Eight Arsenal Observations: Lame Attack, Sambi’s Missed Chance, Let’s Shop in Eindhoven

PSV 2-0 Arsenal

Eight Observations:

  1. Arteta had a difficult choice to make: only a full strength team, or there about, would beat PSV at their ground. But he needs to keep players happy and rest some players. The team that started was not enough to get a result and yet we played a lot of key players at some point during the game..
  2. The attack was lame and not more than the sum of its parts, maybe even less than that.
  3. Martinelli’s first touch was below par, Vieira lacked presence and Eddie is no natural Jesus-Tornado. The collective movement and interaction was poor, and Odegaard had little to work with.
  4. Sambi had a chance to show us all how good he is, but he remains a work in progress. With both Xhaka and Ode also on the pitch there was great support for him, but Lokonga lacked presence to drive the team on like Thomas does. This performance will not have gone down well with Mikel.
  5. Playing two right footed CBs next to each other is not ideal. Rob and William are fine CBs but they need to play with a left-footed CB to create the best balance.
  6. Aaron got it wrong for the second goal. That did not look good. But he still made a few decent saves and he will learn from this.
  7. The PSV attackers made the difference in the end, and Xavi Simons definitely looks a better back up to Gabriel than Eddie or Gakpo. The letter showed what he is capable of too, and he would be ideal competition for Martinelli. Still Simons looks like a huge star in the making. Arteta may have seen enough to know where he needs to shop next!
  8. Maybe Arteta should have made 11 changes at the start and just take it as an opportunity to see who comes out on top. I am sure UEFA would not have been happy with that and many fans would have cried foul, but in hindsight this would have been a better option than going half way house. Anyway, sand on this one and let’s move on quickly.

Your thoughts?

By TotalArsenal

30 thoughts on “Eight Arsenal Observations: Lame Attack, Sambi’s Missed Chance, Let’s Shop in Eindhoven

  • Thanks Total. Credit to PSV. They put the ball in our net five times and we hardly troubled their keeper. Young Xavi does look the business, but I do like the look of the Ukrainian lad we are linked with, Mykhaylo Mudryk at Shakhtar Donetsk. Lightening pace, great balance and a natural born goal scorer. May be a tad expensive, tho’.
    I think that our lads left a lot on the pitch in the games against Spurs and Liverpool. Both matches were hugely draining physically and emotionally, and I perceive in performances since that we haven’t fully recovered.
    I appreciated Makayah’s perspective in the last thread.

    Bro Eris, our third of seven servings from the ’60’s. Written in the 50’s but popularised in the 60’s. This is the best version from ’72. Quiet, soulful and achingly beautiful… it’s Roberta

  • TA, I saw our performance as a ‘Ruud’ awakening and was not entirely surprised by the result or the performance and I agree with PB that we are paying the price for having too many squad players who have little or no playing time. Whether that is because they are not showing enough on the training ground or it’s a matter of trust, I don’t know. We’ve looked jaded recently and I agree with Stuart that is probably largely due to the Spurs and Liverpool matches. It’s easy to criticise Sambi but I thought Thomas made a lot of poor passes (which were easily intercepted) against Southampton so I could see why he was rested. I thought both Ode and Fabio were poor and the former probably suffered for not having Saka outside him.

    I love the song choice, Stuart. It’s amazing that it was written by a traditional folkie, Ewan MacColl about another folkie, Peggy Seeger (who he later married). N.B. Peggy’s last album is well worth a listen.

  • Lokonga is not a work in progress I’m afraid.To put it bluntly,another “ Deckchair Denilson “.Offers nothing.Ambles around.No drive or positioning sense.Cut our losses _ flog him off to seria A.More suited to their pace.

  • I agree with all the observations. These are my comments.

    There is no shame in losing to PSV. They are a great team, they have really fine players, and they are in a great form at the moment. The shame is in the missed opportunity to rest our first-choice players ahead of the Nottingham clash, and especially ahead of the Chelsea derby, which is the most important game before the Word Cup.
    I think winning our EL group with 15 points should have been and still is the realistic expectation ever since we knew the draw, but some of us would have applied a similar approach (leading to the same result).

    Currently we have a single left footed center back, which is not ideal. But it was a conscious decision as the two other LCBs (Mari and Trusty) were sent on loan. Gabriel has no competition or back-up, which might not be a problem against lesser teams, but the recent games showed that fine teams are able to exploit that limitation. We’ll see what happens next season, but seriously I’ll doubt either Mari or Trusty will get the chance for Arteta; so we are in the hands of making the best offer for Evan Ndicka, which would indeed improve our defense.

    Regarding the instant reinforcements many fans demand here and at other blogs or FB groups, I think it is not that simple. We don’t have the financials or the history to sign top players for backup positions. Maybe we can sign SMS for a load of cash, but only because Partey is injury prone and ‘old’. But I wouldn’t write off Lokonga yet. He was poor yesterday, but MotM against Bode, he needs more time and chances, but he is a quality player. However for a winger we have very limited chances to get a top guy. With Saka being the obvious first choice RW and the apparent neglect of Nelson, I doubt that a finished article would be seriously interested to join for a few hundred minutes a season (unless being capable of playing at both flanks, so could be the understudy of both Saka and Martinelli). Let me remind you that Pepe played 180 minutes for Arsenal in 2022, which should be alarming red flag for players like Trossard, Gnabry, Rashford, Bowen, Pino, Saint-Maximin or Zaha. So we either reintegrate Pepe, try to get Gapko, who could be persuaded with a high salary and the promise that his versatility could be used on both wings and up front, or buying an unknown or unfinished article like Mudryk, who has a way better PR team and agent than his value indicates.

  • Cheers OX10, good points.

    Agreed Partey made some tired passes v Southampton, but he still was much better in his overall performance.

    I have no doubt that the midfield is overused but injuries to Zinch, MO and ESR are only now starting to bite. In attack we lack back up quality, I am now more convinced of this.

  • Hi, lads
    Let’s not dwell too much on this night in Eindhoven; they were prepared for a European battle, we played it like a friendly, there is no way this could work, all the less so since Gakpo and his young deputy had decided the European limelight would shine oh so brightly on them.
    Our vulnerability on through-balls – i.e., the most rudimentary kind of attack there is – worries me no end. My dear old youth coach would always tell us the passer was the problem, HE was the target, shouldn’t be given any space, nor any time to see, think, execute. I think our fragility there comes from Granit’s advanced position. He’s been tremendous there, looks like he’s never been a happier player but … someone’s missing by Thomas’s side, and we pay the price for it imo.
    Of course there is also the good ol’ off-side rule, and maybe some of our defenders could do with watching a re-run of “The Full Monty” to begin with, then investigate where its most iconic scene originated from (it worked out just fine on Gakpo’s disallowed goal, tbf) …
    Lastly, I think it would be no shame if, time and again, we were able to shift to a back-3, with a line of 4 in front of them, but I fear this ship might have sailed once and for good. A shame imo, particularly since in that setup at least Kieran was always a brilliant left-CB. Could he do the same in a back-4? I, for one, would think so, but insofar as no one seems to consider him as a backup for BigGab, jury’s out on that one, obviously.
    P., I’ve not watched much of the Champions’ League this season, but what I’ve seen from Mudryck (then again, just highlights) has given me the impression that the boy is much more than a PR success – to me he’s looked fast, strong, fearless, with Tyson’s punch in both feet … now, the price-tag rumours about him are just insane, I agree with you. Lastly about observations 2-3, which I agree with: I’m sorry to insist, but if there is such a thing as a semblance of fair competition Reiss should start on the left Sunday, and GM11 on the bench …
    Now, (relatively) good news from Italy where Pablo has started his (physical) recovery; I hope he’ll be looked after to keep him out of PTSD too …
    Roberta … “soul”-singer if ever there was one, isn’t she? Thanks again, Stu. Maybe you’ll all think I’m just another male chauvinist pig, but the “Man in Black”’s version on “American IV” always brings tears to my eyes, too …

  • It is not only about the number of changes of personnel but also changes of formation that makes a half-cooked thing like the 2 right sided CBs used! There was hardly any fluid passing as if the players are not used to one another’s positioning and timing of runs – probably a case of not training enough together or just not suited one to another. This exerbates the weaknesses of players especially the weaker players. That this match would be the hardest is the perspective to send our best team and perhaps substitute the key players when we are leading. Or send the best B team with a few key players. What is troubling is that finally almost every key player played from the start or came in as substitute and yet we lost the match and had no rest before PL match 3 days later!

  • Thanks for the reco’s Ox and LeG. Peggy’s and J.C.’s treatment of the song are truly lovely. Everyone who covers that song shows it so much respect.

  • I am in alignment with much of the observations made, TA. For some reason, I fully expected us to struggle a bit but hoped we could get away with a draw. Alas! It was not to be with the hosts playing like it was a cup final, while we looked like we only came to fulfil the obligation.

    While the recent sequence of 1 nil results suggested strength of character in the team, getting into that habit portended a bad result soon enough. Leeds gave us a scare and a warning which was not heeded, culminating in the draw at the Dell. Hopefully, the loss would bring us right back to earth and Arteta takes the boys back to the basics. GJ9 and Martinelli need to take focus away from World Cup selection and re-enact some of the early season form and combinations to get us goals. God knows GJ9 needs some goals….

    We just have to recover, and play like we can, in the few games before the World Cup. It would be nice to remain in the Top 2 by the break.

  • Fine song, Stuart. I like. I would score the performance and the video a 10. 🕺🏾

  • Thank goodness I went back to previous threads. Must have missed GN5’s picks for the weekend. Been that kind of week for me:

    Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur * D 1-1
    Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea D
    Crystal Palace v Southampton * H 2- 1
    Fulham v Everton D
    Real Sociedad v Real Betis * H 2-0

  • AFC Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur * 1-2
    Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea D
    Crystal Palace v Southampton * 2-1
    Fulham v Everton H
    Real Sociedad v Real Betis * 2-0

  • Great stuff re our backline and Granit’s position, Le Gallos. I thought our defenders worked the backline very well v PSV but it’s nerve-wracking at times. Stopping the passer is indeed key and for that we will need a high tempo pressing which we simply lacked v de Eindhovenaren.

    I think Granit does box to box a lot of the times and is often in line with Thomas. But when is high up the pitch it does leave Thomas vulnerable.

    Tierney as cover for BigGab is a fine shout too.

  • Eris, good points. You can only grind out a result for so long. Winning all the time makes dizzy so the ‘affordable’ although not ideal loss v PSV will indeed bring us back to earth.

    I think we will see the boys get back to their best tomorrow.

  • Iam with Eris in that the warning signs were there from the last 3 matches that we have hit some kind of a negative patch. The passing have not been crisp, mostly sideways passing and not energy. Finishing is far below par and defence seems a bit ragged. The worrying signs were there and what response we get for the PSV defeat will tell us how the season is going to be. There will be matches where we will not be at our best like the last few games but how quickly can we turn around is crucial. I think this is going to be a season where our top 4 will go down to the wire.
    By the Austin Trusty is turning out to be a cult hero in Birmingham. He scores an outrageous chop back to the goal last night. He has scored 3 goals till now and his defensive numbers are good as well.

  • Bournemouth v Tottnum…. A (1-3)
    Brentford v Wolves W………… H
    Brighton v Chelsea……………. A
    C.Palace v Southamptn…… H (3-0)
    Fulham v Everton………………. H
    R.Sociedad v R.Betis………… H (2-0)

  • Madhu, they are not Invincibles yet! 😁

    A drop in form is to be expected. The boys have done way above our expectations until now and I am convinced they can get more points from the last three games.

  • The results in our next 3 games will say a lot about how realistic our ambitions are. I hope Graham Porter is still at Chelsea when we visit; their confidence will still be at a low ebb by that time.

    Some of the games today just re-enforce the truth that no team/game can be taken for granted. Fulham and Everton are going at it, hammer and tongs…

    Spurs needed to fight back from 0-2 down at Bournemouth. City held on in the second half vs Leicester. The only teams that had it their way were Brighton (v Chelsea) and Newcastle (v Villa). It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Forest play out of their skins tomorrow and we grind out the win at home.

  • Willian is suddenly the mainstay of Fulham’s offensive play. Maybe, he wasn’t in a good place when he joined us. Arteta also had this plan for a youthful side, making it easier to let him leave for Brazil.. He was always going to get bored out there, considering all the fun he’s had out in Europe. Good for him.

    Leeds just beat Liverpool at Anfield.

  • And for those of you in the U.K., don’t forget to put your clocks back an hour…

  • Gonna miss out on today’s game
    It’s celebration day for a buddy of mine who just retired; he, his wife and kids will come over and be treated to fish tajine and burgundy wine (he’ll be offered the Complete Recordings of Mississippi John Hurt, Library of Congress and all) …
    I’ll leave you in charge of the boys, then – not that it worked out fine on Old T. day, but I still believe in you, I think you have what it takes to learn from your mistakes, and do better in my absence …
    For what it’s worth, I would have loved Mick to give BigBill, BigGab, and GabMart a rest, and try something new, like
    … it’ll be!!

  • We’ll do our best without you, LeG. Enjoy those “Avalon blues”, mate.

  • Eris, your point on the limitations of 4-1-4-1 is indeed thoughtful.
    It used to work at beginning of the season, so either recent opponents have found out how to exploit its disadvantages, or the stamina-intense pressing and B2B duties it demands from Xhaka – and from Odegaard in some extent – becoming a burden in the second halves of the games if not properly rested.

    OX10, I think the mid-term success relies on Vieira. So far he doesn’t seem as a like-to-like replacement or backup to Odegaard. At least when he plays AM he is not in the focus of all attacks like Martin. On the other hand he was anonymous when played at RW or alongside Odegaard. IT’s been only a few months, so there is enough time to find his best position – as his abilities are obvious – but so far I see him more of the replacement of Xhaka (attacking minded B2B) than a classic #10, but Granit is almost never substituted…

    Madhu is spot on: Trusty is indeed playing great at Birmingham. He does his best to earn his ticket to the World Cup. He is already in the team of the season for the Championship, so he has some chance, but I’m not too optimistic as the US team did its entire preparation without him. Although there are good arguments for his involvement (all other players are right footed, Auston is taller than them all, played more and scored more since August), but I’m not sure it will be enough.

    Have fun, Le Gall. That fish tajine sounds like a proper compensation for missing out on the game. 😛

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