4 Arsenal talking points post Spurs draw

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via @t0wey (instagram)

via @t0wey (instagram)

5 talking points post Spurs, in your face, right now…

1. The Santi effect:

From @Orbinho on Twitter:

Aug 2014 to Nov 16 Arsenal Premier League win percentage AT HOME with Santi Cazorla starting With – 72% Without – 47%

With – 72% Without – 47%

Ok, ok, enough of this already We get it. Santi Cazorla is a good player. But look, he’s 32 years old, injury prone and we had EXACTLY the same issue last year. We’re super dependent on him and we didn’t make provisions for him again. Hence playing him 3 games a week. This was stupid and remiss and we’re paying the price right now.

We should have looked at players who could replace him, or at least do part of the job he does.

‘There aren’t many Santi’s out there’

There are when you have a highly paid scouting network looking every day. Look at that Dortmund side. Loaded with pacey, young creative players with bags of energy. They’re finding the sort of players we love by the bucket load. There should have been a santi solution two seasons ago.

But, here’s the thing… I think Santi clouds an issue no one is willing to accept (bar James here)

2. Coquelin doesn’t help

The defensive minded midfielder is a good player. I’m honestly not saying he can’t do a job for us. I called for a player like him for years when everyone was telling me you didn’t need a defensive midfielder because that position was dead and Alex Song was the future of football.


He has pashun by the bucket load, he presses hard and against weaker teams he can pass. However, in high pressure games like the one at the weekend, he just can’t be trusted. He contributed 25 passes to a game that saw us out passed by Spurs by over 100. That’s quite substantial. I’m not saying it was all his fault, but when you have a player who really isn’t comfortable in possession it affects your ability to built play and pass through the lines. Look, just to drive home the point, Victor Wanyama dropped 52 passes yesterday… and everyone laughed at him as a potential Arsenal signing.

3. Xhaka makes the case

This guy really could be a very complete midfielder for us moving forward. We all know he’s good moving the ball forward, but there were plenty questioning his ability to defend because Wenger said he was more of an attacking player. Yesterday he made 10 ball recoveries, 5 tackles as well as 4 interceptions. Coquelin made 1 tackle. People complained that Coquelin was pressing, which meant Xhaka looked great. Sorry, can’t be buying that. If Coquelin is only good for running about in a very basic press, that’s not good enough for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey knows how to press, pass, shoot and create. Elneney if you want a bit more stability. He has a supreme engine, he works the ball around the pitch, he can be a threat on goal and we saw his instinctive one touch pass to Ozil last week.

There are internal solutions that we could action that could account for the lack of a Santi in the starting 11. I don’t think Arsenal are bad without Santi… I think the alternative Wenger tends to employ just doesn’t work for us. Hopefully Wenger will see that and make amends.

4. Wenger the pretender?

Lots of important questions are being raised of the manager after yesterday. Does he have what it takes to contend in a league that is looking more and more spectacular by the week? Conte is proving out that he’s one of the best managers in the business. Chelsea look incredibly mean moving forward, Victor Moses is looking a demon, which is amazing. Hazard is back to his best, Diego is bossing it. Liverpool look scary good at the moment, Klopp looks like he’s absolutely loving the setup over there… Firmino and Coutinho are a devastating pair. City will get things right at some point, that much you can guarantee. Spurs are solid.

So can Wenger be good enough this year? Is he smart enough to see the issues we’re having without Santi? Can he answer the challenge of rotating his superstars? Can he work his way past a 6 man defence against United at the weekend? It’s a huge game and a massive chance to bury Mourinho this year. We both have a week to work on a plan, I hope ours is devastating.

This is a big week. A massive one. United and Arsenal both need that win for different reasons that are pivotal to the season… can’t wait.

I really can’t!

191 Responses to “4 Arsenal talking points post Spurs draw”

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  1. Chika

    Solid points Black Hei.

    I find it quite surprising when people say Coquelin is too limited and therefore needs Cazorla next to him. Guess what, which midfielder would Cazorla prefer next to himself?

    It’s a team game ffs!

  2. Wallace


    I think it’s now 42 goals in the 16 games we’ve played this season. while we’re scoring at that rate I’m not too worried about how many people we have in the box. on Sunday, during our best spell, I felt that we were sitting a bit deeper, encouraging Spurs to come on to us, and then hitting them quickly on the break. at half time I felt they either equalize straight away, or we end up winning this 3 or 4-1. unfortunately it was the former.

  3. Mick Kartun

    Arsenal not Arsene
    November 7, 2016 19:32:23
    “Xhaka for all the hype hasn’t shown anything to say he’s an excellent addition. I’d say good addition. He will play his part when called upon. And saying Coquelin is a the weak link is really stretching it. Iwobi, Ozil, Ramsey, Ox contributed next to nothing on Sunday yet no mention. Also I can’t remember cech saving any penalty for Arsenal since he’s been here. At least a mention about that would’ve been welcomed. I’m just saying though.”


  4. tunnygriffboy


    I think both sides looked tired in the last half hour on Sunday. Compare this game with the intensity that Chelsea and lpool played on the weekend and I can see difficulties ahead from those teams in Europe.

    Gone are the days when teams in Europe could return and play at 75% the weekend after. Teams are better organised with better management.

    You have to credit spurs on the weekend. They threw us a bit playing 3 at the back and it took us a while to adjust. They defended very well and Dembele caused us problems.

    We did get on top for lastt 25 mins of first half and we didn’t really want half time to come. I thought we were going to win it then. However they got a soft penalty (he was going down well before contact). After that both sides huffed and puffed but look fatigued.

    I thought Iwobi was poor on Sunday. He hasn’t been great for the last few games, I think it’s time he had a couple of weeks rest.

    With 3 at the back and the way things were going I would have been inclined to get Giroud on after 55 mins to give their back 3 more to think about. He didn’t have enough time to influence things.

    I think we will continue to score goals but I still feel we are not solid enough in defence particularly in big games. We need to be more pragmatic.

    Spurs won’t concede many but lack creativity and they could draw many games as a result.

    It’s not a disaster though we didn’t play well. Man u now becomes vital. Glad Ozil is having a breather. Worried about Alexis and Kos though.

  5. Rambo Ramsey


    ‘when we’re on our game we’re a mobile, highly technical, quick-thinking side. stick an Elneny or Iwobi in there and they look comfortable, which is credit to them, stick Ramsey in there and we turn into a tractor with all its tires blown.

    the difference between the team of the last 2mths compared to one containing either or both of Ramsey & Giroud is so stark I can’t believe some people don’t see it.’


    Sorry, the above is just a whole lot of grade A nonsense.

    1) Ramsey has barely played since he returned from injury and Iwobi continues to start ahead of him. How then you can blame Ramsey for the drop in quality of our football is quite frankly embarrassing.

    2) Iwobi started off well but has been poor for a few games now. Can’t just completely ignore this part.

    3) Elneny looked comfy in our best play? On what basis? He barely featured in the two month period you talk of. Revisionist nonsense.

  6. tunnygriffboy


    Agree with you about Iwobi. Great prospect but eeds a couple of weeks rest.

    Ramsey is a really good player and has a big part to play. I don’t understand the stick he gets on here. He gets bashed unfairly. As does Coquelin tbh. Both will beneeded for the tough schedule ahead

  7. Wallace

    like others I think Ramsey is a very good PL player, I just don’t think he’s a good fit in this Arsenal side. great as an impact sub as he does have the ability to make things happen, but he’s 26 in December, he’ll be wanting regular first team football at this stage of his career and I just don’t see how he gets it at Arsenal.

  8. no1powerdaddy

    A full strength goon side lucky to get a draw at home against a Spurs side missing key personnel. My, how times have changed.

  9. Cesc Appeal

    Ramsey and Oxlade would both be on my list for ‘can use to raise funds and acquire more useful players’ this summer, the former not a judgement on quality, just attitude and fit, the latter, well, just so severely disappointed in Oxlade, always thought we had an absolute gem there.

    I don’t want us to hold onto him for ten years before he finally gets a rocket up his arse and starts playing as if he’s worried he will get a premature end to his career having been a bit of a damp squib like a certain someone.

    Oxlade, Ramsey and Wilshere I’d be looking at chopping, their nationalities will bring in prices above their value and we can look to better.

    Interesting to see Smalling and Shaw seem to be on their way out of United having had a bust up with Mourinho, really seems as if Mourinho just grates wherever he goes now. Shaw is such a sick note but I do think there’s a player in there, only 21 as well and we will be needing a LB soonish.

    As to the Ozil on the left thing, it is far from ideal and I do remember he was pants out there, but I really do think we’re not going to make it to an elite level with him at CAM, unless, Xhaka and Elneny were to really make the centre their own, for example, a more physical base, and then we land a really tricky wide playmaker.

    Feel as if Ozil on the ball, most of the time is great, but when he isn’t on it, we’ve just got an enormous hole in our side in that area of the pitch unless Sanchez is tearing around. It’s made worse by the fact Caz does not really get around the pitch well either, he isn’t a physical presence, whilst technically excellent.

    Ozil’s formational inflexibility is areal issue for me.

  10. Rambo Ramsey

    Wallace, depends.

    If its in central midfield areas, yeah, perhaps he takes too much time assessing his options rather than making the simple yet effective pass-and-move routine. If its in the final third, nope, his craft and inventiveness shits all over what the likes of Elneny&Xhaka offer.

  11. Emiratesstroller

    I think that it is an interesting development that post Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal Conte changed the formation of his team to three at the back and that has clearly worked well for them.

    On Sunday Spurs played with a similar formation and whilst perhaps not quite
    as comfortable as Chelsea were nevertheless relatively successful.

    The question, which might be asked is would such a system work with Arsenal? I wonder sometimes whether we are too loose at the back and ill disciplined.

    Our fullbacks are not in my view natural defenders particularly in the case of
    Gibbs who is actually a converted winger.

    If we played three centre backs it would free up someone like Bellerin to concentrate on a more forward role. When you look at Germany they have often
    3 Centre Backs playing in their team.

  12. Wallace


    ” If its in central midfield areas, yeah, perhaps he takes too much time assessing his options rather than making the simple yet effective pass-and-move routine. If its in the final third, nope, his craft and inventiveness shits all over what the likes of Elneny&Xhaka offer.”

    wouldn’t disagree with that. but it’s central midfield where he’s wanting to play.

  13. Wallace


    if we went 3 at the back I’d prefer a Guardiola 3 at the back – 2 defenders and a midifelder with good distribution – rather than the Chelsea/Spurs – 3 orcs – version.

  14. BANKY

    I think your comments about Coquelin is somewhat too harsh. Perhaps, because he is not a 35 millions pounds player like Xhaka or not as expensive by Elneny.

  15. tunnygriffboy

    If we play 3 at the back Monreal would have to play on the left of a three as you need a left footer there. Azpilacueta (sp) does it on the right for Chelsea, Monreal would be ok to do it for us. Won’t happen though.

    When Giroud plays I can see Ramsey doing what Iwobi does on the left when Alexis plays up top but on the right. I’d also like to see Ramsey play next to Xhaka in certain games if Santi u/a.

    In the past we’ve given sides who play 3 at the back a tough time recently. That was with Giroud up top with Alexis exploiting the left side of their defence. We’ve struggled against Borough and Spurs but that was with Alexis up top. Giroud should have come on much earlier than he did on Sunday. He caused them problems in the short time he was on.

  16. Daz

    If we went three at the back we would have the wing backs but no where for Theo, iwobi, ox and Perez to play as Perez would be third choice CF and if Giroud comes on it would have to be for Sanchez as no wing position to switch him to. We have to many midfield and forward options that would become useless without the wide forward positions in a formation

  17. Micheal

    Three at the back is definitely worth considering. However we all know that Wenger is inflexible. He devises a system at the start of the season and sticks with it, regardless of results, performance, player form, etc.

    It will take a total change in Wenger’s management style to change tactics so radically mid-way through the season. I’m not saying it won’t be done and I am not saying we should stick with what we’ve got.

    But history suggests it won’t happen.

  18. Arsenal not Arsene

    3-5_2 formation will basically crowd the midfield and get rid of traditional wingers. Wingers replaced by wing backs, monreal, bellerin. Midfield 3 of Coquelin, Cazorla and Ozil. Attacking duo of Sanchez and Giroud. 3 defenders in Mustafi, Koscienly and…..???? To unstable for Arsenal methinks.

  19. Red&White4life

    “Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits he did not expect to miss chances for Manchester United, but has vowed it will “click” soon. ”

    No needs to wonder against which team he will “click” soon” lol

  20. Steveyg87

    I knew this was gonna happen.. Drop a few points and Le Coq gets thrown under the bus. Regarding the lack of creative midfielders in the market, I rewatched the match against PSG and its fair to say that whoever fucked the deal on Rabiot(we were strongly linked) should fuck off as far away from the club as possible, what an elegant player

  21. Cesc Appeal

    How is Rabiot progressing at PSG does anyone know? Have to see what Karim says when he’s next about.

    I can only go on what I read, but it seems a fair few PSG fans are saying he’s coming along nicely as a complete midfield player. Always liked Rabiot, good build in terms of height and strength but he’s also that sort of wiry, leggy dribbler out of the middle with an eye for an pass and who does muck in.

    Have to have a good look at him next week, was always one we were strongly linked with.

  22. tunnygriffboy

    I still maintain that Chelsea or lpool win win the league simply because they have no European football. Both have excellent managers. They have very good first teams and enough good extra players to cover for injuries even if their squads are not as strong as some of the teams in Europe

    They will avoid the energy sapping away trips, extra games and the fatigue that brings. To add to that the injuries they bring

    The league is intense, teams are better with good managers. You have to be on it 100% to win games. Both sides looked tired last half an hour on Sunday. This is the second time running when all sides playing in Europe drop points the following weekend bar one team, this weekend man u got full points.

    While teams have dropped points lpool and chelsea have gained maximum from their two games.

    We have to get our rotation right if we are to remain fresh and play with the intensity each game needs.

  23. Cesc Appeal


    Just one of those player I’ve always looked at and thought there could be something there, I don’t really feel as if we have a strong ball carrier in the middle who can also pass the ball around well.

    I know there were rumours we were close to a deal with his mum I think either last season or the season before, but he seems to have established himself now.

    Also read good things about Tolisso as well.

  24. Wallace

    1st level – Alexis, Koscielny, Ozil, Cazorla, Bellerin
    2nd – Cech, Mustafi, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka, Walcott
    3rd – Ospina, Elneny, Iwobi, Giroud
    4th – Gabriel, Holding, Gibbs, Ramsey, Ox, Lucas

    the above’s how I’d group our squad in order of importance. first line’s in order but the rest not. did have Walcott in the third group but moved him up.

  25. Wallace


    yeah, Lucas will hopefully move up. Xhaka should probably be in the third group based purely on performance, but I think he’s gradually getting to grips with the PL and will hopefully end up in the top group. would say he’ll have to move into the top group if we are to have a chance this year.