Mikel Arteta has players rocking in stunning victory

by .

Mikel Arteta and his players launched 2020 by rocking The Emirates to its foundations with a brilliant evening of intense football. Arsenal kept a clean sheet, locked United out of the game for 90 minutes, and scored two brilliant goals to gift us a vitally important 3 points.

The game was so good, I don’t actually know where to start, but the line-up would be handy. We really weren’t in good shape with our starting 11. Kola had to be drafted back lacking fitness, we started Pepe who has been under a lot of criticism, and we had to roll with a group of players that have slugged it out hard over the past 3 games. One thing was for sure, there wasn’t much conservatism, Arteta went for it.

It didn’t make a difference, most considered the Chelsea game a great performance with a poor result. The football was at the right level of intensity, and so it continued. The main difference in this game was United didn’t have the same quality in midfield, so it was a little easier for Arsenal to control the game. I was interested to see how Kola would operate, we know he often leaves the defence exposed with his runs, last night, Granit Xhaka would regularly drop into the left-back role to cover him defensively, or to drop him to give him freedom offensively / allow him time to pick out passes.

Our first goal came from his run. He had a one-two with Auba, pushed into the box, his low cross squirmed out of a melee of 6 United players falling to Pepe who swept home. The lid blew off the stadium, everyone in the ground is so desperate for Pepe to be a thing, that was a great start to the night for him.

The half was dominated by great Arsenal chances. Pepe found Auba at the back post, his bicycle kick was skewed over. Torreira danced through the United defence to squeeze a shot just wide. Lacazette outmuscled Maguire and uncharacteristically pushed his shot wide from 6 yards. The closest came after we’d forced De Gea into an error, Pepe picked up the loose ball on the edge of the area and rattled the post.

We did make the pressure count. Pepe rattled a corner at the front post, Lacazette wasn’t tracked, he nodded the ball on, Sokratis bullied his way to the ball and roofed it.

The pace in the game did start to dip a fraction on 40 minutes again, but I still felt we were in control. My worry was that United had planned for us to start strong and fade, with the hope of picking us off in the second half. We did drop physically in the second half, but it felt like we had more of a plan to absorb the pressure. We sat a little more deep, forcing United to try and play football, and we attempted to pick them off on the counter.

What I loved to see was the compactness of the defence. We were nice and narrow, there was aways two midfielders protecting the back four, and we were aggressive. The players wanted the result, and they wanted the clean sheet.

We had some chances in the second half, Mesut Ozil played a defence-splitting pass that was stunning over to Auba who couldn’t link up well enough with Lacazette. We closed the game out well, limiting United to long shots and diving for penalties. Saka, Nelson and MG gave us some more energy late on to see the game out.

It ended 2-0. The fans stayed behind the congratulate the players who’d gathered in the centre spot with the manager. A brilliant show of unity. The last 18 months have been forgotten, a new decade, a new coach, and a new benchmark for how we play the beautiful game.

So what did we learn?

Coaching

Arteta has lived up to the coaching hype even after 2 weeks. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he was more than the cone boy at Manchester City now. He’s taken players that most fans had totally written off and turned them into beasts. The squad is a long way from Liverpool’s, no doubt, but too many people let Emery off the hook by stating the players we have at the club couldn’t be moved forward.

David Luiz was an absolute monster, he looked a £50m centre back out there last night. He was everywhere, strong in the challenge, he was coaching the kids, he was actually celebrating good passes between players during the game with fist bumps. He was immense versus Chelsea, even better last night.

Granit Xhaka was right up there with man of the match plaudits. His game was impeccable. He was measured, thoughtful, and disciplined all night. For a man that had one foot out the exit door, he sure didn’t play like it, a total professional.

Mesut Ozil has rightly rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way, but here we are, game 3, and he’s still putting in a dirty shift at the office. He worked like a dog, he ran further than any Arsenal player, and he made a huge difference. He made a 10 ball recoveries, which shows he’s paying attention and engaged. That’s all we ask for, it’s great to see him back enjoying a type of football many said he couldn’t play.

Lacazette didn’t land a goal, but he put in a workman like shift upfront. Auba, considering he’s looking to move, looked very much into the game. Nicolas Pepe showed us a glimpse of his talent. He had an incredibly productive day and banged out a shift. It was a pleasure to watch him.

Identity

There was so much debate about how long it’d take a good coach to give a club an identity when Emery was here, but look where we are now, 3 games in and we’re an aggressive possession-based football team that loves to attack. It’s not perfect, but we’re well on our way to unlocking a lethal front line of talented players. The Arsenal way we thought we lost is here, and we didn’t need to spend £400m to get there.

Defence

Defence is always about the collective. For too long we’ve focused on it being about individual greatness because there’s never been a collective system. That’s all changed now. Arteta looks to have focused on creating a solid foundation more than anything. Everyone had clear roles and responsibilities, the positioning is absolutely clear, and the whole team works to get the ball back.

The pressing is unbelievable. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Everyone aggressively hunting the ball down in packs. Lucas Torriera was a machine last night, the guy was literally everywhere. Why? Because he has a system that allows him to be that player.

The Stadium

I’ve not been as much as I used to over the past few years, but I’ve been to big games and felt the misery. That atmosphere last night was something else. The players created a reason for the fans to care. They were brutal, intense and they wanted to win. We reacted to it. We sang all game, stayed until the end, and made The Emirates the sort of place you’d want to sit in on a cold night in January. We finally have something to believe in, and it’s exciting.

Moving forward

I didn’t expect a win, so we’re ahead of schedule in my head. Now we have a bit of breathing space. Unfit players can get some energy back in their legs, injured players can return to stock the bench, and Arteta and his coaching staff can continue to develop their ideas. The next two months are about laying the foundations for an attack on the Europa League, but interestingly, if we can find some form in the Premier League, we might be able to have a crack at the top 4. We’re 9 points off Chelsea who are desperately inconsistent, we’re within 4 points of United, and 3 points of Spurs. I’d rather not be in Europa, but Champions League would give us a tremendous financial opportunity this summer. All very exciting.

The road ahead will be bumpy, there is lots to do, but we can rest assured the club has made a stunning decision to hire Mikel Arteta. Next season is going to be special, but first, let’s see where this one takes us.

 

579 Responses to “Mikel Arteta has players rocking in stunning victory”

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  1. Batistuta

    Juventus have snapped up Kulukevski from Atlanta… Surely someone in that midfield of theirs is leaving this winter

  2. Cesc Appeal

    I suppose the thing with Lemar is we don’t know what sort of price is being discussed. If Arsenal smell a bargain then you can understand us going for him now.

    If he turns it around and even gets close to the potential he showed then Arsenal look very smart.

    Work rate was certainly never his problem at Monaco, stood out in that regard our of all their ridiculous attacking talent. Can’t think that will have dropped off under Simeone.

    Interesting though, Buendia, Deulofeu, Lemar…there’s a profile there of players Arteta seems interested in…rumoured to be anyway.

  3. Bill

    Yes CA, I agree, but probably Partey and Upamecano as first choice. With Saliba coming next year we should be on a pretty good platform. Ideally Soumare or Doucoure as well – I know I’m being greedy but that should sort us out for being aggressive, athletic and physical.
    The Lemar / Grealish type player is in addition after the spine has been established- but before that we’ll need to replace Auba and Laca.

  4. Batistuta

    Milan resigning 38 year old Zlatan is the most Gazidis thing ever… Bald fucker is going to torment me for many years it seems

  5. Cesc Appeal

    I think Arteta is looking for a Bernardo Silva type player. At least given the rumours.

    By that I mean someone whose position is technically wide attacking midfield. But a player who gets through a large amount of work and can tactically switch central when necessary during the game.

  6. Dissenter

    Cesc
    Lemar had that injury and hasn’t been the same since he returned…and it’s been a while since he was that dashing Monaco player.

  7. Pierre

    Henry Foot
    ” There is a sense of entitlement among modern fans . ”

    The entitled ones is one of my pet names for the modern fans (amongst others)

  8. Cesc Appeal

    Mr Serge

    Certainly add that much needed athleticism and physicality.

    Upamecano would massively help in terms of on the ball ability as well in playing out from the back, squeezing the opposition and starting attacks off quickly.

  9. Dissenter

    Aubameyang is doing Arsenal a favor buy refusing to sign an extension. Hopefully we get a good fee for him in the summer.

  10. Marko

    Lemar had that injury and hasn’t been the same since he returned…and it’s been a while since he was that dashing Monaco player.

    What injury are you talking about? This should be good

  11. Danny

    Henry Root
    And as for 1974-1976 , it was tough going and we flirted with relegation!
    ————————-
    I was at Highbury when Terry “Henry” Mancini scored for us to avoid relegation April 1976, the stadium was empty!

  12. Champagne charlie

    Bati

    I don’t think Klopp is a potential Barca manager, but he could be one hell of a Real Madrid one. Might he go there one day, and Pep return to Barca?

    Be interesting to see how we stand up (if at all) next time out against them. Might be our only telling league game of the campaign in aiming to prevent an unbeaten season.

    God I can’t stand them. Immediately think of the twatty mates that are going to come out the woodwork when the inevitable occurs.

  13. Pierre

    Dissenter
    My persecution is over now that Arteta has arrived.

    I will have nothing to complain about soon , just about all my tactical grievances regarding Emery have been rectified within a week …amazing.

    They include..

    Ozil in the starting line up and playing well.

    4-2-3-1

    2 holding midfielders

    Full backs not too advanced

    4 offensive players …pepe, ozil, Aubamayang and Lacazette.

    Perfect…just need to keep winning games now.

  14. Pedro

    CA, lots of people complaining about Upemecano being weak defensively. You confident he’d be solid over here?

  15. Pedro

    Alex, just seen your comment. Arteta will be the real deal. He’s the vision, now we have to hope Edu and Cagigao provide the right sort of players to move us forward.

    Very hopeful we’ll become a destination for elite young talent on the verge of greatness.

  16. Pedro

    Marko, there’s a number on an injury site that is very wrong. Says he was injured for a year.

    Pierre can’t stop winning. We have to give it to him. Been right on so many things.

  17. Bob N16

    74-78 was not a great time to be an Arsenal fan. I’ve got a very clear memory of Willie Young attempting a pass back to our goalie (Rimmer?) which hit the corner flag.

  18. Marko

    Pierre can’t stop winning. We have to give it to him. Been right on so many things.

    Specifically what? He’s a Wenger/Ozil obsessed old fart who irrespective of whoever was replacing Wenger he was going to hate.

    That website was wrong though clearly he made 22 appearences last season and missed like December onwards but returned for the last 2/3 games. Top class CB prospect would be an immense signing

  19. Marko

    Unless maybe the whole fanbase is doing a 180′ on Ozil completely disregarding the form of the last few seasons and focusing on the last two games (really one and a half games). Remember the Leicester game from last season? Napoli? Even the Liverpool under 15’s this season. Lets see the response when he’s back to performing poorly watch those Pierre dubs dry up

  20. Marc

    Pedro

    If you can’t pick on the elderly who can you pick on?

    I’ll give Pierre his due for the most part he has a view and sticks to it. His obsession with Ozil was infuriating because anyone reasonable fan never argued that Ozil doesn’t have talent – it was the lack of application and that doesn’t just apply to Emery or even Arsenal. However if Arteta can continue to get committed performances out of him, something that I didn’t think any manager would manage again then I’m more than happy to see him in the team.

  21. Luteo Guenreira

    Pierre has been winning like Bill Cosby was a ladies’ man the last 30 years. I don’t want to win that way.

  22. Marko

    So Pierre has been winning these last 18 months in the most vague possible way. And he might be correct on Ozil. Got ya just as I thought he’s being propped up cause he too hated Emery. If you’re counting that as a w that’s okay but compared to all the losing he was taking for backing up the previous ballbag I’ll give it to him.

  23. Pedro

    Luteo, my dad used to blog here! It’s not Pierre… it’s Bamford. Bought me a book on squad poverty for Xmas and managed to land me a signed OGS poster.

  24. Pedro

    Marko, come on… Pierre has been militant on Emery and so OTT on Ozil it was creepy. You can’t call his views vague.

  25. Pedro

    Marc, only a true believer would have believed in the Mesut change-up.

    I knew Arteta would try it, and I knew it made sense that the player ride with him… but really didn’t expect this.

  26. Marko

    Pierre has been militant on Emery and so OTT on Ozil it was creepy. You can’t call his views vague.

    I meant your w comment was vague. Pierre is so winning. How winning is he?

  27. Chris

    I’d point out to Pierre that with the ball Kolasinac was far advanced a lot of the time last night but that may be petty!

    The team is working brilliantly together and that it is happening so quickly is fantastic. Getting tunes out of Ozil and Xhaka is suprising but extremely welcome.

    On another note I handn’t realised our 49 unbeaten record is out of our hands, I read Liverpool can eclipse it at Brighton a couple of games before they play us, let’s hope someone can turn them over but the way they are playing it is hard to see anyone getting the better of them.

  28. Marko

    Marko, it means you were hand stitching EMERY KNOWS banners while he was tearing apart his very existence.

    Welcome to an adult conversation I suppose. The I told you so’s coming out after the very first win was just so expected. What wasn’t expected was how a victory was downplayed prior to it. I told you guys he could do it this season

  29. Marc

    Pedro

    I’m as surprised as everyone other than Pierre. The question is will he (Ozil) keep it up.

    I’d be very happy if he did.

    There are too many on here who are more interested in being right over Arsenal doing well.

    If Arsenal are doing well then I am happy – there’s no more to it.

  30. Chris

    Marc

    It may have to come down to that!

    They are showing they can blow teams away (Leicester) or just hold other tricky opponents (Wolves/Sheffield Utd) at arms length with ease. Almost robotic like tonight, winning without having to try too hard.

    They are marching to the same inevitable beat we had back then.

    It would be interesting to see what people would deem the higher achievement between us and them if the following scenario was to play out. Liverpool go beyond the 49 games unbeaten but lose this season. They would hold the record for unbeaten games but not enjoy a whole season without defeat.

    As you can tell I’m not worrying too much!

  31. bennydevito

    Don’t know if this has been said yet but Liverpool are now unbeaten in the league for a whole calendar year and are currently on a 37 match unbeaten run.

    They are only 12 away from equalling our record and 13 from beating it.

    Their 12th game from now is Man City away and their 13th is Villa at home.

    What’s the best that the corrupt football authorities conspire to reschedule the City away match for later in the season to help those fuckers out?

    If they do it they have us at the Emirates 3rd game from last. I really hope Arteta channels his Arsenal and Everton DNA into that one to make sure they lose.

    God I fucking hate Liverpool.

  32. Valentin

    Pierre is doing a Harvey Dent reverse switch.

    On Le Grove You Either Die A Villain, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Hero.

    If it’s true, there is still hope for Bamford.

  33. China1

    Liverpool will lose before then.

    49 games or a season unbeaten require an act of god – but bergkamp doesn’t play for Liverpool

  34. Bill

    Bamford, the main contention was that you serve up opinion as unassailable facts. When asked for evidence you give a circular argument and offer no evidence for your proclamations. None whatsoever.

    Essentially, you watch matches on tv. At no point do I say this does not allow you to form an opinion. What I do say is that watching any match in the stadium allows you to obtain a far better understanding of how the team operates. I know of no fan who ONLY watches matches in a stadium. They supplement their understanding with tv analysis and data.

    I specifically asked you about which datasets you used. You sidestepped that.
    Therefore, your opinion is based on watching matches on tv.L and only on this.

    You say that two of the teams you rate highly are teams you watch on tv
    There is a significant element of confirmation bias here.

    Despite all this, you present your opinions as unassailable facts. You offer no evidence, no ranking algorithm. You mention no datasets to support your opinion.

    You then talk of your seniority on Le Grove as a way of giving your views more weight.
    It does nothing of the sort. I just laughed when I read that pretty desperate line.
    You then say you’ve never heard of me until a few weeks ago. So what.

    I’m not going to push this any further. I’m not going to detail your selective memory and your anguished, chest beating declarations about being misunderstood or others “misremembering” as these are just as laughable as CC a d others have presented you with the evidence you said did not exist. A little more digging, brings the same assertions you made. And denied so vehemently.

    I’ve made my peace but i won’t put up with any less than truthful sniping.
    If you don’t want to take the olive branch just say.

    The next step is yours, Bamford.

  35. Words on a Blog

    “On Le Grove You Either Die A Villain Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become A Hero….If it’s true there’s still hope for Bamford.”

    Bamford will be proven right.

    Man U to win the Championship play-off under OGS in 2027!

  36. Bill

    Oh Bam, before I forget. I have an unfortunate family member who I get on very well. He watches every Utd game live and on TV. He is a lifelong supporter. His friends are football mad, many of them season ticket holders for Utd, but also for Liverpool.
    Do you know what? He and ALL his Utd friends think the squad is the weakest for over 25 years and that OGS hasn’t got a clue. He believes the club is not run as a football club anymore and it does not have “football people” at the top. He is scathing about the way the club is run, its financial mismanagement in the transfer market and most of the decisions on the football pitch.

    Funny that you rate Utd so highly.

    Funny that you rate Arsenal so poorly. I know NO-ONE that doesn’t see the deep rut that the club is stuck, but no one offers such a bad assessment on such pitiful “evidence”.

    Funny that you are in a tiny minority in your Arsenal and Utd-related views.

    I know no-one who thinks Emery “over-achieved”. Even Emery, IN HIS OWN WORDS admits he didn’t know how to fix Arsenal.

    Finally, I know no-one who rates KSE more than you. Who do you think is responsible for the players bought?
    Who do you think is responsible for the disappointing growth in revenue of the club? You can’t pin it on Wenger.
    Who do you blame for keeping Wenger on for 6-7 years too long?

    I really don’t know how you can justify your opinions. It’s so much more than being iconoclastic or “contrarian”.

  37. bennydevito

    Liverpool’s fixtures:

    Spurs away
    Man utd home
    Wolves away
    West Ham away
    Southampton home
    Norwich away
    West Ham home
    Watford away
    Bournemouth home
    Everton away
    Palace home
    Man city away
    Villa home
    Brighton away
    Burnley home
    Arsenal away
    Chelsea home
    Newcastle away

    I think the next 4 games they could lose 1 of them, utd or wolves most likely, then it’s only Everton away then City away where they could slip up before it’s down to us at the Emirates with 1 last chance to stop them.

    Thoughts?

  38. Bill

    Red, no one is crowning Arteta as a saviour. There is huge relief at him starting to unravel Gordian knot of an Emery -made mess that is Arsenal

  39. Champagne charlie

    Anyone else feel Bills posts should come with some Mortal Kombat style wrap up after each?

    ‘Finish him’, ‘Flawless victory’ etc..

  40. Bamford10

    Bill

    I already accepted your “olive branch”. That is clear from what I said above. However, you continue to be hostile, unfair, dishonest and unfriendly, so I’m not terribly sure how valuable or sincere your “olive branch” is or was.

    Nothing you’ve said above accurately or fairly represents what I said in my reply to your long comment.

    So again, here are the basics, Bill:

    1. I base my conclusions on what I glean from watching a lot of football. Just like everyone else here. I don’t rely on some database or metric or formula — although I obviously use stats to think through this or that question; I rely on my eyes and my understanding of the game. Again, just like everyone else here.

    2. Yes, I tend to think I am right about this or that, but I don’t treat my opinions as facts any more than anyone else here. The only difference is that you don’t like my opinions. I think, for example, that Wolves have a better squad than we do. Champagne disagrees. Champagne is no less certain of the correctness of his view than I am of mine. He is just as dogmatic about his view as I am. The only difference is that you prefer his opinion. This notion that everyone here states his opinion in modest or circumspect terms whereas I am dogmatic about things is complete and utter hooey. Everyone here is confident in the correctness of his views. You just don’t like mine.

    3. Your clear implication was/is that fans who watch the games in-stadium have a better understanding of things and that fans who watch on TV (like myself) should defer to the in-stadium fan. I reject this claim completely and absolutely.

    4. I brought up my seven years here not to bolster the weight of anything I have to say but to highlight that in my seven years here I have never come across you or your commentary once. It was only two weeks ago that I saw your comments for the first time, and in these comments you were saying as many nasty things about me as you could. That was my introduction to “Bill”.

    So again, Bill, if you are extending an olive branch, then genuinely extend an olive branch. Don’t try to come at me at the same time, or be hostile or unfriendly, or ask me to accept your bogus assumptions about football or fandom — e.g., those watching on TV have an inferior understanding to, and should defer to, those in the stadium. I don’t accept that and I won’t accept that.

    I’m happy to “make peace” with you — whatever that means in this context — but not on the bogus terms that you have dictated. Sorry. No chance.

    So here’s the deal, Bill: if you would like me to accept this supposed olive branch of yours, you’re going to need to agree to the following statement, namely, that your views and opinions on football and Arsenal carry no more weight or standing than mine do; that my views and opinions, like all Grovers’ views and opinions, have equal standing to yours.

    If you can affirm that statement — i.e., that your and my opinions on Arsenal and football have equal standing — then I would be happy to accept your olive branch. If you can’t affirm that statement, however, if you want to continue to assert that your opinions are somehow more important or more valid than mine, then I’m afraid I can’t accept your olive branch. And for obvious reasons.

    Cheers.

  41. bennydevito

    Can I just say it’s a no from me in signing Boetang at 31.

    We need to be building for the future not collecting past it has beens looking for a fat pension ffs!

  42. Slade

    Bamford,
    Please re-read your post and consider the utter folly of refusing to accept an olive branch unless certain conditions are met: this isn’t ze germans and the french negotiating at Versailles!
    It’s a fucking football blog….christ, you’re as paranoid as fucking Lee Harvey Oswald…or Valentin.

  43. Dream10

    Don’t see Liverpool going unbeaten. However, breaking the 100 point barrier is well within reach. They’re winning football matches with little effort. Ridiculous stuff

  44. Champagne charlie

    “I think, for example, that Wolves have a better squad than we do. Champagne disagrees. Champagne is no less certain of the correctness of his view than I am of mine. He is just as dogmatic about his view as I am. The only difference is that you prefer his opinion“

    1. Second time you’ve roped me and my name into your ramblings when it wasn’t necessary at all, get over the crush.

    2. You have no premise for making the argument that Wolves have a better squad than us, there’s no ‘because of X….’ which rationalises your view. You continually move goal posts and tweak the parameters whereby you end up just offering a baseless opinion you’re utterly convinced everyone should take on board as fact.

    If this wasn’t the case you could clearly explain how Wolves have a better squad without using such bogus metrics as ‘they played a good game away at City, something we couldn’t do, therefore they’re better equipped than us’.

    Nobody is that concerned you think this or that side has a better squad, the questions are raised when you make one set of rules to support a particular view only to renege on that very stance when it’s used toward another club or group in comparison to Arsenal. Basically you’re inconsistent as fuck.

  45. TheBayingMob

    Luteo GuenreiraJanuary 2, 2020 19:36:35

    “Over the past ten years I think Arsenal fans have tricked themselves into a few false dawns.”

    This isn’t a recent thing.

    This is Arsenal’s MO as a club.

    Even way back if you consider Arsenal under Chapman basically innovated the modern game to a large degree as we know it, we were a giant then only for Chapman’s sudden death in 1934 and then WWII derailed us. When people talk about that bygone era it’s all white horses at Wembley and Preston North End. No one ever recognizes us, and why? Because the club never kicked on.

    ’71 double team, did that kicks us on to anything? No, by the mid 70s we were mid table shit, propped up by a hat-trick of FA Cup Final appearances (when it meant something) beating United sandwhiched in between losing to Ipswich and West Ham … did that kick us on? No, by the mid 80s we were close to relegation.

    Then George came along, took a bunch of amazing kids and took us back to glory. Title in ’89 and ’91, FA Cup in ’93 CWC in ’94 … did that kick us on? No, by the mid 90’s we were a mid table shambles with Shelly and Hillier in midfield.

    Wenger, this was out best chance, but did we ever grab the bull by the horns? Almost … 98 double, 2002 double, 2004 invincibles, 2006 CL final … couple of FA Cups (when it didn’t mean anything) at the end of Wenger’s slow car crash tenure, did that kick us on? No, by the end of the 10s we getting close to being a mid table shambles with Emery at the helm.

    So what does that teach us? Unless something has changed at the top, then Arteta might bring us something special. I’m not going to hang my hat on it after beating a shambles of a United team managed by the disastrous OGS, but even if he does, history tells us we will not kick on into the kind of dynasty that embedded other clubs into folklore.

    It’s just the way it is, unfortunately. We are more likely to be a mid table shambles in 5 years time than anything else.

  46. Emiratesstroller

    Getting back to football matters rather than reminisces Arsenal need to use
    the current transfer window wisely.

    Our priority this January has to be to bring in if possible at least one defender,
    because we are woefully short in that department even before the injury to Chambers.

    Both Chambers and Tierney are effectively out for the rest of this season and
    I think that it is also very clear that both Bellerin and Holding are unlikely to
    be 100% match fit this season after also suffering long term injuries.

    Leaving aside opinions on the rest of our defence we are exceedingly “thin” on
    the ground in this department.

    On the evidence of last two games and factoring in the imminent return to fitness of Ceballos I would be less inclined to invest this month in an additional player in midfield unless it is on loan.

    The reality is that we cannot keep on spending large sums of money on new
    players most of whom are unproven in EPL “pressure cooker”. As we have seen
    there are very few players arriving in this league from the Continent who adapt quickly to the environment.

  47. Bamford10

    Bill

    “I know no-one who thinks Emery ‘over-achieved’. Even Emery, in his own words, admits he didn’t know how to fix Arsenal.”

    Whether anyone agrees with me on that point — plenty of people do, btw — is irrelevant. That’s called the fallacy of the majority, and you’re resorting to it. Emery had something less than the fifth best squad in the league last season and yet he managed to finish 5th. That’s over-achieving. He had nothing like the quality that Spurs or Chelsea had, yet he finished 1 point and 2 points from them, respectively. That’s over-achieving. Objectively.

    “I know no-one who rates KSE more than you. Who do you think is responsible for the players bought?”

    Except that I don’t “rate” KSE. I just don’t think they are the problem some people think they are. And there are many Grovers who think the same as I do on this point, i.e., who don’t think that KSE are the problem some think they are.

    Who bought the players? Ummm, well, when Arsene Wenger was in charge, Arsene Wenger bought the players. And KSE gave him plenty of money to spend; he just spent it poorly.

    As for who has purchased the players since Wenger’s dismissal, well, the answer for the most part is Sanllehi and Edu. I guess Mislintat weighed in on a few of those, and Emery had some input as well. But primarily Sanllehi, Edu and Mislintat. Do you have a point? Are KSE somehow to blame for the decisions these three men have made? How so? And what decisions have they made that are so bad? Please explain. I don’t get your point here at all.

    “Who do you think is responsible for the disappointing growth in revenue of the club?”

    Arsene Wenger.

    “You can’t pin it on Wenger.”

    Yes, I can. And I do.

    “Who do you blame for keeping Wenger on for 6-7 years too long?”

    Stan Kroenke and the AKBs. Kroenke was absolutely wrong to continue on with Wenger as long as he did, but he did this for the same reason the AKB continued to support Wenger: he believed in Arsene Wenger. He got this wrong. Wenger was past it, out of touch and incompetent, and no one was more correct about that than Le Grove.

    However, we have turned the page on all of that and we find ourselves in a new chapter now. It’s going to take some time to dig ourselves out from the mess that Wenger made, but I’m confident that Arteta, Edu and Sanllehi can help the club do this. Cheers.

  48. Luteo Guenreira

    Bamford

    With one post Bill has surpassed your contribution to this comment space over seven years.

    Honestly I don’t many care about the “standing” of your opinion, if others are like me it’s just that you are such a bad writer that I just immediately dislike your opinion because of its delivery. I’ve said this before but I find it hilarious that you are an English teacher with such shit writing skills. I also find it hilarious that you are the head coach of the Debate Team whilst being such a shit debater.

    Everything about you is just all wrong. Whenever I allow myself to try and read your longer posts, about halfway through I inevitably end up making a face like I just smelled a nasty fart.

  49. Bamford10

    Reports that we are looking at Nathan Aké, which might make sense, but which will also cost a bit of money (£45m).

    Excerpt from Telegraph article below:

    “Chelsea remain favourites to re-sign Ake thanks to an agreement that they can buy him for £40 million as part of the deal that took the defender to Bournemouth in 2017.

    But Chelsea are facing the growing threat of competition for Ake if they do not complete the signing early in this month’s transfer window.

    Arsenal have placed Ake high on their list of potential replacements for Chambers, along with Red Bull Leipzig’s Dayot Upamenco, while Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Everton are also monitoring his situation.

    The fact Chelsea can re-sign Ake for £40m means that Bournemouth may be forced to listen to bids of £45m from rival clubs. The 24 year-old has been out with a hamstring injury, but is expected to be fit for the next round of Premier League games.

    While he is best at centre-back, Ake can fill in at left-back and play in defensive midfield. He is also comfortable in the centre of a back four or in a back three.”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2020/01/02/arsenal-join-january-battle-sign-nathan-ake-calum-chambers-injury/

  50. Goobergooner

    Cesc AppealJanuary 1, 2020 23:08:27
    ” ‘I liked him tonight, but he really, really needs to learn how to use his right foot’
    Definitely.
    That left foot is a weapon though.There are times I feel he’s slightly too cautious and you just want him to kick on and stretch his legs. Decides to front someone up while stationary as opposed to running them.
    I wonder if Arteta might try out playing him at LW as making him our Sane who is also heavily one footed.”

    This.
    Pepe is played on the right because of those scintillating left foot curlers he produces from cutting in from the wing to the edge of the box.

    I have wondered since he joined whether his all round game could improve if he was moved to the left and could actually get a cross in without turning back on himself or just feel more comfortable playing naturally from his left foot rather than right. I’m assuming with a left peg like he has, that he could still make goal scoring opportunities for himself. Just needs to find a different area of the box to shoot from.

  51. Lego Hair

    Bamford you’re doing nothing to dispel the myth that a yank cunt like yourself knows fuck all about football.

  52. Pierre

    I can’t be sure but I think Pepe was asked by Arteta to play more conservatively against United., to show more patience and not to be so loose in possession of the ball.

    He was told to stay goal side of the ball and not dive into tackles when the opposition had the ball.
    To his credit Pepe retained his discipline even though a lot of what was being asked of him was alien to his game.

    Pepe was rewarded for his patience with a goal and an assist and a 100% passing stat which one wouldn’t have thought possible prior to the game due to tre amount of times he would normally lose possession.

    Pepe I doubt will move over to the left and I wouldn’t expect him to be using his right foot much anytime soon.
    He is very potent force coming off the right side and he is capable of leaving defenders for dead with the drag back or nutmeg but Arteta wants him to do it in and around the opposition penalty area , not on the half way line .

    Arteta will not want to take the free spirit out of his game but he will not allow players like Pepe ( or Ozil) to indulge themselves , especially if it is a tight game.

    If their standards drop on the pitch , they’ll be taken off as Pepe was v United .

    What I do expect in the coming months is for Arsenal to have some resounding victories as the games will not be all as tight as our last 3 games and the team will gradually be able to play more expansive football .

    At the moment, it is all about work rate and discipline throughout the team and that is the right rules.

  53. gnarleygeorge9

    For me to be happy & content, one of the things I require is a functioning Arse. The other morning, Eastern Daylight Saving Time, I saw the 1st signs of The Arse Renaissance. Man scum passed thru The Arse & @ the end they were nothing more than Shite!

  54. gnarleygeorge9

    Mesut Ozil was sensational, Xhaka solid, the Little Uruguayan was magnificent. Laca, Auba worked their Arses off, & the Brazilian CB in peak form, as was the Bosnian Boy, Maitland-Niles, The Greek Philosopher, etc, etc, etc.

    I the Place sounded like it was humming. The crowd were gr8.

    Well done all those who attended!!!

  55. Graham62

    I know it’s early days yet and we still have many corners to turn and problems to solve, but I genuinely believe we have found our next messiah.

    How long is it since we’ve actually listened and absorbed what is being said? If I’m perfectly honest, I haven’t believed any of the rhetoric that’s come out of Arsenal these past 14 years.

    We can all see and feel that Arteta loves the club. We can also all see and feel that we have someone at the helm that really knows what he’s doing. Smart, eloquent and intense. What a combination!

    It seems the players see and feel it as well.

  56. Dark Hei

    Pierre

    Pepe certainly did not have a 100% pass rate.

    I just watched the 1st half so I know. Great performance though.

  57. Pierre

    Dark Hei
    I took my info from a previous comment.

    Blame sid if it’s wrong, and I’m telling you this for free.

    “SidJanuary 2, 2020 01:44:46
    Nicolas Pépé’s game by numbers vs. Man Utd:100% pass accuracy
    100% passes in opp.half
    50 touches
    16 total duels
    6 recoveries
    4 take-ons completed
    4 chances created
    2 aerials won
    2 shots
    1 goal”

  58. Jim Lahey

    @Bamford –

    “Emery had something less than the fifth best squad in the league last season and yet he managed to finish 5th. That’s over-achieving”

    Once again, as Bill was asking, what is that based on? You have presented this as a fact, yet it is clearly just your opinion!!

  59. Left testicle

    Reports we are in for boateng for £12m
    ……………
    No thanks. Are we just stock piling geriatric centre backs?

  60. Tony

    Did someone let Bamford out of the padded cell again without his meds?

    Evidence from above suggests it is so.

    Bill
    There is no reasoning with madness. Scrolling past Branford’s posts is the same thing to do.

    Charlie
    You work in a prison hospital?

  61. Habesha Gooner

    Reports we are in for boateng for £12m
    That would make more sense to me.
    Still we will have a massive surplus of centre
    halves when everyone is fit come June.

    No to Boateng. when will we ever learn you can’t fix the defense with cheap old players. Boateng has had a number of injuries these past few years and He has lost his speed now. Sure he can play but so can David Luiz. We need a permanent fix to our defense. Sokratis, Luiz and Boateng, what are we a retirement home?

  62. DigitalBob

    Not sure about how I feel about the Boateng rumor, I kinda agree with Left, I think he might be done at the top level hence Bayern willing to let him go. I’d rather give Dino Mavropanos a chance.

  63. Left testicle

    Boateng? That’s why we never progress. I’d rather wait until the summer and buy a decent centre back than make do with another ageing player who will only decline and have no resale value.

  64. Thorough

    No to Boateng.
    The guy who singlehandedly sacked Kovac.
    WE’VE got enough dimplayers for the gaffer to try whip into shape.

  65. DigitalBob

    Un- I’d rather overpay for Upamecano now(anything upto 60 million is fine) than risk waiting till the summer. We may have more appealing rivals for his signature by then.

    If not then lets persevere with Sokaratis, Holding and Luiz (I know but he is transformed!!!) and Dino.

    Spending 12 million on Boateng gives me Mertesacker/Benayoun vibes.

  66. Valentin

    Boating on loan make sense, to buy outright does not. You are then burden with an unsaleable player on high wage whose performance will seriously deteriorate because most of his game was based on the physical aspect.
    To be fair, buying Boateng at £12 millions is a lower risk but the unknowns are his wage and the length of his contract. I doubt that Boateng would move for low wage or a pay as you play contract.

    The fact that Arsenal has to rebuild the squad mid way through the season just emphasize two points:
    1) our so called “strategic” summer transfer window has been so poor that we have to correct it. A CM, a CB is not a little change it is the spine of the team. We can’t afford another mistake.

    2) the academy has been run so poorly for years that none of the U23 central defenders have a chance in hell on making it at Arsenal. Hopefully the new academy scout will fix the recruitment, but recruitment alone cannot help produce decent CBs. Arsenal will also need to fix the horrendous defensive coaching. Arteta is now teaching the basics of passing to Saka. That should have been done before. Per, the BFG need to start taking the right decision and appointment.

  67. CG

    This Boateng chap- the Imelda Marcos of world soccer should nowhere be near Arsenal.

    Another Luiz type. Another joker

    Neither should the Barca crock & reject Utimindi.

    (Mind you he could keep Tierney company in the treatment room.)

    12 months on from the Barca/Suarez debacle- lets hope the Spiv has learned his lesson and does not assist his old team- in buying their garbage.

    Plenty of lower league British defenders out there to buy,

    John Stones- formerly of Barnsley will do,

    Arteta could get Stones playing nicely again

  68. Cesc Appeal

    Goober

    I think that may be what Arteta does eventually.

    Right now it is all about confidence with Pepe, he scored, smashed a great effort against the post and whipped in the corner that led to the goal.

    This is what’s important so it makes sense Arteta is letting him play his natural game right now. But I do think he’s predictable. Against Bournemouth when he came on as soon as he got the ball I could hear the Bournemouth bench shouting ‘inside, inside’.

    I guess it can potentially leave space for the overlapping RB if the defenders all move toward the centre of the area…but it’s too predictable at times.

    Arteta will likely shift him over and create genuine width as his inclination toward the left side of his body will take him to the touch line as opposed to toward goal.

    Sane certainly still knocks them in and creates. Pepe will need to work on his right foot which can be done but also then the midgame switch to RW will give defences something else to think about and might catch them out allowing space for one of those left foot curlers cutting in.

  69. Cesc Appeal

    I’d say no to Boateng.

    Years gone by I would have taken him, but another CB who’s over 30 likely wanting a massive contract. Not really liking that. Likely we pay £12 Million and he’s on £120 000 or something for 2 years.

    If that’s as much money as they are giving Arteta then best just to leave it.

    But with the links to Upamecano, Demiral, Ake, Soumare, Lemar etc it seems there may be money. I’d rather just one Upamecano, Demiral or Soumare than a collection of average type buys.

  70. Aussie Gooner

    A big no to Boateng. 12m for a 31 year old 3rd choice at Bayern – I don’t think so. Do we never learn? Push the boat out for Upamecano now. If we wait until the summer some other big spending clubs will pounce and push the price up still further – that’s what agents are paid to do.

    We will be back to banter status if Glen Kamara and Boateng are incoming this TW.

  71. DigitalBob

    Un – absolutely your right, we don’t know, but I really hope we don’t get a “Mustafi can be great” press conference next though! He’s caused so much hurt!

    As Valentin said, I guess a loan for Boateng makes sense for all parties but if it meant missing out on a player the calibre of Upamecano I’d leave Boateng alone.

  72. CG

    UN

    H.N.Y

    “” CG Trust me I’d rather go british”””””

    The great thing about Arteta’s blockbusting start as Arsenal manager/coach – is he has basically made Raul and Edu redundant.

    Arteta is already total control.

    And only after 18 days- he is the most important person at the club.

    (Like Wenger in his pomp.)
    Whatever Arteta decides to do -he will be allowed to

    If Raul tries his tricks- ( in foisting players on the coach or selling players against their will) – Arteta wont stand for it.

    Just think How far advanced would we be- if Arteta had taken over the reigns 18 months ago?

    Raul must never be forgiven for appointing his Clown.
    Indeed wanted more Clown by dint of wanting to extend his contract post Baku.

  73. Leedsgunner

    For £40m I reckon we can do and should do better than Ake… although age profile he’s in the right ball park.

    Better still if we can fund it by selling off the likes of Mkhitaryan, Mustafi and Elneny? Surely combined they should surely bring in at least £40m?

    Three players we should’ve never bought.

  74. Valentin

    Un,

    You are right that putting on the left would kill any shooting threat Pepe has. One thing that was frustrating Arteta was the fact that Pepe never tried to take Shaw on the outside with his pace. The few times he did it was great, but by never offering the possibility of going outside he is easier to defend against.
    Added the fact that clearly AMN has been told to curb his attacking instinct and defend slight inside to help in midfield we have minimal threat on the left outside.
    Pepe need to vary his game and not be afraid of going on the outside to beat the fullback and then to the byline and do a cutback or cross himself. Aubameyang should have done better with his volley attempt from Pepe’s cross.

  75. Bamford10

    I’ve changed my mind on Boateng. As as short-term solution for losing Chambers, it does in fact make sense. At 12m, it will not prevent us from spending money in the summer. And Boateng, while not ideal in some ways, is good with the ball at his feet, which fits the direction in which Arteta is taking us (i.e., possession, possession, possession). As Sanllehi said of the January window, it is for tactical and short term needs, not strategic or long-term needs.

  76. Uwot?

    We need a youngish centre half with huge potential such as Upamencano.This is Leipzig trying to push the price up.we could try to throw in a makeweight?
    I’m sure ARSETETA knows what he wants.& what ARSETETA wants,he gets!

  77. RedHotHornBlower

    Maybe for the first time ever, I agree with every word you’ve written. Arsene Wenger once said “Arsenal need one day to recruit someone like me, only better.” We may have done that. Brilliant start.

  78. Pedro

    Redhot, not that agreement matters, but did you really not agree with me on Wenger? Emery? Freddie not being good enough?

    For this to have been the first time would suggest you’ve been massively off the mark for about 10 years

  79. Bill

    Oh Bamford, you spent so much time trying to rebut my arguments with, in all due respect, an I’ll thought out stream of consciousness.

    I’m well aware of the fallacy of the majority. I don’t think you have used this correctly to undermine my argument. If you read my post you will see that I expose your opinions as just that – opinions. You dont use statistical data, in fact you think evidence is “impossible” to obtain. My view with my academic background, is very different. I believe that data is essential in coming to a conclusion. The data must be filtered to ensure it is reliable and accurate and then needs to be interpreted.
    You dont use this process. You rely on what you see. Fair enough. I point out that what you see in a stadium is more informative than watching on TV. You countered by saying that i imply that TV analysts are downgraded. I rebut this by stating that i know no-one who does not use tv highlights and data to SUPPLEMENT their in -stadium analysis.

    Your inference, as often the case with you, is wrong. I made no such implication. Your distortion of what I clearly stated is a misinterpretation. To be fair, I don’t think you understand the logical argument I set out.

    The reason for my reprise of the debate is that you, by your own words, solely rely on watching tv. Your view differs from the vast majority by using a tiny sub set of available information. So having drawn out what you base your opinions, I then draw out the fallibility of this view by its reliance on an inadequate dataset.

    Your response is to focus on the final limb of the argument and erroneously use the fallacy of the majority assumption to undermine it.
    You then undermine your argument by falling into the same fallacy that you incorrectly attribute to me.

    Laughably you state:
    1. Whether anyone agrees with me on that point — PLENTY OF PEOPLE DO
    2. (KSE) just don’t think they are the problem some people think they are. AND THERE ARE MANY GROVERS WHO THINK THE SAME AS I DO ON THIS POINT.

    You therefore rely SOLELY on the support of (unidentified) others without any logical argument.

  80. Bill

    Bamford, I know I’m labouring the point, but you don’t understand the point of me raising the poor recruitment, which you often write about, and the linking of this to KSE.

    You don’t understand the point of me raising the ineptitude of KSE’s role in continuing to employ Wenger for 6-7 years too long.

    Well, I’m surprised by you not understanding the reason I raise these points.

    I’ll explain. If KSE was run properly and there was a performance culture, then this will not have happened.

    Same with the woeful financial results- even worse when set against out rivals.

    This circles back to the original points I made about evidence and datasets and allies this to financial accountability, in essence a quality assurance process.

    As for your point about attempting to pull seniority on me because you have posted on Le Grove for 7 years is completely irrelevant.

    Not knowing who I am is, again, wholly irrelevant.

    I don’t know why you mention this. Could you please clarify why you feel it relevant to mention your longevity on this board – without recourse to circular arguments. I think it would be illuminating to know.

    Hope this clears up any misunderstanding, Bamford and I look forward to your explanation to the questions asked.

    Cheers