A Christmas to remember (hopes)!

by .

Good morning one and all!

I wanted to wish you all Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah… whichever religious event you used to wish the festive delight of Mikel Arteta into the job this year.

I think we’ve really been gifted something special, footballing hope, a brighter future, a reason to wake up on a Saturday outside stupid family responsibilities and stuff.

Outside that, I wanted to thank you. Yes, you. For being here for the website this season. It’s been one of the toughest years to write about The Arsenal. We had the football Grinch in charge of a miserable operation, a certified joy-sucker, but you came here for the group therapy sessions, even during the darkest of 3 at the back moments.

You all made it worth it. This has been the best year for Gooners coming over for a read, more than ever have tuned in, which is quite the achievement considering the blogged word has been written off more times than a Charles-N’Zogbia-to-Arsenal transfer. The community has never been busier, we’re going to crush our record for daily comments by a margin this year, and I have to salute you, that’s a lot of hours you lot are burning at the expense of your nations productivity. We went hard at the podcasting this year, big thanks to everyone that took the time to join me on the show, particularly this season. Finally, a huge thanks to everyone that’s interacted with me this year, it’s been great fun to talk on e-mail, Twitter DM, IRL, even via LinkedIn.

What a moment for the fans in general. We all decided in unison it was time for a change, now we’re all backing the revolution of Mikel Arteta. 

So, in short, have a wonderful day. Send love from Le Grove, even if your family have no clue what this place is. Be good to everyone, especially the Spurs fans who also got what they deserved this year, they just don’t know it yet.

BIG LOVE, see you back here for a Boxing Day which has the gift of Mikel Arteta’s second debut!


P.S. Thanks to the Fokohaela lads for knocking this up for me. Happy Christmas!

173 Responses to “A Christmas to remember (hopes)!”

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  1. china1

    pierre don’t you think Arteta should be laying the groundwork for the future direction?

    Can Auba really become a good winger or are we just going to repeat last season’s antics of letting him play poorly on the wing and just banking on him to pop up with a random chance to take (which he probably will to his credit)

    we all see how poor the team is at creating chances, but the wingers and AM are the 3 most important players, as well as the fullbacks. Our Ams are mostly very young and not on the best of form, Ozil has unbelievable ability but doesn’t care and is on crap form, Pepe is still coming to terms with the league. That leaves the fullbacks and left winger as creative outlets. Saka is dangerous, as is Martinelli. Auba is not really for build up play because he’s a poor passer and lacks any special vision, finesse or ability to beat people and open up space for his team mates.

    Putting Auba on the wing just means Laca continues to get limited quality service from the left side like under Emery.

    Also if it’s true that we’re open to selling Auba then is there much point in dragging our left side down to shoehorn him in? Either play him where he’s most useful or cut your losses with him and let one of the kids get more playing time on the left imo…

  2. TallestTiz

    We complain when we sell our players below market rates. Yet we complain when the coach says position stuffs about the players which can in turn drive up their value

  3. Pierre

    “Surely after what’s gone on it would be much better to sell Xhaka and replace him, better for Xhaka , better for us and better for Arteta”

    The manager picks the team not the fans.

    As soon as arteta is swayed by fans opinion, as Emery was , that will be the death of him.

    A manager must, rightly or wrongly , stick to his beliefs.

  4. china1

    I was a big proponent of putting Auba on the wing to accommodate Laca 18 months back, but the reality is Auba is a championship standard winger with elite finishing ability

    we need to do better than that on our wings

  5. Unai

    “he will feel the full force of my tongue.”

    Way too early for that sort of vulgarity!

    Morning LeG, hope your all suffering from festive hangovers!

    Looking forward to today’s match, big question for me, if Ozil and Xhaka play today will they have the application and energy Arteta is looking for or will it be ine last drink in the last chance saloon?

    Need a win today accompanied by an improved performance!

  6. china1

    Pierre I also think you have this wrong ‘As soon as arteta is swayed by fans opinion, as Emery was , that will be the death of him.’

    1) Nobody is expecting Arteta to pick a lineup based exactly on what Jimmy from the clock end wants. As well, every fan wants something different so it’s not even possible.

    2) Xhaka has played poorly routinely for however many years now (4?) and he has also told the fans to fuck off and given a not very well received apology for it in his own language. This point isn’t even about fan appeasement but rather what Xhaka has Arteta been watching to make him think he’s so good that 90% of the fans can’t see? It shouldn’t be so hard for us to notice if Xhaka is quality, surely?

    3) since the issue with xhaka goes beyond ability/form and goes into disrespecting the fans etc, when the manager backs the player he is doing so at the expense of his relationship with the fans. If the manager will choose the side of the player, in such circumstances, he needs to get a clear improvement out of him to get the fans off his back, otherwise the fans will be more pissed off than ever. Losing the fans’ support is far more damaging to the manager than picking a different player to play DM.

    Again the xhaka case is special, it’s not just a random player the fans prefer to see dropped. Arteta will get some leeway to pick/drop whomever he likes generally speaking, but when you back the guy who the fans literally hate you put your own position under greater scrutiny (just look at 90% of the comments about Arteta since we saw those quotes on here…)

  7. CG

    Pepe Watch today.

    If he ain’t selected against the out of form and depleted Cherries- it will be the 3rd manager who has had a close look at him and decided he is Garbage.

    Mind you- I stated that before we purchased him. All flicks and tricks and no end substance.

    A stand in Harlem Globetrotter.

  8. Pierre

    Martinelli is possibly out injured.

    I think you’ll find that during our unbeaten run last season , Aubameyang played out wide on a regular basis with Lacazette up top(league games)
    And in the games that one or the other didn’t start , the team immediately improved when one or the other came on as substitute.

    Fulham away 5-1, Leicester at home 3-1 and Tottenham home 4-2 were all games that one or the other didn’t start but was transformed when they were back in partnership.

    So yes, for me , in a 4-2-3-1 they should start everytime because it works.

  9. Unai

    China, I agree with your sentiment but I think we need to give Arteta time and space to decide before applying pressure as fans.

    When I was in retail management a lot if my best performers had come from branches where they were seen as trouble or not good enough but in many cases they just needed the motivation to improve and show they were better, I regularly got told ‘he/she wont do this or that and will just cause problems ‘ but in most cases I generally improved my staff.

    That’s what Arteta needs to do, motivate, organise and improve his players, if hes a good a coach as we hope we should give him time to work on some of our ‘bad apples’

    Truth is Xhaka and Ozil are yet to let Arteta down so he needs to afford them the chance to prove us all wrong.

    It’s not like hes blessed with options either.

  10. Pierre

    Mustafi was booed by fans…dropped by Emery
    Xhaka was booed by fans …..dropped by Emery.

    And where did it get him …..sacked because the team didn’t improve and we are in our worst position for decades .

    The moral of the story is don’t listen to the fans.

    Personally, at this present time, I’d play Mustafi as I don’t think Luiz or Sokratis are playing with any confidence, though luiz had a decent game last week.

    Mustafi is our best defender in the air and is also dangerous in the opposition box.

  11. Thorough

    I’m literally shaking.
    Can’t wait to see Arteta’s lineup.
    It’s been ages I was this excited about Arsenal.
    We may be on page 2 of the league table but we’ve got Arteta.
    Let’s fuck shit up today.

  12. Pierre

    “China, I agree with your sentiment but I think we need to give Arteta time and space to decide before applying pressure as fans.”

    You said you agreed with china , then proceeded to give an opposite view to nearly everything he said .

    You may just as well said you agree with me ( difficult I know).

  13. Pierre

    Matches Aubameyang/ Lacazette played together up until December.

    Cardiff 2-3 Arsenal ..Aubameyang 1 goal, Lacazette 1. Mustafi

    Newcastle 1-2 arsenal..ozil 1, xhaka 1.

    Arsenal 2-0 Everton..Lacazette 1, Aubameyang 1.

    Arsenal 2- 0 Watford. OG 1, Ozil 1

    Fulham 1-5 Lacazette 2, Aubameyang 2, Ramsey 1

    Arsenal 3-1 Ozil, Aubameyang 2

    Palace 2-2 Arsenal xhaka 1, Aubameyang 1

    Arsenal 1-1 liverpool..Lacazette

    Arsenal 1-1 wolves Mhkitaryan 1

    Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham Aubameyang 2, Lacazette 1, Torreira 1.

    Ten games ….15 goals for Aubameyang/ Lacazette playing in a predominantly 4-2-3-1 system tells it’s own story as to whether it works playing them as a partnership.

  14. Pierre

    “, but when you back the guy who the fans literally hate you put your own position under greater scrutiny (just look at 90% of the comments about Arteta since we saw those quotes on here…)”

    Le Grove is the exception not the rule.

    Most fans do not hate Xhaka, they are much more sensible and logical compared to Le Grovellers.

    Most recognise that he is not elite but also recognise that he is a decent player who always gives 100% on the pitch and until we bring in someone who is elite , he is probably the best we have to play alongside Torreira at this present time( if that is how Arteta is going to use him).

  15. Edu me a favour

    I thought xhaka had. A good game against Everton. Perhaps Artetas words of warning have made him buck his ideas up this last week or so , we’ll soon find out , I don’t really care about his relationship with the fans , I just want to win.

    if xhaka can improve and become important then I’m all for it , if he can’t then get him out. Same with the rest of the squad.

    Arteta already stated from the off that the whole squad has a clean slate – so why should we be surprised to hear of these comments about xhaka ?

    It’s up to him to play well. If he doesn’t he’s out – I firmly believe that.

    Arteta has put his list of non negotiable items forward so he has to live by them now , which I have no doubt that he will.

  16. Pierre

    Will just add , to also prove a point , is that Mustafi played in all of those unbeaten games that I highlighted earlier , as did xhaka , and ozil started 8 of the ten games.

    Mustafi, ozil , xhaka , the 3 hate figures that did more for the team than anyone in the unbeaten run , along with the 2 players Aubameyang/ Lacazette who supposedly cant play together.

    I say to Arteta ,be your own man and ignore any outside influences.

  17. Graham62

    What are the two things you want to see happen/improve over these next few weeks?

    For me, it’s an improvement in our movement( speed around the pitch) and our ability to pass more proactively. No more of this sideways/backwards philosophy and definitely a more dynamic progression starting from Leno/Martinez and our cumbersome defence.

    We have to give Arteta space to work on things. Emery stagnated the system with his insistence on focusing too much on the opposition, rather than what we could do to cause them problems.

    I’m looking forward to today’s game.

  18. Edu me a favour

    “” I say to Arteta ,be your own man and ignore any outside influences.””

    Agree and I think he’ll do just that – he knows what he wants and if he doesn’t get it he’ll make the changes needed when he can

    If he can get the ‘3 hate figures’ playing well then who can argue ? I certainly won’t. If we’re Winning with those guys and winning convincingly , no one can knock that.

  19. Nelson

    Auba is down tooling. I have the feeling that he wants out.

    I hope that today’s game will give us an idea what system Arteta wants to use. It is important for the players to build up the chemistry and practice the same system every game.

    I still think that EPL should give the players 24 to 26 Dec off for their families to enjoy X’mas. That’s what we did in NHL.

  20. Frank

    Happy holidays to you, your brother, father and the resat of your family. Let me know next time you are in New York. I’ll buy you lunch. Warning though, I am cheap. it would be the depression era special at Papaya King.