Best 3 man midfield?

by .

Let’s get right into it, the reason Emery played Mikhi is because he didn’t know the player was heading out to Roma on loan. The player found out AFTER the game.

I don’t really care either way, why would you bring on Mikhi regardless?

It seems more and more like young kids are being pushed onto Emery.

Telling that the manager had to be convinced by the stats guys at Arsenal that LT was a better choice than Nzonzi. Great to see that someone at the club was taming Emery’s inner Tony Pulis.

Ultimately, there’s no point in trying to flog a dead horse. I understand why Emery would rather bet his house on experience, but for me, when that experience consistently lets you down, why not try something a little more unpredictable… something that actually has something to prove.

There are now no excuses for Reiss. He is going to have rough games, but he has to deal with that. He has to build mental toughness quickly and he simply has to take his chances. A few goals under his belt or an elite assist should have him on his way.

He needs to be the best he can be and leave himself no excuses come the end of the season. I guess the folly of youth is you don’t realise that a little more focus can have a chain effect on your life. I’d imagine the worst thing for an elite athlete is think they blew a football career because they were chasing babes in Basildon.

Same goes for ESR, Gabriel and Saka. Take those opps and make it impossible for the manager to ignore you… just like Matteo and AMN did last season.

Granit Xhaka had a message for the haters (worst turn of phrase ever).

“Of course critics are always here. The North London derby, I think we had a good game. I made a mistake with the penalty but if you saw the game, we could have won.

“We had a lot of chances but this is football. Nobody speaks about the chances, nobody speaks about how many we missed. They always speak about the mistakes.

“This is part of football.”

Come on Granit, the only reason we talk about your mistakes is because they are so regular.

I think we all understand that we’re overweight, slow and shite at sport… but come on, if Fat Dave in your Sunday League team did that, he’d be getting a bus back home and you’d piss in his kit bag.

What, too far?

Another player who made a mistake was Bernd Leno. It looked like he was caught off guard by the lacklustre pace of the Lamela strike and couldn’t change his palm to a catch.

‘I think the first goal was a little bit unlucky. I couldn’t catch the ball completely and then I tried to get up but Eriksen scored, it was unlucky but that is the life of a goalkeeper. For me it was then like the team, I had to stand up. It is not a big problem just because we conceded a goal, I had to stay positive and I thought after that I did a very good job.’

He’s a great shotstopper and he did a good job the rest of the game, but he really needs to have a few quiet games. He was bullied by Burnley and my worry is that’s an opening for teams like Watford to target him. The toughest thing for a keeper in the Premier League is the highballs, namely because you get charged down by thugs. He’s clearly a confidence keeper, I just hope he doesn’t have a dip like he did at his last club.

I have faith…

What I am wondering is whether Emery is going to persist with the 3 man midfield that looks basically like three holding midfielders. The decision to do that doesn’t seem to be paying any dividends. We give up creativity moving forward and we’re viscous through back. Quite incredible how easy our three holding players were to play through in the first half.

There needs to be a solution. I think having a more attacking threat could help. Still not quite sure what the best midfield is, but it’s looking more and more like LT, Matteo and Ceballos… though I wouldn’t be shocked to see Willock given more regular game time. Emery likes powerful players and you’d be hard pushed not to feel that Willock is stronger than LT.

We’ll see though… right, that’s all I have.

Big love to Alex Cutter from the comments. A laser-focused beast to everyone, always on the edge of a ban, long may that continue. x

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410 Responses to “Best 3 man midfield?”

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  1. DigitalBob

    Morning All,

    Yep agreed Pedro!!

    As I said yesterday if we play a three it looks like Dozi, LT, Dani is the combo of choice. That would be my first choice midfield away from home, 100%.

    At home against teams that don’t want to play I’d maybe have mesut in the middle(slightly higher up), with Dani and LT/Dozi to the left and right of him.

  2. Emiratesstroller


    Yesterday I wrote a post highlighting the problems with Arsenal’s defence and
    also the lack of defenders produced by our youth programme.

    I made the case that a defender could play okay individually for 89 minutes and then in a single minute make a critical mistake costing us a goal or match.

    I am in no doubt that Arsenal’s weakness at the back is down to collective
    failings including lack of discipline and organisation.

    We may not have on our books today a CB of the class of Adams or Campbell,
    but no-one is going to suggest to me that as footballers they are worse than
    many of the defenders that we had in the past.

    Our problem is that our defenders do not play together as a collective and too
    often we are left exposed with acres of space particularly on the flanks.

    Everyone knows that Xhaka is pedestrian and cost us a penalty in the game against Spurs. However, no-one discusses that Maitland-Niles was dispossessed upfield and left that flank exposed which then resulted in the
    Xhaka foul.

    This has been an endemic problem in the last three seasons. Too often we have been over reliant on central defence with no-one policing the wide areas
    and that has cost us countless goals, free kicks and even penalties, because of
    lack of cover.

  3. DM

    Sorry lads, I’m on holiday for the next week and a bit. Enjoy ur tr4phies without me 🙂

    PS Pedro-

    Caught a glance at your post yesterday. Be v careful with CBD oil, a mate of my mine spent nearly 5 years doing a research PhD looking into the stuff and warns that it is at best snake oil, at worst a very dangerous substance. Not gonna debate it on here, because I myself know nothing about it, but he’s a very clever chap who literally did a doctorate in the stuff (along with other stuff!). So be warned!

  4. Ishola70

    “Regardless of what anyone thinks of Emery, if he decides to tie his fate to an error prone midfielder [Xhaka] then he deserves his fate.
    I write this then I realize that we are not that strong in the midfield.
    Willocks was inured on Saturday, Torriera is just that [he too has his limitations] and ????We don’t have that many options, do we?. Ceballos isn’t cut out for this role
    Maybe Chambers can be drafted there.
    ESR is too green and is just returning from long term injury.
    Anyone else I’m forgetting? David Luiz ..that’s not his best role too.”

    Guendouxi takes Xhaka’s position at the base of midfield with licence to push forward to initiate attacks.

    Torreira plays just in front of Guendouzi so he can do what he is best suited to which is pressing a bit higher up.

    Ceballos plays further up in reltion to Torreira.

    There. Not difficult was it.

  5. Un na naai

    Best 3 man midfield?

    Who knows
    Depends on the opposition really.

    Torreira at the base
    Guendouzi alongside

    And either Ceballos, willock, xakha or ozil depending on opposition.

    One thing is certain, willock will be getting starts in cup games.

  6. DM

    Our problem in midfield is that we have lots of defensive-ish midfielders and not one true DM. For me, Torreira is our best bet at a proper DM, and I’d like to see him played simply to protect the back 4 and not given any freedom to go forward/drift out wide. I know he can be effective going forward, but we need SOMEONE who will stay back and see the half-way line as their stop sign 🛑. He has the tenacity to patrol that, stop anything getting beyond him and play a simple, effective ball higher up the pitch. Then let Guendouzi and Ceballos play a box-to-box role, with Ceballos playing higher up to utilise his creativity.

  7. Ishola70

    Emirates Stroller

    “Everyone knows that Xhaka is pedestrian and cost us a penalty in the game against Spurs. However, no-one discusses that Maitland-Niles was dispossessed upfield and left that flank exposed which then resulted in the
    Xhaka foul.”

    Everyone knows eh. So why do you feel it necessary to deflect.

    Why are you yet again still batting for Xhaka?

    How on earth are you comfortable with having a player in the team that is so poor off the ball? Is it because you have been completely Wenger doctrined like some other posters on here?

    You have been previously wrong about Xhaka in trying to downplay the harm he does to this side and you will continue to be so.

  8. Ishola70

    People have got it wrong if they think Torreira is a last man sitting DM.

    He isn’t.

    He is best pressing a bit higher up.

  9. shad

    Best 3 midfield has to be Torreira – Guendouzi-Ceballos. It would be heavily right-footed but if defensively we drop to a 4 man midfield with Pepe, then it kind of creates a balance on the left.
    Emery is slowly morphing into Wenger by playing his favourites while letting reason and logic fly out of the window over sentimentality.
    He needs to be firm on who the captain/vice should be (IMO, C – Laca, VC – Guendouzi/Torreira), be firm on his starting 11 (particularly mid 3 or 4) and stop tinkering the bloody team so much with negative tactics.

  10. Guns of Hackney

    As I said yesterday, AC keep pushing on!

    Here’s something radical and unworkable but what the hell, I’m in a positive mood.

    Home. Play Cabellos and Ozil with Gued and Torrier in a 4.

    Away. Play Torrier, Gued and Cabellos in a 3.

    I love fail vids. Just watched an old duffer get kicked in the stomach by a pony. Hilarious.

  11. Un na naai



    Yes AMN lost the ball. Big deal. Do you expect him not to attempt anything with the ball? The rest of our team still needs to be in position to defend.
    They weren’t.

    Reaching hard to blame the penalty on AMN
    You tried all this nonsense with holding and chamber over the last couple of years too because you clearly can’t spot a player.
    Holding has already proved you wrong

  12. Un na naai


    When holding comes back he’s the captain for me
    He’s vocal and plays like a leader
    Lacazette after that. The fella bleeds for the cause
    Shows his team mates the way forward

    I’m very taken with Lacazette. A true favourite of mine

  13. Emiratesstroller

    Ishola 70

    I am not batting for Xhaka or for that matter Mustafi.

    However, I want to pose a question to you. If Arsenal’s defenders are so bad in
    recent years how come that Mertesacker played for Germany 100+ times including as a World Cup Winner, Mustafi also played in a German World Cup Winning team and Koscielny was for many years the lynchpin Centre
    Back in a very good French National Team?

    There is far more to Arsenal’s endemic failings than the performance level
    or ability of individual players in team.

  14. Bojangles

    Change Poch for Emery and this could be an extract from a Le Grove blog. Obviously a cut and paste job from a spuds blog after the home defeat by NU.

    “I’d say there was no plan B, except I’m not sure what plan A was. Poch’s formation changes shifted players along the same laterals without breaking the lines.”

  15. DigitalBob

    Un na naai – I’d make Laca captain, looks like hes got all the tools in his locker for it, the only issue is Emery keeping him out of the side on occasion.

  16. Sid

    Menage et trois Dozi torr ceba with time they will get their rythm its a combination with stamina rotate with wilcock ….

  17. Un na naai


    We’d have zero width with a midfield diamond
    Unless you’re planning to use Ceballos and ozil as wing backs??


    I prefer the captain to be further back if the possibility is on. I tend towards the idea that strikers can get distracted with the armband.

  18. Emiratesstroller

    Un na naii

    The point I am making is that the players individually are not necessarily to be
    the cause of our defensive problems, but rather the organisation and lack of
    discipline imposed on team.

    Let’s be clear there are plenty of teams with less talented players than Arsenal
    who outperform us when it comes to defending.

  19. Champagne charlie

    “Telling that the manager had to be convinced by the stats guys at Arsenal that LT was a better choice than Nzonzi. Great to see that someone at the club was taming Emery’s inner Tony Pulis.”

    We make top 4 with N’Zonzi instead of Torreira last season imo. Residual values and the like aside, our midfield would’ve gained more from him than fake Kanté.

  20. Bojangles

    Not sure that any of our current defence, possible exception being Luiz, would be taken up by many, if any, pl teams.

  21. DigitalBob

    “I prefer the captain to be further back if the possibility is on. I tend towards the idea that strikers can get distracted with the armband.”

    Un – Any player in any position can get distracted with the armband, its about the makeup of the man in that regard.

    It’s true that it’s usually the case a CB or CM are best positions for captain simply due to the position on the field. You can generally see the whole pitch so can in turn direct and co-ordinate.

    But also if its about leading by example and consistency then a CF captain is more than ok.

    Raul, Totti, Del Piero, our own TH14 were solid in the role.

  22. Pierre

    It’s pretty obvious where torreira’s best position is, sitting in front of the back 4 .

    He looks much more comfortable there , so let’s hope that the manager sees sense instead of persevering with the notion that he is a box to box midfielder when he hasn’t the legs nor the engine to play the role.

    It’s a worry the Ceballos didn’t start v Tottenham, the game was made for him , pity the manager doesn’t trust him enough to start him.

    Let’s hope this is not a common occurrence.

    Bellerin and Tierney should be ready to start soon , this will be the time to really judge Emery as we have potentially a superb starting 11 .

  23. Pierre

    ” We make top 4 with N’Zonzi instead of Torreira last season imo”

    Nzonzi and Mings for 40/45 million would have sorted us out defensively .

    Two 6ft 5 defensive based players is exactly what we need , that ship has sailed now.

  24. Valentin


    Install Marco Silva as manager of Arsenal. Let him buy back Iwobi. Stand back and see LeGrove explode into full battle royale mode.


    I like Marco Silva. I believe that he is a good manager. Is he the best of the rest? Let’s wait and see what he does with Everton this season before crowning him above Pochettino who took a team that did not qualify for Champion’s League to a finalist.

    Contrary to popular belief, there is no dearth of talented managers. People confuse big name coach and good coach. Some of the old guard have shown that they have lost their mojo and that they can’t adapt to the new world of football.
    There are lots of decent managers right now, but most have never been given a chance at a big club. Some of the newer managers in Germany, in France and in England are just starting to make a name for themselves.

  25. Receding Hairline

    “We make top 4 with N’Zonzi instead of Torreira last season imo. Residual values and the like aside, our midfield would’ve gained more from him than fake Kanté.”

    Fake Kante how apt.

    Many Arsenal fans keep seeing Kante in Torriera, that is the only reason he is getting a lot of leeway. Been average at best since January

  26. Leedsgunner

    I hate interlulls.

    That’s the reason why I’ve not checked in as often.

    Alex Cutter, bar none, THE MOST SARCASTIC poster on Le Grove. Take a bow.

    No in all seriousness, cancer has affected my family more than once and it’s a horrible disease… but you don’t need to me to tell you that.

    Wishing you the very best a full recovery.

  27. Up 4 grabs now


    Good luck in your battle Alex Cutter,
    keep the dry comments coming if you can, most of us appreciate them!

    We should be able to switch systems for certain games.
    if we are away at the top six sides there is nothing wrong with an old school 541 or 451.
    as long as we have the pace to support the striker.
    it also means Amn and kola can play a little further forwards because there’s protection.
    Thats 4 or 5 away games max.

    Apart from that 433 4213 what ever way you want to play is possible even 442

    The difference will be having two actual fullbacks in Tierney & Bellerin.
    a Centreback in holding with some more pace,
    and of course xhaka being banished to the cupboard under the stairs never to be let out again.
    Unless hes filling in for Gunnersauras, and to be honest i wouldn’t even trust him to do that.

  28. Leedsgunner

    Xhaka is an error prone wannabe and he should have never been signed. His defiant comments in the face of repeated mistakes demonstrates he is unwilling to learn from them.

    The only reason he keeps on being played is because he has height. As Arseblog commented the other day Emery likes big tall players… he reckons Emery doesn’t really trust Torreira.

    Torreira isn’t perfect but he deserves more of a run in the team than Xhaka.

  29. Freddie Ljungberg

    “It’s a worry the Ceballos didn’t start v Tottenham, the game was made for him , pity the manager doesn’t trust him enough to start him.”

    Or it’s because he didn’t have a full preseason and is adapting to a new league.

    No of course not, it’s the same bullshit you always starts the day with, that Emery hates technical players because he doesn’t play Ozil enough. Give it a fucking rest Pierre.

  30. Freddie Ljungberg


    I think it’s both height and experience. The rest of our midfield is basically made up of kids now. Guen, Willock 20, Ceballos Torreira 23. 2 of them are completely new to the league the other 2 only has a year behind them and Willock is also new to senior football.

    There’s been some issues with Torreira not being match fit at the start and Willock had a slight injury against Spurs. Ceballos needs to be eased in as well.

    I still have hope that Xhaka is going to be phased out in the next month or 2, experience or not he’s simply not good enough. Even the things he’s supposed to be good at Guen and Torreira can do better.

  31. Up 4 grabs now

    Leeds spot on.

    Even his height didn’t help with the spuds first goal getting out jumped.
    i watched Paul Merson on the sky debate the other day and he just sat they saying what does he bring.
    it was hysterical, problem is he plays for us!

  32. Dissenter

    You are aware that Harry Redknapp took a lesser spuds team to two 4th pace finishes in three years and reached the quarter finals of the CL.
    Let’s not turn another good day into a Poch-fest.

  33. Emiratesstroller


    We can criticise ad infinitum individual players in the defensive segment of the team, but the facts are that we have brought into the club over last decade a large number of centre backs, full backs and defensive midfielders who were highly rated at previous clubs and international teams.

    Yet when they arrive at Arsenal they are either underperforming or considered dogshit.

    You have to ask the question why that occurs so frequently and more particularly the problem repeats itself ad infinitum?

  34. Up 4 grabs now


    With Holding coming back id rather see luiz play defensive midfield than xhaka.

    i hope your right and the midfielders get up to speed quick so xhaka can be moved on in January with Mustafi!

  35. Dissenter

    Torriera was a bit shitty in the NLD, don’t you think?
    He too has his flaws, height deficits and a lack of athleticism.
    There’s a possibility that he too needs to be moved on and we get a proper athletic defensive midfielder who can win 50% of aerial battles. Torriera gets beaten every time in the air because he’s so short.

  36. Dissenter

    I suspect we will be back in the summer looking for short term loans to sort out the midfield.
    Guendouzi seems to be raising his game but he’s still green will have those slumps at some time.
    Xhaka is Xhaka
    Ceballos is still new to the league and can go missing in bigamy’s games like we saw at Anfield.
    Torreira is limited too.
    Willocks is full of youthful energy. I’m not going to expect too much from him this season, setting my expectations lower for him.

    We moved out Elneny and Mykhi, surely the club knows we are short and will be looking at adding a body there in Jan.

  37. Emiratesstroller


    “Torreira gets beaten every time in the air because he is so short”

    That is not the case. Torreira may be small but he has got ‘spring’.

  38. Chairman Gallant

    Great post. To me our best DM combo should be Guendozi,Chambers and Ceballos slightly up field distributing the balls and taking those long range shots. I heard that Chambers was Fulham best player last season, even though they were relegated, and he was mostly used as a Dm. He is tall, strong and disciplined .just what a premiership DM should be. Alternatively, Guendozi, Torreira and Ozil can also come in, especially at home against lower opponents. As for our defense, Rob Holding should be drafted inside as soon as possible. When Bellerin and Tierney returns ,we shall concede less goals. Our goal keeping position needs to be rotated also. Bernd Leno should not be indispensable.

  39. Leedsgunner

    Torreira, I suspect earned his place in the NLD, because of his dynamic cameo against Liverpool.

    He was excellent for the first half of last season… and he faded away in the second half. To me, he looks match unfit… and he needs to be played in his best position as DM… it’s far too early in my opinion to write a player off after their first season.

    Xhaka has had three or four season with the Arsenal, and he still makes the same mistakes and gives the same excuses. He, along with Mustafi should be shifted out in January.

  40. Freddie Ljungberg


    No need to go tire kicking in another window, we should have the funds now.

    Front line is fine for now, Defence will be ok after next summer, maybe another CB will be needed but that I think depends on Holding.

    The midfield should be our priority in the next 2 windows with a tall athletic CM and a CAM if Ceballos is not staying/doesn’t work out.

    Hopefully we go after that CM in January.

    Also don’t think we need or should have a sitting DM, 2 defensive minded b2b that alternates staying back would be better. Both Torreira and Guen can fill that role, probably Willock too, the question is if that’s enough? For me we need someone with more physicality in there.

    Xhaka out , Sangare in and I think we would look good in those 2 positions for years to come.

  41. Emiratesstroller

    Chairman Gallant

    Leno should play regularly in EPL. Martinez should play in Europa Cup and other Cup Games. My one criticism of Leno is his distribution, which needs to
    be improved.

    Arsenal need to find a Defence, which can play collectively together. Hopefully when Bellerin and Tierney return there will be improvement on
    flanks. The Centre Back positions need to be resolved both in short and long

    Midfield. Chambers is most certainly not a solution in Defensive Midfield and
    that applies also in wing back position. The only position in team where maybe he could have long term future is Centre Back. He played moderately
    well there at start of season.

  42. DigitalBob

    Playing Luiz or Chambers in the middle baffles me. Luiz he has no positional awareness as a CB why is its expected he’ll learn this in an equally hard position when it comes to defending as a DM?

    Chambers was a relegated teams player of the season in that position. That is not a positive.

    Both would be worse than dumb dumb Xhaka in that position.

  43. Leftsidesanch

    Looks like Torr will be the whipping boy this season, I think he has fared reasonably this season and willing to evaluate after more of the season has progressed.

    Xhaka with his nonsensical take on criticism completely misses the point. There is criticism because he is repeating the same mistakes that has blighted him thorough his Arsenal career so far. He seems incapable of being able to rectify his mishaps.

    He will likely play himself out of the side, but I think he’ll be trusted until he makes one more mistake in a big game. I wouldn’t trust him in a fixture against the top 6 home and away or the surrounding sides such as Leicester, Everton and the likes.

  44. Wasi

    Best 3 man midfield

    1). guen/willock torreira/ceballos

    2) torreira/guen
    torreira/willock ceballos

    You could even try out Chambers at DM in the cup games . He’s got the physical presence we sorely miss in our midfield. I also beleive Willock can be trained to play in the DM role just like City’s Fernandinho. Their physique is similar + willock’s got exceptional technical ability to play out from the back. Torreira can play there too but his short height and his ability to win the ball high + inability to play out from the back comfortably is probably why Emery seems to play him a bit high up the field. IMO the personnel we have is more suited to Playing a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-2-1-3 ( both formations are essentially the same). We can play any 2 of torreira, Willock, ceballos and guendouzi . This will offer enough protection to the back 4 while also allowing to play out from the back comfortably. We have Ozil who if used properly can carve open any defences. And honestly he can only play the no. 10 and he’s going nowhere this season. So Emery should be trying find a way to make the best use of him. It will be interesting to see his reaction to being benched and not even called upon for the NLD and the Pool game. He knows manager’s not gonna play him if he doesn’t Press. The balls in his court and only he can return it back.

    Also the people slating Torreira is outrageous. He played an important part in the team and in the 22 match unbeaten run in the first half of last season. Yoh could say he was the best Arsenal player in that time. He curtailed off and looked tired but yiu cant dismiss him just for that. This season he’s looked sharp and I hope he can cement his place in the first 11 because he adds a personality a style to our game that we have sorely missed .

  45. Freddie Ljungberg

    Can we please stop with this Mourinho nonsense. The only sauce he has nowadays is fish sauce, it ruins everything it comes into contact with, keep that nutter away at all costs.

  46. Valentin

    Xhaka is tall, but he is quite poor at heading the ball.
    Against Liverpool both Willock and Guendouzi had more headed clearance and won more aerial duels than him despite both being on the wing. He had just one.

    Against Spurs, Xhaka bad positioning meant that as usual he was never going to head clear the ball. I suspect that Sokratis saw that and decided to ignore Xhaka communication.

    Surprisingly Guendouzi is much better at heading the ball away. His headed clearances lack direction but at least it is away rather than completely missing the ball.

  47. Nelson

    Bojangle: ““I’d say there was no plan B, except I’m not sure what plan A was.”

    A lot of fans felt the same way. Here I am guessing what Emery’s plan A was. He wanted us to play like the Pool.
    – He fielded three CMs. No #8 and #10.
    – Laca dropped back a lot of times a la Firmino.
    – AMN is allowed to bomb forward.

    The problem is that we don’t have the same players like the Pool.
    – Torr is an average CM when asked to play higher up. Guen and Willock are faster and more dynamic than him and can cover much more spaces.
    – AMN is no TAA. He is so much worse both in defense and attack. To make the situation worse, Emery also asked Torr to bomb forward. Hence, Son had so much space to operate.
    – Laca is no Firmino. Laca’s strength is his shooting. His passes are very average.

    Looking back at our last three games. Our midfield played reasonably well vs Burney. Against the Pool, our midfield was playing with a purpose. In the first half of NLD, our midfield was a complete mess. Torr appeared a few times in the SPUDS box. Xhaka was lost in the middle. Only Guen had full of energy and recovered a lot of balls. In the 2nd half, SPUDS wanted to defend the lead and not pressing as hard. Guen ran the show.

    Going forward, I suggest we play one #4, one #6 and one #8.
    The #4 can be Guen backed up by Torr or Chambers or even Luiz
    The $6 can be Willock or Guen. Against weak defending teams, Xhaka can also be selected.
    The #8 is Ceballos.

  48. HighburyLegend

    “I made a mistake with the penalty ”

    Mistake #399… and we still counting.

    How can a moron like this being born in the same land than Federer ?????

  49. Valentin

    Mourinho is the ultimate transition manager. Never there for more than 3 years.
    Transform a cup team into a team able to compete for the league.
    However tend to leave the club financially poorer, with an aging squad and mentally drained players.

  50. Leedsgunner

    If Xhaka and Mustafi can be sold for £20m each more than enough money to put toward a top young defender like Konate in January…

  51. Guns of Hackney

    Also, Torrier deserves to be the scape goat. He flirted with other clubs, moaned about the weather etc and hasn’t exactly lit the place up.

    He should shape up fast.

  52. Marko

    Arsene Wenger had it, I was no fan of his, but the guy carried a room.You don’t have to meet Jose to know he has it, he has a group of alpha males in that Sky studio totally humbled by his presence. Jurgen Klopp absolutely owns a room, he owns the touchline.

    From last night. Apparently sauce equals owning a room. Not much to do with management that.

  53. shad

    @Un Na Naai,

    We need to start a petition #LacaForCap

    Seriously, dude drips so much sauce and passion.

    About Holding when fit, I think while he needs to prove that he wasn’t a flash in the pan. If he gets back to the level or higher to what he was playing, I’d make him VC. Oh I forgot about Bellerin as well. could be dark horse that one.

  54. Jack Gunner

    How many penalties has the Swiss md conceded?Add to the no of times he has been sent off and you will know how many points Arsenal could have won if none of this had happened.
    Furthermore when you see how spuds scored from a quick breakout when the gunners were beseizing the enemy with quick strides. Compare this to the
    gunners passing game. Why cant the gunners hit a long direct pass?
    That’s why the gunners found it hard to score because the shot would have
    Shades of AW

  55. Eduardo

    Using the youngsters as back-ups instead of has-beens like Mkhi or journeymen like Iwobi or Elneny makes footballing and financial sense. Output is similar, they’re cheaper, and if they come good, great. If not, the exposure and experience means they can be sold off to someone else for a healthy profit.

    But that’s all this is, good sense. The young players we have are not the second coming or some kind of golden generation. Maybe one or two of them will nail down places in our first XI. The rest will go and play for the likes of Watford and West Ham. But at least, this time, we will get fees for them, instead of treating our youth team like some kind of charity programme.

  56. Marko

    “We had a lot of chances but this is football. Nobody speaks about the chances, nobody speaks about how many we missed. They always speak about the mistakes.”

    This is one of the major problems with this imbecile as a player. No acknowledgment that he has to do better no desire to improve it’s just on to the next mistake it’s instantly forgotten. Absolutely shocking player. Contributed next to nothing and is taking opportunities and missed chances by others as an example that it wasn’t all bad. This club cannot move forward as long as he’s still at Arsenal. The day he’s gone we can finally start thinking about success

  57. Marko

    He’s in Dublin tonight. I’d be tempted to go out and throw a can of baked beans at his head. Knock some sense into him

  58. Guns of Hackney

    Emery has to start showing some balls. His lineups are predictable and boring. £200m of forwards…play them.

    One of the best creators when in form, play him at home.

    A shit defence always! Either pack it and play five or go three and try and outscore the opponents.

    Emery must have splinters.

  59. Marko

    Also very smart putting Saliba on the list of premier league players. By 21 him and Martinelli will be considered home grown.

  60. Ashwin Gunner

    Irrespective of whether you have a 3 man midfield or 7 man midfield. our midfield will always be shit if it includes Xhaka

  61. Marko

    And Edu tried to sign Vinicius? I’d imagine it was on loan but that’s ballsy. Very much looking forward to seeing what he’s capable of the next few years in the transfer market.

  62. Ashwin Gunner

    “An anti-Unai post from Pedro… it’s been a while.”

    I guess Pedro was pissed from the day Arsenal Rejected Arteta,

  63. Pedro


    Maybe, just maybe… Emery is bland and it’s as simple as that.

    My hypothesis the day of his hiring has played out.

    Take the L and join the movement.

  64. Moe

    For me too, Nzonzi over Torreira if we wanted to battle for Champs lg last year. No contest.

    Emery’s problem seems to be giving too much deference to the opposition. No reason to have played those 3 in mf against Spurs, especially considering Xhaka doesn’t provide much cover anyway.

  65. Major_Jeneral

    Grant Hacker is very arrogant and lacks humility. There is nothing wrong in making mistakes as no one is perfect. What is unacceptable is for him not to show remorse and make effort to resolve his issues.

    I guess he should be booed off the pitch the next time we see him on it.

    Meanwhile #LacaForCap .
    Grant Hacker is definitely not a leadership material.

  66. Ishola70

    There wasn’t a problem with the midfield against Spurs bar Xhaka’s brainstorm.

    Arsenal had easily the most standout midfielder in the set-up in Guendouzi and the team had enough chances to win the match and that was even before Ceballos came on.

    Spurs got the ball up quickly to their attackers. They did not win out in midfield . The first Spurs goal was an old fashioned hail mary kick upfield from Lloris. Nothing to do with midfield per se.

    The team has got to be able to defend. There is no such thing as going through a match being protected from defending at the back unless you are playing an inferior team. Spurs are not an inferior attacking team. They are a good attacking team.

    Individual errors caused the team to be 2-1 down at half-time not the overall set-up of the side.

  67. Freddie Ljungberg

    Joel Lopez is included in the Europa league squad, going to be interesting to see if he can step up this season allowing us to shift Kolasinac next summer. He’s still very young but you never know.

    The more youngster stepping up even if it’s only as backups the more we can focus our budget on making the first XI as good as it can be.

  68. Marko

    My hypothesis the day of his hiring has played out.Take the L and join the movement.

    To be fair that is true. From the moment he was hired you’ve been very much against him even got in very early with the poor English stuff. I wondered though was it from a place or objectivity and genuine worry though from the get go. So me being me I went back and had a quick peruse and in the month of May last year there were 13 examples of whole posts or references to/about in posts to Mikel Arteta. A whopping 13 until Emery’s appointment. Some articles went really hard for the better looking Spaniard. Which brings into question was it an unbiased worry about Unai or the fact that you didn’t get your guy in Mikel in the first place? Hey I wanted Jardim originally and now I’m counting down the days to Vieira or Nagelsmann. I don’t take it personal

  69. Champagne charlie

    “From last night. Apparently sauce equals owning a room. Not much to do with management that.“

    Let’s all point and laugh, owning a room has nothing to do with management… Uber lol

    Owning a room alludes to engagement and leadership, now tell me those aren’t absolutely vital to getting a group of 23 millionaire man-child’s (manchildren?) to pull one direction – assuming you have a direction.

    The ability to captivate attention has long been one of the most valued human qualities. Amazing to dismiss such a trait, what the fuck kind of manager have you ever dealt with? Some cunt with a name badge?

  70. Dissenter

    Le ‘Equipe; Ousmane Dembele ‘halted Neymar’s return to Barcelona’ after refusing to move to Paris Saint-Germain.

    I don’t blame him.
    The planets don’t have to re-align to accommodate Neymar. He laid that bed so he can just lounge in it now.

    His infleunce s diinished anywhere he goes; Brazil won the Copa America without him, Barca made him grovel and PSG fans wont forget his perfidy.

  71. Ishola70

    “We can criticise ad infinitum individual players in the defensive segment of the team, but the facts are that we have brought into the club over last decade a large number of centre backs, full backs and defensive midfielders who were highly rated at previous clubs and international teams.Yet when they arrive at Arsenal they are either underperforming or considered dogshit.You have to ask the question why that occurs so frequently and more particularly the problem repeats itself ad infinitum?”

    Xhaka shows the same weaknesses for the Swiss national team as he does for Arsenal so this wanting to blame the overall Arsenal system rather than individual players doesn’t entirely wash does it.

    The Swiss national team may be ok with having a player that is only good for them in relation to on the ball on occasions but poor off the ball. This doesn’t mean Arsenal FC have to be ok with it.

  72. Marko

    The attacking stats against Spurs suggest that going with a Midfield three wasn’t the problem but rather the personnel or rather one individual was the problem.

  73. Guns of SF

    Nzonzi would be preferred over xhaka if UE likes taller players.
    Better player IMO

    Anyhow, hopefully Guen and keep it going and Torriera can start and finish a game

  74. Dissenter

    Everything that has to be said about Xhaka’s lack of quality has been said, most of it incontrovertible.
    That said, if you were manager, would you just freeze him out a la Mustafi of find ways to continue using him, albeit less often and in less intense situations.
    We don’t have enough bodies in the midfield…for now. The manager runs the risk of breaking bodies if he drops Xhaka completely.
    Ceballos is new to England and can easily burn out once we get past the Christmas period. He needs to be managed carefully
    Willocks and Guen are 19/20 years old. The have to be managed properly, Guen dropped off last season after being played way too much.
    Torriera too dropped off after playing way too many games.

    You are going to have to put up with Xhaka for this season, imo. The manger cannot just drop him. I suggest you get a good supply of fire extinguishers every time he sets your hair on fire.

  75. Dissenter

    DM; ‘It’s never going to happen’: Sporting Lisbon’s president RUBBISHES Tottenham’s chances of winning Premier League or Champions League after they included an £18m ‘success clause’ in summer offer for Bruno Fernandes

    The success clause ought to have been that they will pay 18 million if they fill their stadium to capacity 10 times in one season

  76. DigitalBob

    I’d freeze him out, fuck it. he’s a liability and prone to do what he always does. Emery needs to be very wary of sticking with a guy that will cost you points on a consistent basis.

    We have other options now and should go with them.

  77. Marko

    Charles given the example used originally I’m not sure Pedro was talking about or certainly could prove that Emery could or couldn’t control a dressing room. Simply stating that Wenger could control a room (?) or Mourinho a small built studio at a ground isn’t an example of sauce.

  78. Ishola70

    As others have said not only is Xhaka a lump and poor off the ball he is arrogant to go along with it so this is a really poor set of circumstances regarding this player.

    His arrogance as others have implied most likely means he will not learn from his mistakes.

  79. shad


    I think Emery picks Xhaka for the reasons you’ve mentioned or because Xhaka has damning pictures of Emery somewhere as blackmail.

    Anyway, I think we have enough in a season to cover for Xhaka should we relegate him to the reserves completely. ESR, Willock, Ceballos, and in home games as someone pointed out, occasionally play Ozil to rest Ceballos.
    Also we can conservatively use Chambers (he did excel for Fulham in the CDM position), for less intense games and to some extent, even David Luiz can be shifted forward, as he has the range of passing and is two-footed.

    So yes, he is properly dispensable and the sooner we do it the better.

  80. Words on a Blog


    No need to freeze Xhaka out a la Mustafi – he is still pretty useful in possession against teams that don’t press and in matches against “bottom 10” teams.

    Just don’t play him against teams that press or who are expected us put us for long periods of sustained pressure: Spurs, Man C, Liverpool, Chelsea etc.

  81. Marko

    Dissenter pretty much stuck with old granite I’ve come to terms with it though I’d like to think that we’re not so dependant on him anymore. Here’s hoping that Vieira when he comes one of the first things he asks for is the removal of Xhaka. That’s a slight worry about Nagelsmann for me I think he might like him as a player

  82. Marko

    Yeah just don’t play Xhaka against any of the other top 6 sides especially away from home in the league. Great we now have two players like that. Let’s keep it going add Kolasinac and AMN to the list and we can really start to improve

  83. Wasi

    Nzonzi over torreira.
    Laughable!. Criminal!
    One player is at the end of his career and cant keep up with the pace of Serie A while the other was being heralded as next Kante.
    We don’t make CL now ppl ou’ere claiming Nzonzi would have taken us to CL gardens. What a Joke. Man is as slow as Xhaka probably even slower and doesn’t even have the passing ability of the Swiss.
    You dont want us to buy Banega but are vouching for Nzonzi who is a lesser player to Banega in literally all aspects of the game other than height. Joke fanbase this !

  84. Ishola70

    Dissenter is right to some extent.

    The only reason Xhaka has seen so many games at Arsenal despite being laughed at by other clubs supporters and the media is because the overall options for midfield at Arsenal for more than enough seasons has been sub-standard.

    But there is a combination of aspects now which can see Xhaka eased out and this season as well.

    First aspect is that Xhaka will continue to make errors in the side.

    Second more important aspect will be the emergence of Guendouzi. I said after the Newcastle match that Guendouzi looked a much better player than last season even in that match and then he goes on and has the belter against Spurs. He will continue to surprise people this season in how he has stepped up as a player in comparison to last season.

    Guendouzi can take Xhaka’s position in the team. Base of the midfield.

  85. DigitalBob

    Not playing him entirely is preferable, top 6 or bottom 6. He’s taking valuable minutes away from the other midfielders.

  86. HighburyLegend

    “he is still pretty useful in possession against teams that don’t press”
    Just like Ozil!! Coincidence ?? lol

    “Granit”… Xhaka’s parents were on heavy drugs when they gave him that stupid name.

  87. Ishola70

    True Mako.

    Can’t go on about only playing these players in certain matches.

    If they are spared some matches due to inadequacies that should mean they are not good enough for Arsenal at all.

  88. Receding Hairline

    “Can’t go on about only playing these players in certain matches.”

    Never figured out how anyone types that with a straight face

    So essentially the player is a flat track bully and you believe that is okay

    Who now plays those tough games then and why can’t the same player get to coast against the non pressure sides

  89. Champagne charlie

    “Nzonzi over torreira.
    Laughable!. Criminal!
    One player is at the end of his career and cant keep up with the pace of Serie A while the other was being heralded as next Kante.“

    Last season lad, we missed out CL by a point and Torreira was a spectator for half the games.

    Nzonzi would’ve done a better job for last years target, and it’s still very much up in the air that Torreira will make any impact as an Arsenal player. Nzonzi, for his limitations, was exactly as advertised and used to the prem.

  90. Valentin

    Carrying a room is an apt analogy for having charisma.
    Some teachers go to a room and all the student immediately sit down. Some pupils just ignore them and or shout at him sit down.
    Same with coaches, some coaches arrive in a room and immediately players stop and listen. They carry an aura, a presence that can be explained.

    Of course if they are incompetent at their job, the aura pretty quickly dissipate.
    But if they are competent, that aura helps convincing egocentric players to work the extra mile, to sacrifice their own personal gain for the team.
    I don’t like Mourinho, but there are very few people who could convince Samuel Eto to play fullback in a Champion’s League final for the good of the team.

  91. Dissenter

    I think Xhaka needs to be handled the same way we handle Ozil
    Play him in only very restricted situations.
    I think we extended the contracts of Elneny and Xhaka because the contract negotiations with Ramsey were too protracted.

  92. Receding Hairline

    “One player is at the end of his career and cant keep up with the pace of Serie A while the other was being heralded as next Kante.”

    One day the penny will drop that Torriera and Kante’s only similarity is in height, both are 5ft 6 ” and that is where it ends.

  93. Dissenter

    “I don’t like Mourinho, but there are very few people who could convince Samuel Eto to play fullback in a Champion’s League final for the good of the team.”

    You know Enery once played Xhaka as right back.
    You’re giving Mourhino credit for nothing.

  94. Ishola70


    Yes I post plenty other than Xhaka but as said before Xhaka is one big problem for the side and is naturally focused on.

    That it seems to irritate you is only because you have supported Xhaka. Misplaced support may I add.

  95. Dissenter

    Are you suggesting that Xhaka is dropped completely like Mustafi?
    Where’s the extra body going to come from?
    Drafting in Chambers means one less body in central defense.

  96. Valentin


    Samuel Eto had the reputation of being one of the biggest ego in African football.

    Asking a world class striker who think that he is the best in the world to play fullback in the Champion’s League final in front of everybody is a lot more involved than asking a mediocre midfield player to play fullback.

  97. Receding Hairline

    Are you suggesting that Xhaka is dropped completely like Mustafi?”

    No, players can also be sold. The fact Mustafi dug his heels in does not mean everyone should. If we cannot trust Xhaka in every game he is picked to play but can trust 20 year old Guendouzi what does that say about Xhaka?

  98. Ishola70

    And me going on about Xhaka seems to have been justified Charlie.

    Because he causes plenty of furore for Arsenal fans as a whole on more than enough occasions and enough now for plenty of fans to want to see him dropped from the side.

    Others catch up over time.

  99. Receding Hairline

    “Drafting in Chambers means one less body in central defense.”

    The day i see Chambers in central midfield for Arsenal is the day i write an anti Emery post more petty than any written here ever, even Valentin go weak

  100. Receding Hairline

    Keane has also laid into the close relationship other members of Ferguson’s family were allowed with the club.

    His son Darren picked up a Premier League winner’s medal in 1993 after making 15 appearances under his father, before a career that saw him roam between the lower division in England and Europe.

    And Keane suggests that the chance to break into the Premier League would not have been afforded to him under any other boss.

    ‘People said [Ferguson] always had the best interests of Manchester United at heart. Darren Ferguson [his son] won a medal. He was very lucky.

    ‘[Alex Ferguson’s] brother was the chief scout for Manchester United for a long time
    ‘I’m surprised his wife wasn’t involved in the staff somewhere.

    ‘Darren was [the manager] at Preston North End and lost his job. He had a couple of young players on loan from Manchester United, [but] guess what happens the next day?

    ‘They’re pulled out of Preston. Is that doing the best for Manchester United? Do me a favour.’

    The Bitter Roy Keane going in two footed on Sir Alex

  101. Words on a Blog


    1) Emery plays reactive football, creating a first 11 and formation taking into account the likely strengths of our opponents

    2) if our opponents are either strong pressers or are expected to have dangerous periods of sustained possession, itmfollows that he should select the players best equipped to deal with these circumstances.

    3) Xhaka is definitely not the best player to deal with pressing or dang attacking opponents.

    4) so what exactly is your problem with Emery not selecting him for those kinds of matches?

  102. Valentin

    Xhaka may be deluded, but he also knew enough that had he refused to play at left back he would have been out of the starting eleven permanently and more likely out of Arsenal at the end of the season.
    Once a player is catalogued as a trouble maker at a big club, there are suddenly less bigger club interested in him. As Xhaka still harbour the will to go to a bigger club (please don’t laugh), he was unlikely to put his career in jeopardy.

  103. Samesong

    Xhaka vs N’Zonzi
    Whilst Xhaka may also have a presence in the centre of the pitch, this is where his similarities with the Sevilla midfielder end.

    N’Zonzi has a clean disciplinary record, and does not have a proclivity to dive into tackles recklessly, yet in comparison, Xhaka has picked up nine red cards in three years, two as an Arsenal player.

    If Emery signs N’Zonzi, he would be a welcome form of calmness and rationale in the centre of the midfield, balancing out Arsenal’s attacking style of play with his defensive stability. N’Zonzi is also faster than Xhaka and could therefore make more forward runs, whilst ensuring the space left in his wake is not exploited.

    This was last season

  104. Receding Hairline

    Words my problem is not selecting him is an admission he is not reliable nor good enough, he wears the captain armband, if he cannot lead the troops when a difficult game is anticipated what is the point?

    ” Emery plays reactive football, creating a first 11 and formation taking into account the likely strengths of our opponents”

    Emery will not be here for ever, we won’t continue to react forever

  105. Champagne charlie

    “That it seems to irritate you is only because you have supported Xhaka. Misplaced support may I add.“

    Irritates me no more than Pierre talking Ozil, doesn’t make it any less of a fixation.

    My “support”, as you claim, comes in the fact I don’t consider him a donkey and recognise what he does bring despite your backhanded comments continually falling his way. I’ve said numerous times I’ve no issue selling him or replacing him, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good waffle.

    The teams issues are bigger than Xhaka, that’s my take, always has been.

  106. Receding Hairline

    Samesong Nzonzi pisses all over Xhaka, if we signed Nzonzi we would have moved on Xhaka, i was a proponent of that signing last summer, everyone was hung up on his age and the fact he once played for Stoke

    Ivan Perisic is 30 and he just joined Bayern

  107. Words on a Blog


    I’m not talking about forever, just the next 20-25 matches or so!

    Until January, he can’t be sold. In the meanwhile, it’s best to use him in matches where his skill-set, weaknesses and profile are most suitable.

  108. DaleDaGooner

    So have been trying to post since yesterday, just short of words reading from Alex Cutter….stay strong…many years ago, i just became really sensitive towards people going through Cancer….apparently, if fate was anything to go by, two of my most beloved people got the disease and sent them to their graves….It has been tough to say the least, reason why i post less and less times….

    Alex, i do feel down by what you are going through, but i LIKE your mind set and how you’re battling this….perhaps it’s good you don’t have an immediate family or bad that you don’t either way….salute to you…keep fighting and stay thoughts are we you…for sure.

  109. DaleDaGooner

    N’Zonzi is still a thing in Le Grove???? i think i’d much rather a player like Doucoure …no way Emery would get rid of Xhaka even with N’zonzi…he seems fascinated with the idea of shoehorning Xhaka into the first 11.