Battle 16/17: Two Possible Lineups. The Arsenal Face the Magpies for a Must Win Game

The Spuds game was a big disappointment but we have it all to play for. Some poor refereeing and some immature actions by a few players cost us, and the game was over before it even started. But we just have to move on. We are The Arsenal and we know what is at stake. Simple as that.

The injury news is vague and Arteta may have to field a makeshift defence. That would not be great. Hopefully at least one of White and Gabriel is fit to start.

Ideal lineup:


Soares, White, Gab, Tomi

Elneny, Xhaka

Saka, Ode, ESR/Martinelli


Possible necessary lineup:


Soares, Elneny, Tomiyasu, Saka

Sambi, Xhaka

ESR, Ode, Martinelli


No more words required. Time to let the Canon roar. Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!!!! 🤩 🤩 🤩 🤩 🤩 🤩

By TotalArsenal

113 thoughts on “Battle 16/17: Two Possible Lineups. The Arsenal Face the Magpies for a Must Win Game

  • I am worried for tonight but as long as we actually play football instead of letting the occasion get to us I think we can win. We are a better team than them and we have something to play for.

    What worries me is Newcastle last home game of the season, Monday night game under the lights, loud crowd creating a hostile atmosphere, them coming out all guns blazing and the lads freezing, the kids not got over the spurs game yet.

    Other than all of that I am perfectly calm about the whole situation. Hahahaha.

  • Since the mini revival of Newcastle this game has always worried me, but I will still be watching and hoping that the lads come through.

    I could say a lot about the game at Spurs and the “penalty” they were given against Burnley but suffice to say I was unimpressed by the decisions that were made. Lets hope that luck and the ref is on our side today.

  • Though we are hit by injuries, I also think that we can beat Newcastle. Hope Arteta and the players do not over think but just play their normal game as they can. Formation and personnel change as minimal as possible so as not to negatively impact the fluidity. They need to calm down their nerves and not let too much pressure get to them.

  • I’m expecting us to go out and do our stuff, Thursday was dead after 27 minutes. I’m confident we will bring together all the good stuff from this season. I feel its Saka time to complete a great season, he’s been a bit quite of late 2 goals from him and a long range screamer from Mo.
    Come on you gunners finish off this season with 2 confident wins. Would be so good to be 3 up with 20 minutes to play.

  • The waiting is over here’s the team for today.

    32 Ramsdale
    18 Tomiyasu
    4 White
    6 Gabriel
    20 Tavares
    34 Xhaka
    25 Elneny
    7 Saka
    8 Odegaard (c)
    10 Smith Rowe
    30 Nketiah

    1 Leno
    17 Cedric
    69 Swanson
    65 Oulad M’Hand
    23 Lokonga
    87 Patino
    35 Martinelli
    19 Pepe
    9 Lacazette

  • We have been terrible today. Can’t believe that we are just going to give 4th to spurs with a whimper.

    They have been better in every position on the pitch.

  • This is why when we went down to ten men against Spurs wanted the team to rest players and go into conserve energy mode with such a small squad and more injuries.

  • Pepe may be more dangerous to us vs them II was just thinking dont lose the ball here

  • Well that is a shame but the boys can be proud with finishing fifth this season. They just ran out of steam and many were not 100% fit. All to play for next season but first the game v The Toffees this weekend.

    Ooh to, Ooh to Be

  • I think 5th is a great finish but the guys should be ashamed with the performances they have put out in the last 2 games. The difference between 4th and 5th is massive in terms of investment and the goals we want to achieve.

    I would not be surprised to be back in 8th next season with all the extra games we have to play. The top 4 will all get stronger. Utd, West ham, Leicester and Newcastle could all heavily invest as well.

    We need to get our transfers sorted early and hold on to our talent. We also need to hope for some luck with fixtures after the Europa league games.

  • For me those last 2 games have set this club back 3 or 4 years.

    Don’t want to sound to low but I am really disappointed with arteta and the whole team right now

  • The team has overachieved this season and we will grow again next season. We have no place in the CL yet. This team will learn a lot in the Europa league and we should all be glad that we have made such progress this season. No players should feel any shame. They have done extremely well. Ooh to…

  • I know what you are saying and in some ways you are right. I would have taken 5th at the beginning of the season. It is the manner that we just rolled over in the last 2 games that is depressing.

    We were just a timid shell shocked team and it was just a sad way to limp over the line.

    The reality is that Conte is better than Arteta, Kane is better than Laca, Son is better than Saka. We are not as good as spurs but we had a chance to really make a statement this season.

  • Newcastle were outstanding and we were not as good as we hoped we might be. But, as the Good Book says, “There is no shame in hope”. As good as Spurs are, the Canaries may well do us a favour.

  • I think we agree Arsenal was close to even more, Wedge. I understand your disappointment but, like Stuart said, there is still hope. Norwich have nothing to lose and they are a proud lot, with not one but two cathedrals guiding the population. 😊😊

    Arteta was left in the lurch by his captain and Laca has his mind on other clubs now. I have no doubt that if either Son or Kane played for us we would have gone further even this season. BTW Saka is at least as good as Son was when he played for Hamburg at the same age. Arsenal are a work in progress and sometimes they show us their future potential. Progress is seldom linear.

  • 5th place is an achievement though most likely not getting 4th is a disappointment considering that we were way ahead at 4th at one time and that better players may not join Arsenal. Hope Norwich perform an extraordinary win. The last 2 losses is due to a combination of nerves, injuries and not at top physical condition. Our players were second to reach the ball in most duels in this match.

  • I was always worried about this game. More so than the tottenham game. Newcastle have done what we did last year. They are now tied with tottenham (equal 3rd) for most points in the 2nd half of the season. It feels like dejavu with newcastle…kind of like how it felt when chelsea and city started to throw mega cash around. The scary thing is they have more money than both combined. In a few years It’ll be a struggle to compete with them.

    I agree we have overachieved this season. 6th was probably a pass mark. Top 4 would have been excellent but they can be proud.

    I do feel sorry for Arteta and the players tbh. The list management team let them down. Not only did they fail to bolster the squad in January but they let go of squad players that would have been handy in the run home. We saw how much Elneny, Nketiah and Holding helped but we were reliant upon inury prone players like Tierney and Partey. It was always going to be a tough ask. We were forced to run players into the ground (especially White and Gabi) and it’s no surprise after some big games that they are crawling over the finish line. Some were clearly carrying injuries. Even just keep AMN and Chambers would have given us freshness. I would have preferred AMN at fullback over Cedric and Nuno. I know both wabted game time but Arteta being mr nice guy with both did cost us squad depth. Not as bad as Arsene with Gnabry but still…what did we get from loaning AMN and selling Chambers…not much. They could have waited til the Summer.

    I know the benefit of hindsight etc. but blind freddie knew we were on bare bones in the final 6 months.

    Who knows…Norwich might win…stranger things have happened…anyone know where the spuds eat? Might have to make them a fresh lasagne.

  • Wedge, you are not alone.
    I think the last 2 weeks was really low, and not only the boys should be ashamed, but the coach and the club management also.
    I surely am.
    Don’t envy those, Wedge, who are proud of the club’s performance. It’s perfectly fine to be on the other end of the scale.

    And forget about the canaries.
    It’s the hope that kills you…

  • A fine idea, Oz. I have something in my garden shed that will be great in that lasagna.

  • Improve the striking department – absolutely crucial and work hard on finishing in training it’s an obvious weakness in this team as a lack of goals have killed us.

    Then strengthen the midfield, we need more options across the squad, players that Arteta can trust so that rotation doesn’t see a drop in quality and he can rest players as Man City do.

    The new 5 subs rule will help next season, the Europa will definitely help the next bunch of young talents we have waiting in the wings, there’s some serious talent there but we couldn’t use them this campaign as it could have damaged their development. The lack of goals and killing games stopped any chance of Arteta blooding them this season.

    Disappointed? Of course I am but long term I’m optimistic, I can see this team growing, out of adversity you see a squads character develop and this squad has developed. Now they need a holiday, as do I…

  • Found this interesting from arseblog:

    When you look at our ‘main’ players in that regard, and what they’ve contributed since January 1st the stats are stark:

    Gabriel Martinelli: 1 goal in 19 (and it’s 1 his last 21 appearances).

    Emile Smith Rowe: 2 goals in his last 18 appearances in 2022.

    Alexandre Lacazette: 1 penalty in 18 appearances, no goals from open play.

    Bukayo Saka: 6 goals in 20 appearances.

    Eddie Nketiah: 4 goals in 20 appearances, he didn’t score in 18 of those 20.

    If you want to add Martin Odegaard to that list, although I’d consider him less a forward than the others, it’s 3 goals in 22 appearances. On that basis, it’s kind of incredible that we were even in the hunt for a top four place.

  • On Eddie’s defense: while he indeed scored only 4 goals in his 20 PL appearances (and another 5 in 307 minutes of 5 cup games) he had only 759 minutes to play. That makes his output a goal every 190 PL minutes.
    On the other hand Saka scored only 5 goals in the Arseblog mentioned 20 games – and 2 (last) of them were penalties – but to be comparable to Nketiah’s yield Bukayo had 1779 minutes to do that. So at the end of the day his throughput is a goal from open play every 593 minutes.
    Obviously comparing the 190 minute and 593 minute efficiencies wouldn’t be fair either as Eddie is a striker while Saka is a winger (with other duties beyond scoring goals), but the 6 goals in 20 games vs 4 goals in 20 games was much more misleading.

  • When i was watching the game, i was numb. Switched off after 2 goals down. If we end up with 5th and with 69 points taht improvement from last season, but it would still be disappointing when we had 4th for the taking. Spurs bought in two players in the TW and that made the difference. We let go a lot and that made the difference. I have different view on the manager and looking at how the season has panned and his inability to use the SQUAD playing just PL games, the next season will be harder. I am not convinced that Arteta is the right man to take us further. Glad to be proven wrong but i know iam in a minority on this blog regarding that.

    Looking ahead TW will be challenging and playing Europa games on Thursday and PL games on Sunday with Artetas inability to manage the squad is going to be tough. I ask this to everyone, what is the metric that we should assess our progress next season? Can we have some tangible metrics and then have a discussion around the limits of this manager. Bitterly disappointed.

  • I have had a bit of time and I still don’t feel any better. I have accepted 5th and to be honest Arteta and the players have aswell

    The interviews last night were honest but also just sad. Arteta gave an interview as a fan and said what I was thinking. For the manager not to know why the guys did not turn up for the biggest game of the season is shocking.

    I will support the team next season and remain sort of committed to the clubs vision. Next season will have to be huge to make up for this.

    We need to get big players in and get them early. We need to address this red card storm we are in and stop it right now. We need to find a way of creating more goals as a team and from more players. We need to hope that our European league group is not to tough. We need to learn how to rotate and manage a squad properly to keep our injury list down. We need to keep the fringe players fit and interested so they are ready to play when needed

  • We lost 13 out of or 37 premiership games this season. That is 2 more games lost than Brighton or palace. We are lucky that we were even in top 4 contention with a recored that poor.

    This is another thing that needs addressing as we more often than not lose when we concede first. It is an issue with the mentality of the lads and can’t continue

  • Let’s all remember that we only see and understand about 5% of what is going on at Arsenal, as Balague pointed out recently. You are free to have opinions but remember that they need to be informed to carry any weight.

    Here is what I think the plan is:
    1. Build a team around our young players and add players who can play the Arteta way.
    2. Very few of the initial squad for Arteta could play his way. So they have to leave and this is done in stages.
    3. Arsenal are no longer buying for the sake of it. Players are carefully selected for their ability to work hard, pass the ball well and are comfortable in tight spaces with it. They also need to be able to grow.
    4. We are almost there with the ideal squad but probably need two more transfer windows to get it right.
    5. We don’t need to attract top stars, who will only come if we are in the CL. Arsenal are building towards regular CL participation, but that’s not for now.
    6. Arteta is a very driven top quality manager who is also still learning. The club have a long term vision to be able to compete with Pool and Citeh and I love the way we have made progress with recent wins over the Hammers, Chavs and Mancs.
    7. Fifth place is real progress, but for me tge style of play is where the real, progress is. There is space and money dfor three or four quality players to join us this summer, and we will be stronger again.
    8. I respect that some will not see it that way and that is fine with me.
    9. Ooh to bee

  • 20 year old Saka has been incredible this season. Played so many games and in the end clearly not entirely fit. He is an Arteta player and Eddie struggles with this. Now this is just my view so let’s see what happens this summer.

  • That’s interesting from Arseblog, but again it is reflective of our paucity up front, put a quality striker or two into our squad and suddenly Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli and Smudge aren’t doubled up on as often as the striker/strikers draws the attention of defenders and with that extra space and time maybe they hit the net?

  • Good to read your comments again, Kevinski. Which team can afford our crap CF situation and still finish fifth?

    Auba was desperate to go to Barcelona and couldn’t have cared less.

    Laca cannot afford to get injured as he is looking for a new contract/club

    Pepe is our worst buy in history given his price tag and performances

    Eddie is okay but doesn’t suit our style of play

    So let’s see who will join us this summer/winter.

  • Here’s my two bob.

    I’m delighted that we are back in Europe and in manner in which Arteta has improved our team – after the first three games who would have given us a chance of competing in Europe?

    I mentioned a few weeks back that I didn’t think we had a squad that was was ready for the CL and it proved to be a bridge too far. Playing against the second tier teams in Europe will be another learning experience for both Arteta and the players. A season or two in Europe and a few astute squad additions will then prepare us to play against the top level teams.

    We will soon be competing against the top teams in the EPL and that makes me a very hopeful and grateful GN5.

  • Here are the results from last weekend:-

    1st OX10 with 4/6 and most correct predictions = 8 points
    2nd Stuart & GN5 with 3/6 = 3 points
    4th Madhu with 2/6 = 2 points
    5th Eris with 1/6 = 1 point
    6th Total with 0/6 = 0 points

    Season to date:-

    1st Eris with 183.39
    2nd OX10 with 169.06
    3rd Madhu with 152.46
    4th Total with 143.56
    5th GN5 with 141.03
    6th Kev with 124.95

  • Here you go gents the last spin of the dice for 2021/22

    Arsenal v Everton
    Brentford v Leeds
    Liverpool v Wolves *
    Manchester City v Aston Villa *
    Norwich v Tottenham
    Marseille v Strasbourg *

  • Arsenal v Everton H
    Brentford v Leeds H
    Liverpool v Wolves * 2-0
    Manchester City v Aston Villa * 2-0
    Norwich v Tottenham A
    Marseille v Strasbourg * 2-1

  • I am happy that we can see progress being made and this is a team that I actually enjoy watching which is not something I have been able to say for the last few years. I am also not a fan of swapping managers every few seasons as it disrupts everything that has been built (see Everton and the merry go round mess they have).

    I also dont think 4th would have been as good for progress as 5th would. it is a better competition for playing the fringe guys and also a more fun competition to be involved in (this of course assumes that we wont get past quarter finals in Champions league anyway). It is also a competition that if we take seriously we could actually win and actual trophies are what the sport is all about.

    The big problem is how far we now get left behind by the others.
    Utd and Chelsea could go either way right now
    City and Liverpool are to far ahead and we pose no threat to them
    Spurs now have a top manager, top players and the prestige and money to get more
    Newcastle are building something big and will be the next city/chelsea
    West ham and Leicester are also both capable of being a problem against anyone

    I am not saying we will fall behind all these teams but if we do not push on again next season then we eventually will. The term inexperienced and young does not cut it anymore. If the team is too young then go out and buy some leaders. I am not sure if our targets were based on the fact that we thought we would get top 4 but if they are then we need to reevaluate and get those deals done.

    Total I am a huge fan of about 80% of our team and none more so than Saka, me saying Son is better than him is not a dig and I believe that Saka will be the best player in the league at some point in his career but right now he is not at Sons level. I think even without 2 games a week Arteta has run this small group into the ground and his squad management needs to be seriously looked at.

    Anyway lets try and at least finish the season with 1 last home win and maybe a bout of food poisoning will stop the spuds from celebrating. The absolute worst thing that could happen is if we both lose so we need to just focus on us and prey to the football gods.

    Sorry for the long post.

  • All good stuff, Wedgy. Spuds have a manager and a player (Kane) who don’t want to be there. I am not worried about them at all. The future of NL is red.

  • Arsenal v Everton H
    Brentford v Leeds D
    Liverpool v Wolves * 2-1
    Manchester City v Aston Villa * 4-1
    Norwich v Tottenham D
    Marseille v Strasbourg * 2-1

  • Total you are so positive that it borders on the irritable (This is a joke, please do not take offence). Never lose what makes you this way as you are the ying to the rest of our yang.

  • Like everyone else I am absolutely gutted by the result and performance at Newcastle but equally disturbed by the post-match comments of Arteta and Xhaka. It doesn’t help to internalise the Watford verdict that we lack cojones. That just creates more pressure and sets us up to fail again. First we need to recognise that everyone was trying just as hard as Xhaka but that some couldn’t handle the pressure and panicked just as the infinitely more experienced PSG players have done time after time when faced with an intense away crowd. Second we need to work out ways of relieving the pressure, or how to relax under pressure rather than freeze. Arteta’s prematch comments about how it would be a failure not to make the Champions League were completely misguided. They cranked up the pressure and set us up to fail. I can’t imagine Klopp or Pep making the same basic mistake. I am back and forth with Arteta. Great coach in many ways but just needs to be older and wiser about how to manage people. Less machismo, more understanding, please.

  • Madhu, you indeed belong to the minority, but you are not alone there.
    And you do it really smart when you ask fellow Arsenal fans about what is the metric that we should assess our progress next season. However this is not the place or community to ask, but I think you know that already.

  • Arsenal v Everton H
    Brentford v Leeds H
    Liverpool v Wolves * 3-0
    Manchester City v Aston Villa * 3-1
    Norwich v Tottenham A
    Marseille v Strasbourg * 1-1

  • Thanks Wedge. My background is change management and I know how hard it is to change the culture, structure and way of working in an organisation. Hence I have a lot of time for Arteta.

  • PB, the metrics for success next year now have to include CL qualification. It is galling that our recent performances have allowed the Spuds to climb over us into fourth spot. However, I agree with those saying that the Europa League may suit us better next season though. It provides more opportunities for fringe players and real prospects from Hale End and at the end of the day, we can aspire to winning it, unlike the CL.

  • Metrics?

    Tell me what you mean with metrics…

    Level of squad change to suit the Arteta way. Huge progress.

    Being able to play the ball out from the back? Huge progress

    Push teams back and force them into mistake? Reasonable progress

    Playing in Europe next season? ✅

    Reducing the wage bill to afford new players? ✅

    Etc, Etc.

    Manchester United finished second last season, I guess that’s the sort of metric Madhu and PB are after. Where are they now?

    Focusing on narrow metrics is a poor and dangerous way of managing a business, including a football club. There is a vision and plan which we are not privy to. But by all means if you feel we need to make it more specific be my guest. 😉

  • Against Newcastle we were second to most duels and against Spurs we were second to most duels after we conceded. How can a team that usually compete at most duels suddenly lose this? – its a combination of nerves and lack of fitness (Gab and White were not fit and even Saka). I think it is a mistake for Arteta to put undue expectation on a young and inexperienced team who has not learned to handle pressure in a positive way – it increases nerves. Players tend to play better when not over-pressured. Hope Arteta learns here and I still believe he is the right manager as he has achieved at least 5th from 8th and above all we have in a numner of games played good attacking football remisnicent of the great teams of Wenger.

  • I’m looking for a miracle this Sunday – an over confident Spurs to lose at Norwich and The Gunners to beat Everton.
    After all miracles do happen – right Stuart.

  • They do indeed, GN5. We only have to recall a Friday evening on Merseyside, 26th May, back in ’89.

    Arsenal v Everton H
    Brentford v Leeds D
    Liverpool v Wolves * 2-0
    Manchester City v Aston Villa * 1-1
    Norwich v Tottenham H
    Marseille v Strasbourg * 2-1

  • OX, I appreciate your response. But the expectations – being quantitative or qualitative metrics – should always come ahead of the season. Exactly like you did now, but at the start of this recent campaign (and after the worst performance of a generation) everybody was reluctant to formulate his/her expectations for 21/22. Just the dilly-dally bullshit. Only Madhu had the balls to expect at least 70 points after an unprecedented transfer spending spree and a full season without European distractions. (And I think he was soft, but that’s already a subjective area.) Nevertheless those who prefer to justify anything and everything from hindsight will be able to accept and explain if we won’t make the CL again like “the squad it too thin”, “the new recruits need more time to blend in”, “Tottenham and Manchester United invested too much in their squad to compete with”… you name it.
    The lack of quantitative a priori expectations is not a shortness of skills. It’s a preference.

    By the way we should set up expectations for red cards, penalties conceded, games lost (it was 10 each in Emery’s both seasons, and 13 each in Arteta’s 2 full campaigns – give we won’t lose against Everton), whatever. This could be an interesting and exciting thing, but only with the right company.

  • I remember it well Stuart – the last few seconds of the last game of the season between the top two teams – it was so unlikely the it was like a fantasy. The goal is embossed in my memory banks,

  • PB, why don’t you set up your own blog mate? You can play footie manager and judge as much as you like and with your passion will have followers in no time. Go for it you, know you want it.

  • Going to Norwich needing a point is definitely not a given. If Arsenal were in this position I would not feel comfortable at all. The Canaries have nothing to lose and may do us a favour. But we have to beat the Toffees and this is also not a given.

  • @ allezkev

    Obviously context matters and there are multiple variables at play but the goal scoring stats highlight we just don’t score enough goals. Being so reliant on Saka and ESR at there age is fraught with danger because as we know one of the biggest weaknesses youth players have is consistently. Something we clearly saw in the second half of the season with martinelli. You are right though…1 or 2 new players up front and that all changes (for a number of reasons).

    I just hope Arteta is highlighting the January transfer window to whoever signed off on it. Ultimately it has cost us in the end. Compare that to Tottenham. Their signings recharged their 2nd half of the season just like Arshavin did for us years ago. Unfortunately Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur were great signings for them. I just hope they are offset by Kane leaving at the end of the season.

    Yes we did well to finish 5th (come on Norwich) but I’m not celebrating mediocrity. We could have gotten over the line had we not stripped our squad back to bare bones and signed 1 or 2 in January. And tactically Arteta made a big mistake in our game against the Spuds. We played into their hands and threw holding under a bus. Needed to play a back 3 against them (may have if white was fit).

  • TA, it’s your blog mate and i respect your opinions so come backa again and again to express my opinion. Iam not ashamed or scared to state my opinion. Metrics as you would know from your chnage mgmt background should be measurable and what yiu measure you can compare and contrast. Fair enough if yiu think wage bills and playing style are metrics that you wbat to measure. I may have few questions for playing style but that’s for another day.
    My metrics will always be the league table. There is a reason the league table has few metrics which signifies how the team has performed and collected points. Points and placings are the pinnacle of the league table. Other metrics are pointers to it i.e Wins, draws, loss, GA and GF. Along with this the fact that we will participate in 3 cups gives us a holistic view of the SQUAD and clubs progress.
    Iam stating here today that next season the metrics which i consider success are
    1. Closer to 80 points with a postive goal difference of +30
    2. Winning atleast 1 cup
    That’s all what I would keep my focus on.
    Thanks for bearing my negativity and questions.

  • New here in the comment section but have enhoyed the blog for a while. Good work Total.
    Obviously dissapointing end of the season, our players have for sure been overplayed and looked tired and unfit. As for the season in total, I support the path we’re on and the vision!
    It’s hard to argue with numbers but comparing the Emery seasons with Artetas is pears and apples for me. Emery is a NOW-coach, Arteta have a vision. I believe we need the vision to get to the real topsection of the league. I also think the fanbase need a project to believe in. And most of us are willing to give time for change.
    I like this project, I enjoy watching those young players. Partly because they do have the youthful promise of high ceilings. Next season will get better.

    But as for metrics next season?
    Well, I go with:
    * Build a stronger team of Arteta players so we can rotate and are less dependent on keyplayers like Partey and the CBs.
    * The squad should contain two proper players for each spot, and those should play. Means we need: Wingback (Hickey?!), 3rd choice cb (Saliba?), competition for Partey(he’s too important for us right now), another attacking midfielder competing with ESR, Saka, Marti and MÖ, and 1-2 goalscoring attackera (depends on if Eddie accepts being 2nd choice).
    Lots to do in TW!

    Playing style:
    *control more games
    *Stop getting bullied by high pressure and teams being physical. Keep calm and move the ball.
    *Score more goals. Need to be around or above 70 next season

    Actual numbers:
    *70+ points
    *semi-finals europa league
    *semi finals FA cup/caraboe

  • Cheers Oz,

    You make good points. It looked to me that the club were looking for new attackers but missed out on their targets. That may indeed have cost us, but I rather find the right players as we don’t want to get this wrong again. How many attackers have failed in recent years?

    It’s a bit bizarre to blame Arteta’s tactics for Holding’s bad defending don’t you think? Surely Rob knows the rules of the game?

  • Cheers Madhu,

    First you achieve structural and cultural change, which is the hardest of all, then playing style and effectiveness…. And then you start measuring on the harder, tangible outcomes. Arteta is undertaking a mammoth task and in my view is doing great, even though he has to learn a few things which was to be expected.

    What I am missing from you is a show of delight if hard targets are all you care about. Arsenal almost achieved your target of 70 points and surely you didn’t expect us to finish as high as fifth this season? So why are you not over the moon my friend?

  • HCM, welcome to the blog and that’s a fine comment.

    You make a good point about having two good players for each position, which is hard to establish when the team is not yet at the top. Who wants to be second fiddle? We actually have a number of players who accepted such a role and have really well: Leno, Holding (except for the Spuds game), Soares, Elneny, Eddie and to a lesser extent Tavares and Sambi.

    But this were we need to improve the squad indeed, and the likes of ESR, Ode, Martinelli need stronger competition. So plenty to work on this summer and it is indeed great to be part of this journey.

    In years from now, when the disappointment of the last two games has subsided, the fans will realise how well Arteta did with this young and developing, but understaffed, squad.

    Please comment more going forward. 🙂

  • TA, my prediction for this season was closer to 70 points and since we have achieved this, that is the reason that i am not calling for Arteta’s head. It shows the improvement from last season and iam aware of the same. The reason for me not being elated is clearly two folds
    1. This is not something that iam saying this now, but our Jan TW is the reason we are here. We had an opportunity to better our metrics. We were in 4/5th with 35 points if iam not mistaken during Jan TW. Depending on Partey with his injury record and as a single point of failure (Arteta didn’t trust anyone till he was forced to) was a mistake. Any addition in the center mid alone would have given us at least additional 3 points. I would wager just having AMN would have at least provided 3 more points.
    2. The manner of defeats during the run-ins, two clutches of multiple losses with the last two by not even registering a goal with no fight has reduced the sense of elation to virtually no elation. Defeats are part of sport and a given, but the manner of the defeats will tell a lot about the team. Coupled with this Xhaka’s public slating of his team mates doesn’t bode too well. Its Gallasesque in my opinion and definitely not expected from Xhaka whose own petulance has cost us games.

  • Cheers Madhu,

    You prove my point that achieving hard targets is not the be and end all. There is, always something to be unhappy about! 😁

    Arteta and this team have done amazingly well and have frankly overachieved. I promise you it will get better and better over the next few years, especially if the supporters get behind the team and have patience.

    Whether AMN would have helped is just pure guessing. How many games did he play for Rome/ how many points did he save?? I want fans to stop demanding players to be bought for the sake of it. They NEED to be the right players and for this patience is required.

  • Madhu, we disagree on the Xhaka comment.
    I always appreciated Granit – more than the average Arsenal fan – but his latest comments just made him my personal hero. I think we need more from him and more like him in the next season.

    Furthermore I think we have to distinguish between a wish-list and actual expectations. The former is a nice-to-have fantasy (which all fans surely have). But if they don’t materialize we just sigh and move on. However the expectations are much more serious. If they don’t materialize you ought to challenge the progress, the direction, the competence, whatever. Are you willing to call for the manager’s head if the 77+ points, the 30+ GD and cup victori(es) will not happen next season? If yes, then kudos to you, my friend. If no, you may change the thresholds, because without holding anyone accountable for the results we would revert back to the domain of obscure claptrap.

  • You are really struggling with this concept, PB. Buy yourself a book about change management as per my comments abobe. It will make you a better supporter and employee, no doubt.

  • Overachieving is subjective and my opinion is underachieved. TA you call for patience, but i will assure you the young players in the team will themselves not be patient. Their heads will trun when teams higher above us will come in calling. That’s the reality and so patience is limited to a timeframe and no its not for fans but players. We as fans have arrogated ourselves a role that is beyond our actual influence, but young players will be very aware that their career’s are short and if we don’t make incremental progress in achieving goals and along the way create some credit by winning cups and qualifying for CL, the younger players will leave. We have seen this during the secodn half of Wenger’s reign. Can Arteta convince the youngster’s to be patient?

  • For me next season what we need to really push on is to sort out a few key positions.

    We will need 2 new strikers as I believe Eddie will not sign and laca is gone. I would like us to get Nunez/Jesus/Jonathan David/Isaak for 1 of these positions, the other should be a young and hungry back up.

    I don’t think cedric is good enough and tavares could do with a loan to a prem club. We will need 2 new full backs or at least 1 right full back as saka can cover.

    Saliba should stay next season and I think him and holding are good enough to cover CB.

    I am not sure if Guendouzi deal is already done but if not I think he would be perfect in this team next season. If he has actually been sold then a new box to box mid is very important.

    Pepe needs to go as we don’t use him and his wage is high. Nelson can replace him and maybe get another attacking I’d who can also play on the wing.

    We are not as far away as the media would have us believe but we are also not as close as we could be. I also think that 4th and 3 cup semi final should be the minimum aims. Winning the Europa league should be our main priority but can’t sacrifice league position to fulfil that goal.

  • @ TA

    Holding definitely does but it’s up to Arteta to swing the percentages in Holdings favour. Spurs targetted Holding and Son got in his head early. Cedric was sucked into playing higher up the field because the spurs right side sat deeper. This gave Son all the room in the world to attack Holding. The trap was set an Holding fell for it. Arteta was outcoached by Conte – sadly. I don’t think that happens if we play a back 3 because we would have had a sweeper and there is less pressure on Holding.

  • PB, Regarding Xhaka’s comments, i see it this way. If in my playing days, if my team mate comes out and accuses the team of chickening out, without naming anyone and that too publicly, then i would be aggrieved. The tendency is to either ignore and say he didn’t mention me or confront him about his own shortcomings. Either ways it causes discord between team mates and cast doubts in their minds about Xhaka’s ability to work with the team. No team has achieved any success if they are not together in wins and defeats. You can have arguments in the locker rooms but once you get to a public space its about unity. I say this having played competitive cricket and being part of a large multi national org for more than 20 years,
    Regarding the metrics that i gave, for me these are non negotiable. Iam looking at a fairly reasonable increment of 10 points from this season. Goal difference as another measure of improvements in both defense and attack. Winning a cup from a possible three is a way to create credit and sense of achievement with the team. Yes if these are not achieved then i would surely be calling Arteta to stepdown. This is no different from corporate world where you are given sales target and if you don’t achieve you have to leave. You achieve it and you will get rewarded accordingly.

  • Oz, we started well but the soft pen was a setback. Holding just got sucked in and the ref was card happy unfortunately for him.

    That game was lost before it started, but if you say it was down to Conte’s tactics then I respect that.

  • Imagine Man United had had this way of thinking with Ferguson!?

    People at the top value vision and see potential. Focusing on results too early in the process is bad management and leadership. Luckily, there is no risk of this at Arsenal. This is a five year plan; we’re half way. Next year will still be much more about qualitative targets. We are not finished with the team transformation and cultural changes yet. Patience my friend, patience.

  • Love the tag, HlebCescMozart. What a midfield that was. Flamini did a lot of the water carrying for them, but those three were wonders to behold.

  • So TA, pls tell me does the culture change involves a senior player coming out on Media, berating the team and players in the most uncouth words.

  • Wedge, it wasn’t announced on Arsenal’s website, but the Guendouzi transfer was made official by the Marseille president:
    It was an amateurish move from our decision makers as Matteo matured well as a person and that 4500 minutes really helped his development. You are right, he would have been a fine reinforcement to the squad, and the 9M transfer price is beyond ridiculous.

    I doubt if Tavares would go on loan for a PL club. If we sing a new LB (I don’t believe the Hickey rumors, but I didn’t believe the Willian-gossip either, so my intuitions aren’t infallible) then we don’t need Tavares, and he won’t be interested in sitting on bench in 4 league cup games either. (And which PL club would be standing in the line to loan him?) Furthermore Arteta is not known for pushing young players under the bus, so I don’t expect any fullback signings. It seems Cedric is well connected to the coaching team (he could even start his coaching career in Arsenal when retired), and to be fair, he wasn’t the weakest link of the defense in recent months. So the only full back deal I anticipate this summer is selling Bellerin to Betis for a bag of peanuts.

    The striker purchase will be a tough yet important decision. You can delete Nunez from your wishlist as many clubs are interested in him; some with higher salary offer, others with the opportunity to play in the CL, some even both, so he will not be interested to join the project. The question is indeed whether we will buy 1 or 2 forwards. I – personally – don’t think we can sign 2 classic strikers; even if we had the funds it would be hard to convince Jovic, Isak or David to join when Jesus is already on board. But we could purchase a lone striker like Jesus along with a multifunctional attacker who can operate from the wing as well – like Gakpo or Gouiri. (Unfortunately both prefer the left wing were we already have Martinelli and ESR, but this is something the coach has to sort out if moving along with this scenario.)

    Finally Saliba could be the dark horse of the transfer window. I think he would be intrigued to play in the PL, but I assume his relationship with Mikel is already damaged. Nevertheless this ship has not sailed yet, ego issues could be sorted out, if William could be convinced that after the unbelievable 4700 minutes he played this season he will be able to play at least a third of that for Arsenal next season. I’m not sure if this negotiation will conclude with a happy ending, but the silver lining here is that even if we sell Saliba this summer we might receive the sum for him that could help us to buy a decent CB with similar qualities.

  • Madhu, if you stick to your expectations then you also become my personal hero. 🙂
    But you have to share this with Xhaka, as I believe his words are spot due to the mentality and competitiveness of this great sport. You may have a point that his words shouldn’t necessary have found their way to the public, but I really think the team deserved the criticism; and if it cannot come from the fans, and wouldn’t come from the coach then somebody must say them.
    However I don’t think it was about their ability. They train together every day, so they surely know that all of them are talented and professional who easily dispatched Chelsea, Manchester and West Ham a few weeks ago. So if the skills are there, how come Newcastle was better in every feckin’ department? If NU apparently wanted to win the game more intensely, then somebody must ask the question why, no matter how confronting it is.

  • Uncouth, Madhu? I thought he didn’t swear at all… Le

    While I don’t like speaking out in public by players, Granit will have had a reason for it. Remember we only know 5% of what is going on.

    My guess is he was venting frustrations as he is of an, age where success becomes precious and he worked his socks off for it.

  • TA, Granit talking like that is rich. He may works his socks off and others might contend they too. Also we don’t need Granit to come out and say we can see it our own eyes what’s going. Granit is culpable himself on at least 3 occasions this season and i didn’t see anyone coming our and calling him petulance and responsible for defeats. If every frustrated player comes out in public and goes on against fellow team players there will be no end to this.
    By the way he said ‘Balls” and it is uncouth using it in public against your team mates. Lets the culture police discipline this guy.

  • PB, i intend to stick to my metrics and will hold Arteta to that target. Offcourse i am nobody and Josh may have his own metrics. But iam clear in my mind on what is progress next season.

  • Ah Madhu, you really think the absolute opposite of me. But I like you nevertheless 🙂🔆

    Referring to having balls is totally fine in this country. But if it upsets you then I respect it.

  • TA, ha ha i like you too proof is that i come to the site everyday. Iam personally not upset, but my principle is that if iam completely clean then i might think about point fingers at others but never unsolicited. When i know i can never be spotless then i will not point fingers at my team mates. Its the sign of weakness to point fingers at others, strength comes from accepting different levels and helping to raise standards collectively.

  • Hey Madhu, I said “only Madhu had the balls to expect at least 70 points…” at 21:44 last night (see above).
    I meant no disrespect. In fact I used it as an honorable recognition of your bravery.
    Let’s come back to those metrics and expectations in 12 months, my friend. And in the meantime, keep the faith and keep the balls. 🙂

  • Ha ha PB, i dont have problems with ‘Ball”, but if my team mate asks me that question in public then i will surely be questioning him back 🙂

  • Talking about managers, tonight a former Gunner, Giovani van Bronckhorst, is hoping to win silverware for Rangers. Anyone watching this?

  • No offense, but I felt this result coming. Saw a draw at best. First game all season that I would not watch live. And when I checked the result hoping for a pleasant surprise, I saw they had choked under pressure as I imagined.

    I’m totally behind the project, but next year I expect a solid beginning to the season, and to show some intestinal fortitude by taking some points off the big boys. That will show real progress and earn some respect.

  • J, I had similar concerns, albeit I dismissed them on the basis of we are supposed to be well over-motivated than Newcastle.
    I was indeed worried as we played all recent games with almost identical starting line-up (bar a couple of injury-related substitution), and even though we should play once a week due to postponed games we had quite a busy schedule for those players who used to play every minute of every game.

    So while I knew in my head that with proper motivation and preparation the boys should tear Newcastle apart, I felt in my heart those omen you mentioned. Fatigue, burn-out, the psychological effect of the Tottenham game, and my lack of faith in Arteta’s motivational/preparational capabilities left me worried. But I was on a bridge competition anyway, so I couldn’t do much besides checking the results from time to time.

    I know it sounds like captain hindsight, but we have discussed it on another fanblog before (!) the NLD and drew the (hypothetic) conclusion since, that if Arsenal would have played the backup players featuring the U23 team against Tottenham and reserved the physical and mental fitness of the first choice XI for the Newcastle game, we would be playing Champions League football next season.
    So much about OGAAT…

  • Next season to begin on 6 August and will be adjusted to accommodate FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

    The Premier League 2022/23 season dates have been confirmed.

    The season has been adjusted to accommodate the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which will take place in the middle of the domestic calendar.

    The Premier League season will start on 6 August 2022.

    Match round 16 will be the last set of matches played over the weekend of 12-13 November ahead of the call-up period for the tournament beginning on Monday 14 November.

    The League will resume on Boxing Day following the FIFA World Cup Final, which takes place on Sunday 18 December 2022.

    The final match round of the campaign will be played on 28 May 2023, when all games will kick off simultaneously as usual.

    The Premier League fixture schedule for Season 2022/23 will be released on Thursday 16 June 2022 from 09:00 BST.

  • Pb,

    for me it was really all about our young players and the pressure. Knowing that Newcastle had nothing to play for, nothing to worry about, was a huge edge, and of course they wanted to make a statement by being spoilers.

    Spurs being gifted their last 2 victories by Levys cabal is not forgotten by me though.

  • Yes, I shall be watching this morning. Do you have a soft spot for any Scottish teams, Total? Back in the days of black and white TV, I took to Hib’s because their shirts seemed identical to Arsenal’s. They sold us Peter Marinello who never really hit the heights we hoped for.

  • Well Stuart, I think two teams, Arsenal and Roda JC, are enough. I do like some of the Scottish team names, though, like Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Hearts of Midlothian. Pure poetry!

  • Yes, I have always committed to monogamy in marriage, faith and football. One God, one girl and one football team. If my eye has wandered it is towards beauty in language. Back in the ’80’s I worked in Southern Africa. One of Swaziland’s top clubs had the evocative name, “Eleven men in flight”. They wore shirts with an orange airplane as a crest.
    0-0 in Seville. Not too bad a watch.

  • I don’t feel great about an early start of the league. Not confident we will have our transfer buisness ready by that..
    As for my squad hopes (wish-list):
    GK: Aaron, The American
    Central Defenders: Ben, Gabriel, saliba, Rob, The other american
    Lb/Rb: KT, Nuno T, Tomi, Cedric, Another Tomiyasu type of player (I like all I read about Hickey) CM: Partey, A ball-winning bad boy with good feet(asking too much?) ,Granit, Mo, Lokonga
    Attacking midfielders: Bukayo, Ode, ESR, Martinelli, another ready rotational player, the young brazilian?
    Striker:A big boy, Eddie? Folarin?

    So it leaves us with,
    In: 4 players(young brazilian not included); A Tomi-type wingback, Ball-winning bad boy with good feet, rotational attacking midfielder and a big boy striker
    Out: Leno, Pepe, Laca, loan folks

    I really disagree of the idea of Saka at left back. He’s just too good for that. Considering the injury prone fullbacks we have I would appreciate a fifth option.

    Furthermore, I’m team Granit by his comments qfter the game. Like that he is standing up. Thought it was clear he was talking about the whole team himmel included. It was not good enough they all know it, he just said it. Balls or not…

  • Ah! Nothing like a bad loss to bring out the fans from the woodworks and cracks..😀. But, I must admit, it’s been very good, passionate comments all round and I salute all.

    For me, it’s been days of late work and hardly time to check the blog much; I shall go through the rest of the comments over the weekend, for sure, just to get the general drift.

    We have no choice but to look forward to our last game at home and egg the players on to a win, just for the points placement and record.

  • My predictions for the weekend’s selection follow:

    Arsenal v Everton H
    Brentford v Leeds H
    Liverpool v Wolves * 2-0
    Manchester City v Aston Villa * 3-0
    Norwich v Tottenham H
    Marseille v Strasbourg * 2-1

  • HCM, that’s a well thought list on existing and future players.
    I agree with almost everything. The only exception would be Nelson, whom I think should not be sold/released (and could provide replacement to Pepe), therefore we would need no more attacking midfielder. Especially as Odegaard (in my subjective opinion is the only addition from last summer who already proved to be a master signing) has squeezed out Smith-Rowe from his best position – as anticipated, so ESR became a makeshift winger in recent games – instead of being the supersub that really suited him.

  • Arsenal v Everton H
    Brentford v Leeds H
    Liverpool v Wolves * H (3-0)
    Manchester City v Aston Villa * D (1-1)
    Norwich v Tottenham H
    Marseille v Strasbourg * H (2-1)

  • Pb,
    Yeah, Reiss. Would be great if he could provide rest for Bukayo, not entirely convinced though, but would love it.
    Hickey, Neves(highly unlikely) Oshimen before mid July and Im happy then. Anyone else out, competition in.
    Love the new nr 11 btw. Best 11 since early özil.

  • Pb,
    Yeah, Reiss. Would be great if he could provide rest for Bukayo, not entirely convinced though, but would love it.
    Hickey, Neves(highly unlikely) Oshimen before mid July and I’ll get my top4 hopes up. Anyone else out, competition in.
    Love the new nr 11 btw. Best 11 since early özil.

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