Saint Arteta at it again

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I started a Fat Chart in excel this year, where I’m looking fluctuations in weight against drinking and eating out… I have found a correlation, if you drink and eat out, you get fat. Game-changer. I can’t believe how easy it goes in these days, I literally have to starve myself to get back on track. Why is life so unfair?

Well, apparently it’s not unfair if you’re a mistake-ridden footballer under Saint Arteta. The Spaniard is more forgiving than Jesus himself, this time, he’s trying to bring Mustafi under his arm and rebirth his stale career.

“Yes he made a mistake, but it’s OK. I like more the reaction and I look more at the reaction.”

“I don’t believe that at 27 you cannot improve certain aspects of the game; I really believe you can,”

“I work with players like this and I have team-mates like this and there is always a moment where there is a click.

“I can accept a mistake, no problem. What I’m not going to accept is somebody makes a mistake and after he stops playing, and he doesn’t want the ball and doesn’t want to make decisions. That player is not acceptable for our team.”

I mean, we asked for a coach and that’s exactly what he’s bringing to the table, so we really shouldn’t moan. The point that he’s making is a fair one, we all gave massive praise to Xhaka for his performance when we went a goal down, but you’d be hard pushed and cruel to deny that Mustafi had a very strong game after the error. Also worth remembering we were burning Xhaka effigies in November now he’s seen as reliable.

My worry, as ever, is that we’ve been watching this episode of Mustafi on repeat for the last however many years and it’s tiring. That said, there’s a player there, he was great against Crystal Palace. His range of passing was solid and he gave us a great outlet, so if he can be coached back to World Cup winning levels, then I’m game for it.

One thing is for sure with Arteta, he doesn’t give a rats arse what we think as fans, and he’ll do as he pleases.

Another player who has been spending time in the Miki Confessional box is Nicolas Pepe. The £72m winger from Lille has had a very up and down season. He has an unorthodox approach to the game, it’s hit or miss, but there’s certainly no doubt there’s a real talent lying in wait. Nic had this to say of the godly work he’s doing behind the scenes.

“Things have been going positively so far, we’ve got some good results and have been playing good football,” the 24-year-old said. “There has certainly been some encouraging signs and we know that we do have quality and we have what it takes to do well on the pitch.

“Mikel Arteta has explained to me what he would like me to do on the pitch and he has shown me videos that have stressed the importance of my positioning. He has told me exactly what he would like me to do to help me progress as a player.

“We want to do well as an attacking force. We want to perform well on the pitch, score goals and get assists. As a team it doesn’t matter who’s getting the goals and who’s getting assists, but the important thing is we are playing well together and getting results.

“We support one another on the pitch and as an attacking player it’s always great to have someone like Mesut Ozil feeding passes into you so it’s enjoyable.”

I’m hoping we’re going to see some sort of Raheem Sterling project with some of our wide players. We simply don’t get enough end product out of our players in the final third. That needs to change as the team builds more stability from the back. One absolute basic I’d love Pepe to work on is his right foot. How you can make it to the top in football being one-footed in 2020 is a miracle. Also, note the comment about Mesut Ozil… the players like being around him.

One player who isn’t a rehab project is Gabriel. I liked these comments from Mikel about our superstar Brazilian.

“They said you’ll be surprised how prepared he is to compete with any other player in the squad. I always thought yeah ok but he’s 18. When you see in big games how he goes about everything it’s surprising.”

Big things expected of him for the backend of the season.

The Bournemouth game this evening will be interesting for us, it’s another chance to redeem an average result we had against them in Arteta’s first encounter. It’d be wonderful to progress further in a cup that has all the big boys still involved. The one thing we have to be sure to avoid is a replay. Spurs drew against Southampton and Liverpool slipped up against Shrewsbury… Klopp insisting he’ll not even manage the replay.

It’ll be interesting to see how we line up, we went all out against Leeds, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same again. Though I would imagine there will be an eye on a tough game this Sunday against a Burnley that appears to be slightly resurgent in the league (though they were beaten by Norwich in the cup at the weekend).

It’s a shame we’re likely too early for a Pablo Mari start, but maybe by the time I wake up, he’ll be confirmed as a signing. Was also sad to see Aaron Ramsey still benched for Juve… I’m not pining for an Arteta reunion, you are.

Before I go, some more sad news for the Arsenal blogosphere… Yogis Warrior from ACLF passed 3 weeks ago. I didn’t know him well, but he helped correct my Spanish to ‘Manos fuera Cesc’ back in 2011. I’ve always had huge admiration for his brilliant writing and his dedication to regular content for his community. He seemed like a top guy, our thoughts are with his family.

P.S. RIP Kobe. His career transcended sport. What a sad moment.

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566 Responses to “Saint Arteta at it again”

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  1. Dream10

    That Mustafi injury looks bad. Hopefully it’s not awful news for him. Injuries suck.

    Simon Francis on. Time to stat pad for our forwards.

  2. TheLegendaryDB10

    HL

    Well Mustafi’s injury, if mid or long term, should definitively give the excuse to look for a proper first team CB.

    I just hope the club gets it right cos we really do seem to have our own fucked up way of doing our transfers.

  3. Champagne Charlie

    Seeing the still images of Mustafi’s landing and it doesn’t look great. Can often look worse than it is but a lot of stress on the Achilles it would appear.

  4. Champagne Charlie

    Nketiah hasn’t impressed tonight for me, very passive, looks to have a nose for goal and not much else to him.

  5. Champagne Charlie

    Got to develop the appetite for more goals and really hammering home advantages.

    Should never be a 1-goal game this.

  6. PieAFC

    Years gone by we’d normally go for more and be shit at the back.

    Suppose it’s trying to find that happy medium.

    Not had a settled defence for ages this season or all season. I’m sure it will come soon enough. So many pairings at the back.

  7. MidwestGun

    Ok then… anyhow though Saka was motm for me… Sweet goal and was everywhere. But Matty G and Willock and Marti played well. Need to start stringing some wins together in the League though take the pressure off.

    Might see a CB incoming now. Holding looked lost when he came on.

  8. MidwestGun

    Sal-
    Agreed.. Var is like my first marriage.. it seemed like a good idea at the time. In actual fact it was a horror show.

  9. Danny

    6 games unbeaten
    Awful 2nd half but I guess it was expected after our excellent opening half an hour. Guendouzi was the best player on the pitch, good for him.

  10. salparadisenyc

    Pedro

    Agree they need to utilize it with a less hand break, no flow at all. Never envisioned it being microscopic.

    Shame about Mustafi was actually on a good game, dropping some long balls into the pocket as well.

  11. Pierre

    RSPCA
    “Same old arsenal
    Always cheating… ”

    The original back in the 60’s and 70’s was sung by Arsenal fans ” same old Arsenall, taking the piss ”

    Good to see Nketiah get the deciding goal, he deserved it for the amount of work he put in , he had a good first half, quiet 2nd as all our offensive players had , but was tidy on the ball throughout.

    Willock, Martinelli, pepe and Nketiah all faded 2nd half probably due to the amount of closing down they put in to keep us on the front foot .

  12. Nelson

    We can’t rely on Holding right now. He is not in game shape. Bellerin looks tired too. Pepe’s game is very ineffective. Currently, he didn’t produce anything. Guen is man of the match. Saka and Martinelli have good chemistry. Eddie is OK. Willock is exhausted in the 2nd half. Ceballos showed us some tricks today. He is a good player and passes the ball well.

  13. Lego Hair

    Interesting Saka said the plan in 2nd half was to control the momentum of the game as they thought Bournemouth would come strong. We don’t seem to get cut open as often as we used to and there aren’t too many clear cut chances conceded.

    All down to a solid shape with everyone knowing their jobs.

  14. TheLegendaryDB10

    Pedro

    It wasn’t the ankle. They were measuring whether the knee was offside. Completely absurd. It used to be the tip of the toe. Now it’s any part of the body.

    PGMOL are doing their best to ruin VAR. They can’t stop their corrupt ways of reffing, can they?

  15. raptora

    Good win.

    I know it’s just Bournemouth. And they have far greater problems than FA Cup.

    But Howe played a lot of his first team players. And we controlled the game for 90 good minutes.

    Good performance by the boys. I’m happy.

  16. Words on a Blog

    Pedro,

    sorry I missed your comments re Luiz and the “contacts based approach” earlier.

    I actually see the Luiz transfer as an endorsement of the contacts based approach, one that saved the day when our initial data-based approach broke down.

    The way I see it, the original plan was to have (data-endorsed) Saliba come in in the summer, play a few cup matches and the odd low-pressure premiership match, and be shown the ropes by Koscielny and the other CBs.

    But St Etienne insisted on keeping him for another year. And then the shit really hit the fan when Kos went AWOL just before the season was due to start and insisted on leaving. That’s when the decision was made that we needed an experienced preferably CB, and that’s when the contacts came in handy to broker a late, late deal for Luiz.

  17. Nelson

    Sanmi
    Pepe always slows down the game. He then loses the ball. Tell me what has he done today. Can only pass the ball backwards or sideways.

  18. Sanmi

    Nelson
    He had a poor game today, but he is been on of the better performers since arteta signed.
    Even on his off days, he create space for others. And his corner deliveries are the best

  19. Emiratesstroller

    We played very well in first half albeit that Bournemouth were poor. Saka and
    Martinelli are most definitely outstanding prospects.

    However, we lost momentum in second half and once Mustafi who had a decent game got injured we started to look in trouble.

    I have seen absolutely nothing in Holding’s performance tonight to suggest that he is good enough to play in EPL. If Mustafi has a longterm injury then
    Arsenal will be forced to go into transfer market.

    What is crystal clear is that many of Arsenal’s players this season struggle to last 90 minutes + which is why we have conceded so many late goals.

    However, despite some of the negatives expressed by certain posters most notably RT the fact is that we have lost only one game since Arteta’s takeover as head coach.

    That is progression notwithstanding our vulnerability at end of games.

  20. KAY Boss

    So are we to believe arsenal or flamengo?
    Some reports that flamengo changed their stance on an initial loan and wanted a permanent transfer.
    Just some clarity and all will be settled.

  21. Upstate Gooner

    Nelson
    “Pepe always slows down the game. He then loses the ball. Tell me what has he done today. Can only pass the ball backwards or sideways.”

    Ha. Could insert Arteta instead of Pepe to describe his playing career with us.

  22. NW9 gooner

    Guendouzi has a very good game – the number of times he dribbled his way in our half and started attacks or at least lessened the pressure was very good – he is going to turn one heck of a player

  23. NW9 gooner

    Ceballos also has a very good game when he came on- a couple of his defence splitting passes were absolutely top drawer – for the first time I saw Pepe pressing consistently, he lost the ball a couple of times and fought back to win the ball – Arteta has had an impact on him

  24. Words on a Blog

    NW9 Gooner,

    Totally agree that Guendouzi had an excellent match. He was everywhere, gave the team its tempo, and dribbled his way out of a number of tricky or tight situations. He’s definitely much more than the headless chicken some on here accuse him of being.

  25. NW9 gooner

    Nelson you have been a bit biased regarding Pepe – to day he was pressing and like Samni said his dribbling makes at least two players doubling on him freeing space for others – what he is to do is find that extra space himself to run into – he will get it – just a few months in – it’s just a question of time to

  26. NW9 gooner

    Guendouzi is only 19-20? He needs to used carefully so that he does not run out of steam like last year- Saka Martinelli Torreira Guendouzi Saliba – good spine for a few years

  27. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Pierre
    One point in second half showed bel sprint like pre injury.
    Signs encouraging..

    Wilcox involved in a few shoving people off the ball in shoulder charges also good to see.

  28. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Stroller

    You flip flop on players more than a Brazilian deck chair seller.

    Now holding is dodgy, 2 years back you were crediting him with being a player of high regard, then you were coating chambers who you were saying was a good player before the injury,.

    Your comments are like paper in wind blowing everywhere sir.

  29. Pierre

    Under Arteta we look good when we are dictating the pace of the game and the game is calm.

    Our problem is that as soon as the opposition up the tempo and become more physical , we lose control of the game and look vulnerable and our play becomes frantic and loose

    Arteta will need to address this if we are to progress as the opposition managers will instruct their players to be in our faces.

    To be honest , I was surprised that Bournemouth sat off us for the first half hour , it was very similar to palace away.

    I feel we need to start zipping the ball about with one and 2 touch passing when the opposition start to get physical.
    We have to be brave on the ball and try not to let the match become a battle as it doesnt suit our game.

  30. Zimmie2652

    I didn’t catch the first goal until just now watching the highlights but for me, the best part of that was watching Willock’s turn and then just going at the defense and exploiting the space given to him.

    Far too much we look for the next pass when there’s more than enough room to run at someone (or no one, in this case).

    The directness was greatly appreciated from this fan.

    I didn’t not back track to really read the comments but I don’t think I saw anything discussing that too much.

  31. China1

    Game was too late for me but I’ve seen the goals

    That saka finish was an absolute cracker. Close range max power IDGAF moment in off the bar. Fucking love it

  32. China1

    To be fair why would anyone maintain the same opinion on a player unless said players performances are consistently the same?

    Players go through good and bad patches, improve and get worse, look more or less suitable in a given system as the team and football evolves through time

    How long are you supposed to maintain an opinion of a player in that environment? As long as you’re not changing it every month then you’re probably being relatively reasonable

  33. China1

    Regardless re holding, at least let him get a few games under his belt

    People expect him to be out for a year and be near his best practically on day 1. Be realistic

  34. Paul Mc Daid

    Great seeing Pat Rice and Bob Wilson looking so well and being at an away game, Maybe somebody is listening to the fans,
    Great away win for the kids in front off our Legends .

  35. Aussie Gooner

    Sorry but anyone who thinks we don’t need reinforcements needs help! People on here rubbishing Mari before they even see him play need to wake up and smell the coffee. For 7m we could have had a player that was in the Brazilian team of the year and could hit the ground running. He passed his fitness test and was willing to sign.

    Clubs seem to smell blood around any Arsenal dealings and feel obliged to rip us off. Now this deal is in jeopardy thanks once again of the ineptitude of the Arsenal executive who can’t even land a 7m player from South America. No doubt a range of crocks and has beens with no residual value will be paraded before us to loan for an exorbitant fee for the rest of the season.

    We all know the owners are parsimonious and won’t spend money so we have to consider the bargains wherever they are to be found. This deal would have represented a low risk investment with possible high gains ie finding a decent CB to play 1st team football. Now with the injuries to Mustafi, Chamberlain and Holding the cupboard is pretty bare. The notion that we have ‘8 CB’s’ is pure nonsense. We need reinforcements now! Anyone dreaming of an Upamancano level player needs therapy. Saka is a winger, AMN is not a RB. etc etc We need players now!

  36. Nelson

    This is the comment from another popular Arsenal blog on Pepe

    Pepe never really delivered much in the final third. Lost the ball a little too frequently at times — eight dispossessions in total, more than any of his teammates — and seemed more hesitant to drive at defenders at times as well.

    I admit that he carries high hope for most fans, me included. Arteta needs to find a better way to use his skill. For me, I prefer a real RW like Adama Traoré who can run past the defender and center.

  37. Sid

    Arsenal doesnt have midfield runners to receive the ball when pepe draws 3 players to himself.
    Im telling you for free!

  38. Johnno

    Reading “saka not a left back” a lot here and elsewhere.

    Maybe we need to rethink him. Looks like a left back to me. Plays like one.

    We rarely see 17 year olds in the first team- we are blind to their development 17-19/20 usually. Many change positions in that time. All clubs are full of ex – academy players that make the first team in different positions to they played at youth level.

    Saka looks like a lad that can push Tierney next season and play LW also in games where Martinelli is rested or plays CF

    Oh – same for AMN btw. “He’s not a RB”. Well – he looks like one to me. Never getting in this team as a midfielder so don’t see the issue. He’s doing great under arteta as he’s being asked to tuck in. Suits him.

    Frank McKlintock – our double wining centre half skipper was a midfielder. Peter storey – the Torreeira of his day (but way nastier) was a right back. Mickey Thomas “it’s up for grabs now” started as a right back. Dixon was a winger at stoke. Ashley Cole was a midfielder in his youth.

    Broaden your minds people. Positions have jobs. If the player can do the job – they can play the position

    Oh and Mustafi is not a centre half – to be clear

  39. Zacharse

    Re: Mari
    I read that the club is after gab barbosa who was w them on loan from inter, last season when they won everuthing perhaps theyre raising funds

  40. Useroz

    Anyone read reported specifics of the Mari deal that we were trying to change while he’s in town? Surely we aren’t as skint as negotiating the reported 7m or so? It’s the commitment to buy at end of season to option to buy?

    Converting AMN to RB permanent makes more sense compared to Saka. AMN is 22 ? Appears to have lesser headroom as a MF so to have a future with the club, if he wanted, that’s probably the only way forward. Saka is 17 and a much better prospect as a forward in relative term and may be a touch too early to pin him down that way. But for this /even next seasons agree that Saka could challenge Tierney unless the club brings in a genuine LB cover.

  41. Chris

    Great games last night for Saka, Guendouzi and before his injury, Mustafi. Credit where it is due for him.

    The first half an hour was great and then we seemed to retreat into ourselves a bit. You can clearly see the improvements in our play but at some point it will be nice to see us hammer home an advantage and win by a good few goals. I don’t mean that to sound entitled but I just feel the team is more than capable of it and perhaps it just needs to happen the first time and more big wins will follow.

  42. Graham62

    Ceballos showed more in 20 minutes than Ozil has shown in 20 games.

    You know what I mean.

    He also looks as if his put on some muscle.

  43. Valentin

    Zimmie,

    What I like about Willock is the fact that he receive the ball on the half turn. That allows him to turn his opponent and run with the ball toward goal instead of recycling it backward.

    During the first half his half turn and then direct run at the defense helped unsettled the Bournemouth defense.

    His passing could be better, but he can spot a pass and make it at the right time like he did for the second goal.

    That goal came from Martinelli and Nkethia off the ball movement which dragged the right back inside and created space for Saka who was then released in that free space by Willock first intention pass. That’s coaching for you.

  44. Valentin

    Useroz,

    Details are sketchy for the moment, but it looks like Arsenal have moved the goal post on the deal. From obligation to buy to option to buy and from immediate payment to payment in June if we buy.
    I am not against the idea of having an option to buy rather than an obligation, but if true (right now we only know the Flamengo side) that does not look very classy. It is also perfectly possible that both parties are in the right and that an intermediary did play them both.

  45. Valentin

    Pepe may draw two players, but because he is so one footed every defenders know that he will come back inside. Opposition just tell the left sided midfielder to drop deeper and whenever Pepe tries to come inside he has an extra player to block him.
    One way to counteract that would be to have our fullback to overlap, but because that’s what Saka does on the other side, Bellerin is tucking inside to compensate in midfield with Xhaka dropping to cover the left field position.
    The result is that Pepe is blunted and most of our good movement comes from the left with the combination Saka/Martinelli.
    Pepe will have to learn to release the ball much quicker and to use his right foot.

  46. Aussie Gooner

    Useroz

    Agree with Saka – he will be much more of a threat down the wing in an attacking position (witness his goal last night). However LB, wing back and LW have more in common these days and like Bale the positions could become interchangeable. I still think that AMN will not make the grade at Arsenal as a midfielder. So if he is prepared to knuckle down and learn his craft he could develop into a serviceable RB or wing back.

    The debacle with Mari is lamentable. We have a need (several needs actually) that he could meet on a tight budget but we are once again caught with our pants down. Other teams don’t seem to have this problem – requires a thorough investigation. Why would Edu go over to Brazil mid-season on a whim? Surely arrangements would have to have been more developed than just speculative?

  47. Useroz

    If we went back on a verbal deal re Mari not very classy is it as the execs like to proclaim from time to time especially when we don’t spend.

    We appear to continue having injuries more than others. Which teams have 3x ACL in 12 months. All defenders (assuming Nelson is not). Why?

    We collect ‘weaker’ players focusing inproportionately on skills. Visually a size and a half difference on physique when the teams line up at kick off. Let’s get the 6’4” Mari to begin with and move the weaklings out asap by summer.

    While Martinelli could score goals it remain untenable even for rest of the season if our MF doesn’t contribute to the goal tally. It’s shocking for a ‘big’ club. Arteta still saying we are going for all trophies.

    Without a stronger MF and creatives we ain’t going to be able to kill games with 3 or 4 to help ease the pressure on our sick note defence. Isn’t sustainable even for 4 months especially if Mari or whoever didn’t work out by Friday.

    Contacts or not, Raul needs to get to work.

    Btw Edu could have a rendezvous with his GF back home for all we know! Mari was a decoy.