The Arteta Defence: Do xGA numbers prove it’s worse? (long read)

by .

There are cries of hypocrisy from the comments section of Le Grove.

‘Pedro, you were spaffing xGA numbers all over the internet when you were anti-Emery, now you are SHOCKINGLY not. You sir, are a dirty muffin fancier’

It’s true, I have not performed a deep dive into any xG numbers for Arteta, but mostly because of my religious respect for data.

7 games is a tiny sample to start drawing conclusions from with xG data. The variables are so vast, no true Data Scientist would risk their rep by making appalling apples to dog biscuits comparisons between Unai and Arteta.

I’ve left the explanation to Champagne Charlie of the comments to point out why people looking to use xGA as a hangman’s noose are embarrassingly early to the party. This particular post starts because Emery’s last 7 games saw xGA of 1.42, versus Mikel’s 1.5… the argument is complemented by inane supporting commentary like, ‘both work with the same talent, so the situations are basically the same, and the data can be compared.’

Champagne Charlie: Why xGA comparisons of Emery and Arteta are very silly

The usual frontline warriors with the usual scrap gathering in yet another attempt to dismiss Arteta and instead drive a narrative they’ve long held. I’ll make a quick remark about the sample size of 7 games, it’s painfully low for any hard data to be exorcised from as it’s wide open to anomalous inputs. That should be pretty clear to all, alas.

Stats can paint several pictures, wield your brushes how you see fit:

Emery played 13 games this season in the PL, his average xGA was 1.62
– His highest xGA was Watford away at 2.83
– His lowest xGA was 0.38 against Newcastle opening day
– Number of games xGA was more than 1.5 was nine (9/13).

Arteta has played 7 games this season in the PL, his average xGA is 1.5
– His highest xGA came against Chelsea away at 3.27
– His lowest xGA is 0.31 against Palace
– Number of games xGA is more than 1.5 is three (3/7).

*The Chelsea game we played with 10-men for 70 minutes is the league-high xGA this season, without that match our xGA under Arteta stands at a 1.2 average for 6 games. So a 0.3 jump aka not a sample size to take seriously.*

+What none of the above tells you is one manager was 12 months into a job, and had two summers to nip and tuck the staff he had at his disposal. Whilst the other manager arrived a couple of days before Christmas Day and had to pick up the pieces and work on the fly.

+What the above also doesn’t account for is that Arteta took over and had 3 games in 5 days to contend with as an opener, followed by 4 games that have seen us reduced to 10-men in half of those.

But irrespective of that context we still have a manager that’s taken the basic average xGA number from 1.62 to 1.5 for the season. Yet I’m to establish there’s been no measurable improvement to support the visual evidence on display these past 6 weeks.

This comment on whether Arteta having an advantage as a native (kind of) was also very good (same poster).

Having any of the knowledge you’re talking about matters not one iota when it comes to implementing your own views on how YOUR side is going to play.

Arteta is doing this on the fly and trying to teach and cajole players between rest days and injury maintenance. The game is won and lost at the very elite by minor actions done on autopilot, yet there’s been nowhere near enough time for Arteta to ingrain his methods on any meaningful level.

I’m talking to the point each player knows his role and has a picture of the side in front/behind/to the side of him as he’s receiving the ball. This is huge, Liverpool are the example of this level of work that’s embedded now after years of constant training.

Every game we play early on inevitably throws up situations that are being met in our new approach for the very first time. A clanger at Chelsea, a red card in the early stages, a physical game of high balls, facing sides who press, those who sit deep, losing players to injury and having to rework it etc.

These things all upset the applecart until you’ve dealt with a few situations and learned what to do and what not to do in the respective moments. All the while you’re trying to establish a level of mastery over your new role in the side on a basic level all things being equal.

You simply don’t achieve that without logging hours in practice, the kind of hours we’ve not had the benefit of spending – hence the value of a preseason where it’s all about learning and perfecting. Idk what to tell you if that doesn’t register.

< End >

Context is king in all situations.

Having two full preseasons, £200m to spend, and 18 months working daily with players is a lot of time to make a measurable impact. It’s also a lot of time to do horrendous damage to an already broken culture – as well as the confidence of the players.

Arteta is fighting on many fronts. He’s trying to build a high-performance culture, he’s building the players fitness and confidence, he’s implementing radical ideas and he’s doing it all in the middle of the season.

Confidence is a precious commodity. One of the most valuable in sport (and life). When it goes for you as an individual, it’s terrible. When it goes for a whole squad, it’s very hard to reboot and it takes time. We experience it in our own boring lives, watch a junior staffer deal with being reamed out in a client meeting. We’ve all had it, doesn’t matter how brash you are to the outside world, it impacts your performance. Arsenal fans are the client and we’ve been slaughtering the players for a year. We broke Unai Emery, he went from touchline crazy guy to hiding in his jacket twitching out like a recovering meth addict. He couldn’t make a coherent decision, his English declined, and he reeked of a deadman. Confidence.

This is going to take time. No coach can click their fingers and make magic happen immediately. Jurgen Klopp had a similar set of criticisms when he took over at Liverpool. Worth noting he took over a team in distress far earlier (October 8th) and took them to 8th position in the first year. He had a better squad of players to work with. Firmino, Coutinho, Sturridge, Henderson, Can, Lallana, Milner, Origi, Gomez, Lovren. He also had the same troubles Arteta is suffering right now. Liverpool fans on Twitter rolled hard with #KloppOut after his side were beasted by newly-promoted Watford. Fans spread this below graphic to make the point that Klopp wasn’t a good coach.

The problems look quite similar to those we’re facing now. Tired players and some noisy fans making demands that will embarrass them in a years time. This is Klopp after losing to Palace.

“It is not a problem to lose a game. It happens in football but we have to learn,”

“If we learn, we decide how strong we are, how good we are, how awake we are and how tired we are. Nobody else. We played on Thursday [at Rubin Kazan in the Europa League] but I decide if I am tired, nobody else. Today we needed a few minutes to come into the game. It was not enough. If everyone thinks we gave everything, then it is wrong.

“After the goal on 82 minutes, with 12 minutes to go, I saw many people leaving the stadium. I felt pretty alone at this moment. We decide when it is over. Between 82 and 94 [minutes] you can make eight goals if you like.

It’s a huge trigger for people when you mention Klopp because Arteta is not Klopp, but again, let’s give some context… no manager of Klopp’s standing was going to come to Arsenal in December. We took a chance on the future. If a manager of Klopp’s level needs more than 7 games to shape things up, you’d think some of our fans might go a little lighter on someone with a lesser squad with deeper problems.

If a manager like Klopp can bring in Grujic and Stephen Caulker as his first signings, we can maybe forgive the odd signings we’re attracting (we’ll talk about where Ornstein is unsubtly pointing you on the Soares story tomorrow). He took Liverpool to 8th in his first season. The next season, he narrowly beat us to 4th… by 1 point. They made it happen on the last day of the season. The mighty Klopp only just pipped Wenger on the decline.

Anyway, just a bit of context for the folk that are polluting the airwaves with shoddy takes on data and overblown expectations without the nuance of MAJOR CONTEXT.

See you in the comments. x

326 Responses to “The Arteta Defence: Do xGA numbers prove it’s worse? (long read)”

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  1. Northbanker

    Two good posts Pedro – a counter-balance to the hysteria and pessimism on this site from those with ridiculous demands who are slitting their wrists cos we’ve drawn a few games.

  2. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    The manager has until the end of next season I guessing .

    Unless we have dramatically changed the attitude of the players from a negative to a positive him gone.

    Project youth 0.2 with slick black gel cream needs to rapidly turn things around.

    Some posters say Klopp needed three seasons to urn Liverpool around.
    Klopp is and was a high quality manager for many years.

    This manGers is literally a single brush on a broom in terms of experience .

    If we are trying to pump up figures to make xhara look anything near decent then the games up. Gone.

    Allegri in 18moths will speak fluent English

    I’ll wait.

  3. Wasi

    Great read. Appreciate the hard work CC and ofc Pedro.

    I think Arteta can shut all his haters up with a trophy this season. We may not be very consistent in the league this season but we have a squad good enough to challenge for the EL and the FA cup.
    And to be clear I dont expect us to win anything this but instead I hope we do.
    Would be a great start for the new Pep-Wenger hybrid.

  4. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Pedro

    Your beginning to sound like the kid whose Christmas toy has broken at the end of January …. and the 30 day receipt is invalid.

    This manager will do for the next 18 months by then we will be in full man united mode.

    Or in 5he championship.

  5. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Graham 62

    I think my patience went 2012 to 2017.

    This board had used up all the time allocated.

    When people are trying to spoon feed us with stats regarding dross awful players what are we hoping to achieve .?

    As I have said previously
    If it’s true this manager turned down the chance to lodge off ozil,
    Going against what the club has been trying to do for the last 18 months.

    That’s a strike down.

    Two to play.

    Play ball.

  6. Freddie Ljungberg

    “And against Burnley on Sunday afternoon, the play-maker was once again virtually anonymous, having just one shot on goal, registering 51 touches, and losing possession 12 times as per Sofascore”

    “Mesut Ozil hasn’t assisted a Premier league away goal in 2 years. Lacazette hasn’t scored a Premier league away goal in almost a year. One plays as chief creator and the other plays as centre forward and we’re out here scratching our heads as to why we struggle to score away..”

    “Mesut Ozil’s last goal assist in the Premier League away from home came the day before he signed his new contract.”

    What’s the definition of insanity again?

    Arteta needs to sort this asap, and no, I don’t mean on the training ground, he needs to start picking a team that can actually get points on the board.

    No more negating our best attackers so to accommodate Laca. No more Ozil chances, he’s had about a million of them now and does nothing.

    If the season really is a write off then start playing players with a future at Arsenal to get them ready for next season. Can’t be any worse than we’re seeing now.

    These are things Arteta can fix right now, it’s the same as before, a couple of the senior players are holding us back massively but nothing is done to get rid or at least get them out of the starting XI, we just keep plodding on with the same output.

  7. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Graham

    Would you re float the titanic ?
    The Belgrano ?

    No

    You would build a new one .

    This manager has had that chance and has ignored..

  8. Luisjo

    Arteta was a huge mistake. He continues with Lacazette. You don’t even need to be smart to see Lacazette is a waste of space and he can’t play with Auba. Freddie dropped him as did Emery. Arteta is a wasteman continuing with this slow, weak ‘striker’ that has literally no benefit as a footballer. Lacazette starts without doubt for Arsenal but Auba, Martinelli and Pepe are sacrificed for this slow useless waste of space. Lacazette isn’t even good enough for Millwall

  9. Sid

    raptoraFebruary 4, 2020 09:34:51
    The divorce between Pedro and Gambon is a fun sight to see.

    Pedro should pay alimony, apparently he’s been fornicating with CG

  10. SP

    Arteta blocked the deadline day move for Ozil. Ozil would have been very much happy to play for oil rich club owned by an Islamic nation.

  11. Rich

    So Emery finishing 5th, after inheriting a broken squad from Wenger, is abject failure.

    Arteta taking 8/21, and out shooting his opponent in 2/9 games, is progress….

    And Arteta needs windows to fix his broken squad is the narrative, when none of the players bar Suarez were Emery signings….

    And Suarez is what you get, when you’re told you can only have 1 loan, and you have big injuries to Holding, Bellerin and Welbeck.

    In a squad that’s by Pedro own right calculation, is a mess, due to a decade of mismanagement…..

  12. Luisjo

    Any coach in the world knows most important thing is team selection. Klopp/Pep rarely pick rubbish teams neither does Mourinho. Wenger used to, hence why he lost so much. Arteta got it TOTALLY wrong on Sunday and will continue to do so playing Lacazette. Better to sack him now and let Freddie have it until the end of the season

  13. GillespieRoadNoMore

    I just don’t get those who are knocking Arteta and totally agree with this post. Do you think the board are going to chuck out MA after 7 games because some non entity posted a flame comment on a blog? All concerned concurred that Mikels appointment would take time to bed in, if you cannot appreciate that he is a marked upgrade on Emery you must live a life of perpetual disappointment all due to your totally unrealistic view of the world. If you want to appreciate the value of Arteta just look at what has happened to MCFC since he moved on, they look to be missing something vital, the constant input of an elite coach, their loss is Arsenals gain, sweet!

  14. HighburyLegend

    “CC is Pedro’s new lover.”

    @Raptora : this is not funny at all, man.
    You suggest that Pedro could have cheat on Mikel ??
    How dare you launching pathetic rumors like that ?? This is the private life of people we’re talking about, a bit of respect, please.

  15. Edu me a favour

    Nobody:

    Arsenal fans : why hasn’t arteta gotten us into the knockout stages of the CL and why aren’t we 48 points clear at the top of the league after his first 7 games in charge ?

  16. Emiratesstroller

    I am surprised that no-one else has picked up the point that I made that LIVERPOOL have made no significant signings in last two transfer windows.

    Also that Liverpool have historically profiled players recruited by club looking
    not only at their ability, but also their psychological profile and ability to fit into the club and team.

    Arsenal has made a HUGE TURNOVER of personnel in the summer transfer
    window and that has clearly impacted on our performance this season.

  17. HighburyLegend

    “I am surprised that no-one else has picked up the point that I made that LIVERPOOL have made no significant signings in last two transfer windows.”

    Yeah right. The need of rebuilding their squad is obvious.
    lol…

  18. Emiratesstroller

    HL

    So you think that the stability of their squad is not a significant factor in this
    season’s performance.

    Can you recall any other major club i.e. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich
    or Man Utd not buying players when they were at top of tree?

  19. gambon

    Pedro

    While I do agree with a lot of what youre saying, I dont feel that you are very objective on this, because of your love for big Mikel Arteta.

    I think Arteta should have said to AFC that he will join in May once the season is over, because its hard to make a real difference mid-season, especiallly with regards to tactics, fitness and overall game strategy.

    So I do agree, its too small a sample, and we wont really be able to form an opinion until about 10 games in to next season.

    However its absolutely true to say Arteta hasnt moved the dial much yet.

    And as much as results SHOULD follow an improvement in performance, we are facing the reality of finishing 10th, and not having a single penny to spend this summer.

    Now the question is….is Arteta the kind of manager that can get more from the same group, or like Pep, will he need his own type of players to implement his ideas (which will likely cost a lot of money)

    If he is the latter, then we are fucked, because we wont have a transfer budget this summer due to the poor start he has made.

  20. Daniel Altos

    I was having an interesting discussion with someone today about the games we can win and I have to say am not overly optimistic if anything other than a good cup run.Lets be real here,Everton, Spurs,Leicester,Liverpool,City and Watford…how many points are we getting from these games?

  21. Samesong

    Everton, Spurs,Leicester,Liverpool,City and Watford…how many points are we getting from these games?

    Ill guess there be a few draws in there!

  22. Receding Hairline

    This constant reference to Klopp when discussing Arteta and his progress isn’t really helping

    Klopp was a two time winning coach and Champions league finalist before arriving at Liverpool, he had a body of work people can relate to. His players knew who he was and what he achieved elsewhere before he came to Liverpool so even when it was not working they had something to fall back on.

    I said a while back that if we do not start winning games under Arteta will the players continue to listen? Will they still believe his way (not yet sure what his way really is right now) is the right way? How long before they also have doubts?

    He isn’t Klopp or Pep or Mourinho or Ancelloti

    Maybe compare him with Pochettino (who had a few seasons experience before Spurs) and the Spurs project if you must.

    We are not recreating the Liverpool project here under Arteta, i personally don’t think he is that good.

  23. Words on a Blog

    Pedro (and CC)

    Cc’s use of XGa data represents a proper and considered use of statistics, much more than Gambon’s attempt to extract (negative) conclusions from a tiny unrepresentative sample. Also, as you both say, context and timing matters, and Arteta came in at a point when Arsenal, was in an extended negative spiral rather than the 4-5 match mini-slumps of old Wenger days, so his ideas will take time to take hold and implement properly.

    What is clear so far is that:

    – Team shape has improved
    – Defensive structure has improved
    – Quality and intensity of pressing has improved
    – Individual performances of a number of players (in particular Xhaka, Luiz, Torreira, AMN) have vastly improved
    – Attacking variety has marginally improved

    What has not(yet?) improved is the ability of the team to sustain long periods of purposeful possession and attacking threat, and there is still a tendency to drop deep when opponents go at us.

    The only area where I see weaknesses (and potential problems for the future) in Arteta is in his in-game management.That is, when opposing team wise up to our tactics and adapt their formation, personnel or approach, Arteta seems (to date) unable to counter them with a move of his own.

    The results should come, unless the in-game management issue becomes a problem.

  24. Daniel Altos

    Samesong where do you see the draws?Because personally I am only seeing us scrapping a win against Watford and getting a draw against spuds and everton…I think Leicester,city and Liverpool will beat us

  25. gambon

    But I maintain what I said on twitter…

    We NEED to start winning games.

    Its no good Arteta being some cerebral manager that talks about left footed Centre Backs “opening up the pitch” – if we keep failing to beat Palace, Sheff Utd, Bournemouth & Burnley.

    At no point in my lifetime have draws against mid & low table teams been acceptable.

    Arteta needs time & money, but if he doesnt start getting results he wont get money, and if he doesnt get money his time will be up by October.

  26. Receding Hairline

    “We NEED to start winning games.”

    Even Arteta himself has said the same many times so don’t know why that statement is treated as not wishing the manager well

    He wants to win games, he isn’t winning them, questions has to be asked as why.

  27. Aussie Gooner

    As Vesus said in the last post: The table don’t lie!

    It is not about hating on Arteta, however it has become the new norm to accept mediocrity. I watched the Spuds game after ours and they are well ahead in terms of effort and commitment. This is not acceptable. They to have under gone similar trauma – new stadium, new manager, loss of key players, new recruits etc but don’t appear to be too phased by this. Why then are we? Can someone please answer this question.

  28. Freddie Ljungberg

    “He wants to win games, he isn’t winning them, questions has to be asked as why.”

    “Mesut Ozil hasn’t assisted a Premier league away goal in 2 years. Lacazette hasn’t scored a Premier league away goal in almost a year. One plays as chief creator and the other plays as centre forward and we’re out here scratching our heads as to why we struggle to score away..”

    Yeah, a real head scratcher that

  29. Useroz

    We stay up If we get 11.

    Need to make up our mind.

    Is rest of the season a write off? Says who?

    I recall Arteta in multiple interviews sayinf to the effect that we still go for what’s there to win this season and he’s after wins …

    In which case Arteta is trailing on his own expectation. Perhaps as he also admitted though he knew it was a big job but he has discovered more challenges etc.

    So the club is more rotted than what meets the eyes?

  30. China1

    Pedro how many games of emery’s reign did it take before you started highlighting XG?

    I don’t remember but I do remember you weren’t exactly waiting for 6 months to start

  31. azed

    This comment on whether Arteta having an advantage as a native (kind of) was also very good (same poster).

    Having any of the knowledge you’re talking about matters not one iota when it comes to implementing your own views on how YOUR side is going to play.

    This is not true.
    Like I said yesterday, knowing your opponents is half the battle. Arteta already knows the EPL as a player and coach so he knows what to expect from most teams away from home.

    Arteta knew the grass at Burnley was going to be long because he’s been there before. He trained the players for that because he knew.

    You can’t just assume those minute details don’t count.

    Also I can’t think of anyone that has attacked Arteta. It’s you the comments are directed because like Gambon said, you are not objective because of your crush on Arteta.

  32. Emiratesstroller

    Yes we do need to start winning games, but realistically this was going to be a
    “transition season”.

    We offloaded ELEVEN players from our squad [not including loans like Ospina]. We have promoted this season FIVE Academy players plus Martinelli into first team squad.

    When you add in other new players like Luiz, Tierney, Ceballos, Pepe and in
    January two more players that is a huge turnover of players.

    The reason that Emery was offloaded was necessity. First he had a very poor
    communication level both with players and also media and supporters.

    Second the team was leaking like a sieve and the football was bland and without any real purpose.

    Finally supporters were beginning to stop turning up for home matches. The
    entertainment value and morale was low.

    Whatever are the criticisms posted here about Arteta most supporters going
    to matches can see material changes and improvements in how we are playing even if the results [wins] have not matched performance or expectation.

    As Pedro posted the Burnley game was the first real poor performance under
    Arteta.

  33. PieAFC

    Football is a statistics game, but it’s become so nfl like, with a stat for EVERYTHING.

    Finally realism understanding it’s subjective and related to the context.

    All this new age stat stuff has done is be used to help sub par performance as good ones for fans favourite players.

  34. Lego Hair

    Pierre

    Freddim is a walking contradiction.

    Wants results now but will write the season off for the future.

    Complains that we concede too many chances then is unhappy when we correct that.

    Says there are too many big gaps in the team when there aren’t then says the players are too close together.

    Wants us to attack more but backs Arteta’s defensive structure without thinking there will be trade off initially in the attack.

    Thinks it’s possible to swap half the team out in January when acknowledging we have no money but doesnt know what a budget is.

    Dont get tactics tim started on tactics you’ll really lose him then…CLUELESS.

  35. Major_Jeneral

    Arsenal is in Damage Control mode. It is pure fantasy to think we will still be fighting for top four come the end of the season.

    End of story.

  36. Pierre

    Fred
    “Arteta needs to sort this asap, and no, I don’t mean on the training ground, he needs to start picking a team that can actually get points on the board.No more negating our best attackers so to accommodate Laca. No more Ozil chances, he’s had about a million of them now and does nothing.If the season really is a write off then start playing players with a future at Arsenal to get them ready for next season. Can’t be any worse than we’re seeing now.”

    Slightly contradictory there fred .

    You want a team that can get points on the board now and then in the same breath ask to play players for the future.

    If Arteta had come in and played youth against united and Chelsea twice and lost, what would you have said .

    I think we know.

  37. azed

    Pedro
    This is another example of your bias

    “The Spaniard clearly has preferred players he wants to bring to the club. Denis Suarez, Ever Banega, and Yannick Carrasco have the odor of Emery as I can’t imagine for one moment Sven would be pushing for journeyman hacks lost in their careers.”

    With Emery, they were hacks and journey men, with Arteta, it’s what the club needs.

    Can you see the point I’m trying to make?

  38. Ray in LA

    R.S.P.C.A. you are a wind-up merchant and it’s almost succeeding 🙂

    we were in desperate straights before Christmas and it looked like we were slowly but objectively moving into a better zone — until the Burnley game [Burnley’s previous results not-withstanding]

    I take very few positives from the last game, it looked like a total reversion with the youngsters not impressing and the highly-paid experience not showing up

    but we are where we are, I am hopeful that Arteta will learn from this and that he can re-energise and continue to organize the side

    The Athletic had a nice lead article about Pep and his quote about what looking into the players eyes tells you — do they still want to make things happen or have they lost it — I wonder what Arteta sees

  39. Freddie Ljungberg

    Lego brain and Pierre

    I’m not the one saying this season is a write off, learn to read. That’s Pedro and your lot making excuses to why we’re failing to pick up points. I know it’s the same players letting us down that has done so for years.

    I’m saying that if it the results doesn’t matter anyway play the kids. Better both in the short and long term. Results would probably improve anyway.

    Not even going to respond to Lego brains other claims, he’s as stupid as he is clueless at anything other than getting banned from le grove.

  40. China1

    Pedro this was you in SEPTEMBER last year (a game we won against Cardiff)

    Headline ‘SHAMBOLIC arsenal struggle with basics’

    ‘Outside that, there were a lot of problems for Unai Emery when there shouldn’t have been. His starting 11 brought Mesut Ozil back ’

    ‘Real shoddy in-game management’

    ‘A really sloppy goal to concede.’

    ‘On top of that. The way emery has decided to start the ball moving is a lot less intense than I’d hoped’

    On September 4th

    Headline ‘ emery struggling to see past reputation’

    Start of the blog ‘A lot of the chatter I was reading yesterday focused on Granit Xhaka, who is officially the new poster child of the collapsed Wenger apologist regime. Never has a group of people been so misguided in who they attach their loyalties to, but one thing is for sure, you have to hand it to them, their arguments always incredibly sound on paper.

    The big fear a lot of people have at the moment centres around an isolated statistic call xG build-up. The definition of xG Buildup is comes from the very interesting Statsbomb site.’

    So yeah all let’s not mention XG or criticism arteta when he gets it wrong because it’s a learning curve and he gets a totally free pass.

    The funny thing is all that content above could’ve been written about the last 3 or so consecutive arteta games and you’d not know the difference. But therein lies an agenda lol

  41. Gentlebris

    ‘It is not about hating on Arteta, however it has become the new norm to accept mediocrity. I watched the Spuds game after ours and they are well ahead in terms of effort and commitment. This is not acceptable. ‘

    Pedro’s pre game comment:

    ‘A wounded City side versus Mourinho sinking ship’.

    Yeah, sure.

    Jose will soon burn down Spuds, we just have to wait for it. At least that way we can find some justification for choosing a complete novice over a CL×2 and PL×3 warrior.

  42. Steve

    What has changed? In the last few months of UE, we go into every game in panic mode as supporters. It does not matter who we are playing. It was difficult.
    Under Arteta, we know we are not likely to lose because we have become hard to beat. Going forward, we need to keep outscoring our opponents. I prefer what Arterta is doing. Confidence is being restored. Xhaka, Mustafi, Torreira, etc are playing again. And are happy doing so. Before Arterta, non of these three players will attract 25million pounds if they were to be sold. By the day, their value is increasing There is some kind of revival going on. . It won’t all happen in one day. Patience is needed.

  43. Gentlebris

    ‘Arteta is trying to refloat a sunken ship.’

    Of course.

    But he seems to struggle with it when the tide(fans, media and players)is on his side.

    What then happens when the party eventually and inevitably begins?

  44. Lego Hair

    Freddim

    Your words:

    ‘If the season really is a write off then start playing players with a future at Arsenal to get them ready for next season. ‘

    Then:

    ‘I’m not the one saying this season is a write off, learn to read.’

    Clueless AND contradictory

  45. Marc

    Pedro

    Unfortunately you have a comments section that has far too many posters who carry an agenda beyond wanting Arsenal to win – if they were open and honest about their positions it would be more refreshing – my minor agenda is Xhaka out I don’t’ care what he’s doing now I won’t him gone.

    What some of us are doing with the “criticism” of Arteta is less about wanting him out but having some fun at your expense because of your hypocrisy.

    “Having two full preseasons, £200m to spend, and 18 months working daily with players is a lot of time to make a measurable impact”

    Is a prime example – certain posters like myself and Cesc Appeal took a view that we’d give Emery a season before judging him you were all over him from day one. This is what some people are pointing out – Emery was given no time to improve things – Arteta well Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    We do need to start winning games and Arteta’s in game management particularly with regards to substitutes hasn’t been good enough in my opinion but whilst I will continue to comment I will not judge Arteta until this time next year unless things begin to collapse ie relegation is seriously threatened.

    The fact that you are being so defensive just proves you know you’re doing it!

  46. Receding Hairline

    “Under Arteta, we know we are not likely to lose because we have become hard to beat”

    We all thought the same for 22 games last season until we went away to Southampton and everyone realized we weren’t really that hard to beat.

    This was ESPN’s take on the weekend’s game at Burnley

    “Quite how they escaped from this one with a point is a mystery that could potentially make for an in-depth, 12-part Netflix documentary, the sort that people say you should watch (and you probably should), but really, who has the time?

    By the end of the game, it was tricky to work out which was greater: the number of chances Burnley missed”

    “They missed several chances, the most egregious being when Jay Rodriguez met a cross at the far post, 6 yards out with nothing but the cool Lancashire air between him and Bernd Leno, only to hammer a shot against the bar and down onto the line. Dyche seemed satisfied in his postmatch analysis — “We did enough to score a goal, but we’ll take the clean sheet and a point” — but considering their chances, this has to go down as a missed opportunity for Burnley.”

    So not exactly hard to beat more like lucky to not get beaten

  47. Marc

    “Under Arteta, we know we are not likely to lose because we have become hard to beat.”

    Well with the context of Pedro’s piece in mind that’s not the brightest of comments. We beat a ManU team that’s all over the place, managed a draw and a loss against a Chelsea team that’s beyond inconsistent and then have drawn against Bournemouth, Palace, Sheffield Utd and Burnley.

    We’ve only managed to score more than one goal twice and if you’re sitting on either a nil nil or a 1 goal lead then you don’t know you’re not going to lose when we are still conceding soft goals late on in matches.

  48. Buckagh

    Good post Pedro, but it’s wasted on the keyboard moron wimps,
    I wonder how many of these wankers have ever been to a football match at any level never mind an Arsenal one.
    Don’t take this out of context,
    Fuck off somewhere else and moan

  49. China1

    Yes buckagh we are keyboard warrior wimps who have never been to the emirates before because we have critical faculties, but you sir are a beacon of (real life) manly strength and vigor.

    Please do go on

  50. S Asoa

    Gambon
    Emery was like a termite undermining the Club, making ennuchs out of players. It is entirely Raul’s fault he kept on giving him a rope. Naturally he hung himself with it.
    Please don’t talk of should have continued with that a Fraud till May.
    This is Arsenal , in spite of Kroenke owning it.

  51. Lego Hair

    Marc

    This Man Utd side that’s all over but are still dangerous.

    They’ve beaten city twice away, Chelsea away and Tottenham. They’re still dangerous. So stop down playing the result, if we’d have lost you’d be saying we should be comfortably beating these cunts.

  52. Lego Hair

    RH

    ESPN talking shit again and you’re eating right up.

    Outside of the Jay Rodriguez chance at the back post can you tell me another one of these ‘many chances’ Burnley missed?

    Did you even watch the game?

  53. China1

    Backpass I gather it’s called feetballs and it involves 20 atheletes and a goal tender but don’t quote me on that

  54. Paulinho

    Arteta can do umpteen training drills to the cows come home, for as long as he wants, we won’t see any MEANINGFUL improvement until half our side is ditched, and we bring in a certain level of midfielder that has the ability to respond to these mythical drills.

    There is a reason why the likes of Freddie Roach only take on World Champion boxers. You only need to tell world level boxers once and they will carry out what you’ve asked. Same with top class footballers. You can try and coach average midfielders about spatial awareness, “what’s around them”, but it will only last as long until the opposition increase the tempo and they will fall apart again and make the same mistakes they’ve always made.

  55. Northbanker

    This dialogue is absolutely ridiculous – the expectation of some of you beggars belief. The guy has been in charge for what – seven games? We have gone unbeaten since Chelsea and he still has to cope with the fact we have the same shite players. It is quite clear to me he is working wonders in getting high performances out of dross players such as Xhaka ad Mustafi and thereby upping their transfer values. That is sensible planning and demonstrates great coaching.

    God knows what some of you are like in your personal and business lives – you must be some of the most depressed people on this planet.

  56. gambon

    “If we let Arteta come in and disregard results, we will find ourselves fighting relegation next season.”

    This is absolutely right.

    The only thing standing between us and a relegation fight at the moment is Auba.

    If we finish 10th-12th, which is looking likely, Auba will be gone and next season is a relegation fight.

    If we finish 6th-7th and in the EL, we may be able to convince him to stay.

    The £50m we make from the EL also gives us a tranfer budget.

    If we dont get European football next season, you will see Mustafi, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil & Lacazette out there failing on the pitch again.

    I like Arteta, but its not been a good start.

    There is no way the board appointed him expecting to win 1 in his first 7, and no way they wouldve expected to fail to beat the likes of Bournemouth, Sheff Utd, Palace and Burnley.

    I remember some people actually trying to make positives out of the Bournemouth draw.

    They got easily beaten by I think Brighton a few days later, which put it into context.

  57. Pierre

    Receding
    Slightly biased report on the game from ESPN don’t you think.

    Besides the shot that hit the bar , Arsenal had the 4 most clear cut chances from Aubameyang and Lacazette.

    They had a few balls into the box that caused problems, they say ,and I quote ““Quite how they escaped from this one with a point is a mystery that could potentially make for an in-depth, 12-part Netflix documentary, the sort that people say you should watch (and you probably should), but really, who has the time?”

    This comment is so ridiculous in the extreme that and I’m surprised that you would lower yourself to those depths to prove a point .

    It smacks of desperation from you and for a supposed Arsenal supporter to find such pleasure in highlighting such a poor reflection on the game , you should be embarrassed for yourself.

  58. Receding Hairline

    “There is no way the board appointed him expecting to win 1 in his first 7, and no way they wouldve expected to fail to beat the likes of Bournemouth, Sheff Utd, Palace and Burnley.”

    Take out Sheffield United arguably and all those other teams are easily beatable

  59. Lego Hair

    RH

    If you watched the game, name me one of these ‘many missed opportunities’ Burnley had other than the Rodriguez one.

    We were unlucky not to be out of sight in the first half hour with the Laca and Auba sitters. Burnley hit the bar and were unlucky not to score near the end, not unlucky to win the game. In reality that should have been a consolation.
    9/10 LAca and Auba don’t miss those chances.

  60. Freddie Ljungberg

    Lego brain

    You’re getting dumber by the minute, didn’t think that was possible, are you ok, should we call the nurse?

    “If the season really is a write off ”

    Keyword being “really” as in per Pedro, CC and yourself etc seems to think.

    You claim the season is over but you also want us to cling on to the same failures that we have to ship out sooner or later if we want to see results pick up in any meaningful way.

    Far better to play players with a future at the club, defend Ozil all you want you’re fighting a losing battle. Just look at the stats ffs, no assist away for 2 years, one assist in the league all season.
    Lost possession 12 times against Burnley because predictably he can’t keep up with a physical side. His defenders have gone from oh but he gets assists to oh but he creates chances to oh but he runs around more now.

    Laca also gives us very little, it’s not rocket science to take out a player that hasn’t scored away in a year to play your 3 most productive attacking players in their correct positions, although it probably seems that way to you.

    I blame Arteta for poor selections and in game management, nothing else.
    The tactics are fine because we have too many players with glaring weaknesses and he has to mitigate them somehow, but to think that doesn’t then hurt us in other areas is beyond stupid. Again something that won’t be fixed on the training ground.

    I thought we had enough of a cult with the AKBs, seems they found a new leader now.
    Boring.

  61. Pierre

    How did I guess.

    My comment prior to the Burnley game was quite prophetic though it looks like Marko has been binned.

    “My prediction for the day.

    If Arsenal fail to gain a victory, expect Marko, receding ,freddie , cesc appeal and a few others to suddenly reappear on Le Grove sprouting their usual nonsense.”

    So predictable.

  62. Left testicle

    Our creator in chief has turned into David Batty but Arteta still selects him for every game as a ’10’. As much as I dislike Ozil it’s not his fault that he gets selected after very average performances. That’s on the manager.

  63. Receding Hairline

    “This comment is so ridiculous in the extreme that and I’m surprised that you would lower yourself to those depths to prove a point ”

    Says Pierre who has gone as low as possible to first defend the indefensible in Wenger and Ozil and now to be the chief pom pom waver for Arteta. You keep posting we will remain unbeaten till March but you have not dared to suggest we will actually win a game, says a lot on your faith in this team at the moment.

    These clear cut chances you speak of was Auba shanking a shot from a fairly difficult angle and Pope coming out to claim a ball he tried to lift over his head. They were all ball over the top during a period when Burnley sat off and we picked passes easily, one team wake and the marking starts we disappear in games, this has been a given.

  64. Marc

    Lego

    I wasn’t slagging off the result against ManU – I was making the point it’s the only league win Arteta’s had against a team who’s results aren’t even close to consistent and responding to a comment that said we don’t expect to lose now. Whilst we’re only scoring on average 1 goal per match and capable of conceding too easily I for one do not take any game as being a forgone conclusion.

  65. Marc

    Left

    Agree on Ozil and why is Arteta still starting Laca through the middle when it’s clear there’s a problem (apparently in his personal life) why not bench him and bring him on against tired legs. A goal would do him the world of good.

  66. Marc

    “Far better to play players with a future at the club”

    We’re now being told that Arteta is playing some of these players to increase their values.

    Can you imagine if someone had said that about Emery?

  67. gambon

    I feel a bit sorry for Arteta because he is going to get a shock in the summer, when he’s told theres no money.

    There is no chance at all that scum bags like Sanllehi and Venkatesham would have been honest with him during the hiring process.

    We will limp in to 10th place, then when he goes to discuss transfer plans, he will be told there is nothing.

    There is no way Kroenke will bankroll another summer splurge.

    We’ve spent £70m and £140m in the last 2 summers and sank like a stone in the table. Theres no way Stan will continue funding the disaster duo of Raul & Vinai.

    Maybe its best to enjoy the next few months, we will likely be worse next season.

  68. Jamie

    If you compare Emery’s last 7 games in charge to Arteta’s first 7 games in charge, our xGA is higher than it was.

    Also, we’re perhaps only marginally harder to beat, but we’re also marginally less likely to win if you look at the xG trend of teams playing against us:

    xG Stats:

    Bournemouth 1.55 vs Arsenal 1.42 (we drew 1-1, fair result, lower xG)
    Arsenal 0.79 vs Chelsea 1.50 (we lost 1-2, fair result, lower xG)
    Arsenal 1.85 vs Man U 0.72 (we won 2-0, fair result, higher xG)
    Palace 0.31 vs Arsenal 1.02 (we drew 1-1, unfair result, should’ve won, higher xG)
    Arsenal 1.23 vs Sheffield 0.92 (we drew 1-1, just about fair result, higher xG)
    Chelsea 3.27 vs Arsenal 0.57 (we drew 2-2, unfair result, should’ve lost, lower xG)
    Burnley 2.28 vs Arsenal 1.89 (we drew 0-0, just about fair result, lower xG)

    Looking at the above stats, we’ve had lower xG than our opponents in 4 or those 7 games, and we’ve only out-xG’d our opponents once away from home (against Palace).

    If the current trend continues for the rest of the season (of course, it shouldn’t), our opponents will outscore us more than we’ll outscore them. meaning we’ll drop 2 points more often than we’ll gain 3 points during any given match.

    As I said earlier, we’re just about harder to beat, but we’re also less likely to win.

    Even if we compare Emery’s last 13 to Arteta’s first 7 games in charge, the trend only shows that we’re on course to concede just 0.12 goals a game less now than under our ‘worst run in 38 years’ or whatever.

    Not sure that upward tick in defensive resilience is worth 1000 words at this point.

    The sample size is far too small to derive any sort of meaningful trend. Arteta needs more time, plain and simple, because the current stats don’t make for terrific reading.

    I might join the ‘treat the next 6 months as a pre-season’ team so we can more accurately determine Arteta’s level over 20-25 games.

  69. Dissenter

    gambon
    Pedro is convinced we can mount a top-4 challenge next season even though we won’t be able to use the Arteta months of this season as a trampoline.

  70. HighburyLegend

    lol Pedro is still here, watching us, in the hope that only CC, Un Dos Tres and the few members of his sect will survive the carnage.

  71. Pierre

    RH
    “These clear cut chances you speak of was Auba shanking a shot from a fairly difficult angle and Pope coming out to claim a ball he tried to lift over his head. They were all ball over the top during a period when Burnley sat off and we picked passes ”

    ” shanking a shot from a fairly difficult angle” ……if you regard that as in anyway a difficult angle then maybe you watching the wrong sport.

  72. gambon

    In terms of how realistic a top 4 finish next season is, I would say the following would need to happen:

    1 – Still need a great Centre Back to command the backline
    2 – Need to keep our full backs fit for the season
    3 – Need a complete rebuild in midfield including:
    3a- Replace Xhaka
    3b- Replace Ozil
    3c- A midfield athlete (Torreira is too limited)
    4- Pepe needs to improve dramatically
    5- Buy another wide attacker (Grealish?)
    6- Replace Lacazette
    7- Keep Auba

    So realistically we need to keep hold of our best player, replace at least 5 players in our starting XI, and get some luck with injuries.

    So what are the chances of that:

    1- may happen, but with Raul & Edu, I would bet we sign some shit Kia Joorabchian centre back, rather than actually scouting.

    2- May happen, dont have much faith though

    3 a,b,c arent happening. Ozil is now not even CHampionship level, so theres no hope. We may sign one CM

    4 I can see happening

    5- wont happen

    6 – I think will happen

    7 – definitely wont happen

    So we will basically go into next season with the same team/squad, with the addition of whatever shit the super agents throw our way at bargain prices, and loads more loans.

  73. GunnerDNA

    “Under Arteta, we know we are not likely to lose because we have become hard to beat”

    That’s not true! Lady luck is opening her legs without asking us our name. The only game we slightly dominated is the United game. I don’t know why fans are trying so hard to defend Arteta. Arteta is very demanding of himself and wants to win now, so the request for 8 transfer window and millions before we win some games is not in his thinking. Dude don’t even think of himself as highly as some of y’all do.

  74. Lego Hair

    Freddim

    ‘You claim the season is over but you also want us to cling on to the same failures that we have to ship out sooner or later if we want to see results pick up in any meaningful way.’

    Where have I ‘claimed’ this? He’s playing the players that give us the best opportunity to get the best results in the short term. This includes Ozil, Xhaka and Laca. You play your senior players when you can and come the summer there will be changes.

    The expectancy has been lowered due to the worst start in 38 years. I want to win every game we play and finish as high as possible but aren’t dim enough to expect this to happen after the shit show Emery left with the players confidence and motivation at rock bottom.

    You don’t get football it’s pretty obvious. it’s a bit more complex than leave Ozil out and we’ll be much better but I’ll leave that amazing analysis to you.

  75. Bob N16

    Classic Legrove….after 7 games of a new coach, who has never been in charge before, people are keen to take sides.

    On the one hand, those supporters (of which I include myself) who accept that the board took a gamble on an inexperienced coach and are as it stands are hopeful that Arteta can turn things around given the necessary support in the transfer market.

    There are others who feel Arteta was the wrong option and results so far provide some sort of ammunition to support that perspective. Within this group , there are some, who it appears have lost the plot so badly that they blame Pedro for the appointment.

    This is our worst season statistically since George Graham’s last. We could even go further back but the point is, it’s been a disaster. The club has decided that a young coach, who ticked all the boxes apart from being experienced, is the way forward .

    Is it too much to ask to let him get on with this challenge for a while before trying to bury him?

  76. Receding Hairline

    “It’s seems like all the optimism for next season is based on the notion that there will be a clear-out.”

    Which for some poster hypocritical is too mild a word

    From odds on the third best team in the land to needing a clear out to make top four.

  77. Pierre

    Marc
    “We have 13 PL matches left – how many do you think we’ll win and how many do you think we should be winning?”

    Personally, my anticipation and excitement will be in the cup comps , the league gives me neither of those things.

    I’ve said, by the end of March we will stay unbeaten this year, will be in the last 8 of FA cup and will still be in in Europe.

    Our position at the end of march in the league will see us within touching distance of top 6 and 4/5 points behind top 4 .

    You do the math.

  78. HighburyLegend

    Is it too much to ask to Pedro to stop idolizing Arteta, while he still blaming Emery regularly for the mess the club is in today ?

  79. badkalu

    I see a lot of ppl accusing Pedro of bias towards Arteta and making comparisons between MA and Emery. Basically saying that Arteta’s coming hasn’t been too much of an improvement or no improvement at all.
    Probably those guys should rewatch the last 5 games under Emery in the Premier League. Those games were hands down some of the worst displays of an Arsenal team in the last ten years. Basically it was clear from the start of those games that the guys don’t know what they were supposed to be doing on the pitch.
    What happened after MA came?
    Lost a game to Chelsea under unfortunate circumstances, the main one being Leno’s mistake.
    A clear win against Man Utd.
    Draw at Palace with 10 man on the pitch. Guess what would’ve happened with Emery in charge…
    Draw against Sheffield after dominating much of the game and their goal being quite a bit lucky.
    Draw at Chelsea away, 10 men, great game, not even hoping for such a display under Emery.
    Clear win at Bournemouth away. Finally Arsenal looked in control against a small team.
    Draw at Burnley away after missing some great opportunities in the first half. Don’t forget Burnley won at Man Utd and beat Leicester at home in the last games before playing us. They played at home and were confidence high.
    In all these games we were a lot more solid defensively, we looked like having a game plan and the players seemed to want it more. Even Ozil and Laca? Yes, even them, although they are both clearly out of form at the moment.
    Replacing those guys. Easier said than done. Willock, although with a lot of potential, doesn’t look like replacing Ozil on consistent basis anytime soon. Pepe instead of Laca works sometimes, but not in every game. And certainly not at Burnley away, at least not now.
    And there’s also Pedro’s argument regarding the selling value of both players. If we want some money for them in the summer (especially for Laca), they must play games until then.
    My idea is that we’ve seen plenty of improvement in very short period of time. Does Arteta give us hope for the future? It does to me. Is he better than Emery? No doubt about it.
    Could somebody else have transformed us from atrocious in world beaters in just a month? Not really.
    Will we get top 4 this season? Impossible, and that was clear from December, at least for any reasonable supporter.
    We have to realise there aren’t too many Jurgen Kopps out there crying to manage Arsenal.

  80. GunnerDNA

    Gambon,

    “In terms of how realistic a top 4 finish next season is, I would say the following would need to happen:

    1 – Still need a great Centre Back to command the backline
    2 – Need to keep our full backs fit for the season
    3 – Need a complete rebuild in midfield including:
    3a- Replace Xhaka
    3b- Replace Ozil
    3c- A midfield athlete (Torreira is too limited)
    4- Pepe needs to improve dramatically
    5- Buy another wide attacker (Grealish?)
    6- Replace Lacazette
    7- Keep Auba”

    Facts!

  81. Freddie Ljungberg

    Lego brain

    “This includes Ozil, Xhaka and Laca. ”

    It obviously doesn’t.

    Do I have to repeat this again in the vain hope it sinks into your thick skull.

    Ozil has 0 assists away in 2 years. A big fat 0.

    Doubt a team in league one would want him but that’s where he would have been sent if he was a youth player with those numbers, cause we couldn’t have sold him even then.

    Laca has 0 goals away for 1 year. Another big fat 0.

    Auba, Pepe and Martinelli are our most productive attacking players this season, all of them have to play out of position just so mister 0 away goals in a year can play CF. If you think that’s the best use of our resources you’re even farther gone into dementia than I thought.

    This is pointless, enjoy the new cult, same as your old cult. I prefer to support the club instead of fawning over any managers.

    If they’re doing good that’s great, if not ship them out, no need for all the rest of this bullshit.

  82. S Asoa

    HL
    About asking Pedro to toe some other line or argument, sorry Sir, he runs the Blog. Plus he is democratic and allows so many viewpoints other than his own.
    Of course , anyone can have his Own Blog where he may post whatever and hope for the best including followers.

  83. Guns of Brixton

    Excellent post. Props to CC as well.

    Just goes to show that certain people here use Statistics like a drunk man uses a lamppost.
    Instead of using it for illumination they use it for support. Then when convenient, they ll piss all over it

  84. TitsMcGee

    I don’t know how Arteta will turn out but it’s a pretty big stretch(borderline desperate even) to compare him to Klopp simply because the records were similar over the first few games.

  85. Pedro

    1) I’d never fall out with Gambon. A Le Grove hero until the end.
    2) Stop asking what the difference is between the Arteta situ and the Emery one is when I’ve listed it out in detail in the post
    3) Agree with me and it’ll be fine. Dissenter, you should know better, than to revolt, remember what happened last time? Two revolts in a year? It medieval Britain, I’d have you hung, drawn and quartered

  86. Tom

    Rodriguez missed his volley by two inches from four yards out from a ball he saw late.
    Auba missed by seven yards from ten yards out from the Luiz ball over the top.
    The first one is a four goals a season striker while the latter is a 20 goals a season striker.
    Which miss was worse ?
    I know my answer.
    Take this Rodriguez missed opportunity , and his other speculative shot from 22 yards out set up by Wood in the first half out of the equation, and all Burnley created was a bunch of half chances from crosses, while Auba also missed another one v one when he failed to control the ball from Xhaka and then tried to lob the keeper when rolling it on the ground through keepers legs would’ve been the better option, and later a header by inches wide off the post. While Laca also missed a free header from 9 yards out by some six yards.

    The ESPN report is pure nonsense.

  87. Lego Hair

    Freddie

    You don’t get football, so yes, this is pointless, the only thing you have got right.

    You’re saying a players total contribution to a game and value to a team can only be measured in goals and assists just shows how limited your view is, totally oblivious to any nuances in the game.

  88. Lego Hair

    Freddie

    Here’s one just for you….

    ‘In football, statistics give people the chance to exist who have little knowledge’

  89. Freddie Ljungberg

    Lego

    So the fact that our main creative player doesn’t assist or scores and the player squeezed into CF at the cost of better options doesn’t score either is useless statistics? Smh

    Stick to matlock and screaming at kids to get off your lawn. It’s more your pace

  90. Lego Hair

    Freddim

    ‘So the fact that our main creative player doesn’t assist or scores and the player squeezed into CF at the cost of better options doesn’t score either is useless statistics? Smh’

    Have they contributed to goals whilst been in the team? Of course they have you moron, just not the final pass or the finish. You’re going on like they have offered absolutely nothing, when they have clearly been involved in the goals we’ve scored.

    Stick to hanging around with inappropriately aged children.

  91. Graham62

    Look at the facts.

    We were regressing bigtime under Wenger. Every single fan wanted him out. He had to go. Yes, it should have been sooner. Did the fans force the issue? Of course they did……..eventually. The club had to act.

    Under Emery, we also hit a wall. We were sinking even further into the abyss. He had to go. Again the fans pushed for action by showing their dismay and frustrations. There was no alternative solution. The club had to act.

    So, after two massive upheavals, plus an interim manager, we had a squad of players shot to bits, lacking in confidence and belief and a fanbase impatient for success. Wow!! I mean, what were you all expecting?

    Arteta steps in and certain things start to change. Not massive changes but small tiny details that we could all see. Slightly crisper passing and movement( except Burnley). Holding better lines. Looking more of a team. You know simple things.

    Yes, we still look fragile at certain times.Yes, we have players that are a liability and are still guilty of making the odd mistake or two or three and yes, we still have certain elements of our fanbase who feel we should be doing so much better.

    The thing is, it doesn’t work like that. 22 years of one thing, followed by 18 months of something totally different, won’t lead to immediate success and progression. It’s going to take time.

    Give Arteta a chance. Let him breath for christs sake. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Here we all are sitting passing judgement on someone who inherited an absolute shitfest. I know it, you know it, all Arsenal fans know it. Just give the bloke some breathing space.

    Jesus, we gave Wenger all those years of “breathing space” and we all now know the unfortunate consequences of allowing him that.

    Arteta can get it right, just show a bit of patience.

    Arsenal forever.

  92. Lego Hair

    Graham

    When you move past your Wenger obsession you can actually be quite measured and sensible.

    There i said it.

  93. Ray in LA

    Some of the comments above don’t resonate

    while “hard to beat” is too strong, harder to beat seems about, still some lapses but periods where there is obvious progress

    same about dominance…so far periods of each game have shown us what we want, but no game has been a solid performance

    …or have I been watching different games?

    …or have I been watching different games?

  94. Tom

    With all due respect to Pedro- an all around cool dude I’m sure , but if someone had spent 18 months of Emery tenure lamenting his appointment ,while simultaneously bigging up the entirely unknown quantity that was Arteta on very little other than a hunch, one might also show some signs of pro Arteta bias.

    Inside of six months Pedro went from “ Emery is failing with a squad full of world class players , including a golden boot winner, an assist king, a World Cup winning defender, a club and national team captain etc” …………to basically now ………..”Arteta is rebuilding a squad full of near soon to be free agents , misfits and unfit for purpose mental midgets “brought in to satisfy Emery’s failed visions.

  95. Freddie Ljungberg

    Lego brain

    “Have they contributed to goals whilst been in the team? Of course they have you moron, just not the final pass or the finish. You’re going on like they have offered absolutely nothing, when they have clearly been involved in the goals we’ve scored.

    Stick to hanging around with inappropriately aged children.”

    Not only are you a stupid cunt you’re also a vile little shit. The peado accusations are all fun and game to someone who never had the chance to procreate I guess.

    So now we have to count our lucky stars that we score goals at all when Ozil and Laca play? Is it possible to dig deeper? Go ahead, give it your best shot.

    Are we scoring enough? No

    Are our main creative player and CF not contributing goals and assists? No

    Oh but but peado…

    Rank idiot.

  96. Words on a Blog

    Tom/Dissenter/azed/Freddie/Receding etc

    Did Pedro commit crimes of narrative overreach in (particularly) his criticisms of Emery and his support of Arteta?

    Absolutely. Get over it.

    Why do I say that?

    Because from late last season Emery began to tank, and tanked badly once he lost the players this season.

    Because style of play, player performances and defensive stability have all improved under Arteta, even if results haven’t.

    Their is no point in pursuing a social justice war to get parity and fairness in Pedro’s narratives re Emery and Arteta. He’s made no bones about it. He prefers Arteta.

    It just so happens that, at least so far, his preference for Arteta is proving to be on point

  97. Pedro

    Tom, the explanation in the post couldn’t be more explicit.

    Emery built a squad for himself.

    Arteta plays a different way. He has 5 players in the last year of their deals. He has 3 loan players. A few that will want out this summer.

    Of course he’s going to rebuild in his vision. He has to.

  98. Pedro

    Words, amen.

    The worst kind of writer is a fence sitter seeking ‘a balanced view.’

    Go all in. That’s how football chat down the pub works.

  99. Spanishdave

    The best summary of Arteta ‘s management so far is his insistence in playing Laca up front and Ozil, they are the biggest liabilities in the club.
    If we are in the rebuild process then he should us youth players so they can build in confidence and become useful squad players next year.
    He is not ruthless, and if he prevented Ozil going then it is not a good sign going forward.
    We will not keep Auba for next year he wants trophies and time is against him.

  100. Freddie Ljungberg

    Woab

    I don’t care much about the hypocrisy, it’s in the past.

    The constant digs on the past transfer window where Raul pulled a miracle on limited budget is a bit stupid but sure.

    It’s the thinking that just because you’re not fawning over Arteta and praises his every breath that you’re not willing to give him time.

    He messed up the line up in the last game, he gives too much playing time to some of the senior players that are clearly not pulling their weight.

    There’s some glaring mistakes happening that doesn’t take time to figure out, mainly the set up of our attack to include Laca and the inclusion of Ozil at all cost.

    I’m fully aware that the squad is sub par so I’m willing to give him a year or so before I judge him. Just hope he wises up quick. It’s costing us points, with no long term gain either.

  101. Receding Hairline

    “Because style of play, player performances and defensive stability have all improved under Arteta, even if results haven’t.”

    Words what is our style of play?

    Why do we struggle to create chances?

  102. Edu me a favour

    “”” ““Quite how they escaped from this one with a point is a mystery that could potentially make for an in-depth, 12-part Netflix documentary, the sort that people say you should watch (and you probably should), but really, who has the time?””””

    Surely they mean Burnley right ?

    If both teams clear cut chances get converted , then we run out 1-4 winners , it’s that simple

    Some of the utter attention seeking bollox from these outlets is amazing

  103. Freddie Ljungberg

    Pedro

    Sure, keep the vile little ankle biter away from me and I’ll have no reason to respond in kind.

    There’s a reason you banned him more than a dozen times, guess him being in the cult of Arteta gives him a lot of leeway.

  104. CazOnARola

    Statistics are like mini skirts, what they reveal is suggestive but what they conceal are the most vital parts.

  105. Tom

    Words on a blog
    No question Emery tanked and Arteta is showing progress, no argument there.
    If anything, Emery was given too much time and Arteta has suffered for it.
    That was never my point.
    Pedro bigging up a totally unbalanced squad mid rebuild under Emery ,
    to now all of the sudden seeing the light when Arteta has taken the reigns was.

  106. badkalu

    Why we struggle to create chances? Because we don’t have an established attacking unit. Because mr. Emery didn’t implement a clear attacking style during last season and in the preseason. Because he changed our formation countless of times in the beginning of the season. Because the players don’t have any automatisms built in.

  107. Stan_The_Asset_Stripper

    Great post today Pedro. I couldnt agree more.

    Its saddening to read the asperity some sections of ‘fans’ spout. It makes you wonder if Xbox and PS underpins this viewpoint.

    I am not even sure why Wenger’s name is even being brought up as a reason for the team’s current form, when the whole fibre of the club has been stripped off anything Arsene. Yes, the usual suspects will argue Xhaka, Ozil, Laca, Mustafi are the reason why we are currently where we are.

    Whilst, others may claim that after spending close to £200m of which about a quarter of the revenue was generated from the sales Wenger made on Ox, Sczeny etc before he was sacked, the club with the new figure heads should be doing much better.

    Even after the great Arrigo Sacchi and capello’s times at Milan they went through bad times; How many managers did liverpool go through including UCL winning Benitez before they got lucky this year and last with Pep failing in the UCL? And lets not forget Houllier, and Dalglish all outspent us almost every season.

  108. Zacharse

    As much as I despise statistics w an agenda, and in general, pedro brings up solid points, most important being the sample size. 8 games is WAY too small for stats to mean ANYTHING. Another point Big P missed is how many of the teams we’ve played under MA have managers who’ve had a pre-season and a transfer window/multiple. We’ve been playing teams who have had time to cohere and consider strategies to fuck us up. Hence his point about the grass which seemed more like a descriptive talking point than an actual excuse…

    When I first started reading this blog gambon was calling wenger a pedophile. While i agree we need to start winning games i think its bs to say draws against lower/midtable teams have always been unacceptable, this was wengers achilles for YEARS. IMO arteta is picking up the pieces from Wenger almost as much as from
    Emery. He’s changing intangibles that neither of those two could accomplish.

    I’m very curious to see how we look and setup post dubai. Something tells me that ceballos might feature aNd hopefully mari.

    I don’t understand the need to keep Auba that everyone rails on about. If we got rid of him laca and ozil in the summer i wouldnt
    Mind one bit. Aubas ethic may work in spain and germany but he isnt going to viable in the prem for too much longer

  109. Words on a Blog

    Receding,

    You asked @what is our style of play under Arteta.

    Probably too early to say with any certainty, but at this stage it looks like a Wenger/Emery blend when we have the ball, and more like Pep with significant residual traces of Emery when we don’t!

  110. Zacharse

    Lotta money to work w when we see the backs of ozil laca auba and perhaps sok and mustafi. If arteta can give all the kids some decent playing time and discover who are viable squad options going forward, we’ll have a decent enough structure in place and will only need to worry about signing first teamers

  111. Receding Hairline

    “Because we don’t have an established attacking unit. ”

    Established in what sense? We have two 50m+ strikers, the highest earning number 10 in Europe, and a 72m winger. Please explain what you mean by established.

    “Because mr. Emery didn’t implement a clear attacking style during last season and in the preseason.”

    We scored 73 league goals last season, only City and Liverpool scored money.

    “Because he changed our formation countless of times in the beginning of the season.”

    In a bid to win football matches, you had no problem when his tinkerings from the touchline converted draws to wins in his early days, now we have scripted changes that do not really reflect what is happening on the pitch.

    “Because the players don’t have any automatisms built in.”

    What does this mean

  112. Freddie Ljungberg

    Pedro

    138m spent, most of that with complicated payment schemes to eke out every drop of the budget.

    4 long term starters bought, 2 that looks to be generational talents and the hottest winger in Europe last season.

    Luiz even as a stop gap and over the hill is our best CB now

    So yeah, easily our best transfer window in many years even if it’s not showing on the pitch yet.

    Claiming he blew the window is just delusional.