team’s improved performance after Christmas. This i find extremely annoying, leave aside his treatment of other youngsters coupled with his mollycoddling of players like Willian, Auba, Laca etc.
    Arteta needs to stop making Arsenal the copycat of ManC, we are the Arsenal with a rich history and have an unique style of playing football. He can model himself on Pep, but please Arsenal cannot be copycat of Manc. Did anyone see the number of people giving instructions to Mo when he came on. First the assistant coach through his ipad pages, then Arteta weaved his hands to probably demonstrate Mo’s positions and movements, then again the assistant coach comes to give him more. Its really bizarre and its better if Arteta becomes a player coach instead of overcoaching.

    Completely agree with @pbarany on his assessment of Leno. I for one felt that he could have come out for the cross on the first goal.

  • CvK, great comment. 🙂

    Arteta approaches the games v Pool and Citeh like chess games. He knows the systems well and he needs to have his pieces in the right places. Arteta is building on a style of play and I for one like it that he is no longer messing with it just to beat an opponent in a one-off game (which was necessary and v successful at the end of last season). I think Arteta expected more of his pieces and they let him down only to the extent that they just did not have the skills … and some lacked the appetite too.

    I think Arteta wanted to close the Pool wings down and then spring an attack from there when possible. Without Luiz on the right and Xhaka on the left we just did not seem to have had what it takes to do that.

    Your observations:
    1. Good point about Luiz and his replacement. I think we will find out over the summer. I am a fan of Holding but there is also Mavropanos and indeed Saliba. The Xhaka-Partey combo should really help with playing out from the back, so I am not too worried about this. Leno is going through a lesser spell but I would stick with him.
    2. Xhaka’s replacement is indeed a key issue. The guy has played so many games for the team over the season and this is unlikely to continue going forwards. ESR reminds me a bit of Frenkie de Jong at Barca: one of best Dutch footballers I have ever seen. Frenkie prefers to play deep in midfield and determine the game from there. I think ESR can do that too. ESR has the potential to be the complete package for the pivotal ‘Xhaka’ role; in fact, I think he can even be better.
    3. Financing Odegaard… let’s see whether we can get European football and thus extra income. Success would also make our players more attractive for sales.

  • This post should be about patience towards the team and the manager, less about Arteta’s skills, but I can’t help myself agree with Madhu with his remark on Mikel trying to follow Guardiola’s steps.
    While many consider Pep as the bast football manager (of all times, or currently working) I don’t necessary agree. Mostly because it is really hard to evaluate and compare the performance of 2 managers working for 2 entirely different teams. And partly because Guardiola was always appointed to the best and richest club of the given league, so his job was to bring the highest value squad to the top again, and his biggest coaching challenge is to keep their world class players hungry. That doesn’t make him a less manager, but I can argue that at clubs like PSG or Bayern Munich even the Bergkampesque collective think tank could win silverware relying on the players’ routine, occasional wild ideas and some free YouTube training videos.

    So from that point of view Pep is not the role model Arteta should emulate (assuming he is doing that). Or – in other words – if we had all the funds in the world, we probably shouldn’t aim for Pep to replace Mikel at the end of the season, as he has no experience whatsoever in developing an EL-level team. In fact (from this perspective) we should sign Gian Piero Gasperini, the manager of Atalanta BC, because the skill-set our club is looking for is exactly his signature: taking the league’s 7th most valuable squad, and instead of high-profile marquee signings, relying on the academy and targeted smart transfers not only to reach the 2nd/3rd spot and the automatic CL group stage every season, but playing attractive attacking play and scoring more goals than the wealthy clubs in the process.

  • Great comment and points, Ox10

    All agreed re fans’ expectations, but it is not just the more recent ones. So many have become couch consumers.

    I think our attack was toothless and lacked the hunger to put pressure on the Pool midfield and defence. But the biggest problem was that they were unable to do something with the ball when under pressure. Laca and Ode tried hard to get it going but they indeed needed one or two more passers like ESR and Bukayo (and Xhaka) in the team. In a nutshell, for the sort of football Arteta wants us to play against an opponent like Liverpool we lacked the quality on the pitch. We were pass-poor! The fact that Nelson did not play at all tells you all you need to know about his future.

    I does look like we are missing Emi but we needed the cash back then it seems, so I have peace with it. Ryan should be given a chance if Leno does not improve again soon.

    Yeah I would have brought on Martinelli sooner too, but Arteta has to manage the egos (and values) of his top players too and it is a very delicate balance.

  • Cheers Eris

    We were outplayed and I don’t think Arteta had much at his disposal to change it. The gold standard reference is an interesting one. I was thinking the other day that Arteta has beaten all his age peers but seems himself to overawed by both Guardiola and Klopp. Let’s not forget that he beat Pep vitally in the FA Cup and Klopp twice already, but there does seem to be a bit of fear in our play when we face the Spanish and German masters. Still, i think we did not have the quality in midfield and attack to put Pool under pressure and change things round. Like you say we missed too many of our first team players for a game of this magnitude.

  • Cheers PB,

    It is okay not to be a big Arteta fan and you have made that clear more than once. Just to correct you, Arsenal won four points from their last three hard games, so nothing to worry about imo. A win against Spuds was especially unexpected and great for morale. The data re players are mostly your eyes, let’s never forget that. 🙂

    It may well have been possible to do something different against Pool but Mikel did not seem to know or want to do it. I dont think he had too many options and he will have focussed on the Thursday game rather than risk further injuries. Yet, I think he could have brought on Martinelli (earlier) and Nelson to spice things up. I guess this was also a clear message to the BoD that some of our top attackers just don’t cut the mustard.

  • I think Arsenal have a decent chance to win the EL but not more than that. If we do I would be delighted but I certainly don’t bank on it. We saw on Saturday what a handful of injuries can do to us…

  • Cheers Madhu

    I get the frustration of not playing Martinelli enough. I think Arteta has a delicate balance to strike, one that we don’t all appreciate. Martinelli’s time will come, but for the moment he has expensive players who he may want to move on this summer… They have to be in the shopping window, even though Saturday evening did not help. There is also a risk of players ganging up against him and between them decide not to put in a full shift. I don’t like conspiracy theories but we must not underestimate the power players have… they are very expensive assets.

    I dont think Arteta is copying MC too much. That is where he learned his skills and insights so we can expect him to use some of these at Arsenal but Mikel is certainly his own man. Dont also forget that it was MC who copied Arsenal but with unlimited funds over the last ten years+. Without the oil money Guardiola would certainly have succeeded Wenger a few years ago, but history had a different plan.

  • All goals came from Pool’s right, our left and we can only conclude that the omission of Granit and injury of Kieran was simply too much for us. Big Gab really did not know what to do with the ball at times and he was left isolated often.

  • Wanted to write something about the last game but nothing good came out of it and i threw my script out.

    We need players with a strong mentality like Tierney. Both Saka and himself were carrying the team on their shoulders. In the era of Henry, we had 11 players with fantastic winning mentality. This was missing evidently in the past few years.

    Look what Emery had done to his current club. It is not Mikel. It is not Emery. It is the players.

  • I appreciate your positive attitude, TA, as well as your openness and acceptance to different opinions.

    With regards to our last 3 games, I indeed included the home leg against Olympiakos, making it 1 points in 3 games. You may argue that it wasn’t a “hard game”, but that home defeat and lackluster performance made me more ashamed than the – somewhat more expected – beating against Liverpool.

    You are right, the EL Cup is not in the bank, quite far from it. There are a series (hopefully 5) games to get there, but luckily there are no Barcelonas, Liverpools and Bayern Munichs on the way, so at least that’s a sizeable opportunity. If the boys manage to win the cup that will constitute a major success as Arsenal hasn’t won a European trophy for ages. And it will lead back the club to the CL and serious funds for reinforcements; so I would accept it as the biggest achievement in recent years and support Arteta’s project continuation accordingly: 2 trophies in (less than) 2 years is quite an entree. However I’m quite positive that I’m not the only one who would evaluate this season a (mostly unmitigated) disaster if we happen to lose the final. Remember Emery: he lost the EL final and in December he was no longer head coach, and almost everybody agrees that it should have happened even sooner….

    You are obviously right that whether we are talking about the limited of minutes to Eddie, Nelson and Martinelli, (Balogun, Azeez) or the lack of more defensive formation against Liverpool (5-4-1 or 4-5-1 counter-attacking) “Mikel did not seem to know or want to do it”. But as we all praised him in unison after beating Chelsea in the Emirates and MU & Leicester on the road for finding the right line-up and tactics or when he fired up the lads during half time, he has to take the responsibility for the mistakes, faults and missed opportunities too, as Gunner OX10 also recommended above. Especially for not taking the chance to bring Nketiah, Nelson, Willian and Martinelli up to speed, so it’s likely he has to rely on the best XI again when facing Slavia Prague in 2 days. Which will be cheered by many for demonstrating how seriously Mikel takes each game, but it seems to me more like a necessity Arteta forced on himself than an elaborate strategy, and will be evaluated accordingly if it fails.

  • I agree that a different goalkeeping coach (or sports psychologist) may help Leno. I’m not saying that he is a bad goalkeeper. He can pull off some spectacular saves, and he has kept us in games at times, my issue is with the collective dynamic at the back with him in goal. I agree with TA that Emi is gone and we have to move on but that doesn’t stop us from comparing the performance of the defence last season when he was in goal, with how the defence performs with Leno behind them. We had a good run of results with Emi in goal and whoever was in defence we seemed more secure. The dynamic has changed. That’s why I would like to see Ryan play. He may not be technically as good a keeper as Leno but it may be that our defensive team is stronger with him behind them.

  • Morning all.

    Eris your predictions were recorded plus your revision.

    Yet another masterful post from the King of posts – thank you Total for your cool, calm approach to you encapsulation of our situation. It’s post of this caliber and all of the fine responses that make BK both a unique and special place to blog.

    My twopence is that Arteta is a superb coach/manager and will be at Arsenal for many years to come.

    What we watched on Saturday was not to anyone’s liking but starting without four key players and then losing a fifth was never going to have a good ending. Our mid field was over run and our strikers were starved of ammunition, without Luiz to marshal our defense we were sadly lacking.

    The biggest issue in my mind was that none of our players picked up the cudgel and pulled the team up. I don’t like to pick on individual players, so I won’t, but we certainly lacked any form of leadership, whereas LIverpool were led by every player.

  • If we are relying on 33 + year old defender who makes individual mistakes every few days then what does it say about everyone at the club. We are in huge trouble. Looks like he is going to have a contract extension then.

  • The reports that I have read about Luis state that we will make a decision once we know if we will be playing in Europe next year. They also indicate that he would have to take a pay cut. So, even if these reports are true it is not certain that his contract will be extended. I wouldn’t have a problem with it although I am not David’s biggest fan. As GN5 said, where were the leaders on Saturday? Luis is one of the few who consistently acts like a leader in the present squad. He is also said to be a good influence on the younger players in the dressing room and training pitch. Yes, he switches off at times but he would be a good squad player and might be helpful to Saliba assuming that he comes back to us in the summer.

  • GN5 I agree but till recently we were upset with Luiz and he is not there for a game and we get battered. He is one CB who can play from back. Iam ok for him to get a one year extension but in a player coach position. I am more interested in how Arteta will integrate a Saliba or a Mavro into the squad. But if we need to move forward we have to look at these youngsters. My problem is that the coach is rookie but he so scared to blood in rookies. How ironic if I was Martnelli I would be upset and leaving in the summer.

  • PB, we have different expectations for this season and that is fine. Winning the EL would be an unbelievable achievement at this stage of Artetas big plan for the club. I don’t expect it but remain hopeful. 😊 ⚽

  • Cheers, GN5! 😁

    Good point about leadership missing during the game. The players that were missing are all good leaders. I thought Partey tried to fill the gap but was just too isolated.

  • Luiz is not perfect and this can be said about all CBs. It is about building a unit of a GK, four defenders and the deeper midfielders. Luiz, with the right support, can be awesome. Not world class but still v effective, despite his mistakes.

  • Busy couple of days, Grandchildren yesterday, cabbing today, more people and traffic out in London so things are gradually ramping up for April 12th…

    Ok, here goes nothing…

    Man City vs Leeds Utd…. Home
    Liverpool vs Aston Villa….Home
    Burnley vs Newcastle……Home
    Tottenham vs Man Utd…. Away (1-3)
    Sheffield Utd vs Arsenal.. Away
    Frankfurt vs Wolfsburg…. Draw

    I almost put Arsenal in for a draw because there’s just knowing what Arsenal team will turn up?

  • Sums up our result against liverpool after seeing today’s result against RM. What was disappointing about out performance is zero threat to their third choice defenders and error ridden Allison. I would have been much happier if we had scored atleast a goal. That’s where the result is gutting and needs more introspection.

  • Yep one of them is 45M and played for AM, another one Arteta extended the loan and Ode is the next KDB. We cannot keep painting us inferior always and just give up. All iam asking for is some decent attacking play.

  • JAMES Olayinka will delay an operation on his groin injury in a bid to help Southend United stay up.

    The midfielder, who is with Blues on loan from Arsenal, has been hindered by the injury for most of the season.

    But Shrimpers boss Mark Molesley is hopeful Olayinka will still be able to play a part in his side’s remaining six matches.

    “James is probably going to need some kind of intervention with the injury but we’re hoping to do that at the end of the season,” said the Blues chief.

    “He had a chance of coming to the game on Tuesday but he wasn’t fit enough unfortunately.

    “He wasn’t quite sprinting right but hopefully we’ll get some work into him on Thursday and Friday and see whether he can be in contention for Saturday’s match with Crawley.

    “We’ll certainly be doing our best to keep him fit and then we’ll sort out that problem at the end of the season.”

    Olayinka has missed Southend’s last two matches with the groin injury having previously been sidelined for two months with an ankle issue.

    But the 20-year-old should soon be back in action.

    “It’s something you can play on with but it can be quite sore when it’s inflamed,” explained Molesley.

    “At the moment Arsenal are happy for him to play when he’s a bit more pain free and we all want to try and get him through it.

    “It’s going to be on his pain threshold and he’s a got chance of being involved on Saturday.

    “We’ll have to see how it goes but he will need an operation as there’s a groin issue which might need a small bit of micro surgery.”

    Olayinka has scored three goals in 18 games for the Shrimpers this season.

    I took this from the Southend Echo, it shows the collective spirit and positive attitude of Olayinka and it’s why I’ve got a lot of time for him as a player. Arsenal could do with a bit of that drive and determination, I really hope he gets a chance with us, under rated player!

  • It is a great discussion following a good thought-provoking post. There are a lot of interesting arguments above, it’s too long to mention those I agree with. So just the 2 main points I disagree:

    While I support TA’s claim that Xhaka’s absence was a big blow as we have no proper CM cover for the Swiss maestro, – and I appreciate Saka and ESR a great deal – I cannot agree that an Aubameyang-Odegaard-Pepe-Lacazette front 4 is a backup-offense or even an excuse for the lack of goals, attempts or even trying. It’s not the equivalent of a Martinelli-Willian-Nelson-Nketiah attacking quartet, Mikel should not only rest Saka from time to time for the sake of preventing injuries and burnout, but also not to be dependent on a single player. That should be team selection 101. (Xhaka is a different issue as we don’t have a suitable substitute, but Arsenal is abundant of talented attacking players – and many of them desperately need minutes on the pitch.)

    I promised TA to be more supportive towards Arteta, so I’m not bringing too many arguments here, but unlike njk85sg “It is not Mikel. It is not Emery. It is the players.” I’m on the opposite end of this scale. Of course it is subjective, but I think we have a great team with the perfect blend of experienced professionals, players at their peek and young starlets; thus all we need is a proper manager to bring the best out of the lads, ensure consistency and tailor the formation and tactics to the next opponent. Mikel is obviously a great guy with Arsenal DNA, a lovable character and easy-to-identify-with core values. He has good individual coaching skills too, but I think he is a well-below-average tactician, and he already made more player-related mistakes and blunders than Wenger and Emery combined. Still, if we win the EL I’ll be more than happy to support him continuing to learn his trade at Arsenal; but as TA summed up, this is only a possibility, should not be a strong expectation.

  • PB, thanks for another good comment. I have two issues with it:
    A) v Pool you need good passers of the ball and players who can keep the ball under pressure if need be. Our attackers are good on paper but we could all see how limited a football unit they were. With Auba and Pepe we have limited footballers in a high press, especially if we are also missing Xhaka and ESR. It just did not work; we were outskilled on that occasion.

    B) Arteta is a great tactician. That’s why he won the FA cup and beat so many top teams already. How, many times did Wenger beat a Pep, Klopp or Mourinho team for example?

    Where he is struggling is to get consistency in our ‘regular’ games and play. This I see as the inevitable price of progress/extreme change of playing style and something I will be much more critical of in say 8 months time.

  • I will take you at your word, TA, if Mikel will still be head coach / manager in November.
    On Arteta’s tactical skills we agree to disagree. But consistency should not be an element of luck, or an exogenous variable. That is a coaching skill to keep the players hungry, motivated and playing doing their best. Which is often the case – we see them working hard – but not always, and sometimes even the hard work bears little fruit.

    But let’s go one match at a time. The Slavia preview will be in your inbox shortly.

  • Slavia are owned by a Chinese company which is itself owned by the Chinese government so in essence Arsenal are facing the Chinese Communist Party – come the revolution…

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