Arteta makes Mesut Özil the centerpiece

by & filed under News Review.

via @Arsenal

HAPPY NEW YEAR! HOW ARE YOU FEELING? Ok, ok, I’ll stop the shouting, but I will maintain a quiet energy with the prose because I need you up for the BIG game today.

It’s a huge one, Arsenal takes on Manchester United at home for Arteta’s 3rd game.

I think it’s a stretch to think we’re going to take points from them today. A draw would be excellent work, 3 points would have us all buzzing, but when you look at how their squad is fitness-wise and look at ours, it makes for grim reading.

We are missing a lot of defenders, which is difficult to deal with because even when we’re fully fit, we’re not exactly 90s Milan at the back. There might be some good news with regards to Bellerin who is close to returning, but knowing how fragile he’s been, you’d be hard-pressed to imagine he’ll start.

The manager was keen to impress that the defensive failures at Chelsea; with a very weak backline, were not structural.

“It wasn’t a transition where we had a bad structure or a bad organisation, when we are defending big spaces on equal numbers or are outnumbered – it wasn’t the case at all,”

“We made one half-bad decision [to back off] and these teams, when in space, they punish you, for sure. But the other option is to defend all the time and be there [in defensive areas] and we don’t want that.”

So at the very least, we’ll be prepared to deal with United. They have extremely fast forwards, they’ll probe for counter-attacks and they’ll look to stretch us using width. Arteta only recently tasted a loss against them when he was at City, it was quite a lucky United performance, but OGS had his team of workhorses make last years Champions look very old.

Going forward is where we’ll have to provide something more interesting. Containing their threat won’t be enough, we need to create chances. The good news here is Gabriel might be back in contention, his aggression in the press and all-round threat could be highly valuable to us. I’d also imagine we’ll be seeing a start from Pepe, there has to be some rotation today and that seems like the most obvious place to start. It’s hard to work out what the issue is with the Ivorian because no one will say explicitly, but it reads a blend of work rate and general fitness levels. 3 managers in a row can’t be wrong.

Ceballos is also back in contention, people forget he’s a young player, under a coach that helps him, he might be U21 Championship Dani, so it’s a new start for him.

Xhaka is also fit. Again, not my favourite player, but he’d start in our midfield at the moment. If he doesn’t play, we’ll know he’s off to Berlin. Worry with him is he mails it in as a final fuck you to the fans that booed him.

I mused before the manager started that he’d look for a turnaround project, and it seems he has one, he’s going all out to make Mesut Ozil the star of the show again. Makes sense, he’s used to having lots of #10 like talents to work with at City and on his day, no one can touch Ozil. Additionally, we have no one that gets close to him on the creativity front. We are a more intelligent team with him at his best. The German looks happy on the pitch, he’s put in two dirty shifts, he’ll have another chance to find his level again today and hopefully offer something more decisive.

“Mesut is putting in everything he has and his numbers, physically, have improved so much,”

“On his own he can’t do it. He needs the collective structure, organisation and his teammates. He needs the team to play in a certain way to facilitate his strengths more and more in the game. That’s what we’re trying to do.

“I put him in the team if I see every day that his attitude, desire and understanding of what we’re trying to do is there. The moment that this changes, then he won’t play.”

At the end of the day, he loves living in London, he loves his contract, and he’s a human… he’ll want to be impressing the fans, no one wants to be hated. He might also have the afterlife on his mind, if he tanks another manager, no one will risk giving him the big bucks in 18 months. Wenger didn’t have a machine that worked for him towards the end, Emery couldn’t see past running him into the ground in a shit system… it seems like Arteta has a more thoughtful approach to extracting creativity from him, whilst pushing him to support the system. It’ll be very interesting to see what the physical output looks like today, because he has done a lot of work in a short space of time. Some will say we’ve seen this film before, but maybe with a more elevated thinker in the dugout, it could be a different ending this time.

The main worry I have about today is how another loss will affect morale. Bournemouth was just an unlucky day at the shooting range, the Chelsea game was bad luck with fitness and Mustafi… we really need a result to prove out the hard work and progress. The fans will be buzzing for the game this evening, a classic win would be a great way to start the year, let’s see where we land.

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

1,501 Responses to “Arteta makes Mesut Özil the centerpiece”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. LeMassiveCoq

    I don’t want to dwell on negatives because this is far the best I have seen us play for a while…but… AMN should not be near the first team. Not a prem quality player imo.

    Luiz has been great tonight.

  2. Dissenter

    It’slike we carry a grenade around just to blow ourselves up.
    This playing out from the back needs to be suspended.

  3. Bamford10


    Sorry, but my public criticism of Pedro’s treatment of me — on which he was tagged — was neither “nasty” nor “spiteful”. I believed I had been unfairly treated and I made my case publicly. Pete had every opportunity to respond. So, sorry, but no.

    You are the one who comes here to insult and abuse others, not me. I come simply to share my views re Arsenal and re football. And I do so without “nastiness” or “spite”. You on the other hand ….

  4. Paulinho

    This is where you see the lack of cohesion when you have to play through resistance to get through the lines.

    In the first half, like Sunday, we didn’t need to work for territory high up.

  5. Champagne charlie


    Publicly attacking Pedro’s character is the epitome of spiteful and nasty.

    Just stop talking today you’re making yourself look a higher tit than usual. First waxing OGS and United, now defending yourself right to go on a Twitter meltdown and curse Pedro.

    Go for a walk.

  6. PhD2020

    Bamford10January 1, 2020 21:32:16
    PhDSorry, but my public criticism of Pedro’s treatment of me — on which he was tagged — was neither “nasty” nor “spiteful”. I believed I had been unfairly treated and I made my case publicly. Pete had every opportunity to respond.
    Joker and full of shit..

  7. Marko

    Worrying this second half but we look solid enough and I can’t really fault the subs. Not quite sure it’s fatigue that’s the issue it looks more like certain types haven’t been asked to do 90 mins in a while that they forget how to do it

  8. Bamford10

    Like I said ten minutes in, our plan was to possession them to death, and it has worked. It has neutralized their pace, made it impossible for them to establish a rhythm and preserved our legs.

    Well done, Mikel Arteta.

  9. Marko

    Lacazette is honestly shite. My god does this count as a good game by his standards? One decent turn aside in the first half he’s been gick

  10. Valentin

    Once again Aubameyang has just shown that he can’t make clever run outside the penalty box. Ran in a straight line instead of zigzagging to confuse the defenders and open space for Özil.

  11. Marko

    AMN thriving under Arteta.
    Honestly, Bellerin shouldn’t just waltz back into a starting position

    Do you want us to get relegated is that it

  12. Spanishdave

    We do play shit passing the ball across the defence, school boy stuff.
    Auba is a crap footballer can’t pass

  13. Elmo

    PEA, Ozil and Torreira have put in epic shifts in terms of energy. The whole team worked hard.

    Torreira MOTM for me.

  14. Valentin

    Saka has been booked for an off the ball incident. So ManUtd despite all their niggling fouls will finish without a yellow card while Arsenal who has been in the receiving shive and tackle will have at least two.
    Nobody will convince me that the PGMOL is not corrupt.

  15. Versus

    Ozil is to advanced for these attackers. In an organised set up with clear tactics applied. You can see what ozil is trying to do versus what these players have the ability to do. Auba laca are good yh. But if ozil was in man citys team the world would thinks hes Worldclass again. Auba laca reiss pepe are not on his page.

    I’m one of his biggest critics but in terms of cleverness and imagination, ozil is on a different page.

    Aubas ball into reiss just now. See that, not presice, not deft, not intricate. These are good players but a level below elite for sure. Ability wise.

    Ozils ability is elite but he’s lacking all the other stuff you need for prem football, mabey?

  16. TR7

    Some of the Arsenal players have a very poor understanding of their surroundings. Only Ozil and David Luiz constantly show great awareness.

  17. Versus

    Again.. ozil was free but guendozi could see him an elite player would see ozil like KDB but the ball into ozil would have to be precise. Guen loses ball, ozil exhales in a little frustration.

  18. Un na naai

    Luiz ozil and AMN all brilliant tonight
    But yeah
    Torreira has been fucking next level tonight and his previous two performances.

    This is where he should have been deployed all along
    Emery threw a tantrum and sabotaged Torreira to prove a point because he wanted nzonzi

    Good riddance

  19. Champagne charlie

    Not heard much from Ishola about David Luiz being a Trojan horse type figure.

    Been immense, not good, immense.

    Good coaching, a plan, structure, the cream rises when you do that. Get it fucking up you naysayers.

  20. S Asoa

    Win and clean sheet at last. Players run down last 10 minutes . Torreira perked up with energy bar sneaked by Guendouzi

  21. Un na naai


    He has
    I’ve been a fierce critic but his last two game, he’s been imperious. A leader. Arteta has clearly thrown down the gauntlet to the leaders and guess what? They are leading!!

    Look at ozil and Aubameyang. What a fucking difference
    Chelsea won’t get it that easy at the Grove again while Arteta is in charge

  22. Nelson

    Oil’s passes is a level above Laca and Auba. But our striker’s job is to score goal. Ozil can’t do that.

  23. PhD2020

    Well done Arsenal.Still massive rooms for improvement..
    Need to be more clinical in front of goal..

    But certainly Kols,Xhaka Reiss and AMN should be sold off..

  24. Dissenter

    I don’t think Xhaka is leaving this January, sorry to disappoint all those fantasy football scouting lists.

  25. Barking Arsene

    So happy to see Torreira play like that – it’s how he was at Sampdoria. Fantastic little player when he is in the right position.

    Great result – some fitness work to be done but it bodes very well for the future if we can already see the impact Arteta is having, even if it is only for 45 – 60 minutes at the moment.

  26. Marko

    Look to the positives it was a good performance in the first half again much more solid and organized in the second half and a clean sheet. Still a lot of kinks to work out but promising signs. Can see things being better with players getting back and Ceballos getting involved and most importantly a couple signings. Back him just back him.

    Has to be said though he’s getting more from old frog eyes (questions about why HE couldn’t do that more often over the years) Torreira and Luiz.

  27. Receding Hairline

    Good win. Now he can continue his work with more confident players. No one left the stadium early today did they? Everyone is lifted.

    Onto the next league game. Couldn’t care less about the FA cup honestly.

  28. Danny

    Couldn’t care less about the FA cup honestly.
    You should. That could be our ticket to the Europa cup next season.

  29. PieAFC

    Have we been that bad for so long, suddenly in 3 games we look happier and willingness to chase, press and play as a unit.

    Kudos. Both Arteta and Round off the bench, shouting at the players, pushing me forward or back.

    That second half was a very mature performance. We held off and let united to try and play and they’re useless with the ball.

    Kudos to the whole team.

  30. Cesc Appeal

    Vital win. The jubilation in that stadium. Usually it would seem embarrassing, but totally understandable. You could see it on the player’s faces as well.

    Torreira was MOTM.

    Luiz, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette, AMN, Sokratis all had great games in one way or another.

    Still felt Xhaka was the weak link, sloppy, played us into trouble a couple of times and does not have the legs.

    Lots to work on. The second half slump under Arteta is worrying. Like a reverse Emery.

    Little break to Leeds now. Chance for rotation and it’s at home. Give Ceballos a run out, Martinelli should be back as well.

    Club needs to help Arteta in the transfer window.

  31. WengerEagle

    Lot to improve on obviously but you can see already the impact on our performances since the change. Last twenty minute spell against Chelsea aside, we actually look compact at the back for the first time in an age.

    Still have Martinelli, Tierney and Ceballos to add to this as well. Would love a transfer in January but I can’t see it.

  32. Un na naai


    Not for me mate
    We are better with Aubameyang wide left
    If you olay one up front your target man needs to be able to hold the ball up, turn and pass. Lacazette is our best option up top for me.
    Maybe that changes when martinelli comes back and Aubameyang will go up front but I prefer Lacazette as the focal point.
    He’s not at his best yet but he will start firing under Tets. I have complete faith