Arsenal v MU: Disappointing Result But Reasons to Be Positive

MU 3-2 Arsenal

It is not easy to take positives from a beating at the Old Toilet but the big picture is still pretty good.

Arsenal lacked the experience and leadership to beat the Mancs last night but let there be no doubt that we were the better footballing team. The first goal may have been fortuitous but we started well and deserved the lead. After that we struggled to keep imposing ourselves on them and started to make mistakes. These were avoidable but very costly.

The young players played with gusto and tried to overcome their nerves but the experienced players – Auba and Partey – just did not lead by example. The big question is has Arteta got rid of too many experienced players too quickly? In a game like this it seems to show. The other question is are we expecting too much from Partey and also Elneny? I certainly thought we missed Granit yesterday. His experience may just have made the difference.

But if you think that we are a team in transition and were playing a team full of quality players, and still managed to play good football at times, then we can still take some real positives from the game.

Martinelli is back, ESR and Ode played good games, the defence played some good football positionally but were let down by a poor midfield on the day. Tavares and Tomiyasu were rocks and had no nerves.

Arteta and the boys need to find the confidence in their own abilities and superiority to win these sort of games. It will come but it needs time…. And a couple of well searched purchases.

We will end up above the Mancs come end of May.

By TotalArsenal

150 thoughts on “Arsenal v MU: Disappointing Result But Reasons to Be Positive

  • All day no comments I guess is a clear message. I will take a month’s break from writing posts but leave this post open for GN5s predictions competition and general comments.

  • Sorry to read that Total, I’ve been under the weather myself and blogging was the last thing on my mind- I even had to miss yesterday’s game. If I get a show of support I will keep the prediction game going – if not I will also take a break until the new year.

  • tA, may be everyone still reeling under the shock of how we managed to loose the match. I for one cannot make up my mind if aim angry or dissappointed.

  • Madhu, it’s been going on for a while, but it’s OK. I just don’t fancy writing posts for a while and we can still exchange comments on the blog. 🙂

  • Hi Total
    I am asleep during your day, mate, but wake up to eat breakfast and anticipate a good read. I can appreciate the commitment needed to maintain a blog. How many years has Bergkampesque run? I, for one would appreciate you continuing to offer your thoughts and this platform.
    I thought our lads did okay when put in perspective, that being an away game at OT against a highly talented team seeking to impress a new manager. Mistakes at this level are punished, we saw that at Anfield and again yesterday. I agree with the perception that older heads may have helped manage the game better, Granit would have been ideal, but it is what it is. Auba will spark again but we need a more consistent flame up front. It is a tough call for a coach to manage a big squad with all the hopes and expectations of players. Frank Lampard offers an interesting perspective on this challenge (he is on BBC Sport this morning discussing his time as Chelsea boss). Building relationships with players and having to bench or sell them and buy in new is all part of the job but tough on the heart. One learns an appreciation for those who serve long term in management and maintain their sanity and good humour. For those who serve long term in any role in life, too, I guess. I am entering my 40th year as a Christian minister. Many is the time I wanted to lay it down, not a month goes by without battling a sense of “what’s the point” in this strange old world. But it is what it is and we (hopefully) do what The Good Lord put us on earth for.
    It is a season for joy. You contribute to mine, Total and ya’all who contribute to BK.
    I will get down to our club this week, take a photo of Arsene’s letter and post it. There’s a man who kept sane and engaged. For me, that old exercise of which three people would you love to have around your dinner table one evening,.. Arsene would be one of them.
    Out of interest Total, who would be your three?

  • That’s a great comment Stuart. I noted your comment in a previous post and i did indeed get those autographs myself, I waited outside the players entrance with a group of my younger cousins and took the opportunity when they exited.
    In fact I have every home program for the 70/71 double season also a few away games plus the FA Cup Final. I already lived in Canada at the time but fortunately I was home on an 18 month work assignment – how lucky was that!

    To answer your question I would like to have Pat Rice, your good self and Total, I can imagine that only one topic would dominate the conversation.

  • Be glad to join you, along with Pat and Total for Christmas dinner, GN5. I could happily live with that topic of conversation. Is it turkey on the menu? Our penchant here is for roast lamb.

    God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. The timing of your 18 month stint in the old country proves that point. Imagine if it had been those following years when we flirted with relegation.

  • Lamb is also one of my preferred roasts Stuart. We are going to spend the Xmas weekend at my son’s house and we have been debating whether we should have lamb or turkey but the family’s preference is to have the traditional turkey. Plus lamb is the most expensive cut of meat in Canada.

    I witnessed enough of the “wilderness” years Stuart and it was a pure joy to watch the 70/71 team in action.

  • Hah Stuart, a very honest comment and intriguing question. I totally admire what you do, especially in these challenging times.

    If I could have dinner with historic people, bringing them back to life for a day or so, it would be Marcus Aurelius, Rembrandt and Mary Shelley. But I could have picked many, many others! 😁

    From those who are still alive I would pick Nicole Kidman, Dennis Bergkamp and Michelle Obama.

    Of course I would love a meal with BKers but the table would have to be much bigger. Too many lovely people.

    What about you?

  • Stuart, have you read ‘Abide with me’ by Elizabeth Strout? A great book about the challenges faith/fate can throw at a religious leader. Worth a try.

  • I made my comments immediately after the match but, I will add that I’m feeling very positive about our young guns. It’s a pity that Folarin was injured recently. If not, he may have been on the bench instead of Eddie and given us something different when we needed it.

  • Well. GN5, lamb is our national dish. We have a population of 7 million people and 40 million sheep. But despite that our lamb is quite pricey too. We send our best product offshore and pay more here for our lamb than folk pay in the UK for it. Go figure.

    Total, Nicol is an attractive option, but my lady wife might mind if that Aussie beauty started flirting with me…
    Other than Arsene, my other two living guests would be Pele and Edgar Sandoval Sr. Of those who have passed: my Dad who was lost at sea when I was a boy, William Wilberforce and Alfred the Great. To make up the numbers I’d have Ferran Adria in the kitchen and Aretha Franklin entertaining us.
    Re: the book. No, I have yet to read it and shall look in our local library for a copy. I also am a huge admirer of the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (as is the character in the book), (I read a review), so will certainly seek it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I agree with OX10 up above. Folarin was on a hot streak up until his injury. Be good to see him have another opportunity in the first team.

  • T,
    Lots of comments on the previous post. Many of us vented and you almost didn’t need a new post today. Your comments would be enough to let us know how you feel.

    Madhu, back to yesterday’s comments….
    It was great how you pointed out how idiot Harry Mcguire was getting so advanced after our goal. Must have been even more obvious in the stadium than on tv. I noticed … and he rarely gets to do that. We retreated too much and stopped playing our game. Any decent team would have taken advantage of us that way.

    I don’t agree about Tomi not deserving a pen. That’s a super clear foul in the box, and they are given often enough. They’re certainly given sometimes and this was blatant.
    Tomi needs to learn from Lacazette. The master… stay on the ground holding your face long enough for VAR to look at the play.

    I am an Arteta supporter and will continue to be. It would take a lot to shake me from the path he has us on.

    But he was awful yesterday. His worst coaching job since he’s been with us. No, I take that back. His worst this season. Last years mindless crossing was worse, and we were a different team then.

    Line up yesterday …bad.. …. two words: El + Neny.

    Tactics after our goal were just asking for trouble.

    Subs, his worst ever. Take off a striker and bring on 2 more? Wasteful. One, Eddie,, hasn’t kicked a ball all season.
    Lokonga on for El Neny was the obvious move. I would’ve rather had Tierney brought on and Tavares moved to wing than Eddie.

    Ødegaard, one of our creators, who was still motivated to make up for his penalty mistake… taken off for ice cold Eddie?

    None of it made sense.

  • Also teams are keying on Emile, have been for a while now. 2 people on him whenever he touches the ball.. The answer is more movement and switching sides fluidly during games .. between ESR Saka , Øde…… like on Eddie’s goal vs Newcastle.

  • Thanks for the positive post, TA. It is always easier to take a look at things after the moment. I had to do a re-take on the game and seeing the game again without the tension, you can appreciate that things are sure looking better for the team. We passed better, played out the back with confidence at times (now use the keeper to disorient the pressing opposition), we pressed them into errors too (but we made more errors at the critical periods) and I expect this performance to boost the boys rather than deflate them.

    After all the slating Auba received, you cannot help but appreciate his importance in our forward pressing tactic. He looked off form and just couldn’t do much right but he still got into positions. Thomas Partey did okay but a lot more is expected of our senior players; he was lacking in that respect but isn’t about to be dropped soon. We need his presence; I only hope all the flak he got from social media don’t get to him. He could have prevented the first Ronaldo goal, if he chose to take responsibility rather than assume White was on Ronaldo. Our team does a lot of that (that is one player assuming another team mate is going to take care of things. Why not rather have joint effort if it prevents a scoring opportunity or gives back possession?). Partey also misplaced a couple (or more) of passes and lost possession quite inexplicably, at times. But he was still an important part of our play that day.

    We have to look forward to Monday and ensure we beat Everton, climb up to 4th (3 teams could potentially be above us by the time we play on Monday; Chelsea may just beat the hammers to give us a chance to get 4th) and take Dominic Calvert-Lewin back with us to the emirates. Well, not literally, but you get the drift.

  • Fine comment(s) there, Stuart.

    GN5, I didn’t realize the Ladies game you chose for the Predictions game is a cup final. There should be the provision of a penalty shootout result, no?

  • Eris makes a good point about Auba, he is definitely trying hard, getting into positions and helping with the press (although players like Laca do this much better). Maybe that extra effort, combined with any pressure that he is feeling, is affecting his shooting.

  • Interesting choices, Stuart. Would Edgar Sandoval be able to join the footie talk?

    Your dad (so sorry to hear he was lost at sea) and William Wilberforce and Alfred the Great is also a great choice. Why Alfred in particular?

    Nicole is beautiful but also very interesting, and I feel you need more women at your table! 😉 A flirt is something you can surely withstand?! 🙂

    Yes Bonhoeffer is voice of conscience and support in the background. Hopefully you can find a copy at your library. Once you have read it give me a shout and we will converse via email about it, if you want.

  • Hi J,
    Thanks for your views, really appreciated even though I don’t agree with everything.

    Re subs… Smith Rowe, Odegaard and Auba had done a lot of the running so imo Arteta was right to bring on fresh legs for them.

    Re Elneny. I thought he was solid but not spectacular. Clearly he was picked to provide extra defensive strengths in midfield and I thought we benefited from this initially. But Partey was just so poor on the night. His passing was off almost all game, and inexplicably so, and his positioning and interception skills were so below his usual standards. I saw a player who was saving himself by avoiding contact. I could well be wrong but Thomas did not seem focused on helping us to a win. Such an important player in such an important position, when he plays like that it affects the whole team badly. So I dont think Elneny – or Arteta picking him – can be blamed for our loss.

  • Eris, fair point about Auba. He is a panther but is asked to play like a wolf. By the time he actually gets a chance he seems to have ran out of puff.

  • Jync, like you delivery of your (further) thoughts on the game, above. During my in-game commentary, I did express concern about the tendency for us to retreat after scoring, these days. A bad habit we’ve got to be weaned out of. It was annoying to see Maguire striding upfield like we were a lower league team he had no fear for.

    Of course, it was a clear foul on Tomiyasu by the dirty Maguire. He is repeatedly guilty of such play which seldom get reviewed by VAR. Tomi is Japanese, Jync. Not likely to be caught staying down to get attention when there was still work to be done. 😅

    As for the selections and subs, maybe Arteta wanted experience in the middle. He also probably thought Eddie would be motivated to give us something to give us fond memories about. Besides, Ode had started to blow a bit. Pepe would come on sulking. No manager would want that. These are my thoughts and I am only spitballing there.

  • TA, I like that description of Auba: a Panther asked to play like a Wolf. Ah! That’s precisely what it must feel like for him. It is worse for him as he is captain and a lot demanded of him. Having said that, all he can do to change the narrative is to be cool in front of goal and find his spot.

    Liverpool is the new team at the top of the table, with every likelihood even that may change, after the last game of today. The season will be a long one, it would seem.

  • I agree, Eris, a fine analogy by Total of Auba. I recall him donning that variety of feline mask after scoring at Dortmund and in his early days with us. We could well do with a wolf alongside him, tho’, a Van Basten type would do very nicely. Someone conjured up the memory of Eduardo in an earlier post. Loved that fella, his tennis shot like volley against Burnley still resides prominently in my hipper campus.
    Edgar grew up in the Central and South America’s and would likely hold his own in a convo about football. He would certainly understand Pele’s young life journey.
    I don’t think Nicol would ever flutter her eyelids in my direction, but those Aussies might do anything to get a kiwi passport… 😜.
    For me, Alfred is one of histories greatest personages, the greatest Englishman ever in my book. A man of wisdom, compassion and fortitude. (He wouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen tho’. He has an unfortunate track record there… 😁).

    What a result for West Ham.

  • Stuart, I just finished a book about Charlemagne and he did some great things but unfortunately also some horrific things which the Catholic Church have ignored. The Saxons have not forgotten though. Alcuin seemed to have had a calming and wise impact on Charlemagne but not enough to avoid bloodshed unfortunately.

    I don’t know much about Alfred but you have raised my interest. Is there a book you would recommend?

  • Gents, I was a tad impulsive in saying that I would close the prediction competition until the new year.
    It would be unfair to the participants so I will keep the competition going as long as Total keeps the blog open.

  • Yes, Total, that finest of Yorkshiremen, Alcuin had a wonderfully mollifying influence upon Charlemagne (or Karol) as he is properly known. His Karlovy castle, south of Prague was a favourite visit for us during our years in the Czech Republic.
    The closest source to Alfred was Asser, whose “Life of King Alfred” was written in the 9th Century. It is an astonishing read. The “Anglo Saxon Chronicles” were compiled in the same century and make similarly fascinating reading. There are a veritable plethora of books on the man. Ben Merkle’s, “The White Horse King” is a personal favourite. Alfred, himself translated a lot of works from Latin. He was an absolute polymath, so gifted and yet largely neglected in modern history curriculums. The statues of him in Winchester and London serve to rightfully turn our attention towards honouring his achievements.

  • Ah, but did Yorkshire even exist in the days of Charlemagne and if not does that not make Alcuin a native of Mercia or Northumbria?

  • You got to admire West Ham. Bowen is having a storming season till now. They had injuries in the game particularly Zouma but they way they fought and never gave it away is very admirable. Chelsea is given way too much respect by everyone. I personally feel apart from Lukaku thier frontline is physically weak. I cannot believe that someone like Havertz is physically string enough. But beacuse teams respect abd lay off of them they are not bullied enough. They play 4 academy players and with no Kante they are week. West H kudos to them , they snatched a victory.

  • You are right, Kev. He was Alcuin of York, would have played cricket for Northumbria. 😁

  • Thanks for the book tip, S. ‘The finest of Yorkshiremen’ hah that’s an oxymoron surely. I am yet to encounter a fine one! 😁

    I think, also as per Kev’s comment, that the association with Northumberland is more appropriate.

  • Yes Stu, I reckon that Alcuin sounds a good name for a leg spinner…

    He may have also had some old Danish roots, I’m not really up on Olde Angeland names, I know the Athelstans and Enthelreds but Alcuin is a new one on me.

    Interesting that Charlemagne was from Central Europe, for some reason I saw him as more French/Frankish, but I’ve never really read about him despite knowing the name well.

  • Yeah Total, back then England was made up of smaller states, a bit like Germany I guess, each one had their own king with the north being more Danish and the south more Saxon, the language in the south I believe was similar to Friesian in the north of the Nederlands.

    The old British language existed only in places like Wales, Cornwall and Brittany.

  • Kev, Charlemagne or Karel Der Grosse was born in what is now North of France but he was mainly based in Aachen, which is very near from where I am from. He traveled almost constantly and it was calculated that he went around the world twice on horseback.

    He reunited Europe after the Barbarians’ destruction of Roman Civilisation and thus played a big role in what we now call Western Civilisation. Unfortunately, he was very violent against the Saxons. Decapitating 4500 Saxons in one day was his darkest day.

  • Kev, I read that today’s English language was strongly influenced by the Saxons from what is now the very North of Germany (and a couple of other people) and who settled in East England. Of course the Normans also played a big role with forcing the French language onto the poor Brits 😁

  • Would be the Goths, Visigoths and Vandals that Charlemagne sorted out Total, although I think the Vandals ended up in Spain and North Africa.

    Yeah Der Grosse is Germanic isn’t it, I guess that borders were very fluid in those days and the Franks were originally a Germanic tribe, everyone was on the move as there always seemed as if there was a threat of Armageddon from the east, be it the Huns or the Mongols or the Hammers. 😉

    The Saxons, Angles and Jutes all moved about as well, in what is Northern Germany, Denmark and Northern Holland, not sure exactly where Saxony is today in Deutschland? But yeah English is very much a mixture of many languages, but then I think that probably is the case with many european languages, English as it is must have crept into many via music, TV, media, culture and in particular Americana.

    It’s funny but the usage of French seems to be more prevalent with the Upper and Middle classes and is often seen in their family names and that’s historical across the whole of the British Isles as the Normans pretty much lorded over everyone on these islands.

  • Ah now I know why you have the word ‘alllez’ in your name: vous etes tres posh! 😁

    KdG fought many people and you should add the Saxons and Lombards as the constant ones. Your knowledge of history is very impressive, Kev, but we both cannot come close to GN5s Arsenal’s historic knowledge.

  • The modern-day states of Saxony-Anhalt, the Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony give some indication of where the Saxons came from. But confusingly, modern Saxony is not where they came from. It’s a large area stretching from Denmark (south of the Elbe) down to the border with Saxony. Cities include, Hanover, Wolfsburg, Dortmund, Halle and Magdeburg. Lower Saxony alone is larger than the Netherlands or Denmark and in some areas a dialect called Northern Low Saxon is spoken. There’s a good article about Old Saxony on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Saxony

  • Team news

    Here’s our latest team news ahead of Monday’s match against Everton.

    Bernd Leno
    Right groin. Bernd has a tight groin sustained in training and is being assessed ahead of Monday’s match.

    Emile Smith Rowe
    Right groin. Emile has a tight groin from Thursday’s match against Manchester United and is being assessed ahead of Monday’s match.

    Sead Kolasinac
    Left ankle. Sead sustained a significant injury to his left ankle playing for Bosnia and Herzegovina during the November international period. Sead is now running outside and is aiming to be back in full training in January.

    Granit Xhaka
    Right knee. Granit has made excellent progress in his recovery from a medial knee ligament injury sustained on September 26. Granit is now back in full training and his availability is being assessed ahead of Monday’s match.

    All other players in the men’s first-team squad are currently fit and available for selection

  • Astonishing news indeed! The man is made from granite.

    How about we fellow BK’ers taking up an offering to buy Kev a new shirt…

  • Here are the results from last weekend:-

    For the week:-
    1st Madhu with 4/6 plus most correct predictions = 8 points
    2nd Total, Eris, Kev & OX10 with 3/6 = 3 points
    6th GN5 with a sad 2/6 = 2 points
    ”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Season to date:-

    1st Eris 80.46
    2nd OX10 78.15
    3rd Madhu 72.66
    4th GN5 65.13
    5th Total 63.13
    6th Kev 57.33

    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • These are my choices for next weekend:-

    Arsenal v Southampton
    Liverpool v Aston Villa *
    Brighton v Tottenham
    Leicester v Newcastle *
    Crystal Palace v Everton *
    Real Betis v Real Sociedad

  • Haha Stuart 😁

    Granit and Tierney start!!! 🤩

    Ramsdale
    Tomiyasu, Big Ben, Big Gab, Tier
    Partey and Xhakakahn
    Saka, Ode, Martinelli
    Lacacahn

  • Amazing to read that Granit Xhaka starts. He sure is made of granite.
    Good decision to take Auba out of the firing line. He also gets the chance to rest up; hopefully, we don’t have to call on him.

    Well done, Madhu. Nice going. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  • Hopefully, Xhaka shows us a bit of what we’ve been missing and get some respect.

  • T!
    haha I just came here to say I told you so. You know I love that … everyone was crying about Afcon and not having Granit till January.. I said November but a week into December is great.

    Just remember i call him the iron man for a reason.. I don’t always love him,, but I respect him.

  • That was such a drab first half with all the players carrying on like they are strange bedfellows. Three key changes (Tierney, Xhaka, Laca….even Gabriel) may be responsible, but that’s no excuse for playing so poorly against a down in the dumps side as Everton surely are.

    I fully expected us to rout them…..4 goals to get our GD into a good positive. With the way everyone seems to be playing within themselves, I am not sure anymore.

  • I’m a little tired of being disappointed in Partey.

    Kieran .. we have the 2 best Lbs in the league with the possible exception of Alonso and Chillwell.

    My stance has been…be patient Martin has magic moments in him. Every goal he has scored has been pretty special this season.

  • I think we will get more space in the second half and our quality will start shining through.

    Eris, we are playing them away and they are putting in a shift to deny us space. But yes a few players need to warm into the game ⚽

  • It is the expectation of more spaces in the second half that makes me feel we should get a few more goals. We aren’t getting into their area enough and that’s what we should work to change in the second.

  • Mike Dean is ever too eager to give a foul against every contact tackle we make. We have to work to not give him an excuse for a soft red card. Xhaka is showing great experience to serve the team.

  • Shame that VAR is not reviewing these fouls by Ben Godfrey with something harsher than just the yellow.

  • Richarlson has been so unlucky tonight. He is the sort of player we should be targeting. Like a more experienced Martinelli who is more comfortable upfront.

  • Well we stuffed up that one…

    All the recent hard work down the drain with these past 2 results.

  • That was a really bad performance from start to finish. Lokanga needs to be reinstated now and I am not even sure why he was dropped. Time wasting in the 60th minute instead of going for the kill is unforgivable. I am so pissed off that we have this level of performance in us still. Richarlson was everything that we are missing in a striker today and bullied us from the first minute. Can you imagine if we had 2 goals disallowed how our strikers would respond.

    The only good thing is Southampton at home is the perfect game to play after this. Hopefully get some confidence back before we play West ham or they will destroy us if we play like this

  • We had it coming, the way we started and continued in that game. A side that’s not won in 8 in a row and we looked nervous? What does Arteta tell these players coming into crunch time?

    Nothing to say about this lot. They lack ambition and can’t rise up to the occasion. Had a chance to get 4th place; flunked it. Now, to get back into 5th, against a side suffering serious depression and we contrived to lose. It is embarrassing.

  • United and tonight, should have been 6 points but we end up with none, no excuses, Nketiah misses an open goal and Aubameyang scuffs one right at the death. We need a striker clear out because none of them will take us to where we want to go.

    I actually feel sorry for our defenders because the blokes in front of them aren’t delivering and they’re getting punished.

    Mike Dean, Merseyside referee officiating, how does that work?

  • Wedge, have you seen Southampton lately? Xhaka played well, but I am not a fan of throwing a returning player in at the deep end. We should have started Lokonga and brought on Xhaka to close it out.

  • Goonereris I have seen them but because we are at home I still expect us to get a result. But we need Tierney to play the full 90 as tavares is a liability. His pace, power and direct running are great but his positioning, passing and maturity are not. We also need someone to step up and start scoring goals and while I don’t see anyone in this group doing it I am still hopeful

  • Well, I remain hopeful too but, it is the hope that kills….. 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • yep our ineffective strikers are killing the team. Doesn’t say much about Auba when Nketiah is chosen to come on before him. We have Auba who is down on confidence and two backups that want out the door. Why play people that don’t want to be there. Stick to the youth policy and move Martinelli centrally or see how Balogun goes. At least they are going to give it their all.

    Partley needs to be dropped too. Confidence is shot. Now that Xhaka is back we can afford to.

  • Another dissapointing result. Not sure where the team is going. Agree with OZ on the strikers. I read that Balogun is wanted by West Ham on loan. If there is an iota of truth in that then imagine a high flying team wanting Balogun when he is considered not good enough for Arsenal struggling to hold on to 8th place. Laca didn’t have a single shot on goal of iam not mistaken. Not sure why our striker whether laca or Auba does so little with the ball. Our wide forwards get into the game more often but central striker is so peripheral. Cannot understand this at all.
    Bitterly dissapointing and cannot for the love of God understand where we are heading towards.

  • Yep that’s disappointing. Overcoming weaker, desperate teams away and defending a lead is a mental challenge too big for the team right now. Three North West away games in four proved too much (which at least I have pointed out as a major factor in previous posts).

    But onwards and upwards.

  • Disappointing but not surprising. It has to be recognized that we have a young team with glorious futures ahead of them and it will take a while for Arteta to being in the type of talented players that we need. We already have three English international’s and one with a high potential of becoming one.

    My expectations remain the same as on day one of the season and that is that we mold our future team around our young superstars. It stands to reason that our our older players will be sold and younger talent will be brought in. I have nothing but high hopes for our future and refuse to get upset by iffy performance’s by individual players or the team as a whole.

    It’s all a work in progress and to me criticizing individuals or team choices does not make much sense, I remain focused on our future – which looks very bright.

  • Arsenal v Southampton H
    Liverpool v Aston Villa * 4-0
    Brighton v Tottenham D
    Leicester v Newcastle * 2-1
    Crystal Palace v Everton * 2-2
    Real Betis v Real Sociedad 2-1

  • A poor performance last night, especially from some of our more seasoned players. I will exempt Xhaka and Tierney who played well considering that this was their first match after injury and what was going on around them. My biggest worries are Thomas and Auba. Thomas needs to be given some time on the subs bench. Lokonga and AMN are currently better options as Thomas is making too many errors and, I wouldn’t be surprised if AMN has concluded that he did the wrong thing staying with us in the summer.

    Arteta needs to be working with a sports psychologist to ensure that (a) his words and body language convey what he needs to the squad and (b) to work with the squad individually and as a collective. However, I’m not sure that we have one anymore since David Priestley left last year. Am I wrong in that assumption?

  • Arsenal v Southampton H
    Liverpool v Aston Villa * 2-1
    Brighton v Tottenham H
    Leicester v Newcastle * 2-1
    Crystal Palace v Everton * 2-1
    Real Betis v Real Sociedad H

  • Excerpt of an article I read…

    Despite this, ex-Premier League referee Hackett has hit out at Attwell’s failure to get Dean to watch the incident again and has called for increased usage of the pitchside monitor.

    “With referee Mike Dean in the middle and Stuart Attwell on VAR, I was shocked and disappointed that they decided that the deliberate stamp by Everton’s Ben Godfrey on Arsenals Takehiro Tomiyasu did not warrant a sanction,” Hackett told Goodison News.

    “VAR intervened and this was no accident; you can see clearly the downward movement of Godfrey right foot into the vulnerable facial area of his opponent.

    “VAR Stuart Attwell decided not to involve referee Mike Dean and the game continued.

    “I do not understand why there is a reluctance at the PGMOL for them to allow the referee to visit the monitor. Dean should have been requested to view the incident.

    “If he had done then this major error would have been avoided.

    “The stamp endangered the safety of the Arsenal player who when he ran away from the incident clearly had a cut on his face.“

  • Arteta needs to be fired asap. This team is going nowhere with him in charge. He cannot coach an offense and it’s been clear for ages. The day he realizes he’s actually more David Moyes than he is Pep is the day he’ll have figured out who he is as a Manager.

    The current team is clueless once they pass the halfway line and can barely string passes together. When they get into dangerous situations, they hesitate and slow down allowing the opposition time to get back into shape.

    The “wins” we have gotten this season have been against the bottom of the table or against teams that have since sacked their Managers. We didn’t even deserve to beat Norwich or Burnley and didn’t deserve to draw with either Brighton or Palace. Just pathetic.

  • The underlying stats don’t lie, Arteta’s teams have consistently struggle to create chances and have low expected goals. Most days they win, they are very lucky to. It invokes similar feelings to the Emery era.

  • Arsenal v Southampton….H
    Liverpool v Aston Villa……H (4-0)
    Brighton v Tottenham…….A
    Leicester v Newcastle……D (2-2)
    Crystal Palace v Everton..H (3-1)
    Real Betis v Sociedad……D

  • That’s interesting Eris, Hackett is the loan voice in that he’s the only one who criticises how Riley runs his fiefdom, Dean is a horrible little man who was probably bullied at school and now revels in his power, he clearly dislikes Arsenal making him a key lieutenant of Riley, Attwell probably felt, as the junior man, unwilling to press Dean to consult the monitor, it’s the third red card that our opponents have escaped with this season, 3 cards that could have made a huge difference in those games.

  • Arsenal v Southampton H
    Liverpool v Aston Villa * 2-0
    Brighton v Tottenham A
    Leicester v Newcastle * 3-1
    Crystal Palace v Everton * 1-1
    Real Betis v Real Sociedad H

  • I’ve been watching the Scottish Open snooker championship and for the past two day’s Mike Dean and his Mrs have been sitting in the front row. Just a piece of trivia………..

  • While your reasons as well as your conclusion is obviously correct, Highbury Harmony, I’m not sure if here you’ll find many opportunities to convert your fellow supporters. Apparently it is more comfortable to sit in a bubble and calling it ‘glass half full’ mentality than to analyze trends, progress, stats or even set up quantitative expectations.

  • PB, I don’t mean to convert anyone, everyone is always free to view the game and situation from their own lens. I simply want to bring a balanced view to the discussion. The underlying stats for Arteta essentially tell us a very similar story to Emery – we don’t create enough chances and are lucky to win on most days. Defensively, we’re better under Arteta as our teams have allowed less shots and conceded less big chances than under Emery, but offensively it’s no different (and in many cases worse).

    You don’t even need the stats to tell you that there are inherent attacking problems with this team. Arteta cannot coach offense – once we cross the halfway line, players are of two minds and look lost, barely stringing together two passes. Inevitably, the ball gets passed back and the “attack” resets just in time for the opposition to get into their defensive shape, which we are unsuccessful in breaking down.

    What comes out of Arteta’s mouth is that he wants us to be an expansive attacking side that creates a lot of chances. Yet in almost two years, he’s never been able to do it. He has spent more money than any other club in the past summer and is up there as a top spender over the last two summers. How much more does he need to spend to coach an attack?! A good manager will make the most of what he has and tailor a system to the strengths of his players. We’ve bought a ton of guys from counter attacking sides (Gabriel, Tomi, Pepe, Auba, Xhaka, Partey etc.), yet he continues to try and fit square pegs into round holes.

    I don’t need Arsenal to an expansive attacking side like City. You can find success in more than one way. Our best moments under Arteta have always come through counter attacks, but he fails to realize this and is trying to be something he isn’t. I won’t even go into Arteta’s man management, which is bloody awful.

  • I fully agree with you, HH. Plus I may add that – unlike past seasons – we are pretty lucky. VAR cancelled more goals against us than our own, and as you properly stated we were fortunate to win a few times and draw another couple of lucky occasions. So that lousy 23 points out of 15 games – which would amount to 58 for the whole season if extrapolated linearly – were more than we actually deserved, not less.

    With Auba and Partey in poor form, Lacazette on his way out, Leno, Pepe and AMN alienated, Nketiah refusing to sign a contract extension, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Soares and Kolasinac playing 8 PL minutes combined since late August, and no academy youngster featured even in a cup tie (apart from Balogun) I really struggle to see the future bright and glorious.

    As you said we spent an uncharacteristically high amount on transfers – some of it was justified, but many wasn’t. Furthermore there is no extraction in the form of European matches, so I can’t see (m)any mitigating circumstances to this combination of poor performance, average results and inglorious goal difference.
    And I’m not even mentioning the performance of the players chastised – with the approval of most supporters.

  • PB, I pretty much agree with everything you’re saying, but there’s still some parts of the future that are worth looking forward to. ESR, Saka, Martinelli, Tomi, White, Gabriel, Sambi, Odegaard and Ramsdale are all quite young and have shown a decent amount of promise, while the academy will hopefully churn out more talent (Balogun, Azeez, Patino, Hutchinson etc.). For all of Arteta’s shortcomings in attack and attacking identity, he has made Arsenal a more defensively resilient side – the problem for me is that he continuously promises more to come for the attack, but it’s an inherent conflict with who he is as a coach/manager. He’s conservative by nature and relies far too heavily on slim margins to win games, instructing his players to favour safe ball retention and possession over daring passes and combinations that could lead to counter attacks the other way if they do not come off properly. The problem with this is the attack can never become a fine tuned machine if you don’t take risks and allow your players to learn and test their limits of what will work vs. what will not.

    So, the disconnect for me is having such talented players and not getting more out of them (same goes for the senior players). Two years in and I’m fairly confident in saying that Arteta is not the one to take this team forward beyond a mid-table finish or to maximize the development of the young players. One can bemoan how out of form Laca and Auba are when they miss the one or two chances they’re maybe given a game, but at the same time, when you’re only creating one or two big chances a game, you’re undoubtedly going to miss them more often than not.

  • “He’s conservative by nature and relies far too heavily on slim margins to win games, instructing his players to favour safe ball retention and possession over daring passes and combinations”
    “Arteta is not the one to take this team forward beyond a mid-table finish”

    There is not much I can add here. Apart from my doubts that Mikel “has made Arsenal a more defensively resilient side”. At least not that significantly or not constantly. I know it’s a slightly unfair chain of thoughts, but if Richarlison were 2 inches away when received the ball in those 2 attempts from Monday that would theoretically mean Arsenal conceding 11 goals from those games against Liverpool, United and Everton. But 9 is still too many.

    Just to compare our current “full focus on the PL” defensive stats: 22 goals conceded in 15 games would mean an expected 56 in the whole campaign. (Which is could be a slight overestimation as we will play against MC, Liverpool, MU and Everton at home in the second half of the season, yet keep it as a linear extrapolation for the time being). In Wenger’s last year the team conceded 51 (with Mustafi), the same number Emery’s Arsenal repeated a year later. The Emery-Arteta tandem reduced this to 48 (unfortunately along with the number of goals scored from 73-74 to 54). Arteta’s first full year the team scored only 1 more goal, but managed to decrease the goals conceded to a highly respectable 39. If the trend would have continued I would gladly acknowledge the progress; yet with 100+M spent on defensive reinforcements we conceded 56% of last year’s tally in only 39% of the games, while we scored only 18 goals in these 15 games – that’s 2 less than #17 Watford and only 1 more than #19 Newcastle. But you have already expanded on the extremely low number of major chances created already, HH.

  • PB, no disagreement here. Arteta is not a defensive mastermind by any means, but compared to where we were under Emery and late Wenger, it’s still an improvement (the bar was pretty low). The latter Wenger years also requires some context in that the prem was not nearly as deep and talented then as it is now.

  • Arsenal v Southampton. H
    Liverpool v Aston Villa * H 3-1
    Brighton v Tottenham H
    Leicester v Newcastle * H 2-1
    Crystal Palace v Everton *. D 1-1
    Real Betis v Real Sociedad H

  • Kev, I didn’t even realize Hackett had been a “voice of reason” on the Riley gang. I just know the PGMOL needs to get scrutiny that should keep them honest. It is a sham. Some of the newer/younger refs, you can tell, are under some kind of sinister guidance at times and it is just one too many instances for comfort.

    GN5, I went online to see what Mike Dean would look like outside of football pitch, whistle in hand/mouth: still uninspiring. 😔

  • Arsenal v Southampton H
    Liverpool v Aston Villa * H (3-0)
    Brighton v Tottenham H
    Leicester v Newcastle * H (2.0)
    Crystal Palace v Everton * H (2-1)
    Real Betis v Real Sociedad D

  • There are some things going on with the team that have me worried.. you know I believe in the group that Arteta and Edu are putting tobether.. I like the signings and the direction we’re headed in.

    It’s not just these 2 results, but some things not making sense from the managers choices.

    For example, the last 2 appearances AMN had were as a sub and then a start. I remember… someone correct me if I’m wrong…but he had a nice effect when he came on as a sub, then I think the following week, he started and had a very good performance…
    Since then, El neny moved ahead of him as a sub, was started over him at United and he hasn’t had a sniff. Also Lokonga had a good game his start about 3 games back .. some here had him as motm.

    What’s really going on? Why have they disappeared from consideration lately?

    Partey has been awful, Granit was rushed back. Then very irresponsible of Arteta to leave him on for 96 minutes. Xhaka should’ve been set to come off early just coming back from a long injury. He was obviously gassed after 60 minutes.

    In these 2 games, Artetas subs have been the worst I’ve seen in a long time.
    Wasteful switching striker for striker, bringing on 2 strikers when nobody is creating chances for them anyway. Using El neny over both Sambi and Ainsley and not taking out Partey for one of them. In my humble opinion, that would’ve helped a lot more than switching Auba for Alex, or bringing on Eddie.

    It’s rare that I immediately dislike sub choices as soon as they happen. None of these things make sense to me.

    One more thing. That 2nd offside was so close that the goal should’ve stood. Disallowing goals over a hair is not good for the game. But one thing you’ll notice in the replays in Tierney scrambling back far too late. I remember the exact vision when Rees James took us apart against Chelsea. I don’t want to use Tierney if we’re going to be that wide open on the left. Artetas use of KT has to change. It does t take a brilliant young coach to see that. We were completely wide open on the left… again. Anybody could’ve scored in that situation.

    After results like this, I almost always blame the actual players, and not the manager. There have been such inexplicable decisions that I wonder what’s happening with the manager and certain players, but also such poor choices from him, I feel very comfortable blaming the manager for these 2 games.

  • J, I am not worried at all. Arteta needs to keep his midfielders fit and prepare for losing Elneny and Partey soon. XhakA is back which is great and I am looking forward to him playing with Lokonga. AMN is back up and will play a few times in the next few months.

    Partey has been disappointing and we can only guess why. I hope he is not saving himself for the Afcon.

    The team is a work in progress and there are a few areas that need improving, and Mikel is still learning of course. Four games to go before we reach the half way line. If we are in the top six then, Arteta has made good progress. I am confident we will get a proper CF in January and it will make a world of difference for our attack.

    I believe in him more than ever. Ooh to, Ooh to be, Ooh to be A Gooner!

  • I’m wondering if there is any traction in us going with three midfielders, as Liverpool do, we seem constantly outnumbered in midfield, Partey has two on him every time he gets the ball and is sacked, I’m thinking along the lines of Niles, Lokonga and Partey vs Southampton with Saka, Martinelli (or Nketiah) along with Aubameyang up front. 4 3 3.

  • Kev, It’s not a bad idea, if we could retain the ball better in midfield we should be in a better position to create more scoring chances. However, one of the reasons that Partey is targeted is because he is out of form and error-prone. We have other midfielders who I would start ahead of him at the moment and I would be surprised if Granit doesn’t start. Who to start up-front is a real conundrum as Auba is also out of form. It might be better for Auba or Eddie to play through the middle. I wouldn’t start Eddie ahead of Martinelli as an outside forward though.

  • Good idea, Kev. We could also have ESR or Ode play between the DMs and thus play deeper. But we also need a CF who can come deep, hold on to the ball and link up play much more effective than Laca or Auba currently do. The midfielders currently have limited passing options in front of them.

  • OX10, of course, I forgot Xhaka, perm 3 from 4 then but I’d like to see Niles get a chance.

    Also I think the reason he’s targeted is that the opposition know he’s our danger man, they’re not going to target Elneny as he just passes sideways and backwards.

    Someone on the Podcasts once said that the opposition tell you about yourself.

  • Total, the Liverpool system works because they have 4 players who can play up top and score goals, I think that Smith can play an attacking role and so can Saka but they need to up their rate of goals scored, the thing is Liverpool don’t play with a target man because all their forwards can run the channels, hold the ball up and make it impossible to stop all of them because if you stop Mane that’ll leave Salah free, stop Salah and that allows Firmino to get in on goal etc.

    I’m not sure our players could replicate what the Scousers do so well…

  • Agreed Kev. That’s why I reckon we will now see new arrivals in attack. Arteta needs ball passers who are comfortable with the ball in tight spaces… Pepe and Auba are not such players. Laca is just a out okay.

  • Personally I think that our issue is that we lack an “engine room” to create chances, I feel that our attack has the players needed to score goals but they are not getting enough opportunities. Also the defense and goal tending seem to be more than adequate.

    I will also reiterate that I find it unacceptable to be criticizing individual players and our manager – we were never going to be at a stage in our redevelopment to win the league and top four was also a long shot – the most realistic possibility would be a top six placing or winning a Cup.

    Our manager appears to be trying out players in various positions so that he can find cover when some of our players go off on international duty and perhaps what types of players or positions he needs to be looking for in the January transfer window.

    I remain unfazed by a few losses along the way as they should be expected.

  • Eris, I agree that Mike Dean looked stony faced, but he was obviously enjoying the snooker as he and his wife were there for at least two full days.

  • GN5, maybe he should stick to watching that sport. 😅. Oh, was that his wife by his side? Someone needs to let her husband know he is not loved in parts of North London. Lol.

  • I am reading that Tottenham hotspurs’ game vs Brighton has been postponed owing to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the camp of the spuddies.

    Never thought we would go down this road so soon after…..

  • Except Arteta isn’t learning and that’s the problem. He’s a conservative manager by nature and has no ideas in attack. His man management and subs continue to plague this team and the inevitable spiral of conceding nice going up 1-0 continues as he sets us up in a low block.

    Learning implies that he’s not making the same mistakes over and over again; yet he continues to make the same mistakes two years into his managerial career.

    He’s nowhere close to even being a Diet Pep in attack – he’s more like a Pep Zero in attack. If he wants to “learn” then he should realize his style is actual best suited for a counter attacking side and the pieces he has at his disposal are also best suited for that.

  • Hey Total,
    Thanks for the response. I see a little more clear as the disgust is wearing off with time. But you have to admit… something smells funny about the sidelining of Lokonga and Ainsley completely.
    I was not imagining their recent good performances either.

    Also, weren’t you bothered the way Xhaka was used? No thought for his health, or how his tiring would hurt us later on? Look how out of sorts Granit was when he got the yellow… he was run so ragged, it was a sloppy foul for him. His yellows are usually smarter and more aggresive.. not messy.

    Also, no one will ever convince me that those subs in these past 2 games were anything but rookie mistakes and wasteful. I’ll just say that I’ve been very happy with Artetas subs all season until now.

    When you’re getting outplayed and overrun in midfield, bringing on 2 strikers seems amateurish and wishful.

  • Hi J, the subs can be criticised but we don’t know all the facts and Arteta’s thoughts re them. I can see where you are coming from. Using Granit for so long seems weird indeed.

    Hi HH, I respect your views but don’t agree. I believe in him and his project and will give him time to continue the transformation. I totally get it that you’re not on board and Arteta has a job to do to make it happen. Have a merry Christmas. 🙂

  • Hi Total
    I e mailed you the letter and photo I referred to in the last post.
    Cheers.

  • TA, there’s nothing wrong with positivity and supporting the club at any cost either. There’s no right or wrong answer since no one can predict the future.

    My problem is that this “Project” has been for two years and shown regression more than progression. Arteta has spent more money than almost any other Manager across three separate seasons to the point that this is no longer a “Project” – it’s a sunk cost. He’s a poison to this club and would make an amazing politician.

  • He’s poison to the club in the sense that he sells KSE and fans on the promise of being something we aren’t (look at how many people regurgitate the project and trust the process). He’s a master of deception and self preservation.

  • He’s a poison to club in the sense that he promises things that he’s never delivered and sells fans on platitudes (the project, trust the process) that mask all the issues under him and real progress we could be making under better Managers. He’s great at deception and self preservation, which will help keep him in good company with KSE who also don’t know what they’re doing.

  • Hmmm, those are strong words, HH. I trust you are only venting some angst. Self preservation is common to all of us, or should be. Deception? Anyone who plays football knows deception is a part of every good dribblers skill set, every free kick and penalty taker, the way Bergkamp disguised passes was pure deception. Mind games are rife in any area of life. Any competitive environment is sustained by deception. Poison? Which promises are you alluding to? I have read/heard Mikel promise that he will work hard, that he will give his best efforts and that he will seek to lift the teams level of achievement.
    He is a young man who we all hope will succeed in his role. He is on a steep learning curve and both he and the club seem committed to it. Those of us advanced in years will, hopefully have taken on a more fatherly attitude in life, encouraging and building up, rather than tearing down. We remember our own failings and how much grace we needed to get through them. There are those who contribute to this blog who use stats and coaching insights to get a point across. You have done so yourself and I have appreciated your comments. But, would you label your own son, “poison” if he weren’t doing as well as you expected or you hoped in his career?
    “‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’. Translation: ‘Victory grows out of harmony. ‘”

  • Poison as defined as something that reduces the activity of a substance. He is also dragging this club through the mud and is doing it by setting double standards. He deceives the generic, uninformed fan by saying big things and platitudes that he never delivers on.

    He promised us attacking expansive football and has yet to ever achieve that goal. He talks about his non-negotiables and yet he’s set a double standard on those (starting Willian after his Dubai flight for a personal promotional thing but benching Niles forever for being late to a practice; freezing out Balogun from training when he wouldn’t extend a new deal, but playing Eddie after he publicly told the club that he wanted to leave at the end of his contract; benching Pepe for 5 league games after his rash red card, but starting Xhaka immediately once he was available after one of his rash red cards etc.).

    Then there’s his awful man management and in game subs. He holds players to whatever standards he wants and even collected money from players during his playing days as fines to then buy coaches and management team watches and gifts. He’s a well disguised snake who has spent more money than almost every other manager in the league and effectively done less than all of them who have spent similar amounts.

  • You can’t talk about making the club great again if you actually have no plan on how to do it. He has shown he is completely incapable of coaching an offense over two years at the club. We’ve already missed out on the top Managers to our rivals and the longer we wait to replace him, the further behind we’ll fall. He’s a poisonous snake because he knows how to manipulate KSE into keeping his job for longer by sweet talking them of his project, but in reality, he should have been sacked at the end of last season.

    We afforded Emery a short leash and he was ultimately let go, yet we’ve somehow given a double standard to Arteta who clearly doesn’t deserve it.

  • Blimey. Some real bile at Arteta in the posts above. Has anyone noticed that the areas that Arteta has invested in are the one that are working for us, and the main area where we have the problem is filled with players he inherited? He has bought well and brought on some quality youngsters. He needs the chance to do this up front too. I’m amazed how well we are doing with a team of mostly new players – normally that level of change takes a long time to settle in. Arteta isn’t the problem, it’s been quite a few years of poor investment and contract decisions. It’s going to take a while to work out way out of that. Fiddling with manager changes will only put us down the league.

  • Our defensive record has not actually improved that much. We’re on pace to concede close to 60 goals this season. It’s improved but the bar was so low that any positive change could be considered an improvement.

    How much more money does he have to spend to be able to get it right? There’s a ton of other managers out there that would have had us in top 4 in an earnest title fight with £250 million spent in the time he’s been here.

    He is absolutely part of the problem at this club right now. We won’t progress under him and it’s been SO clear on pitch and with the underlying statistics.

  • HH ,

    You had a lot of detail there about Mikels playing days, I guess as captain, with those fines. Interesting.
    I am really annoyed at him for what’s been going on for about 3 weeks or so now. ….. but snake lol. I can’t go that personally harsh. If he’s making some stupid pig headed point in benching (who had been) our 2 hottest midfielders…
    ….then I think that would be a sign that he’s probably never going to work out.

    This midfield is so weak that it could not withstand two ordinary/weak teams in United and Everton. Going into the festive period, and not using the 2 I’m referring to, with the rush of matches coming, is doubly bad.

    I am a backer of Arteta and the direction, not just because it was working, but I like the new additions and the results this season up to the past 2 weeks. I will be very disappointed if somehow he falls apart now. January purchases or loans aren’t going to save us though. He needs to figure this out as the manager.

    Total,
    I heard a brilliant quote from Bielsa recently.. goes something like this:
    You can’t criticize things like lineups and substitutions by whether or not they resulted in success … you can only judge them on the reasoning used at that particular moment, when explained later by the manager.

    I understood completely… a manager can make the most intelligent sub decisions, but that doesn’t mean that they will work out or have the desired outcome, or even effect. Very fair way of judging a manager. I am a person who generally blames players for losses and failures, and rarely the manager.

    Having said all that, …. and I’ve never used this description before, I feel like if we had one either of these past 2 games, it would have been completely in spite of the manager. That’s how bad he’s been.

  • J, that’s totally fair. I’m a bit hyperbolic but I’ve done my research and followed everything he’s said and done very closely. Every decision and contradiction has been tracked and will continue to not be overlooked.

    I can’t wait for a new Manager that actually has experience, you know in coaching, comes along and unlocks the talent that actually exists in this current squad.

    No more of the doughnut passing of neverending nothingness, the crossing into the box to no one 50x or the new defensive shell, low block where we inevitably concede and find ourselves out of the game.

  • While I agree with HH on the assessment of Artetas tenure but I am not bothered about his character. What I care about is Arsenal Football club and the direction it’s heading. While I craved for Artetas appointment when Arsene left I comforted myself wiht Emery due to his pedgree in Europe. I was more than convinced when he was replaced bu Arteta. I was excited when we won the F A Cup. After that it’s been downhill for multiple reasons. Where I cannot fault him is the decisive direction (Hope so) that he had taken which is apparent from his summer business. Apart from that the rest of the areas are a suspect. I still cannot understand his man management, tactics, team selection, in game management, consistent treatment of players, freezing our younger players in particular there by bringing down asset value of the club, disparity in what he talks and what is seen on field, negligent in addressing center mid and striker situations. While I commend him for his work on the backline the proof of which is yet to be seen but the direction is encouraging the lack of progression in the mid field and final third is concerning.
    Having said all these I am willing to wait for another 5 games and see where the points tally is at the end of 19 games. If we are above 30 points and closer to top 4 I would consider it encouraging and back him for the second half of teh season. The second half I still believe will rest on what we do for center mid and attacking options. If we do stregthen that area we would be on course for 70 points which would be a significant improvement over the last season. The underlying metrics might point us to teh direction along with the points that we have garnered end of teh season.
    The more worrying factor is if we go another season out of europe will make it harder for our recruitment and the general direction form there on. Hence the decision time come Jan or End of the season.

  • An interesting set of comments and don’t they reflect humanity? 😅

    Poisonous and snake are very poor choices, HH, as others have pointed out. I know you are a confident and at times stubborn guy but still hope you remain open to the fact that many believe Mikel is our success potion and guiding star, that the rebuild is a huge project and we are mayby half way there right now.

    I believe in Arteta but fully understand you and others don’t. You have had your say and let’s now move on to supporting the team today.

    CoyrrGs ⚽

  • J, now Bielsa is a guy I would love to have a chat with (as long as I can sit on a share!) 😁

    I could explain the subs to you from a different angle, but we both don’t know what Arteta’s thinking and restraints were. Fact is they didn’t have the hoped for impact.

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