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”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Romford Pele

    I said yesterday that Leeds are a team that come with high energy and intensity which we’d have to match. Looks like Arteta told them the same thing and he wasn’t happy with his non-negotiables at HT so gave them the hairdryer treatment. Good to see. Very silly of these guys to take Leeds lightly like they did initially.

  2. TheLegendaryDB10

    Really happy with how the team reacted after their bollocking from Arteta.

    I think this goes to show that they are actually listening to him, which in itself is a real positive.

    As CC said last night, it will be these kind of yo-yo’ing performances that we will see between now and the end of the season.

    But, it really does look like that by the end of the season we should (hopefully) see a total transformation in the team and how we play.

    Excited is not enough to describe how I feel at the moment!

  3. Pierre

    The refs performance was a strange one last night .

    The stats show that Arsenal are the team who receive the most yellows for the fewest fouls , it looked like last night someone had a word in the refs ear and said, go easy on Arsenal tonight as we need to even up the stats a little.

    I can’t think of any other reason why ref Taylor would be so lenient , in any normal game the cards come out immediately….very strange.

  4. Romford Pele

    I thought Arteta would change maybe formation at HT as we were getting outnumbered in the middle but it turns out all we needed was top step up both on and off the ball.

    The line was a lot higher in the second half which compressed the space and meant we didn’t have to cover as much ground, unlike the first half when there was a lot of space in between the lines.

  5. Pierre

    Leeds quality all over the pitch surprised me , some of their football and link up play was sublime.
    Their manager is always spoken of very highly and one can see why .

    Injuries permitting, they look a certainty for promotion…

  6. Romford Pele

    Sokratis isn’t a RB but gave a decent account. He can’t dribble away from pressure and doesn’t have the level of athleticism AMN does. You saw the difference.

    Same with Guendouzi who can be far too lax on the ball. Doesn’t have Torreira’s natural ball-winning instincts and takes too long to win the ball. Because of his bad positional sense as well you started to see Xhaka’s flaws again which weren’t apparent in previous games. Guendouzi is only 20 but he needs a lot coaching and to fill out his frame a bit more.

  7. Romford Pele

    “Leeds quality all over the pitch surprised me , some of their football and link up play was sublime.
    Their manager is always spoken of very highly and one can see why .”

    Pep, Poch and many others have taken many principles from Biesla’s game. One of the heavy connoisseurs of coordinated pressing and positional play. Arteta already warned about this before the game.

    Leeds will be back in the PL next season and will likely do quite well. One bad Biesla trait though is that he’s very stubborn and tends not to rotate (hence why Eddie didn’t get many opportunities amongst other reasons) so his teams always blow out in the last 1/3 of the season.

  8. Romford Pele

    “Arteta certainly doesn’t like the look of Dani Ceballos. I wonder why?”

    He’s only just come back from injury so i wouldn’t make too many judgements yet but he does run like he’s stuck in the mud.

  9. CazOnARola

    I think a lot of it was also due to the personnel.
    AMN had been effectively playing as a DM along side Torreira in our attacks.

    He has been crucial along with Torreira in helping stay most of our attacks against Chelsea and United.
    He played a couple of great inside passes with his left footed to Torreira /the CBs when he was boxed in on the right and helped switch sides and start the attacks.

    Many of the ball recoveries by the other midfielders were also because of Torreira’s hustle plus his accurate line breaking passes also a miss.

    Hopefully we will go deeper in tournament after the wake up call to the players today.

  10. El Gooner

    next up is Palace.

    But more importantly can we definitively get over this pipe dream that Holding is the answer at CB – “from prime Baresi….”??

    yes, danny murphy is a **** but each and every comment re Xhaka was justified, he has one decent game in 3 and that is never going to be enough. Struggle to believe we do not have someone at least at his level already in the squad. let him go to the mighty Hertha.

  11. Romford Pele

    AMN and Torreira were definitely missed yesterday. We looked a step slower but also because these guys carry greater intensity due to their athleticism.

    What is evident to me is that we need ball carriers in midfield. There are different ways to beat the press. You can either go long, you can have one-two quick touches to play through the press (only the best teams can do this), or you have more ball-carriers which is why i’m very big on Grealish and Soumare who combine both aspects of what we need physically and technically.

  12. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    It’s what we have wanted someone to change it up when it’s not going to plan…
    Fair play art did that…

    All aboard the Art trip….

    Untold can have this for free,

    Football is an Art. Teta.

  13. CaliSteve

    RP – I actually remember watching the game at OT and thinking they must be on drugs they put in such a shift. Very impressive. Last night they were like Man City first half but second half we imposed ourselves and they seemed to run out of steam.

  14. alex cutter

    “Untold can have this for free,
    Football is an Art. Teta.”

    Even those UA retards wouldn’t touch that.

  15. Romford Pele

    CaliSteve – they really outplayed United across both legs, it was fantastic. His teams do tend to run out of steam over the course of a season because he doesn’t rotate though. Leeds should’ve won the Championship last season. When he was at Marseille they were doing well until around March then died out. It’s a common trend of his teams and one of the downsides but they are very good to watch in full flight.

    Yesterday our guys weren’t up to it first half. The moment we matched their intensity levels in the second half, our quality told.

  16. CG

    The Name of The Game in Cup soccer- is to win.
    And Arteta’s Arsenal won.

    4th Round against Bournemouth next.

    But the reality is.
    Even with Arteta in charge.

    Its Leeds United who look like the club that are going places and Arsenal who will be treading water in the next 2/3seasons at least.

    The sheer number of attempts Leeds United had on a goal- means only thing .

    We have serious structural problems with the side.

    (This dominance from the opposition never ever happened under Wenger sides.

    That’s because we had always 65% -70% possession of the ball in every match we played.)

    Pepe/Genduzi /Sok and Luiz will always be problematic…….they either give possession away too cheaply or too immobile to compete with the opposition.

    Like Fergie when he arrived at Man Utd.
    Arteta has a 4 year job- to rectify the damage The Clown and Raul have done to us.

    But at least- we know we have the right man in charge.

  17. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    Agree those two missed.

    Amn looks to be totally embracing being coached by art.

    Torr we all knows is class in doing what he does.

    I’m still concerned b6 luiz n papa .

    Luiz I’m not sure can concentrate for for game after game.

    Said it before maybe luiz would be bette4 deployed as a sweeper wit( such a dodgy pairing in front.

  18. James wood

    Matteo looked poor he really does struggle to win
    tackles he’s a bit like an Angora goat coming up behind you
    not good giving away free kicks just outside your box.?
    I’m sure he would be more effective with two quicker midfielders
    than Ozil who does not tackle and Zac who was lucky with cards
    all night.?
    Murphy giving Laca “man of the match” clearly shows his Edinburgh
    festival booking is justified.

  19. Romford Pele

    RSPC, still early days but Arteta looks keen on AMN because of what he offers in build up and helping to stop counters because he’s quick.

    Luiz and Sokratis thankfully are not long-term solutions. They do though need better protection and we looked better once we played a higher line in the second half.

  20. CazOnARola

    +1 on the ball carriers. But they also need to be a bit unselfish and not try to play the final ball themselves all the time as we saw with Alexis and Wilshere. They should leave that players that can do it more consistently like ozil or cesc etc.
    Alexis was the black hole of football. He wanted to play the final ball himself most of the time with a pass completion rate of 77% overall. He would have been great if he left it to other folks and tried to get into scoring positions more often like CR7 rather than showing for the ball all the time.

  21. Wasi

    Absolutely outstanding performance from Arteta at HT. Literally Every player improved in the second half. First half was very bad like Emery bad but credit also goes to Bielsa’s team for the work they put in. Also we defended quite deep in the first half and the shape was not compact as Arteta would have liked . The front 4 didn’t know when to press high and they are not as good defending deep so First Half was a mess. Lacazette, Guen , Xhaka , Holding, Kola were horrible in the first half. Especially Holding who like many of his performances this season was the worst of the pile. Couldn’t keep count of how many times he gave the ball away. + What is the overhyping?. Prime Baresi on what basis? Id say Chambers is a better player than Holding. Only good player in the first half was Emi thanks to his shot stopping but constantly gave the ball away by hoofing it towards our small forwards. Our players underestimated them and were made to look like fools.

    Second half was good. Lacazette was massive, so was Xhaka. Guen was good, Pepe played well. Ozil was effective.
    Martinelli is the bomb. Gives his all in attack and defence. The one attempt he took with zero backlift and still managed to generate good power on the ball had me on toes. Got very quick feet. Just needs to make better decisions. In the final third Sometimes it feels like his body is ready to move but his mind cannot decide what to do. But that will come with experience. Other than that I dont really see any major weaknesses in his game. Such an Elite level talent he is. Dont remember seeing someone who presses with as much purpose as this guy.
    Also id like to give credit to the Leeds United keeper. Didnt have much to do in the first half but handled himself well in the second. He was very confident and assured in his distribution and tbh it was very good. Maybe Leno and Emi can take a leaf out of his book. Young keeper with potential that guy.

  22. CG

    Arsenal passes 317
    Leeds United passes 439

    Arsenal possession 48%
    Leeds United possession 52%

    Leeds a championship side with 2 debutants…..and peppering our goal with shots.

    AND ARSENAL AT HOME with a forward line costing over £120 000 000 alone.

    Those stats alone – show you how far we have fallen post Wenger

    We are light years away from competing for the title.

    Leeds United with Bellsa and Arab oil money coming- look like they could be the new Leicestershire City.

  23. Romford Pele

    Yeah it’s Palace this weekend. Sheffield United the weekend after. Both tough games. Don’t think application will be an issue after last night. Hopefully we can get a body, maybe two in by the end of Jan. Arteta seemed quite assured about that.

  24. Wasi

    But the things Alexis did with ball far outweighed the negative side of it. Absolute Monster he was for us. And we didn’t even notice his poor pass completion rates and the no. of times he gave the ball away until he started sulking and his attacking output dropped. So many times he won us matches through his individual quality was extraordinary. We have missed him but I think we have at least one player who can go on to replace him and even surpass his output without accumulating all the negative stats.
    . Clue- He too is from South America.

  25. HighburyLegend

    “The only bright spark was some good keeping from Martinez.”

    “Some good keeping” ??
    Lol without him, the score would have been 4-0 at half time.

  26. Leedsgunner

    It was a win win for me last night… pleased with the final result as an Arsenal fan but also pleased with how well Leeds accounted for themselves… they are an EPL team in waiting for sure and it will be fascinating to see how well a Bielsa led team would do in the league…

    As I said last night, glad to see us scrap out a win… even under Wenger, in recent years we’ve been so fragile mentally and we could have easily crumbled.

    A victory with a clean sheet is so important… especially in making our stadium a fortress again.

  27. Wasi

    Hopefully we get at least 2 bodies in. Ideally a CB who is young and high ceiling and a central midfielder.
    Owing to our financial situation id suggest
    Gedson Fernandes (Reportedly he is available on an 18 month loan with option to buy).
    This will give us extra funds to go for a CB.
    Hopefully we sell Mkhi,Mustafi and Elneny for combined 40 mil.Then we can look at good young options like Demiral, Upamecano,etc.
    Ideally would even try for Lemar on loan if he js available. Theres an elite player in there. Was never suited to the Simeone way . Dont know why he went there. Would be great for a team looking to keep the ball, play combination play like us.

  28. Davey

    So pleased to still be in the cup although I have to say that Ozil km stats are misleading in the 1st half we played with 10 men as he jogged around and not achieving anything and do Arsenal not have a decent right back in our club hat we have to play a centre half there?

  29. Romford Pele

    Wasi – think two is the max we get mate and i’d be happy with that. The spine is the most important thing for me.

    Like you say a lot is dependent on our budget. According to Ornstein we’re looking to move on up to 12 players, mostly on loans and you’d imagine it’s young players.

    Agree on CB. Upamecano, N’Dicka and Todibo are shouts. Demiral played yesterday and Juve by all accounts dont want him to go.

    Soumare is still my shout but getting him out of his club in Jan may be tough, same with Partey but as long as the profile is similar I don’t mind too much.

    Lemar is ok but would prefer Grealish who is more two-footed and a better dribbler for me. He has a £45m release clause but that may be one we try and do at the end of the season.

  30. Romford Pele

    Davey – thinkwe messed up with the RB. We had a very highly rated one called Vontae Campbell who is now at Leicester because he got frustrated with lack of chances. We also have Osei-Tutu on loan in the Bundesliga so it’s only Bellerin and AMN there. At the moment Bellerin is struggling with his return from the ACL and we can’t afford and AMN injury.

  31. CG


    “””Give it a fucking rest, CG.”””””

    Hardly my fault – we cant keep the ball as well as championship side and our team is full of overpaid, overpriced plodders.

    Not my fault too – that Arsenal never appointed Bellsa or Arteta to replace Wenger immediately and we might not be in the state that we currently find ourselves

    this club will take years to recover from The Clown- even with MA in charge.

  32. Leedsgunner

    Unless we get rid of either Auba, Lacazette, or Özil Lemar would be a luxury purchase. We need to rebuild our defence — would rather spend the money on a young class centre back like Jonathan Tah…

  33. Wasi

    Yeah I agree 2 may be the max. But if we get 2 loans and 1 permanent then 3 may not be impossible.
    Just need to generate some funds first.
    Ornstein link?
    I suggested Lemar for the wings. He is very adapt at both left and right wing and can also play at 10.
    Intelligent player with good dribbling ability, vision, crossing and finish. Also very agile and got good speed. Grealish for me is like a free 8 .

  34. Romford Pele

    Wasi – Ornstein said that on The Athletic podcast released this morning.

    Lemar isn’t a winger btw mate. He’s someone who likes to play inside. More of a midfielder rather than a wide player who hugs the touchline. The attributes you’re describing are what grealish represents. He’s carrying a poor Villa side and playing left wing because they don’t have the qualities in the forward areas. He’d be better deeper.

  35. Pierre

    ” although I have to say that Ozil km stats are misleading in the 1st half we played with 10 men as he jogged around and not achieving anything”

    Running stats do not influence me either way…There was over the top reaction to Ozil’s running stats v United, intimating that it must have been one of his best games due to impressive running stats.

    I said at the time that the perception of Ozil’s performance was exaggerated, he had a good game but didn’t really hurt the opposition with his passing.

    Last night, he may or may not have had good running stats in the first half , all I do know is that he was ineffective on and off the ball, Phillips had him in his pocket.

    Interestingly, although he had a poor first half and was subbed off , Ozil created more chances than anyone else on the pitch .

    This to me is more important than running stats as it shows that the limited time he had on the ball ( in the 2nd half) , he wanted to hurt the opposition.

    let us not forget that to score a goal , the team needs someone to create the scoring opportunity.

  36. HighburyLegend

    “this club will take years to recover from The Clown- even with MA in charge.”

    Agree with CG on this.

  37. DivineSherlock

    I was watching the match during the first half I wished if we had Prime Monreal and Prime Sagna as Fullbacks again. So so underrated those two. Just imagine

  38. Davey

    We need our fullbacks back big time and am so gutted for Tierney who I think will prosper under MA and as much as I like Kola I think he gets found out defensively.

  39. Wasi

    Agree Lemar is not a traditional winger but he is best played out wide. He is like an inside forward/winger. Starts out wide and then comes infield where he does his best work. But unlike Grealish he is not a midfielder. Grealish is a free 8 or maybe even a 10 having to play LW because Villa lack quality. Lemar is never been tried at Midfield from what I have seen and I dont think he would be as effective in deep positions as he is in advanced positions.

  40. Romford Pele

    “He is like an inside forward/winger”

    I disagree. He’s not a goalscorer. When he played for France he played in a midfield three. Similar to Bernardo Silva, they played wide because it was a rigid 442 but they’re more playmakers than they are wide players. That quality is better used in midfield. If we’re gonna play 433 then i get it but otherwise it’s a no from me.

  41. Useroz

    Wenger and Ivan left too much.legacy that would take years to undo, recover and rebuild.

    Btw for some who may be interested Wenger proclaimed in Nov or Dec to the effect that he left. Arsenal in very good conditions etc etc. Sickening really when you start counting the costs.

  42. Champagne charlie

    Always seen Lemar as a CM with athleticism and acceleration to play wide. Certainly think he’s more link man and pre-assist demon to anything in the very final third.

    Based on his Monaco stuff I think he’d be a very valued player under Mikel who I fancy wants to tweak the squads profile to get it more user friendly.

    Saw last night that Sokratis at RB was less fluid an area because of it, we missed AMN ability to drift inside and link, then get back out to defend. Was a bit narrow (understandably as he’s a Cb) when we were without the ball, plus he’s not as assured on his passing. Good fullbacks will be essential to our base.

  43. Leedsgunner

    Aston Villa need a striker.

    Why don’t we offer then a loan of Nketiah now with an option to buy for the same of Grealish (to be exercised in the summer?) . This way we can have a step ahead of our rivals…

  44. Pierre

    The Leeds manager was very clever. whenever Martinez had the ball he made sure Luiz was marked and allowed Holding space to receive the ball as he is less comfortable on the ball.

    As soon as Holding gained possession , Leeds would press whilst ensuring that all Arsenal players were man marked.
    Holding has no options to pass to and quite a few times out the team in trouble.

    Defensively, Holding I believe is our best defender , he is fearless, good in the air and strong in the tackle .
    Whether that is ultimately enough for Arteta to start him regularly remains to be seen.
    He may end up like John Stones at city where he is regarded as a liability..

  45. Wenker-wanger

    Arteta strikes me as a highly intelligent man. He is so accurate and succinct with his responses to questions. Every word is perfect. He has humour and great calmness
    What a potential we have with this manager.

  46. Danny

    Both Xhaka and Lacazette could’ve/should’ve been sent off.
    One of the problems with our current squad is that between the lot of them, they’ve an IQ of a goat.

  47. Tenerife Gooner,

    Hairdryer.A Boss of mine in 20 years of my middle life.,was the Hardest person ,Mentally I have known.Only once knew him to go Hairdryer,then I believed he was Acting.No one messed with him.

  48. James wood

    I’m a bit pissed off with supporters praising
    Arteta’s half time rant?
    Why are we playing 45 minutes before so called rant
    registers with players.
    A side with better strikers
    and without a really good Martinelli for us .
    We would have lost.?

  49. Wenker-wanger

    @james wood
    Yes agree .but that whole scenario shows what still needs to be done to get these players totally in the zone.
    Arteta has to educate these players..not just motivate on match days.
    They aren’t Adams bould parlour etc…they need a lot more “education”. And I believe arteta can get the best out of them.

  50. Wasi

    Sorry but I completely disagree. Lemar is not a player to play in the centre of the park. Maybe at 10 but never im central midfield.
    For Monaco he played at Left Midfield in a 4-4-2. This position is closer to a left winger than a midfielder.
    For Athletico too he had played at the left in a 4-4-2.
    On Transfermarket his best position is defined as left winger.
    On FM20 it is shown that his best position is left Midfield and Left wing.
    On Fifa 20 again it is left wing.
    Nowhere he is described as a midfielder and ive never seen him play in midfield too.
    + The sites I mentioned have lots more data than us folks.
    In the title winning season with Monaco he had 9 goals 10 assists in 28 starts and 6 sub appearances. The notion he is not good enough in goal contributions is false.
    Next season he did fade away but it was a team problem + managerial changes.
    At Athletico he has never had a run of games and the style clearly doesnt suit him either.
    Also for France he usually plays at Left wing whenever he does play that is.

  51. CazOnARola


    It works both ways. Ball hoggers tend to thrive in disrupted teams because they dont work well in well drilled teams where u are required to bring others into play.

    I never liked alexis as much even during his first season, but thought wenger will turn him into a center forward like RVP. And that will probably force him to stay central and look for runs in behind and score more. But he still kept coming deep and wenger reverted back to giroud in the middle after a few games.

    Im not saying i dont like dribblers but they need to know when to do what. Alexis and wilshere were not only dribblers but both also constantly wanted to play the final bsll ever we call the wembley ball over the top which comes off once in a blue moon.

    Contrast the with Willian, hazard or suarez
    S who can bring others into the game.

    I hope Martinelli becomes more like a suarez than a sanchez

  52. Leedsgunner


    Unless we give them a ridiculous amount of money I can’t see Aston Villa letting Grealish go before the summer.

    I like Nketiah but he’s not going to displace Auba or Lazatte anytime soon so as long as we insert well drafted first refusal and buy back clauses we can use him now to help rebuild our midfield.

  53. Spanishdave

    Guendouzi and Xhaka tend to both drift to the left side of the pitch leaving a big gap for teams to use to build attacks.
    Torr is more a right sided. Midfielder so that’s why we are more balanced.
    Many of our younger players seem to struggle with the basics of keeping the ball close they show too much of the ball when being tightly marked.
    We need many upgrades, Leeds have a couple of handy players.

  54. Romford Pele

    Wasi – i’m sorry but you can’t use FM and Fifa to support your arguments here.

    A winger by definition is someone who hugs the touchline and looks to get crosses in and beat his man regularly. If you’ve watched Lemar you would know that’s not his game at all. Just because games have it at his position doesn’t mean that’s what he does. Hleb, Arshavin, Rosicky, Pires, Nasri etc all used to play wide for Arsenal. None of them are wingers. They were playmakers who played wide. That’s exactly what Lemar does. he’s a combination player who links up with teammates.

    A lot of his assists came from dead ball situations as he’s very good at set-pieces. if you are anticipating that he’s going to be doing what Pepe does then you’re very much mistaking. Just beacuse you play wide doesn’t make you a winger. Players and managers will have people interpret the role very differently.

    And yes, Atletico and Simeone was a bad fit for him but right now him playing LW for us I don’t think is a good fit.

  55. Marc

    Sorry if I’ve already missed this conversation but why wasn’t Mustafi used at R/B? Sok did well all things considered but for a Cup match and wanting to rotate some players surely it would have been an option.

    Unless of course we’re about to sell him!

  56. Ian Vickerage

    Premier League sides often come unstuck against Championship (and below) teams through taking it too easy – just laziness. Not many lift their performance in the second half and go on to win the game, so this is a big achievement by Arteta. But if this is going to take years to get us back near to the top then we will never achieve it while pessimistic grumblers like CG are mouthing off after 4 games.

  57. Wasi

    If you believe the data and knowledge you have about the game trumps the one at the sources I mentioned then you are sorely mistaken. Especially FM data is spot on most of the times. Premier League managers use the game to gain knowledge.
    I never said Lemar is a traditional winger. You can refer to my previous comments. I said he starts out wide and then drifts infield where he does his best work. Some call it the inside forward some call it wide playmakers some call it as advanced playmakers. The position doesn’t really have a name because its very dynamic fluid.

  58. Romford Pele

    Mate, FM gives you information about players it doesn’t mean it’s 100% accurate. Last season on FM rashford was listed as a CF he’s now listed as a winger. As you say, things are fluid and don’t always mean what they appear on paper. My main premise was that if you see the way he plays, it’s very evident his skillset is better used inside.

  59. Edu me a favour

    “” Hardly my fault – we cant keep the ball as well as championship side and our team is full of overpaid, overpriced plodders.””

    Did you watch the second half ?? It was roles reversed and back to business so I think you can calm down

    “”Without Martinez it would have been 4-0 at half time “”

    I don’t think Leno would have let 4 in mate.

    Martinez done his job and he done it really really well. Not sure what the problem is ? Yeh we played shit in the first half but our keeper played a blinder – strength in depth in that department.

    I’ve always been of the impression that to win the championship comfortably like Leeds are doing at the min , you have to be playing like a prem club in that league , and they certainly looked like one last night didn’t they. Can’t wait for them to be back in the prem , that’s where a massive club like that should be !

  60. CazOnARola

    In coaching “Told you so” is a very important thing. That is what Arteta talks about. You cannot just shout shout. Got need to use the hairdryer treatment sparingly for it to have any kind of effect. Plus he s a young manager, so he will not automatically command respect. It’s great that the players have bought into his ideas already.
    Yesterday would have given arteta an opportunity to tell the players “look what happens when you don’t listen to me” but like the title says, one habits did hard.

    These days players have all the power and ask of them down tools, it doesn’t end well even if you are a champions league final reaching 6 months ago or a coach who missed 4th place by a couple of points.

    Its encouraging to hear that the club are trying to go for a compete overhaul. Although that will bring its own instability, just like it did this season when we got rid of ramsey, monreal, mkhi, iwobi, kos all of whom started many games last season.

    Its going to be a long year of ups and downs.

  61. Wasi

    Agree there. But Alexis worked well even at Barca where he wasnt the main man and had to play under certain restrictions. At Arsenal he did what he did because there was no one who could challenge him on the field.
    + Comparing him to Willian is bollocks. Alexis was elite level for us. He also topped Hazard for Goal contributions . Pep wanted him to be the spearhead of the City winning machine. I wouldn’t honestly mind if Martinelli becomes like Sanchez if he racks up the numbers that Sanchez did.+ Theres little chance of that. Martinelli’s attitude is spot on and in every interview he seems grateful to be where he is at. Martinelli imo can be a mix of Sanchez and Suarez.

  62. Leftside

    Jamie, I remember seeing that but it’s a new year – make it your LeGrove resolution to scroll past his babble.

  63. Wasi

    Thats what I am saying. He does his best work is inside. But he is not cut out to be a midfielder.
    By drifting in from the outside he usually gets more space than a central midfielder who is usually marked by an opponent midfielder. This creates confusion in the opposition backline.
    His good first touch and sharp agility allows him to utilise the free space he receives the ball in. He is definitely a good pre assist merchant but not disciplined enough to play in central midfield. + He would be just another Fred if we tried to play him CM in the PL. He would get eaten alive.
    He is best in half spaces between the FB and CF. These are the spaces we have recently been seeing Auba receive the ball in.
    + If you say FM data is 8/10
    Id say a normal viewer’s data/analysis is 2/10.

    This is their bread and butter and they have 10x the data we have. + They have experts to analyse the data. And not one many experts. So Yeah id rather trust an expert over a normal viewer .

  64. Leedsgunner

    Ricardo Rodriguez, an experienced left back wants out of AC Milan because he’s not getting enough game time — and he’s wants to make the Swiss squad for the Euros.

    Worth a shout?

    Perhaps a loan with an option to buy?

    I know that we’ve been using Saka as an emergency left back but it can’t be a good long term solution with him being so much more dynamic up front.

    Sell Kolasinac then in the summer to Bundesliga club for a tidy profit (£30 to £40m since he was bought on a free) and plough the money into dominant centreback like Upamencano…

  65. Romford Pele

    “By drifting in from the outside he usually gets more space than a central midfielder who is usually marked by an opponent”

    Good midfielders can always create space for themselves. dDvid Silva and Modric were much smaller than him and had no problems there. Same with Santi Cazorla.

  66. Wasi

    Maybe If you see more of him you’ll understand. Because all the previous record suggest that he starts out wide. He had various managers and none have tried him in the centre of the park.If you are still implying that Lemar is good fit for central midfield then I dont have anything else to say.

  67. Graham62


    The thing is, these days, we have teams playing a far more expansive and progressive brand of football.

    Coaches are smarter and most teams now have many technically gifted players that are capable of opening up the opposition. Also the gulf that existed between the championship and the EPL is far less. Look at Wolves for example. Leeds can be as good if not better than them.

    Did we go backwards under Emery? Of course we did, but this was only a continuation of the years of regression under Wenger. We bullied the weaker teams( as highlighted not so many weak teams these days) but we’re found out against the better teams.

    Arsenal have been run like a huge hourglass these past ten years. Slowly watching the club being drained of all its principles and beliefs has been a painful experience and I think something that we all knew would come back to kick us in the teeth.

    We all now hope that Arteta can sort things out on the pitch and, even though it’s very early days, it certainly looks and feels a bit more positive around the place.

    Long may this progression continue.

  68. DigitalBob

    Freddie – I love that article, that’s exactly what we want. Too exhausted to rave, its bloody brilliant.

  69. Leedsgunner


    There was talk in the summer that Schalke was willing to take him back for £25m. If another team comes in for him as well, I can see the price being pushed up up more.

    Even £25m is nothing to be sniffed at… and money we can put into the kitty for a class centre back.

    Provided that we can keep Auba and Lacazette — come the summer, I want us to focus all our energies on improving our defence, perhaps buying a young world class centre back to complement Saliba and a young left back to provide competition and cover for Tierney because at the moment, fitness wise Tierney doesn’t seem dependable.

    In this regard, keeping Kolasinac isn’t the end of the world, especially if we can’t get the price we want for him. The guy is built like a tank and rarely ever out for long periods.

    Sell Mkhitaryan, Elneny, Luiz, and Sokratis to bring them in.

  70. Habesha Gooner

    I don’t think Lemar is a winger, nor is he an attacking midfielder. He could play both but he is more a link up player who plays out wide and who drifts inside to create chances. Also I don’t think we should sign him considering we have all our forwards fit and available. he played alongside Bernardo Silva ot Monaco where both were positioned out wide. They worked well because Monaco were playing through the center of the pitch with Mbappe and Falcao. saying Lemar is a winger is like saying pires was a winger.

  71. Batistuta

    For all that is good on earth, we best never mention Ricardo Rodriguez as a LB option whether on loan or if he’s been given to us for free

  72. CG


    “””Of course we did, but this was only a continuation of the years of regression under Wenger””””

    In my opinion- we didn’t Regress under Wenger whatsoever.

    Just some stagnation.
    Natural after a near quarter of century genius management.

    The Regression has only really started when he left.

    Since he departed 58 league games ago and Quarter of a Billion has been spent on basically dud players- name me one aspect of the club we have improved in?

    Just the one.

    Truth be told

    We are still stinking the place out ( even though now finally we have a very exciting coach)

    When a championship club pulverises you at home with 2 rookies- you know Trouble is on the horizon.

  73. Wenker-wanger

    Shocked to learn how unfit this squad were.
    I mean how did that happen?
    Players are monitored like machines now ..there’s no hiding place for lazy players….
    Did the players down tools under emery?
    The problem now could be one of over-training…but I would think that arteta has already got this in mind…he seems to think deeply and comprehensively.

  74. Marc


    I don’t have a problem with selling Kolas – in fact I think we should in the summer, he’s a wing back not a left back.

    Where I took issue with you is the figures you quoted £30 – £40 million, he’s on a reported £120,000 that’s big money in the Bundesliga why should he take a drop in salary? He’ll have 2 years left on his contract come the summer so he’s in a position to see out his contract and move on another free should he wish to do so.

  75. Pierre

    Something tells me that the home game v Sheffield United in a couple of weeks will be similar to last night’s game .

    Palace this weekend may depend on how AMN handles Saha , will be a good test for him.

  76. Wenker-wanger

    @ Graham
    As usual you’re speaking the reality about Wenger..not adopting a sentimental and mistaken view of a manager that in his latter years was significantly below average ..
    The only thing that mattered to Wenger was his tenure as dictator at the club….the poor results were looked upon by him as irritations. We slumped but more importantly the club didn’t realise by how much. So yes Wenger was a problem that the board allowed to fester and drive the club down

  77. Words on a Blog


    “in my opinion we didn’t regress under Wenger…..just some stagnation.”

    If you stagnate whilst everyone around you advances, then effectively you regress.

    This is what happened to Arsenal during late stage Wenger.

  78. Freddie Ljungberg

    Since Wenger left we have added for the long term:

    Starting GK
    Starting LB
    Starting DM
    Starting RW
    Starting CB (from next season)

    Stop gaps 2 CBs

    We have added numerous youths to the squad, too many probably.

    We have shipped out a wealth of experience, but mostly players that were not going to take us forward.
    Even so if you replace hundreds of PL games worth of experience with kids you’re going to suffer in the short term, that’s pretty much inevitable. Still had to be done to reduce the ridiculous wage bill and build a younger squad.

    We still need to add 2 midfielders and another CB to the starting 11 at a minimum. Probably a left winger and RB too.
    And that’s just the first 11.

    Tell me again how Wenger left the squad in good shape and Emery broke the whole club/universe in 18 months.

    Yes, his tactics were a mess and he tanked hard at the end but the squad is still in much better shape for the future now than 18 months ago.

    Now we only need a couple of additions instead of a whole new 11. Big difference.

  79. Romford Pele

    Wasi – players have played in numerous positions over the years. Just because he hasn’t played there loads doesn’t mean he can’t.

    Habesha – spot on. His skillset suits central, just like Bernardo Silva.

  80. Wenker-wanger

    Leeds are as good as Sheffield United
    ..same mould if you like. So being outplayed for 30 minutes is not as catastrophic as some would believe. Also the fact we bossed the 2nd half puts the matter down to the action of the manager.
    If criticism is still required, you could argue that either the players couldn’t be motivated prior to kick off or were not prepared.
    But for me the game indicated the manager is a good communicator and motivator and that the players should respect the knowledge arteta had about Leeds that they clearly didn’t really take on board. They will know now that arteta is an intelligent knowledgeable manager.

  81. Pierre

    Arteta will be focusing on 2 maybe 3 areas to improve.

    Centre mid
    Central defence
    Right back ( depending on if he rates Bellerin )

    Lemar will be way down the list, and if he is looking for a player if that ilk then we should recall Mhkitaryan who will flourish under Arteta.

    He would cost nothing and the .money saved could go on areas of the team that actually need improvement.

  82. DigitalBob

    Pierre – exactly while Lemar is a solid baller (out and out winger or midfielder whatever you like) we need a CB firstly and another CM/DM.

    After that we can look at imo, a luxury player like Lemar.

  83. China1

    Yeah Sagna and Monreal were fabulous players for us

    Monreal even managed to be good in wengers last year when the rest of the squad were almost all dogshit. Mad respect

  84. HighburyLegend

    PEA on twitter : “I would like to react to the rumors that I have read in the media. People like to tell stories. I’m captain of Arsenal, I love this club. I want to do everything to bring it back to the top”…

    You “love” this club… until an offer from Madrid or Barcelona arrives on the table. lol
    (p.s. : tell your brother that he’s a cunt)

  85. Wenker-wanger

    Is anyone the same as me, suddenly everything at arsenal is much clearer. The manager seems to have put us in a clear picture of where we are…particularly the mentality of the players.
    Compare this to the last few years..just a foggy chaotic unknown mess.

  86. Marc


    Even if he’s got one eye on a move if he continues to put in performances with the commitment and work rate of the last 3 then I’m happy.

  87. WengerEagle

    Romford Pele back on Le-Grove, facking hell talk about a late Christmas present.

    Lad it’s been a minute how the hell are ye? Very interested in your views on Emery’s inevitable car crash exit.

    Place has sorely missed your hot takes as well as your Portuguese cousin Louis who needs to return as well, Mesut Ozil aside. We can forgive you for you did not know what you were doing, was those Hedwig eyes that seduced you in.

    Welcome back pal.

  88. Uwot?

    As mentioned by some.would love to see grealish here in jan or summer.but haven’t heard any whispers to that effect anywhere?

  89. Wenker-wanger

    Give aubamayang his due….he never said he wanted out…his brother hasn’t the same allegiance and maybe thinking my bro should be in a better team….let’s face it under emery we were slipping towards relegation.
    But he seems to love this club and the camaraderie with lacca and the strange chummy one with troopz.. you get me?

  90. Champagne charlie

    “As an example, Ornstein claims one player was going to go out and socialise one day recently, but was too tired to leave the house after an exhausting training session“

    Oooh yea Freddie, think there’s definite cause for concern here….

    Pro athlete gets tired after training.

  91. Romford Pele

    Ah WE, long time man, i’m all good bro, how’s things?

    Me personally I was against the Emery appointment from the start, partly because the football was never to my taste, the fact he struggles with bigger characters than himself and more generally the way he sets up suits mid-level teams rather than bigger teams (as you saw with his struggles at PSG).

    As we’ve also seen his use of certain players was so questionable. What he was doing with Torreira alone was a sackable offence. No problem with how he ostracised Ozil but he looked weak every time he brought him back. And if you decide you’re going to leave him out you better have a plan to replace that creativity. The football was so bland because everything was funneled out wide for cutbacks. No innovation and variation at all. Arteta has already blown him out of the water in that regard.

    The final straw for me was him using 3 defensive CMs at home to teams like Huddersfield and Cardiff. It never felt very Arsenal at all. Rarely did he play to our strengths. last season was reliant on moments of magic from Laca and Auba, it was never sustainable long-term. After 18 months you were still left wondering what his philosophy was, he had annoyed all the players as well. Sacking was well overdue and i’m so annoyed Raul took so long to pull the trigger cos we’ve now thrown the season basically.

    Anyway hopefully we’ll have new success under Arteta as long as he’s backed. He seems to have the right system and philosophy in place. We already look more compact on and off the ball, as well as more intense (first half yesterday aside).

    RE Louis – he’s quite ill atm so don’t think you’ll be hearing from him for a while.

  92. Freddie Ljungberg


    I don’t have a problem with intense training.

    Might have to look closer to home for that after the absolute ongoing cryfest about the alleged double sessions of last year.

    No surprise some of these pansies can’t handle the intensity though.

  93. Wenker-wanger

    Gotta laugh sokratis the corner flag awkward hot tempered nutter and Xhaka the free fouling psycho…
    Good to see a bit of arsenal fight out there…
    Makes a welcome change from the “roll over” guys.

  94. Pierre

    I would say the fatigue could be as much mental as physical.

    It looks like Arteta has to go back to basics.

  95. Pedro

    Freddie, which club out there isn’t coming out of the December crunch fatigued? It’s all Klopp can talk about.

    Arteta has had to pick up a squad that stopped sprinting in February and convince them to work at a higher level whilst upgrading their knowledge in the process. No wonder they’re tired.

  96. Micheal

    Interesting stat: Chelski has now spent £90m in compensation to sacked managers since Abramovich took charge in 2004. Conte & team received £26m.

  97. Danny

    Xhaka the free fouling psycho…
    Very few refs are as lenient as Anthony Taylor was last night. Xhaka wasn’t even booked but a Leeds player was for fouling him!

  98. Jim Lahey

    “Interesting stat: Chelski has now spent £90m in compensation to sacked managers since Abramovich took charge in 2004. Conte & team received £26m.”

    I would have exoected this to be a lot more honestly.

  99. Wenker-wanger

    Danny..of course those points you made are correct.
    All I’m saying is that there is at least some real fight in this team now..
    I’d rather see Xhaka fouling than him ducking under a goalbound shot.

  100. Freddie Ljungberg


    And Emery picked up a squad that stopped sprinting 5 years ago, still didn’t stop the outrage or made up claims about double sessions.

    It’s all good though, we’re on an upward trend so I’m loving it. Just don’t expect the double standards to not get a poke occasionally.

  101. Marko

    Freddie, which club out there isn’t coming out of the December crunch fatigued? It’s all Klopp can talk about.

    The article is more about how intense the training sessions are. But anyway it didn’t bother me last year and it doesn’t bother me now that these pampered millionaires are having to train hard after all those years at Arsene’s country club.

  102. Wasi

    FYI Bernardo Silva started on the right wing majority of the time as an inverted winger and thats where his appearances have come this season.

  103. Romford Pele

    “FYI Bernardo Silva started on the right wing majority of the time as an inverted winger and thats where his appearances have come this season.”

    That’s not the point i’m making. It’s like you’re deliberately missed it. He can play on the right when City are going for technical overloads but as we’ve all seen he’s much better in the middle.

  104. Pedro

    Freddie, no one made up double sessions… just let Unai go, he was shit, he tanked the squad, and no one ran for him because he couldn’t say evening properly. There is no injustice to be seen here. Good riddance.

  105. Pedro

    ”Arsene’s country club.’

    An old school Arsenal staff person told me that they’d never seen a more pampered existence in football than the one offered by Arsene.

  106. salparadisenyc

    I’m coming back to play under Wenger, if Gibbs can pull £80k a week sky’s the limit. I’ll be in hot tub if you need me.

  107. Wasi

    “That’s not the point i’m making. It’s like you’re deliberately missed it. He can play on the right when City are going for technical overloads but as we’ve all seen he’s much better in the middle.”

    Not just saying to suit my argument but Bernardo imo is more dangerous coming in from the right.

  108. salparadisenyc

    Love the Ornstein bit on Arteta’s training sessions, ‘exhaustive and incredibly tactical’.


  109. Pedro

    Romford, I haven’t had anything. Clearly going to look for a deal on a center back… Arsenal have very little to play with, so I’d be surprised if we went big. We massively overspent last summer, so the chances of us digging deeper into a hole with CL looking slim seem far fetched… but hey, I don’t know what Don Raul has up his sleeve.

  110. Romford Pele

    Pedro, i thought as much. Our outlay in the last few years and increase in wages without CL is harming us so we may need to sell to buy. Of course I hope i’m wrong. Don’t seem to be any takers for Mustafi atm and with Xhaka now staying until the end of the season it’s annoying. Hope we can get a CB though, even if we need to sell to buy.

  111. Brooklyn

    That was Leed’s player 5th foul, the yellow card he received while fouling Xhaka…

    Xhaka could have gotten yellow for his 3rd, 4th or 5th foul for continuous fouling as none of those were stopping counters or reckless enough on their own to merit yellow card. If so he wouldn’t have continued as such.

    He is one such player whose reputation is bad in relation to number of red cards he receives.

    Not talking about his quality or lack of as a player overall btw.

  112. Marko

    An old school Arsenal staff person told me that they’d never seen a more pampered existence in football than the one offered by Arsene.

    I don’t even need contacts in the club to tell me a lot of these fuckers have been coasting by at the club for years. It’s a good thing that Ozil is too tired to stream fortnite for 8 hours on twitch because he’s tired from training. Good.

  113. Pedro

    Romford, exactly. I thought Arteta might shift on Auba and Xhaka. Now he’s rescued them all, there aren’t a lot of funds incoming… maybe Mikhi at a push. Can’t imagine anyone will touch Mustafi who seems to have tanked his career in a most spectacular fashion.

  114. Romford Pele

    Pedro, yeah that’s my worry. It’s all well and good wanting rid but who wants our players and who’s gonna pay them the wages they’re on. Maybe Mkhi and Elneny. Mustafi has been an absolute disaster. To think we paid £35m for him.

    Marko – fair but our revenue has been decreasing due to lack of CL. And we spent a lot in the summer as well.