Rugged Arsenal defensive performance. Say what?

by .

vis @Arsenal Insta

My oh my did I drink some booze last night, so much apologizing to do today.
But, the show goes one, and if getting blind drunk in the name of an away win for Arsenal in the Premier League is what happened, then so be it.

Arsenal beat Wolves away from home (YES). I think it’d be fair to say that the game represented one of the best performances under Mikel Arteta thus far. Not because Wolves are some sort of iconic team that are impossible to beat, more that they are exactly the sort that causes us problems time and time again. Well disciplined, structured, and extremely powerful. They are a team that plays to your weaknesses and they are very good at it.

The show Mikel Arteta put on was perfectly boring for the most part and I absolutely loved it. We largely controlled possession in the first half, we didn’t do anything risky, almost to a fault. Dani Ceballos spent most of the half recycling the ball through his defense. Mustafi, who made a horrendous error inside the first 12 seconds of the game had zero ambition in his passing. We didn’t want to make mistakes and we didn’t want to give away possession. Wolves seemed to play along, I think their game plan was focused on letting us have the ball and capitalizing on mistakes with a vicious counter.

It didn’t really happen all half, if anything, we had the better chances. Auba nearly turned a ball in from a corner, then Eddie ripped a brilliant low shot Patricio pushed onto his post. We took the lead from a slightly deflected Tierney cross, Bukayo Saka hung on the edge of the box and turned his lopping shot over the keeper. It was a beautiful piece of skill from the newly contracted teenager.

We came out for the second like we normally do. Very nervous. Wolves realized they had to play us and they turned up the heat. We didn’t collapse, but we certainly struggled to keep possession. We made a lot of unforced errors, fluffing 6-yard passes, making sloppy tackles, just generally making poor decisions.

This time, the manager made some bold decisions that paid off. He took off Kieran Tierney, who was having a tough time against Traore, and bought on AMN. I think the move threw a lot of people, but it looked like the reasoning was the blistering acceleration he has against a player who was starting to control the game a little. It proved to be a great decision, AMN threw himself into the challenge and stood up to the test, it really softened the threat of Traore.

He also took off Saka and Soares for Bellerin and Willock. The additional fitness at right-back served its purpose and Willock’s engine kept the ball moving with a little more purpose in the from three. The final roll of the dice saw Torreira make his long-awaited return, with Lacazette making an arrival. The Urgauaguan looked very fit and ready to offer the team something. Lacazette also showed up. Within 3 minutes, he picked up a Willock cross, took a tough into space and finished across goal. It was a super way to finish the game.

So Arsenal took another 3 points away from home and scored two goals against a team that hasn’t conceded at home since January. Arsenal now sit 7th in the Premier League, 3 points from 6th, and 6 from 5th.

So what are the important takeaways?

Well, we have a good structure at Arsenal. We are no longer reliant on our individuals, we are a team, and there’s a solid base to work from with an actual vision for how we should play the game. It is not perfect by a long way, but as it stands, it’s allowing the coach to extract bruising defensive performances from a squad of players people said were uncoachable. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be winning every game for the rest of the season, but it does mean if things go our way (sendings off/injuries), we have a chance against anyone on our day. We’ve beaten Wolves and United, we gave Chelsea a great game which we were very unlucky in, hopefully, we can show our teeth against Leicester and Spurs.

Arteta’s job in the back half of the season was the make us defensively strong and difficult to beat. I think he’s achieved that. The goal difference under Arteta for his 16 games is +12 versus Emery’s -4 (17 games). We’ve gone from conceding 1.64 goals a game to 0.81 with the basically the same group of players. There’s still a lot of work to do, we need to be able to control a game for the full 90minutes, we need to be more productive in the final 3rd and I think we’re still a little shaky defending set-pieces. But what isn’t in doubt is the manager had an idea and he’s implementing it very well. Every one of those players on the pitch yesterday bought into the vision, you can see how they pay attention to his instructions. They are seeing the fruits of their labour, which is so incredibly important. Player buy-in, especially with the kids, is essential to the rebirth of Arsenal football club.

The individual performances have been great as well. Emi Martinez has been nothing short of excellent. He’s a catcher, which makes him very handy from set-pieces. He controls his box, he’s quick off his line and his giant frame makes him tough to score against. He was brilliant yesterday.

I thought David Luiz put in a massive shift yesterday, his calmness on the ball and leadership helped us through some very sticky moments. Even Mustafi had a very good game outside the brain fart in the first minutes.

Saka, Ainsley, Eddie, Soares, Auba… they all showed up when it mattered. We actually put in a battling performance. Something I wasn’t sure we were capable of under this iteration of players.

There are still some problems. Our midfield just isn’t where it needs to be. We struggle to dominate physically, we still lack a good connection to attack, and the passing often crumbles under pressure. But considering what we achieved yesterday, it’s hard to be too brutal. There are also individuals that are always going to be problematic. I don’t want to pick on people, but Kola really was poor yesterday. He looked scared, there was a moment with KT complained he was left with two players to deal with. I also thought there were a few occasions when it looked like he wasn’t putting his all into sprinting back. Still, what can you do? The squad is the squad.

The real shame of the restart is that we didn’t get to see what the plan against City could have looked like, it was a similarly boring game until the bad things happened. Also, if we’d been had a better start, maybe we hold onto the leader at Brighton. Those three points, 6 if you look at the whole season, are the difference between 7th and a Champions League place.

Anyway, a huge win for Arsenal. The decision to hire Arteta was a good one, I’ve banged that drum for 6 months. We don’t matter though, the players do, they are the one’s making statements about their belief in their new head coach. That’s what is most important. They are going to war for him. They are now a team. They are all getting smarter and better as players.

Mikel outshithoused a pro that many wanted at Arsenal. Under Emery, we played Wolves at home and they had 24 attempts at our goal, and we squeaked out a 1-1 draw. Arteta fixed Arsenal’s defensive structure in 16 games, something the experience of Emery couldn’t manage in 18 months. He is starting to cast doubt on the idea that this squad could not have made top 4 if he’d been in at the start of the season.

Still plenty of work to do, there are still shock losses on the horizon, but what you saw yesterday is the start of things to come. Put a new set of players in there and there’s no reason we can’t start aiming higher next season. Also, does anyone still wish we’d hired Jose Mourinho?

Right, see you in the comments. x

287 Responses to “Rugged Arsenal defensive performance. Say what?”

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  1. Pierre

    Thorough
    That’s link from 7am is an interesting read regarding the amount of work the team are putting in since Arteta arrived at the club

    My fear is that we may blow a gasket as it is near impossible to keep that intensity up.

    When klopp arrived he demanded constant pressing and high intensity for 90 minutes, but he came to the conclusion that in the premier league it will take it’s toll on the players so he backed off a little.

    The figures look great but football is not just about running , pressing and high intensity though of course, I do understand the need for it at this present time.

  2. The Godfather

    Champagne Charlie:

    I love Santi. One of my fav Gunners of all time. I didn’t even see the banter going on about him B4 posting about the game.

    I was just being honest. Father Time will always be an unbeatable foe!

  3. Champagne Charlie

    Godfather

    I’m going to start calling you Stevie Wonder then, he’s been immense this season. Absolutely immense.

  4. The Godfather

    Champagne Charlie,

    Immense?

    You’ve gotta qualify that statement in context.
    Listen I’m not gonna bag Santi, luv the man too much to do that.

    Lemme leave it at, today was not a good day for him .

  5. Champagne Charlie

    Godfather

    Was snooping twitter for some of that context and here you go:

    “6th June 2020: Santi Cazorla is the only player in #LaLiga this season with 30+ shots, 30+ chances created, 30+ tackles made and 30+ take-ons completed.“

    +

    “28th June 2020: Santi Cazorla among Villarreal players in La Liga this season:

    – most progressive passes (190)
    – most passes into final third (150)
    – most chances created (55)
    – most passes into box (42)
    – most assists (7)”

    +

    “1st July 2020: Santi Cazorla 19/20:
    – 12 Goals
    – 9 Assists
    No La Liga midfielder has contributed more G/A this season.”

    So that makes him the best player at the 5th placed side in La Liga, and the most creative midfielder in the whole league……..at 35. Man’s pure ability, hence the Spain recall Un mentioned.

    Ishola back in his box as well after his little nibble? Hate to see it…

  6. The Godfather

    Champagne Charlie,

    Leave numbers alone:

    Mesut Ozil and Bukayo Saka both have only one EPL goal to their name … Should we then classify their contribution to the cause as even?

    Or rank the time, place and against who they scored against as the same?

    Like I said be careful about numbers cuz they can be manipulated to serve any purpose.

    I’ve seen at least 12-15 Villa games this season, and I love Santi, but he can’t hack it no more in the rough and tumble EPL.

    That’s not sacrilege it’s just my opinion!

    Injuries and age have caught up to his body but not his mind!

  7. Pedro

    Godfather, you’ve been absolutely beasted on Santi, leave before they steal your lunch money as well.

  8. The Godfather

    Pedro:

    Erm no Bro.

    Stats do nothing to show he can still play in the EPL if not he would be in the league right now.

    And weren’t you the one crying about cheerleading and not adding to the conversation. …. Be consistent my good man

  9. The Godfather

    Undie didn’t you whine like a whipped dog and say you ain’t coming back?

    Miserable little gremlin … I know outside of your cyberspace your life is pretty empty and miserable …. anyway welcome back loser.

    I’d hate to see in the papers for all the wrong reasons patsy

  10. Pedro

    Godfather, that is true and bad form on my part.

    Saying numbers can be manipulated when they are as aggressively good as Santi’s is weak.

  11. Ishola70

    “Ishola back in his box as well after his little nibble? Hate to see it…”

    I was as confused as you by Godfather’s comments tonight.

    I’ve read that he has been having a productive season but I don’t watch him every week. Who the fuck wants to watch Villareal every week.

    I think Godfather isn’t too taken on La Liga as a whole hence his the league is a “joke” comment.

  12. The Godfather

    These feeble arguments are so funny.

    Now I’m restraining myself from going after a player I love because some are saying that he can still hack it in the EPL? Come on guys.

    Now if you ask me is he a better option that Chaka, then the story changes

  13. The Godfather

    “ Godfather, that is true and bad form on my part.Saying numbers can be manipulated when they are as aggressively good as Santi’s is weak.”

    Pedro again you are missing the point.

    I’d ask you a simple question.

    Do you think we should sign Santi Carzola based on the numbers you are referring to without putting them into context?

    Simple Yes or No?

  14. The Godfather

    “ GobYeah. You cut me real deep. My silver cloud is coming here to school you every time you try to talk about things you don’t understand. Like aubameyang being better on the left
    Now I’ve got to show you how effective Santi is this season. Un 2 Gob 0”

    Again you said you were leaving right?
    What made ya come back eh?

    Yeah, you are lost without cyberspace and considering how churlish your persona is, that fact isn’t surprising but oh well😭😭😭.

    Auba has played how many games now, and with how many goals since the restart?

    Yeah so much for your position that he’s better on the wings, Einstein!

  15. Champagne Charlie

    Godfather

    You left out the assists of both Saka and Ozil, are they “even” after you drop them in the mix? Do tell…

    Cazorla has been terrific this season in La Liga, that’s as far as I’m taking that statement because my thoughts about Arsenal etc are known. But to claim him unable to keep pace with the league he’s in when he’s absolutely balling is pretty daft.

    How much better does he need to be exactly?
    – Best midfielder at his club ✔️
    – Best output of any midfielder in the league ✔️
    – Recognised nationally and recalled to the Spain side ✔️

    Weird take to claim him out of puff with all that stacked against you. What do you have to offer as a counter? He looks like he’s blowing a bit? Hairs a bit grey?

    I’m hoping he makes it back as a coach, man knows and loves the Arsenal.

  16. The Godfather

    “ 22:23:20
    Look. Are you saying that the highest performing midfielder in Spain wouldn’t get game time at the 7th best team in England?”

    This is why you should stick to cartoons.

    Again you’re making judgments based on numbers without drilling down to understand context.

    Who did he score the goals and bag the assists against?
    How many were penalty kicks?
    Are we talking garbage time goal or assists or in critical moments against quality teams.

    I could go on and on but you’re a simpleton and I’ve got better things to do than try and cast aspersions on a player I admire and love

  17. The Godfather

    Charlie,

    Why are you people trying to make me make a case against Santi?

    I’m not gonna do it because it’s not my point.

    I’ve watched him play and I know the difference in pace and intensity between both leagues and know the kind of player he has been for Arsenal and don’t want him to hurt his legacy.

    I wonder what you would have said of Jesus Navas and Roberto “Goldado” who came to the EPL in their prime if stats are the main indicator of success …

    Oh yeah and just to further my case which I don’t wanna do, let’s use Santi’s stats for his time at Arsenal and extrapolate what the expectations would be of him a few seasons later ….

    Come on guys let it go

  18. The Godfather

    Santi Carzola @ Arsenal (EPL GOALS)

    17-18: 0
    16-17: 2
    15-16: 0
    14-15: 7
    13-14: 4

    Okay I just posted numbers on Santi, so are we saying or expecting him to do better?
    Since it’s all about numbers and no context 😂😂

  19. Champagne Charlie

    “Why are you people trying to make me make a case against Santi?“

    What are you talking about? I’m disagreeing with your earlier statement:

    “We all love him but he can’t keep up with the flow in La Liga talk less of the high octane EPL.“

    I’ve made no case for his return, that ship sailed and my stance is clear on him leaving us. I’m very simply pointing out the absurdity of your claims about him in La Liga this season.

  20. Overmars

    Emery and Ljungberg: P17 W5 D7 L5 F24 A28 -4
    Arteta: P16 W7 D6 L3 F25 A13 +12

    Considering our two new defenders, Cedric and Mari haven’t played, the change is clear to see.

    Although Mustafi, Luiz and Kolasinac individually aren’t the best defenders, I’m glad we’ve finally found a system that brings the best out of our centre halves. I’m convinced that if you throw in Sokratis or Holding, we’d still be just as good at the moment.

    Great coaching from Arteta if you ask me.

  21. The Godfather

    Charlie since we are manipulating numbers (just for shits and giggles)

    Do you know that Sergio Ramos has more goals than Antoine Griezmann?

    Do you know that LUCAS Perez , yes that guy, is a top ten scorer in La Liga?

    My point is that you can’t make a case based solely on numbers because they can be manipulated to suit whatever narrative you seek.

  22. The Godfather

    Charlie:

    “ I’ve made no case for his return, that ship sailed and my stance is clear on him leaving us. I’m very simply pointing out the absurdity of your claims about him in La Liga this season.”

    What’s absurd about saying that he can’t hack it in the EPL? If my reference point was ambiguous and not clearly stated then I apologize.

    He can clearly still hack it against the lesser to middling teams in the Spanish league which is slower and less physical.

    But the EPL is a whole diff argument.
    That’s all I’m saying

  23. The Godfather

    Undie:

    Do us a favor and go back to your trailer … I’m not even gonna bother reading your tripe and drivel.

    Yeah you got me Santi is better than KDB and fleeter of foot than DaCoure and Bruno Fernandes.

    WTF do I know.

    Congratulations pal you’re a genius

  24. Champagne Charlie

    “Charlie since we are manipulating numbers (just for shits and giggles)“

    Explain the manipulation.

    You’re using goals scored as the ONLY metric of anything, I’m not doing anything of the sort and have given varied statistical support to a claim.

    Is your argument that no stats are valid? Because literally every business in the world would disagree.

    Also, earning a recall to the Spain National side isn’t a stat, but clear recognition of a players performance level. Unless that’s not how it works either now?

    Do tell..

  25. The Godfather

    Charlie tell me how this observation from today’s game is causing such an uproar?

    “ Santi is having a real rough time vs Barca.
    His lack of pace and athleticism is hurting him getting on the ball as it is being played by him.”

    Can anyone who watched the game dispute this fact!

  26. The Godfather

    “ Undie:Do us a favor and go back to your trailer … I’m not even gonna bother reading your tripe and drivel.”I can’t. Your mum is snoring too loud.
    Un 2- Gob-0”

    Seriously dude don’t ever bring my family especially my mother who is battling cancer into your bullshit!

    I know you basic social skills but seriously don’t cross the line!

    Last warning!

  27. Redtruth

    Defence

    Arsenal’s defensive issues have been well documented over the last few years and they have already conceded 34 league goals this season.

    During the first 13 league games under Emery, the Gunners conceded 19 goals (1.46 goals per game), with their opponents managing 218 shots (16.7 per game) and 73 shots on target (5.6 per game).

    Under Ljungberg, the Gunners let in eight goals in five games (1.6 goals per game), faced 69 shots (13.8 per game) and conceded 28 shots on target (5.6 per game).

    Arteta has started to improve their defence during his short time at the club as they have conceded seven goals in seven league games so one per game.

    Arsenal have conceded 87 shots (12.42 per game) and 29 shots on target (4.14 per game) in that time, with both averages an improvement on Emery and Ljungberg’s.

    Attack

    All three managers have had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe at their disposal, but Arsenal have still struggled for goals this season.

    Under Emery, Arsenal scored 18 league goals at a rate of 1.38 goals per game, coming from 162 shots (12.46 per game) and 58 shots on target (4.46 per game).

    Ljungberg was a fine winger in his playing days, but the Gunners only scored six goals from his five games in charge, averaging 1.2 goals per game. Arsenal had a total of 50 shots in those games (10.0 per game) and 18 shots on target (3.6 per game), both of which were down from Emery.

    Since Arteta was appointed as manager, Arsenal have eight goals from seven games which works out at 1.14 goals per game. They had 67 shots (9.57 per game) in that time, with 20 shots on target (2.85 per game).

    Possession

    During Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal, the club was renowned for possession-based football, but they haven’t maintained the same ball retention skills recently.

    When Emery was in charge this season, the Gunners had an average possession of 56.23%, but that has surprisingly dropped to 54.4% under Ljungberg and 52.57% under Arteta.

  28. The Godfather

    Undie,
    We can do it anyway you want and take wherever it needs to go. Hell we can involve wives, kids and whatever …. I’m just saying watch where you tread.

    I do not cross lines on people who are innocent and uninvolved. Why you would say something about someone’s mom over a football discussion is beyond me but whatever

    Word is enough for the wise

  29. Redtruth

    Comparing Nicolas Pepe’s Arsenal stats under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta

    After a difficult start to his Arsenal career, Nicolas Pepe is finally starting to show signs of realising his true potential under Mikel Arteta.

    Pepe joined the Gunners in a £72million deal in 2019 but failed to live up to expectations and eventually fell out of favour under Unai Emery.

    We’ve compared the 25-year-old’s stats under Arteta to those he recorded under Emery at Arsenal to see where he has improved.

    Under Emery

    Games: 16
    Starts: 9
    Sub appearances: 7

    Goals: 3
    Assists: 4

    Minutes per goal: 315.3
    Minutes per goal or assist: 135.1

    Pepe’s record under Arteta

    Games: 16
    Starts: 13
    Sub appearances: 3

    Goals: 4
    Assists: 3

    Minutes per goal: 279.7
    Minutes per goal or assist: 159.8

    As the stats show, Pepe often had to settle for a place on the bench under Emery, but the forward has become an integral part of Arteta’s team.

    The Ivory Coast international is also scoring on a slightly much more regular basis under Arteta, although his assist rate was higher under Emery.

  30. Champagne Charlie

    “Charlie tell me how this observation from today’s game is causing such an uproar?“

    Well I can’t, but that’s because it’s not what I’ve quoted from you is it….

    Look, Santi has had a brilliant season this season in La Liga by whatever metric there is to judge a player. Your argument against that has been supported by nothing outside of dismissing any and all in favour of him.

    Been a bit awkward tbh, one of those things that just doesn’t deserve the time that it’s been given as the reality is that obvious.

  31. The Godfather

    Charlie ,

    Just to keep in context.

    Six of Santi’s EPL goals were penalty kicks

    Vs

    Grenada
    Espanyol
    Mallorca
    Osasuna
    Betis
    Valldolid

    Again I’m not here to dig Santi, I’m just saying our numbers into context

  32. The Godfather

    *dog* Santi!

    But he isn’t racking in goals against
    Madrid, Athleti or Barca …

    Or whatever other top teams in that league .

    Anyway I’m done.

    Luv you all!

  33. RockyRoe

    Un

    What’s with the mum jokes to a stranger online? Bad fucking form.

    But then from what I’ve read from you in here, is about your level. Also, I do remember you saying you won’t be posting here anymore, what happened?

  34. Bojangles

    I prefer to allow Arteta speak for himself

    “At the moment, we don’t have the ability to batter teams for 95 minutes. If you are not able to do that you have to be very able to compete and be a team. A team means that the 11 who started and all of the subs really make a difference in the game.”

  35. The Backpass

    I love santi, but he cant hack it in the premiership.. He still has that control and all those things but if you watch Villareals game regularly and not follow up some stat, you would see why.

    My favorite arsenal player this decade.. Shame really, A 25 year old santi Would be glorious.

  36. The Backpass

    “Santi is finished at the highest level and you want him back. lol dimwit”

    I don’t think he watches villareal regularly, obviously still class on the ball but his body wouldn’t cope.

    Similar player is David silva. David Silva did not have Santi like injury but his explosiveness and dynamism isn’t there anymore, age finally caught up with him

    Just like how Joaquin at 38 is still one of/or the best players for betis this season.

  37. Thorough

    Thanks @Pierre and Unnanai.
    I think for the rest of the season we can cope just fine as we have players coming in left, right and center. For example, from the last match we can easily introduce 5 players that didn’t start and not look out of place – Holding, Bellerin, AMN, Pepe and Lacazette for Kola, Soares, Tierney, Saka and Nketiah respectively. The real test is next season.

    And of course, his views are quite fascinating as you said.

  38. alex cutter

    “Someone triggered him and he got a butt hurt”

    Someone’s trying to sound younger than he is.

  39. peanuts&monkeys

    Pedro: “……(Traore) who was starting to control the game a little. ”

    A little? Really, Pedro? Roght from the 46th min till 70th minute, Wolves were toying around with Arsenal. And, Traore was the key driver all this while. I guess they raided Arsenal defence half at least 10 times during this period. And, Traore almost scored. Arsenal was outright lucky to not have conceded during the first 25 mins of Traore magic on display.

    Why did Arsenal have to buy Pepe and not Traore? Can anyone remember Pepe having a spell of 20 straight minutes where he beat def after def and crossed for assists? Traore is 3x faster than Pepe, has better penetration than Pepe, has similar or better ball-control than Pepe, younger than Pepe is, has a built of a battle-tank with speed of Wallcott. Why the F*&^ wud Arsenal not buy Traore instead of Pepe? Its still not too late, let’s swap with Pepe. Wolve will happily sign the deal.

  40. Dark Hei

    CC

    Agree with Backpass.

    I love Santi but his ankles will break in EPL because that is what some goons will do.

  41. Dark Hei

    “Uh Oh we’ve made Jose really mad😂😂😂”

    Lovely. So sweet to suck in those emotions.

    Only RT is unhappy about that. I think he is a Jose fanboy if I recall correctly.

  42. Nelson

    I agree that Traore is currently a better player than Pepe. Pepe has a better shot. He needs support from his teammates to get the chance to execute it. It is up to Arteta to make it happens.

  43. Emiratesstroller

    The Godfather

    I don’t think that it was very clever for Arsenal posters winding up Mourinho.

    The club should be doing its talking on the pitch. In such a situation Spurs are
    likely to raise their game.

    Arsenal have got a very difficult schedule until the end of the season and we
    need to be totally focussed on each game as it comes.

  44. Tony

    “Santi is finished at the highest level and you want him back. lol dimwit”

    Thorough Don’s best of his personas can be deemed ‘dimwit’ the other multiple personalities range from moron & racist to completely unhinged.

    On the plus side it won’t be long before Don has another meltdown self-imposed absence or is binned.

    Stupid is as stupid does applies to all his characters personified here, though, so at least he’s constant in that respect.

  45. Valentin

    I have not seen the Arsenal tweets, but was it really a dig at Spurs?
    From the description, it looks more like a congratulations to Arsenal.
    Maybe Mourinho just use that as fire for his Spurs players: “Look they are making fun of us, let’s rally and catch them and we will be the one having the last laugh.”

  46. Ishola70

    Spurs are always there to take the piss out of .

    It’s a natural course.

    Shouldn’t be worried about any Spurs repercussions.

  47. Dark Hei

    Ishola70

    Amen to that.

    If one can’t enjoy this, don’t be a sports fan. End of the day, this is entertainment.

  48. Guns of Hackney

    “Arsenal are a team”. This sentence is something that couldn’t have been said since 2006, I’d say.

    Very good against a good side. Away. Excellent.

    Now, let’s sell Auba and Lacazette for cash money and rebuild the goddamn middle. End the careers of the troubled bunch. You know who that are and let’s get this Arsenal team firing with youth.

    As for Martinez. Nice. I’d sell Leno for £40m and make Martinez no.1.

    £50m for Auba. £30m for Laca. £30m for Leno. £50m for the rest. I’d say that’s a handsome sum for Arteta to get us top four next season.

  49. Pierre

    I don’t think jose is getting the best out of the Tottenham players.

    Bergwijn and Celso are both quality additions to the squad , although Tottenham are probably missing the intelligence of Eriksen , kane especially.

    Their problem is squad balance, bringing in Bergwijn and Celso when they already have Son, Lamella and Moura , it would appear they have too many like for like players.
    Players who like travelling with the ball though not perceptive passers of the ball.

    He’s playing Dier at the back, wbo is not a natural defender and Aurier at full back who is not reliable, so they look a bit of a mess at the moment.
    The keeper I’ve never rated too highly.

    However , they do have talent and could be very dangerous opponents if their attacking players click on the day.

    I’m expecting a tough game next week.

  50. Emiratesstroller

    GoH

    Too much talk of selling players and not enough about building a team and stability.

    The club needs two good goalkeepers on its books so it would be madness offloading Leno. What happens if one gets injured?

    As Arteta has suggested Arsenal should not be selling their best players. What
    we need to do is offload the dross or unwanted players such as Guendouzi and
    bring in one or two class players specifically in midfield.

  51. Guns of Hackney

    ES

    It’s about selling our top assets while they are still an asset. That’s how business works. You don’t hold onto something that has no value or, sign them up and watch them milk the club dry…again! No thanks.

    Auba and Laca aren’t all that anyway.

    No team can have two very good GK. Leno has the value so he’s the one we sell. Bring in Hart as back up.

    We have to build a unit and to do that, we can’t have egos.

  52. Guns of Hackney

    Auba 31. Laca 29.

    £250kpw on Auba and £175kpw on the balloon boy? No dice.

    We could get £90m for these two clowns and rebuild the midfield and get a decent forward.

    You lot can’t do business.

  53. Northbanker

    We don’t need 35 year olds such as Santi – much as he was the business a few years ago.

    We do need 3 players for next season – 2 CMs (Partey and Szoboszlai?) and 1 CB (Upamecano).

    We get rid of Laca, Guen, Kola, Sok, Mavrapanos, Mikhi, and Mustafi for as much as we can raise. Possibly also Bellerin. Ozil won’t go and we have to accept it will be a contract run-down but you never know and maybe he’ll start thinking soon about the time ahead and reduce his contract demands. If we sell Auba (I’m in 2 minds but can see it would be a great statement to keep him) then we need another striker – Jovic or Edouard.

    And if can do all of that, which isn’t inconceivable, I believe we will be top 4 and moving back to compete seriously for trophies.

  54. Nelson

    Pools did a lot of selling. But they know whom to buy. If we are just signing players like Mari, Soare and Luiz, we won’t go far.

  55. Emiratesstroller

    GoH

    That is fine if you are flush with funds and well endowed with playing personnel in our squad, but that is not the case at the moment.

    Arsenal have some promising young goalkeepers coming through the Academy.I would rather develop those goalkeepers as third string since Macey is leaving and farm them out for experience to lower division clubs.

    There has been too much emphasis supported by posters on Le Grove on
    offloading large numbers of players rather than recruiting selectively.

    Liverpool bought hardly any players last season whereas we turned over large
    numbers of players, which was part of the problem earlier in the season. Our
    team played like strangers.

  56. Freddie Ljungberg

    ES

    “Liverpool bought hardly any players last season whereas we turned over large
    numbers of players, which was part of the problem earlier in the season. Our
    team played like strangers.”

    The difference is that Liverpool already had one of the top 2 squads in the country and ours is still loaded up with average players. We need at least one great window with a lot of outgoings as well before we can approach transfers the way they do now. They had 5 years to get to this point, we’ve had 2.

  57. Freddie Ljungberg

    I really hope that all this chat about giving new contracts to Laca and Mustafi is just to keep them sweet until the end of the season. We’re going nowhere fast by banking on the slight improvement of average or mistake prone players.

    They’re both already on high wages that could be used much better, sell and move on.

  58. raptora

    Good to see that everytime I come here there is a couple of mom “jokes” thrown around like it’s nothing. Good ol’ Don still in form I see.

  59. Uwot?

    North banker.Like the cut of your jib.Excellent transfer selection.Those 3 would be perfect.Then we might start to get our mojo back…….

  60. China1

    Freddie yeah

    Based on Arteta approach so far, it seems like he revels in the coaching side of things and part of me wonders if he has an eye on trying to just work magic on the average/dross/underperformers through coaching improvements instead.

    I mean if he can walk on water and turn players like xhaka, laca, mustafi into awesome players that will be one thing and he’d deserve all the credit in the world for it, but players do have a ceiling, and it’s very unlikely that average players can become excellent players just through a bit of tweaking here and there.

    We are still a very long way away from where we need to be, so marginal gains on the average and dross shouldn’t be anything more than maximizing what we get out of the short term before we replace with genuine quality

    I do believe Arteta is probably a really talented coach though, I just don’t want him to believe his own hype too much and try and prove the world wrong with average players – something reminiscent of what arsene always did where he would ignore the prevailing sentiment to show he could do it his way – even though he couldn’t lol

  61. Graham62

    GoH

    “Auba and Laca are not all that anyway”

    Really?

    Based on these uncertain times, I’d say they were more than adequate.

  62. Valentin

    Stroller,

    Leno is a great shot stopper, but nowadays we need more from a goalkeeper. He is suspect under high balls. He is not very vocal and does not organise his defense. That could be acceptable if we have a vocal leader at CB such as Tony Adams or Per, but we don’t.

    Our current No1 is not up to the level we need. Last summer I pointed out that we should sell Leno, either promote Martinez or get a new No1. We can get a cheaper and better goalkeeper than Leno such as Areola.

    With that money we can invest in fixing the central midfield. We need a physically dominant, agile, quick “relayeur”. Somebody who can act as a DM but can also act as a relay between the defense and the attack.

    Torreira due to his physical limitations, is only effective as part of a midfield 3. It is also true of Xhaka and Ceballos who when put under pressure will either lose the ball or recycle backward. That is why Willock is now put on during second half and look like a game changer. He takes the ball on the half turn and drive forward. Without that kind of player, we look pedestrian.

  63. Emiratesstroller

    Freddie Ljungberg

    Arsenal are not going to throw huge sums at transfer market this summer. My
    guess is that we will spend £40-45 Million on Partey plus maybe another £20-25 Million on one more player. That would bring our spend up to about £80-85 Million if you add in Mari. You should also not forget that we have to pay 20%
    instalment for Pepe which would bring our commitment up to £95-100 Million.

    My view is that Arsenal will not bring in any more defenders this summer. We
    have bought one new CB [Mari], Saliba arrives for next season and Luiz has
    signed a contract extension.

    We may of course offload a number of defenders who are surplus to requirement. I see no logic in having 8 CBs on books so I can see up to three
    leaving. It would also not surprise me that Kolasinac leaves if we get a decent
    offer because Saka would be a perfectly adequate alternative for Tierney as and when required.

    The only forward who might leave this summer is Lacazette, although I am
    not sure that is necessarily in Arteta’s plans. What I am now pretty sure is
    that Aubameyang will stay whether or not he signs a new contract. You are
    not going to buy a proven replacement for £30-35 Million.

    The priority for Arsenal this summer is midfield particularly if both Ceballos
    and Guendouzi leave. Also you have to factor in that Ozil is now unreliable. So
    we need at least 2 new players in that department even if Smith-Rowe returns
    from loan and that is going to cost our entire transfer budget.

  64. Pierre

    The one time we were caught out defensively at the weekend , when Traore was through early second half, was the one time that we tried to find our striker with a risky ball in the centre of the pitch.

    Cedric’s pass was way off target but from then on Kolasinac was culpable.
    Kolasinac had probably a 15 yard start on Traore when wolves had possession, his positioning was very good but from the time Wolves gained possession , not once did he look at traore until it was too late..he switched off for the vital 3 seconds that could have cost us the match.

    A proper defender would have had alarm bells ringing as soon as wolves gained possession, not Kolasinac.
    A proper defender would have sprinted back to form a defensive line, not kolasinac.
    A proper defender would know that traore was the danger , not kolasinac.

    And that’s why he should be sold , because he sleepwalks and switches off at crucial times and that will never change however much he is coached.

  65. Freddie Ljungberg

    ES

    Yeah, I think we’ll sign 2-3 players at best but it won’t be because we’re somehow emulating what Liverpool did last summer, it would be because we simply don’t have the funds and the players we want rid of either won’t leave or won’t fetch much of a transfer fee.
    Still think we have to be bolder this window if at all possible and get rid of as much dross as possible, even if it’s for free or we have to subsidize wages. We’ll be much better off in the long run.

    The goal is of course to get your squad to a place where you only have to buy 1-2 players per season so you can get absolute top quality, we’re not there yet.

  66. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre

    As I have just posted I agree with you that Kolasinac is a defensive liability who came in on a Bosman and costs us an unrealistic wage for his performance level. I would like to see him sold.

    I think that Saka has proven this season that he is a better alternative for Tierney as and when required.

    I think that Saka will be used next season as a utility player in a range of different positions as and when required. He will not be an automatic starter
    in any particular position. It will take at least one more season before the club
    decides which is his best position in the team.

  67. Champagne Charlie

    Dark Hei

    I never made any comment about Santi coming back to the Prem or doing it in the Prem, I said he was having a blinder this season in La Liga which was oddly argued against (with nothing).

    That boat has sailed, he was let go, but I think the PL physicality is getting overstated a bit. Lost track of how many times we’ve witnessed pedestrian paced games and those lacking tempo.

    La Liga isn’t played with mojitos in hand, it’s a bit of a lazy bumming up of the Prem to claim it this physical beast. It can be, but can’t say it’s been present much for Arsenal much the last two years.

  68. The Backpass

    I actually believe we need a LW if Lacazette were to leave and am happy Ornstein said Arteta wants a winger, then auba can go back to being a striker.

    Honestly, I believe we need 2 midfielders and 1 winger and if funds are available then 1 defender (upamecano), would understand if they just went for 2CM’S and a Winger.

    Saka can’t be trusted to be our starting winger yet ditto Martinelli.

    Personally believe Arteta sees as a midfielder like Bernardo Silva, who can occasionally fill in on the wings.

  69. The Backpass

    Emirates
    ” think that Saka will be used next season as a utility player in a range of different positions as and when required. He will not be an automatic starter
    in any particular position. It will take at least one more season before the club
    decides which is his best position in the team.”

    I agree.

  70. Sid

    Who let the Don out? Who, who, who
    Who let the Don out? Who, who, who

    Get back gruffy, mash scruffy
    Get back you flea infested mongrel

  71. Champagne Charlie

    Chilwell and Maddison major doubts for Arsenal according to Brenda.

    They’ve been a sham since the restart, but found something in the second half against Palace after another toothless first half.

  72. Champagne Charlie

    Chilwell and Maddison major doubts for Arsenal according to Brenda.

    They’ve been a sham since the restart but found something in the last 20 mins against

  73. Pierre

    un
    Must be time for Willock to start…his sub appearances recently have changed the game.
    And when he started v shef Utd the team’s performance dropped when he was taken off on the hour mark.

    Of course ” the negatives” on Le Grove will give him little or no credit for his influence on our recent results…

  74. Graham62

    Did someone on here yesterday mention that Willock is better than Mason Mount?

    Not yet he isn’t.

  75. Champagne Charlie

    Un

    Pipe dream mate, but do think Santi fancies a spell as a coach. Just not sure if his form this year has given him appetite for another season.

  76. Pierre

    Back pass
    If Arteta wants a left winger then he obviously sees Saka as a more central midfielder.

    Pace is the one aspect of saka’s game that is lacking though I wouldn’t call him a slouch.
    Arteta may want more pace out wide..

  77. Nelson

    One think I like Raul. He would not give out an Ozil like contract. Almost every footballer tries harder before a contract renewal. But some older players down tool right afterwards. I would offer a lower base salary but with good add on.

  78. Valentin

    I love Santi, but rather than the first team, I would like him to teach technical skill at Arsenal. The fact that we have so many CM who are not only ridiculously one footed, but also can’t make 25 yards pass is shocking.

    There is also a dearth of players who can make different types of passes: outside of the boot, inside step, etc. I remember Song using repeatedly small loop (a la pitching wedge in golf) over the defense to RvP. Big defenders could not turn quickly enough to block the shot.

    The uniformity of passes means that defenders are rarely caught off guard. So we either pace or benefit from mistakes caused by our own pressures. Gone are the days where crosses or passes where taking out an entire line. That is why Saka crosses are so impressive, they are flat (in vertical sense), hard but still curved enough to go around defenders.

  79. Terraloon

    ES

    Unless players are sold I can’t see how Arsenal are going to be able to fund the quality signings that most agree need to be signed.

    Read AST recent summary in terms of the current financial situation.

    https://www.arsenaltrust.org/feed/afc-finances/2020/AST-Debt-Position

    In terms of the stadium debt nothing new but of course the finance charges will still amount to circa £20 million its the £40 million net that Arsenal are already committed to paying in respect of historical transfers.

    We won’t know for a while what the cash position at end 19/20 trading year but AST are convinced that Arsenal are now into overdraft.

  80. Pierre

    I’m waiting to see if Saka is capable of creating from a more central role, as yet we haven’t seen it.
    I think he is more than capable of playing a Kevin Debruyne role where he drifts left of centre to hit low crosses across the face of goal , he does have that ball in his repertoire.
    He just needs to drift into the left channel area more often, similar to the way Willock created our 2nd goal at the weekend.

  81. The Backpass

    Pierre

    “I’m waiting to see if Saka is capable of creating from a more central role, as yet we haven’t seen it.
    I think he is more than capable of playing a Kevin Debruyne role where he drifts left of centre to hit low crosses across the face of goal , he does have that ball in his repertoire.
    He just needs to drift into the left channel area more often, similar to the way Willock created our 2nd goal at the weekend.”

    Yeah, he has those lovely low crosses. I believe he would be wasted as a winger, very interested to see what Arteta think his is long term position.

  82. Useroz

    A moot point to look at Santi as much as some like him as a player. No future at his age. We ought to identify youngish players and build for the future (2, 3 years).

    More concerning is media reporting, hopefully bs, Arteta’s interest to renew Mustafi!? Seriously??

    After the Xhara, Luiz, Mari (and Mikhi) saga, giving Mustafi a contract is beyond reproach and Arteta must be held accountable. Calls into question his judgment big time.

    To a lesser extent, Arteta mentioned about Laca contract discussion… not good for my liking. We need precious fund and Laca should be sold to raise money. Surely 15m+…and that could buy at least a third of Partey.

  83. Useroz

    A moot point to look at Santi as much as some like him as a player. No future at his age. We ought to identify youngish players and build for the future (2, 3 years).

    More concerning is media reporting, hopefully bs, Arteta’s interest to renew Mustafi!? Seriously??

    After the Xhara, Luiz, Mari (and Mikhi) saga, giving Mustafi a contract is beyond reproach and Arteta must be held accountable. Calls into question his judgment big time.

    To a lesser extent, Arteta mentioned about Laca contract discussion… not good for my liking. We need precious fund and Laca should be sold to raise money. Surely 15m+…and that could buy at least a third of Partey.

  84. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Pierre
    I differ from what I’ve seen of salad. He is very much a player in the Kenny dagleish style…

  85. Hitman49

    Strange how people want to question players as not good enough or too expensive when their performances may have improved unbelievably due to, coaching and system they are being played in…
    I have no axe to grind with any players as I felt a clean sheet and new start was the only acceptable thing to give them,yes past is past remind me of our clubs old motto.

  86. Leedsgunner

    With Wigan AFC on the ropes, and our finances being tight… any young talent we could pick on the cheap?

  87. Dissenter

    If you believe the tabloids then it seems Arteta is anti-change manager urging the club to extend the contracts of Lacazette and Mustafi.
    I hope the tabloids are just being silly tbh.

  88. Northbanker

    We don’t need to do anything with the goalkeepers. That position is settled with 2 decent keepers vying for no 1 (edge with Martinez but let’s see on this)

    We do need to buy Partey, Szoboszlai and Upamecano and sell 5 – 7 players. Probably keep Auba (short term boost but longer term issue I suspect).

    We will be quite close to getting self funded deals doing that and addressing the key issues that will otherwise prevent us from competing.

    Once we’ve done that we might finally be in a position where we can make small adjustments.

  89. Radio Raheem

    Cazorla ‘struggles’ against a Messi-inspired barca side. Shock horror. He must be shit and can’t hack the Prem. That La Liga must also be shit too.

    God help us.

    I commend Charlie and Un for being patient enough to dispel all that guff.

    The Premier league is brilliant at making money, the best in the world in fact. But when it comes to the football it’s pretty mediocre. When compare the money investment with the resulting football on display the Premier league is very inefficient. But there’s no way of knowing this if you don’t look elsewhere.

  90. Ishola70

    Radio Raheem

    You will find most leagues are very average bar their real top teams.

    Once in a while you will get a team that breaks the trend and breaks out such as Atalanta this season in Italy. They may not be winning any league this season due to the heavy points scoring of those few teams above them but from where they have come from they have broken out.

    That’s why people get so interested in these teams that break out from averageness. It’s because for the vast majority of the time it’s the same old teams dominating their league with the rest average.

  91. Radio Raheem

    Ishola

    I see what you mean. But having one or two teams dominating doesn’t translate to others being crap. We saw Liverpool get eliminated by Atletico, who were not top 3 in Spain at the time.

    I’ve seen organisation and team play in a team like Freiburg to match the best of the Premier league. My money is on Bayern winning the champions league this year, they’re simply on a different level compared to any other side. It’s no surprise they walked their league.

    Liverpool must be the only decent side in the Premier league with ridiculous points gap between them and everyone else.

    Atalanta’s progress has been steady the last few years actually.

    Levante play Real Sociedad later today. Watch it and compare it to what you see in Tottenham v Everton.

  92. Ishola70

    Radio Raheem

    Atletico Madrid had already broken out previously and now they are not as consistent as before. They are still in CL place in Spain even though their standards have dropped from previous. Does that not tell you that the rest are average considering Atleti have dropped from previous standards but still will qualify for CL.

    All teams can raise their games from time to time. This still doesn’t prevent them from being average overall.

    It’s doubtful that any Atletico Madrid fan will tell you his team has been good this season overall compared to their recent past.

  93. Ishola70

    Radio

    “I’ve seen organisation and team play in a team like Freiburg to match the best of the Premier league”

    But this can’t be on a regular basis can it otherwise Freiburg would be near the top of the Bundesliga going by your description of them there.

    All teams can raise their game occasionally.

    If you haven’t got the consistency of performance it doesn’t add up to much except these fans of these sort of teams can look at a few good performances during a whole season of mediocrity.

  94. Chris

    I’d back Everton to turn over either Levante or Sociedad.

    Spurs would probably lose to all of them though!

  95. Chris

    I still back the Premier League to be the best league in the world.

    The leagues in Italy, Germany and France May have some exciting teams but at the end of the season it is always the same team winning the title and that isn’t likely to change any time soon.

    In Spain it is either one of two.

    Our league generates far more excitement.

  96. Jim Lahey

    Where do people stand with Roberto Firmino? The amount of Liverpool fans I see calling him one of the best in the league..

  97. Radio Raheem

    Remember when peak Everton finished 4th or 5th under Moyes? How shit were they in Europe?

    Everton will struggle against Mallorca.

  98. Chris

    Bit of a different Everton side from 15 years ago though Radio Raheem, if we are talking about the here and now.

  99. salparadisenyc

    My Liverpool mate says if you take Hendo out of the side they don’t win the title.
    Not sure I believe that but he absolutely does.

  100. Pierre

    RR
    “The Premier league is brilliant at making money, the best in the world in fact. But when it comes to the football it’s pretty mediocre”

    So mediocre that we had all 4 finalists in Europe last season.

  101. Champagne Charlie

    “My Liverpool mate says if you take Hendo out of the side they don’t win the title.
    Not sure I believe that but he absolutely does”

    Fully believe it. Lad has become a cornerstone of their midfield because of application and professionalism. He’s limited, but he’s proof of a valuable cog in a machine vs the clamour for world class per head.

    Went from fans hating him, the club wanting to use him in a part-exchange, to him being captain of their title winning side.

  102. Radio Raheem

    Un

    I think you’re being patriotic but that’s fine. Top 10 richer yes, better footballing sides? No.

    Chris

    Just messing. Neither of us can really say for certain.

    But if you compiled a list of winners in European competitions from the inception of these competitions to now you’ll find British clubs behind those from Spain. It’s the closest to any sort empirical comparison you can get.

    As for ‘eye’ test simply watch the matches. For the money spent the Premier league is poor. That’s just my opinion obviously.

  103. Radio Raheem

    Pierre

    A broken clock tells time correctly twice a day. You need a wider time span to really compare?

  104. Radio Raheem

    Un

    I think the premier league is proof of law of diminishing (marginal) returns. So the football is actually poorer because they are richer.

    How many times do you hear the manager needs his own set of players? It’s always about, quite literally, chucking money at a problem. This approach is fuelled by a variety of factors of course…

    It’s ok we can agree to disagree, a game of opinions after all.

  105. Radio Raheem

    Un

    I think the premier league is proof of law of diminishing (marginal) returns. So the football is actually poorer because they are richer.

    How many times do you hear the manager needs his own set of players? It’s always about, quite literally, chucking money at a problem. This approach is fuelled by a variety of factors of course…

    It’s ok we can agree to disagree, a game of opinions after all.

  106. Radio Raheem

    Un

    I think the premier league is proof of law of diminishing (marginal) returns. So the football is actually poorer because they are richer.

    How many times do you hear the manager needs his own set of players? It’s always about, quite literally, chucking money at a problem. This approach is fuelled by a variety of factors of course…

    It’s ok we agree to disagree, it is a game of opinions after all.

  107. TR7

    Technical level of footballers in EPL is abysmal. In fact bar Man City, no team in the league is strong technically. Even mid table La Liga teams have better technical level than most of the EPL teams. KDB and Bernardo Silva are the only two players who are top class in terms of footballing technique.

  108. mb

    Arteta sticking on his stance for Ozil and Guen

    on whether Ozil and Guendouzi could play this week…
    Still, the situation is as it was before.

    I believe Guen will be sold. We can’t do anything with Ozil though!

  109. luke

    TR7: David Silva? Getafe have a horrible technical level and very much rely on physicality. Reasonable point but over generalized IMO.

  110. Pierre

    TR7
    Sadly technique is becoming a dirty word at Arsenal football club and their supporters.

    Our 2 most technical players( Pepe and Ozil) are becoming surplus to requirements due to the changing nature of the premier league.

    Wenger is heavily criticised on here for building a highly technical team in the mould of barca , with little or no money, that played better football than the invincibles.

    Give me that brand of football ALL DAY LONG.

  111. TR7

    Luke

    David Silva is pretty much in the twilight of his career and I believe on his way back to Spain. This is why I am not counting him in, a superb player otherwise and technically brilliant.

  112. TR7

    Pierre

    You think Pepe is technically a sound player ? Interesting

    I think of Pepe as someone who can produce a few brilliant moments every now and then but not an exquisite player who can perform at a high level on a regular basis. I don’t think he has a lot of poise and balance.

  113. Leftfootcurler

    Samir
    LCB has to defend the left spaces and on occasions the flanks. Tierney is fine for that. Back3 CB is different from CB in back 4.
    Also disagree, Tierney has the potential to be a great CB in a back 4 too.
    As for me putting mustafi at RCB, it’s because I have never seen Saliba play.
    Mari is left footed,his passing angles will get limited if he plays RCB. Should always play on the left.
    I would like to keep mustafi as far away from the xi as possible but until I know how good saliba is,he stays in the team.