10 years worth of neglect = slow rebirth

by .

via @Arsenal

via @Arsenal

Arsenal kicked off the new era in a painfully familiar fashion. A leaky defence, a second-rate performance against a top 6 side, star names under-performing, along with the customary zero points. Unai Emery witnessed first hand the brilliance of Manchester City and probably now realises how much work needs to be done to move Arsenal into the modern era of football Arsene Wenger steadfastly refused to acknowledge existed.

There was also a bit of a subplot with Arteta sitting in the opposition dugout, he was the frontrunner for the Arsenal job until Gazidis lost his nerve. The big hugs from Pep after the second goal hinted that our excaptain may have been given an outsized role in deciding what the plan was going to be for the afternoon (like he was last year).

Whoever concocted the strategy, it worked. Manchester City blitzed us from wide positions, Mahrez and Sterling causing us all sorts of problems, with Mendy and Walker showing off their raw power and pace. Our defence looked pedestrian at times, AMN really suffering before going off with an injury after a collision with a full speed Kyle Walker.

Their goals were standard Arsenal switch off moments. For the first, a poor Bellerin clearance found Mendy who often took up central positions, Sterling ghosted Bellerin, shrugged off Guendouzi and slammed his shot past Cech who didn’t dive. The second goal was classic Arsenal, Mendy powered the ball up the park, played a one-two with Sterling, crossed low into space in front of our extremely deep defence, Xhaka was pondering, no one in our defence reacted, Bernado Silva was first to it and rocketed his chance into the top corner.

We had some good moments in the game, but as with preseason, our transitions to attack were generally quite poor. Ourdefence looked extremely uncomfortable on the ball, Petr Cech was comical at times, nearly passing into his own net at one point. Flabbergasting that the coach wants to play with a keeper regista, but opted for Cech, who I absolutely refuse to believe has been dropping passes like peak Zidane in training. With his hands, he was excellent all game, he made some wonderful saves. However, in the new era, the keeper is expected to play with his feet. He is not the guy you want breaking the lines. It’ll be very interesting to see how long Emery sticks with that decision.

It didn’t help that we had nothing performances from Ramsey, Ozil, Auba and Mikki. Our attackers looked like they’d never played together, Ozil was particularly depressing to watch. His touch was poor, his passing was unusually shite and he just looked disinterested. Ramsey couldn’t find a way into the game either, a very bland performance for someone chasing a deal (or the exit door).

Aubamayang is an incredible finisher, but he lacks the all-round impact a striker like, dare I say it, Giroud can offer you by bringing players into the game with great hold up play. I’m not crying for Giroud by the way, I’m merely pointing out that Emery has to find a way to work Auba work in big games like that.

Still, on the positive side of things, the manager was scheming during the game about how to make us better in the second half. He subbed Ramsey on 54, a real power move if he wasn’t injured. Lacazette gave us some hope with two chances early on, one of his half-volley grazing just wide.

I thought Lichtsteiner was a real asset when he came on. He got forward a lot, he was rugged in defence and he really does bring an air of nasty to our team. What a competitor he is.

Guendouzi had a good game. I mean, he made a lot of expected rookie mistakes, but as everyone keeps saying, he never shied away. He demands the ball all the time, and despite being at fault for the first goal and nearly gifting them a second when he set Aguerro free, he was a bright spark out there on the pitch. Give me him in midfield over Xhaka every game. Telling that our best player made two shocking errors and I’m pleased.

Another telling moment was Xhaka being subbed off for a defensive midfielder when we were trailing. The Swiss was typically average. He landed a yellow card because he’s so fucking slow, he gifted them possession and he just generally looked off the pace against an aggressive Manchester City. Moving forward, he can’t be starting. He’s one of the most average players I’ve witnessed over the years, literally no redeeming qualities in a league that demands physical presence. He is a liability against anyone that presses him, and teams like Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and City will all know that.

So what have we learnt? Not a lot. We knew this was going to be a tough season, and we knew it was highly unlikely we’d be a match for the second greatest team to grace the Premier League. We won’t play teams that good every week, and by the time we play them next year, it’ll be a different story. The players will have adopted Emery’s ideas, the defence will feel more comfortable playing the ball out the back and you’d have to hope the manager will have found his true starting 11.

The big questions for me:

Are Emery’s ideas that good? Can he compete with the like of Pep, Sarri, Klopp and Pochettino? All masters of their various offerings. Another big question is how the players will react to defeat.

How enthused will they be about the new setup? The double sessions? Being shouted at like never before, but the same things happening on the pitch…

How long will it take to see progress, and how long will the fans roll with it? For me, we have to be real. It took Pep a year with a blank chequebook. It took Klopp a year, and his path is much more aligned with the challenges we face. So whatever you’re thinking now, you have to park it for at least that long.

Top 4 is the goal, it’s going to be tough because there are 7 very good teams this season.

Anyway, don’t be down in the dumps, today was the short-term cost of progress, this will get better as the year goes on, more joy to come (hopefully).

Let’s hope the reaction is great. Sarri up next. Excellent.

483 Responses to “10 years worth of neglect = slow rebirth”

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  1. Guns of Hackney

    Yeah, the reason we lost was because of an incorrect penalty call.

    It reminds we of when Wenger blamed the referee for the 10-2 defeat against Bayern. That was a “missed” penalty decision if I am not mistaken.

    I can’t wait for the excuses this season after our numerous heavy and light defeats.

  2. mysticleaves

    raptora, Pierre is always right about his referee conspiracies and has the balls to always call it. I saw it, most of us on le grove saw it but couldn’t say anything here due to the anti Arsenal nature of le grove and not wanting to be called “untold type”. That should have been a penalty 100%

    Big ups Pierre for having the balls to call things as it is.

  3. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    In the past if a clubs stadium was not ready after they had made promotion then they were not allowed to be promoted.

    Now spurs is different.

    They had special dispensation not have the first few home games moved to be away games.
    Now they are saying they will not be ready till possibly January.
    Wembely is booked for some prem games an for the nfl game they had hoped was going to be at the lane.

    Everyone has moved heaven an earth to help them.
    It’s a disgrace a massive fine or hit them with a points deduction
    For the unfair advantage.

    As I say would they be so lenient with a smaller club.


  4. raptora

    come on mate, it’s not that. It’s just happened 4 games in a row vs them or something. It’s either a pen for them, or offside goals, or pen for us not given. I mean we score in 67-th minute and with 25 mins to go who knows what could have happened. It’s about fair play.

  5. Michael24

    R.S.P. C Arsenal

    It’s a joke.

    What’s more of a joke is that they’ve probably known about this for some time.

    Anyway it’s Spurs, so even bigger laugh.

  6. mysticleaves

    GOH right on cue there. On le grove “Arsenal fans” would rather discuss how shit Xhaka and Ozil is than ask questions as to why a penalty wasn’t called in our favor

  7. Guns of Hackney

    Okay. Win pen, score pen. Still lose 2-1. Yawn.

    How about we do the “if city had taken their chances and not been having a laugh, we would have conceded 6/7 goals”. Shall we do that one?

    Arsenal were outclassed. Period.

  8. mysticleaves

    RSPC Didn’t know those rules. But in light of it I think they should be heavily fined or ducked points. Other clubs should be able to protest right? Get on it!

    They should have just leased Wembley for 2 years and save all these dramas

  9. Guns of Hackney


    I used to get wound up about that kind of thing, too. Honestly, apart from Man U back in the day, I don’t 100% think another club gets as much “homer” advantage as they did. I’m not saying that city shouldn’t have been penalised, but let’s try and remember when Arsenal will no doubt get a dubious decision is our favour.

    Mate, it comes and goes. If we don’t calm down and stop with the conspiracy theories, we will end up like the scousers.

  10. mysticleaves

    How about we do the “if city had taken their chances and not been having a laugh, we would have conceded 6/7 goals”. Shall we do that one?

    How about we took our own chances? They would have conceded too. Football doesn’t work like that. How about leave the chances missed and give credence to mistakes made by officials and how it changes the game?

  11. raptora

    They are the favorites, much more in money in their team, it’s the 6-th vs the 1-st from last year, and we haven’t been in UCL for 2 years in a row vs possibly the best team in the league.

    Does it mean that being second best, we should not get decisions right for us? Laporte should have seen red card as well. First half a super ugly foul vs Auba on the counter, no yellow, then headbutt on Lichtsteiner.

    I get we’re second best, but then not play any games and declare City champions because all of the teams vs them will be second best. Doesn’t mean that they won’t get a result as second best.

  12. Guns of Hackney

    Head butt? Arggghhhh. I’ve had lady birds hit me in the head harder.

    Come on.

    It’s like Wenger never left.

  13. Michael24

    Anyone who dwells on bad decisions needs to start reading the A to Z of life.

    Shit happens.

    Forget it and get on with it.

  14. Black Hei


    If we have scored, City would have just moved on another gear and blew us away.

    But yeah, ESPN put on their luck index and we were hard done 9 points last season.

    I would be more concerned if we were actually in contention for something and we lost points like that.

  15. Guns of Hackney

    LUCK INDEX????

    Please tell me that’s bullshit.

    Mystic, you are a crazy old coot but I like your positive attitude.

    But…carry on like that and people will think you’re an EKB.

  16. Terraloon

    Agree with you 100% re the Spurs stadium

    What is being ingnored in all this is the integrity of this years PL.

    In effect we now have Fulham, Cardiff & Liverpool playing Spurs at what in effect is a neutral venue and the other 16 games at what will probably be a Bear pit.

    The PL rules stipulate that you to only have one home ground for a whole season and everything is in place for you to have the exact same facilities ( pitch size, Floodlights etc) for every one of their home PL games.

    What we now have is supporters of the likes of Cardiff,Liverpool , possibly others having to make alternative travel, stay arrangements all because Spurs want more time. It was abundantly clear that 5his re build was never going to be easy and the PL should have said from the off we will help you like we helped Liverpool but no more than that

    The PL may well have been painted into a corner for the next 2 games but Spurs aren’t the only ones being impacted by this and the league should simply say to Spurs that they can not play any PL games at Wembley if the Man City game can not be played at WHL

  17. Terraloon


    Last para should read Spurs must play all of the remaining seasons PL games at Wembley if they can’t play the Man City game at WHL

  18. Pierre

    VAR will be a godsend for The Arsenal…

    Correct and Fair decisions, that’s all we want…

    There were 3 errors in judgement by the officials, all against the home team that would have come down in favour of The Arsenal if VAR was in operation.

    Goals change games, that goes without saying so Arsenal being awarded a penalty with half an hour left would undoubtedly had an effect on the crowd and the confidence of the players.

    Ozil wrongly given offside when he was through on goal when the score was 1-0 would not have been given if VAR was in operation.

    Ramsey getting hauled back by laporte in the 10 th minute off the ball would have been spotted on VAR and at least a yellow card plus a free kick on the edge of the area.

    All potentially game changing decisions.

  19. mysticleaves

    “If we have scored, City would have just moved on another gear and blew us away.”

    But Black Hei we don’t know that do you? I mean in the end it’s nothing abd City are levels above us. I am just saying the officials missed a penalty call that could have or could not have altered the result. I am an Arsenal fan in the end what do you expect me to say? Oh yea, Ozil is shit, Xhaka is shit haha.

  20. mysticleaves

    “Last para should read Spurs must play all of the remaining seasons PL games at Wembley if they can’t play the Man City game at WHL”

    BANG! BANG!! BANG!!!

    GOH cheers man, we all got our styles in the end.

  21. Ishola70

    Talk of VAR total deflection.

    Wenger would be proud.

    If Xjaka is culpable for the first conceded goal not backing up his team mates and standing stock still in the six yard box with the CBs instead of pushing out and trying to block space between Sterling and the goal what do we say about Licht for the second goal conceded? Totally switched off and allowed Silva to run off him and had zero awareness of what was going on around him. Bellerin could have done better in trying to prevent the cross in the first place, Mustafi and Xjaka were helping no-one in that play but the poorest was Licht in that second goal conceded. I understand he is a bit of a cult hero already on here but already said previously in his prime he was noted for being a good attacking fullback rather than a good defender.

  22. Bob N16

    Emery should have learnt that against top 6 teams cannot play Ozil and Mkhi on the wings, Xhaka is a ‘luxury player’ who is only playable against teams with limited speed and skill in midfield and attack.

    Ramsay, if fit, should play on the right against Chelsea, essentially doing a ‘Parlour’. Torreira can assist/partner Ghendouzi(or Elneny) in the double pivot. PEA on left, Laca up front with Ozil being allowed to focus on attack.

    Hopefully Monreal is fit by the weekend and Lich can play hard ass on the right.

  23. Pierre

    Bob 16
    Similar to what I am thinking…. Experience at the back…

    Gutted we never bought Nzonzi..he and torriera would/could have been a perfect partnership in the middle.

  24. gambon

    Its not an Nzonzi that we need. A Torreira & NZonzi midfield would be great at winning back possession, but nowhere near good enough in possession. We’re not going to play Klopp style football.

    We need a Kroos/Modric/Alcantara/Iniesta/Veratti in the middle alongside a ball winner.

    Someone who builds the play, and doesnt get pressed out of every game when we play a big team.

    We desperately need this player. We had a broken one in Cazorla.

  25. Bob N16

    Gambon, first impressions of Torreira is that he does have some passing in him..reverse pass to PEA (offside) creative. Take your point but we’ve obviously got to make do with what we’ve got.

  26. russ99

    Emery continued one of my biggest gripes of the Wenger era, playing players out of position to keep a favored formation. While I enjoy the change and think these early frustrations can build into solid strategies, we can’t make players what they aren’t; Xhaka isn’t a DM, Ramsey isn’t the high midfielder receiving long balls and distributing them, Özil isn’t a right side winger who beats players off the dribble, and playing Auba in any role that diffuses his aptitude of getting the ball in the box and generating quality shots wastes him as a player.

    I hope Emery watches his video and understands this.