Arsenal riding the luck train

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It’s very interesting reading the different perspectives on what’s going on at the club at the minute. The general notion is Arsenal are winning ugly and we’re shithousing our way up the league.

I’m not quite sure I buy it.

This bit of analysis from Gracenote was very interesting.

Now, you can take a few things away from this.

We’ve been ruthlessly efficient in front of goal to start with, and we’ve had some luck. Yesterday we only managed two shots on target and we claimed an own goal.

Defensively, we’ve been shite, but thankfully, the teams we’ve played have been useless in front of goal (and our keepers have been good).

What this table tells you is we’ve been very fortuitous. The idea that we’re ‘shithousing’ teams doesn’t really sit right with me. This isn’t doing what you have to do to win, like Inter Milan in the semi-final of the CL against Barcelona. This isn’t United under Mourinho. This isn’t Ramos like evil genius. This is Arsenal playing really badly and falling up the stairs.

We’re not creating good chances moving forward, and we’re terrible at the back… but we’re 4 points off the top of the table, so it’s hard to be real about the situation without sounding like a brat. But, you know, I am a brat. I think a big reality slap is heading our way if we don’t quickly improve.

We’re 9 competitive games into the season and we’re still shite. That’s with the players training almost every single day (which comes with its own issues, usually in December). The ideas, whatever they are, aren’t settling with the players at the minute. We’ve seen Bielsa at Leeds turn them into a spectacle, they’re scoring freely, 2 a game, and they’re conceding less (a goal a game last season, 0.8 a game this season). I mention Bielsa because he’s bringing elite level ideas to very average players. Emery took over from an artist, not a butcher, it shouldn’t be taking this long to see an identity.

The play has to get better if we’re going to make it into the top 4 this season, because luck won’t carry us through December. Emery has either got to make changes to the way he’s setting up so he can get the team clicking from the off, or we’re going to have to do some reshaping in the January transfer window.

Starting Ramsey seems like a bad idea. The club withdrew the offer because they didn’t see value in Ramsey signing a £300k a week contract. So it’s not about the Welshman, it’s about Arsenal making an aggressive call on his ability. No wonder he looks pissed off, he’s just been told by the clubs hierarchy they don’t rate him. Here’s the thing, I absolutely agree with that decision. Trouble is, now he’s going to be uninterested for the rest of the season. He’d be a useful player if he was on top form.

Mesut Ozil needs to play as a #10, or it’s simply not worth it. Emery is going to have to work out a way to make him work harder for the team, or he’s going to have to build the system to be able to deal with his lack of defensive work. He’s the most creative player in the league, we’re not creating anything, let’s make it work.

We also need to work out why our defence is so poor. Is it a back to basics kind of issue? Who knows. But it shouldn’t take more than 3 months to see an improvement. I mean, it doesn’t help having someone like Xhaka protecting you, but honestly, I don’t understand how we’ve regressed so badly at the back.

Anyway, a little bit of a moan this morning.

What do you think about it all? Let me know in the comments! x

436 Responses to “Arsenal riding the luck train”

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  1. Pierre

    Pedro’s headline “September and still competing for the league. Feels weird, right?”
    Actually it doesn’t feel that weird due to the fact that we are where we normally are after 7 games going by the last 3 seasons so it actually feels pretty similar,right?2017/18……5th
    2016/17…….3rd
    2015/16……5th
    The only difference is ,we have a new manager.

  2. HighburyLegend

    F*ck yeah!!

    ” I think a big reality slap is heading our way if we don’t quickly improve.”
    Klopp nose best!!

  3. Ivan

    Pedro – u are surprised why defence regressed?

    Maybe lack of Kos, and Mustafi (cant stay on his feet if life depends on it) being left as senior CB and leader od defence.

  4. gooner1

    For starters , this is probably the first reality check article ive read about arsenal and emery ! the most disappointing thing to me is that emery hasnt yet showed as to what our “identity” is going to be. We are playing through the wings knowing we dont have proper wingers throughout the squad , bellerin has been absolutely pathetic going forward and defensively the less said the better, ramsey at # 10 always lacked the quality,
    The team looks as bad defensively and as shaky as they used to look over the past few years , the difference visibly is that we are not creating any clear cut chances.
    I fear the same thing this article is pointing towards , a reality check , which is coming our way in the shape of liverpool probably , if only emery figures out a distinct and comprehensive style of play in the next 3 games before that.

    PS always wished we were as lucky as this when wenger was in charge all those years and we were playing beautiful football

  5. Leftsidesanch

    Pierre, we had more points in 2016/17 at this point (well a point more), but we are two points better off now than we were at the same stage last season so your not wrong there.

    Difference is, last season we were already 6 points off the leaders City, and two years ago we were only 2 off so it’s a small improvement. It doesn’t mean much at this stage cos it’s how we finish. The big thing is, most of us knew we wouldn’t sustain a challenge for the title/top 4 but now we don’t know about the top 4 at least. We have nothing to compare Unai’s Arsenal with.

  6. Michael24

    There is a massive difference between where we are now and where we’ve been in previous seasons.

    Under Emery we really don’t know what to expect, which is sort of exciting, whereas, under Wenger, it was all too predictable and rather boring.

    What is great is that we seem to turn it on for 10-15 minutes and win the game,
    which, at this stage, is far better than looking good for 70 mins and fudging it
    up.

    Maybe not pretty to watch but proving very effective.

  7. El Gooner

    Pedro you can’t cling to stats and then burn the Xhaka fans who do the same to justify his existence. Truth is we were crap on Saturday and nobody sitting around me disagreed. Only real stand out performance for me came from Holding, even Leno struggled to pass the ball (great save tho) – Auba on the wing is a waste of time. He is proven goal scorer, no point trying to convert him into something else at this stage in career. Old fashioned 2 up front with Ozil in the last chance saloon as a Number 10. Ramsay cannot be starting and please can Xhaka get sent off so we can see Lucas and Matteo protecting the defence. Bellerin does seem to be on a positive curve but the sight of him jogging back when the other team are counter attacking is frustrating to say the least.

  8. Leftsidesanch

    At this point, I’d keep Ramsey out the team and put Ozil in the hole. Playing with two up top, because Auba will have an underwhelming season if he’s out wide.

    Begs the question why we didn’t get an actual winger in the summer.

  9. Michael24

    Pierre

    Great result yesterday.

    The Americans proved, not for the first time, that they have little or no concept of what a team environment is all about.

    Woods proved he is a total dick.

  10. Victorious

    Top post Pedro,
    We’re scrapping past average sides not because we’re good but because of a combination of luck and and some bang average attack
    You get the feeling as soon as we meet a half decent attack and we could be taken to the cleaners

    Not sure 4231 is bringing out the best from our players
    Why not try 352 or dippers flat 433? Really love the way they pressed the chavs and maintained their midfield shape
    We ain’t doing anything serious with this painful performance and calamitous defense,thats for sure

  11. Michael24

    Pierre

    When it was Nicklaus, Watson, Trevino etc versus GB, it never mattered, as they were head and shoulders better than us.

    Since our standards improved(Faldo, Woosnam etc) and the Europeans entered the fray, the Americans have, for the most part, been found out.

    Driven mindsets don’t work unless you’re prepared to adapt. They must be so envious of what the Europeans have.

    Nice to see Fowler being so gracious though.

  12. Michael24

    The second goal against Watford highlighted a major improvement.

    The desire that Welbeck showed to win the ball, get up and chase forward. The run and cross from Lacazette and the movement and finish by Ozil were exemplary.

    More significantly, the reaction shown by the players thereafter was brilliant to watch.

    Onwards and upwards!

  13. Victorious

    Top post,Pedro

    Literally agree with every bit, exactly as it should be said

    We’re scrapping past average sides not because of we’re good but because of a combination of luck and some bang average attack
    You get the feeling as soon as we meet any half decent attack and our asses we get embarrassingly handed to us on a plate, we’ll surely be taken to the cleaners with our lifeless performance

    Not sure 4231 is bring out the best from our players, why not try 352?or dippers flat 433? Really love how their attacking third pressed the chavs defense and also maintained their midfield shape
    We ain’t doing anything serious with this lethargic performance and calamitous defense, thats for sure.

  14. Champagne Charlie

    “Woods proved he is a total dick.“

    Huh? How..

    Re:Arsenal, I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say we’re getting lucky per se. We’re not pretty, or controlling games as I’d like to see, but our quality is still shining through as we persevere.

    Defence is garbage though, this is bubbling under with me because it was this aspect I felt a new manager would correct almost immediately. Not necessarily in terms of numbers conceded right away, but at least in shape, player attitudes etc. We look almost the same which is a concern.

  15. englandsbest

    Monday morning blues? Not for me. For me the sun is shining.

    I won’t pretend to understand exactly what Emery is doing. But I understand a whole lot better than I understood what Wenger was doing (or not doing) the past several seasons.

    To give one simple example, the defence. Getting a group of defenders to act as one (as GG did) takes time and hard work, It does not happen overnight, not if you have to pick up where Wenger left off.

    Defence was an area that Wenger preferred to ignore. Emery evidently takes it for what it truly is: the bedrock of a winning formation.

    Nor is winning when you play badly just a matter of luck. Qualities such as determination and commitment are equally important. And those perhaps are the main changes post-Wenger.

  16. Bob N16

    Like Pedro, am a little surprised that Emery hasn’t appeared to change our approach more. I suppose the man-management side of things, which as fans we only see on match days, affects his team selections in a way that we can only guess about. I’m sure he has been giving opportunities to certain players, to give them a chance to ‘change their ways’, before getting rid of those that don’t work.

    The plusses far outweigh the continuing negatives(goals conceded). For those who think that ‘we’re going to get found out’, need to ask themselves how long they are willing to give a new manager the chance to turn the club around. Are you giving him three months or three transfer windows?

    For those Bellerin haters, I think there has been real signs of improvement in the last couple of games and to those who think he still can’t cross, you need to take those blinkered glasses off as he’s put in loads of threatening crosses this season. He is also still suffering from a lack of support down the right, if he’s being encouraged to get forward then he needs to be properly covered. he clearly has lots of room for improvement. would benefit from a better CB next to him than Mustafi!

  17. Bob N16

    Ryder Cup was great but really not sure about the narrative that our side was better due to their greater ‘team bonding’ and having a whats app group. Surely the Europeans benefitted from the narrow fairways with tough rough and colder weather. Taking the US out of their comfort zone was the way to go.
    Always great to beat them wherever and however.

  18. Bamford10

    We aren’t playing all that well, but we’re not winning because we’re getting “lucky”. We’re winning because we’re better than the teams were playing against, because our players are playing with a bit of desire and because our fitness is showing itself in the final 20 minutes of the match.

    But it’s true that aside from getting the players to play with more desire, we aren’t seeing much improvement at the moment.

    First thing to do is to switch to a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2.

    Second thing to do is to get the selection right.

    Third thing to do is to use the January window well.

    Emery should be fine for the near term, but he may not be the magician we need long term.

  19. Ben D

    We’ve won 7 on the bounce, but this blog reads like we have lost 7 on the bounce. Yes, we are not playing as well as we hoped, but winning when not playing well has been highlighted as the mark of a team with ability to challenge for things on here previously when others did it and we didn’t.

    And all this talk about being found out when we play the big sides. Yes, we lost to both City and Chelsea, but I wouldn’t describe either as having our backsides handed to us. In fact, we played really well against Chelsea, who Liverpool have also been unable to beat. The doom and gloom is a bit too much. I’m taking it one game at a time, and so far so good.

  20. Bamford10

    Ben

    Agree that the doom and gloom is a bit much, but Chelsea are playing better now than when we played them.

  21. El Tel

    England’s best

    Nice comment.

    The Doomers on this site are never satisfied.

    We have played three of the top four sides already (Watford were fourth before we beat them) and suddenly we are still shit.

    We don’t create chances but average 2 goals per game.

    It gets better. The Scousers tore Chavski apart. Didn’t we score 2 there and should have had 6? Granted the Scousers got a draw but so would have we if they hadn’t been given a dodgy free kick.

    Sure the defence has conceded but it is getting better after the first couple of games with a couple of clean sheets thrown in too.

    I just don’t understand how this site are already dumping on Emery.

    The defence will improve when Bellend is dropped and Monreal is replaced. They are our weakest links. Mustafi is not good enough either but when both CBs are having to deal with constant crosses raining in then you have to feel some sympathy. I wonder how many crosses our FBs have snuffed out these past four seasons?

    I see improvement in this team and feel comparing them to Liverpool or Tottenham to be foolish. They have more settled Management and improved results yet still won nothing to date.

    Let’s give Dick (Emery) a chance at least this season.

  22. HighburyLegend

    ““Woods proved he is a total dick.“
    Huh? How.. ”

    @champagne : by his calamitous and selfish behavior all along this weekend, yes he was.

  23. Ben D

    @Bamford

    Agree that Chelsea are playing better now than earlier on. But you play teams when they are drawn against you. Never seen anyone analyse whether teams played better or worse when comparing our record against teams to others. 7 games in, we are level with a Spurs team that loads on here were praising to high heavens a few weeks ago, and ahead of United. And only a couple of points behind the two clear favorites for the title. All at the start of our rebuild.

    All I’m saying is, that’s pretty good!

  24. Victorious

    CC/Bam

    Are you saying we weren’t lucky against Watford?

    You might want to rewatch that match again to get a balance view

    First half was pretty much even with Cech being busier goalie

    Around 50minutes into 2nd half, Isaac success had a one on one vs Leno and narrowly missed(a more assured striker scores that and we’re 0-1 down)

    Totally against the run of play cartcart plods into his own net to hand us Victory,barely deseeved

    we weren’t the better team,we were lucky but did make our luck.but we might have dropped points and nobody would feel a sense of injustice.

  25. Emiratesstroller

    The story coming out today is that Ramsey wants to go to Liverpool presumably on a Bosman at end of season and not in January which will cost them a transfer fee.

    Frankly if that is the case there is absolutely nothing that Arsenal can do to
    prevent that happening and no doubt that is the explanation for the club withdrawing its offer. It is a “fait accompli”. Why sign a contract and pay the player
    more for the remainder of this season?

    Regarding the so-called analysis of Arsenal’s performance this season let’s be
    clear we are not expected to finish in top 4 with the current squad at our disposal.

    Indeed many including myself believed that we would be lucky to finish in top
    six.

    What is frankly more important than playing fluid football and scoring a bucket full of goals is the RESULT. At the moment Arsenal are scoring an average of two goals per game in EPL and that is adequate.

    Our defence remains a problem, but we should not forget that Koscielny may
    be fit in next four weeks. Whilst he is not a long term prospect he might prove
    a better combination with Sokratis than Mustafi for this season.

  26. Bamford10

    Victorious

    There’s a difference b/t being lucky here or there, in this or that moment, and being lucky to have won or winning because you were lucky.

    Sure, we might have been lucky in this or that moment. Go back to Everton; we were lucky they didn’t score one or two goals in the first half. But we didn’t win that match or Saturday’s match because we were lucky. We won because we were the better team. Which we should be, as we have a lot more talent than those teams.

  27. Bamford10

    Ben

    I agree that you can only play who is in front of you, and I agree that there isn’t all that much to complain about; my point was only that you can’t point at our Chelsea match (and compare it to how Liverpool have fared against them) to get a sense of where we are. They are much better now than when we played them.

    We have a lot of improving to do before we are at the level of a Liverpool or Chelsea much less a City.

    And unlike some here, I have never been all that impressed with Spurs. Nothing more than a solid team with a good finisher. Nothing special.

  28. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 10

    Teams always make their own luck.

    The fact is we beat both Everton and Watford 2-0 and in the latter game we should have been awarded a penalty.

    The club needs at the moment to play with’ substance rather than style’ to eradicate the deficiencies in our team in recent years.

  29. David Smith

    Thought Holding had a decent match, and deserves games. However, defending as a team remains poor.
    The good points, the team are now fitter, perhaps stronger, their heads do not drop as they did under wenger. And Emery is substituting players at stages in games wenger never would.
    Despite a few errors by Cech as he adapts, looks like our keepers are actually being coached, perhaps for the first time since Bob Wilson left, (a brief interlude when Jens was doing his badges aside- as wenger soon put a stop to that after our Polish keepers publicly praised the German and not goal keeping great, Gerry Peyton)
    Still a work in progress, much more work needed in transfer windows for Emery to build his own team, but the club are clearly a different animal these days.
    My only fear is what constraints Stan may, or may not enforce

  30. Bob N16

    Victorious, don’t think it was particularly lucky that we weren’t awarded a penalty in the 5th minute. You mention the 1 on 1 in the 50th minute, how about Lacazette’s 1 on 1 in the first half.

    Is it lucky that we have strikers who can take a higher proportion of half chances than teams we’ve recently beaten, or that we have substitutes who are good enough to come on and make a difference?

    How lucky is it that we have two good goalies who have made important saves?

    How lucky is it that we’ve got a new manager and new players to bed in?

    How lucky is it that the new manager has inherited players that don’t necessarily fit with his preferred style of play?

    etc etc

  31. Bamford10

    Victorious

    Well, one, football matches are 90 minutes, and sometimes the better team does not get the better of the other until the final ten minutes.

    But more to my point: remind me who Watford has in attack? Troy Deeney, I think? We have Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Henrikh Mkhitayan, etc.

    We’re a better team, with better players. We aren’t playing particularly great football at the moment, but we’re not winning because of luck.

  32. Jamie

    Poor Emery. Dealing with a squad for of dross, carving out wins, having his abilities questioned after 9 games. 9 games! 7 of them wins.

    Conversely, Arteta takes zero blame for losing his one (and only) game in charge with the best squad in the country. “That loss proves nothing.”

    Poch takes Spurs to a 5th place finish after a whole season in charge, hailed as top gaffer. Emery can’t speak English particularly well but tries, Poch speaks through an interpreter for his first year (or two) in England.

    I have no idea whether Emery will be a success, but he’s being harshly judged imo.

    I defy anyone to make Mustafi a better defender, or Xhaka a better midfielder, or Welbeck a better finisher, or Ramsey more positionally aware, or Elneny a more incisive passer, or Ozil more aggressive.

    It’s our average squad that’s the issue, not Emery. Wenger built the squad, the blame should fall on him until his squad has been completely dismantled.

    Our defense is shit because we have shit defenders. Kos, Mustafi, Bellerin, Holding, Mavrapanos all below the required standard to challenge for major silverware.

    I would’ve taken Arteta over Wenger. I would’ve taken Fat Sam over Wenger. Anyone but Wenger. Emery’s doing pretty well with the shit hand he’s been dealt. We have the 6th best squad in the league. If he finishes top 4 with these players, he’ll be a miracle-worker.

  33. Bamford10

    David Smith

    “My only fear is what constraints Stan may or may not enforce.”

    Stan Kroenke has never enforced any “constraints” on the club whatsoever. This is complete nonsense. He has never spent his own money, true, but he has always allowed the men who run the club to spend whatever money our operating revenues and self-sustaining model allowed.

    The claim above is nonsense.

  34. Alex Cutter

    “They must be so envious of what the Europeans have.”

    Yes. Perhaps they should all be put on suicide watch because of their shameful defeat. That was witnessed by the 17 Americans who know what the Ryder Cup is.

  35. Emiratesstroller

    Bob N16

    Teams make their own luck.

    For all the negativity we know that Arsenal have two prolific strikers on their
    books in Aubameyang and Lacazette. Sooner or later they will start scoring on
    a regular basis.

    Also I think that both Welbeck and Iwobi are starting to show some decent
    form coming off the bench.

    What Arsenal do need to find in the next two transfer windows is not only a
    replacement for Ramsey, but an UPGRADE i.e. someone with a football brain and better technical ability and who is less injury prone.

  36. Dissenter

    We beat a very good team on Saturday.
    A well managed team filled with some tested professionals.
    I would take Deeney, Doucoure , Pereyra and Kabasele in a heart beat.

  37. HighburyLegend

    “I defy anyone to make Mustafi a better defender, or Xhaka a better midfielder, or Welbeck a better finisher, or Ramsey more positionally aware, or Elneny a more incisive passer, or Ozil more aggressive. ”

    Spot on.

  38. Dissenter

    Bamford
    You cannot say with a 100% certainty that Stan never enforced spending constraints ….because you’re not in the know.
    It’s likely that he has to approve spending above a limit. That’s how most businesses operate. He has to give the go ahead sometimes.

  39. Dissenter

    Pedro
    Your grace notes stats contradict the point you’re trying to make about luck.
    We ought to be on more pints if everything went in for us.

  40. Bob N16

    Bamford,

    Why do you constantly defend Kroenke. Even if you feel that the self sustaining model is sacrosanct, which it’s not, surely you can see the potential value of giving a one-off £100m boost to our transfer budget to help tackle our obvious deficiencies?

    Or do you defend the multi billionaire, supposedly ambitious to do well, American owner whatever happens?

  41. Dissenter

    Our goal difference is not so good; obviously conceding too many and Auba/Laca keep missing sure bankers.
    We are still a work in progress at the moment. Auba isn’t looking as happy as he used to appear and you just wonder what is going on behind the scenes.

  42. VicVic

    It’s good to see Pedro seeing what I saw earlier, and was named an AKB for.
    It’s justice to call Pedro an AKB now isn’t it?

    If you look with your eyes and not with your heart, you will see there is no improvement at all.
    Apart from last season in away games, we used to beat these smaller teams with great ease. And now we barely do it with lots of sweat involved.

    National teams performing badly would hire a new coach and after a few periods of training together, they would begin to play good football.
    ARSENAL PLAYERS HAVE BEEN TRAINING EVERYDAY FOR HOW LONG?

    But you have to wait till end of season to see Emery achieve that, if you have bigger expectations, you are a big AKB!

  43. kc

    AKBs are desperate atm with Emery on a winning streak. Back to blaming the world’s problems on Kroenke again. An American ruining the club fits the xenophobic British narrative to a T.

  44. David Smith

    Bamford, we dont know exactly what Stan has put in place, past or present, except that it doesnt involve his own money,and I did say what Stan may – or may not put in place reflecting this, but looking at what others are doing, it is surely a concern?
    As for the self sufficiency model, however laudable and sensible that may be, it may be getting to the point where it will not be enough to compete over any length of time. Will Stan change things if we get to that point?

  45. cezan1afc

    @Pedro I think everyone needs to take the performances with a pinch if salt, its still early days but we as arsenal fans should all know about matches against top teams where we dominate and lose or create enough chances to win and get spanked, atletico at home last season ? Alot of pundits praised atletico. The best defences will always still concede chances against good opposition its why you have top keepers and defenders who might just be able to put you off. The 3 1 mauling at emirates by man utd springs to mind we had easily enough chances to beat them on that day. Give it time maybe he’ll fix the defence and we wont be as nervy as fans bht for now its a step in the right direction, as i’m sure big pedro said, Emery talked about winning more 3 2 or 5 4 than 1 nil because he knew he inherited shite for a defence.

  46. Dennis Bergkamp

    I’m a little confused here Pedro,
    Pretty sure that data is stating Arsenal are 5 points worse off than where they’d be if chances been converted.
    I.e. Arsenal have missed loads and opposition have taken most of their chances.
    The opposite conclusion.

  47. Emiratesstroller

    There is too much conjecture about wage constraints.

    The fact is that Arsenal made an offer to Ramsey which was presumably a substantial increase in wages.

    So I doubt that it would have been withdrawn on the basis we cannot afford it.

    My guess is that the club got wind that Ramsey wanted to leave and/or the
    agent was not conducting negotiations in good faith.

    The club has clearly decided to write off Ramsey and cut their losses. Let us
    hope that is the last time the club is forced to make such a decision.

  48. KAY Boss

    Good we’re winning but a lot of concerns are repeating itself from day one of this season.
    1. Ramsey isn’t a 10
    2. Auba is been wasted at the wing and we might not see the best of him this season if he keeps playing there.
    3. Our attack seem blunt and özil should be played in the 10.
    Some changes may also be needed and boy, Mustafi…….
    Emery mustn’t be stubborn it’s already seven weeks and the same problems are withnessed week in week out.

  49. Leedsgunner

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/henrikh-mkhitaryan-wont-travel-azerbaijan-13339713

    I think this is outrageous as I said a couple of days ago. Apparently Armenians are prevented from entering Azerbaijan due to political military tensions.

    Why is this Azerbaijani club allowed to discriminate against Mhkitaryian in this way? Surely, their eligibility to play in all FIFA interclub competitions should have been suspended.

    Especially when FIFA says repeatedly that they are apolitical organisation. Why are they allowing FK Qarabag get away with this?

  50. Michael24

    CC

    Maybe I should have put it slightly more diplomatically, or, should I say, simply.

    Woods displayed the sort of body language and persona that shows why he should never be placed in a team environment.

    There is no doubting he has been and, hopefully, still will be, a great golfer, BUT, when you ignore your role as a team leader and role model, you are 100% nullifying your team’s chances of winning.

    Maybe he was burnt out after his efforts of the previous week, maybe his body was aching a wee bit, nonetheless, at least have the decency and desire to show you care and want it!

    His record in this event speaks for itself, so based on this alone, Tiger Woods is, in my eyes, a “dick” when it comes to representing his country in the Ryder Cup.

    I don’t think it takes an Einstein to see this.

  51. Shad

    Hi grovers!

    Agreee with the common sentiment that we can’t really complain having won our last 7 games. The thing with this team is it will always create chances. We saw that against City and Chelsea. Could be down to fitness or simply individual brilliance.

    However my 2 biggest concerns are as Pedders would offer;

    1. Emery sticking to playing his favourites. It took him about 4 games to realize Torreira should be our main CDM. I hope he isn’t waiting for a catastrophic tanking to realize playing Ozil, Auba and Ramsey out of position has been silly and needless. The team drastically needs a change of formation to maximize the players assets, esp Auba.

    2. What exactly is our identity of play? We are too slow and calamitous to play out of the back, too narrow to really be set up as a counter-attacking outfit (see Sarri-ball) and Emery is truating square pegs in round holes to do the business, making our attacking combinations to be down to individual brilliance, luck and fitness, than purposeful, well orchestrated incisiveness.

    I fear Liverpool may bring us down to earth real proper but hey, let’s not shit the bed while it’s warm ay

  52. Champagne Charlie

    Vic
    I watched the game thanks mate, I simply don’t agree with your take about luck. By that same measurement we were unlucky not to get a pen, unlucky when Laca chipped wide.

    It was evenly matched first half and we upped it second half enough to win the game. Chalking it up to luck is a huge reach.

    Banford runs interference for Kroenke and Ramsey, that’s his thing. You’d think he were on the board with the level of certainty and absolutism he brings to the forum on certain topics.

    He ‘knows’ Stan limits nothing, and ‘knows’ Rambo is central to Emery’s plans. Two things only know at board level, and possibly within the circle of the playing staff.

  53. Eduardo

    This is bizarre. The point of your article is totally at odds with the tweet you link to which suggests Arsenal are playing BETTER than their points tally suggests.

    At any rate, anyone bitching and moaning after winning 7 games on the bounce needs to pipe down. Emery is working miracles with the shower of sh*t Wenger left behind, with an incoherent group of players with no work ethic, and no defensive or positional discipline. He’s teaching them how to play football again and SOMEHOW we are winning while doing so. It’s totally underappreciated and everyone complaining about it comes across as an entitled c*nt, frankly.

  54. Leedsgunner

    If FK Qarabag was unwilling to implore their government to lift the ban against Mkhitaryian this club should have been forced to forfeit this game to the Arsenal at least.

    What if Azerbaijan had difficult relations with Israel and they banned all Israeli players… wouldn’t they be (rightfully) denounced? Why is one of our players being allowed to be treated as a persona non grata based on what it says on his passport rather than based on any foul actions on his part?

    This is blatant racism… and FIFA are turning a blind eye to it. What if Azerbaijan decided tomorrow to ban all Brazilian players, or German players… I bet they wouldn’t sit still then! If it wrong then, why isn’t this wrong?

    Racism is racism, it is wrong.

    FK Qarabag should have been forced to foreit all three points to Arsenal for this match.

  55. Zfree

    Le Grove loves to talk about the Liverpool game in November. It’s been weeks of regurgitated this same thought, in articles, podcasts, comments. “We’ll he found out if it keeps up this way!” Or “Liverpool will smash us, maybe double figures!”

    Just shut up and take it game by game. We aren’t competing for the league this year, that’s left to city and Liverpool. Can we finish top 4 if Liverpool beat us? Yes. Can we win the Europa League if Liverpool beat us? Yes.

    Liverpool beating us by 3 or more goals will hurt the pride but not have all that large of an impact on our season. I know everyone is trying to use that game as a barometer for where we are under Emery but how about use 7 wins on the trot all while having a shit Xhaka & Ramsey in the side.

  56. Michael24

    VicVic

    Sorry, but got to have a good old laugh.

    Based on your 11:45 post alone, you have made it perfectly clear to one and all, that you have absolutely no concept of what is going on at the club and also, more significantly, what went on for many years prior to Emery’s arrival.

    Unfudgingbelievable!

  57. Bamford10

    Dissenter

    No, actually, we do know; not one single person at the club has ever said a word about Kroenke restricting what we could spend (beyond the limits imposed by our operating revenues and the s-s model).

    Contrast this to what was said about Wenger and his attitude towards spending.

    As for spending questions on the margins — say, whether we can leave as little as 50m in cash reserves or whether we prefer to keep to 60m — these decisions are just that, on the margins. They are not decisions that determine the difference b/t us and City this year or next. Kroenke might be asked to make decisions that determine whether we can spend 75m or 65m, but it isn’t the difference b/t 75m and 65m that is deciding where we are.

    If you think it’s all about spending, then it’s the difference b/t 65m and 165m that’s making the difference.

  58. Pierre

    Michael
    It could have been a case of tiger woods running out of gas due to his recent work load.

    It’s not surprising that Molinari was our best player and mickleson was the usa’s worst.

    The course rewards straight driving and punishes erratic shots and there is no one straighter or erratic than those 2.

  59. Victorious

    Have to wonder the fvck Emery was on about when he came out with his preference to win 5-4 as against 1-0

    Shows he doesn’t see the defensive set-up of a team as priority
    Not as if we’re even treated to a remotely decent football either,

    No identity

    No discernible pattern of play

    The transition of the ball from defense to attack is like watching paint dry.. take ages and when the attacking third finally has it they often look clueless and shit their pants

    How many of you can boldly say you’ve enjoyed even a single match by the team so far?

    That says it all really.

  60. Bamford10

    Bob

    The only thing that is “sacrosanct” to me, mate, is the truth. I couldn’t give a fuck less about the s-s model or about Stan Kroenke.

    What I can’t stand, though, is when people misrepresent the situation at Arsenal Football Club. This helps no one.

  61. Leedsgunner

    My Europa side

    Martinez

    Lichtensteiner — Holding — Mustafi — Kolasinac

    Elneny – Guendouzi

    Welbeck – Emile Smith Rowe — Ramsey

    Nketiah

    Subs

    W.illock
    Leno
    Pleguezuelo
    Lacazette
    Ramsey
    Monreal
    Saka

  62. Victorious

    Zfree
    Even if it’s still a few weeks away

    I’m willing to wager we get soundly beaten by dippers

    How bout you put your money were your mouth is otherwise shut up and consume the shit-show being served

  63. HighburyLegend

    @Vicuntious : for sure, we were enjoying so much more the last games under wenger.
    (lolZ)

    “No identity
    No discernible pattern of play”
    For sure, Emery for his first season at the club, and with a squad full of wengerized players, should have already fixed everything…
    (lolZ bis)

  64. Michael24

    victorious

    Better he came out with this statement, rather than highlighting the positives of an 8-2 loss!

    Would he get away with it then?

    Answers on a postcard please.

  65. Bamford10

    Dissenter

    Also, the only argument that camp ever had was that hoarding cash somehow helped Kroenke in this or that aspect of one of his other enterprises; this argument was thoroughly dismantled a long time ago by several different writers.

  66. Leftsidesanch

    How bout you put your money were your mouth is otherwise shut up and consume the shit-show being served

    What kind of comment is this?

  67. ddkingz

    WTF..
    the most arrogant, and foolish people here are the regulars…

    So negative, I wonder how you manage to operate your home…

    foolish…

    someone talking about the chances we conceded, what about the sitters and clear cut chances we miss every week….
    Chelsea won at anfield nobody is crying…but if it was arsenal the AKB’S would have turned on Emery….

    some of you here (you know yourselves) are pathetic and a disgrace to this club, to yourselves, and humanity in general.

  68. jasongms

    Best Post in a long while – Bravo!

    “Poor Emery. Dealing with a squad for of dross, carving out wins, having his abilities questioned after 9 games. 9 games! 7 of them wins.

    Conversely, Arteta takes zero blame for losing his one (and only) game in charge with the best squad in the country. “That loss proves nothing.

    ”Poch takes Spurs to a 5th place finish after a whole season in charge, hailed as top gaffer. Emery can’t speak English particularly well but tries, Poch speaks through an interpreter for his first year (or two) in England.

    I have no idea whether Emery will be a success, but he’s being harshly judged imo.
    I defy anyone to make Mustafi a better defender, or Xhaka a better midfielder, or Welbeck a better finisher, or Ramsey more positionally aware, or Elneny a more incisive passer, or Ozil more aggressive. It’s our average squad that’s the issue, not Emery.
    Wenger built the squad, the blame should fall on him until his squad has been completely dismantled.
    Our defense is shit because we have shit defenders. Kos, Mustafi, Bellerin, Holding, Mavrapanos all below the required standard to challenge for major silverware.
    I would’ve taken Arteta over Wenger. I would’ve taken Fat Sam over Wenger. Anyone but Wenger. Emery’s doing pretty well with the shit hand he’s been dealt. We have the 6th best squad in the league. If he finishes top 4 with these players, he’ll be a miracle-worker.”

  69. China

    For those talking like there are no positive except results, that’s more than a little harsh

    Cech has been a shite shot stopper for years now but has started making good saves on a weekly basis now

    Bellerin has actually been ok for the last two games despite being hopeless for 18 months prior

    Xhaka isn’t a world eater but hasn’t been bad when alongside torreira

    Torreira looks like the best cm we’ve had since pre injury catastrophe cazorla

    Iwobi has started the season better and hungrier than he’s looked for 2 years

    There are loads of areas that we need to improve at but I think people need to get a bit of perspective. There are several progress areas since last season *and* we’re beating all the weaker teams

    More importantly than any of those points, we are making adjustments from one game to the next

    People who think he should make drastic changes (myself included sometimes) are going to be disappointed. For whatever reasons he is making small adjustments weekly. Whether that’s to try and win the trust of the bigger personalities in the team or whatever we don’t really know.

    Long story short. We have a really long way to go to be a serious competitor, but we have made some progress and we’re tweaking every week. I for one am extremely happy with that

  70. Zfree

    Victorious

    You ignorant cunt. If you read my post I am also saying we will likely get beat soundly at Anfield. I just don’t care all that much

  71. Emiratesstroller

    For all the comments made about Arsenal ‘struggling’ to play well and score goals the fact is that Liverpool and Chelsea have scored one more than us in EPL and Spurs the same number.

    As I wrote earlier scoring an average of two goals per match is a respectable number and in contrast to other teams like Liverpool and Spurs we are far less
    dependent on one striker to perform.

    Arsenal need to sort out their defence and if that problem is resolved I am confident that Arsenal’s attacking performance will dramatically improve as
    well.

  72. VicVic

    Michael24,

    ‘Based on your 11:45 post alone, you have made it perfectly
    clear to one and all, that you have absolutely no concept of
    what is going on at the club and also, more significantly, what
    went on for many years prior to Emery’s arrival.’

    Of course I don’t have any idea because I don’t work inside the club, but you, on the other hand, have the whole picture clearly laid on your table because you not only work there but they carry you along and report to you on every decision taken and about to be taken?
    In fact, you have been briefed on why the team is playing without flow?
    So go on and educate me you punk.

    I have been supporting this club for about 12 adult years and I think I trust my concept about Arsenal much better than your emotion, which is what you obviously call a concept.

    Fucking asshole talking bullshit to sidestep an obvious situation.

  73. EdTheRed

    Pedro posting alternative tables….just like Wenger used to.

    People need to stop expecting us to look like Arsene 2.0 version – IT WILL NOT happen. What we are getting is Graham 2.0 and I’m loving it.

  74. Micheal

    Azerbaijan:

    This season’s final of the Europa Cup is being played in Azerbaijan. I am not putting the cart before the horse, but theoritically what happens if we managed to reach the final ?

  75. Leedsgunner

    Why is winning with clean sheets important? Have a glance at the table….

    We are behind Tottenham on the basis of goal difference alone.

    The Telegraph article I posted above said the following, which definitely rings true.

    “As Arseblog’s Tim Stillman pointed out, Arsenal’s next three league opponents have proven finishers in Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jamie Vardy and Wilfried Zaha who will surely not be as wasteful as Watford and Everton’s strikers. ”

    I personally would shift out Mustafi and bring in Sokratis as soon as he’s fit and partner him with Holding.

    Forget where Fulham, Crystal Palace Leicester are in the table. If given the chance they will punish us.

    Kos, for all his experience, will not be able to start right away in the EPL. Let him gain fitness in the cup games/Europa games before throwing him in to the EPL.

    Next summer we need to buy another attacking winger and a commanding CB to replace Koscelsney.

  76. Leedsgunner

    Looks like Chambers, (whom I’ve had lots of hope for) has truly fallen down the pecking order at Fulham. Is he injured? Anyone know? If his form doesn’t pick up dramatically he’s another we should sell in the summer when he comes back from the loan.

  77. China

    Those 3 are not really any better than Everton or Watford so even if they take their chances, we should still have enough to beat them all

    We need to play well though. Make no mistake about that. For now let’s just worry about the next game tho

  78. VicVic

    Is the team attacking with more flow than before?
    Is the team defending better than before?
    Is the team playing better in the middle than before?

    You would have to say no to all these or you would be a liar!

    The emotions of some guys here are easy to explain.

    We were all warned that it might not get better post Wenger, and these funny guys would deny that a woman is female just to prove that things are more beautiful after Wenger’s exit.

    For the record, I WANTED WENGER GONE TOO, but I’m not too corward to face the fact now.

    Things will improve, I believe. But now, after months of Emery in charge, it has not.
    Simple truth.

    A coach is expected to come in and improve not only the team as a whole, but the players individually, as that will at once reflect in the team. It makes me wanna puke to hear people saying Emery can’t do anything to make any instant improvement, no matter how little, just because Wenger signed some shit players

    When Xhaka plays bad, it’s on Wenger’s head.
    When Laca plays good, credit to Emery.

    Do you have a better view on double standard?

  79. China

    Vic

    Cech has been a better shot stopper recently, yes or no?

    Bellerin has started to look a little more solid recently? Yes or no?

    Xhaka has actually be alright recently when partnered with torreira- yes or no?

    Torreira is an obvious upgrade on our DM setup than we’ve had for years – yes or no?

    Pappa looks like an upgrade on Mustafi – yes or no?

    Iwobi looks a bit stronger and better this season – yes or no?

  80. Alex Cutter

    “I’m willing to wager we get soundly beaten by dippers”

    Keep in mind that any wagering with a Nigerian like Vicki would most likely involve a goat and one or more chickens.

  81. Emiratesstroller

    Leedsgunner

    Clean sheets is not of itself an imperative, but conceding 50+ goals as we did
    last season and 9 goals in first four games this season is a problem particularly
    if they cost us wins and points.

    Arsenal’s defence needs to improve. I don’t think that there is anyone involved in football whether a spectator, poster on Le Grove, media pundit or journalist
    who does not recognise the problem.

    It is not just about the calibre of players, but there is a lack of discipline, concentration and communication, which is part of the problem. That needs to be resolved.

    If you are solid at the back I am 100% certain that Arsenal’s offensive performance will also improve as well.

  82. China

    Also is kinda funny that people here would have you believe that good defensive teams give the opposition zero opportunities per game

    How many teams, even those with an excellent defense, restrict the opposition to zero good chances per game?

    Mourinho gets credit for his defensive solidity with utd a year or two ago. Absolute nonsense lol. They depended on De Gea like it was nobodies business. De Gea single handedly stoke them how many clean sheets and points? LOADS

    The last team that you couldn’t create scoring chances against in England was Chelsea in mourinho’s first stint.

  83. Negation

    Pedro, I know you own this blog, but wow, you complain too much. Are you trying to appease Wenger’s slaves (who spend their evenings stabbing their Emery voodoo dolls)? I read a comment above about how Emery hasn’t improved Arsenal. After TWO months. Is this what passes for analysis these days?

    That’s it – Arsenal aren’t playing better than they were last season, therefore…..
    Zzzzzzzzzz

    Anyway, I’m going to ignore the moaners and the people who have been dying to post their “Wenger is somewhere laughing…” comments. I have no idea where Arsenal are going right now, but I’m sure as hell enjoying backing the team. Emery is making the most of the talent at his disposal, hauling people off when they are poor , and I see a team, not a bunch of robots with weird instructions.

  84. China

    Peter I’m not really bothered if emery is bland or not

    We’ve suffered through an entire decade with an ‘interesting’ loser and it stopped being fun or interesting a very long time ago

    We need some results. We’re a football club not a fashion show!

  85. Leedsgunner

    When is Mavropanos due back into full training?… shame that he has been injured during this spell because we could have done with him especially for the Europa League.

  86. China

    The thing that annoys me is how the goal posts have suddenly been moved

    A year ago if you offered these guys wenger and Gazidis out. Emery with 7 wins on the bounce. Ramsey on the way out and aspects of progress for several players whilst the rest remain a work in progress, most or all of these guys would’ve bitten your hand off

    Now it’s here and they’re moaning like a spoilt kid whose dad traded in their 94 ford escort for a 2018 Audi A4 and they’re upset that it’s not a Porsche.

  87. Pedro

    China, you’ll soon change your mind on that. This is football. There is no point in bland football. It’s about entertainment. Shoot for the stars.

  88. Pierre

    Emery has done well to put this winning run together considering

    Aubamayang is not quite so good as last season.
    Ozil is not quite so good as last season
    Mhkitaryan is not quite so good as last season
    and Ramsey is more shit than ever.

    So well done to Emery for reducing the quality of our play but keeping Arsenal at the same level as the previou s manager..

    But wait ,there are apparently 2 offensive players who have improved under the new manager….welbeck and iwobi..

    Problem is,I doubt if they have played more than 2×90 .minutes in the league between them……..

    Let’s give credit to Emery when it’s due because we need to hold fire on bestowing him with praise when as yet he hasn’t earned it.

  89. China

    Pedro I am not finding our matches bland.

    They’re not swashbuckling attacking, dominant and certainly don’t have me purring, but the matches have mostly been pretty interesting and we’re winning.

    What on earth makes you certain that arteta would bring us better football after 9 games with this squad?

  90. China

    Arteta must be a bloody hypnotist considering he’s managed to absolutely convince quite a lot of people that he’s quality without ever actually doing anything to prove it

  91. Sanmi

    Legrove just has to find a negative.. lol
    Emery is not a defensive coach, he said so himself, expecting the defense to be better is a wishful thinking.
    I don’t buy the notion we are a shambles. We played and beat westham (they drew Chelsea and battered man utd), Everton, watford (beat spurs) etc. In all those matches bar man city and chelsea we were by no means the worse team, we were better than the opponent.
    This wrong notion stems from your expectation of the opponent not creating any chance, that Era is long gone. Every team can give you a real go right now

  92. Sanmi

    How could a team have scored atleast 2 goals every match aside the opening season match and you claim they don’t have a good enough attack?

  93. Bob N16

    People love to moan, that can be the only conclusion about some posters.
    7 PL matches and people are moaning that they haven’t seen enough signs of improvement. Is this a legrover condition?

    Bamford 13.02….you say you’re worried about Kroenke/AFC being misrepresented.

    You cannot deny that Kroenke has complete control over Arsenal, you can’t deny that AFC would benefit from two windows of enhanced spending to more easily compete (say + £100m above self-sustaining budget) and you can’t deny that Kroenke can afford to give his club a boost. This would also have the likely (not guaranteed) outcome of CL football, better commercial deals and an increase in the book value of his investment.

    Where is the mis representation in this post?

  94. China

    The only way emery can please these guys is by giving the opposition no chances whilst pummeling them at the other end, pretty triangles through the midfield and more than 15 points at this stage

    Anything less is just bland lol

  95. Bob N16

    Pedro,

    ‘HL, he’d be offering up better football than Emery, that’s for sure’.

    A coach who’s never managed a football team and you’re sure…..okay if you say so.

  96. Jamie

    Lampard > Arteta. No question, and by every playing and managerial metric ever recorded.

    If his first job is a big one, he’ll be found out quicker than G.Nev.

  97. Joe

    Bam

    Chelsea Is playing better yet we are only 2 points back and they’ve dropped points the last 2 matches

    Pierre

    The difference is we knew with wenger that we would be double digits points back of league leaders by Xmas because he was a loser

    With Emery there is hope and excitement

    I’d say Watford were lucky that laca didn’t score that early break away as that would have opened the game right up for us.

    Sorry you don’t win 7 in a row being lucky. Maybe if it’s the end of the season. And all teams have taken to holiday mode already

    7 in a row is more than luck. That’s the quality of prep and quality coming through.

  98. azed

    I thought the defence did pretty well against Watford. We defended the theirs crosses very well and not a single one caught the defence off guard.

    Did we gift them chances? Yes but expect you are ultra defensive these days, you will give up chances.

  99. Sanmi

    The only reason I can give for this article is, Pedro has discovered only negativity sells.
    He’s trying to find another sustainable negativity

  100. China

    Azed, holding sniffed out a lot and was calm on the ball

    Monreal was Standard monreal

    Bellerin wasn’t bad (progress)

    Mustafi was a mixed bag but was clearly the weak link

    I fucking hope when all the defense are fit we have Kos + pappa and holding as 3rd choice

    Mustafi doesn’t look like he’s going to make the required steps with emery.

  101. Joe

    ‘HL, he’d be offering up better football than Emery, that’s for sure’.

    Like he served up V Lyon? With a crazy amount of more talent than we have.

    Keep digging Pedro. This is up there with your Gazidis love in. We all know how that ended up. Quit while you are somewhat ahead.

  102. China

    Also lest we forget we beat the high flying Watford team with both of our best CBs out injured

    Take the two best CBs out of any top 6 PL side and see if they keep a clean sheet without giving away any opportunities at all to Watford. Far easier said than done

  103. Pierre

    Joe
    In your Comment directed at me you mentioned “luck” 3 times to prove a point whereas in my earlier post “luck” was not mentioned.

    Maybe you believe that luck is part of the reason for our successful run of wins.

  104. Joe

    What game(or games) have you enjoyed this season?

    Enjoyed them all. It’s exciting to be an arsenal fan again. We’ve won 7 in a row. Should have beaten or at min drawn with Chelsea.

    4 points off the top of table

    You not enjoying that victorious??? I know you miss wenger Vicky boy. But let it go.

  105. azed

    “HL, he’d be offering up better football than Emery, that’s for sure.”

    Arteta is so good no one in Europe wants him yet. Must be because of his amazing football no one can understand.

  106. China

    When ozil, a player who I really dislike btw, scored the killer blow the other day it was probably the most satisfying and animated moment for me as an arsenal fan in as long as I can remember. I’m not bored in the slightest

  107. Negation

    “When Xhaka plays bad, it’s on Wenger’s head.
    When Laca plays good, credit to Emery.”

    This type of logic really belongs on twitter.

    Let me help you correct it:

    “When Xhaka plays bad, it’s ‘f**k Xhaka! Drop him!’ Then yes, some might mention the fact Wenger bought the player.
    When Laca plays good, ‘Ya gunners Ya!/ ‘I’m so happy Emery’s here’/’How could Emery have dropped him at the start of the season??'”

    If you are not happy that Wenger isn’t at Arsenal, or if you want to make a point of letting people know that things aren’t better yet, or even that Arsenal are bland, good for you. It’s your prerogative – I’m sure you pay to watch Arsenal play, or at the very least you watch games online.

    But the other stuff you are spewing? Now you are just being STUPID. You are not a coach, so before you completely dehydrate yourself by puking every time you hear instant improvement isn’t always possible, why don’t you show us proof that it ALWAYS is, regardless of the team or players. And if you are going to do something wanky like pointing to Leeds or Uzbekistan FC, don’t waste your time.

  108. Joe

    Arteta played for Barca, psg, rangers and Everton.

    All were looking for new managers.

    Not one of them even interviewed arteta.

    But he’s the next big thing. Since pep. Haha

    Right.

  109. Micheal

    “By the way, is Azerbaijan really in Europe?”

    Azerbaijan is at the cross-roads of Europe and Asia and I believe it is a member of the Council of Europe but equally was a member of the USSR until break-up. But boundaries count for nothing with the football authorities. For example, Israel is not in Europe and Australia is not in Asia – but both compete in competitions outside their natural continents.