Robbed, but the future is bright.

by .

Arsenal frittered away another 3 points against a top 6 side when they were downed by two late Chelsea goals. The result is very disappointing, the way it went down was very us, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many fans in that ground that weren’t happy with the way things are moving.

When it came down to it, there were some very fair mitigating circumstances the new manager was dealing with. We were missing Granit Xhaka, say what you will about him, he starts in this midfield. We were missing 3 full backs, plus Holding, Ceballos and Gabriel. That’s 7 players, which is a crisis. Then when we lost Cal Chambers, who was having a great game, and had to replace him with the absolutely dreadful Mustafi, well, you’re always going to struggle.

Both goals we conceded were very poor. I think the context, outside our limited set of players, was the amount of effort we were putting in. The players simply haven’t worked at that sort of level for a very long time, after 45 minutes, the energy levels noticeably dropped. In the second half that meant the players started to defend a lot deeper, which gave space for Chelsea to roam. We gave up our first goal from a hideous Bernd Leno error, he came racing out of his goal for a one-handed swipe at a cross, he missed, Jorginho was in at the back post for a finish he didn’t know much about. He’s been our best player this season, you just don’t expect that.

I don’t like to complain about reffing standards, but there’s no way Jorginho should have been on the pitch. In general, the tactical fouling on the halfway line was ignored by the ref for most of the day… arguably, if we’d been street smart enough, we’d have engaged in some of it for the second goal. Matteo G went for a header he was never going to win, he should have been sitting far deeper in my opinion, which is something I have no doubt will be fixed. Chelsea were allowed to run at us, Luiz and Mustafi dropped, and dropped, and dropped, the ball switched wide, Abrahams didn’t have Mustafi tight, he turned and put it past Leno. A shoddy piece of defending, but look, we’re not going to shake that in 2 weeks.

If there was a criticism to be had, I think it was about making aggressive subs a little earlier. Lacazette and Nelson weren’t offering much, I think there was a limited case to made that we could have brought on Pepe or John-Jules to bring more energy to the frontline. That said, when Pepe did come on, to watch and £80m winger spurn a chance because he couldn’t shift it onto his correct foot was quite depressing. Jules, well, an unknown quantity for a big game.

If we go to the first half, there was a lot more to be happy about. Firstly, the atmosphere is directly linked to what the fans are seeing on the pitch. We are energised by the efforts of the players, it’s fair to say the fans were buzzing for a large part of the game. Even after the game, there weren’t any boos, everyone respected the fight on show.

Arsenal were very compact. It was very refreshing to see our defenders a lot further up the pitch, people knew their positions, everyone was putting in a shift. I thought this new attitude was typified by the selfless performance of Auba. He held a very wide position all game and he actually tracked runners. A lot of people constantly rattle off the ‘not that sort of player’ line… well, Mesut Ozil and our best fox in the box are doing yards and making tackles now.

There wasn’t a whole lot of creation in the first half, but I think the purpose was more about containing Chelsea and nicking a goal where possible. Building from a solid foundation is what we’ve asked for over the years, we know we don’t need a lot of chances because we have elite finishers, so it was an interesting game from that purview.

I also thought we were very good in possession, again, it didn’t lead to much, but the passing in general was unrecognizable at times. We were seeing a different team that could move the ball out of the back fluidly, and shift the ball between the lines with relative ease. Chelsea were mostly chasing shadows for that opening 45, but what I loved is that were starting to reap the rewards of good off the ball positioning… Chelsea players were ratttled into making unforced errors just by where our players were positioned. Not perfect by any means, but you could see that we were difficult to attack.

Our goal came from a George Graham inspired setpiece. Cal Chambers, who is a beast in the air, nodded on for Auba at who was hunting in the box. It really was a shame he limped off with what looked like a serious injury.

A lot of people lay the genius of Chelsea at Frank Lampard’s feet when he switched Chelsea to a back 4 and brought on Jorginho. I’m not sure that was the difference-maker, I think Arsenal running out of steam was. When you’re tired, your body defaults… as a team, we defaulted to habits that Arteta hasn’t fully dealt with yet.

The game finished, but there were no boos. That was a heartening performance from a depleted team that’s about 2 weeks into a journey. We felt robbed, a bad feeling, but I didn’t expect to feel like that considering the circumstances. That’s a good sign.

I’m positive, I know most will expect me to be, but I think I’ve seen enough to know we’re heading in the right direction.

Arteta has taken over Arsenal in a chaotic fixture pile-up, with a broken squad, and very little confidence.

We’re seeing a huge amount of effort already. I read some people pondering whether Arsenal are capable of playing with intensity… absolutely. We’ve been playing with the handbrake on for well over a year, Arteta isn’t pushing Arsenal players to unachievable levels of effort, he’s bringing them up to a normal standard. It’s going to take time. We have a World Cup winning S&C coach who will be frontline shaping our intensity, we will be fine.  Key thing for me, I was unsure if Arteta would be able to motivate players to push themselves to breaking point, he can, that’s good news.

The players are responding well. I thought Luiz had an immense game, Torreira is playing like a proper DM, and Mesut Ozil has turned up for the second game in a row, Auba is defending, and AMN is looking very solid.

David Luiz had this to say.

“For me he will be one of the best coaches in the world,” Luiz said.

“I am lucky to have have had many good coaches in my career, he is intelligent, he is clever and I think he will be one of the best.

Sure, I can take that with a pinch of salt, but no one was saying this about Emery. My point here again is that the players are showing you they believe in Arteta with the effort, but they are saying they believe in his ideas, which is even more important. It takes time to learn a new way of playing. It took Klopp and Pep a while to bed in the way they wanted to play, it’ll take Mikel a while, but you’re seeing good signs.

I’m also positive that the manager can raise the level of the squad. We have good players, saying we don’t is lazy, it’s also usually peddled by people that liked Emery. We matched Chelsea fairly comfortably with 7 players missing, with a brand new manager… they’re 5 months into their project with a fully fit squad. We haven’t had proper fullbacks for two games, even the addition of Kola will help. Holding is going to be immensely welcome when he joins, a ball-playing centre back with athleticism. I’m sure Arteta will draw more from Ceballos and I’m pretty sure Martinelli is exactly the mould of player he wants in his side.

The second part of having fit players is being able to select from a bench. A lot of criticism was levelled for his subs yesterday, but really, how many game-changing options did he have? Pepe can’t get a start ahead of Nelson, we can keep hoping he’s the real deal, but all logical indicators point to him not being that player right now.

We’ve also lost our ‘ex-captain’ to Hertha Berlin. 1) This is his level 2) We will have to replace him. Hopefully we find someone with the power and pace he lacked. They also need to be able to pass. That signing needs to be a game-changer, there has to be a good plan there.

Results have to come, they will come, but there need to be a level of realism. We’re in the most intense part of the season with a new manager who is having to communicate most of his ideas in meetings and one on ones. Still, we’re seeing the beginnings of an identity, which is what we all wanted. The players are fighting for the club, something we’ve not seen for years. Fans in the stadium are backing the approach, lots of positive sentiment during and after the game. Good things will come, the next 6 weeks will be rough, but we are moving towards something very exciting.

Right, see you all in the comments. x


457 Responses to “Robbed, but the future is bright.”

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  1. DM

    “we know we don’t need a lot of chances because we have elite finishers”

    I don’t think this has been true for quite some time, unfortunately (not that we don’t have elite finishers, but we def need plenty of chances because we miss more than our fair share)

  2. Ishola70


    Your post is full of contradictions.

    You tell us Xhaka was a big miss in the team but then you go on to say that Arsenal in the first half were “unrecognisable” in regards their passing and moving the ball more fluidly. Basically quicker and more direct.

    I wonder why they were “unrecognisable” in these aspects?

    Mourning the loss of Xhaka in this game is classic fans grasping on to anything to dismiss the defeat.

    Blaming defeats on missing players is nothing new though is it.

  3. NJ Gunner

    Thank you Pedro.

    I don’t know whether to focus on the bad decisions, the bad play of Leno and especially Mustafi, or the bright future.

    So I will focus on making the first eleven for a second day running.

  4. Marc

    A major concern I do have is how will the players physically recover for Wednesday night?

    We don’t have many options to rotate either, another poor result even if performances are improving will begin to be a “thing”.

    A win and some movement in the transfer market will bring some welcome relief all round.

  5. Ray in LA

    If we build on the improvements that we saw yesterday, I will be very heartened

    Auba was terrific…an inspiring lead-by-example performance

    Exploiting our early dominance better and the game could have been out of reach at half time and Chelski too demoralized to mount their comeback

    But, agreed, lots to be done

  6. Cesc Appeal

    You’re being far too kind to Arteta.

    What you said about positives was spot on, but you kind of skipped over a lot of negatives yesterday which I do hope you’re not going to do for the entirety of Arteta’s tenure.

    He didn’t react to clear fatigue and Chelsea taking ridiculous levels of control over the game as if this was a Carabao Cup game for them…it was that one sided in the second half after about the 60th minute. He also never seemed to react to Lampard sending on Jorginho and a lot of our good work ended when Chelsea evened up the men in midfield.

    He has to learn from that. I kept looking at the clock and wondering when he was going to change things because it was basically hunker down from 60 minutes onward. The comparison yesterday with Lampard making a tactically substitution and formation switch in the 30 something minute was telling.

    That will likely improve with time. But still, can’t just hold your hand over your eyes and pretend it didn’t happen.

    At least player poverty (bit of an extreme word) is being recognised now and that the club have to add some athletic, physically dominant players into the squad.

  7. Victorious

    Chavs didn’t dominate shit until Leno’s brain fart happened We naturally had to sit back and wait for the counter as the players were physically sacked after the first half effort Simply put without the Leno howler we would have easily seen out the winThat first performance was unreal though, we totally outplayed Chelsea playing some orgasmic football, we could have added a second if we didn’t have a very average ST in LacaOne thing is though clear Arteta is a wonderful hire and time will prove as much

  8. Micheal

    Mightily encouraged by the first half performance and the positive rection by the fans. But this will be like travelling by train these days – we’ll get there in the end, but it will take longer than we expected.

  9. CG


    “””Robbed, but the future is bright””””

    What with Raul in charge of transfers?

    Edu in charge of the Teck Decking.?

    With Steve Round coaching us?

    With no money to spend because of FFP?

    With David Luiz?

    With KSE?

    With VAR?

    With us sitting in 12th ?

    Dont look too bright to me…
    Look very dark.

    Sure we have some glove wearing youngsters coming through- but then so does every club in the land.

    Maybe the brightness would reappear if the idiots who have overseen our total collapse- paid the price with their jobs?

    And we employed people who know what they are doing…..

    When Raul arrived Arsenal we were 5th and had money in the bank.

    We are now 12th and the money has gone.

    How can the Head of Football Operations still be in his post after such a demolition job….?

  10. Danny

    Lampard’s tactics for the game were to foul us constantly. Chelsea have one of the lowest averages for fouls in the league but yesterday they committed nearly 20 which is the average per match for 2 teams! They were a bloody disgrace and ruined the game, yes they got the 3 points but it was awful to watch. Fuck them.
    As for us, we wont go down, there must be at least 3 teams shittier than us, but we of course wont get top 4 or the europa cup place. Arteta should go hard on the europa cup and the FA cup, he has nothing to lose. I actually think it would do us some good to spend a season out of europe, look how its benefited Leicester this season and in the season they won the league.

  11. Gonsterous

    The real question should be, why was martinelli not in the squad yesterday?
    I get it, he’s Brazilian and not used to the weather, but it’s not like we are going to use him for 90mins.
    Should have bought him on for laca in the 60th min, when it was clear that laca was having a mare,
    Then when we needed to pin back chelsea’s defence, should have bought on pepe, who even if he doesn’t score, would have kept the chelsea defence on their toes and not been so adventurous.
    Those 2 were on arteta, the leno and mustafi error are the players fault.

    So yesterday’s loss is equally on the manager as it is on the players, but I like what arteta is bringing to team, so he should get a pass this season (avoid relegation) and start anew next season.

  12. Micheal

    “With no money to spend because of FFP?”


    We have no money to spend because the sleaze-bag Kroenke does not invest in Arsenal. FFP is only part of the issue. The real problem is that Kroenke has never invested a cent in Arsenal and shows no sign of changing. I hope I am wrong, but don’t bank on it.

  13. Dissenter

    Auba and Ozil are not going to sustain that frenetic energy for too long.
    Arteta has to be careful not to break players that may be key to protecting his job. Too many players appeared stretched to breaking point already.
    It’s just a friendly word of caution. Players can be broken, We can’t play United the same way we played Chelsea.

  14. Vegas Gooner

    The way we lost should never have happened. Jorghino should have been sent off much earlier – we have var canceling out goals because a toe was offside then why can’t it be used to let the ref know a bookable foul has occurred. But that aside, a howler from Leno and poor defending let us down.
    On a brighter note, it was refreshing to see the midfield not passing the ball back to Leno.

  15. CazOnARola

    First time commenter.
    I think the players physical abilities are going to be capped for a while till we chsnge the squad.
    Arteta ‘s decision is to expend most of the energy in the first half of games vs soaking and saving for a late charge.

    Both approaches are used by top coaches for different games, so it will be interesting to see what he decides for the 4th game in about 12 days with so many injuries.

    I highly doubt the same players would be able to put the same kind of effort for even the first 60 min vs United.

    Will be very interesting to see his team selection vs united, especially MF and Forwards.

  16. Ishola70


    “He didn’t react to clear fatigue and Chelsea taking ridiculous levels of control over the game as if this was a Carabao Cup game for them”

    Good point.

    The game was reminiscent as you say of a cup match where the underdogs give it to the favourites in the first half and then decide to keep what they have and are eventually reeled in and lose by being basically “dominated” for most of the second half.

    Are Chelsea that good this season to have such a scenario?

  17. Dissenter

    It’s ding discussed already but a quick fix could have been to man mark Jorghino the second half.
    Arteta’s in game management needs to improve. Hopefully he’s a quick learner.

  18. Victorious

    I think the players were physically gutted after the chavs match,they all knew they deserved something from the game, I hope that anger spur them on against United

    If they put half the effort I think Arteta will get his first win

  19. Champagne charlie

    The resident Swiss stalker doing his mid morning stretches on the subject.

    I agree with your take Pedro, it seemed apparent to me that after the 60 minute mark the team were sitting deeper in fear of holding onto a win they’ve not had for some time (1/15), but also because the legs were going. These are things that time and repetitions take care of.

    Ceballos is hopefully someone to show another level under Arteta because we missed a player capable of getting on the ball and finding an incisive pass second half to release pressure and get us up the pitch. We got a bit stuck it seemed to me.

    Xhaka is done at Arsenal, but there’s good reason why Arteta doesn’t want to lose him in Jan. He’s a player who needs replacing, there’s much more comfort in selling a Mustafi where there’s options at the club. CM is light as is, losing your best passer and looking to play a possession based progressive game is counterintuitive. Rabiot might be an option, but if there isn’t one available then selling Xhaka only weakens our attempts at a EL win.

  20. NT

    In a game of such high intensity, we need to start with our quality, experienced front three, when they are all available. We could have killed the game in the first half if we had started with that combination. Arteta made a mistake by starting inexperienced Nelson ahead of Pepe, and bringing on Pepe very late in the game. The likes of Mourinho, Ole and Klopp don’t joke with a game like that; they use their best XI. I remember, Wenger’s last game in charge at Antfield; he made a catastrophic blunder by removing Bellerin from right back and using him as a left-wing back — a position he had never played until that day — and we were thrashed 5-1. Apart from Martinelli, we should bring on our recent academy graduates when the game is secure.

  21. Wasi

    So many positives again but no points to show for it unfortunately.
    Shoutout to Luiz, Torreira, Ozil who imo had very good games. Auba and Nelson were also very positive and Amn.
    Many people will righlty criticise Leno for the first goal but I think equal blame has to go to Lacazette and Auba and I think somewhat to Arteta.
    Lacazette’s gas was over at 75-80 mins. It was Laca who lost the ball very easily in our own half and then went out to foul the Chelsea man in a dangerous area. He has to limit the numbers of fouls he concedes imo. Whenever he goes in for a tackle I get the feeling he is gonna give away a foul.
    Then when the set piece is taken Torreira flopped with minimal contact. Torreira has made a habit of going to ground whenever he is even touched and I think thats what happened in our own box. During set-pieces and corners the refs usually do allow more contact than in open play. Had Torreira not flopped there the goal could have been prevented.
    So all in all it was 3 players making silly individual mistakes cost us the first goal.
    Maybe Arteta could have subbed off Laca at the 80 minute mark but he didn’t really have a viable option on the bench to do so. So you cant put a lot of blame in him. He is showing a lot of faith in Laca and he needs to repay it in the next match. Also Lacazette could again have had a goal himself but he fluffed it.

    Second Goal was through and through our ol’ friend Mustafi. I thought he was having a good game up until then. He clashed is head early on and was still defending very bravely. For the second goal you could see Mustafi trying to go towards Tammy when the ball was in their half and then backed off. First mistake.
    Second mistake was giving Tammy acres of space to turn and shoot in the six yard box.

    We were very good in the first half and the overall defensive display was positive. Conceded goals through individual mistakes which are rectifiable.

    Ozil was having a blinder in the first half when we were keeping the ball well and playing on the front foot.
    Chambers again proved his worth. The difference his presence made to the team was made starkly clear when Mustafi came on for him. Keeper.
    Luiz was Massive yesterday. Massive.
    Auba is smiling again. And when he smiles he scores.Is such a big asset. Is also not the type of striker who will score 3 goals in 1 game and then nothing in the next 4. Constantly keeps chipping in which is imo th better type of striker.
    Torreira had a wonderful game but I find him equally culpable for the first goal. Still a 7/10 for me.
    Guendouzi was not good not bad imo. Needs to improve his decision making imo. The tug on Tammy wasnt clever. And he has been making such poor decisions for some time now.

    Xhaka missed th game in mysterious circumstances. The club didnt mention his illness in the pre game report . And then Arteta comes out and says he has been ill since the Bournemouth game. Fishy. Hopefully we have a season changing replacement lined up. Who would you guys get to replace Xhaka?

    Who’s the world cup winning S&C coach ?

  22. Major_Jeneral

    Apparently Arsenal need new reinforcements. The moment chambers was injured it was only a matter of time before Chelsea had the breakthrough.

    What Luiz did in the first half was quite okay for a defender so far he connected with the ball to clear it out. We have have players from other teams(including Chelsea yesterday) defend or clear ball physically like Luiz did and fans have advocated Arsenal do the same. Rather than dilly dallying on the ball, the players ought to be smart about it. Kante on one ocassion also went hard for the ball but didn’t connect smartly with it and he got a yellow for it.

    There was no doubt the game was very aggressive and physical. And due to the fact we have injuries and we played almost the same team that played Bournemouth 48hrs ago it was only a matter of time before the arsenal player run out of physical exhaustion.

    In order to prevent further injuries or over use, i think it will be a welcome idea to start players like Jules or mavropanos if they are up for it against Manutd. I mean What else could go wrong?

  23. CG


    “”””We have no money to spend because the sleaze-bag Kroenke does not invest in Arsenal””””

    I give you he is a Sleaze Bag.

    But money has been spent on utter, utter trash( our money not his- granted)

    Tierney- 30m
    Saliba 30 m ( jury still out)
    Pepe 72 m
    Cebolla 10 mi
    Luiz 8 mill
    Paying off Clown and his 9 Goons

    160 million not including wages.

    Astronomical amounts and we have won one match in 15 attempts.

    And the Head of Football Operations is not feeling the Heat?

    He will buy another load of gash in January too.

    Suarez or Lich anyone?

  24. Cesc Appeal


    Interestingly when teams sit back Chelsea tend to struggle which might be worrying. When they go all at them Chelsea tend to do better as has been pointed out on here numerous times.

    Perhaps it was a tactic (being very kind) but the amount of last ditch tackles, blocks and headers suggests to me it was bad tactic particularly given this Arsenal side.

    In that sense then given Pedro’s fart-like quick and hidden mention of xG in his post was this any different to Emery? Elite finishing and then just hold on and ride your luck a bit?

    As Dissenter says we’ve seen Aubameyang charge around like this before under Emery but it doesn’t last.

    I like the compactness, the pressing was better and the passing was certainly more positive. There are grounds for optimism but certainly there are a lot of grounds for bucket loads of caution as well.

  25. Ishola70

    All that can be said about yesterday’s match really is we hope Arteta can build on the first half display seen yesterday.

    And do Arsenal need it.

    As someone pointed out there are only two teams in the EPL at present who have less wins than Arsenal this season and they are in the bottom two places.

    Mucky Burnley and mucky Dyche have two more wins than Arsenal this season, Brighton and Southampton have more wins than Arsenal at present. And this is before we get to teams like Crystal Palace, Everton and Newcastle.

    We need win Mikel. Win.

  26. Victorious

    Arteta either don’t trust his bench much or has gotten a leaf from the Wenger’s book of late subs

    Bournemouth and now Chavs are games where he really seemed on not making a sub or at best very late subs


  27. Nelson

    With all the criticism on Nelson, he is improving. He has delivered a few crosses right on the money. Unlike Chelsea, our #9 couldn’t finish all the chances presented to him.

    AMN is also improving.

    The same cannot be said of Guen and Saka. Guen still needs a lot of coaching. You can see the difference between him and Torr in the midfield. Torr released the ball fast with purpose. He tackled with efficiency. Guen ran around with limited effect both offensively and defensively..

    I don’t want to criticize Saka. Left back is not his position. But an experienced LB could have done somethings for both goals. For the first one, he was ball watching and didn’t defend his position. For the second one, he ran back but didn’t know how to help out the two CB’s. But I think his future is bright.

    Pepe is still disappointing. We should have introduced him while we were leading. There were a lot of space for counter. The problem is, can he help out defending. Arteta has a big task in his hand regarding Pepe.

  28. Micheal

    “I give you he is a Sleaze Bag. But money has been spent on utter, utter trash( our money not his- granted)”

    We all agree that AFC has spent badly over the past few years. No question. But all the funding has been self-generated by the club.

    I repeat, the owner has not invested a cent in OUR club. He is not fit to be involved in the club.

  29. Ishola70


    tbh I am wary as well that this level of pressing that we saw in the first half will be sustained over the longer period.

    It may be the case that we will need player turnover to reach that level of consistency in this aspect down the stretch and in the future.

  30. Major_Jeneral

    Arteta needs to find a way for the team to know how to win a game asap despite all the problems. They need the winning mentality.

  31. Ishola70


    Arteta has never talked about being a “progressive possession ” side.

    What he has talked about is fast flowing football.

    It seems this is more your fixation than Arteta’s.

  32. Dissenter

    I hate to be a wet blanket here
    Can we just be mindful that’s it’s a 90 minute sport so harping only being great for the first 25 minutes of the match is meaningless.
    Arteta is a young manager, He’s still in the phase of learning as much as he is teaching. I hope he learned a lot from the loss.
    There has to be other dimensions to a game other than the starting plan. He didn’t demonstrate any executive function after Lampard made his big move.
    Fate tied his hands too I have to admit. Had Chambers nit gotten injured who knows what may have happened.
    Hope Arteta learned a lot from the game.

  33. Jonathan

    If you recall, when Pochettino took over at Spurs they weren’t managing to last 90mins. They were flagging by 35, had halftime and were flagging by 70. Very much like Arsenal yesterday. The intensity is up, far too high for the fitness, but that will come. The movement is much more fluid and the formations are balanced. Covering runners, looking for space, all take energy. If Arteta can continue on this upward curve then the board have, belatedly, made a very good decision.

  34. Wasi

    Nelson definitely improved from his Bournemouth performance. Dribbled well and with purpose. Also was a good pressure release in the second half until he got tired that is. Maybe right sided attacker is Nelson’s best position. Arsene used to play him there too. But Emery always deployed Nelson on th left side. Here he would always try to receive between the lines and try to make play instead of using his burst of Speed to go past defenders which he is doing very well on the right wing. Also Wenger continuosly reiterated that Nelson is very good in 1v1s . And going by the performance against Chelsea he also seems to have a bright future .
    Amn also played quite well.

  35. Dissenter

    Torriera isn’t built for the English game
    He’s always going to the ground because he can’t handle the physicality and should have done better against Joghino.
    You would think the club would have worked in his strength conditioning over the past year. It’s nit like he was Marking Andy Carroll, Joghino shouldn’t be too hard to mark.

  36. Induct14

    I was effectively encouraged by what I saw. We the fans only need to get be patient with both the coaches and the players. Yes of course except Mustafi

  37. Useroz

    Can’t agree more about the prolonged lack of brutes ( good ones of course) in the team that has plagued our results.

    Physical and aggression aside we have fuck all aerial abilities in/ beyond MF and renders long ball useless practically.

    Doesn’t exonerate Leno’s consistently slow and poor distributions though he did more long kicks yesterday.

    Youth teams are not going to solve the physique issue. The few tall kids aren’t big just lanky and probably brushed aside in PL games. And yes it’s a Wenger legacy problem that takes time to eradicate.

    Guendouzi is the tall lanky type with no strength. Hope his football brain is as smart as his look! Or would be another kid to cash in when stock is high. Fast money for Arteta to buy those fit for purpose.

    If Xhara left with no realistic replacements that would be criminal. May be Arteta knows something we don’t when he says he urges Xhara to stay…. Xhara still better than guendouzi atm

    Unless we tap into cash reserve seriously need to consider offloading as many as possible to generate much needed funds to buy in January. The squad can’t wait till summer. Even some retuning from injuries should be sold eg Kolac, Sok. It’s difficult but must tidy up loose ends like Elneny and Mikhi. Time for Raul to earn his mega wages surely?!

    By all means use Ceballos but don’t buy. You can’t coach physique and pace.

    If nothing else must get a minimum two in; buy or loan don’t care. Ideally 2x MF and 1xCB. Take stock and regroup in summer.

    Like some say here we aren’t built to scrap for relegation battles and we aren’t far away. Nothing is impossible esp with the mental strength of this lot.

    God forbids if we were in a worse position comes Feb, I bet most of the players would be calling their agents…. Arteta may need to think about registering himself as a player manager!

  38. Cesc Appeal

    Hertha Berlin apparently want to loan Xhaka until the end of the season with a £26 Million obligation to buy.

    If they want that deal push them to £30 Million. Money off if they offer to buy now.

  39. Cesc Appeal

    The club have to give Arteta someone like Partey or Zakaria in January. An athletic brute with a great engine but also tidy general play.

  40. Dissenter

    United have an exciting young striker too in Mason Greenwood. He’s so good that losing Harland wouldn’t have felt so bad.
    United seem like a more difficult team to beat. Expect the same struggles with United at home.

  41. Champagne charlie


    You don’t think Arteta wants a possession based side? That’s cute, guess he means something else when he says he “wants the ball”.

  42. Graham

    Two games in even with the benefit of new manager bounce we are five points down on Emery in the same two fixtures last season.

    Two shots on target in his first two games. What was Emery’s average?

    Huge upgrade.

    Pick a manager who was captain when Wenger had lost all direction and you get a Wenger clone.

  43. Cesc Appeal

    Adding Upamecano and Partey/Zakaria in January would drastically improve our chances.

    If we can negotiate the sales of Xhaka, Lacazette, Elneny and Mkhitaryan either with money in January or delayed until the summer we should be able to pull it off.

    The club cannot keep on keeping the core of this failure of a squad and trying to tack on pieces.

  44. Wasi

    Sounds right. And with and obligation to buy at the end of season we can take 26-30 mil out of the reserves to invest in the current window and put it back when the Xhaka money is paid. Xhaka needs to be binned and replaced with a better player.

  45. Dissenter

    Mustafi showed great courage and commitment yesterday
    He has to get a reprieve because he didn’t stop heading the ball alter his head injury. He stayed and played on.
    If Leno got a pass then so should he. We are still going to need him going forward, as scary as that may seem.

  46. CG

    Great post Dis

    Not sychphantic , cheerleading twaddle.

    I like Arteta , a lot.

    But he has to remember he ain’t Pep nor has Peps unlimited resources.

    You crank up the the work ethic too much with this absurd pressing nonsense and the consequences will be injuries to Martinelli and Chambers.

    Most games are won in the last 15 minutes- so you need to be at your optimum then.

    Think Wenger and all those late ,late goals and cup finals in May – when we were the fittest team in England

  47. Emiratesstroller


    I have no issue with our performance in the first half of yesterday’s game. The
    team were better organised than in recent games.

    Also we are short of personnel with 3 full backs, 2 centre backs [ with Chambers now also injured and 2 experienced midfielders [Xhaka and Ceballos] also missing.

    As I wrote yesterday Arteta was not to blame in any way for outcome.

    However, our performance declined in second half and our defence was as
    usual brittle.

    I am also very concerned about Leno’s performance. His distribution and kicks are very poor and he is putting defence constantly under pressure.
    Yesterday he was at fault also for both goals conceded.

    The reality remains the same. Our team/squad is poor and the club has made in my view serious errors in judgment in its transfer and academy programmes in recent years. The owner and board needs to take responsibility for this.

    Whilst I don’t believe that we will be relegated this season I do believe that
    this team would be vulnerable to that happening if we were on the borderline
    at end of season, because I do think that we lack mental toughness.

  48. Cesc Appeal


    Partey is my top choice as well.

    Just wonder whether he would be interested? Perhaps wage incentives to get him.

    He was Emery’s top CDM choice in the summer. Exactly what we need.

    Upamecano also has some issues as a CB but he’s still very young for a CB and really his on the ball work is very good and that is going to be a necessity in Arteta’s very City like style.

    If there’s the potential to get Upamecano and Partey for £80-85 Million then the club has to do whatever it can.

  49. Thomas

    Tear it down and start over


    All out

  50. habesha gooner

    Pedro you have been banging on about arteta before anyone. But Some of us including me were sceptical. If he gets a couple of wins on his belt things will look a lot more rosier. I have been impressed with him so far. If mustafi and Leno didn’t go brain dead for moments and the likes of willock and lacazette took their chances the news and perception of the whole game would look a lot different. If he wins 2 out of 3 of the next games we will see an upturn in form.

  51. Cesc Appeal


    Completely agree.

    That’s money you know is coming.

    Just a question of how that settles with the rules of spending and fiscal years etc.

  52. Ishola70

    Champagne charlie
    “You don’t think Arteta wants a possession based side? That’s cute, guess he means something else when he says he “wants the ball”

    Of course teams that aim for the top have to have some form of possession capabilities.

    But you seem obsessed by it.

    You like to go on about “control” a lot. How does “control” coincide with fast and flowing?

    And the whole world knows that Arteta stated he wished to see in his side fast and flowing football.

  53. Emiratesstroller

    One further point which needs to be made.

    I do not doubt that the Kroenke family has a commitment to the club’s wellbeing but the fact is that they seem to lack the background and knowledge to run successfully a European/English Football Club.

    That has been blindingly obvious since they took control of the club. I think that most people now recognise that that the club is not well run.

  54. Rich

    More nonsense from Pedro, who’s just looking to confirm his biases.

    No team covered more ground than Unai Emery’s Arsenal in the PL last season.

    Spurs were second, who covered just under 12km less.

  55. Pedro

    Rich, clubs look at sprints and intensity. Distance covered doesn’t really cut it. Arteta even said that yesterday, no point in running for the sake of it. Work smart.

  56. Graham62

    Forrest Gump syndrome comes to mind.

    Keep running, but where are you running to.

    Question: What has happened to Matt Macey?

    Whenever I saw him play, looked the real deal.

  57. Paulinho

    The second goal was typical Arsenal for the last few months and decade. Have the ball in a good position high up the pitch, throw in a hopeful cross to a no-hoper (Willock) that Chelsea deal with and, in contrast to us,they attack with pace and conviction to score the winner. Rinse and repeat.

    It seems like we are never going to rid ourselves of this naive and weak way of playing the game, and it will carry on as long as we continue to churn out gormless youngsters, and buy limited experienced players whose flaws always seem to exposed trying to step up due to lack of general team quality and playing with youngsters out of their depth.

  58. Cesc Appeal

    There is, or has been we hope, a real problem with our academy.

    When you look at the physical state of Chelsea’s academy products versus ours…something very wrong.

  59. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    We need to get a kind of vining Jones type attitude player,
    That sort of thug player that can play a bit as well.

    Toor is good but some times you need pool balls in the sock attitude, we are still seen as a pushover on the pitch…

    Thug it.

    To move on.

  60. Bamford10

    We tired in the second half because Chelsea dominated possession and controlled the match from the 35th minute onward, and as Arteta himself says, you work twice as hard when you don’t have the ball. Chelsea controlled possession and the match because they have a lot more quality than we do. Arteta can continue to work with this group of players on any number of things, including fitness, but we are going to struggle for the remainder of the season — including against teams 11-20 — because this group of players simply isn’t good enough. While some Arsenal fans are beginning to realize this, others are still operating under the illusion that we have a good squad. We don’t.

  61. Guns of Hackney

    Arteta can’t be blamed for that abomination. That’s poor decision making and individual error. Hopefully this will be coached out of the new set of players.

    That said, an injury to Auba and I think we’re in a relegation mire. We cant defend and only one player scores our goals. That equation sucks.

    Either way, next season will will a) win the championship b) start fresh will a whole load of hungry new players.

    Already I’m thinking that Barca or Real will be coming after Mikel in a year or so. He really will be a very good manager.

  62. Cesc Appeal

    ‘Arteta can’t be blamed for that abomination’

    I’d just change your name to that on here so you don’t have to say it every time.

  63. Useroz

    Rich. Tbf coverage isn’t the only facto also depends on how and where on pitch the team covers. Hope Arteta could add that missing bit about structure.

    Partly is good but why would they sell unless for a large premium that we likely couldn’t afford? Another Pepe type finance structuring??

    Upa is great but unsure how quickly he’d adapt to PL rigor. Still young after all. But will be brilliant if works out with Saliba partnership to look forward to. Hopefully can take advantage of his last year contract situation and grab a deal in Jan.

    Partly is a half Xhara replacement. Who else? Even a loan?

  64. Cesc Appeal


    Have you not been listening to Pedro?

    We’ve now got Saucey McSauceFace from Sauceshire on Sauce-Sea. Of course the defence is getting trained.

    I think, in all seriousness, we will see better defensive coaching as Arteta has added some EPL/English football experienced coaches.

    Having Upamecano and Saliba is also no good if our midfield stays the same, they need a player like Partey in the middle there as well. Said it before, we could have Van Dijk in our side and he wouldn’t look as good because he’s being asked to do 5 or 6 times the work he does at Liverpool. Same for Leno. The amount of work he gets through as a GK is shocking.

  65. CG

    Pogba v Torreira will be fun Wednesday

    Think doberman playing with a chihuahua.

    Question: Why did Little Legs plays so well against Bournemouth?

    Answer: because their pitch is so small.

    Torreiera on the bigger pitches equal trouble.

    Torreira would have been ideal had we stayed at Highbury.

  66. Bamford10


    I think Arteta is super smart and very much the right man for the job, but if the future is “bright,” then said bright future involves Arteta and some other group of players, not this group. I challenge anyone to look at the current squad and name even six players (never mind 14 or 15) who are good enough to form a top-three-PL-caliber team. It will be several windows before we have such a team, in my opinion.

  67. Cesc Appeal

    Club can’t sit on its hands this January.

    Potential to get in there and get some good deals done while most clubs aren’t paying attention. Even if you pay some now and only get the player in the summer.

    Players like Kulusevski, Szoboslai etc whose clubs could be tempted by offers like that.

  68. Alexanderhenry


    We just need a win. Arteta needs to concentrate on that for now.

    Also, to quote you:

    ‘We have good players, saying we don’t is lazy, it’s also usually peddled by people that liked Emery’.

    Sorry, but it’s crystal clear that the current squad is no way good enough to make top four. Much of that is actually down to Emery as well as Sanlehi for buying poorly.
    It’s actually the weakest most disjointed squad we’ve had for years.
    Comparing it to arsenal’s last PL winning squad reveals the depressing truth that not a single current player would make that squad’s first X1.

  69. Cesc Appeal

    ‘We have good players, saying we don’t is lazy, it’s also usually peddled by people that liked Emery’.

    The peddling is starting to come from far more people than just those expressed in this statement as well…interestingly.

  70. Pedro

    Many thanks, Cesc.

    Alex, the squad is good enough to be higher up the table than it is. We’ll ship out a 6 players in the summer and replace, then we’ll be ready for the next era of football.

    In the meantime, Arteta has enough to work with to get us out the back of the season. Most players will be back by mid Jan.

  71. Guns of Hackney


    Do the maths old bean. Lose to Liverpool, probably, and the three below us win and we’re around 16th. A couple of injuries and some cold nights up north and this bunch of flanges will fold faster than superman on laundry day.

    To suggest it can’t happen means you may need your brain testing. I can’t imagine too many Leeds fans thinking it would happen after the champions league escapade and their league position previous the their relegation.

  72. Paulinho

    Cesc – What’s the saying, first it is ridiculed, secondly opposed, then accepted as self-evident.

    Give it a few weeks/month and all will be on the third stage.

  73. Champagne charlie

    “You like to go on about “control” a lot. How does “control” coincide with fast and flowing?“

    I’m not the only one, Arteta wants control of the game and control of the football. How you can be so absurd to dissociate control and fast and free flowing football? You need control to implement that level of football.

    But I digress, this is merely another angle in a Xhaka dismissal from yourself. That’s the range of your scope and it’s tedious as ever.

    Now Banford is back to claim player poverty for the millionth time, so all the broken records are converging.

  74. Alexanderhenry


    Yes, well you’d hope we can finish above Newcastle.

    If next season you think we’ve got enough in the tank to finish top four without some major changes this summer, you may be disappointed.

  75. Cesc Appeal


    Amazing after just Arteta’s second game the cascade of fans now moving toward the idea this squad needs serious changes. What a shock.

    It was an excuse for Emery for the longest time (even though it wasn’t, the squad being shit and Emery deserving to be sacked can coexist) and now suddenly it seems the majority opinion in the fan base. Even previously protected fan favourites like Lacazette should be for the chop.

    Perhaps it’s seeing 3 managers in 1 season struggle to get much out of this lot including the he-who-drips-with-sauce Mr Sau…sorry, Senor Sauceface.

  76. Cesc Appeal

    Has the cup-tied rule in European competitions been removed?

    If so that could be huge for us if we have a good January.

    Potentially an appalling EPL campaign but still ending up in the UCL.

  77. CG

    G of H

    “””””To suggest it can’t happen means you may need your brain testing.”””””

    One win 15 Alert,

    Off course we can get relegated,

    PEA or Leno get seriously crock- we will go down. Plain and Simple


  78. Pedro

    Alex, we’ll reshape the squad in the summer, I’m under no illusions that we need new players for the new era… but if we’d had Arteta from the start of this season, we’d not be in the situation we are now. We’d be fighting for top 4.

  79. Valentin


    As I said last night, Arsenal was top in term of average distance run and number of sprints per 90 minutes during the first half of last season. We finished only 5th overall at the end of the season. In fact despite his injury lay-off Ramsey was our top rated player in that department finishing 9th overall in the league.

    This season we are nowhere near the top of the leaderboard. That could be due to tactic, but as shown yesterday it looks more like a conditioning issue.

  80. Guns of Hackney


    To start this season with Unai was like beginning the race without shoes. Disaster.

    Still excited about Mikel. Statue and stand naming coming in 2020. You heard it here first.

  81. HighburyLegend

    At least, hard to blame Arteta for having shit musical tastes, as he’s a big Pink Floyd fan.
    Favourite album : “The Dark Side of The Sauce”, obviously.

  82. CG


    “””””but if we’d had Arteta from the start of this season, we’d not be in the situation we are now. We’d be fighting for top 4.””””

    Had we had Arteta to replace Wenger immediately we might now even be challenging for the title.

    But The Spiv wanted his Clown
    Indeed wanted to extend his contract…..

    And taken us from 5th/6th to 12th and burned through a quarter of a billion in the process.

    No wonder- he dont do interviews!

    A Coward and a Cockroach!

  83. Ishola70


    Arsenal have had “control” of the football in midfield by and large for the past three seasons.

    What has it achieved for this side?

    Talking of control is all well and good but we have all seen that it has it downsides in Arsenal’s case.

    Slow transition to attack. Encouraging teams to press high up against us. All because it has been slow in many instances.

    By all means I’d love to see this “control” when Arsenal have their noses in front in matches but this control in Arsenal’s case hasn’t been so good when Arsenal are on level terms or are chasing a game.

    How about a hybrid. That would seem the best scenario. A team that is fast and flowing and nothing about “control” or mega possession but can’t revert to it when it is required.

    There is a fixation on big possession as an absolute must when there doesn’t have to be one.

  84. Pedro

    CG, at least we’re on the right path now. Players will come back by mid Jan, hopefully a signing or two, then an upgrade in the summer focused on athleticism and youth.

  85. Gentlebris

    ‘Gentlebris how did anyone here help arteta get this job?No disrespect to Pedro and his blog but we are a grant total of zero on the relevance scale for arsenal’s decision makingThey approached arteta 18 months ago as the higher ups thought he was an interesting gamble, tho didn’t give it to him and returned again this time to him for the same reasonDo you really think Raul and edu are logging on to Le Grove each night to help inform their decision making process based on a group of angry online warriors (and yes that’s us lot!)’


    But I disagree!

    But for the reactions on the internet, Raul had his eyes set on Jose I believe.

    The club confirmed they sacked Emery not only because of poor results but also(and mainly I believe)because of fans’ reactions.

    These kinds of reactions are mostly inspired, articulated and documented online.

    Most people who commented online about Arteta before he was appointed kind of endorsed him.
    If the opposite was the case, I assure you, the guys in charge wouldn’t have touched Arteta.

    So people like Pedro, known to him or not, can influence decisions at the club, especially if backed by other relevant Arsenal bloggers and the usual loudmouths on Twitter.

    Then I would visit places like le grove if I wanted to connect the dots of what just happened in the ground……I imagine Raul and Edu would agree with that idea.

  86. Paulinho

    With this squad we might take a different route with different managers but we will always arrive at the same destination.

  87. Valentin

    If you miss 7 first team regulars, of course the team look weak.
    However more importantly it is specific positions that need reinforcement in both quality and quantity: DM, left CB, GK, left FB.

    Hopefully Arteta will have more influence on the type of players we recruit. At least Emery was right in wanting more athletic DM. N’Zonzi may not have been the long term solution to our problem, but he would have been more effective than Denis Suarez, Ceballos or Torreira.
    Soumaré, Sangaré, Partey should be investigated. Sell Xhaka and Elneny/Mhkitaryan to fund that purchase.

  88. Champagne charlie

    “Arsenal have had “control” of the football in midfield by and large for the past three seasons.What has it achieved for this side?“

    You’re confusing control with meaningless possession. Arteta isn’t being that, he’s bringing possession of the ball with clear ideas and patterns of how to use it.

    Basically nothing we’ve seen in 3 years so idk what your objective is with your argument.

    Arsenal aren’t going to be a counter attack merchant under Arteta, just put your finger somewhere near the pulse to figure that out. He’s Barcelona raised, Pep studied, he’s not coming here to emulate Klopps blood and thunder transition game.

  89. SWGooner

    Big improvements under Arteta however, this team is seriously not good enough for champions league football if we are to challenge for it next year. Seeing lads like Nelson getting in ahead of our £72m winger speaks volumes of what’s going on behind the scenes. To think we were a hissy fit away (Luiz at Chelsea) from starting the season with Sok and Mustafi – not that Luiz has improved us in the slightest shown how shambolic it is behind the scenes. I called for Emery’s head just as much as any one of you for his tactical shower of shit but can you really imagine he didn’t call for a centre half to be signed last summer and instead opt for £72m YouTube player?! And even Arsene not going out for a centre half for all those years?
    Slight ramble but my point is; we aren’t going anywhere with the owners in place and with Don Raul at the helm – its impossible for any manager to do anything worthy with this group of players as they simply are not good enough and anyone with any interest in football can see it let alone multimillion £per year “ head of football” at a European powerhouse football club.
    Rant over, I’m switching to rugby! (Not really, couldn’t after that shambolic night in Baku)

  90. azed

    Common sense dictate that if you overtrain a team, the entire team will be be overtrained. Some will just get injured. Some will get tired.

    Stop embarrassing yourself.
    Saka and Martinelli both trained under Emery this season, why is that Martinelli can run all game and Saka can’t?

    Do you think Kolasinac and Ozil can be put under the same conditioning training?

  91. Alexanderhenry


    I appreciate your optimism but I think the squad needs a bit more work than you think. I hope your (our) dreams come true.

    Regarding Elephant, yes it’s scary how quickly they turned that around.
    Check out Walworth Rd especially if you remember what it used to be like.

  92. Paulinho

    We’re not really missing much in midfield and midfield is our biggest problem; and people who pronounced this squad the third best in the league and better than last year were well aware of our options. Difference is at the start of the season Guendouzi was supposedly a top talent, Willock was a top talent, Ceballos was/is an undoubted talent, but his suitability for English football and physical issues was always a question mark that meant caution was advised.

  93. Pedro

    Azed, it’s not clear what you’re arguing there. That players have different fitness levels? Or that Ozil can’t be trained the same as Kola?

  94. Champagne charlie

    Also, on player poverty (my god that’s still a thing)…

    We heard chapter and verse about this or that player needed to bring Emeryball to life, so a massive fuck off to those same drips claiming folk are going back on what’s been said about the squad by suggesting Arteta the right to bring in players to realise his vision.

    Clubs “improve” every 6 months when the transfer windows open, Arsenal are no exception and it’s not a change of tact to call for more progression in yet another window. As has been stated, if we started this season with a competent manager then we are fighting for a top 4 place.

  95. Pedro

    Paulinho, they were all coached badly. Let’s see how they get on with someone that has a philosophy and a more modern vision of the game.

  96. Valentin


    If Raul and Edu took the decision based on the opinion of some guy on Twitter or on some blog, then they are fools or coward.
    They should have their own opinion and the courage of their conviction. WestHam just rehires David Moyes. Their fans are up in arm. I disagree with their decision, but at least they made a courageous one, because clearly that will not be well received with the fans.
    I don’t know why we didn’t get Mourinho. Maybe it was because he failed at his PowerPoint presentation. Maybe it was because Raul dithered and let Spurs get in. Maybe it was because he was too expensive. However I sincerely doubt that it was because Pedro wrote a scathing post about it.

  97. Cesc Appeal


    Partey has a release clause apparently?

    Might be we can offer Lacazette to them as they were interested in him before we bought him. Not sure they would be now but you never know. Lacazette and money for Partey.

  98. Paulinho

    Emery never actually got any of those players.

    He wanted Zaha, he got Pepe.

    He never had any proper full backs after December of his first seaso,for any length of time.

    He wanted Perisic, he had to settle for Suarez.

    Arteta arguably will place more stock on midfield subtlety than Emery yet that still remains to be seen.

  99. CG


    “””””CG, at least we’re on the right path now. Players will come back by mid Jan, hopefully a signing or two, then an upgrade in the summer focused on athleticism and youth.”””””

    We are basically starting a football club from scratch.

    No experience professionals left – so who do the youngsters learn from?
    All AFC stalwarts ousted
    Inexperienced albeit bright coach taking the reins
    Absent owners
    Even Mid table clubs with better squads
    Charlatans behind the scenes.
    Indeed no money ( or a little)

    No one can do this job now: so I am not criticising Arteta. (There is no Arsenal actually left.)
    He might as well earn the cash,

    If you or anyone think buying 5, 6 or 7 new players players and then everything will be Alright- you are very much mistaken. We will probably actually get worse.

    Villa bought 10 players and over £120 000 000 in the summer- and are in the bottom 3!

    Arsenal can only move forward with new owners and a proper board of directors.

    When Arteta’s lustre naturally fades- there is no where else to go.

  100. Edu me a favour

    “” because this group of players simply isn’t good enough. While some Arsenal fans are beginning to realize this, others are still operating under the illusion that we have a good squad. We don’t.””

    I disagree- we were basically unplayable until we tired , which was way to early – we forced them into mistakes and they couldn’t handle us – and because we are not used to playing with that intensity we wilted – every single player stepped up in the first half – it was there for all to see , we showed that we are making steps and with a depleted first 11 – Arteta can get more out of this squad and he will – it’s 2 games in and we showed what we are capable of going forward.

    To deny the quality that we all saw yesterday, up until we dropped off a cliff energy wise , is a really salty attitude to take right now

  101. Valentin


    Clearly keep making a fool of yourself by arguing against points nobody made.
    As I wrote if you undertrain a team, then the natural level of stamina and speed will be the players baseline.
    Again nowhere did I say that the conditioning should not be adapted to a player and his position.
    Unless you believes that every coaches who ever complained that the team they inherited is not fit for his demand are liars or idiots, you have to accept that difference coaches have different demands in term of fitness.

  102. Champagne charlie


    I’d bin Auba and Ozil at the next available opportunity, both the wrong side of 30, both on stupid money.

    Take the 75mil and plunge it back into a side missing some of the stuff Arteta is looking for to bring his football to life. Technical and tenacious footballers that can stomach the prem.

    Volland and Zaha sorts

  103. Ishola70

    Oh so Charlie is dreaming of a reincarnation of tiki-taka. With this present Arsenal squad lol

    So yesterday and hard to achieve to it’s really best level with this current squad.

    Man City have a possession stat this season of just over 60%.

    Liverpool have a possession stat this season of just under 58%

    There is a 2% difference between the sides in terms of posssession.

  104. Graham62

    The fact of the matter is we allowed Emery to continue for far too long. The Watford game was pivotal as far as I was concerned. That game epitomised everything that was wrong with the team. No belief, no leadership, no idea what to do. That’s when Emery should have been shown the door. That game was on 15th September.

    Hindsight though is a great thing. Here we are two days away from the New Year and we find ourselves in a situation that none of us would have anticipated and, even more significantly, at a major crossroads in the clubs history.

    The task ahead for Arteta is simple. Instill confidence and belief, create a structure and system that all the players can understand and adhere to and importantly, give the team an identity.

    Can he do this with this group of players?

    Let’s hope so.

  105. Champagne charlie


    The percentage figure is relatively arbitrary, it’s how and what is getting done with the ball and the intention of how to play. We’ll always feature highly in the league because we have superior players.

    And I love how you’re dismissing what inevitably is peak Artetaball. Probably because you’re just the bellend that sees all things Arsenal with a negative spin.

  106. Ishola70

    And Charlie

    If we have had meaningless possession for the past three years why have you kept on about the importance of a player that has been the main provider of this meaningless possession?

  107. Dissenter

    I just read Willocks public statements about the game.
    I wish the kid will just tuck his head into his behind and do his work. He just evokes the same reaction I get when I listen to Greta lecturing the world about climate change, the same 17 year old now skipping school to fight for climate change.

    He did nothing when he came on, just ran around a lot. He, like Guen need lots of coaching to be effective players.

  108. Ray in LA

    Agree that Arteta could have managed the game better…when it was obvious that the team was too tired to continue to play the pressing game effectively there should have been a Plan B

    The team will tire just as predictably against United and I hope Plan B is better than simply asking Leno not to err