Porous Arsenal ride the luck train again

by & filed under News Review.

What a rollercoaster of a season we’re having. One minute we’re celebrating the rebirth of The Arsenal, the next we’re slapped back to reality with a latter years Wenger-esque performance at home to a newly promoted team.

Thanks to some second-half substitution wizardry, Arsenal pulled an equaliser out the bag late on. Mikhi fizzed a dangerous cross across the box, it ghosted about ten players and slipped fortuitously in at the back post unchallenged. It was a dirty goal, but hey, I’ll continue to pay my respects to the very fine Lady Luck who continues to shine brightly over the Emery tenure.

The frustration of the afternoon is that you can fully accept that we’re going to have tough games, we’re not always going to be at the races, but ideally, we should be winning that 1-0. Not drawing because of another sloppy unforced error. I wasn’t overly surprised that the error came from Xhaka. Just last week, the footballing sages of the internet were crowing over his newly anointed mainstream acceptance, that after a solid 90 minutes, he was here. The player who, according to some, had always been here, you were just too fucking stupid to see it. Well, it didn’t take long for the high to get mowed down by the buzz kill police, the Swiss allowed a pass to run past him, Wolves capitalised ruthlessly and put themselves a goal up early on 13 minutes. That’s the 4th Premier League game in a row we’ve conceded first in.

It was hard to say they weren’t worthy of the win. Wolves were lively to our press and exploiting us with quick counters all game. They were first to every ball, they looked hungry and they weren’t intimidated. You can’t blame the Thursday game, because only 3 players were involved. We just didn’t have a good attitude. The players had no urgency about their play, and we looked very disjointed.

We’ve been riding our luck all season, and it’s going to be really difficult to escape the fact that there’s still a lot of work to do with that squad. Mustafi is ridden with errors, I’m surprised that a coach who has high standards for accountability persists with him. Xhaka is simply not good enough, it doesn’t matter how hard usual suspects push his elevated xWhatever stats, he’s too slow and he’s still making regular rookie mistakes. Being good at one thing will never counter for being a total donut twice a game. He is the new Wenger and it’s not surprising it’s the same fanboys who love him. I was very hopeful with the Mikhi signing, but even with the goal, he’s simply not offering us £170k worth of value at the moment.

I actually had to come back to the post because Ozil was so annonymous, I forgot he even played. I think it’s becoming more and more apparent that having two deeplying midfielders is never going to make up for having a uninterested number 10 in front of you. We need to find someone who can defend and give up the dream of being the only club in the world rocking a #10 from 10 years ago.

Iwobi is very up and down. It was quite the rebuke to be yanked off at halftime and get replaced by Guendouzi. We desperately lack real width. Auba isn’t a left winger, Iwobi isn’t good for us on the right, when those two play poorly, they stink out the house. I’d love Reiss Nelson to play out the season with Hoffenheim, but the form he’s in, and the lack of real width we have, shouldn’t he be here starting every week in January? Maybe that’s knee-jerk, but it’s not often a talent blows up like that, and we really are desperate. The fans will give him time as well. Perfect solution.

On the positive side of things, Bernd Leno had an exceptional game. He was off his line nice and quick, his distribution is smart and his shot stopping really is a level up from anything we’ve seen at Arsenal for many years. Still needs to work on his command of his box from crosses, but hopefully that’ll come with experience.

Also, we can’t be too harsh. We took something from our worst performance under Emery. My concern, as it has been all season, the luck will run out. The corrections will arrive. It might not be very pretty.

The club don’t want to splash in January, so one would assume this is it for the rest of the season. Top four is still our stretch target, and it appears that is going to be incredibly important because we need some major surgery on the squad, and we’re not going to be able to do that unless we have the stream of money the biggest prize in football gives you.

Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.

205 Responses to “Porous Arsenal ride the luck train again”

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  1. Marko

    Ramsey is easily a better player than Tolisso, were it not for the contract rebel situation he would be a starter.

    Nah. He’s been here 10 years and he’s still being bounced from position to position.

  2. Pierre

    For what it’s worth ,here is my 2 bobs regarding Emery’s substitutions …it is widely recognised that they worked very well for him in the early days , he was regarded as genius by many for having the capacity to notice when tactically it wasn’t working and changing it for the better.

    Recently his substitutions have not been working quite so well ..why is that.
    In the early days he often had torriera and aubamayang and sometimes lacazette as his subs so the effect was immediate …torriera brought stability and quality to the midfield and one or the other of the strikers would be brought on to give potency in attack and it worked .

    The 2 recent games v palace away and wolves at home, our game deteriorated after the substitutions I think it’s fair to say .
    Instead of getting stronger towards the end of the games we have become vulnerable .
    Against wolves in the last 20 minutes although we scored the fortunate equaliser , all we did was cross the ball from wide areas and created very little .
    The problem with continually crossing the ball is , you are allowing for luck in trying to keep possession of the football.
    The ball is cleared by the keeper or defender and then you are in the lap of the gods and could easily get caught on the counter attack which is what happened often v wolves ….we crossed more balls last night than any other game this season and mostly from xhaka late in the game ..

    I am hoping thatEmery doesn’t go down the hit and hope road as we don’t have the players who can compete physically with some of the 6ft +defenders …
    To beat a packed defence it is vital to maintain your patience in the build up play ..it may sometimes look slow and predictable at times but it is important for the team to maintain their shape or there will be many matches similar to the wolves game where we concede chance after chance.

  3. Emiratesstroller

    Gambon

    As I posted earlier I have not seen a great deal of Nelson’s play. However the England U21 game which I did watch showed me a player who can score goals and provide assists.

    We have been complaining this season about the lack of wingers at the club and that being the case coupled with Welbeck’s longterm injury I would be
    inclined to bring Nelson back and see what he can do rather than go out in January and spend a lot of money on an unwanted forward in a market where
    prices are likely to be grossly inflated for mediocre players.

    On a second issue I was advised by an experienced sports journalist who monitors Arsenal including youth teams on a regular basis that the best talent in
    our youth squad was actually Smith-Rowe.

    Having watched him in Sporting Lisbon game where he played out of position
    I did not think that he was ready to join first team squad, although he may well
    be the logical successor for Aaron Ramsey in perhaps another one or two seasons.

  4. alex cutter

    “Lol Bamford, that’s even worse than your hot take on capitalism being the reason the planet is being destroyed by humans.”

    Said the guy who’s using his expensive, daddy-paid-for education to be a corporate shill, peddling crap to the masses.

    Didn’t they teach you at Ad School that capitalism/consumerism is ultimately unsustainable? That it depends on the continuously increasing use of resources? And that resources eventually run out? And that people will fight for whatever’s left?

    Stick to hosting a semi-functioning blog for jerk-offs from around the globe who have nothing better to do than argue about a no longer relevant sports franchise…

  5. Up 4 grabs now

    Guns,

    Line up would be
    Leno
    Then mustafi, holding and Nick the Greek.
    Guendouzi and torriera with ozil in front.
    Bellerin and Monreal as wing backs.
    Auba and laca up top.

    It’s the best team with what we have for now.
    Koz if he comes back strong would replace mustafi.

    But the squad is so poor that’s probably the best side at the moment.

  6. Guns of SF

    Up 4 grab
    That would work for what we have at our disposal currently. I like Guen over XHaka- better movement- Defense and good passing

    Until we get a real winger this would work I suppose
    Bellerin looked so stifled at times- he does need to use that left foot when he cuts in to shoot. He has skied a few shots that were open, to the left and over the bar already

    Same for Monreal- this guy cannot use his right foot whatsoever. Watch him- he is very uncomfortable with his right foot. I suppose as long as his crosses are accurate it doesnt matter too much.

    We need a LEGIT left winger to add a new attacking threat.

  7. Graham62

    Why is it that foreign fans show so much more passion and intensity than our timid lot?( Not just Arsenal supporters).

    Look at all those Sporting fans last week at the Emirates. Of course Lacazette is right. We have supporters but we don’t have the atmospheric benefits.

    We Brits are a reserved lot, probably too reserved, hence getting up to promote and display our true emotions, will always be difficult.

    Would standing areas help? Maybe. However, when a large percentage of supporters have been brought up being told “keep a stiff upper lip” and to hold back on their true love and passion(emotions) for their team, things will never change.

    It always makes me chuckle when, on European away days, Sky/BT show a small group of Arsenal supporters huddled away in the corner displaying their predictably reserved approach.

    Imo, it wouldn’t hurt to get the stadium announcers upgraded to create a more emotive experience on match days.

  8. Up 4 grabs now

    Guns, I just don’t think we have the right players to play anything else.
    442 no wingers.

    433 no width and the fullbacks push on so huge gaps on the break.and the two centre backs aren’t strong enough.

    451 one of the strikers gets dropped or shunted onto the wing and again no wingers. At least the full backs wouldn’t have to push on. But without a striker good in the air the lone striker gets isolated.

    For me 352 with the players we have is the only workable system for now. Not perfect but should eliminate a lot of the problems.

    Buy better players and wingers and you can change it.

  9. Radio Raheem

    Rebic as a replacement for Welbeck, January or in the summer. I’m surprised he’s still at Frankfurt, had a good WC.

  10. Marko

    Stick to hosting a semi-functioning blog for jerk-offs from around the globe who have nothing better to do than argue about a no longer relevant sports franchise…

    That told me

  11. Carts

    Didn’t watch the game yesterday but I’ll take your word for it based on the performance

    From what I have seen it’s still very much a case of square pegs round, round holes and inconsistent performances

    At this rate, we need to add some high quality signings to the squad and do away with some players that’ll raise us much needed fund a la Ramsey

    I’d be looking to bring in Thorgen Hazard (Gladbach) and Jemeson (Monaco) in January

    Followed by a couple more additions next summer in Rabiot and left back

  12. Redtruth

    Pierre
    “The 2 recent games v palace away and wolves at home, our game deteriorated after the substitutions I think it’s fair to say “.
    That’s what you call a weak bench…you silly lemon

  13. Pierre

    Graham
    “Imo, it wouldn’t hurt to get the stadium announcers upgraded to create a more emotive experience on match days.”

    I say bring back the metropolitan police band from the 60’s/70’s for match days, that’ll do it.

    Seeing the copper throw the baton into the air hoping that it would come down on his head as the band was walking round the pitch always got the crowd going …I only ever see him cock it up once …..

  14. gambon

    Emiratestroller

    The guy who told me Reiss Nelson was the one to watch works at Colney as part of the training staff.

    He used to work with the academy until Emery came in and promoted him, so he knows his stuff.

    He also said there wasn’t any real gems outside of Nelson.

    I asked him about Zelalem, Willock etc and he said Nelson was the only one that would make it to the very top.

  15. Graham62

    Pierre

    “The baton in the air” brigade.

    Those were the days.

    “Would the owner of the orange Morris Marina JYD 807N, please meet police officers at turnstile Q. Thank you” always brought a smile to the face.

  16. Pierre

    The last time Arsenal had a lead at half time in a premier league fixture was 6 months ago on May 13th 2018 v Huddersfield ………..aah ,the good old days eh.

  17. Marc

    Pierre just can’t wait to put the boot into Emery and give it the “Wenger would’ve done better” line.

    Pierre the more you try to build up this line the more you look like a moron who only belongs on Untold. Your arguments are so bad that you’ve got Red the most negative poster going owning you and making positive comparisons to the recent Wenger seasons.

  18. Pierre

    Nice one josip
    The greatest week I ever had as an Arsenal supporter…beating spurs at the lane on the Monday evening to win the league followed by Charlie George hitting the winner in the cup final …great days..and my hair was a fraction longer than Charlie’s back then.

  19. Pierre

    Marc
    Obviously I don’t think that wenger would be doing better ….Ramsey would have a new contract by now and still be playing centre mid alongside Xhaka….

    Emery is doing a perfectly acceptable job so far .

  20. Pedro

    Alex Cutter, I got into advertising at 27 because I built Le Grove in my spare time while I worked in a cardboard box factory. Save me the privilege bullshit, I never went to ad school.

    Also, learn your human history. We’ve been destroying the planet for thousands of years, well before the notion of capitalism/communism were a thing. It’s absolute ignorance to suggest otherwise.

  21. London gunner

    Pedro

    “Alex Cutter, I got into advertising at 27 because I built Le Grove in my spare time while I worked in a cardboard box factory. Save me the privilege bullshit, I never went to ad school.”

    Big respect for that Pedro! I’m 28 and if all things go well by the end of the year will be making quite a massive career change. Its daunting as fuck but exciting and I would only regret not taking the gamble.

    Didn’t realise you’ve taken a less conventional route to success! Inspiration stuff.

  22. Marc

    “Also, learn your human history. We’ve been destroying the planet for thousands of years, well before the notion of capitalism/communism were a thing. It’s absolute ignorance to suggest otherwise.”

    Sorry Pedro but you’re wrong on the time line there although it has nothing to do with capitalism or communism. What’s destroying the earth currently is less a case of western consumerism but more massive human over population and rising living standards in emerging economies. The west’s over consumption is a relatively new thing but with falling birth rates and new technologies it could re balance.

    As an example some years ago China was building a new coal fired power station every 10 or so days, this was stopped for a while but has recently restarted. Within the timber industry China is renowned for manufacturing huge amounts of plywood using unsustainable and often illegally sourced tropical hardwoods – you wouldn’t believe some of the horror stories I’ve heard.

  23. Pedro

    London, I also took a 40% pay cut.

    But… couldn’t be more worth it. I’d never be in New York if i’d stuck out something I really didn’t like. I also think you work harder when you make the jump because you always feel a bit of an outsider.

    You’re making the right decision, 28 is very young to make it happen as well! What are you moving into?

    Marc, over-consumption for sure… but we’ve been wiping out species of animals for hundreds of thousands of years. We destroyed most of the megafauna in Austrailia over 45,000 years ago. We’re a wrecking ball of a species.

    This notion that the next great extinction has only just got underway is massively overblown, we’ve been wiping out species for way longer than the last 100 years. It’s even speculated that the other 5 original forms of homo sapiens were wiped out by us in the first genocide. We are very unpleasant.

  24. London gunner

    Pedro

    I’m working for one of the larger tech companies in the world. My current role basically involves being a people manager, which I am about done with. Looking to make the change into a role which is primarily data analysis and strategy. It also would potentially involve moving to Amsterdam.

    ” I also think you work harder when you make the jump because you always feel a bit of an outsider.”

    Yeah, this I can relate to, but as you said it’s how you use that feeling to in turn drive yourself to greater success!

  25. London gunner

    “Marc, over-consumption for sure… but we’ve been wiping out species of animals for hundreds of thousands of years. We destroyed most of the megafauna in Austrailia over 45,000 years ago. We’re a wrecking ball of a species.”

    Someone’s been reading ‘sapiens a history of human kind’. Good book that!

  26. Marc

    Pedro

    Whilst I’d agree we are a wrecking ball of a species there’s no direct proof we were responsible for the extinction of the mega fauna in Australia, In fact there was a global wipe out of mega fauna species (not at mass extinction levels though) that has been linked to natural climate change and changing environments. Any species has an influence on it’s environment – Beavers build dams and change the dynamic of a river that’s nature.

    There’s always conjecture on pre historic events and rarely is there seriously good proof but the human population first hit a billion in circa 1800 – it’s now 7.4 billion. Homo Sapiens (which for these with a sense of humour means wise man) first appeared about 250,000 years ago and there’s a train of thought that we almost went extinct about 70,000 years ago after the Toba volcanic event which made Krakatoa look like a firework.

    So in 200 odd years we’ve gone from 1 billion to 7 and a half, we’re expected to hit 10 billion by 2050.

    The moral of the story is sex = yes – babies = no.

  27. Pedro

    Marc, I think your thoughts are misinformed.

    https://phys.org/news/2017-01-humans-climate-australian-megafauna.html

    Yuval Noah Harari (yes London!) book gives plenty of evidence that humans were responsible as well.

    Hard to disagree that we wiped out big lumbering animals that couldn’t reproduce quicker than we could eat. We’ve wiped out pretty much every large animal going. Elephants hanging on for dear life…

    We’ve also been about for far longer than 250,000 years. We’ve certainly been hunting for 2million or so years.

  28. Graham62

    Is Donald Trump stupid or just plain thick? Can’t quite decide.

    His attack on California during such a horrific and tragic event just beggars belief.

    This guy has no moral compass.

  29. kc

    Trump’s just telling the hard truth at a sensitive time. What he lacks is tact and always has. California chooses not to clear it’s forests and in turn it causes these fires to burn too fast and out of control. The idiots like moonbeam blaming this on climate control are fucking loony tunes. California should foot their own bill from now on for being so irresponsible. Too many of you sheltered snowflakes are too afraid of hard truths. You’d rather it be climate change so it is. Facts be Damned.

  30. gambon

    Pedro

    He thinks big. Hes a vision guy.

    Kind of thing we need.

    We seem to lack a vision.

    We should be saying “we’re going to be the biggest club in the UK and win the CL by 2025” then work back from there to make it happen.

    Instead our vision seems to be “lets see how the next 12 months go and adjust from there”

  31. Pedro

    KC, typically childish response. Over 20 people die in the most catastrophic fire ever in California, and you’re going on about the loony left and blaming the state for a natural disaster?

    You haven’t even got the basics right. This from the President of Cali Firefighters.

    “The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong . . . nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”

  32. Pedro

    How anyone can look at the science and horrendous impact climate change is having and not draw a parallel is beyond me.

  33. Pedro

    Gambon, can’t deny there’s a lack of vision at Arsenal.

    Though it is always going to be tough when you have teams like City and PSG pouring a Kingdoms money into the competition and breaking all the rules in the process.

  34. Guns of SF

    Fuck Donald Trump

    Im from California and I can tell you the other day I could not breathe outside- the air was full of smoke. My son had practices cancelled, and its still going on about a week later. I have family in So cal. I am from there originally and now live in the bay area. I have lived in San Diego county, LA County and now Silicon Valley. I consider the entire state my home… and I can say, again, FUCK YOU donald trump

    California does not need you to help us. We can hold our own. 7th largest economy in the world, and Ill tell you what, a lot of Californians are sick of what is happening with Trump. Our culture is different than most of the states- bar the west coast states, Hawaii who also share our similar beliefs. I am proud my state is as blue as it gets.

    Donald trump did not set foot in my state during his Russian helped election. He does not dare. The hostility would be over the top. He like most other politicians tends to over look us. The Great Jerry Brown took us out of a financial hole, when dumb shit Arnold Schwarzenneger tanked our economy

    And yes, Pedro, he is thick. Dumb as fuck.

    I am so happy that we won the House. Now, its time for committees to be formed to investigate the bigoted fraud. Impeachment is next.

    If he fires Mueller then its about to get real ugly, for him. Mark my words
    Fuck Trump

  35. TonyD

    alex cutter
    “Stick to hosting a semi-functioning blog for jerk-offs from around the globe who have nothing better to do than argue about a no longer relevant sports franchise…”

    And you post here because? Your hunger to be king jerk-off?

    All hail King Cutter!

  36. TonyD

    Pierre
    “and my hair was a fraction longer than Charlie’s back then.”

    Hmmm the original supergirl – now old woman queen of the trolls!

  37. TonyD

    Pedro
    “Alex Cutter, I got into advertising at 27 because I built Le Grove in my spare time while I worked in a cardboard box factory. Save me the privilege bullshit, I never went to ad school.”

    Kudos Pedro for your success and giving us this blog

    London Gunner
    “Big respect for that Pedro! I’m 28 and if all things go well by the end of the year will be making quite a massive career change. Its daunting as fuck but exciting and I would only regret not taking the gamble.”

    It was once said something like: people are too busy making a living to make their own fortune.

    If you’re smart enough to be in a position to take such a gamble, then you’ll bounce back quickly if it fails or lacks the direction to your ultimate targets.

    You’re certainly young enough.

    Most successful people fail at least once before they achieve their goals/dreams. Certainly was true for me and many of my friends who went on to make their fortunes.

    That said and I intend no negativity from above; I wish you luck with your aspirations and challenges ahead.

  38. TonyD

    London
    You’ll find living in Amsterdam a crazy, but great experience. The Dutch are unique and quirky people.

    Back in the late 80s I lived in a Chislehurst type small Dutch village suburb of Zwolle for a couple of years where I co-owned a music production company because of it’s proximity to Hilversum where the main TV and recored companies were situated.

    Often went to Amsterdam at weekends to see friends from my music touring days of the late 70s and early 80s.

    I ended up having an emergency quintuple heart bypass in Zwolle at the age of 35 due to coronary artery disease, so can vouch for the excellent medical facilities and doctors etc.

    Post op I sold my share of the company and moved back to the UK to recuperate before moving on to other business ventures in Greece, Spain and Portugal unrelated to the music industry before finally moving to business life in South East Asia in the late 90s where I have been ever since.

    Point I’m making is that there are always set backs in life, but ultimately life and success is what you make it.

    Pedro is exactly right that the harder the challenges you make for yourself the harder you will work to make them work.

    I always saw challenges/problems as opportunities, and I would urge you to do the same.

    In some strange irony my wife’s co owner of their company is Dutch and one of my closest friends here whose company builds factories throughout S E Asia is Dutch.

    Small world!

  39. Receding Hairline

    Gambon hasn’t still let on where Arsenal are going to get the money to spend like City and PSG. I guess you haven’t been reading on how City have broken every FFP rule possible. City are a club bankrolled by a caliphate so don’t understand why you keep harping on about emulating them.

    I mentioned doing things smarter and you scoffed at it,City and PSG aren’t the only model for success. Many are very wrong if they believe that once Wenger goes the club will somehow become a global super power in 6 months.

    We are very right to see how the next 12 months goes before making drastic changes, that’s not a lack of ambition in my opinion

  40. TonyD

    Receding
    I agree we can’t spend like City etc unless Dagnote or similar wrestles the club away from the Kroenkes.

    If we wait and see we’re very likely to miss CL next season and the way we’re set up financially that will make drastic changes for next season impossible.

    We need to make some sensible changes now because the picture is clear enough this season for us to know that Mikhi, Ramsey, Mustafi, Sead, Xhaka and Ozil are not the future nor even realistically worth keeping this season.

    We can’t change them all January, but we should buy a winger, bring Eddie back and invest in a defensively and mobile solid left back.

    The winger and Eddie should improve Auba’s contribution in front of goal.

    If we can’t afford to address the other glaring midfield and defensive issues January, then we have to wait until Summer and muddle through as we are now.

    At lest making the above changes January will give us a much better chance of CL next season and the income that will generate along with the prestige should make better players whether youngsters up and coming or early 20s more established stars want to join us & Emery.