Arteta takes in the grim reality of Arsenal’s ground zero

by .

Freddie Ljungberg signed off with with a middle finger to some of the senior players in the side. Ozil was injured again, but the manager made it clear he wouldn’t have played after throwing his gloves at the bench last week. He went all out to play the kids, introducing ESR into midfield, with Saka at left-back, and though the attacking football we’d hoped for didn’t bear fruit, we certainly put in a more solid defensive performance.

Say it quietly, but Xhaka had an impressive game…

There’s really not too much analysis to be had though. This Arsenal side have been playing with the handbrake on all season, now they need a huge injection of energy from Mike Arteta and Steve Round.

A few things are a worry though.

Auba looks very, very uninterested. Mikel said before the game that he was going to observe for body language, if that were the case, he’d have been shocked by how little energy his captain had on display. His movement was disengaged and he just looked like he’d had enough. He clearly has a move on his mind, which is troubling unless Madrid are coming armed with money in January, and Arsenal has Timo Werner lined up as a replacement.

Our midfield, regardless of the combination, lacks power, energy and structure. This has been going on for the best part of three years and continues. The biggest challenge the new regime is going to have to master is how to train some sort of know-how into a group of players that struggle with the basics. I’ve never seen an Arsenal midfield so slow and clueless. The gap between attack and midfield is always far too stretched, no one moves for the ball and the passing lanes always need a Hollywood epic to make something happen. We are almost incapable of moving the ball between the lines and more often than not, we have to opt for sideways or backwards passing because even the lightest of pressing puts us off balance.

We’re also going to have to work out what we do with the forward line. I’m starting to worry about Pepe, what exactly is going on there? Are we really in a situation where two managers of Arsenal football club can’t convince our most expensive signing to do some tracking (assuming that is why he’s benched)? There’s no such thing as ‘he’s not that sort of player’, because in this era, you simply have to be if you want to be positioned in the top tier of the footballing elites.

The standout players for me were the kids. I though Saka at left-back was pretty positive. He looked assured on the ball as ever, his pace really bailed him out of some tricky situations and his defensive game was positive as well. Point with Saka, he has the energy and drive you want. He never stops, he’s always sprinting, and when he gets forward into dangerous positions, he thinks about what he’s going to do next. I really love him, I hope Arteta has a Sterling like plan for him.

Though it wasn’t Martinelli’s best game, he still showed up in terms of energy. He’s very rough around the edges, but he has all the ingredients you’d want if you were a new manager. There’s a lot to work with. Aggression, power, pace, technique, great in front of goal… I am really excited to see what happens with him over the next year.

ESR and Reiss didn’t have their best games, but again, they didn’t give up. I was impressed that Reiss was trying more things, he didn’t shy away like he has been. ESR made some rough decisions, but you can see there’s plenty of potential there. Under the right coach, which we have, I expect to see these kids make huge strides.

So overall, we’re in very bad shape. Arteta has 5 days to at least bring a bit of energy to proceedings. I do think that’s absolutely key, if the training ground has been soulless for the last 2 years, an injection of positivity is going to help. The players need reminding of their talent, they need someone to paint a picture of where they’re going, and they need to be plunged into high-intensity training that stretches their thinking about how the game should and will be played.

I’m excited, the real work starts now. It’s going to be a very rough 6 weeks, we’re starting from scratch midseason, but if you look at the next 2 months as a bit of a write-off, it’ll be easier to stomach. By March, we should start to see the shape of what Arteta and Round have to offer, and we’ll see what good coaching can do for a squad everyone now thinks is shit. I’m hoping a few players will prove us wrong.

My guess is Arteta will work hearts and minds to start with, so nothing too drastic. Everyone will land a new chance, then he’ll begin to shape from there. I don’t think he’ll wait too long to assess who the bad eggs are, from the videos, it’s clear he knows a lot of people at the club who will fill him in on the history. Then we move on from there.

The bad days aren’t behind us, but at least they can be time-boxed. I think the fans need it. I watched the drama unfold after the game. Seeing fans gunning for each other was horrendous to watch. As a writer that loves the club, I genuinely couldn’t think of anything worse in the world than having the away fans round on me during a game in front of the world. I would be devastated if there was anti-graffiti on the Holloway Road about me. In their defence, the negativity they spout is merely an extreme reflection of what we feel. They don’t create that vibe, the shite football does.

That said, they do have a problem they can’t ignore. Matchday fans don’t like them. That mess yesterday looked like it could have turned violent, which would be be a terrible look for us. You can’t blame racism, you can’t blame jealousy, you have to look deeper and ask if the direction of your platform is in the service of the fans, or the wider internet that likes watching people incoherently vent and throw their weight around the internet.

A delicate situation to have to manage, but hopefully a proper coach will mean the fans spend less time worrying about things they could ignore and more time engaging in a beautiful game.

378 Responses to “Arteta takes in the grim reality of Arsenal’s ground zero”

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  1. Valentin

    If reports that we are interest in Kevin Volland are true, then we are again going for a smallish forward to replace one of Aubameyang and Lacazette.

    I trust Arteta, but I think that we could still do with one striker with more height to help with plan B. ManCity can avoid a plan B because their plan A is so good, plus they have midfielders (Sterling, KdB, GundoganBernado Silva, …) who can chip in for goals.

  2. CG

    Re : Volland

    I don’t know if he is any good.

    But it smells like a sensible signing.

    No outrageous figures involved
    Not ostentatious
    Not a baby- good age.
    And he seems fit.

    I mean he ain’t got Tierneyitus.
    He can actually run around without collapsing.

    Tick from CG

  3. Pedro

    Marko, elite comment there 🙂

    Thanks Dissenter, got what you were saying, I just don’t think the comparison is quite right.

    Love Mertens, top player.

  4. Bob N16

    You weren’t looking for compliments Pedro but I thank you all the same for keeping this blog running. Appreciate you’re not doing it for the money but feel few would object to you getting some sort of pay back for all your time and effort.

  5. Freddie Ljungberg

    Spends all his time pissing on Tierney for being a crock while campaigning for Ramsey to be brought back, smh.

    Tierney injury record is miles better and he doesn’t cost us 300k a week. also only been with us a couple of months and is 22 years old. Some people.

  6. Marko

    Linked with January moves for Volland, Szobozlai and a highly rated Sevilla lad. I like it so far but I want to see some tangible links to defensive players.

  7. Cesc Appeal

    Absolutely have to get a CDM/CM with the profile of being about 6ft or over, strong and athletic with tidy general play.

    We can get Volland, we can add talented young players but if this midfield keeps getting steamrolled every game it’s worth little.

    I do think Arteta is going to be keen on Ceballos playing a slightly deeper more possession controlling type role.

  8. Marko

    People who call Tierney a crock are short sighted. It’s only the last year that he got a serious injury. Prior to that he was a machine. 170 appearences for Celtic at 22 is outstanding

  9. Freddie Ljungberg


    He hardly plays because of injuries in the pensioner paced Serie A and he’s on a massive wage, he played one full season for us in all the years he was here and you think the way forward is bringing him back? Elite thinking that as usual from you.

    Try giving some of our new signings some time to settle instead of constantly writing Pepe, Tierney etc off daily, they were not bought to only play a couple of months for us but as long term investments, they both have many years ahead of them. If they haven’t made any progress by this time next season harp on about it as much as you like but right now it’s just petty, like most of what you post.

    Don’t know what Edu and Raul has done to you to deserve as much vitriol as they get every day but I’m guessing it’s gang bang related? No need to give any details, just point at the doll where the bad men touched you.

  10. Champagne charlie

    People remember that we were linked with Volland years back right?

    He might not scream sexy signing, but could well be the type to have promise in abundance at 20 then go middling for 5/6 years before turning a corner.

    By all accounts everything I’ve read suggests he’s been right up there among the best German players of the last 18 months. Produced the most goals/assists in the Bundesliga in 2019 et al.

    I kind of like guys like that, level of honesty to their work. That said he could be very Nolito and kind of not work here.

  11. Ustyno


    I read your response to Dissenter and was very impressed,no name calling,no abuse just stating fact.

    I must commend you for the work you have been doing, writing on a daily basis isn’t an easy thing added to the fact that you have a career.keep it up

    I wish Arteta well,wish we can see the kind of display Lampard is producing at Chelsea here

    Merry Christmas all

  12. Marko

    I do wonder if Nicolas De La Cruz might be targeted. I read somewhere that Arteta put him forward or something like that to Man City and they were interested in him. 22 CAM at River Plate

  13. Cesc Appeal

    Exequiel Palacios set to join Leverkusen.

    That was one we were looking at in the summer.

    Interested to see how he does there.

  14. azed

    Saka on Emery: “I have a lot of thanks to give him because he gave me so much confidence, he gave me my debut & he kept pushing me. I am grateful to him always. It’s just something I have always dreamed of, coming up from the academy to the first team”

    Looks like your theory of Emery killing the confidence of players doesn’t hold water.

  15. Pedro

    Azed, we just registered our worst start in 38 years, hardly a signifier of a group of players bubbling with confidence.

  16. Cesc Appeal

    Volland only has 18 months left on his deal.

    Not sure what kind of price we’re talking.

    Want to make sure we spend the bulk of anything we get for Aubameyang on a CDM/CM.

  17. Bill

    See Bamford’s back after getting run out of a rival site. He got humiliated time and again about his lack of knowledge in football and politics. Got proper schooled.
    Now he’s back tail between his legs but still bigging it up and looking down on us plebs. AFTV presenters articulate “in their own way”.
    Arsenal with shite squad Bamford? It’s down to elite professionals Sanllehi, Edu and Vinai. It’s also on your great owner and also on fucking Emery.

    No hope for you mate.
    Raul and Emery shit. Kroenke shit. Dont know about Edu. Hes in hiding. But bamford thinks there great.

  18. Dream10

    Pedro & Marko

    Haven’t watched any Salzburg match.
    Seen some comments suggesting Szoboszlai struggles with his stamina and doesn’t do well when teams press him. This true?

  19. Pedro

    Azed, I think it’s confidence as well… but yes, entirely correct, he has to convince Ozil there’s more to football than the final pass, he has to make Auba think about more than his move to Madrid, and he needs to beast Pepe into doing work for the team.

    If they won’t work for him, it’s over, but I think he’ll do well… he’s believable, he’s just come from working with KDB and Sterling. Hopefully that sheen will work. Also, Ozil and Auba will need to work if they move. Who will give the German a huge deal if he winds down until the end of the year on the bench. Doubt his agent will allow that, they need another payday.

  20. Champagne charlie

    Be interested to see if Mikel favours players of a certain region.

    We had our french influx under Arsene early on, then we went a bit German with the odd Spanish touch, have to think the value for youth is back in France once more?

    Be curious to see if we target anyone already on these shores.

  21. Champagne charlie


    Ozil is gone, Auba should follow with his age and that angling for a move shite bubbling under. Both 31, and talking 70 mil recouped and half a mil off the wages.

    I don’t personally buy this idea we’re nothing without Auba’s goals. He’s a killer for them but we’re a horrible team and we can make huge gains there to offset his input quite comfortably for me. Hazard meant more to Chelsea’s overall game and he’s fucking old news there already.

    Gentlebris has touted Morelos playing under Gerrard at Rangers, he’s diet Tevez, good player no doubt on the move seasons end (maybe even Jan). Scores buckets, has 13 in the EL this season too, he’s relentless. 23 years old.

  22. Carts

    “Anthony Taylor got that very wrong
    VAR saved his bacon.“

    He’s a truly awful ref

    I even thought the yellows for Kovacic and Alli was unwarranted. What happened to telling two passionate players to ‘pack it in; this is your last warning’.

    Nearly pissed myself when he blew he whistle because the ball struck Abraham in the face. Not to mention it was a flipping pass from his own team mate.

  23. Carts

    “Exequiel Palacios set to join Leverkusen”

    At one stage he was odds on to sign for Real Madrid. Something tells me it would’ve looked like Fernando Gago/Lucas Silva all over again.

  24. Champagne charlie


    Is that Olmo the Spanish dude in Croatia or Ukraine or something? I think Arteta will have an eye for players with a bit of bite and fire about them honestly. The languid grace doesn’t exist in the Prem without that, certainly not in any meaningful fashion.

    David Silva and Bernardo are the blueprint for small and technical that survive here at the top now. Absolutely have to be terrier-like and able to trip or kick someone off balance.

  25. Marko

    Morelos is a braindead moron though. Goalscorer in Scotland is no big whoop if we’re being honest but the constant stream of idiotic red cards is troubling. Avoid the fucker. If you want a Scottish striker how about Eduoard

  26. Marko

    I think Arteta will have an eye for players with a bit of bite and fire about them honestly.

    That’s Olmo. Left the comforts of Barcelona youths for eh Zagreb. That’s fire right there

  27. Valentin

    Morelos is a good player, but he is also a nut case. Easy to wind up and would likely be the victim of a sustain campaign by the opposition aided by the tabloid with some undertone of xenophobia to trigger him and get him send off on a regular basis.
    Remember when PV4 was the victim of dangerous tackles by so called hard men who were just bad players. I remember a game against WestHam where he reacted angrily to a leg breaker by spitting onto fat Ruddock and suddenly he was an horrible person. I can’t see Morelos being able to handle that kind of pressure without blowing his top off.

  28. Carts

    Morelos is a handful with the potential to definitely play at a higher level.

    What’s he like 23? You imagine he’d eventually grow out of his petulance which always seem to cost both he and Rangers big time

  29. Champagne charlie

    Morelos isn’t a nutter at all, he had a season of acting the fool but he’s been nothing short of superb this season.

    Yea go ahead and scoff at scoring goals in Scotland, Moussa Dembele did it and he’s doing ok at Lyon. Morelos is more than a goalscorer, much more.

    If he was 23 scoring 30+ goals in any other league you’d likely be blowing smoke up his arse. Scottish football might be pony but the players that come from there graft, and the talented ones tend to be really good players, some outstanding.

  30. Marko

    If he was 23 scoring 30+ goals in any other league you’d likely be blowing smoke up his arse

    Right but it is Scotland and he’s still an idiot he literally just got a ban for gestering at opposition fans. Defoe has scored the same amount of league goals as him. It’s a poor league no doubt.

  31. Valentin


    How has he been this season in term of temperament?
    Because last season he was very volatile and easy to wind up.
    Good player, but looked like a red card in waiting which must have scared a lot of suitors.

  32. Carts

    I think he’s had a couple reds this season but nothing like yesteryear. That said, that’s already one too many reds for a CF

  33. Champagne charlie


    He’s public enemy number one in the whole of Scotland week in, week out. This season hasn’t been an issue in terms of temperament, he’s their star player at 23, goaded, kicked and wound up every single game, and he’s dealing with it superbly.

    He still has moments of frustration, but I’d have no reservations at all about him based upon that. Last season was a circus for him, Gerrard tore into him and this season he’s much, much improved. Scottish football is more aggressive and the officiating is dire at times, Morelos wouldn’t be subject to half the stuff he is in Scotland in the Prem.

    Marko, you’re doing your usual click, click on google and talking like you have a clue. You don’t watch Scottish football, and you openly deride and dismiss it.

  34. Tony

    Sums Ozil up perfectly, which I’m sure Arteta is only too painfully aware of.

    “IAN LADYMAN: Mikel Arteta will quickly learn that Mesut Ozil is a time-waster at Arsenal… it would be foolish to waste time trying to figure him out

    Mikel Arteta must try to coax the best from Mesut Ozil now he is Arsenal boss

    Arteta watched the Everton draw as Ozil was left out of the match day squad

    Many managers have taken different approaches with Ozil but all have struggled”

    “Ozil has always had the skills, the ability to see things that other players cannot, to play passes that others can’t imagine. But the rest of the stuff needed to survive and thrive in the Premier League? He has never been near it.”

    “But when Arteta analyses and dissembles all the damning traits, habits and frailties that have been allowed to fester at the Emirates over the last decade, it won’t take him long to realise they are all presented in one horrible, hopeless bundle by the bloke wearing number 10.”

    Sad but true indictments.

    Ozil will be a real test for Arteta but not one to waste time on as the previous 3 managers have done at Arsenal and RM.

  35. Marko

    Charlie it doesn’t matter if I watch Scottish football or not it’s a pile of shite league always has been. He’s scoring similar to Jermaine fucking Defoe ffs. Like I said if you’re so obsessed with nabbing a highly rated young striker shitting on defences in Scotland why not the younger one in Eduoard who’s not a complete wally? Unless it’s a Rangers thing?

  36. Champagne charlie


    There’s no obsession for anything, Gentlebris touted Morelos and I gave my two cents on him in tandem with a convo about Auba to Pedro.

    The fact you can say it doesn’t matter if you watch Scottish football (when judging a talent from Scotland) is just about the daftest thing I’ll read in some time and renders this whole exchange moot.

    You carry on googling the stats and I’ll be just fine conjuring an opinion having witnessed them on numerous occasions.

  37. Marko

    First off relax it’s not a big deal. Secondly I said obsession, though not in a serious way, because you’ve touted him before a few times. And I don’t need to watch Scottish football to know it’s shite. I also don’t need to watch football from Thailand or fucking South Africa to know the quality of football there is sub par. It’s funny you throw out “my opinion” like a school girl when it gets challenged but have no problems arguing with others when they suggest players. Again I ask if you want a striker signed from Scotland why not Eduoard?

    You know what don’t answer it don’t care that you think signing up a known idiot from rangers is a good idea it’s too late. Morelas..yeah real smart adding that cunt the mess that is Arsenal currently

  38. Champagne charlie


    The fact you disregard witnessing a player vs just reading their stats online speaks volumes.

    You’re right, doesn’t matter you’ve never seen Morelos play, he’s a ‘stupid cunt’ on your say-so. Can only hope to reach that enlightened level one day, what’s that? No I’ve never seen him play, but he’s wank on FIFA so hope he never comes to Arsenal. Legend.

  39. NW9 gooner

    Morellos is very good- I have seen him a few times and he has impressed- he is a team player and yet selfish enough as a goal scorer, a good replacement if actually Auba is going

  40. Tony

    “Atalanta 5-0 AC Milan: Josip Ilicic hits brace as visitors suffer joint-heaviest Serie A loss in Derby di Lombardia
    Atalanta thrashed AC Milan in their Serie A clash with Josip Ilicic striking twice
    Alejandro Gomez, Mario Pasalic and Luis Muriel were also on target for hosts
    Defeat was joint-heaviest ever in Serie A for the struggling visitors who sit 10th”

    Gazidis getting his Xmas karma.

  41. China1

    On paper you’d expect arteta to favourite Spanish players but I think he’s got more to him than that

    He spent almost his entire career in the UK so far as a player and a manager and even was in the Scottish league

    It’s hardly a hot take but smart money is on French prospects right now, though there are more than enough quality prospects from other nationalities out there if our scouting and recruitment is on point

  42. luke

    TonyDecember 23, 2019 05:31:47
    “Atalanta 5-0 AC Milan: Josip Ilicic hits brace as visitors suffer joint-heaviest Serie A loss in Derby di Lombardia
    Atalanta thrashed AC Milan in their Serie A clash with Josip Ilicic striking twice
    Alejandro Gomez, Mario Pasalic and Luis Muriel were also on target for hosts
    Defeat was joint-heaviest ever in Serie A for the struggling visitors who sit 10th”Gazidis getting his Xmas karma.

    Afraid he’ll be too busy counting his money to notice…

  43. Useroz

    About time we lend Gazadis some help for old time sake.

    Mustafi , Luiz to shore up defenders

    Xhara as a new mid field general

    Auba to win games

    Buy all as a bundle and we’d throw in Ozil.

    We’d even ship the goods to Italy for private viewing during Xmas…

  44. Useroz

    Leicester ain’t going to sell Ndidi in this league position.

    Surely there are more Ndidia to be uncovered in Ligue 1 or 2, no?

    Frankly Arteta needs several bruisers in mid field Skills not the top requirements, pace, physique and work rate will be.

  45. Sid

    Arsenal need top technical players, they are everything in football, they turn Adebar into the highest league scorer, giroud into a double digit scorer,

  46. Romford Pele

    Sid, spot on. The brunt of the team starts and stops with our midfield. We used to get away with so much dross defensively with players like Senderos, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy etc because our midfield used to dominate games so much it’d alleviate the work they’d have to do

  47. Valentin


    This is indeed silly season as Rodgers has already announced that none of the first team regulars will be allowed to leave during the winter TW.
    BTW, Leicester is more likely to accept £40 millions than £40 millions plus Xhaka who does not fit at all in their type of players: hungry, athletic, highly mobile.

  48. Countryboy


    As you have said, this is a multi cultural platform. Your posts are read all over the world. Like Arsenal, Le grove is an English brand with a worldwide following.

    But I feel affronted any time I see people throw out ethnic and national stereotypes when addressing contrary opinions. These things happen consistently and there are no warnings or repercussions for what is patently bad behavior.

    CC consistently throws out email fraud abuse on RH when there is no proof that the latter is a fraudster. If RH can take it, I cant (Oh, I am Nigerian, btw). We can disagree all day but I don’t think it right to abuse someone that way.

    He didn’t choose to be born in Nigeria just as you had no choice being born in Britain. If you dont fully grasp the enormity of what i am saying, get this:

    Why is racism abhorrent? Because you make judgment about people not because of the humanity they share with you but on the basis of the color of their skin. A SITUATION THEY HAVE NO SAY OVER.

    When a poster associates the bad state of the club to “third worlders”, without consequences, it sends out a message that some people can get away with certain things as long as they hold certain viewpoints.

    RH may not consistently similar views to yours, and he may not even be insulted by such abuse, but remember that there are a lot of people who come here, not to post, but just to read. A LOT THESE PEOPLE ARE HONEST HARDWORKING NIGERIANS. When you insult RH with national stereotypes because he disagrees with you, it means anytime I disagree with you, I am already an internet fraudster to you.

    The irony of it all is that some of the views CC, Pierre and Un hold are shared by many people in the “third world” because Arsenal is their passion not religion or nationality.

    The crazy thing is that there are many people here who are reverting what you guys call conservative ideologies because of the extremes of the woke generation. But when you see national/racial stereotyping being bandied about unhinged, you tend to understand why liberals tend to go overboard as supremacist views tend to be deep seated.

    Pedro, I am not accusing you of supporting racist behavior, but there should repercussions for bad behavior like this irrespective of how aligned the Arsenal views of that person are to yours.

    And for those who will accuse me of asking for “blog police” or bans for, I am sorry if you think that. All I am asking for is a blog where my race or nationality will not be used as a form of abuse.

  49. Champagne charlie

    “CC consistently throws out email fraud abuse on RH when there is no proof that the latter is a fraudster. If RH can take it, I cant (Oh, I am Nigerian, btw). We can disagree all day but I don’t think it right to abuse someone that way.“

    That’s as abusive as calling me a tea bag merchant, what a pathetic claim and an even more embarrassing stance to take by becoming offended in place of another.

    What’s your address? I’ll email you my apologies.

  50. PhD2020

    Bamford10December 22, 2019 14:51:11
    CG“Because since Wenger left- we have complete imbeciles running the show.”Sorry, but this is nonsense. Sanllehi and Edu are serious, intelligent, competent men. They may make a mistake or two — everyone does, even the best — but they are smart, ambitious guys, not imbeciles.
    I guess your bum chum-Ivan Lazidis was a highly intelligent and competent man also?

    How is Lazidis doing over at AC Milan in between?

    And why did he hot tail it, to Italy,as soon as Arsene Wenger left his trail of skid marks in his wake?

    Answers please?