Old habits die hard, but Arsenal players respond brilliantly

by & filed under News Review.

Mikel Arteta stayed true to his word and treated the FA Cup with more respect than you’d show your grandma at a Sunday lunch. He fielded a very strong team for Bielsa’s Leeds, though it was loaded with some oddities. He stuck with a back four that saw Sokratis as right back. His midfield had Xhaka and Matteo, which always scares me. He continued his run with Mesut and capped it with Pepe, Laca and Nelson.

We started off in appalling fashion. Our manager hilariously said after the game, “I’ve watched Leeds United a lot and they batter teams every 3 days,” and batter us they did. We were absolutely second best for the majority of the first half. Leeds pummeled us, they beat us to every ball and they didn’t give us time to turn out of our half. It was utterly embarrassing. We managed 3 attempts with 1 on target (they had 15 attempts at our goal, 5 on target).

Matteo Guendouzi looked frightened, he was awful on the ball, he did not know which way to turn or where to stand. He resorted to slipping into the back 4 like he’d been doing under Emery. He wasn’t helped, Rob Holding has gone from looking like peak Baresi, to Pascal Cygan after 5 beers, he was very rusty and struggled with his passing. Then up front, Lacazette looked sluggish and low on confidence. Our players were bunched up, we didn’t fight, and we forgot all the good things from the last 3 games. The only bright spark was some good keeping from Martinez.

There are always going to be lots of questions of the manager when things are going badly, the one we wanted to know last night was whether he could motivate ‘this’ group of players to come out fighting. Well, Lacazette said, ‘he shouted a lot.’ Which always moistens the loins of British fans who think a good hairdryer treatment can solve any motivation issue.

Were the Brits wrong to dampen? Absolutely not. Brexit means Brexit and shouting at players appears to mean they pull their finger out, the dirty slaaaags.

The players put Leeds on the back foot right away. We became the protagonists. The shape was much improved, the midfield moved quicker to close down danger/angles, and the team worked really hard to get Ozil and Pepe on the ball. The German, in particular, made the most of the ball, he created some great opportunities, every touch had intent and seemed to dent the confidence of a tiring Leeds side.

The breakthrough came from some dogged work from Pepe. He slinked away from a pile-up with Douglas just inside Leeds half. The Ivorian reminds me of a fast Kanu sometimes, I don’t quite know how he’s staying on his feet, but it works and he escapes. He powered through the middle, released Lacazette out wide, he quickly slipped the ball into the box, it deflected and Reiss Nelson was on hand to bundle home. Not the tidiest of goals, but a confidence jab for all three involved.

That goal really took the steam out of anything Leeds could offer. We continued the half with the same intensity. I thought the fans were in fine voice, they kept the boys going with their singing. Arteta was able to bring on Gabriel, who looks the absolute business. His intensity is going to be a game-changer for Arsenal next year.

The game finished 1-0. We somehow kept another clean sheet. The team passed another test, they can be motivated, they do want to play for the manager, and the FA Cup could be a real opportunity this season.

Leeds is a bruising team to play against, the squad underestimated them, and they nearly paid the price. It’s a lesson learned. Mikel is good, but he’s never going to shake old habits in under a month.

Fans have to accept that finding consistency is going to be very hard this season. There will some great moments, but there are also going to be some horrible ones that might leave you questioning whether we have the right man in charge. We have to work through it, this is a proper manager with ideas that will take a year to start delivering consistency… but when they land, it’s going to be beautiful.

For now, let’s hope the lessons of today were learned. At the highest level, even against Championship sides, you cannot afford to take your foot off the gas. Leeds has a tiny squad that’s been somewhat out of form and they dominated us so badly in the first half, we only managed 37.5% possession.

Arsenal are still weak when pressed hard, we’ve known that for years, we’ll have to get better there. Xhaka looked really poor in the first half, but he was a different beast in the second. Matteo looked ready for the scrap heap in the first 45, the second he looked like a man who was told his family were in the boot of a car with their lives dependent on him playing like a man possessed. Everyone looked better when they moved towards the Arteta instruction pack and that can only be a positive for his authority as a manager moving forward.

Next up is Sheffield United. A tough game against a coach that will have watched what Bielsa did with intrigue. Chris Wilder will have a plan, we’ll have to rise to the occasion again and hope the squad wants to continue to prove the doubters wrong.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. I don’t normally care much for press conferences, but man, I love listening to the clarity of his comms. He knows exactly what’s going on, very refreshing. Also great to know Auba is committed.

498 Responses to “Old habits die hard, but Arsenal players respond brilliantly”

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  1. Freddie Ljungberg

    CC

    No one is as slow as Xhaka or as prone to mistakes in their squad, then they wouldn’t be there.

    No one is asking for the perfect player btw, you just made that up. There’s a huge distance from being slow, mistake riddled, or lazy and only showing up at home, when you feel like it, to perfect.

    So you’re advocating signings but at the same time you think all our players are good and are going to thrive in Artetas system?
    Way to cover your bases there.

    Save me the predictable response.

    misunderstood, dishonest, some insult taken straight from your burger king menu, fanny flapping.

    Saved you the trouble there, how thoughtful of me.

  2. Champagne charlie

    Freddie

    You want players with no weaknesses, they don’t exist and the ones that buck that trend go down in history.

    If you think a team can’t compete on the basis of one player in a squad of 23 you’ve not a clue about football frankly. Couldn’t imagine the comedy of Gundogan in CM at Arsenal last season under Emery, but he suits City plenty. Mind blowing I know.

    “So you’re advocating signings but at the same time you think all our players are good and are going to thrive in Artetas system? Way to cover your bases there.”

    Man City won the title last year and made signings, are you still struggling with this whole ‘get better every window’ idea?

    Show me where I’ve said all our players are going to thrive under Arteta, or are good? Can’t wait for this one.

  3. Marko

    Freddie good for you mate taking it from all sides and sticking to your guns. Shame mob mentality rules around here some times. The pivoting from certain types to the target being top 4 then the squad is top 4 quality to then the squad needs gutting 12 to leave in the summer to then no one said that we didn’t need signings is some head spinning stuff honestly. It’s all pointless shite anyway because at the end of the day whether or not Arteta guts the squad ends up being successful and proves a couple of dickheads on some blog wrong it doesn’t really matter because they don’t really matter and all that matters is that we improve. It’s just going to be a total coincidence that when Arteta is truly flying that it’ll be with a totally revamped squad.

  4. Un na naai

    So you’re advocating signings but at the same time you think all our players are good and are going to thrive in Artetas system?
    Way to cover your bases there.

    Freddie could it be possible that
    1) this squad is good enough to achieve top four and that Arteta is proving that by using them in their best positions and structuring a platform from which to base the team with each player knowing his role

    And
    2) that this doesn’t mean that any arsenal fan doesn’t want BETTER players than those we have currently just that they are adequate for the minimum we would like arsenal to achieve- too 4

    It’s really simple
    You’ve been told it over and over, all night and yet you still aren’t grasping it

    The team is good
    It can be better
    Emery was shit and made every individual worse through nearly every thing he did

    Got it?

  5. Freddie Ljungberg

    You’re claiming various players pony without the context of what we need to thrive in Arteta’s approach. Some skill that.”

    Ok so this is not a statement that our players are good and are going to thrive in Artetas system.

    good to know.

  6. Freddie Ljungberg

    ) that this doesn’t mean that any arsenal fan doesn’t want BETTER players than those we have currently just that they are adequate for the minimum we would like arsenal to achieve- too 4

    They are maybe adequate to scrap it out for a top 4 finish. Again is that the peak of our ambition, to be maybe good enough for a battle with 3-4 other teams for the remaining 2 CL places?

    Ffs this is getting ridiculous now.

  7. Freddie Ljungberg

    Don

    “You really think you offer an outside the box perspective on everything don’t you?”

    At least my perspective is from inside Wengers shitbox. So it’s gotta be new to you.

  8. Un na naai

    At least my perspective is from inside Wengers shitbox. So it’s gotta be new to you.

    Righto
    A comment only you will understand. Have a lie down will you. You’ve had a long night

  9. Tom

    Un na naaiJanuary 7, 2020 22:32:28
    Freddy You really think you offer an outside the box perspective on everything don’t you

    ————
    Rim jobs is an outside the BOX perspective so he kinda got you there Un

  10. Champagne charlie

    “ ‘You’re claiming various players pony without the context of what we need to thrive in Arteta’s approach. Some skill that.’

    Ok so this is not a statement that our players are good and are going to thrive in Artetas system.“

    No mention of a view that all are good and going to thrive, literally just a statement that you’re making claims before any context about the above has been delivered.

    But rich of you to fire chat about lack of comprehension my way with input like this. Is this how you’ve landed at the idea someone (as yet unnamed) doesn’t want any signings made?

  11. Un na naai

    They are maybe adequate to scrap it out for a top 4 finish. Again is that the peak of our ambition, to be maybe good enough for a battle with 3-4 other teams for the remaining 2 CL places?

    Freddie
    Scrap it out? We were ahead of all our rivals with 6 games to go. There was no scrap with a decent manager. Emery out the EL first otherwise there is no scrap
    Proof that we had/have the squad for top four
    We’ve since added 4 new players to that squad while Chelsea united and spurs have got weaker

    How much easier can I make this?

  12. Freddie Ljungberg

    CC

    Fine CC, the system is everything, individual quality and physical attributes doesn’t matter, let’s all bow down to the genius of Mikel Arteta, bender of space and time, breaker of physical laws.

    Yeah, we need more context to see that some players are not good enough. That’s what we need.

    Keyser would have been proud of you if he was still with us.

  13. Freddie Ljungberg

    “Scrap it out? We were ahead of all our rivals with 6 games to go. There was no scrap with a decent manager. Emery out the EL first otherwise there is no scrap
    Proof that we had/have the squad for top four
    We’ve since added 4 new players to that squad while Chelsea united and spurs have got weaker”

    Chelsea had a poor start because Sarri was tinkering too much. Spurs had a worse second half of the season than us.

    How much easier can I make this?

    This is all pointless anyway. Put all your chips on coaching if you want with one or 2 signings added to our top 4 squad “just to freshen things up” , I’d like us to improve more than that so let’s just agree that you’re wrong and hope the club are smarter than you lot.

  14. Freddie Ljungberg

    Marko

    Well, he did mention Sweden once, but it was more misinformed than racist this time so a marked improvement from him nonetheless.

    Maybe there’s hope for him yet. He just need another chance, that’s it, there’s really. Secretly a good person inside there, just need someone to coach it out of him.

    Nah. I just made that up.

  15. Champagne charlie

    “Yeah, we need more context to see that some players are not good enough. That’s what we need.“

    So you know who is going to sink or swim under Arteta? As I say, some skill that. Lottery numbers must be child’s play.

    How many snide remarks is that you’ve made tonight? Think you can bin your victim mentality going forward, I’d refrain from popping yourself on a lofty pedestal of morality next time you’re offering appraisals of other posters.

  16. RodneyKing

    We can blame Emery all we want but even if we had qualified for the CL, we most likely would have dropped down to the EL considering how badly we started the season and how tricky some of the group-stage fixtures were. Last year’s semi-finalists Ajax didn’t even make the cut.

    We’re supposedly top-4 quality but we haven’t qualified for the CL in 3 seasons and counting.

    As for the CL itself, what’s the point in qualifying for it if we aren’t going to be competitive? Barely making it out of our group and getting knocked out in the round of 16 isn’t a lot better than where we are at the moment.

    Our turning into an EL side was long in the making.

  17. Freddie Ljungberg

    “So you know who is going to sink or swim under Arteta? As I say, some skill that. Lottery numbers must be child’s play.

    How many snide remarks is that you’ve made tonight? Think you can bin your victim mentality going forward, I’d refrain from popping yourself on a lofty pedestal of morality next time you’re offering appraisals of other posters.”

    My guess is it’s going to be the same players that’s been stinking out the squad for a couple of years now. But sure, give them more time, that’s all they need.

    Bohoo sugarcup.

    This was just a watered down version of what you’ve been dishing out for years to all who dared question your views. Or who misunderstood your views, sorry.
    Couldn’t quite bring myself to go full CC though so you’ve got spared the worst of you.

  18. Valentin

    I see that the EKB are back in force changing the goal posts. That tactic of arguing against opinions that nobody ever expressed just to score cheap points is getting tiresome.
    The facts are:
    1) Emery failed at Arsenal. You can argue about the reason for the failure and whether he was even responsible for it. But the undeniable truth is that he failed.

    2) Arteta’s team is currently showing more structure, organisation and more effort than it ever did under Emery. Again that may not last, that may be a sad indictment of the players, but the fact is that Arteta is succeeding where Emery was failing. Contrarily to some, he is succeeding not by adding new personnel but by using the same players available to Emery.

    3) Perfect players don’t exist, but perfect players for a system exists. If you were to design the perfect midfielder I doubt that anybody would end up with Henderson. So before pre-judging the players on some personal individual criteria, let’s see how the current players adapt to Arteta’s system.

    4) even League winning team refresh their squad. So it is a given that Arteta will buy players. However a full clear up of the entire squad will not take place next summer. Some players will adapt, some won’t go because of finance.

    5) unless Arsenal win every single league games, its table final position will always depend on how other teams have fared. So using the argument that Arsenal achieve 5th with 70pts only because Sarri was tinkering, Pochettino was tanking is a false argument. With 6 games to go, Top 4 was in Arsenal grasp and Emery let it slip by making bad decision.

  19. Freddie Ljungberg

    Val

    Ffs not you too.

    “I see that the EKB are back in force”

    That’s not a thing, sorry.

    1. So?

    2. Define succeeding? We’re looking better in our set up and effort sure. Is that going to last, we’ve won 2 games so far. Promising start and I hope Arteta is properly backed both now and in the summer so we can continue the upward trend.

    3. No one has argued that we have to buy perfect players, what was it about arguing points that hasn’t been made again?
    Sure, let’s give them all more time, like we haven’t wasted enough already

    4. We don’t need a full clear out, we’re in the middle of one. Still need at least 4 new starters in the next 2 windows if we’re serious about ever getting back to the top again..

    5. So? There’s many factors in each season. Our unbeaten run got us in that position to tank it, doesn’t mean we weren’t lucky in many of those games. And yes, Chelsea and Spurs had worse seasons than us considering the relative strength of our squads.

    Doesn’t matter now though, I would rather Arsenal be successful than seeing us give the same wasters more chances to prove their wankness just to show you how wrong you are, so I’m hoping for signings. You can hope for sauce all you like if that’s what floats your turds.

  20. Champagne charlie

    Freddie

    Very rarely do people misunderstand views on here, usually it’s a cacophony of slander with peoples views getting twisted and thrown at them to score points.

    Be like someone arguing against the idea of us not needing to strengthen, even though it’s not been said. Or arguing someone for claiming all our players are going to thrive under Arteta, even though it’s not been said.

    You’d be hard pressed to see it though, you’re that busy trying your best to one up people on here despite being a candle amongst LEDs.

  21. Freddie Ljungberg

    CC

    Look sugartits, you’re not half as bright as you like to think. Nice attempt at a put down though.

    Maybe time to bring out the burger king menu again. Or maybe go left field and do a mcdonalds one, you haven’t called anyone a big mac in a while, knock yourself out.

  22. China1

    Lol @utd.

    Worst league start for a few decades and now spanked at home by city off the back of losing to us

    Long may OGS remain in charge!!

  23. Pedro

    Redtruth last season.

    ‘Emery is a top 3 coach in the world’

    Not sure your makeshift comments will land with much credibility tbh.

  24. That Dreamcast Kid

    come on lads that was some pointless arguments right there that ended with some name callings

    that’s when you know you need your footballing fix elsewhere go play footie outside or Pro Evo or FM to massage your ego and wank to your fantasies on how to improve this squad

  25. Champagne charlie

    Freddie

    You do realise a “whopper” is a lie right? Thought it worth noting as you’re waffling on about the Burger King menu and lack of intelligence in the same breath.

    That ones irony….and further proof you should steer well clear of intellectual swipes you fucking moron 😂

  26. Freddie Ljungberg

    CC

    I know what a whopper is thanks.

    pretty sure you’ve been calling people quarter pounders with cheese etc here so don’t try to squirm out of it. Most of your insults are food based, the original Keyser was a fatty too if I recall correctly so no surprise you’re following your master in the dark arts of circle arguing yourself to death. Boring cunt

  27. Graham62

    I love what Arteta said –

    “We are not good enough to relax”

    This in itself shows that he will accept nothing less than 100% focus and commitment.

    If this doesn’t motivate the players, I don’t know what will.

  28. Lego Hair

    Freddie you should retire. That whole episode was painful to read.

    You’ll have trouble sitting down today after that shafting from CC.

    Wannabe liberal intellect just turns out to be a Swedish meatball who didn’t even know what a whopper was 😂

  29. Freddie Ljungberg

    Aubergine

    I’m sorry, the opinion of someone whose life goal is to break the le grove ban record by repeatedly being a cunt doesn’t really mean anything to me. Run along now.

  30. Lego Hair

    Freddie you’re running a close 2nd to Bamford as the most clueless deluded cunt on here.

    Way to go mate that’s something. Going to call me a Big Mac? Lol

    Shows your level of understanding with even the most basic of things.

  31. Freddie Ljungberg

    Aubergine

    A bit rich coming to the same web site you’ve been banned from for being a massive cunt more than half a dozen times and call someone else stupid.

    Have you ever made a post not abusing someone, ever?

    Guess we have to count ourselves lucky that you rarely find time out of your busy schedule of punching puppies and harassing old ladies to post more often.

    Again, your opinion on who you think your needle dicked boyfriend has shafted means nothing to us normal people.

  32. Leftside

    ‘come on lads that was some pointless arguments right there that ended with some name callings’

    normal business on Legrove mate!

  33. Lego Hair

    Freddie

    Who the fuck is aubergine you weirdo?

    ‘ Guess we have to count ourselves lucky that you rarely find time out of your busy schedule of punching puppies and harassing old ladies to post more often. Again, your opinion on who you think your needle dicked boyfriend has shafted means nothing to us normal people.’

    Another example of Freddie projecting again.

    You don’t have to abuse me. Just accept you were humiliated over and over last night and you’re getting all defensive.