Winter is over (the break bit)

by & filed under News Review.

The winter break is OVER and the football can begin.

The good news is the squad will all boast a light bronze tan coming out of the Dubai camp, good for confidence. They’ll also have had some time to mentally recalibrate and they’ll no doubt have a bit more juice in the legs (legal juice).

The injury story is finally starting to look a little less bleak. The Newcastle game this weekend will see the return of Reiss Nelson, Saed Kola, and Bukayo Saka. Three crucial players to the Arteta model. Power and pace. Something we miss too often in this squad.

Pablo Mari is being earmarked for the Europa League game against Olympiacos on Thursday. Cedric has some work to do to get over his problems. Cal and Kieran are still a way off.

Quite a lot of the pre-game chat was about squad rebuilding for this summer. Mikel had this to say on the planning process.

“Absolutely, we have to plan,”

“We need to know the direction we want to head and to do that we need bear in mind different scenarios.

“With that in mind I have to tell the club what we need, where we think we can improve and where we need to aim.

“If we all aim for the same things, we put a plan in place to execute it, and make the process as short as possible.”

I suspect the direction of this summer will be far more pointed than it has been. Mikel seems much more clear in what his plan for the squad is and hopefully that will be reflected in the types of player we bring in, but more importantly, the emergence of Edu should ensure that this summer, things move a lot quicker.

The Mirror reckon we’ll likely move on a lot of the players with one year left on their deals. They expect to see Auba, Lacazette and Leno receive big money offers… and I’d be fine with that, provided we don’t bring in a load of bums in to replace them. Youth, power, pace and elite levels of football intelligence.

There’s a story doing the rounds that Saka is nowhere near on his deal negotiations. I know he’s a top talent, so the interest from other clubs is likely real, but I think he’d be made to leave a club that’s giving him what he wants: trust, coaching, game time. He has a good thing here, the fans love him, and he’s living in London.

The Newcastle game is big. I think we need to see an uptick in output. Arteta has been working his process through the club, he’s spent some time with the players, had some good moments, some bad.. but the squad is united.

Now let’s see what it has to offer.

Mesut Ozil has been taking a pasting from everyone this week. His output has declined at a rapid rate, and he’s under pressure for more than his body language. He needs to turn up, convert the effort into assists, and he has to start influencing games like he used to.

Overall, the team needs to be more ambitious in the final third. We have a very exciting front three however you package them. Better finishing, more ambition, and faster movement.

The next 5 games are about finding the balance. We are harder to beat, no doubt, but we’re not protagonists at the moment. We’re a little bit Wenger of a few years ago. It’s almost a tactical ploy to give us the ball, because we’ve no idea how to use the advantage. I think Nuno said he doesn’t believe in ‘pointless possession’, that’s where we are, we need some edge… and for me, there is no doubt we have the players to move to the next level there at this moment.

We have a pretty fair run of fixtures over the next two months. We need to make it count, get some wins, improve the football, and build some belief going into the summer.

See you in the comments. x

900 Responses to “Winter is over (the break bit)”

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  1. MidwestGun

    Told y’all would be a tail of two halves.. hahaha if we have a bad one due for a good one. Just don’t screw it up now.. Need a win nothing less.

  2. Batistuta

    That chance is why Nketiah won’t make it here at least… What’s he doing trying to dribble there, does he think he’s Rinaldo?

  3. raptora

    If Arteta picks the obvious starting 11 we’ll be times better than some people believe we are. How much more time does he need to play the obvious fking 11. Which 100% involves Martinelli, Auba, Pepe front 3.

  4. Dissenter

    Eddie isn’t playing like a desperate young talent. He’s not even trying to close down defenders as strongly as Martinelli does.

  5. MidwestGun

    What a miss… By Newcastle. Don’t take your foot off the gas now… If we end up in another draw.. I will need some therapy.

  6. Dissenter

    “I hope Dissenter has noted that Newcastle have had no central midfield to speak of during this match”
    Neither did Arsenal for 40 minutes of the first half .

  7. Paulinho

    Ceballos absolutely has to play ahead of Guendouzi now. At least Arteta has seen the light in that respect it seems.

  8. Dissenter

    Honestly, Saka is probably better than Kolasinac already
    Tierney…I doing know too much about him [not a big fan too]

  9. MidwestGun

    Holy shit… saved by the post… Leno put the team under pressure with terrible clearance.. we have terrible time seeing out leads.

  10. Zacharse

    Do we? Come on you bunch of shellshocked louts, THIS IS FUCKING NEWCASTLE. And we’ve got our arsenal back. Jesus…

  11. raptora

    Arteta not making a single sub when we could need some fresh legs for 80 mins.

    Arteta should learn to dictate the game from the sideline.

    His ingame management have been sucky in every game we’ve played.

    He keeps Ozil playing but subs Ceballos. LOL

  12. Dissenter

    Actually Saka has the makings of an excellent full back or wing back. Just having him as a winger doesn’t make use of his full skill-set.

  13. raptora

    Okay Saka I’ll give you my MotM.

    1. Saka – really, really impressive.
    2. Ceballos – asked Newcastle’s defense questions all game.
    3. Auba – scored the 1st goal and as usual it’s the most important thing in games like these.
    4. Pepe – assist and a goal. Well done.

  14. PieAFC

    Saka has been unreal this season. Such a spark for a us, we’ve been all over the shop all season.

    He’s been a complete professional.

  15. Dissenter

    …and Ozil scores to make Pierre exuberant and me…with egg on my face.
    The keeper made a mistake though. It was a timid shot but who cares?

  16. MidwestGun

    If we could just get in a couple decent midfielders next season.. Team has lots of young talent getting experience. And we will see what happens with Auba and Laca..

    Hahaha Ozil … well he scored at least.

  17. raptora

    6.5/10 performance. We got our luck in this game that we lacked in our previous ones. On another day, we concede 2-3 goals and probably lose or draw. 3 points are all that matter though.

  18. azed

    Just a reminder that I gave you guys this for free.

    azedFebruary 16, 2020 14:34:17
    Arteta to get his second win today
    This is free of course.

  19. Ishola70

    Good to see Xhaka and Ozil bursting forward in the later stages of the match.

    Both players that need to be discarded for the team to really progress in the long term but good to see them enjoying themselves today.

  20. raptora

    Newcastle so bad even Ozil and Lacazette scored vs them with laughable shots! LOL

    4-0. We needed this win. I hope they don’t think they were that good. Need so much more work. We’re still not playing well. Not nearly.

  21. MidwestGun

    They needed that…. I needed that… hahhahaa Have to start putting some stuff together. April is looking tough due to the schedule.

  22. Dissenter

    “Fuck Europa League. Really don’t care for it. Mickey mouse European cup, for Mickey mouse teams.”

    Actually it’s out ONLY way back to the EL so it’s very important

  23. Champagne Charlie

    Comical premature ejaculation on here first half, unsurprisingly muted second half.

    Good confidence booster, nice to see Laca get his much needed goal (and Ozil). Can see he’s important to the squad as a character, lads were buzzed for him.

    Up the Arsenal, quality start post-break.

  24. MidwestGun

    So good to see Pepe enjoying himself after the game .. he needed that second half. Big time. Saka though…. huge performance.

  25. Aussie Gooner

    Another game of 2 halfs! If only we could play the full 90 minutes! It is obvious that Pepe, Abu and Martinelli need to start up top and Ceballos and Torriera in midfield.

  26. raptora

    Someone remind me how Arteta kept Pepe and Ceballos reserves till now. Hope he realizes now and doesn’t revert back.

    Now if he could just start Auba through the middle with Gabi on the left and Pepe on the right.

  27. Guns of Brixton

    3 pts

    Pepe goal and assist

    Ozil scoring

    Laca breaking his duck

    Clean sheet

    Slick saka assist.

    Almost a full house of positives you would ve listed u wanted before the game

  28. Ishola70

    Much needed and handsome win.

    No goals conceded.

    Hopefully a springboard now but the Olympiakos away match and Everton at home may not turn out as straightforward as this victory ended up.

    Pepe did well today. Involved himself well today.

  29. Paulinho

    Almost laughed at times during that second half, such a dreadful standard on display. Newcastle/Bruce are a dream to play if you can’t create chances, they don’t sit deep, they don’t really press, they’re just there like training cones.

  30. Habesha Gooner

    Charlie It wasn’t a great performance by any stretch. You were criticizing Emery for the same problems. I don’t mind criticizing anyone but you have to be consistent and call a spade a spade. That was a poor midfield selection. If Newcastle were better they could have punished us. And Nketiah wasn’t great either. Good result but not the greatest of performances.

  31. Ishola70

    “Someone remind me how Arteta kept Pepe and Ceballos reserves till now.”

    tbf Newcastle basically gave up the centre of the pitch today so it was a good match for any central midfielder to play against this Newcastle side today. This was what I was trying to explain to Dissenter before the match. Newcastle not really having a competitive centre midfield today.

    Pepe on the other hand was good and it had nothing to do with the opponents giving up territory.

  32. Luteo Guenreira

    What a second half that was. A couple extra goals when Newcastle were already halfway into the changing room but will take it, need every positive we can get.

    Saka is an absolute gem, great play from him all match.

    Arsenal will win the Europa, just a gut feeling. Let’s keep it going.

  33. Redtruth

    Arsensl catching Newcastle cold with two quick goals at the start of the 2nd half….

    The rest of the game saw Newcastle lagging well behind a team they have beaten only twice in 25 attempts…

  34. raptora



    It was an Emery performance. Couldn’t tell who’s in charge. Same problems were on display. Auba saved us with his goal. Newcastle had better chances than us but we were 2 goals ahead.

  35. bennydevito

    Great win, great performance, great stuff.

    Well chuffed.

    We’ve finally turned the corner

    Ohhhhh Mikel Arteeeeta!

  36. Champagne Charlie

    “But let CC say we played fantastic today.“

    Uh, yea? …let me actually say that before claiming I have.

    We just won 4-0, got better as the game went on, had a few players get some real confidence boosting inputs (Laca, Ceballos, Ozil, Pepe), and you’re going to flap your gums about a laboured first half?

    Sounds about right.

  37. Dissenter

    I want to read that we’ve extended Saka’s contract this week. There will be vultures circling soon if we leave any room for doubt.

  38. Freddie Ljungberg

    It’s nice that we could get a win with one hand tied behind our back but would feel a lot more comfortable with us starting our best XI.

    Was saved by the quality of Pepe today, a player that has barely played under Arteta despite being our only x factor player, hope he gets to keep his place now.

    Saka excellent today again.

    Ceballos really good, far more involved and influential than Ozil.
    First goal for Ozil in 10 months is great and all but should probably be classified as an own goal by the keeper.

    Nketiah is nowhere near the talent that Marinelli is and shouldn’t be starting games in the league when we’re desperate for a win.

    Arteta really has to improve his in game management and quick, we’re not going to get many matches as easy as this.

  39. raptora

    Need Ceballos and Pepe to start in the next couple of games in the Prem.
    Such an obvious display of their skills that you gotta be an imbecile not to see what they can give to our team. Would have probably registered several points more if they were given chances in previous games.

  40. Luteo Guenreira

    Christ a few minutes removed from our best win in ages and some people want to nitpick about the quality of performance rather than enjoy it.

    No one is saying Arsenal is 1970 Brazil, we’ll well aware of the holes and improvements needed over the coming months and years. It’s a four goal win though I mean come on.

  41. Leftside

    Some of you are attention seekers and not Arsenal fans btw. Any fan should be happy when their team wins especially when wins have been hard to come by this year.

  42. Guns of SF

    Bukayo Saka
    First half was struggling a little… seemed tentative and pushed off the ball often
    Second half, a different Saka

    I love how this kid takes on players- nutmegs, jukes and is always dangerous to the opposition…

    I would only say that if he gets into the box more, invite that contact… god knows we can use some penalties here and there

  43. G8

    We won, we scored 4 ,our goal difference is positve now
    It’s much needed win, thank God for the barcodes
    Weekend could’ve been better had those jammy cnuts weren’t gifted 3 points at villa park !

  44. Ishola70

    I think it will help Pepe now when he slows down his play.

    He was visibly calmer today on the ball.

    In his first matches for the team he was trying to do everything at one hundred miles an hour. Too rushed probably because he was keen to impress.

    He was noticeably more measured today in his play.

    He needs to keep that pace as a weapon of course but pick and choose his moments rather than frantically charging around as he was before.

  45. Wenker-wanger

    This result proves the value of a good manager that is tactical and is also a man-manager.
    Xhaka is playing so much better….even Mustafa is performing above his customary shite level.
    Arteta is an intelligent guy and can think on his feet and change the shape of a failing system.
    4-0 flatters us. But I’ll take it .
    The defense has 2 clean sheets in a row…that in itself is now a very welcome stat.

  46. Left Testicle

    Souness stating that the players can’t come out and blame a previous manager for their own individual poor performances. That they should be professional, knuckle down and give everything. Called out Ozil and his stats not being good enough.

  47. Chris

    A tip for a few of you gentlemen, games last for 90 minutes. Some of the comments on here during the first half were comical.

    Better off not commenting until the game has finished, as predicted, a comfortable win.

    And yet some till want to find holes in the performance, if you can’t enjoy that result and see the bigger picture of where we are headed, try something else.

  48. PieAFC

    What a grumpy cunt Roy Keane is. Never a saltier man about finishing his career and failing management positions.

    What a bloke to share a pint with.