It always stings.

by & filed under News Review.

Losing a North London derby isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s not supposed to come with positives. It is always utterly shit. Losing to ‘that’ Jose Mourinho mess stung like a wet towel to the backside in a cold December Sunday League dressing room.

Everything about the loss hurt. The simple summation of the game is we didn’t take the sort of chances we normally would and individual errors cost us big again.

Kola was unable to execute a standard 10-yard pass to David Luiz. The Brazilian, low on pace at 33, didn’t have a recovery in him. Martinez, maybe didn’t make himself big enough for the Son chip. You cannot coach that sort of idiocy out of players (Emi is subtracted from that comment), it is absolute Sunday League basics. The second goal was another set-piece calamity. Kieran Tierney found himself picking up Toby from corner, no one else was paying attention, we conceded.

In attack, you saw Auba air shot from a cut back cross in the first half. The second half saw him rattle a fairly standard finish against the bar. He forced an electric save from Lloris on the half volley. Normally, you convert those. Yesterday, we didn’t.

We deserved the result. You know what Jose is going to do to you and he did it. At the highest level, you need to concentrate for the full 90 and we have players that are rarely capable of that. The Kola piece was particularly irritating. Arteta said that no one complained about his defenders when we were keeping clean sheets, I’d disagree with that. Kola was absolutely awful in the last game, so we knew something was brewing. What was alarming was how everything fell to pieces, particularly when we went a goal down. Mustafi was attacking shadows, the shape started to pick apart, and the usual suspects weren’t sharp enough.

The other absolutely key issue is the personnel in midfield. Dani Ceballos was excellent, he really put in a dogged shift, but we still struggled to create from midfield. I think part of the gameplay was to have Lacazette drop in as a 10, but that came with its own problems.

Someone asked me after the game if I still thought the players were coachable. Absolutely. It isn’t even up for discussion whether the players have been improved by better coaching. Our team is better structured, we’ve beaten some good teams on the road, and nearly all stats point to clear improvements across the board. Coaching though, will not solve for Kola making a mistake that bad from 10 yards. The mistakes, sadly, always wait in the wings with certain players. Sometimes you’ll see David Luiz have a towering game, other times, he looks like the least experienced player on the pitch. Mustafi had a great run, now he looks like he’s playing with fear again. The only way you solve for those issues is new players. The only way you deal with them this season is to continue to give them confidence and hope we see more games like those at Leicester / Wolves / Sheffield United… versus the messy output today.

On the match, I was a little confused with the post-game buoyance from Arteta. I thought we deserved the loss and couldn’t quite match his enthusiasm for the performance. I suspect maybe he knew there were a lot of tired legs out there and he knows if we go into the Liverpool game feeling sorry for ourselves, it’ll be a rout.

What I will say is the whatever you think about the game is at least we’re looking at that match as a lost opportunity. We weren’t battered or opened up. We were shithoused, but like, barely even shithoused. We should have won based on chances and not making stupid mistakes, and that’s the talking point.

We have 3 more games in the league this season and an FA Cup game that looks like it’s going to be very, very tough. Then the real work starts. This summer has to be big. If we don’t buy well and upgrade the clear areas we’re struggling in, we’ll have more games like this. Our summer needs end with a squad that is built for the vision of the coach, if it’s not, then what is the point?

Liverpool in 2 days. My word I hope we have something to give. See you in the comments.

508 Responses to “It always stings.”

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  1. Left testicle

    If Jesus could part the Red Sea surely the Liverpool defence wouldn’t be a problem.

    I would have Jesus as a sweeper with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in a four man midfield.

  2. China1

    You guys missed out for the spurs game on my stream it had tony Adams, Tim Sherwood and Darren Bent all videod in like a zoom call on the left of the screen with no actual commentary

    There was quite a bit of banter from them and it was more like watching the game down the pub with some mates who happened to be ex pros. Sherwood telling stories about how tony kicked him off the park just 3 minutes in to one match way back when. When Tim said ‘what was that for?’ Tony said ‘revenge because you fouled me when we last played 6 months ago’ LOL

    also funny watching Tony’s reactions to all defending good and bad. He got really hype whenever anyone on either side did anything right defensively and he started laughing at mustafi when he did his ghost sliding tackle


  3. Left testicle

    … and Ashley Cole.

    Sol states the bleeding obvious. It’s no wonder he didn’t make it as a manager.

  4. RockyRoe

    The thing that is irritating me about arteta is that he never seems to try something left field. I get it, the guy has a shit squad and he is working with Sunday league players but at least try to find a solution when plan A is not working.

    Half time against spurs, we saw kola having a mare, pepe being… well marginalised. Try and counter that. Saka has 5 assists from the left and has played left back, Tierney is a better defender to kola, could we had tried putting KT in place of kola and Saka in KTs place as lwb?

    If he needs an extra man at the back why not play with flat 4 at the back with LT in front of them with instructions not not cross the halfway line? Arteta was touted as a deep thinker of the game but as a manager he has been very very passive, regardless of how a game is going, brining on willock around the 65th minute is the sum total of his tactical genius. For all of UE deficiencies he was willing to change things around when he spotted something not working, many of them made at half time.

    Dare I say the loss would have been easier to stomach if at least arteta tried to do something original, I mean you are supposed to be a fucking prodigy, try to do something, anything, instead of constantly shouting “dani…dani…dani”

  5. peanuts&monkeys

    This whole approach of blaming the defence for all losses is plain childish.

    Every goal conceded has someone’s error stamped on it. Even the Spurs defender made a mispass/loose-pass resulting in the Arsenal goal. By that yardstick, Spurs couldn’t have one unless their attack played well and SCORED.

    This is the key. Scoring is the key. Arsenal loses more because it’s attack doesn’t score than because its defenders screw up. This irrational pasting of defenders is a kinda denial Arsenal fans love to live in.

  6. Leedsgunner

    Why are we working on an another loan deal for Mavropanos?

    Is it because we can’t sell him but we don’t want him back? I hope we include an obligation to buy him in there even for £5m.

    Imagine if we did that for Elneny and Mkhitaryan… although it is possible we tried and Besiktas and Roma wouldn’t bite.

    Our transfer window will only be a success if we move out long-standing deadwood players.

  7. Gentlebris

    ‘I think had Mari not got injured then Luiz doesn’t get a contract extension’

    So because slow motion got injured you had to give an extension to Mr regular accident?

    Your thinking is fast and furious.

  8. peanuts&monkeys

    The Arsenal attack is plain zero aggression, sub-zero passion and negative leadership on the pitch.

    Auba is a poor skipper.

    The attack is no devoid of any urgency you can feel with with eyes closed. Its a sham how Arsenal never tries to score in quick succession.

    I don’t think Arsenal has scored two quick goals ever in the last 4 years. I just cannot remember.

    It all goes down to the players on the pitch. I’m sure all of them are unmanageable by Arteta.

  9. Sid

    Left testicleJuly 14, 2020 09:43:00
    I’m not saying it’s a a bad thing but it’s funny how all the TV shows, especially football, are shoe-horning as many BAME presenters/pundits in as possible all of a sudden.

    Michael owen, Alan Shearer, Mark Lawrenson, Adrian Chiles cannot arouse the female audience like Sol, Viera, Micah Richards, Ballsdeep

    Im telling you for free!

  10. RockyRoe

    If we are absolutely not gonna play ozil, I hope we do whatever we have to, to move him along, even it means covering 70% of his salary. I mean saving 50k a week is better than not saving anything.

  11. Valentin


    We did that for Ospina. If he played 25 games (it may have been different number), Roma were forced to buy him at a pre-agreed price. They stopped using him at 24 games. Renegotiated the purchase price. Arsenal refused to budge, then in the end had to relent.
    BTW the 6 weeks it took to agree on that new price cost us more in Ospina wage ( > 240k = 6 X 40k – not including employer contribution) than the difference between the pre-arranged price and final price (200k).

  12. Freddie Ljungberg


    I hope we find out soon.

    When we play Xhakas next team in the europa league. That’s his level.

    I really really hope Arteta is just blowing smoke up Xhaka and Mustafi’s arses to keep them onboard until the summer. It’s a sackable offense to persuade either of them to stay.

    We need much better if we’re going to climb up the table. Even lower bottom teams has better midfielders and defenders than us nowadays, Auba is our only advantage atm. Coaching isn’t going to change that.

  13. Gentlebris

    Sore back or no sore back, Ozil would be playing every game if he would play the Arteta’s game of public ego massaging and general foot licking a la Luiz.

    Right now Arteta would have been fighting for Ozil’s extension like he did for Luiz if Ozil would tell the world every time he sees a microphone what a great job Arteta is doing at Arsenal.

    Arteta, apart from his blatant inexperience and lack of skills for game management, has an ego double the size of Pep’s and Jose’s put together.

    All Guen did was he refused to worship Arteta, and pronto, the boy was frozen out.

  14. RockyRoe

    Arteta, apart from his blatant inexperience and lack of skills for game management, has an ego double the size of Pep’s and Jose’s put together.


    Common now, u cnat know that, not at the early stage at least.

  15. Nelson

    For me, Kola is destroyed by Arteta. Kola’s strength is playing as a wingback. He would station on the sideline, receiving the ball with lot of open space in front. He would run like a tank and send a cutback.

    Kola was always a bad passer. Arteta wants him to play possession football. No wonder he looks nervous on the pitch. I don’t think he enjoys playing under Arteta.

  16. Gentlebris

    If you had a 20 year old with great potentials and you noticed he had a tendency to sometimes fall out of line, what would you do as a progressive coach?


    At least you give him a whole season under you.

    You put your arms around him and try to show him a different way, to the benefit of your employer.

    If he fails to pull himself together after your longsuffering, it will be there to be seen by all.

    You don’t arrive at a club and begin to swing your ego at a little boy of substantial promise…especially when our host on Le grove would shout in all direction that you are a ‘progressive coach’.

  17. Gentlebris

    ‘Common now, u cnat know that, not at the early stage at least.’

    Then give me another reason why Guen was not on that field on Sunday.

    Give me a reason why he was benching Martinelli before his injury.

    It is clear to see, if you are not panting around Arteta calling him ‘lord’, he thinks you don’t rate him as a coach and he thinks he has to swing his office as boss at you.

  18. Dissenter

    Someone just wrote that Arteta’s game plan was massively derailed because he lost Mari and Nkettiah.
    That’s the prevailing propaganda stuff that makes untold Arsenal look sane.

    When did Eddie and Mari become established players to build a team a strategy around?

  19. Goobergooner

    “As good as it gets? Nah, but certainly as expected given the circumstances of Arteta’s appointment mid-season and having to work on the fly.
    If you ignore that when processing your expectations then that’s a clear agenda you’re preaching.”

    I’d say it’s an expected outcome for a manager with this season’s shit fight to deal with as the only proper experience under his belt. I hope it makes him stronger in the end.

  20. gnarleygeorge9

    As of August 15 2020 Stan Kroenke will be Uncle Stan. Wow, paying off £185 million for The Arsenal to be debt free!

    So what The Arsenal lost @ White Elephant Lane, it was a ‘dead rubber‘ won by a dead man walking manager in a competition that know one can go to.

    The Arsenal can hit the ground running in 2021.

  21. GunnerDNA


    “Someone just wrote that Arteta’s game plan was massively derailed because he lost Mari and Nkettiah”

    Liverpool is on holidays so hopefully Mari and Eddie absence won’t affect the team chances of winning the game. Both jokers would struggle to make Norwich City match day squad, but this is the sauce we heard about for the last 6 months

  22. shaun

    Arsenal have a coach but what we need is a manager , Arteta seems to have learned the coaching side well from Pep but he now needs to add the ruthless manager side to his approach , look how pep dealt with Joe hart . The same players consistently making mistakes should be moved on and not helped like he seems to think as they are highly paid professionals

  23. Goobergooner

    I can only hope that Arteta really is just trying to get as much out of xhaka and mustafi to increase any value they can scrounge together for themselves. Definitely would both sell at a loss

  24. shaun

    If Auba leaves it is highly likely Arteta will install Xhaka as captain and then he will have a fan issue on his hands

  25. China1

    Speaking of tony as a manager he mentioned during the game that his last stint (which I think was in the middle east) he had his team break all the records for defense. They didn’t concede a goal in 13 games or something

    But he said they scored almost none at the other end so didn’t mean much

  26. China1

    Yeah it was very odd that Arteta seemed to be determined to sideline martinelli despite his major contribution this season

    I get the whole keeping his feet on the ground thing but not at the expense of the actual team – we don’t have that luxury. Saka and martinelli need to be playing regularly when fit even if not in 100% of games

  27. Sid

    Left testicleJuly 14, 2020 10:32:12
    It sounds like Sol, Viera, Micah Richards do it for you.

    Nah every Karens deep down fantasy

  28. GunnerDNA


    on whether his current job is similar to when Klopp joined Liverpool…


    If you ask me that question in four years and we’re both sitting here and I can tell you ‘yes, we’ve done it’, I will be so happy. But I know how many decisions have to be right and how much support you need from the club and the people around, and how much connection you to have to generate from your fans to have the full package, and afterwards it’s football.

    Kloop joined Liverpool as a dominant manager in Europe. Asking Mikel that question is just dumb asf, the kid is still doing OJT

  29. Useroz

    Media reporting that …

    “AC Milan have found an agreement with Red Bull Salzburg star Dominik Szoboszlai regarding a summer move, a report claims.“

    Reported fees @ €24- 25m!!

    What’s going on at Arsenal? C’mon.

    Perhaps the super agent pals of Raul and Edu have lined up better deals for Arsenal that are more talented than the 20yo Szoboszlai!

    If you believe that, you’d believe anything …

    May be better deals to line up their pockets, not Arsenal, like those 30 something looking for a retirement home and still get paid 150k+ pw….

  30. Useroz

    “As of August 15 2020 Stan Kroenke will be Uncle Stan. Wow, paying off £185 million for The Arsenal to be debt free!“

    It’s not joke Friday , yet!

    Bloody Kroenke isn’t paying off the debt, he early redeems the debt instrument and Arsenal instead owes KSE UK the debt albeit at a slightly lower interest rate.

    No free lunch.

  31. Buzzy

    The performance against spurs was one of the most passion-less and gutless one ever..I can’t believe how a blogger would try to still defend the coach after a performance like that…When the top teams are down by a goal and it’s the last 10 minutes you seem them running to take corners, hurrying up things, etc. With Arsenal we never saw that once we went was almost like everyone gave up and it was ok for them..that has to boil down to the fact that they aren’t scared of the coach and ultimately to the fact that the coach himself is a softie…terrible days to be a Gooner! Not gona be watching any more matches for a long time that’s for sure…i can bear the team losing with passion but when they dont seem to be bothered about a loss it just hurts like crazy

  32. Ishola70

    Seems to be an awful lot of Emeryistas around.

    Around 90% of the blog looking at posts.

    Damn that man had charisma.

  33. englandsbest

    I rate signing Ozil as Arsenal’s worst-ever deal. For a start, we didn’t need him. Furthermore his ‘laid-back’ style didn’t match up. So why?

    Wenger’s ego. He thought he’d pulled a fast one on Liverpool with Suarez, and was made to look a fool. Signing Ozil was cover, his get-out.

    Of course that was merely the start of the disaster. We all know what’s happened with him since, so I won’t to go through it. But will mention the financial cost. £43mill transfer fee – for a player who will fetch nothing – and a current salary of £17mill pa. £200 mill is a low estimate of how much the Club has wasted on him.

  34. Danny S

    In regards to our debt being paid off, I’m sure the terms of our loan meant we had to have cash reserves or did I imagine that?

    No loan means Stan can now get his hands on those reserves. Is that not right?

  35. Jamie

    Danny S –

    Stan can’t empty AFC’s bank accounts. That’s embezzlement.

    He can pay himself massive dividends out of the club’s profits (we’re currently making a loss, so no dice there), but he’d be taxed and at the same time devalue his business.

  36. Uwot?

    Yeah England.Spot on.couldnt believe those muppets jumping up & down with glee outside the Ems on sky sports news.When it was announced.F*** ng morons.At the time it made no sense.Madrid must have been pissing themselves.Basically we were mugged.Thanks to Wenger & Gazidis.And so it came to pass.Mesut Ozil “ you just don’t understand “ oh I do.I most definitely do”.😤

  37. Pedro

    prvhc. we score more goals and concede less than we were.

    By that logic, I’d say we are doing better.

    The jury is out, sure, but I have to write a blog.

    ‘The jury is out’ until the time is right does not make for an interesting read. This blog is my thoughts, not ‘wait and see until prvhc says it’s ok to have an opinion’

  38. Pedro

    Bamford levels of obsession on Emery. Gonna have to start binning comments that go there moving forward. The blog should not be hijacked constantly by the topic of whether a failed manager was, in fact, great.

  39. Pedro

    Dissenter, the pattern is you don’t have a counter to the facts.

    More goals. More points. Better defence.

    You main argument seems to be he might do badly. Like, ok, sure.

  40. Pedro

    Azed, no one is saying don’t judge Arteta. Just give context.

    Better defence, more points, more goals, better off-ball movement, better tactics, happier squad.

    5th in the table since he sat in the dugout, 4 points behind Chelsea. Beat a team above us for the first time in 5 years.

    Judge away.

  41. Un na naai

    Arteta should have done better in some fixtures from a winning position
    I’ve called for the guy. I’ve backed him. But I’ll admit I think he could have done better. If he had all these great ideas and actually took the lead in so many matches that he’s lost 15 points from a winning position (more than any other team since he joined) then he’s got to take the negative critique as well as the positive

    I believe he will come good but his ideas aren’t so good that he can see out wins vs Leicester and Brighton and chelsea when we are the better team. Yes the players let him down. Yes had we taken our chances. But same with emery.

    If we say this squad is good enough for top four and only needs a high quality coach but that coach is throwing away points through bad decisions then let’s be big enough to say it.
    Doesn’t mean we were wrong and that Arteta won’t come good but even if he doesn’t we should still be bigger than Ishola and hairline and all the other cunts who were soooooo so unbelievably, humiliatingly wrong about emery. I don’t want to be on their level and deny what I see to prove a point

  42. Un na naai

    I agree things are better
    I agree he’s done well with most of the squad and made some blinding decisions and performed wonders with certain players. Ceballos xakha Mustafi saka Nketiah.
    The defence is better. The control is better. The discipline is infinitely better.
    The variety is better

    But he’s persisting with bad decisions. Kolasinac anywhere near centre back is a big no
    Luiz in a tough game no matter who is with him is a big no. We should only play Luiz when we have a lot of Possession and the opposition’s quality is low

    Two big errors there
    One goal scorer up front and more creativity on the wings. No lore Aubameyang and Lacazette. They aren’t creating enough, especially with Pepe on the other wing. If Pepe plays then he can’t play with bellerin. It doesn’t work. If that means selling Pepe then so be it. Pretty embarrassing for Raul
    Time to drop the egos and do what’s best for the team
    If that means ozil or Sokratis or holding then get it done. This left footer on the left of defence is utter bollocks
    He needs to drop the bull shit

    I expect once he gets his ballers into the middle in the summer that (like United) we will see different gravy next season but let’s be big enough to call the wrong decisions what they are. Or what we think is wrong. I’d say 99.87% of anyone who understands football will scratch their fucking heads at kolasinac in a back 3 alongside one of the most infamous calamitous defenders of all time.

    Gutted Szoboszlai has gone to AC milan. Big opportunity lost there
    Let’s hope that old fucker Raul has some diamond deals up his sleeve cos that’s a doozie

  43. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal’s current squad excluding the four players currently out on loan is 29players according to Transfermarkt. Only Smith-Rowe is expected to return this summer who is not included in list. Messrs Mkhitaryan, Elneny and Mavropanos will leave or go out again on loan.

    My personal view is that Arsenal do not need more than 22-23 players in the squad next season assuming that we do not qualify for Europe. Being overloaded can be counterproductive not to mention the high cost of wage bill.

    So there are at least 8 players who need to be shifted out of squad even before
    we talk about acquisitions. Ceballos is on loan to us so he will leave at end of the season unless we renew loan or buy him.

    So we need to find at least 7-10 other departures from our squad:

    These would be my selections in order of precedence:
    1. MACEY [we don’t need 3 first team squad GKS. One of Academy can be 3rd
    string option.
    2.SOKRATIS should be sold. We don’t need more than 5 CBs on books.
    3.MAITLAND-NILES should be sold.
    4.GUENDOUZI should be sold.
    5.CHAMBERS should be loaned out or sold. He is ranked 6-7th in order of CBs.
    6.MUSTAFI or HOLDING should be sold if we are able to recruit upgrade.
    7.OZIL should leave if at all possible, but unlikely.
    8.LACAZETTE is possibly surplus to requirement if either Martinelli or Nketiah are second string CF.
    9.NELSON could be sold if replaced with upgrade
    10. BELLERIN could be sold but only if we buy a first string replacement.

    I am not including Aubameyang and Xhaka in my list, because I don’t think that is in plans of Arteta and in any event dependent of substantial transfer