The Bees Stung the Arsenal But No Need to Panic

At the end of my last post, I asked supporters to support. That’s what my blog is about. I have no time for entitled, know it all fans who just expect Arsenal to make them happy, or else…

Look, it was a disappointing result. I get that. Not the start we needed, I get that too.

But I saw a team that worked hard and played good football at times. Our midfield played very, very well and we passed the ball round well.

The unavailability of both Laca and Auba was a major blow. Having to play both Martinelli and Balogun didn’t help. We had a very young attack and it showed.

At the cauldron of the Bees it was very important to score first. Had we played them at the home of football I believe it would have been completely different, and VAR would have actually played the role it was introduced for. The refereeing was a disgrace. The second goal would have been chalked off in each and every game last season, but Arsenal didn’t get any protection last night.

Our defending was below par, especially from our right side. Clearly, it is a work in progress, but no need to get your knickers in a twist over it yet. They will bounce back.

Many top teams would have struggled yesterday. The first game of the season, away, first time with full crowd against a team that has nothing to lose and full of beans, two main strikers missing and Holding missing, White’s first Arsenal game and Riley doing VAR.

It was very tough for the boys, and not what we needed, but it is just a game.

Let’s lick our wounds collectively and in harmony and keep believing AND supporting.

By TotalArsenal.

97 thoughts on “The Bees Stung the Arsenal But No Need to Panic

  • TA, we always support Arsenal and spend our hard earned money on them. But if you are asking me to support Arteta iam sorry I cannot.
    Brentford came in confident and out players looked scared. Hell Arteta looked scared and that’s down to him. I have doubt over his player assesment, treatment of youngsters, his style of play if one exist. The list is long and results are not great.
    Get Conte and settle this team. Get players to perform and then look at some long term coach who can get the best from players. Arteta was presumed all this because of his apprenticeship with Pep. But sadly he is out of his depth.
    I have supported Arsenal footbsll club for more than two decades and spent money and emotions on them. I will suppot them till i die but I cannot support this fall from grace. I have every right to demand better mgmt and football.

  • Good to see some fans and blogs using their brain and not overreacting in an useless outburst of negativity. 👍

  • Eris, I think that if an opposing defender stands on Leno with the singular intention of obstructing him and fouling him them our other players need to get involved. It’s a failing of team work I’m afraid (and maybe culture) with the emphasis on team, you live by and die by playing with and for your team mates – and so one of our players gets in between Leno and the Brentford player and moves him away, it’s becomes a pushing match but it highlights what’s going on and VAR can’t ignore it and it’ll then end up an Arsenal free kick as it should have been if our player handles the situation properly.

    The Coach can’t do everything for you as a footballer, you have to think and react yourself and off the cuff, I mean how many Arsenal hands went up when Balogun was tripped? Nobody went to the referee and so it’s ignored, we are too nice and too accepting, if you want things to change you have to do it yourself on the pitch…

    Great post Total…

  • TA, where you have love you have expectation. If you don’t love something then you don’t expect anything. Also when you love something you wish the best and be critical when something goes wrong. Always condoning and worst still overseeing their deficiency becomes detrimental to the relationship.

  • TA I think Madhu is very positive minded about the team because he sees the wrong things happening and wants them corrected for the good of the team. The results and performance are getting worse and supporters will react.

    The ref could have made errors but what did Arsenal do to win the game. Very little indeed.

  • The second goal instead of talking about referees and we know that they are shot we coulf.have tried one of many things.
    1. Leno to call refree and show him being obstructed
    2. Leno kicking the opponents back before the throw is taken
    3. One of our player coming in between Leno and.Opponent
    4. Leno just collapsing on ground before the throw is taken forcing refree to intervene
    5. Leno changing his position

    We can blame refrees all we want nothing will change unless we as a team understand game management. regarding VAR if you see video evidence being used in many sports it always the prerogative of the players to ask for intervention. It’s the case in Cricket, Field hockey, badminton etc. Not sure why the football authorities not change the way VAR is used in football? Whats so different about football?

  • TA you are saying one game but many others have written off next two. What do you think ?

  • Even if we were to lose all three, it is only three games, 7.5% of the total games. Hardest possible start, but I think we will get points from those two games.

  • TA, my biggest concern is that if we don’t make it to Europe this season or atleast show an upward trajectory, our pride ESR, Saka, Martenelli aren’t going to stick around. This is professional sport. Here success has many father and failures none. Arresting the slide is very important and we haven’t been able to do that for the past 5 years.
    Anyways let’s see how this season pans out.

  • laughable excuses. The midfield were not very good, they persisted in passing sidewasy. Only Sambi made positive moves. Pepe couldnt beat his man all game. The defence was woeful. But none of this was a surprise. And fans are not panicing they are are reacting to a 16 month long diatribe of cliches and poor football by Arteta

  • I won’t make any excuses for our loss yesterday but like others I was fully expecting their 2nd goal to be overturned as Leno was not simply obstructed he was held back by two arms behind his back – VAR must have been asleep.

    We played some very good football that had Brentford on the back foot for most of the game but unfortunately we were toothless up front. It’s along season so keep you chins up.

  • Kev and Madhu, I cannot disagree with you on the counter-actions Leno and our defenders may have taken in the situation leading to the second goal. Maybe, that’s where leaders on the pitch come in. Even so, the officials and technology are there for reasons as this.

    There is a lot we need to improve upon before things go off the rails. We were just too tame and looked listless, not knowing what to expect and needed someone to re-assure/guide the rest of the squad.

  • I just finished reading yesterday’s comments. Too forgiving from my point of view.

    Even before we conceded, I thought we looked so unprepared as a team. So shakey against their press. But I want to talk about something specific.
    …… Leno. I always have defended him as a very good keeper. Great shot stopper. Very good on the ball with his feet. Admittedly below average distributor and also coming for high balls, but a good sweeper.

    I think I must be me looking at him more critically, but can he be getting worse as a distributor and against the press?? By yesterday’s performance, he looked the worst in the league.

    The answer that comes to me is that the very credible reports last season that he told arsenal that he wants out. I believe it 100% now. The other evidence is that arsenal have been bidding 20m+ for a supposed number 2. Nonsense, and we should all recognize it. Ramsdale was meant to take over so we can let Leno go eventually.

    I said a couple weeks ago that I’m ok with that, because I don’t want a keeper who’s heart is not in it. That was the exact phrase I used.

    I think everyone who blamed the ref, var, and the Brentford player were all just too forgiving… The normally bad NBC analyst was right. The keeper needs to do whatever necessary to fight that player, wrestle, kick, bite, scratch, or at very least, even fall to the ground! … I don’t care what, until the ref blows the whistle. You can’t let that play start and the ball come at that disadvantage. You can’t hope for VAR to save you. Shameful, and I’d question his manhood if I was the manager. Do you think Leno would allow himself to be blocked out like that if he was playing for Bayern in a champions league match? Be honest.
    I was annoyed from the start by his handling of the press and distribution. So bad, that I could see wide open Tierney ready to be released on the left, and Mari had to call it out to him, but by then, it was late. Every pass out just too slow, or just behind our guys, never leads the receiver, then it’s so hard to get on the front foot.

    The club have kept it quiet, properly, because it will put us in even weaker bargaining position, but we have a disgruntled keeper and no second option. I hope Arteta reams him in front of the whole squad, and slaps him around privately.

    Slight bright spots. Smith Rowe good. Saka good. Xhaka stayed strong. Sambi good for a debut.
    I don’t like the teams body language in moments of adversity.

    I still have doubts about Mikel even though I really want him to succeed.

  • Still on Leno. What happened to his famed prowess with his feet and our playing out from the back philosophy? How many times did Leno elect to hoof the ball upfield from a goal kick situation after positioning for a pass out from the back? It was this play out from the back introduction by Emery and then Arteta, that cost strong defenders like Sokratis and Mavropanos their places in Arteta’s team. What happened to that tactic?

    While we get worse at it, Brentford calmly used it against us, successfully. Arteta has got to remain consistent with his plans and stick, until it becomes a philosophy.

  • Not purposeful T. I just think you can’t play in a league this intense without being fully committed.

    Watching other games now, other top 4 contenders impressing so far. Chelsea, United dominant and exciting, Everton, great start for Rafa. Leicester who have personnel problems didn’t slip up or drop points for Brendan.

    The Villa result makes me very happy. I guess Emi let in 3. Shame.

    Mikel Arteta is fortunate we weren’t in front of a home crowd for that result. But a very good chance things get compounded and ugly at the Emirates next week. I’m always hopeful of a turnaround.

  • This is my take on last on a very disappointing Friday showing.
    PL & Sky went full on with the ‘Returning Fans Factor’ last night, that place was loud, boisterous & rocking. All credit to the Arsenal away following, at times last night we could hear them over sing the home support, which is a credit to our fan base, love them true supporters of our beautiful club.
    Ok how this influenced SKY, they did not even mention the ‘Rugby Tackle’ Leno, 100% foul, VAR did not even check it, I believe that football PL & SKY will be full on concentrating on fan return, because last nights atmosphere was electric and they don’t want to interrupt their product. I must admit if I put the result to one side I realise the beauty, passion has been missing through COVID-19. Look at today’s results majority of home teams have won, that’s because home fans have been loud and made an unbelievable atmosphere. Yes I’m not happy, no points but there is a big part of me that is so pleased that football is back in its true format.

  • I forgot to add, next Sunday if you are privileged to be going to the game, make your voices heard, singing for the Arseeenallll. Please sing double hard for me. Let’s give the TEAM a boost they will need us after a disappointing start. I feel that the crowd at Brentford energised their team. Let’s make sure we get behind Arteta boys. In 10 games time we can analyse , signings, tactics and his managerial credentials, if results and performances are not good, then will be the time to talk about a new manager, not after one slip on the 1st day of a new season. Let’s enjoy this new season of proper football, the last year has not been proper football, it’s been a poor substitute of our beautiful game.

  • Great comment Rocky. I had the oddest feeling watching our game as I was concentrating more on what a superb crowd Brentford had and how happy they were and what a joy they brought to the game. In the end I was, of course, disappointed to see us lose but frankly we did not create enough scoring chances – our team played as well as they could but it was simply not good enough.

    My real concern was the mugging of Leno and his seeming disinterest, we are used to goal keepers that command their area but unfortunately that has not happened since we made the mistake of selling Martinez.

    Just to put you in the picture bloggers had the option with our competitions of paying a winner takes all fee or just playing for fun – they chose to pay a fee. With 37 games still left you still have time to join in, I will be posting next weeks choices on Monday.

  • R07, good observations. The home crowd was boisterous. Just hoping this will not lead to a big hike in Corona cases all over the country.

  • Hey TA,

    I remembered I read somewhere that if you are not fully vaccinated you cannot catch the game in the stadium?

    But there is always a risk in a huge crowd

  • Been good TA. Here the rules are ever-changing due to the current covid situation on the ground as well.

    The only thing that is lacking within the squad is the strong mentality.

    But we just need a new creative attacking midfielder and get him to gel with the squad along with the other new players and we are good.

  • In general, what do you chaps think about the possible arrival of Martin Odegaard, good, undecided, disappointed, is he the attacking midfielder we need?

  • Kev, I like Odegaard. I’ll take him. He reminds me a little of Ozil as far as capabilities, obviously with upside. He presses fairly well for a CAM , defends a bit. People complaining that he doesn’t score enough and that’s true, but he made more attempts than Ozil for example, especially when we were chasing games..and he’s young enough that a good coach can encourage him to attack the goal more. Wenger would.

    I really hope Arteta would. I am still not seeing any creative attacking tactics from his team, and for a long time I’ve wondered what he does in drills and training.

    Worryingly, I read something very recently about a noticeable lack of creative drills that emphasize passing around the box and in tight spaces. So that’s my suspicion confirmed as far as I’m concerned.

    Against Chelsea and City, I’d consider going with three at the back because of my worry about how Leno handled the press. Plus it would maybe surprise them a bit.

  • West H looked good. Spurs are giving Man C a good game. Spurs looks better than us . So much energy and aggresion. We have to really turn up from next game

  • Well I’d be delighted if we signed Odegaard, he did enough for me from January to show me that he’s not only a great player but he’s got a lot more to give and a regular game alongside our young guns would I believe bring out the best in the Norwegian national captain.

    Some interesting results today, takes the spotlight away from us and that’s no bad thing.

    Could the ‘illness’ of Aubameyang and Lacazette be due to acute transfer’itis or could it be the attraction of a certain Iberian football team that has no money but does have some interesting players to swap?

  • I was planning to write a (characteristically long) comment on the defeat, listing the neutral, external negative (refereeing, commentators), internal negative (lack of creativity, losing duels, White) and positive (Lokonga, Tierney, Saka being applauded) aspects of the game, but I no longer have the mood. Anyway I would have signed off on a high note that we are in a win-win situation as either the boys pull themselves together and bounce back from this experience and wreak havoc on Chelsea and Manchester City or maybe we don’t have to wait until December to see Arteta getting sacked the feck out.

    But that’s not why I started this comment. I don’t want to overestimate the importance of this game; it was a poor performance both defensively and offensively but there are indeed mitigating circumstances, and this was a single game after all.

    Where I do want to challenge your assertion is the conclusion about the support vs negativity. Make no mistake, everybody on this fine blog is loyal to the Arsenal. Everybody is supporting the team, most of us buy merchandise, watch the game(s), share our thoughts, improvement ideas and frustrations. But the team is more than any of its part. As it is natural and acceptable to suggest (demand) that Leno/Bellerin/Elneny/Nelson/William is got rid of (sold or replaced) I believe it is equally acceptable to suggest (demand) to do that with the management: Kroenke(s), Edu and even Arteta.
    I assume when Mikel was appointed all of us were delighted. And the good results kept on coming. Than the results kept deteriorating; low league position, early bye in the cups, unprecedented winning-less streak, losing the opportunity to play in Europe, the lowest position in 25 years and now – after spending 80M in the summer – a clear defeat from a freshly promoted team where we couldn’t even consider ourselves especially unlucky.

    I think it is quite natural that after seeing a clear negative trend in performance and results, the fans start to doubt the ability/competence/influence of the management and even request a change in control. I know it because it happened with Wenger (despite the Invincibles, despite the domestic doubles, despite the FA Cup records), and it happened with Emery even though we all were optimistic in the beginning, which started to fade after a year. (And I don’t remember your calling to unite in harmony and keeping the faith…) So it is normal that it started to happen. Different people have different thresholds; one might start to get impatient after a loss on the road against Liverpool, but as long as the clusterf*cks keep on coming more and more people will reevaluate their stand and might turn against Arteta. There is a good chance that after some similarly abysmal performances you will also lose patience and draw your line. Maybe not (preferably not due to cognitive dissonance reduction but the results will rather start to come, so you don’t have to witness your line being crossed). And I appreciate – maybe even a bit envy – your optimism and your ability to stay loyal despite this unprecedented ‘fall from grace’.

    But please don’t make your fan vs. supporter distinction depend on the view of Arteta’s managerial/coaching abilities. You can be sure than Madhu J, myself – and many others not listed here – don’t want anything more than a majestic turnaround. But we imagine that an experienced manager would have a bigger impact than an experienced attacking midfielder or a fourth right back. It’s not that we know better. But that is a legit view, equally legit as ‘Abraham would outperform Lacazette’. And we don’t deserve our support to the CLUB getting disputed.

  • A trend of one game, PB. One game (remember how well we have been playing since Christmas). When Arteta gets things going again, you will be singing another tune again, but it is us the loyal supporters who stick with the manager and team when we are down who help make it happen.

    Emery had poor English and had lost the team. He could not stay.

    Arteta is building something from scratch and it takes time. Maybe it is a generational thing. Patience needs discipline and management of expectations.

    Harmony… Victory ✌️

  • I have supported this great club since I was a child and will continue to support them till I am lowered into the ground. I was very excited when Emery left and we got our man in charge but this weekend is where I have drawn my line. Having watched spurs play city with all the passion and aggression that I wish we had was sickening. Does anyone here think Tanganga and Sanchez are better players than Chambers and White? The answer is no. What they are is well drilled and better coached.

    Spurs went into this game believing they could win and it was obvious to see. By contrast we started and finished the game looking like the team who had just been promoted and were scared of the bigger boys on the playground.

    In the 18 months he has been in charge we have not seen an incline in anything other than substandard players on high wages. This is not a team devoid of quality it is a team who is lacking identity and ideas. We have one of the best left backs in world football crossing into a box without a striker (even when our strikers are fit it is not the right tactic for the players we have). We have a keeper who cant play out from the back so we spent 50m on a ball playing defender.

    Our whole philosophy as a club is in crisis and until we sort out our transfer policy and find a top coach/manager we will continue to struggle. Arsenal have become the butt of all football jokes now and it is sad to see this great club in such a decline.

  • Well said, Wedge.
    “This is not a team devoid of quality it is a team who is lacking identity and ideas.” Couldn’t agree more.
    We have a team full of quality players, but somehow we (?) can’t bring the best/most out of them. Not even close.

  • Good comment Wedge. I am also worried that we have been playing the ugliest football I could imagine for a year now. Many people blaming the strikers who they say can’t play together, yet somehow they scored over 50 goals combined in the past. I blamed the midfield mostly, but I wonder if we’re all wrong and it’s just Artetas lack of creativity, poor tactics and training.

  • This is one of the only blogs that I actually read and most of that is down to the positive nature of yourself and most of the other posters on here so keep up the good work. That being said I do wonder how you stay so positive when I struggle to even get excited to watch a match nowadays. I have already resigned my self to the fact that we will probably be bottom of the league by the 1st IB and dont even see us scoring a goal.

  • Cheers Wedge. I understand where you are coming from. It will get better and better but we just need patience and keep supporting the team.

  • Kev, I would be excited to have Odegaard back with us and I am sure a few of our players would too. He won’t pull down trees or guarantee us a trophy this season but, what he brings is an infectious passion. I love the desire he shows to win back the ball and he is very effective in our forward press game. If he plays, it pushes ESR to the left but gives us more potential for ball retention, with Saka, Odegaard and ESR being our most assured forwards, with the ball at their feet (at least, that’s what I saw during his loan spell with us). It would mean Pepe and one of Laca and Auba will start from the bench till the team regains confidence, which a new arrival, and familiar face, can bring.

    We would need to get a keeper to push (or take over the No.1 position from) Leno. The whole team needs belief and it starts from the keeper. One thing that bothers me though, is what the background story is on the transfer speculations surrounding Laca and Auba. The effect this has on the team should not be overlooked in the lack of fight displayed by the team vs Brentford. The players looked distracted by something; it may just be the sudden realization they would be starting without their best two strikers after preparing with them during pre-season.

    I expect that Arteta would drill the team harder this week and we see a much better performance on Sunday.

  • Good comment Eris, I’m enjoying your work on Just Arsenal News, keep up the fight. 👍🏼

    I wonder if a back three is an option for the next couple of games, dig in and grind out a result or two? Holding alongside White with Tierney tucking in could work and wingbacks, needs must and all that jazz.

  • Total, I almost did put de Jong in my comment but just as you followed up with Coutinho that does seem more likely.

  • Dear Goneers, I want to make something’s very clear. As a fan which i believe Iam one who spends money on the club, my loyalties lies with the club and it’s standing in the premier league and footballing world. I dont for a moment think that the club is synonymous with Manager. So I don’t really care who is the manager as long as there is visible improvement every season. The table doesn’t lie and it’s the only proof of improvement. Visually the football on the ground is also important.
    I will always support Arsenal and have never even thought of changing my loyalties. In fact a true fan.of nay club never even think of it. That’s doesn’t mean that you support your manager who doesn’t show visible.improvemnts in the football. You say this is just the first game, but it’s a new season and you saw there a jaded Arsenal. Much as you guys will hate me for saying this but Spurs looked hungry, fresh, energetic and wanted tk send out a mesage to Fans and Kane. They did that in style against a over rated Man C side. They have out the marker down. Unfortunately Arsenal team did’t do that. Thye left themselves down and fans down. At one point in the match they showed Saka and AMN on bench looking terrified. Who is it down to? Why did they look so terrified?
    This is true for a country and at the lower level for the club. Never mistake a leader to be the country and any views contrary tk him is anti national. This is happening in my country. Blind following of anyone without questioning and debating is detrimental to a country or a club.
    We all love the club and wish the best but that doesn’t mean supporting individuals when you can see that individual is not taking the club in the right direction.

  • Kev, De Jong would of course be wonderful but he would be the last player Barca would let go unfortunately.

    I like Odegaard a lot but would love an attacking midfielder with 10-15 goals a season even more right now. Coutinho AND Ode, now that would be great.

  • Madhu, I don’t doubt your loyalty to the club and you are entitled to not believe in the manager.

    The table may not lie but my perspective is that of a slow transformation and Arteta has turned the ship since Christmas. I am behind him and strongly believe that we all need to do so, before we the supporters force the BoD or Arteta himself to give up on him.

    This blog is supportive by nature, has been so for nine years and counting. That’s what you will find here. I appreciate other opinions and may need to be more tolerant going forward. But I am very wary of this tsunami of negativity towards the club and management and am not enjoying it. Maybe the blog has had its day.

  • Eris

    I am all for playing ESR, Ode (or Coutinho) and Saka behind Laca (or Pepe or Auba). That would mean so much movement and passing ability!

  • TA, I agree there is lot of negativity around , but that’s the way world works nowadays. I have this mate who is sheffield Wednesday fan and he told that never in million years they will enter Premier league. He was happy to games with friends, have couple of pints and pies and have a good time. There are fans like that and there are fans who demand improvements. May be as Arsenal fans we have been spoilt by successes and think we need more. May it time to support the club without any expectations.
    Seeing how Spurs were hungry yesterday without thier talisman battering Man C it hurts when our team goes down to a newly promoted side.

  • Madhu there is a lot of influences out there, the pundits on Sky Sports for example, BT Sports as well, it’s part of the reason that I turn off the commentary during games, which is sad but something I find necessary. BBC pundits, the pundits on the radio of which the majority have no affection for Arsenal and even some ex-Arsenal pundits are drawn into the ‘crisis agenda’. Crisis sells you see, criss gets clicks, crisis is great for the ads on your website. As for the Internet, for as much as it gives us a voice and it’s led to us making friendships far and wide there is a dark side, we’ve all seen it and it can get into your head if you allow it.

    When Arsenal lose I am very disappointed and I could easily rant and rave, but then I read others online venting and I think ‘I don’t want to sound like that’ so I leave it alone…

    I have a very very good friend who I chat to regularly about Arsenal and life in general. He’s been telling me that Arteta is a ‘wrong ‘un’ and has been since early last season and we’ve been debating it ever since. Some of his well thought out arguments are compelling but I still stick to my guns and make my case. I’m not happy with the start of our season and tbh I was concerned at our performances in pre-season but to go into you first game of the season minus your two senior strikers and major influencer in midfield, with two 20 year olds leading our attack one of which was making his EPL debut, with two more players making their debuts against a newly promoted and motivated team aided by partisan officials and a shameful non use of VAR and we’ll, we were set up.

    Compare the reporting of Arsenal to that of Leeds and Aston Villa, both with established managers who’ve been in situ as long as Arteta. Both have spent considerable sums, both failed to qualify for Europe this season. Both lost their opening games. Yet neither of them have their positions questioned do they?

  • TA and other fans here yes we need to support the manager and players but until when must we demand change. Real Madrid, Chelsea etc are where they are today because from club management to fan base they do not support mediocrity. Arteta like any worker is paid to perform and if he can’t he must go. He has had 4 transfer windows to improve the team and has failed to do so.

    We can’t have hope in a manager who doesn’t know his first 11 in almost two seasons. I love Arsenal very much and buy their merchandise but I won’t blindly cheer poor results. I blame the owners for being too soft to him after supporting him in the market. Him and Edu are not up to the task. We have very good players who are don’t have a good coach. Firstly he needs to make the team play with urgency. We are so slow it’s demoralising watching our games.

    Like what Madu said there is no need to support an underperforming manager. He is paid a fortune and must bring results. The team is lost in his guidance. Bellerin at 26 is in the peak of his career but wants to go as he is no longer interested and doesn’t believe in whatever is happening. We don’t expect to win every game but we expect to play every game with passion.

    Even during Wengers dry seasons we never questioned the teams desire to win. It’s so embarrassing to have one your sponsors openly criticising the teams application. Arteta is paid to perform and he.must do so. We might blame Edu, the owners etc but the buck stops with him.

  • Kev, Me too i turn down the commentary always. They have an agenda but we give them plenty of points for them to pursue the agenda. Take for instance Arteta’s comments on Auba and Laca. He apparently said they are supposed to be unwell. I cant say much about it. That was enough fodder for conspiracy theories. I do believe that there are agendas but we as fans are genuine in our club’s interests. As Arteta said some things are non negotiables and not turning for the first match of a pivotal season is certainly non negotiable. Auba was dropped for last seasons NLD, but we won nobdy questioned his decision. Thats the way professional sport is , you live and die by your decision.

  • Thanks Simba. Say it again.. One game.

    Look there are dozens of blogs where your views are celebrated. Just go there, or even better, start your own.

    BKs stance is Arteta is building something and it needs time, much more time. I respect your views but don’t agree with them, and I am worried that the negativity will lead to continuous changing of manager. That’s not the sort of club I would want, and I am certainly not comparing our great club with those you mention. At Arsenal we stand for something, and so does BK.

  • TA, sorry mate you are stuck with me. I will not leave this blog :). No hard sentiments mate. Its intellectual discussion and i love this forum where we can discuss this and not abuse each other like in social media.
    TA, you have given us a great platform and always thankful to you. I am going to contribute more blogs to you as well.

  • Kev, it makes me sad that you compare Arsenal to Leeds and Aston Villa; but you are probably right and I shouldn’t make an emotional issue to be rather compared to Leicester, Everton and Tottenham (all won by the way) than to our indeed mid-table rivals.
    But let me show you why your direct comparison is not entirely apt. (I will use TransferMarkt evaluations, with its known limitations.)

    For the sake of simplification and standardization I will use the squad values from 1/12/19 as a baseline (as Arteta was appointed in the same month, even though Bielsa and Smith were already in office for a while). But it will make their value added comparable taking the pandemic and the empty stadiums into consideration.
    In December, 2019 Arsenal was evaluated at 621.7M. Now our club worth 483.3M, simply put we lost 22.3% of our value. These figures show quite a different picture with Aston Villa – baseline: 171.9M, current value: 386.4M, gain: +124.8% – and Leeds – baseline: 84.6M, current value: 220.3M, gain: +160.4%. These 2 managers not just simply did a good job, they more than doubled their club’s worth, an amazing, phenomenal job. While Arteta made a piss poor job losing more than the 1/5th of the club (partly letting valuable assets go without compensation, but mostly by coaching the players in a way they lost momentum, improvement, potential and ultimately market value. (Sorry Kev, you picked the example with the highest gains, but to illustrate the trend by a fair comparison in the same time Arsenal lost 22.3% Chelsea gained 23.7%, Manchester United gained 23.2%, Leicester gained 35.3%, Everton lost 2.1%, Liverpool lost 15.7%. So even in that comparison Arsenal and Arteta performed exceptionally poorly.

    “Both have spent considerable sums, both failed to qualify for Europe this season.” Come on, Kev. These clubs haven’t been to Europe in the last 20+ years, while Arsenal participated in those competition in EVERY ONE of the last 20+ years. Their expectation had nothing to do with the EL, while for us it was the BARE MINIMUM. Maybe they will aim for Europe this season, but they are in an upward trajectory, and we are in a seriously downward slope.

    For that same reason for Leeds and Villa the opening day defeat is a hiccup, while for us this – along with the boring, unimaginative attacking play – is shattering the illusion that things are about to change. We lost against a mediocre team (but I admit not a weak one) who played average (but I admit the first goal was an excellent strike). And they were still better in most aspects of the game. On the other hand Leeds lost away against Manchester United, so it is rarely a reason to call for the manager’s head.
    Regarding the spendings; Leeds paid only 27M for 3 players, and while Aston Villa indeed spend 95M for 3 high profile players they had a 115M sales so they are 20M positive, making the comparison less suitable with our transfer activities.

  • As in any blog, we have contributors who will speak their heart out, but we all know deep within that the love-hate relationship with the Gunners are there for the long run.

    It is not when we will win something. It is how the team wins it.


  • I am well aware that rebuilding takes time, money and energy, and I am all for replacing the “older” generation with talented, young, success-hungry players. But I challenge TA’s view if Arteta had to start that from scratch, and I especially challenge that Mikel have started a conscious youth revolution at Arsenal. Nketiah had his debut under Arsene, Saka and ESR were discovered by Emery (and subsequently by Ljungberg), Arteta didn’t bring anybody from the academy apart from Balogun (20) who hardly played for the first team – which is only meaningful if we know that Saka’s and Nelson’s debuts were at 17, ESR was introduced at 18 – and comparing the bought players’ age profile will not be a strong argument for Mikel’s rebuilding narrative either. Emery signed Martinelli and Saliba at 18y, Guendouzi at 19, Tierney and Torreira at 22, Pepe at 23, etc. TA might not agree with me, but it looks more of a systematic, intentional, future-oriented rebuild to me than Arteta’s 3 transfer windows out of the 4: Rúnarsson 26, Mari & Partey 27, Soares 28, Willian 32.

    I appreciate the signing of Lokonga a lot, and maybe Tavares will prove himself necessary (we already see him a good player). The jury is still out about White, so I will not comment or assess him. But such reinforcements came in Arteta’s 4th transfer window. However it’s the good direction, I acknowledge.
    Nevertheless I find the argument ridiculous that Arteta is making anything different that Wenger did continuously (not only in his final years) or what Emery signed up for. All managers are building squads, buying experienced players and promoting talented youngsters while selling or releasing older and slower ones. Tailoring the team tactic and adding players who are more capable in adapting to that style and regretfully selling such that no matter how good, but don’t fit the system. I don’t see Arteta’s job being any different than his predecessors, especially as the squad he inherited reached the EL final and won the FA Cup; so it’s not the case that he has to replace 25 players in 2-3 years.

    I share Madhu’s views on the blog, too. If I were looking for my views to be celebrated I would sign up for a Twitter account. I love the atmosphere here, the cultured discussion, the rainbow of views and the acceptance of the polite debate of anything. I love the platform and the hard boiled community here, thus I am thankful for the opportunity and the moderation.
    TA – as well as anybody else – are entitled to a big ‘I told you so’ at the end of the season when we reach Europe again under Arteta.

  • Well gents here is an old timers view of Arsenal and Arteta.

    This is incredibly my 74th season of both watching and supporting Arsenal and you can imagine that during that length of time I’ve seen the very best and the abject worst of our team. Obviously our current team and manager are neither the best not the worst in both our entire history or during my time of supporting.

    For several years now we have been looking and hoping that our “future potential” will become a reality and it just has not materialized for various reasons. I could smother you with statistics but I will keep my powder dry and put my faith and energy into our current squad and manager. But if anybody would like me to give you a post on the statistics of all of our previous managers I will be only to pleased to do so

    .We most certainly have riches in our young players but they need time to mature and IMHO Arteta is the right person to give them the encouragement and assistance they need to grow.

    BK is a blog like no other that I have ever contributed to and Total does an absolute sterling job in allowing a thoughtful diversity of opinion to thrive and for that he has both my personal thanks and gratitude.

    Lets not spoil what we have by getting our knickers in a twist over what is destined to be a block building season.

  • Here are the results of the first week of our predictions competition:-

    1st -Eris, Madhu & OX10 with 4/6 and 1.33 points each for most correct predictions = 5.33 points each.
    4th – GN5, PB and Kev with 3/6 = 3 points.
    7th Total with 1/6 for 1 point.

    I will post week two’s choices shortly.

  • Here we go my choices for week two:-

    2 points extra for the score games (*)

    Crystal Palace v Brentford *
    Leeds v Everton
    Wolves v Spurs *
    Arsenal v Chelsea *
    West Ham v Leicester
    Inter Miami FC v Toronto FC

    All newcomers are welcome to join.

  • Thanks, TA, for the great news.
    And thanks, GN5, for your perspective as well as the results.

  • Here are predictions

    Crystal Palace v Brentford * 1-0
    Leeds v Everton – H
    Wolves v Spurs * – 0-1
    Arsenal v Chelsea * – 1-1
    West Ham v Leicester – H
    Inter Miami FC v Toronto FC – A

  • Crystal Palace v Brentford * – 0-0
    Leeds v Everton – A
    Wolves v Spurs * – 1-3
    Arsenal v Chelsea * – 0-2
    West Ham v Leicester – A
    Inter Miami FC v Toronto FC – H

  • Crystal Palace v Brentford * 3-0
    Leeds v Everton Home
    Wolves v Spurs * 2-1
    Arsenal v Chelsea * 3-2
    West Ham v Leicester draw
    Inter Miami FC v Toronto FC draw

  • I’d go for three at three back, was thinking about it after our problems with the press.

    People mention that we’ll train harder this week. Why wouldn’t we train hard for an away game at Brentford? I’m sure our video research showed that they know how to press well. If we had that problem with them, imagine Pep’s pressing.

    One paranoid thought occurs to me. Looking like Odegaard should be coming, we had the inside track of course and the Madrid situation helps us… I like him, he allows us to play through the middle more than the drab wide tactics.

    … My worry is Spurs trying to hijack him. Remember how they wouldn’t allow Madrid to announce Bale until they completed their buy deals, so they wouldn’t get squeezed for higher prices. I wouldn’t put it past them to do the same with City. If we dick around too much, the lily white scum might take advantage. I hope we aren’t playing too many negotiating games.

  • Crystal Palace v Brentford * D 1-1
    Leeds v Everton A
    Wolves v Spurs * A 1-2
    Arsenal v Chelsea * A 0-2
    West Ham v Leicester D
    Inter Miami FC v Toronto FC H

  • Thanks, Kev. I have never seen a more frustrating bunch of commenters as you find on that blog. Pus the blog thrives on “click bait” headlines, which gets (my) attention; until I find it is all doom and gloom reporting. Then, cue the comments, like they all drink from the same fountain of low level knowledge. I just respond to a few and walk.

    Good work on there yourself. 👍🏽

  • PB, you do make some very good, compelling points, backed with stats (stats don’t say it all, though) so there is little to argue about. However, you seem to have it in for Arteta (you have had it in for him for a major part of the last season, to be fair) and you may well be right. But, for me, there is something about him which tells me he would be able to build and bring us consistent success if given a “long rope” to get it right.

    That first game against Brentford, the team/players didn’t look right and it turns out it must have been some behind the scenes stuff with Laca and Auba involved. No team can train all week, leading to a game, only to find it has to drop 2 of its more experienced frontmen with one the club captain, and expect a stable performance.

    Hopefully, things are a bit more settled and we get to face Chelsea with a bit more clarity. Good thing it is a derby so, expect some fight on Sunday. If we get a draw vs City, confidence will be restored and we can get some consistency in the team. Fingers crossed, of course.

  • GN5, you just had to dig up one game with Toronto FC. They aren’t doing too well this season but I imagine they should be able to give Miami a game. So, here are my predictions from your selection:

    Crystal Palace v Brentford * H 2- 1
    Leeds v Everton A
    Wolves v Spurs * D 1- 1
    Arsenal v Chelsea * H 2 -1
    West Ham v Leicester D
    Inter Miami FC v Toronto FC. D

  • Peter, I saw your detailed comment as I was leaving for work, it was a long day as well and I’m too knackered to argue or debate, so thanks for your comment an£ all the effort you put in mate even if I think you missed the point.
    C’est la vie…

    Eris…. 👍🏼

  • I hope nobody thinks I have it in for Arteta. It would make me proud to have one of Arsenes former players and captain bring the team back to glory, or at least great relevance. I just can’t help but be honest. I’m starting to get a bad feeling about what’s happening behind the scenes. I think he generally says the right things on camera. I don’t know if he knows how to bring creative exuberance out of a team, either by motivation or detailed training. His short experience may mean that his skills don’t go far beneath the surface. He looks the part, and he talks the part.

    He deserves to get a lot of help in the window. He’s been given, so far, a cb we didn’t really NEED. A very young Sambi, (no established midfielder) and no keeper to motivate or backup an unhappy Leno, not even the barest alternative.

    The club organization is a mess. I’m not sure Edu can handle a big club, and that’s the owners fault too.

    I hope Arteta turns around the bad start by motivating the players to play the way the spurs did on Sunday. If we played that well and hard, and we lose, we’d all be more satisfied than the way we played on Friday, and it could be a positive step.

  • I’m going for a long walk tomorrow with a team mate of mine, a lovely bloke, a Chelsea supporter, a cop, presently on stress leave. Boy, it’s a stressful world out there, even here in far flung and quiet New Zealand. We will mainly talk football, (who was it who said, “of all the unimportant things in life, football is by far the most important”?) It is a mostly healthy and beautiful distraction to ease our minds away from Afghanistan, from climate change, from Covid…

    In 1970 my father left our family for another woman, in the same year I discovered The Arsenal and, in a difficult to describe sort of way the club became a surrogate father to me. I looked up to Bertie Mee, to Frank McLintock, to the beauty of Highbury Stadium as a far away family and family home. I wrote to the club asking of I could play for them, and received a kind letter, pennant, a scarf and a booklet entitled, “Heading for Arsenal”. I discovered many years later that my grandmothers maiden name was Norris and that I am distantly related to Henry Norris, so perhaps there is some DNA that awakened in me back in 1970. Successive managers came and went. George was like a tough older brother, Arsene like a slightly quirky but brilliant and much loved Uncle. Now I am of an age where Mikel is young enough to be my son. He wore the red and white, captained our team and, as Eris noted above has something about him. Something which deserves patience, something advocated by Total. If Mikel were my son, I would be immensely proud of him, wanting only success for him but affirming him when success isn’t attained.
    Keep going Mikel, and keep going Total. Your site is a beautiful distraction.

  • Stuart, enjoy the walk and I hope the warmth of your friendship will compensate for the stresses you both endure currently.

    So sorry to hear your dad left such a gap behind 50 years ago. You did well to find a replacement in your mind. I also have no doubt that you are a great and emphatic pastor to your community. Keep trucking buddy.
    And if you ever want to write about the Arsenal for the blog, you are my guest. Would love that. 🙏 🙂

  • J, well worded comment as ever. We don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, so it’s hard to make judgements. Introducing a new philosophy of football is very, very hard and the players (market value) have a lot of power. I will write something about it soon. 🤗

  • Eris, I had to look it up the idiom ‘to have it in for (someone)’, but I think this is not exactly the case. I do like Arteta as a person. I think he is a great guy. If I were going on a Switzerland ski vacation and had the choice to pick which Arsenal manager to live in the next apartment I would go for Arteta – ahead of Wenger, Emery or anybody else. However you are right, that I indeed think he is not a great manager (not even a good one to be honest). But I didn’t think that from the beginning – neither of us did – I was really enthusiastic about his appointment, he has Arsenal DNA, leadership abilities, learned from Wenger and polished under Guardiola. When we won the FA Cup only 6 months in his tenure I couldn’t imagine what could go wrong (despite some poor league performances, but the focus was on the ‘qualify through the cup’ narrative). In the next 15 month I gradually lost my positive outlook on his effect on the team. I can list my arguments about my doubts in his abilities – you know I could 🙂 – but I respect TA’s call for harmony and support and I have already criticized Mikel for a single game.

    But I didn’t criticize him for the blunt sake of it, or because it makes me happy. I challenge him for 2 reasons:
    1) I honestly believe he deserves it. His core job is to improve the squad, performance and results, and if we don’t see that, then we can share our views what did go wrong, and it sometimes involves questioning the line-up, tactics, game management, etc. And not that we are a peaceful hippie community, who only say good things. If we are sad, frustrated or disappointed, we criticize practically everybody (referee, players, opponents, owner), why would the manager be the sole exception?
    2) And this is important as it was probably never mentioned before. Generally I don’t like putting the blame. Due to my professional background (similar to TA’s, I’m a consultant, but I develop process and quality, not organization) I prefer to look for the future and look for the solution or prevention, rather than whose fault was that. But this is not how this game is played. In the post, comments, ratings, the blame is almost always assigned. And when one lives under the axiom (!) that the coach did everything good, then it unfairly shifts the blame to players and circumstances. Partly this happened to Xhaka, and this is happening now with Leno. Bernd wasn’t at fault in the first goal, and was faultED during the second. While he could have put into more theatrics to call the attention of the wanker referees to the situation the ratings of 2 and 3 he received later are completely unfair. When I criticize Arteta it is not solely to harm him, but rather to offer a balanced view, where Arsenal is not a bunch of overpaid, incompetent players who should all be replaced…

  • pbarany, I agree with your comments. If Arteta is to be appreciated for carrying on no matter what, what can we say about Wenger then. The kind of vile that he had to take in his last years, including despicable P words in spite of all he went about his work. He has refused to come back to make sure even his shadow doesn’t affect this Arsenal rebuilding project.
    I will give my 2 points on why i have beef with Arteta , which i consider the most basic necessities of coach/manager of any team.
    1. Setting up the team for key games/start of season is primarily the coaches job. Mentally and from tactics perspective its entirely on coach and his support staff to set the team up. Mentally we looked weak and scared. Tactically not sure what did we set ourselves for. I will take defeat any day if we fight each battle and loose giving everything. We are talking about a team that entered in PL after 75 years and not a contender for PL. The indications were there in pre season but then we always said its just pre season
    2. Good/Great coaches instill so much confidence in players ability that they make the team look better than the parts. I feel Arteta has failed consistently doing this except for the first half season when he won FA cup against all odds. I thought wow we are back. Now we look a pale imitation and less than the Club that we really are. Players are losing confidence and as a team we don’t seem to have leadership or a collective work ethic that is apparent on the pitch. This is depicted in regimented, stale and unimaginative football.
    Iam scared about our talented youngsters next season if we don’t arrest the slide. They will be gone at the first opportunity.

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