Rough performance, but a trip to Wembley secured

by & filed under News Review.

What’s that I hear?

‘WE’RE ON OUR WAY TO WEMBLEY, WE’RE ON OUR WAY TO WEMBLEY’

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. TR7

    Can’t wait to see Granit ‘the best midfielder in our team’ Xhaka weave his magic against City in FA cup semi-final.

  2. The Godfather

    Pedro your striking out at me reeks of petulance and childishness.
    I’ve spoken about Guendo, Arteta and Xhaka ad nauseam…

    What more do I need to say.

    It’s not gonna change anyone’s mind and a don’t strike out on me cuz you got called out on yer comments … or should I say the phantom ones

  3. Arben

    I’ve been reading Legrove for quite few many years I had the chance to read lot of comments great,good,bad from many many commentators you name it, but I have never come across a negative, miserable person as Redtruth.
    Unbelievable I don’t even remember not even a single time the guy would say just a small little good thing about Arsenal or it’s players.
    I even question that he is even an Arsenal fan he sound more like a miserable Spud scum

  4. RodneyKing

    Gayle misses an open goal from 3 yards, Sterling finds it at the other end from 20. That’s what quality gets you.

    City it will be then.

  5. Freddie Ljungberg

    Pedro

    He didn’t get the message the first 36 times you banned him, doubt it’s going to stick now. Just saying.

  6. Pierre

    I think willock has a lot of potential. Our play speeds up whenever he is on the ball, not everything comes off but he is a player that makes things happen.
    Have to say I was surprised that he was taken off , he didn’t look particularly tired, maybe Arteta wanted someone to sit deeper though that seemed to hand the initiative over to Sheffield.

    The back 3 works well though the midfield looked a little lopsided .
    I always believe that if you play wing backs a team doesn’t need a winger like pepe as they tend to take the area that the wing backs can utilise.

    Rarely did we see Saka on the left wing whereas Pepe played most of the game on the right wing, also willock played a lot of his football in the inside right channel so we were quite overloaded in that area.

    This may have been a reason why Saka was quiet and not involved in the game so much as he only had Tierney as a passing option and was often outnumbered in the Inside left channel.

    Arteta still has the conundrum of finding a position for Saka now that Tierney is fit.
    It hasn’t quite worked for him since the lockdown.

    If Arteta is to continue with wing backs , I would prefer to see 3 in the middle and 2 up top.
    This frees up space on the for the wing backs whilst giving us 3 centre backs and 2 strikers .

  7. CG

    Dis

    “”” We’re drawn to face city in the semifinals
    That’s the FA Cup for this season done for us””””

    Dont be so bloody negative.

    The one thing Arsenal excel in is this tournament.

    If Luiz stays away.
    There is always hope.

    Maybe Arteta will allow Wenger to do the pre match team talk .

    Nobody knows this F A Cup like our Wenger.

    7 ( SEVEN) times he has won it!

  8. Ishola70

    CG

    “If Luiz stays away.”

    He’s a must for the City game.

    I mean people say we need his big match experience, leadership and winning mentality. No better match to show these qualities. Perfect requirements for this certain match surely.

  9. Freddie Ljungberg

    Goonies/Aubergine/uruguayan/northern/ all the other names he’s had here before.

    Or it’s another guy with the same toxic personality but that would be too depressing to contemplate.

  10. Ishola70

    If Luiz is dropped for the Man City semi-final then ever more people will say why the fuck did we renew the guy. What was the purpose.

  11. London gunner

    Have to say I told you so to this blog.

    Theh said pulisic was a shite overhyped player. Guys a top tier baller and only 21. Something like 7 goals in 13 games from the wing. His dribbling and finishing is superb.

  12. roaaary

    I thought holding done well. The mistake for the goal was costly but other than that I thought he won a lot of aerial challenges and seemed to be holding mustafi together

  13. Dissenter

    Raheem
    Don’t be so negative about Luiz.
    Don’t forget that the manager rates him, that’s all you need to know.

  14. CG

    Radio Raheem

    “”””Luiz can save his big match experience for his Mrs, leave Arsenal out of it.”””

    Shrewd old bugger never had an injury for 10 months.

    As soon as he has another contract signed up- the old hamstring’s gone.

    He will be on the noon flight to Rio tomorrow.

    In the words of the great Jimmy Greaves.

    “””It’s a Funny old game!””

  15. Freddie Ljungberg

    Pedro

    So I was right? Well I’m not surprised, you can spot him from a mile away within his first couple of post every time he does a comeback. Too much hate to keep it all bottled in I guess.

    I know I have my differences with Don but even he seems kind of reasonable (I said kind of) in comparison.

  16. Radio Raheem

    Dissenter

    Nah I’ll wait till he has won league titles, gone a season unbeaten….oh I remember that old chap got questioned too 🙂

  17. Ishola70

    I’d have a half fit David Luiz against Man City.

    His leadership, big match experience , winning mentality and let’s not forget his inspirational dressing room influence will be like gold against Man City.

    And he has the backing of the Sauce of course.

  18. Radio Raheem

    Does CG stand for Cynical Gooner?

    I thought that was weird too but who am I? I’ve never kicked a ball for money so…

  19. Gentlebris

    ‘I’ll say this barring a David Luiz sighting, it’s kinda hard to beat a team three times in a season and I believe we will give em a heluva game at Wembley’

    As things stand, Citey would beat us 7 times in a week.

    But no harm trying, at least the rules say we must show up for the game don’t they?

  20. G8

    Didn’t we slate Wenger because of his favouritism and did also Emery because of his mismanagement of Ozil and Ramsey?

    It’s alright for the saucy one I think!

  21. Gentlebris

    ‘Didn’t we slate Wenger because of his favouritism and did also Emery because of his mismanagement of Ozil and Ramsey?’

    Sauce does no wrong…in the world of Sir P.

  22. Pedro

    Bris, please give us the download on favoritism? Or do you deflect having an opinion because insane comments like your last three is all you have?

  23. Gentlebris

    Pep has been kind in words to Le Sauce, maybe he will be kind indeed to him at Wembley and give us a chance by starting his second team, surely?

  24. Gentlebris

    We hauled stones at a manager that was giving us CL like chocolates for twenty years, and pushed him out.

    Now our host on here is hoping we reach the FA final even if we lose the final so we could clinch LA EUROPA!

    Yet the jokers here wouldn’t admit we were wrong.

    WE WERE WRONG!

    Having spent 22 years and having been the modern face of Arsenal, the man should at least be given a two year notice by Stan and be allowed to name the man to carry on.

    But we forced things and the owner was left with no choice.

    For Arsenal to get back to 2017/18 will take till 2023/24.

  25. Gentlebris

    Sir P!

    Be happy, man.

    I was just being happy, no need to get worked up over all of this surely?

    Up The Sauce!

  26. Pedro

    Oh, I see Bris, you are an AKB. That makes sense.

    Wenger should have gone 8 years before he did, that he didn’t is partly why we are where we are.

    It was intellectually flawed the back Wenger when he was at Arsenal, it’s intellectually bankrupt to pretend that the issues we face are down to his exit.

    You don’t even need to take it from me, look at who employs him. Big clue, it’s not an elite football club. Ask yourself why that is.

  27. Pedro

    Bris, it’s not about getting worked up. I just don’t understand why any AKB would be against a former captain of Arsene leading the club. Hoping for failure to prove a finished manager was unfairly treated is a bit weird. Especially after a win in the FA cup.

  28. Valentin

    Pedro,

    “No one ever loses a dressing from for strong leadership.”

    There are lots of former managers who would disagree with you having confused strong leadership with petty tyranny.

    I don’t think that Arteta is there yet, but he need to make sure that he does not descend into a caricature. Respect and empathy are not mutually exclusive.
    Pep is well known for being respected and appreciated but not really viewed as closed to his players. Arteta is moulding himself on him while our squad is very different than ManCity: less talented, more inconsistent, much younger and much more unsecured. Treating a 20 years old kid breaking through the first team and a 31 years old experienced player exactly the same is bound to upset at least one in the long term.

  29. Champagne Charlie

    “Treating a 20 years old kid breaking through the first team and a 31 years old experienced player exactly the same is bound to upset at least one in the long term.“

    Are you suggesting their application in training and to the team should be different because of age? Seems odd.

  30. Dissenter

    Gentlebris
    No one hauled stones at anyone.
    Wenger’s time was done and he had to be escorted out gracefully. There’s nothing worse than an overstaying uncle who wants to regale you with stories of the good old days.
    Wenger had run out of energy, vision and purpose. Give it up already.

  31. Nelson

    For the FA Cup, our only hope is to have Arteta influencing the MC players not to score. That would work.

  32. Pedro

    Valentin, Pep is viewed as extremely cold by players he falls out with.

    I can’t tell you 100% that Mesut Ozil doesn’t give a fuck and everyone sees it… and Matteo is very problematic and everyone at the club sees it.

    There is nothing tyrannical about setting standards and holding people accountable. I have no idea how you’ve come close to that being the problem.

    Not to mention the fact that Arteta brought AMN in from the cold, as he did with Pepe and MG before the break.

  33. Pedro

    Yeah, gotta echo CC. That you think there should be a different set of rules based on seniority is very Emery of you.

    One set of standards. Everyone plays by them. That is leadership.

  34. Dissenter

    Pedro
    ‘ I can’t tell you 100% that Mesut Ozil doesn’t give a fuck and everyone sees it… and Matteo is very problematic and everyone at the club sees it’

    There you go again
    This is getting ridiculous…’everyone in the club sees it’
    Did they ‘see it’ when the kid was being overplayed last season? How would he have played so much if he wasn’t showing up in training?
    Did Freddie speak out against Guendo…nope. He singled out a few players for criticism and Guen wasn’t on that list.

    You’re being mortifying biased, at this point you’ve become the first Arteta-Knows-Best Arsenal blogger.
    Welcome to the new AKB

  35. Champagne Charlie

    Dissenter

    Did you post the quotes Arteta made publicly about Guendouzi? The ones Pep would never etc.

  36. The Godfather

    Who plays right back for Scotland?
    If he is as good as their left backs please go get em.

    Anyway that aside my MOTM was Kieran Tierney.

    Hope this lad can stay healthy. He has Arsenal captain written all over him.

    If there are more like him in Scotland please let’s go find em!

  37. Valentin

    That idea that everybody is treated the same way is a complete falsehood. What players want is a sense of fairness. Fairness does not means equal treatment.

    A 31 years old who need more time to recover does not necessarily train with the same intensity or as long than a 19 years old. Remember Lesley King who could not train during the week but still played at the weekend. If the rule had been don’t train well, don’t play, his career would have been so much shorter.

    Even Klopp and Pep give leeway to some players. Remember when Mane annoyance with Salah was made public. I don’t remember Klopp coming like a ton of brick on Mane. Yet I do remember him criticising a player he wanted to get rid for less.

    I am not saying to let Guendouzi run the training camp. I am just saying that empathy and discussion may be a better solution with some players. Some people respond better to a
    Carrot than a stick. Immature people develop a higher sense a grievance and you need to take that into consideration when managing them. That’s not lowering standard, it is proper personnel management. That was an issue with Emery. He wanted to look strong which in the end showed him as weak. Strong, confident manager do not have to show that they are strong.

    Years ago, I had a young guy dropped into my team. His previous manager was only too happy to get rid of him. I found out that the guy did not like to be criticised in front of his peers so he was lashing out, making him a nightmare to manage. Once I knew that, I organised face to face meeting with him before team meeting. A few years later, he had grown out of that phase.

  38. The Godfather

    You lads who are seeing the light of Guendo just let it go.
    There are Some people here are so Hell bent on hating this young kid that no amount of reasoning or evidence to the contrary will sway them.

  39. Graham62

    The Godfather

    Scotland has a plethora of talented youngsters.

    Always have.

    Always will.

    It’s in their blood.

  40. Pedro

    Valentin, the essence of justice is everyone is treated the same.

    You can have individual plans for everyone, but standards are the same.

    Ledley King couldn’t physically train the same as anyone, that’s different to fighting the manager.

    Klopp operates the same. He sets standards. There is no argument over them.

  41. Champagne Charlie

    Val

    That’s different to the argument being levelled at Ozil and Guendouzi here though. It’s widely appreciated that every player is different in terms of details, and individual needs.

    But Ledley King didn’t train in accordance to his injury restrictions. In fact it could be argued that he fulfilled the standards moreso than an average player because he had that much more on his plate to deal with to be in the best place possible.

    Holding the group to the same high standard doesn’t mean treating everyone the same, you’ve got that completely wrong. It means establishing a code that the manager and club expect absolute commitment from each player to achieve their goals.

    If Guendouzi is behaving poorly in a group setting then that’s not meeting the standard. If Ozil isn’t training with any level of intensity or application, then that’s not meeting the standard. Doesn’t matter who you are, there’s a level you need to deliver to be considered a player for this club. It’s about time we had someone who adhered to such a thing.

  42. The Godfather

    Pedro help me here?

    “ Godfather, you are hell bent on insisting innocence despite having no clue what’s going on.”

    You’re speaking in parables my good man.
    It’s all good and why we are here.
    We can always have diff opinions but in the end we all want the best for the club.

    Again I might be jumping the gun but I would love for Tierney to be captain next season.

  43. Valentin

    CC,

    If the standard is “don’t train well then don’t play”, then Lesley King did not fulfill the standard, because he could not train. Managers gave him special dispensation because of what he could offer the club. That’s not what I am advocating here, but I used that example to prove that idea that every is treated the same is a complete falsehood.

    All the noise received about Guendouzi is that he is an impetuous child who can be annoying on a day to day basis. Nobody has said that he did not train properly.

    If you want to criticise a player for being unprofessional, I would criticise Lacazette a grown-up man who still indulge in laughing gas session. They may not be illegal, but those are definitely negative to his lungs and performance on the pitch.

    According to report in France, Guendouzi wants to leave because

    1) he is hoping to get into the Euro French squad and that being benched by Arteta will not help him reaching that goal.

    2) he feels that Arteta is picking on him and certain number of younger players rather than the more senior players.

    We have all heard about Arteta being annoyed by senior players not attending some of his zoom meeting. I don’t remember those senior players being benched or publicly scolded for it.

    Guendouzi may be completely wrong on point 2, but if he has a sense of grievance, getting in direct conflict with him is not going to solve it. Immature people needs conversation and empathy rather than scolding.

    Which is exactly my point, sometimes you have to accommodate difficult child so that they progress and stay on board. Arteta may be better off trying to get him on board rather than laying down the law.

    Nobody will get out of that conflict a winner. Guendouzi will leave and likely join another club with big expectation. Arsenal will lose him before his time for less money that they could have. Arteta may lose a little bit of respect from some of the remaining players.

  44. Valentin

    Looks like Leicester, Sevilla and Napoli are interested in the CB Jean-Clair Todibo available for €25 millions. When you think that Barcelona bought him for less than 1 million in January 2019.
    Sometimes investing in players before they have their big break can really pay. If Leicester buy him, they would have their CB pairing sorted for the next 5~7 years.
    In the meantime Arsenal give a contract extension to David Luiz…

  45. Champagne Charlie

    “If the standard is “don’t train well then don’t play”, then Lesley King did not fulfill the standard, because he could not train.”

    That’s with a pretty dim literal application. The standards being referred to are to offer the team your best in terms of professionalism and aiming to improve/perform.

    Ledley King did that despite his injuries, meanwhile Guendouzi allegedly has full blown barneys with the manager in group sessions, and acts a mug when his back is turned and everyone is focused on the task at hand.

    That’s a standard, not ‘everyone has to train the same amount’ as you’re oddly shaping it.

    “I don’t remember those senior players being benched or publicly scolded for it.“

    1. Which senior players?
    2. What public scolding are you referring to with Guendouzi?

  46. Pedro

    Godfather, you can’t have a difference of opinion on the Guendouzi, unless your opinion is that he’s so good, we should let him behave as he pleases.

    That’s not what you’ve been saying today.

  47. Pedro

    Valentin, King literally couldn’t train because his knee would explode.

    Not quite the same as Guendouzi.

  48. Guns of SF

    Anyone know what is the average education level of footballers ? Here in the us many of them have college degrees before become a. Pro. Sure that has its own issues but it seems a lot of these issues are based on immaturity and perhaps a lack of formal education . Coach is like your teacher or prof… you need to listen!

    Guen was probably the kid sent outside the class for regular misbehavior Or to the principals office

    I agree with the soft touch in the beginning but if that doesn’t work then you have to be tougher

    If Guendouzi has a track record then maybe he does not want to be here anymore… anyone thought about that?

  49. Dissenter

    Pedro
    Do you have any information that suggest Guendouzi refused to train or wouldn’t train properly?
    It just seem like the story is morphing all the time.
    This is just Arteta using the discretionary powers a manager has, it’s nothing to do with Arsenal standards or guidelines.
    He can’t work with Guendouzi because he doesn’t have the maturity or skill set required, nothing to do with the player..

  50. Champagne Charlie

    Dissenter

    For the third time….

    What quotes are you referring to that Arteta made about Guendouzi that Pep would never make?

  51. Gentlebris

    Pedro,

    I was no AKB. I was as fierce a ‘Wenger out’ as anyone could have been. But I look at things now and realize the man was actually doing a decent enough job, building wealth for the club while playing beautiful, and I’m big enough to go oh dear, we made a mistake.

    Yes, Wenger made some mistakes, and also he got arrogant; but these might have been because of the pressure on him in his last years.

    Then, I’m tired of the idea that we are so bad like this because Wenger left too late.

    Wenger has been gone for three years and £200m!

    Yet look at what Arsenal have become, a den of rascal agents who are sucking off Arsenal’s finances for fun. Is that because Wenger left too late too?

    If Wenger was running so shit a show, how come he only failed once in 22 years to bring in CL money to the club, and let’s remember that he failed in a year when planes were being flown on his head and banner being rubbed on his face on the regular…WENGER OUT! Would you succeed in your work under such condition, Pedro?

    Now, look at our football, don’t stop there; look at our finances also. Look at the fact that once Wenger was pushed out, the vultures immediately gathered around Arsenal and are still there as I type, ripping out the heart of the club and chewing on it like ravaging cannibals.

    Look at the fact that Ozil’s assists disappeared with Wenger, Look at the fact that Alexis rapidly declined once, first, as he stopped listening to Wenger, then as he departed from the man.

    Pedro, these guys running our club now are just faking it, they have no idea. Pepe may turn out good, but we had no business spending £72m on any player that was not peak Hazard, peak Bale, peak Rooney, peak Drogba and so on.

    Now we are at the level of throwing money at disasters like Luiz and rejects like Cedric and Mari; all of these deals coming as gifts from the vultures, and somehow you think we are making these deals because Wenger left too late? Wenger left too late meant we must invite vultures to feast on Arsenal and thrash the whole organization in the process? Oh man!

  52. Overmars

    I posted this last week:

    “I also worry about Tierney, it’s understandable that he may not have the confidence to drive forward and play the forward pass, as he’s never been able to play a run of games. His body doesn’t seem up to the pace of the Premier League at the moment, as he seems to pick up a lot of small injuries, similar to Kolasinac. If either of our left backs can get a run of 8 + games, then they’re more than capable of getting to a good level as they both have the ability.”

    Lets hope Tierney can now stay fit until the end of the season and we will see a top quality left back with bags of confidence. He should be aiming to be up there with the Robertson and Jordi Alba. Again as I said, all depends if his body can cope with the physicality of the Premier League and Europe. I would hate to see him go down the Kolasinac route of playing 4 or 5 games in a row then being out 2 or 3 games as that stops momentum and confidence in his body.

    Time will tell, but the early signs this season are that he’s got great energy, good pace, solid defensively, great delivery and he looks as though he can look after himself.

  53. Pedro

    I’m sorry Dissenter, but that is a really, really bad take.

    Arteta has dropped Matteo because he’s a problem. If the player learns to behave, he’ll play again. Nothing to do with the maturity of the coach, in fact, the opposite, the fact Arteta holds him to a standard shows you that he’s a proper leader.

  54. Guns of SF

    Tierney did well today
    Good crossing and made his way into dangerous spots with ease

    I just hope he is not one of these only cold weather type players . When it gets warm then They have issues!

    Kid needs to be in the sun more

  55. Gentlebris

    ‘Again I might be jumping the gun but I would love for Tierney to be captain next season.’

    Why?

    You don’t fancy Folarin Balogun?

  56. Overmars

    I’m not getting carried away like some fans, as I know it’s only 2 wins. But, I don’t think this team needs as big as a clear out as some fans have saying.

    Contracts aside, we have a good mixture of youth and experience going forward. Our full backs are pretty solid. And the goalkeeper situation finally looks in good shape. Its in the middle where we need to improve. 2 Centre backs (as well as Saliba coming in), a box to box midfielder and a Cazorla/Cesc type player in the midfield. If the recruitment is right, I see no reason why we can’t challenge for a top 4 place next season.

  57. azed

    Pedro

    What exactly was Guendozi’s crime?
    Taunting Brighton players?
    Grabbing Maupay by the neck?
    Sending Arteta’s wife a DM?

  58. Pedro

    Azed, let’s focus on his first crime, he had two bust-ups in Dubai.

    What is your stance here, that Matteo should be given special dispensation?

  59. azed

    Pedro

    I’m just asking what his crime is/was.

    Dubai was a long time ago and I don’t see how’s that’s relevant now.

    What has he done now that’s making Arteta leave him out of the team

  60. Gentlebris

    So Guen is a trouble baker, and that’s why our second highest goal scorer was being benched before he got injured?

    Face it guys, Arteta love sycophants.

    He is bringing a ‘you don’t tell me I’m at Pep’s level, you don’t play’ policy. And it’s really a shame for a coaching career so young.

    What Pep did at Barca was different, there was a gang inside the Barca team and Pep felt he had to dismantle them to take the team forward.

    What Arteta is doing is to watch the players’ body language, if your gestures are not hailing him by the minute, you don’t play.

    If Arteta makes Guen go for peanuts and the boy becomes a £200m superstar in, say, Atlentico; in two years, he wouldn’t find it as funny the next time he picks on another kid.

  61. Pedro

    Bris, only people that don’t understand leadership would pretend that holding people accountable for behaving in-line with clear principles was a problem.

  62. The Godfather

    “Godfather, you can’t have a difference of opinion on the Guendouzi, unless your opinion is that he’s so good, we should let him behave as he pleases.That’s not what you’ve been saying today“

    Pedro I have said different things to different posters depending on how the issue is addressed.

    What I have said consistently is whether you believe or disbelieve the rumors and innuendos revolves around how you perceive the player.

    I see a passionate young man who loves the club and gives it all on the field. Standing up to a punk shouldn’t warrant all the chirping and harassment. It’s not as if he got caught driving under the influence or arrested for domestic violence.

    The only thing we have evidence on is that he challenged a mouthy nobody who injured his goalie and mocked them after the game.

    All the other fake reporting is simply BS with no proof. That’s all I got.

    And like I’ve said everyone is entitled to their opinions and I will equally respect their positions on the matter

  63. Pedro

    No, the evidence you have is that Arteta has said on the record that he has non-negotiables. He has called a number of players on that and dropped them when they’ve fallen below the standards.

    Now Matteo has been dropped.

    Not once has Arteta dropped a player for being over-passionate. The last time he dropped him was because he had a fight with him on the training ground, then in
    the hotel.

    Arteta is consistent, very much doubt he just switched into inconsistency to make a point about a someone caring too much.

  64. Guns of SF

    No one complained when Vieira or keown or others were grabbing players by the neck

    We liked it.

    We loved that we gave what we got

    What has changed nowadays? I doubt very much that anyone complained back then … when we hammered horse face van nistelrooy did we complain?

    Or keane or others?

  65. Pedro

    Guns, Vieira and Keown weren’t fighting the manager on the training ground. They also delivered trophies.

  66. The Godfather

    Pedro his non negotiables were “effort and desire” …, Is Guenduozi lacking in those areas?

    Again I’ve told you quite respectfully that we all draw conclusions about Guendo based on our perceptions of him.

    I see him a certain way and you and others have your opinions. All good.

    Same thing could be said of Patty Viera by a diff coach other than Wenger when he was constantly picking up reds and having legendary locker room rows.

    Those were issues as clear as day !!!
    A good coach knows how to tailor passion and belief … (hint hint)

  67. Guns of SF

    Pedro some are equating the choking of the hunchback as reason to drop guen . So that is the confusion . The incident or is it incidents…. s

    I personally didn’t care too much about the choking thing. Happens

    I just don’t rate him as a player

    Some rate him as a player

    Maybe he needs a loan spell to get it straightened out … come back better prepared if the board wants to keep him

  68. Dissenter

    azed

    Let’s just agree that Arteta can’t work with Guendouzi
    It may just be two good people who have irreconcilable differences. Arteta is entitled to his view since he’s manager but that doesn’t excuse any smearing i\of the lad.
    Arteta opened the spigot with his not so disguised comments that were c,early targeted at Guendouzi.

    Now Pedro is talking about bust-ups on the training ground ?
    Good managers push players very hard until they push back, what’s wrong with the player having his say?

  69. Guns of SF

    Ask Ashley cole about the “Vieira” in his face incident in the locker room

    All that was fine back in the day

    Arsenal have had others who have done worse but less issue

    Maybe it was a different era

  70. The Godfather

    Are we talking about the same Viera that used his man part as a paddle to slap Anelka across the face and when the incident was reported to Wenger ( Le Prof shrugs and says that’s why he is captain)?

    Okay whatever ….

  71. The Godfather

    Like I said before people make conclusions depending on how they perceive a person.
    Viera ( who was a sulking bully at times) and Tony Adams who was drunk and a boorish character are all still acclaimed as legends but a kid standing up for his club is suddenly a pariah and anti-Christ … can’t make this shyt up lol

  72. The Godfather

    “ People should know this is nothing to do with money. I need to leave because I want to win more trophies and I just cannot see that happening at Arsenal. Certainly not over the next few years, anyway.
    “Comparing Arsenal to the big clubs in Europe this season is going to be quite ridiculous,” he added.”

    “ I have given 100 per cent to Arsenal over the last five years. They have only been there for a year or so.
    “They have won nothing with Arsenal. They should stay and try to win things for the club before they open their mouths.”.

    (Comments to his fellow countrymen who begged him to stay)

    Yeah this was Patrick Viera!!!

    And Pedro is asking if they had any bust ups on the field with the manger?

    Lol

  73. salparadisenyc

    Its all down to method, if that method translates to the result 98, 02 or 04 delivered then by all means wheel it out and slap away Patty.

    Imperative to keep the house in order, some managers go with the strong captain to bad cop others like Fergie are feared plus have a Keane waiting in the wings for any slackers. Arteta seems to be finding his method, with the shit he inherited a few weeds need to be cut but most just need water to grow. No idea which side of that fence Guendouzi ends up on but thankfully its a win / win either way.

  74. Overmars

    The Godfather

    “Viera ( who was a sulking bully at times) and Tony Adams who was drunk and a boorish character are all still acclaimed as legends but a kid standing up for his club is suddenly a pariah and anti-Chris”

    Spot on. Merson, Wright, Parlour etc as well, they were never perfect off the pitch and I’m sure they had a few scraps with fellow players and managers.

    Guendouzi just needs a few trophies to back him up. That’ll come.

  75. salparadisenyc

    Azed

    I’ve no clue what he’s done or not done, nobody in this space does. All we have is Arteta’s actions and words and Guendouzi’s. I think most are making a bigger deal out of this than needed to suit whichever agenda their slinging. That goes right up to the transfer rumors, those journos love chaos.

  76. Pedro

    Azed, he broke a non-negotiable, that’s all you need to know.

    Debating whether you agree is pointless, Arteta has his rules and he enforces them consistently.

    Unless… you think he should bend the rules. Then we are in Emery territory.

  77. azed

    Pedro

    Arteta has the right to do what he likes with his team. Heck he doesn’t need a reason to bench a player but when you say someone broke a rule, it would be nice to know the rule that was broken.

  78. Emiratesstroller

    azed

    Do you think that a Head Coach would choose not to select a player unless there was a problem such as a breach of discipline or misbehaviour?

    Arteta has made it crystal clear that he is not going to discuss in public what goes on between him and a player and that is how it should be.

    It is clear to me that Arsenal have had for some time a number of issues which
    are not just down to poor recruitment and contract matters. These need to be
    sorted out very quickly.

    The starting point for me is that Arsenal need to shift out of the club this summer Ozil. He is clearly impacting negatively on the culture of the club and
    costing us a bucketful of money.

    He is also setting a dreadful example to the younger members of the squad. My view is that if he cannot be sold, transferred or loaned out then he should
    be put on “gardening” leave and kept as far from the club as possible.

  79. Just Another Customer

    I don’t see anything special from Guen in fact often becoming a passenger in midfield

    our build up always slow when he’s on the pitch

    even he doesn’t know what his true position is as he’s all over the place getting caught in no man’s land

  80. Wineandsoccer

    Yes With few exceptions a midfielder should score goals and have a few assists per year. Guenduzzi has not scored one goal for Arsenal not even in the Europa league.

    Xhaka isn’t better than Ozil. Arteta is getting more conservative to hold unto a win. It seemed like Arsenal was going to be more attacking In his first few games.

    The strategy With arrests is to keep the game close which is easy as soccer is a low scoring game. They’ll win a few and lose a few but they can’t go toe to toe with man city or Liverpool.

    United they had a chance and possibly Chelsea to steal a game.

    Attacking midfielders are vital at a high level. That’s why Arsenal has dropped once Sanchez got worse and Ozil.

  81. Guns of SF

    Ozil really should see the writing in the wall. There is no games for him
    Pathetic loser should leave just on principle

  82. Sid

    I think Moyes has a big influence on Artetas management style, including getting Steve Round.

    Peps influence on Arteta is in the coach style

    Im telling you for free!

  83. James wood

    As regards Guen the guy’s consistently been a niggle.
    Our midfield is so bad that he does sometimes aspire
    to be the only one doing the donkey but hey an Arsenal Player
    that is a starter NO not with that attitude.

    He is the type if there where a fight in real life he would be the
    big Kunucka and be first in and then the first one to be knocked out
    a powderpuff of a player.
    A real turn around by him may unravel his head he has the potential
    to be a good player Arteta at least is addressing his and Ozils attitudes.
    Anyone who cannot see this should have a rethink.

  84. Sid

    Autocratic style of leadership will not work considering the culture of the football dressing room is always one where your respect is measured in medals and trophies

    Diet Pep

  85. Pierre

    “If Wenger was running so shit a show, how come he only failed once in 22 years to bring in CL money to the club, and let’s remember that he failed in a year when planes were being flown on his head and banner being rubbed on his face on the regular…WENGER OUT! Would you succeed in your work under such condition, Pedro?”

    Good for you Gentlebris for being honest enough to say that under the circumstances, Wenger was doing a good job for the club and that you and the rest of the Wenger obsessives were wrong.

    Imagine what we may have achieved if the manager and players didn’t have to face a barrage of criticism on a daily basis from the media and a minority of fans.

    Of course, Wenger managed this with only a fraction of the unlimited funds that city, Chelsea and united had to spend, and now we are outspending them and despite that, we are going to have to rely on the academy players to pull us through (academy players that Wenger brought to the club).

    I don’t suppose we will see many more show such honesty as Gentlebris.
    Though I do have a feeling that Pedro is slowly coming to the same conclusion.

  86. Pierre

    Arteta is treading a fine line in showing the players who’s boss.

    It didn’t work with Emery because the team started to lose too many football matches and performances were poor.

    Winning our last 2 games gives Arteta more power but the problem will be when we have a losing run , his power will diminish and fans and media will begin to ask questions.

    It’s all about results on the pitch, a manager can do more or less anything he likes if his team are winning football matches .

    Lose, and the shit hits the fan very quickly, especially at a club like Arsenal.

    I’m hoping we can put a nice consistent run together to keep away the negativity from the club….tough games coming up though.

  87. Nelson

    Ozil started every game before the lockdown. I can’t believe that he suddenly becomes lazy. No one here knows exactly how Ozil trains and starts talking as if they knew everything just because he was benched by Arteta.

    The board wants to get rid of Ozil long time ago. My guess is that the board asks Arteta to push him out. They tried it with Emery. I can’t see it works this time. Ozil is smart. He has a team of professional advisers. He won’t give any excuse to the club. Only simple minded fans would do their own imagination.

  88. Northbanker

    Pierre – of course that is true but keeping disputes private will help enormously in keeping a lid on it. Players will respect that.

    I suspect that is why he really wanted to re-sign Luiz – despite some dreadful performances (I’m hoping we start using him in midfield and not CB) because the guy is a massive character in the dressing room and Arteta sees a useful lieutenant there.

  89. Pierre

    I’m 50/50 with Guendouzi.

    I just get the feeling that he thinks he’s a little better than he really is.

    When he’s on the ball he will often try to carry the ball through midfield instead of laying the ball off…he thinks he’s a gascoine or a Vieira.

    This is ok if a player has the strength or an extra gear to go into or a deceptive turn of pace or superior dribbling skills , Guendouzi doesn’t have any of these at this present time, maybe in another year or 2 he will have the power to play this type of game.

    I would imagine that when he was growing up he was able to burst through the midfield leaving the opposition for dead.
    Unfortunately, the premier league is tough and the opposition will soon expose a player’s weaknesses.

    Maybe he just needs to simplify his game.

  90. jwl

    I don’t think the three players have been named or when it occurred, so I assumed the odd choices made by Arteta are to do with this.

    ——————–

    Arsenal’s preparations for their match against Man City were heavily disrupted by a positive coronavirus test, according to reports. A Gunners player tested positive for the virus and had to self-isolate for seven days in line with government protocols.

    The Athletic claim the player had come into close contact with two other team-mates for more than 15 minutes.

    It saw those two players enter a 14-day period of quarantine and therefore miss vital training sessions ahead of their return to Premier League action.

    https://talksport.com/football/720513/arsenal-coronavirus-man-city/

  91. Overmars

    Pierre

    Hit the nail on the head about Guendouzi there.

    It’s one of them where if we sell him and receive £40m, it looks like good business. But what if he ends up at a Dortmund and doubles his value. Could easily happen. I’d keep him.

  92. Pierre

    Northbanker
    “Pierre – of course that is true but keeping disputes private will help enormously in keeping a lid on it. Players will respect that”

    Keeping it private is a better course of action as he doesn’t want to lose the players as Emery did.

    It will increase the speculation but Arteta must stick with his beliefs or it will make him look weak.

    results will determine the level of speculation.

  93. Pierre

    Overmars
    Yeah, I’m with you , I’d keep him as I cant see his value decreasing in the next year or 2 but it could definitely increase if he reaches his potential with Arsenal.

  94. Sid

    Arteta leaking stories about players like his mentor Moyes leaked stories about Rooneys transgressions

    Diet Pep

  95. Terraloon

    Pedro

    Haven’t had time to read all the comments but the days of the runner up in the FA cup gaining entry to the EL via that route have long since gone.

    As for Tierney he seems decent enough but if you watch him carefully time after time he has to go on the outside of the player. Show him wide and that’s where he will go. On the vast majority of occasions getting to the bye line outside the penalty area means he has to elevate his cross and Arsenal really are midgets against some of the big CDs in the PL. Saka on the other hand whips the ball from different angles and they are nightmares to have to defend.
    As for PEPE he still isn’t taking a game by the scruff. Ok decent penalty and a decent shot on the run but does he scare defenders?
    A decent win and progress but let’s not get carried away both Southampton and Sheffield Utd will both feel unlucky not to have got something from the games

    Still onward and upwards

  96. Terraloon

    I meant to add that Guendozi clearly has something about him in terms of energy but I just don’t see the player that others do. He clearly thinks of himself as something special.

    Great managers head coaches don’t deal with internal discipline matters in public they really make a negative comment about players . That’s not to say that they will tolerate ill discipline but that sort of thing is best kept in house because the egos of the modern player are far too great and they no that the likelihood is they will around long after the coach has waved a cheery goodbye

  97. Emiratesstroller

    Overmars/Pierre

    There are bigger issues than a transfer fee.

    If a player is constantly disruptive and undermining the head coach AND the Club then it is best to get rid of him.

    In the case of Guendouzi it seems that the player has a track record of being
    disruptive where he has played and not just at Arsenal.

    What that suggests to me is that the scouting system and other processes which are supposed to be looking at the profile of players whom we want to recruit is flawed.

    I was advised many years ago that the reason that Liverpool was so successful
    in 1970 and 1980s was that they profiled all players before recruiting them and
    that was a model that Arsenal also followed subsequently.

    There is some evidence that Liverpool have revisited that programme and are
    now very careful and selective in whom they recruit.

    I appreciate that “success or rather lack of success” can be a factor in what is
    going on at moment, but discipline has been a problem at the club for some
    time including under Wenger.

    You see that even on the pitch with the way that the team defends. There are
    too many occasions when a player loses concentration or is out of position and that has a lot to do with how the team has been coached and organised.

    I suspect that Arteta is trying to change the culture and there is some backlash to what he is attempting to do.

    Maybe he is as a young coach a little too autocratic for some of the players at
    the club. However, the coach must lead and if his position is challenged then
    the players need to be expendable if they are disruptive.

  98. Freddie Ljungberg

    According to Ornstein Folarin Balogun is getting sold this summer, 1 year left of his contract and doesn’t want to sign a new one. Too bad, he was the most promising of the youth strikers.

    Hard to keep everyone I guess when you have a glut of talents in 1 position. Could have seen him overtaking Eddie in a year or 2 but now we just have to hope for a decent fee instead. Would have been better if we could have convinced him to sign up and then go on loan but it is what it is I suppose.

    https://sportslens.com/report-folarin-balogun-set-to-leave-arsenal-this-summer/302320/

  99. Emiratesstroller

    Freddie Ljungberg

    The Balogun story if true raises more concerns about the Agency who represents him as well as Nkietah, Saka and Nelson.

    It was a a concern that I have raised several times in the past, because this agency appears to have a lot of very young players on its books including
    Iwobi and Sancho.

    There is beginning to be a pattern emerging of the agent making unrealistic
    financial and contractural demands and then when not achieved making a
    sale and benefiting from the fee.

    Arsenal have currently FIVE players with this agency which should be a concern.

  100. Emiratesstroller

    Further to last post I think that we should also be concerned not only about Saka,
    but also Nketiah, because his contract expires at end of season 2021/2.

    We should be asking questions about Arsenal’s current relationship with this
    Agency.

  101. Dissenter

    Emirates
    ‘’ We should be asking questions about Arsenal’s current relationship with this
    Agency.’’
    The playerS chooses their agencies to act on their behalf and Arsenal deals with those representatives.
    I don’t know what you’re in about.
    Folarin’ Balogun’s path is blocked at Arsenal. He hasn’t trained with the senior team since March 2019 [if you believe his agents]. He is absolutely right to move else where to continue his development, maybe a championship club where he will get to play games.

  102. Pierre

    Balogun is a player who relies on his physical strength more than technique.

    I would liken him to Kevin Campbell which is not a bad thing though nowadays it is as much about technique and speed for a striker .

    Many on Le Grove put him on front of Eddie at this particular time but I don’t see it.
    I think Balogun could struggle at the top level.

    Will just point out that I have never said Eddie is this fantastic, world class player.
    He is progressing well and has scored 4 in 8 starts which is a a good rate for any striker , especially one who is trying to break into the first team.

    Next season is the crucial one for Eddie, Smith rowe , Nelson and Wiĺlock and there’s a few more academy players who could be ready to make their mark.

  103. Pierre

    Northbanker
    Greenwood looks quality..

    There are so many good English kids around these days ,and they have to be top quality to get in the liverpool and city sides…Trent Arnold and Gomez at liverpool are top quality , Foden and Sterling also.

    United , Chelsea, Tottenham as well as Arsenal have some very good players in their teens and early 20’s that are making their mark.

  104. Gentlebris

    ‘I suspect that is why he really wanted to re-sign Luiz – despite some dreadful performances (I’m hoping we start using him in midfield and not CB) because the guy is a massive character in the dressing room and Arteta sees a useful lieutenant there.’

    Good that we have someone on here who is always with the team in the dressing room.

  105. Emiratesstroller

    Dissenter

    I would remind that Saka has yet to sign a new contract.

    My concern is not about Balogun, but rather our current or future negotiations with three other players who are in our current first team squad.

    You should be also aware that Iwobi left us last season and he is with same agency.

  106. Graham62

    Pierre

    Why next season?

    These youngsters( Nelson, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Eddie) need to show their metal now. They are not 17-18 years of age.

    I want to see that hunger to try and cement a place.

    Why not?

  107. CG

    GB

    “”””We hauled stones at a manager that was giving us CL like chocolates for twenty years, and pushed him out

    Now our host on here is hoping we reach the FA final even if we lose the final so we could clinch LA EUROPA!

    Yet the jokers here wouldn’t admit we were wrong.

    WE WERE WRONG!”””

    Great confessional stuff GB.

    I am expecting to hear more of it ,over the coming years.

    (Even from the likes of Graham and PedRo)

    The irony of ironies.

    Fans now want ( and pray) Arteta and Arsenal to emulate exactly what Arsene Wenger was continually lambasted for achieving for nearly 2 decades?!
    Top 4’s and Fa Cup wins.

    Well he had 20 of them and X 7 F A cup wins.

    And Wenger was also balancing the books, refusing to get into bed with the spivs and putting on his unique style of play.

    Wenger was a genius and once in a life time manager – what a shame so many never appreciated or realised it whilst he was here.

    I did, Pierre did and now GB did.
    That’s because we know ‘ the game’
    The others think they do.

    t.h.

  108. Gentlebris

    ‘Arteta has made it crystal clear that he is not going to discuss in public what goes on between him and a player and that is how it should be.’

    Arteta is so fine a man that he wouldn’t let it out what actually happened re Guen, but he would gladly take the boy to the market place to paint him bad anyway.

    Fact is Arteta, 38, has more childish ego than Guen, 20.

  109. Graham62

    Guendouzi must be disillusioned.

    He has seen the likes of Ozil, GX disrupt the team.

    He has been through 3 coaches in a short period.

    He feels suffocated by the environment. Maybe he feels he’s being used as a scapegoat.

    He reads social media. He knows all the problems that exist at the club. He is not stupid.

    His desire to succeed is there for all to see, even though it goes against him. He will improve and get better.

    In a way, I feel sorry for him.

    Arsenal are still in a big mess and for a youngster to have to deal with all these negative disruptions, it must be extremely difficult for him.