Rugged Arsenal defensive performance. Say what?

by & filed under News Review.

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

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

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Un na naai

    I think cazorla could cut it in the prem. not starting, week in week out. But he’s elite talent. You don’t lose that footballing intelligence and touch. Look at teddy sherringham and Bergkamp
    Look at henrik at Manchester United

    Cazorla could do a job.
    Yes that ship may well have sailed but he’s on a free soon and we need creative midfielders. 20 mins off the bench and he’s a game changer. Or you use him to keep the ball when we are 2-0 up and looking to not give away a silly goal. I’m not expecting prime stevie G, thundering into challenges but to say he has nothing to offer us at this stage of his career or over the last two years just isn’t true.

    One final season of Santi before he inevitably joins Arteta’s coaching staff? Yes please

  8. 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

  9. 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…

  10. Graham62

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

    Not yet he isn’t.

  11. 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.

  12. 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..

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Un na naai

    Pierre

    I’d keep him on the bench for now mate. He seems to be a game changer for us if the original game plan isn’t going quite as hoped or just to freshen our attack up a bit

    He will be a big player for us in the coming years though.
    Nice to see you vindicated on Nketiah too. I just admit I hadn’t expected this level of work rate and overall performance so soon. Delightful surprise

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Un na naai

    Champagne CharlieJuly 6, 2020 11:29:31
    UnPipe 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.

    Chuck
    It’s a hypothetical debate, I know. My point stands though. Santi could come into our team tomorrow and make a difference.
    I’ll be happy to see him return in any role really.

  22. 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…

  23. 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.

  24. Leedsgunner

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. Chris

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

    Spurs would probably lose to all of them though!

  33. 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.

  34. 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..

  35. Radio Raheem

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

    Everton will struggle against Mallorca.

  36. Un na naai

    Jim

    Yeah firminho is a boss. Such a clever player and a total unsung hero. Does all the clever work and lets mane and salah take the plaudits

    Without him they aren’t winning the league this season. I’d argue after vvd he’s their most important player along with fabinho

    Both those two facilitate their game

  37. Chris

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

  38. 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.

  39. Un na naai

    Radio

    I think Everton under Ancelotti will prove time be a different beast.
    I also think our league is tougher than any in the world. That doesn’t mean Santi couldn’t produce moments of magic in the premier league for us if he were to play tomorrow but the top 10 teams in our league are stronger than the top 10 in any league in the world.

    I’d like to call it now
    I see Man City or juve winning the champions league this season.

  40. Un na naai

    Chris

    Yeah good shout
    Milner is very good for them too. Does a job (7/10) whenever and wherever he plays

    The thing about this Liverpool team is that it’s a real team. Every component plays a vital role rather than the great teams of the past who has more standout individual that made the difference- Lampard, Henry, Ronaldo.

    I wouldn’t put mane, Henderson or Salah in their league

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. Un na naai

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1305200/Arsenal-transfer-news-Hector-Bellerin-PSG/amp

    Now is the perfect time to cash in.
    He needs a refresh himself. Nice lad but if we can get £30-£35m for him then it’s a no brainer.

    Ok I’m going to play the transfer window game and spell out what we’ve got to work with.

    So we could be looking at
    Bellerin £30m
    Kolasinac £10-£15m
    Mavropanos £5-8m
    Mustafi £15-£20m (I’d keep him by the way)
    Sok £3-5m
    Elneny £5-8m
    Guendouzi £40m
    Lacazette £25m
    Mkhitaryan £10m in wages
    Ozil £18m in wages

    That’s a minimum of £160m there

    With a squad of
    Leno
    Martinez
    Soares
    (New rb)
    Holding
    Chambers
    Saliba
    Luiz
    Mari
    Tierney
    (New lb)
    Willock
    Xakha
    Torreira
    AMN
    (New cmf 8)
    (New amf 10)
    ESR
    Saka
    Pepe
    Martinelli
    Aubameyang
    Nketiah
    John jules
    Balogun (if he stays)

    That’s your basic 25man squad
    With £160m to play with we could add another centre half and another midfielder there
    We could re-loan Ceballos next season which I think there is a good chance may happen .

  44. 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.

  45. Radio Raheem

    Pierre

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

  46. Un na naai

    Radio

    No. I genuinely think that our top 10 teams are superior. Yes they are richer. And they are better because they are richer (for the most part) but they are still better in my opinion

    Take us. We are 7th
    In Italy, France or Spain we are top 4 this season hands down

    The German league is the only one comparable in terms of mid level competitors in my honest and humble opinion.

  47. Un na naai

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

    Radio
    Yes technically. However this league isn’t geared up for technical football across the board. Every country has its own footballing style and identity. The British have always played hard and fast football. It stands to reason our league would produce a similar style.

    Technical players tend to come from warmer climates but also tend to be a bit softer. I’d guess that’s why so few fancy the pissy Tuesday winter nights and rough style. That’s not to say we don’t have high quality technical players littered around the league. Or that we can’t outcompete our counterparts using other methods. Technicality whilst being the purest form of the game is not the only way to skin a cat
    Just look at the success chelsea and Rafa’s Liverpool had in the mid-late 2000s.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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!

  53. luke

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

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. Un na naai

    Radio

    Yeah I agree. I really am not a fan of the crass way teams waste money and buy their solutions. I think I’ve made that clear over the years with my obvious disgust. Take spurs beating city in the champions league for example.

    I much prefer the organic, holistic approach
    Grass routes
    Youth team. Home grown lads

  58. Un na naai

    Tr7

    Does dribbling and shooting not count when considering technical ability or is it based solely around game reading, first touch, vision and passing?

    Technically Pepe is a very good dribbler and striker of a football. Van Persie was quite similar in his early 20s and went on to become super technical around 28-32

  59. 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.