Rough performance, but a trip to Wembley secured

by & filed under News Review.

What’s that I hear?


You can’t knock that feeling people, the FA Cup is a great competition that we love to be a part of, and sadly, it probably presents our best way back into Europe this season. The competition is going to be outrageous once we land in the semi-finals, as I’m writing this we still have Chelsea, Leicester, United, and Manchester City in the mixer, so the chances of a win are slim… but, if we make it to the final, there’s a very good chance we make the Europa League because we’ll be facing a team with Champions League football.

So what about the game? Well, can I offer you up a nothing assessment?

‘It was a game of two halves’

Ooohhhh yes it was. Arteta stuck this his guns with the squad non-negotiables. He didn’t give Mesut Ozil a start, nor did he bring Matteo Guendouzi in from the cold. They didn’t even travel. I suspect Arteta is getting a little tired, like most Arsenal fans, of the constant circus around the two players. Again, it’s a big risk, you lose, the pressure heaps on you because our usual reaction to losing is to assume the team would be better with the rebels in it. That didn’t work out for Emery, so god knows why Arsenal fans are bemoaning a coach that sticks to his guns.

Anyway, we didn’t lose. Our 1-2 victory was only our second win in 9 going away to Sheffield United. This is a side that are built to cause Arsenal-like sides problems, they’re great in the air, they have an aggressive ground game, and their pressing has been problematic for us. The first half was fairly comfortable. We kept our defensive shape, we limited their chances, and our formation, 3 at the back, freed up space for our forwards to cause problems.

The standout performer of the half was Nicolas Pepe, he found a lot more joy working with Willock and AMN as a right back. The additional speed and confidence opened up his game. He moved inside a lot more and though he wasn’t swimming in touches, he picked up the ball in more dangerous areas than he had been.

We took the lead through a penalty. Lacazette, who was mostly eaten up by Sheffield’s defence was clipped just inside the box. Pepe, a dead ball monster, stepped up and took responsibility for the kick and duly buried it into the bottom corner. He looked very happy after that as we started to see glimpses of what he could be at Arsenal next season.

We knew what was coming in the second half. Sheffield United upped the aggression and energy levels and immediately got at us with the long balls. The confidence of this team is very fragile. For the 3rd time this season, a lead has caused us problems as the nerves set in. It wasn’t helped when David Luiz had a knee blowout (typical after signing a new deal). Rob Holding did not instil confidence in anyone and Sheffield United played on his reluctance to attack long balls into the box. There were a couple of warning moments, the worst when he allowed a floated ball into our area to go unchallenged. Add to that his erratic passing, and, well, you sensed what was coming.

Sheffield United enacted a Delap style throw into the box, Rob Holding mistimed an unchallenged header, Kola had no time to react, the ball was bundled into the net. You worried what extra time would do to the squad and I really had absolutely no hope for what was to happen next.

Kola cleared a long ball into our box and found Saka through the middle, he shifted the ball up to Eddie, he switched the play finding Pepe in the box, the ball was begging for a right foot volley, Pepe couldn’t muster it, the half baked clearance found Ceballos who slotted the ball under the on-rushing Henderson.

Magic. The second time in 3 days that the subs have come together to win a game.

So what did we learn today?

Arsenal is still very much a work in progress and the squad that we have is in desperate need of upgrades.

The individual errors keep costing us. I don’t know how you program a group of footballers to stop doing stupid things over and over again. Outside the poor Holding performance, there were plenty of other incidents that could have led to catastrophe. Granit Xhaka had one of those games where you worried he was on the cusp of doing something horrendous. He dived early on and won a freekick. That set the tone for two more occasions when he needlessly threw himself on the floor in dangerous positions, one on the edge of their area that led to a counter-attack, one late on just in front of our box. It’s problematic. He doesn’t need to do things like that.

There were a lot of positives to draw from.

Martinez has exceptional distribution. It actually looks better than Leno’s. I’m not sure he’ll be happy with himself for the goal, but overall, we’ve not seen a massive dip in goal.

AMN just needs to bite the bullet and accept he could be a very talented right-back for Arsenal. His power and mobility combined with his confidence moving forward could be honed into something special. He offered so much more than Hector has been able to over the past few games. A really impressive performance from him.

Tierney also had a fairly positive showing. His final ball still needs more work, but he gives us a lot of drive down the left and his recovery pace is exceptional. We really need him to stay fit.

It’s also worth remembering, we have been shit away from home for years and that was a big victory however it happened. The team showed great resiliance to come back from a goal down almost immediately. Also, we won a tough game without Auba, Ozil, Bellerin, Leno, and Torreira out of the starting 11.

The first half was more talk worthy. I thought we started to see glimpses of what Arteta is trying to bring to the club moving forward. There were better passing combinations, more confidence going into moves. The biggest miss is a final ball. We dominate possession, but we’re not really creating a lot of high-quality chances.

Our second half performances need addressing. Why do we come out so meekly? Also, part of that, how can the team be better at adapting to a bad moment with an injury or a red card. Better players, sure, but we can’t have that now.

The biggest issue we can’t escape is our midfield, if you think about the reality, we’re lacking a proper 6 that can control the middle of the park physically, we don’t have a proper #8 in the side, and our #10 doesn’t want to be a professional footballer. That’s quite a few issues you’re dealing with. The good news for me is that if you fix our entire midfield, we have quite a few very exciting attacking players to unlock.

Overall, it wasn’t pretty, but we won. We live to fight another day. We are still in with a chance of an FA Cup final. That’d be grand, wouldn’t it?

Right, see you in the comments. x

312 Responses to “Rough performance, but a trip to Wembley secured”

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  1. Radio Raheem

    If we have a long term plan/vision and Arteta is part of that plan we should sign no more than 2 players in the off-season, if any at all. He has signed 3 already.As it’s his first job he needs time to grow into the role, to experiment and settle on what is his style of football. Arteta needs time to know what the Arteta way is. It’ll be stupid to start chucking money at a manager effectively getting work experience on the job.Next season is another write-off, anything good is a bonus. This is fine as long as it’s part of a plan.

  2. Ishola70

    Considering draws have been killing Arsenal in recent seasons too many of them and against some of the lesser lights I wonder how many draws are in this stat regarding Xhaka.

    The simple truth is he is suspect when the game gets high tempo in a league where enough games can be high tempo. No-one can deny that at all. It’s stamped on his forehead.

    If fans are fine with such a player then so be it. Just don’t delude yourselves that Arsenal will be winning anything really big with him in the side. A shot at FA Cup and League cup and that’s it

    .Since he has joined he has been playing an absolutely pivotal role in the side and the team has been failing.

  3. Ishola70

    Today’s performance was hugely unconvincing but it will be good to see Arteta early doors be involved in a showpiece game at Wembley for the semi-finals.

    Positive today was wingback Tierney.

  4. Champagne Charlie


    I don’t think anyone gives much credence to your views on Xhaka. You’ve been unable to remove him from your gaze since he landed, everything you state is flavoured with Xhaka. The bias is insane.

    We’ve won league titles with much worse players, your statement about glass ceilings is said without any basis at all. An opinion shaped as a fact.

  5. Receding Hairline

    There was no circus around Guendouzi before Arteta….just thought I should again point that out.

    Good post nonetheless. Let’s see who we get in the semis. Something to play for at least in a wretched season all round.

  6. Champagne Charlie

    “There was no circus around Guendouzi before Arteta….just thought I should again point that out.“

    There were no standards being held by Emery, you leave that bit out constantly.

  7. Leftfootcurler

    2nd half is so much worse than the 1st because of two things:
    Arsenal aren’t fit enough to play the football Arteta wants us to play.

    2)Willock made runs ahead to combine with Pepe and AMN, leaving space either side of xhaka to exploit. He should have been holding his position.

    3) players are not good enough. There isn’t much more Arteta can do. He gave us a numerical superiority in the buildup phase as well as outlets in attack to stretch the pitch. Still lost the ball cheaply often,made bad passes.

    As to why we couldn’t create high quality chances in this game:
    1) Sheffield are fantastically well drilled.

    2) Saka was uncomfortable receiving and playing between the lines. He is much more suited to the touchline. Need a creative LW here. If we can’t buy one,best use is Nelson.

    3) laca is too slow and lacks stamina to run in behind constantly like Auba.

    4)Pepe is very raw,like a 18 year old. His movement is not good enough yet.

  8. China1

    Ishola yeah succinctly put

    A lot of arsenal fans are just very comfortable with average. It’s why we allowed the club to drift so far from its glory days and it’s why it will remain hard to bring them back.

    Success is built on an aggressive drive towards victory, not a passive stroll.

  9. Graham62

    Tierney was by far Arsenal’s best player.

    Great attitude.

    When he’s 100% fit, will be a massive bonus.

    We need more players with his mindset.

    Xhaka was Xhaka. Sometimes very good, sometimes utter shite.

    There’s always a car crash in him.

    I like Martinez. Good hands.

    Far more vocal than Leno.

  10. Ishola70


    I will ask you two simple questions.

    Is Xhaka nimble and quick on and off the ball or is he seen as on the slow side?

    How do fans define the EPL in many instances, slower build up play league or more physical higher tempo play on the whole?

    Now answer those two questions truthfully and put them together and get your answer about Xhaka which you are in denial about.

    You may like the notion of his european satellite type of play, his regista style of play but don’t kid yourself that this club are onto anything big with him in the side.

    His weaknesses are more than enough times going to hurt this side.

  11. Receding Hairline

    Yes Charles because that’s nonsense. I don’t pay much attention to nonsense.

    Repeating something again and again doesn’t make it true. If you can’t come up with an exact failing on Guendouzi’s part unheard of for a 20 year old I can’t just take the words standards and run with it.

    Guendouzi was one of Emery’s best performers, he did what was asked of him on the pitch. Guess u have missed all the silly David Luiz videos on social media. Lol

    Think its actually quite telling I’m yet to see a Matteo interview where he also states we have the best coach in the world, that must be the standards he didn’t leave up to. Blowing smoke up behinds

  12. Pedro

    There were issues with Matteo before Arteta. I wrote about him over Christmas.

    That is a fact, regardless of whether you can find a story. Everyone doubted me then, now look where we are.

  13. Radio Raheem

    Guendouzi is a talented player, it’ll be good if he stayed but if we sold him we’ll make a tonne of profit no doubt. WIN WIN

  14. Ishola70

    All I will say on Guendouzi is that when he was signed it was said he had problems with hot headedness previously.

    He has shown glimpses of this in previous games for Arsenal on occasions and it has blown up recently.

    But he shouldn’t be ditched because of this aspect considering his young age and room for maturity.

    In fact if Arsenal do ditch him because of discipline problems that would just be an excuse for the real reason they are ditching him. They would be ditching him because they feel he hasn’t been kicking on enough performance wise in just relating to his actual play.

  15. NJ Gooner

    Pedro, thanks for the analysis.

    It’s the second game running that we won while playing, generously, not very well.

    It’s fair enough to criticize today’s performance by individual players. But if I had said before the season restarted that we’d play four away games and would win two of them, I suspect most people would have been content with that.

    Resting on a cliche, winning is a habit. If we can beat Norwich on Wednesday, then does anyone remember when we last won three games in succession?

  16. Dissenter

    A new manager is entitled to decide who he wants to keep and whom he chooses to discard.
    That said it’s wrong to whip up a storm of innuendoes to swear Guendouzi. If Arteta doesn’t like him, just sell him and be done with it.
    There’s nothing wrong with his ‘attitude; he hates losing and can be temperamental. Whatever lapses he has with his character can be addressed with good mentoring. He just turned 20 y/o two months ago.
    He wasn’t a problem for Emery and Freddie as far as we know. This is Arteta not liking him for whatever reason.

  17. Upstate Gooner

    Another shite performance but a win is a win so I won’t complain too much except that I still don’t see what it is exactly that Willock brings to the side.

  18. Graham62


    I agree.

    The thing with Granit Xhaka is that you just know he is going to do something mind-blowingly dumb at some stage during a game.

    That can’t be denied by anyone who sees him play on a regular basis.

    Is he an asset?………..sometimes..
    Is he a liability?……..Most definitely

  19. Habesha Gooner

    Radio Raheem
    I don’t mind even if we don’t sign a DM to be honest. Torriera is dependable and wouldn’t look out of place with to CMs. we absolutely need creative midfielders. All of our midfielders are Holding midfielders bar Ozil and Willock. If it was me I would bin off Xhaka, Get two out of Vandebeek, Grealish, Soumare, Auoar, Zelinski, Fekir. There are also cheaper alternatives like szoblai and Buendia too. I just don’t think Arteta will bin Xhaka. That means I would sell torriera and sign partey for an upgrade. If we aren’t upgrading Xhaka we might as well upgrade torriera.

  20. Champagne Charlie


    That’s your fallback is it? I have to prove instances occurring behind the scenes or they don’t exist? That’s a new approach to take to football news and rumour, no speculation on such unless you were there to witness.

    No, your issue lies in the fact Arteta has set the standard and so it’s another avenue for you to question him and make out he’s at fault. Transparent.

    I’m not doing a back and forth on Xhaka with you, he’s not my world like he is yours.

  21. NJ Gooner

    Back to Guendouzi, I asked a question yesterday that went unanswered:

    If our goal in the short terms is to unearth young talent, cultivate them and sell them for a premium, then would a £30 million profit on him, to then be used on another player who gives us more physicality at number 6 (Partey?), be justified.?

    Partey is older but I would take that exchange in a heartbeat.

  22. Dissenter

    Nah, I think you wrote he danced during training or something mild.
    What’s the big deal with that, David Luiz won’t let his team mates sleep on the team bus in peace and is sub-par on the field. These haven’t stopped Arteta from liking him.

    This is just a managers discretion, nothing to do with the player. Nothing t do wit some mythical standards.

  23. Pedro

    TR7, it’s intentional because they want to control the story, vs letting people who don’t know run with it being a decision without merit.

    Just look at RH, he has no contacts anywhere near the club or the media and he’s throwing doubt on the story.

  24. Receding Hairline

    Then bench him without much noise and move him on. No need for “leaks”. This was a kid Pedro said we should sign up to a long deal ASAP last season. Even backed doubling his pay, something I kicked against because I don’t think he stands out in any aspect of his game besides showing heart.

    Don’t see how advertising he has attitude issues faces you a good price. He is 20, he has time on his side and is already on generous pay. He can go on loan if it comes to that.

    Ishola the issue he had at Lorient was contract related, refused to sign another so the coach made an example of him. Nothing to see there.

    He was brought here by the ” elite” Sven M and everyone loved him. Funny how his list of gems keep dwindling

  25. Champagne Charlie

    “There’s a deliberate and planned media smearing campaign against Guendouzi, it is all too transparent.“

    Did the media fine him for his Dubai exploits and leave him out the squad?

  26. Dissenter

    ‘ Ish, it could be both. He could be failing to apply himself on and off the pitch.’

    He could be …but you don’t know…and that that’s hasn’t stopped you from smearing him more. After all, Arteta apparently knows best for now.

    It’s a bunch of innuendoes
    The club needs to tell Arteta to cut it out. He’s driving down the transfer price.

  27. China1

    Graham yeah I quite like Martinez too. Every time I’ve seen him he’s been a calming influence in goal

    Tierney looks like a LB from a bygone time. We always have these ‘cultured’ players, some of whom have been good like Monreal, but Tierney is like a proper throwback and its fun to watch. Very interesting prospect

    Re saka I won’t write him off as being able to come good more centrally but I haven’t seen him do enough when he’s been there to suggest that he belongs there. I think Arteta needs to simplify our entire left side with a tierney>saka combination and keep Auba as CF instead of wide left. That will give us two crazy fast threats on the left who are killer crossers with auba central to aim for. As well tierney and saka could be an awesome combo defensively too. So much potential with those two

  28. Pedro

    He had a stand up argument with the manager and stormed out of training.

    Listen to the Touchline Fracas pod with Mokbel

  29. Receding Hairline

    Pedro there isn’t any speculation. Bad decision making has actually been a consistent feature of Arteta’s short managerial career.

    By all means get rid of the talented kid but sign up two journeymen to four year deals. Top notch decision making

  30. Ishola70


    ” the issue he had at Lorient was contract related, refused to sign another so the coach made an example of him. Nothing to see there.”

    No I don’t think it was just that.

    I distinctly remember French reports about him when he was first signed up that he had some discipline problems on the pitch. Weaknesses in his character. Over zealous at times.

    I don’t think Arsenal should kill off such a young player though because of these aspects.

    If they do considering that he has enough years to mature it will probably show that they feel he is not improving enough in his overall play.

  31. Dissenter

    ‘ He had a stand up argument with the manager and stormed out of training.’

    So what?
    Thats why you have a sauce manager in place. I’ve seen video of Guardiola and his players getting in each other’s faces in training?

    Is this the sin of witchcraft that the lad committed against the sauce.
    Arteta better learn how to manage egos if he’s to succeed, some of the best players are indeed very temperament. Can you imagine Arteta with Diego Costa or Zlatan?

  32. TR7


    Lacazzete was also caught inhaling from a balloon and in fact not once but twice. How many articles we see on bad attitude/habits of Lacazzete ? Let us not pretend it is all about ‘discipline’ and ‘work culture’ under Aeteta regime. It is clear that either Arteta or perhaps Edu or Raul want to offload Guen.

  33. Champagne Charlie


    What part of it are you struggling with exactly?

    Arteta is named manager, he delivers a stern message to the whole squad about what is expected of them to be Arsenal players and how some aspects of behaviour are “non-negotiable”.

    Fast forward and Guendouzi is apparently guilty of several infractions along these lines.

    You’re cool with that because he has mint hair? That’s how you permeate a beta culture, and the fact you compare Giroud only serves to highlight that. (Although Giroud was disciplined for the record so not sure your point ultimately.)

    Fact is most fans want a change in culture at the club but here you are chastising Arteta for implementing rules to administer that exact shift toward elevated expectations and ambitions.


  34. The Backpass

    “There were issues with Matteo before Arteta. I wrote about him over Christmas.”

    I’ve been reading all your December post to find this Guendozi stuff before Arteta came, safe to say I haven’t gotten to the story YET. Hope I find this post.

  35. Radio Raheem


    I get your drift.

    I’m not too fussed over Xhaka as I think he’s the least of our problems in the middle. Can we do better? Theoretically, yes. But so far we haven’t shown the nous in terms of scouting to do so and we certainly don’t have the money.

    I’ll add another (affordable one) to your list Malinovskyi (Atlanta).

  36. Freddie Ljungberg

    The only circus last season with players was around Ozil, and people were clamouring for him to come back when we were doing badly, unfortunately Emery caved in and started playing him again. Let’s see how it plays out this time around.
    He’s probably being sidelined for the same reason as last time, lack of effort and output and the club really really wants him to fuck off. At least now he only has a year left of his millstone contract so maybe they decide to stick with it and keep him out this time. He adds nothing on the pitch anyway and he needs to be replaced in the team regardless of if he fucks off or if he stays and collects his retirement funds.

    I agree with the posters saying if we fix our midfield we’ll be fine next season, not complete but a hell of a lot better than now.

    With Saliba coming in at CB we’ll be better off there too even if we add no one else in defense.
    Doesn’t look like we will with he signings we’ve already done. Which is fine as long as that piss poor excuse for a midfield gets a complete makeover.

  37. GunnerDNA

    All Mikel Arteta is doing is bully the kid. The overreaction to such a simple incident is pointless. Mikel needs to have a word with himself because his time at Arsenal to date is not very impressive. If fans thinks this is sustainable they’re in for a ride. Playing like that against any team with half decent strikers and we getting beat.

  38. Pedro

    RH, incredible that you’ve found outrageously high standards since December.

    Arteta is doing a very good job considering the mess he inherited. Bad decisions have not been the theme at all. The fan theme in some quarters is clear though.

    Matteo and Ozil out of the squad is good leadership, it shows consistency and sets the tone for the kids coming through.

  39. Dissenter

    Arteta would have gotten rid of Cesc Fabregas the moment he threw that Pizza at Alex Ferguson’s red nose, had he been manager in October 2004.

    That’s how rookie managers like him miss the forrest for the trees.

  40. Ishola70

    Radio Raheem

    “I’m not too fussed over Xhaka as I think he’s the least of our problems in the middle.”

    Well you should be fussed unless you are happy just with challenges for top four at best and no more.

    The whole midfield needs revamping but if you are talking realistically what Arsenal are going to do about it then yes they will most probably plod on with no complete reset of the midfield.

  41. TR7


    ‘Matteo and Ozil out of the squad is good leadership, it shows consistency and sets the tone for the kids coming through.’

    If my memory serves me right, you were singing praises of Matteo last season and suddenly he is a pariah now ?

  42. The Backpass

    “I agree with the posters saying if we fix our midfield we’ll be fine next season, not complete but a hell of a lot better than now.”

    I believe two new signings in midfield will elevate this team. Midfield is our main problem in this squad.

  43. GunnerDNA

    No mention of sauce anymore its all to do with talking trash about a kid. Why this Arsenal team looks so disjointed and lacking ideas, is it because of MG?

  44. Champagne Charlie


    You’re conflating matters to establish a false equivalency. Same as Dissenter drafting in Giroud‘s sexcapades.

    Neither compares to a player that’s failing to apply himself when he’s on the clock. Guendouzi isn’t working when he’s at work, the other two were being melts away from the office (Guendouzi was also a balloon sucker of memory serves).

  45. Dissenter

    What ‘high standards’.is Pedro referring to?
    We still concede late goals, still don’t show up physically, still cannot defend set pieces and still over rely on an 18 year old player.
    A new manager is entitled to decide to move Guen on because he may not suit the style of play desired but stop besmirching this 20 year old with innuendoes. The club is fanning it or simply not doing enough to stop it.
    It takes lots of talent to get a Le blues call up.

  46. Receding Hairline

    TR7 Pedro wrote a post where he agreed with doubling his salary. A few months later keeping him out is top decision making.

    Pedro my standards were always high. I knew crap football was all this lot could produce because they aren’t as talented as you all made out. Average footballers parading as top class. Emery did a mighty fine job hitting 70 points and an EL final with them, but of course you had your own mission. This season he deserved the sack and was sacked.

    The only shocking shift in standards is coming from you.

  47. Champagne Charlie

    “Arteta would have gotten rid of Cesc Fabregas the moment he threw that Pizza at Alex Ferguson’s red nose, had he been manager in October 2004.“

    No he wouldn’t, because he was a monster professional and had untold respect for the manager. He trained with a purpose and displayed daily his desire to better himself and the club.

    Guendouzi isn’t being lambasted for a throat grab or pay packet gloat. He’s being told to take training seriously.

    Amazing how you’re unable to distinguish the two.

  48. Freddie Ljungberg

    If we should by some miracle sign Partey (or Danilo for that matter) and Szoboszlai, which are the hottest rumours at the moment, who would you like to be the 3rd player in that midfield out of our existing players?

    For me it’s: 1 Guen, 2 Torreira, 3 Xhaka

    Guen mostly on potential but also because he already gives us more than Xhaka imo, Torreira just for doesn’t seem to want to be here and is probably not suited to the league as a fulltime starter, Xhaka isn’t suited to the league at all, except for when it’s slow and steady, which isn’t often and even then he’s never had an outstanding performance that I can remember.

  49. Radio Raheem


    I’m more fussed whether those running the club have a plan/vision they are actively implementing . If that is sorted then all else will fall into place.

  50. Chris

    Didn’t Ray Parkour left off a fire extinguisher at Pizza Hut when George was boss way back when. He was kept out of the team for a while.

    Ferguson once dropped Danny his youth because he celebrated a goal a la Cantona pose. Too arrogant and too soon.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with Arteta setting standards that are non negotiable. If players can not adhere to it then they need to be disciplined, and if necessary, moved on.

  51. Freddie Ljungberg


    Opinion, not fact.

    He is the biggest liability of those 3 though, that’s a fact.

    he plods between awful and average and the other 2 at least have shown glimpses (or more) of exceptional.
    A couple of lofted balls to the left wing now and then doesn’t count.

  52. Champagne Charlie

    “The only shocking shift in standards is coming from you.“

    Speaking of, you’ve gone from mocking Guendouzi and calling him a nothing player to using him as a shining example of a fault in Arteta.

    Funny that. You forget your distaste for Guendouzi? Seem to suddenly be right in favour of the lad despite continually mocking my view of him as being a great talent.

  53. Champagne Charlie

    “Opinion, not fact.He is the biggest liability of those 3 though, that’s a fact.“

    Why is that a fact but his output somehow opinion? Makes no sense at all.

  54. Dissenter

    So essentially Arteta’s ‘guidelines’ and ‘standards’ are like movable goal posts contingent on the skill level of the said player?

    That’s exactly why Receding and myself are in agreement; this Guendouzi is situation is entirely of Arteta’s making. He’s the one who decide where to draw the red line at.
    He’ll ignore Luiz’s goofiness but harp on Guendouzi’s growing pains.

  55. Receding Hairline

    Yea I am not a big fan of Guendouzi because he has no speciality. Nothing to do with his attitude. He is a willing worker on the pitch

    I wasn’t the one that went from double his pay/ build a team around him to I told you he was trouble.

  56. The Backpass


    You wrote about Guendozi in three of your post in December, so where is this magical post you made about Guendozi before Christmas.

    So, Lets list them.

    December 8

    “We could potentially bring in £120m this summer and rebuild the squad under a new coach. I am just praying Edu is good with the transfers, we still have no chief scout, Raul made a has of last summer, and we’ll be down a lot of experience. We need more Matteo Guendouzi’s and Gabriel Martinelli’s versus the David Luiz types”

    December 1.
    “There’s a lot of talk about The Arsenal Way and whether that exists. It doesn’t. Edu is supposed to define what that is so we can build out talent that maps to the vision. My view is we should be a youthful execution of high octane pressing and intelligent possession-based football. We should be the most exciting team to watch in the world. We will never compete at the higher levels for elite adult talent, so we’ll have to grow it, or attract players like Martinelli and Guendouzi and ask them to give the first part of their careers to Arsenal. Young players need minutes and elite coaching. If we set a clear vision, it’d give clear parameters on the type of coach we need. It would also focus what you’re looking for.”

    December 30
    “I don’t like to complain about reffing standards, but there’s no way Jorginho should have been on the pitch. In general, the tactical fouling on the halfway line was ignored by the ref for most of the day… arguably, if we’d been street smart enough, we’d have engaged in some of it for the second goal. Matteo G went for a header he was never going to win, he should have been sitting far deeper in my opinion, which is something I have no doubt will be fixed.”

    So where and when did you talk about Guendozi’s bad attitude?

  57. Dissenter

    No one is disputing Arteta’s right to make those choice, he is after all the manager and that’s comes with discretionary powers.
    What is being objected to is this calumny exercise against a 20 year old.
    Sometimes it’s just two good people with differences that can’t be reconciled, no need for the smear game against the lad.
    Pep gets in the faces of his players and they make up afterwards. When it doesn’t work out, they move the said player out quietly.
    Arteta shouldn’t have fanned the flames with those comments. Keep it guiet and move the player out.

  58. Champagne Charlie

    “So essentially Arteta’s ‘guidelines’ and ‘standards’ are like movable goal posts contingent on the skill level of the said player?“

    Where are you projecting this rubbish from?

    “That’s exactly why Receding and myself are in agreement; this Guendouzi is situation is entirely of Arteta’s making“

    No it’s of Guendouzi’s making. Arteta has set the terms that seemingly all other players are managing to adhere to.

    Is it an Arteta issue that Guendouzi is the someone unable?

    Or “not an Arsenal issue” as Receding likes to state laughably.

  59. Champagne Charlie

    “Charles wanted the team built around him. Now he is substandard because the sauce says so“

    He’s a talent to build a team around, that much hasn’t changed and his alleged suitors attest to this.

    Difference is I side with elevating the standards set for the Arsenal players across the board and you preach wanting change but then use instances like this as an opportunity to piss on Arteta.

    It escapes nobody.

  60. Freddie Ljungberg



    Spot the only one not a goalkeeper in this list.
    Yes, it’s a fact that he’s a liability.

    What is his output exactly? Not being completely shite when not pressed? Give the man a medal.

  61. Sid

    Guend should be wary of fighting with vertically challenged men, its easier for them to pick objects from the ground and use them in a fight

    Im telling you for free!

  62. Dissenter

    The Wenger of the first decade [the brutal winning Wenger] would have gone about getting rid of the lad in qiuet; no cryptic macho words…nothing.
    Pep Guardiola never said anything negative about Zlatan and Chygrynskiy even as he moved them out of Barcelona in 2009 quickly. Never said a pip.
    Arteta needs to grow up too.

    Zlatan talking about Pep: ‘ ‘(Pep) was staring at me and I lost it. I thought “there is my enemy, scratching his bald head”. I yelled to him: “You have no balls!” And probably worse things than that.

    ‘I added: ‘You are s****ing yourself because of (then Inter manager Jose Mourinho, whose side beat Barca in the Champions League). You can go to hell!” I was completely mad.

    ‘I threw a box full of training gear across the room, it crashed to the floor and Pep said nothing, just put stuff back in the box’

    Pep said nothing in private…pep said nothing in public. He just did what had to be done.

  63. Spanishdave

    Arteta has to put the message out to begin to get his authority established.
    Guendaline and Ozil out Xhaka next.
    Midfield restructure a must.

  64. Up 4 grabs now

    Don’t know if anybody mentioned it already, but where we’re the black arm bands for the death of Theo Foley?

    Piss poor standards arsenal, you dropped the ball, we’re supposed to be better than that.

  65. Up 4 grabs now

    Not a great performance, against not a great side.
    But will take it.

    Tierney played well, the right side with amn, willock and pepe combined well.
    But defensively still sloppy, and error prone.
    It’s going to be tough semi whoever we get.

  66. Radio Raheem

    Mikel ‘more sauce than a curry house’ Arteta


    Mikel the saucy one


    Sauce it like Mikel


    MkSauce Arteta

  67. Wasi

    2nd away win in a row. Lets go.
    Dont know what Wilder said to his players before the game ?
    Play to kill your opponents , maybe?

    Sheffield United goal started from a silly ref error. Nketiah shrugged off a challenge in the opposition fair and square and had a shot lined up. Dont know what the ref was thinking there.

    Xhaka comes into spotlight again. The thing is its not like he was great against Southampton and poor against Sheffield. He does make a difference but both performances were quite similar imo.
    Xhaka looked good in the Southampton game because he always had Ceballos either on his side or covering him. So when he lost the ball in the centre of the pitch ( which he usually does on a consistent basis every game) we had enough cover and the ball was won back quickly. But with Willock playing and findings pockets of spaces in the opposition half , Xhaka was kinda stranded and his mistakes stood as there was no cover which led to Sheffield counter attacks. This is what we’ll always get with Xhaka Can’t play him as the deeper lying playmaker. His flopping today was mind boggling. Like didnt someone’s tell him there’s VAR too nowadays?

    Willock was positive when on the ball. But left Xhaka stranded and that is a sin in itself. Drives forward well and is always sniffing for chances in and around the penalty box. Would be great as a free 8 in a 4-3-3. If we get 1 or 2 midfielders in , loan him out next season to Bundesliga / Championship.

    Tierney is just briliant. He created 2 or 3 lovely chances with his crossing and defends like his life depends on it. Hard not to love this guy. Also he is really explosive in the first 5-6 metres. Lock that LB spot down for the foreseeable future.

    Kola doesn’t know how to defend. His positioning is not good and his best position LWB is currently occupied by two far better players than him namely KT and Saka. Only played because he is left footed.

    Saka is the best English 18yo in the game rn. His footballing IQ is off the charts. 100m talent right here. We Cannot I mean CANNOT afford to lose him.

    Amn showing Bellerin how its done. Dont see any reason why Amn shouldn’t start against Norwich.
    Currently he is twice the player Bellerin is.
    The only 2 concerns I have about him rn are
    1- Sometimes he becomes too complacent and loses the ball in dangerous areas.
    2- Leaves his foot hanging in the penalty box when tackling. A better winger will easily take advantage of that.

    Emi is quite good tbf. In 3 games it looks like he has gained so much confidence . His play out from the back was superb. I was having doubts about his decision making while playing out from the back after his first 2 starts but maybe that was just his nerves. Absolutely outstanding. Leno take a few lessons .

    At least Ceballos did one noticeable thing in his season long loan. He will go home happy now.

    Also , can please someone tell why do we not play well until we score a goal?
    This trend has been going since under Emery and can’t seem to stop.

  68. azed

    Pedro finally admitting player poverty without writing it.

    “The individual errors keep costing us. I don’t know how you program a group of footballers to stop doing stupid things over and over again. ”

    All Mikel needs to do is sprinkle some of his magic sauce on the players and boom… they become world class.

  69. Wasi

    Also one astonishing fact I heard on the commentary today

    This is the first time in 5 and half years that Auba has gone without scoring a goal in 4 league games.
    World Class.

  70. CG

    Our Wasi,

    Is wasting his time, ruminating about abject Arsenal.

    He should be on the UN security council
    – making the world a better place.

    Wasi.Trust me .
    Arsenal will make you bonkers eventually
    (I was sane once.)

    Get out of here and run for the hills.

  71. Wasi


    Thanks for such high praise 😜.

    My love for Arsenal is too much to run for the hills.
    Arteta has given me hope.
    Hope you will see that too.

  72. andy1886

    Did I miss Charlie’s list of PL winners that were ‘much worse’ than Xhaka? Can’t seem to find the reply….

  73. Pedro

    The backpass, I think Guendouzi is a very talented player, with the potential to be a world-class one.

    I’m not sure that’s a revelation to many people.

    What is the core premise of debate here?

    That Guendouzi has only been a problem under Arteta? This is 100% false.

    Or that you can’t find examples of me raising it in content?

  74. Pedro

    Azed, I know the context of time is a struggle, but the reality is things have moved on and the situation is not what it was at the start of the season.

    If we’d had Arteta last May, we’d not be where we are in the table right now.

    You can’t prove that, but you could also look at how close we were to 3rd last season to see that player poverty wasn’t an issue then.

    Recycling old arguments over and over… do you have no interest in the game today?

  75. Champagne Charlie


    Don’t think I need to do a deep dive to find players with a PL medal worse that Xhaka. The whole line of questioning is embarrassing in itself given we’ve not won the title since 2004.

    That suddenly the only standard necessary for our CM? Seems like it.

  76. Emiratesstroller

    I don’t know who does the scheduling of fixtures but we have played since
    resumption FOUR SUCCESSIVE AWAY GAMES in eleven days, which considering fitness levels is in my view an unrealistic schedule.

    Our squad is now under considerable strain due to injuries to Leno, Chambers,Mari, Soares, Torreira and Martinelli not to mention the absence for whatever reason of Ozil and Guendouzi.

    So it is hardly surprising that we are not playing particularly well at the moment.

    The fixture list and timetabling does not get any better with two more games
    in next 6 days with another difficult away game on Saturday against Wolves.

    The reality is we have an exceedingly weak squad to cope with our current
    fixture list.

  77. salparadisenyc

    RH miserable after two aways wins on the trot, something the clubs not done since 2018 I believe.

    Its not pretty but there were a few glimmers of play coming together, regardless i’ll take a semi final at Wembley. This season has been diabolical.

  78. Freddie Ljungberg

    Still can’t see what some, namely Arteta and Pierre sees in Eddie, sure he runs around a lot, he’s got good positioning and he puts in the effort and hassles goalies and defenders but the quality seems to be lacking.
    Was apparent a few times today again.

    I hope he gets better and that it’s lurking beneath the surface but so far haven’t seen anything talent wise that suggest he belongs as a starter in a top 10 PL club.

  79. Pedro

    Freddie, it’ll be interesting to see what Arsenal do if they sell Auba and Lacazette this summer. The Celtic guy seems a little more built for the Premier League. Certainly would be nice to get a bit of height and power in the squad.

  80. Freddie Ljungberg


    I would be delighted if we sold both Aubameyang and Lacazette and brought in Edouard with money to spare to fix the midfield. Might not pay off immediately replacing Aubas goals but we’ll be better off as a team long term.

  81. andy1886

    Pedro, Arsenal players though? Midfielders? I’m struggling.

    To quote Charlie “We’ve won league titles with much worse players”

    So that’s Arsenal players, and would have to be comparable so no Chris Wreh’s, Remi Garde’s or other bit part players. Let’s not try and move the goal posts eh?

  82. Freddie Ljungberg

    Should add that I think we could replace our current strikers output for the fees we get if we buy for example Edouard and Szoboszlai. We currently have almost no goals from midfield and that simply has to be addressed. Both Pepe and Martinelli will probably increase their numbers next season too with a competent midfield behind them.

    Pepe is btw on 8 goals and 8 assists, pretty decent for a flop…

  83. Champagne Charlie


    Pick a title winning side we’ve had and there’s worse footballers than Granit Xhaka who took part. The only moving of goalposts is from your sect who like to partition clauses about who can and can’t be considered.

    So you want me to compare Xhaka to Vieira in other words? Well fuck me you’re right, he’s not as good.

    But then.. that would imply that if we keep Xhaka beyond this summer we won’t win the league next year. Is that your argument? Because you’re not really using all the brain power on offer if that’s your hot take.

    He’s one of our better players. To get better you replace the worse ones. Squad building 101.

  84. Wasi


    Eddie doesn’t possess the X-factor but right now he is performing better than Lacazette and thats why he is our starting 9. At least he’s got the energy to be nuisance to the opposition for the time he is on thr field. Laca is starting 1 game out of 3 and still gets gassed out at the 60 minute mark.
    The only way he stays at Arsenal beyond the summer is if Auba doesn’t sign and we cant fund a replacement striker. As the Auba money will then presumably used to secure a Marquee midfield signing.

  85. The Backpass

    “Or that you can’t find examples of me raising it in content?”

    Pretty much.

    I’m not against him getting sold for the right amount btw (£35 million and above), Just believe Arteta can do better with him.

  86. Peps

    Re Guendouzi, the fact is he holds on to the ball too long and slows the play down. He’s still not ready for an automatic starting berth when other players are fit

  87. andy1886

    So you want to compare our ‘best midfielder’ with any player who had even a small part in one of our title winning sides? Not exactly apples with apples is it?

    Absolutely he’s not the worst Charlie. Is he good enough? Nope, not even for a top four side. He is however someone we could get good money for, as has been pointed out he’s more suited to the Bundesliga.

    If we could sell and upgrade for minimal outlay then why not?

  88. Freddie Ljungberg


    Was always ridiculous labeling him a flop that early without giving him a chance to adapt. With the numbers he managed this season while adapting and playing under 3 managers in a shit team you wonder what he can accomplish next season if we be bring our midfield up to an above average standard.

  89. Aasim

    I don’t understand how we have so many players who are just awful with possession football, ie receiving the ball on the half-turn, shielding the ball with your body when in possession, ability to dribble the ball a few feet, beating an approaching defender with a simple shimmy…
    You look at Xhaka and how stretched he is when receiving a pass or uncomfortable he is when trying to dribble, kola with anything other than whacking the ball, AMN in trying to dribble past players or simple passes…..
    And you compare that with how other teams are so good with basic possession football, moving the ball in the final third, penetrative passes and combinations. Not Man City good, but even Leicester good or Chelsea good.
    It doesn’t seem like a problem which 2/3 players will fix !

  90. andy1886

    Lol, well I’m happy with a win anyway. Wins first, style can wait. It’s still obvious that midfield is our biggest weakness though.

  91. CG

    CG exclusive !

    Breaking News ….

    Newcastle United Saudi deal done and dusted…..and they mean business…….

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  92. Valentin

    I am starting to have serious doubt on Arteta the manager, not the coach.

    1) Keeping Saka on for 90 minutes when it was clear that he was running on fumes after the 1st half was a dangerous move. It reminded me of the habit by Wenger of overusing the same players who were in the red zone and then be surprised when they broke down.

    2) his substitutions seem reactive and most of the time are ineffective. Ceballos may have scored, but he was also at fault numerous time for losing the ball in dangerous situation.

    3) his treatment of some players do not seem to be nor fair nor consistent. David Luiz is more a liabilities than Sokratis, yet Sokratis was on the bench when Luiz was back in the starting eleven.

    4) I made the remark last season that Emery sergeant major “I am in charge” act will lead to players downing the tools and led to his sacking. I am afraid that I can see shade of that behaviour in Arteta.

  93. Champagne Charlie

    “So you want to compare our ‘best midfielder’ with any player who had even a small part in one of our title winning sides? Not exactly apples with apples is it?“

    No, I don’t want to do that. It’s the idiots who can never bring themselves to assess him without reverting to lazy stereotypes that want to make such remarks.

    Wasn’t me that introduced the idea of us never being able to win a title with Xhaka in the squad, I merely dismissed it.

    “Is he good enough? Nope, not even for a top four side“

    Again this is nonsense. He would’ve been good enough for a top 4 squad last season if we scored a last min penalty against Spurs. So quite something that a label of his quality is apparently so fleeting – maybe just give it a rest with these glass ceiling statements that are at best speculative.

    I agree he has financial value, and I’ve never once said I’d be opposed to selling and reinvesting. It’s a stance I have toward every player. But my priority is always to maintain the best of what we have, sacrifice those offering little to nothing, and supplement that with good scouting and academy step ups.

  94. Pedro

    The Backpass, I defintely said it, so you’ll just have to do better at hunting it out if it means that much to you.

    Matteo could be great, he’s an elite youth talent, but he isn’t very pleasant and doesn’t behave well.

    The door is always open. I think he’ll fetch more than 35m if he goes. Hopefully we swap him for Partey

  95. Pedro

    Valentin, Emery lost credibility with the players when he gave up on making tough decisions and caved. No one ever loses a dressing from for strong leadership.

  96. Pedro

    The Godfather, and infringement is snickering at comments like a child over and over again. Add some value to the actual conversation.