Arteta big game tactics will change how top 6 see Arsenal + The major weakness we must fix

by .

I’m writing this a few drinks deep, so take the information with a pinch of ‘okaaaaay mate…’

In short, what a day.

Mikel Arteta picked up the second trophy of his tenure. It might not be a major one, but a win against a full-strength Liverpool side is certainly not to be sniffed at. I honestly didn’t hold out much hope of a victory. It felt far too early in our preseason to deliver any sort of competition against one of the most brutal teams in the world.

I don’t really want to go over the game in too much detail. We basically recreated our FA Cup run where we let better teams have more of the possession, while we played around their press, and took our chances.

The goal from Auba was another sublime ‘play it out the back’ moment. Elneny fed Saka on the right, Saka created an overload and casually pinged a ball out to Auba. Our contract rebel sharpshooter cut inside, Tierney created a decoy with a fake overlap, then Auba placed a bullet strike over one of the best keepers in the world. Fucking majestic. Thierry like. Think back to how shite we were playing out of the back under Emery? Unreal how good coaching can have the same players scoring worldies against elite teams with the same idea.

The second half was a little more Liverpool. We conceded a sloppy goal. Some deft football by Liverpool and a bit of bad luck on our part saw Minamoto earn enough space to slip a pass past Emi. Again, it’s preseason, the goal wasn’t an abomination, though frustrating nonetheless.

We didn’t collapse though, which was lovely. The players gave it some in the last ten minutes, we weren’t quite sharp enough, but we saw the game out for penalties.

We scored all 5. All elite strikes. Reiss started first and buried it. AMN followed up with a COOOOOOL as a cucumber pass into the corner. Soares, who I thought would miss, smashed his home. David Luiz rocketed his into the top left corner. Then Auba BURIED the notion he’s not a big game player, winning his second trophy with Arsenal with the final kick of the game and a BELTER of a strike.

What a great moment for Arsenal. The Community Shield might not be the biggest trophy of them all, but when you are an Arsenal fan, or player, or board member, it means a great deal. Arsenal are improving. We’re mixing it with the big teams. We’re showing up and delivering when it matters. I said before the game, the importance of the win was momentum. We are a confidence team, this will have mainlined belief into a squad that’s still learning how to be top tier.

So what can we take from the game?


Yeah, childish headline, but what the last batch of games starting with an ‘FA’ prefix have taught the rest of the league is that we have a capable squad of players that can damage big teams. Specifically, we’ve learned to deal with teams that aggressively press us.

Teams like Liverpool have come at us with extra venom over the years. They beast us, we panic under pressure and give the ball away, then they go again and again until we’re beaten into submission. The we’d cave to the pressure, the more confident the pressing team would get and the more we’d cower. That reputation for meekness has been well and truly weaponised by Arteta.

The lesson teams are now learning is that if they aggressively push us high up the field, we will play around the press and do some real damage. We no longer shit the bed. We have comfortably played around 2 of the best pressing teams in the world and taken home results. What you saw yesterday was a Liverpool side that started to panic when their plan fell apart because we showed them on numerous occasions we’d open them up. That is a warning shot for the rest of the league. Teams will think twice about pressing us hard and high. This is a great development for Arsenal. Big teams will eventually wise up to this, but for the moment, we’re dangerous against top 6 sides.


Our biggest issue this season is now the opposite of what it used to be. We lack creativity. Arsenal is now competitive for the big games, where we’ll struggle is against teams that low block us and string 11 bodies in front of us. Think about Brighton and Villa.

I thought we were worth more than our 2 shots on target yesterday. The movement in Liverpool’s third was much better. The football was really good at times. What we’re really lacking is a decision and a moment of magic when it matters. Ozil when he cared, Santi, Thomas Rosicky, Jack, Andrey, could all create magic with a deep block… we don’t have that right now and unless we address it, our issues will come in games where teams don’t want to play.

No doubt the Arsenal analysts recognise this issue. No doubt we’re trying to adjust the squad to accommodate a more creative set of players. Willian will help, but it’d also be great to bring in a true number 8 or a modern 10 that could help us unlock defences.  The club hope they can get Auoar for £40m, which means we have to sell someone. Torreira, Guendouzi, and Lacazette are all the best hopes of raising funds, but the market is sluggish. I also hear we still fancy Partey… but again, hard to move fast if you have no money.


My main concern before the game was that we had at least 5 players in the starting 11 that won’t be about come October 5th. Under Arteta, things like that don’t seem matter. The stand out performers were AMN and Martinez, once again. The Argentinian keeper is just a very good player. The idea that Chelsea might pick him up from us for £10m is an absolutely awful thought. He’s focused, brilliant with his feet, great with his hands, and a brilliant leader. I also love that he has a greater goal, becoming Argentina’s #1. Are we letting the better keeper go here?

Then there’s AMN. I can’t have it that he is on the exit list. He’s brilliant. He seems to have the exact mindset we’re looking for, he shows up in big games, he executes Arteta’s plans, and he’s the best wing-back we have. Soares might be a good player, but he’s 29, there’s no resale value, there’s no ceiling. Why wouldn’t we keep the North London boy the fans adore? £20m seems a pitiful amount.

Listening to the prezzer after the game, the AMN issue is consistency, and I’d imagine the backroom team believes the same thing of Emi. I can’t counter people who see the players every day (and know the grand vision), though I will say the main argument in their favour is neither of them have had elite coaching or attention in their careers like they are receiving now.

… also, AMN just landed an England call up. Well done. Totally deserved.

Say it ain’t MO?

I watched the game with Matt from the podcast. I said…

‘You know what Mo Elne…’

‘NO. Don’t even finish’

What I wanted to say was that Mo was pretty decent against MK Dons. He’s more mobile than Xhaka and he’s pretty tidy. Let’s keep it understated here, he was basically an Egyptian Pirlo controlling the midfield. Too far? Ok, well, at the very least, he acted like the ‘server’ we’ve lacked in midfield. He moves the ball fast and accurately without fuss. A bit like Xhaka in that sense (who was also very good). I thought he was great. Hard to ignore a game like that against Liverpool.


After Saka signed his new deal, Arteta used the versatile teenager sparingly, so it was great to see him back in the starting 11 yesterday, tearing it up. He’s such a smart player, he reads the game really well, has great anticipation, and his decision making under pressure really does look good. His switch to Auba was perfectly weighted… it’s magic to see him doing that. I cannot wait to watch him develop into a world-class talent this season.


Auba, please man, sign the deal.

What a player. He’ll be absolutely essential to our success this season. Hopefully, the club can move the deal along and have him tied down after the international break.

Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.

P.S. I have put some cash/money down on a website refresh. Expect some changes over the next few weeks!

P.P.S Love to see Dani Ceballos cheering Arsenal on from his home on Twitter. He needs to fuck off this Betis idea and get back to London. We need him!

462 Responses to “Arteta big game tactics will change how top 6 see Arsenal + The major weakness we must fix”

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  1. Leftfootcurler

    Without the creativity btl,no chance of getting top 4.

    One thing I learnt is Saka should be starting ahead of Pepe at RW.

    Simply because Saka is more willing to run in behind while Pepe wants the ball to his feet.
    Always need two players running in behind.

  2. Emiratesstroller

    As I posted yesterday the club’s main weakness is in its Midfield where we need two quality players particularly if the club plays a formation of 4 at the back.

    The current formation is the right one against teams who are pressing and outplaying us like Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool.

    However, we need to play a far more fluid and creative formation against weak
    teams such as Brighton and Aston Villa both of whom beat us. Let’s be clear
    we need to outplay such teams.

    Our current midfield was just not good enough last season with or without the
    likes of Ozil, Ceballos and Guendouzi. It is not just about craft but it is also about goals and assists which were woefully lacking in that department.

    At the moment we are almost totally reliant on wing play to break us out of
    defence mode. There is virtually nothing coming through the middle.

    It is imperative that the club is recruiting this summer at least one attacking
    midfielder whether it is Aouar or Coutinho. Willian, Saka and Smith-Rowe
    could maybe fulfil role but the latter two are not strong or mature enough
    to play 40+ ninety minute games a season in the engine room.

  3. Chrispy

    With the all the current squad assuming Auba and Gabriel signs, it’s depressing to think we could challenge for the league with Ceballos , Partey and Aouar added. That’s how close I think we are with Arteta’s coaching instead we have to potentially sacrifice the likes of AMN, Emi etc .

  4. Kaz

    Just need that one player that can consistently get that final pass right and drag a player or two out with dribbling, the midfield is complete after that.

    The rest will improve due to the tactical awareness and coaching.

    Absolutely should NOT be selling AMN & Martinez. Both are starters for me.

  5. Emiratesstroller

    The current formation played is camouflaging the inadequacies of our midfield,
    but if we are going to outplay weak opposition then we need better players centrally in craft, creation and assist department.

    No-one is going to convince me that Xhaka,Willock and Elneny or for that matter Ceballos or Guendouzi are going to solve our weakness in that department.Collectively they cannot score half a dozen goals or assists.

  6. GillespieRoadNoMore

    I am enjoying watching the Arsenal whilst sat on the sofa rather than hiding behind it, all credit to Arteta. One thing that struck me yesterday was that I didn’t hear Firmino mentioned until the 40th minute, that suggests someone had him in their pocket.

    A bit confused as to what the squad will be on 6th October, there are several candidates for the exit ahead of AMN and Emi. Ainsley seems to get better every game now that he is benefiting from intelligent coaching.

    Is it too soon to say goodbye to Pepe?

  7. Sid

    Sell Xhakalson keep Elneny.
    Elneny is better, Xhakalson will fetch more money
    Kill 2 birds with one stone.

    Im telling you for free!

  8. SWG

    Don’t get me wrong it’s fickle to call for Leno to go but the town ain’t big enough for the 2 of them.. but I feel Martinez offers more than Leno as Pedro has stated previously. With the ball at feet he is so much more comfortable than Bernd (which evidently is a huge part of our game playing from the back). He also is a monster of a guy which trumps Leno in commanding the area. I feel Leno would fetch a bigger transfer fee and Martinez would cost less in wages.
    Onto the Ainsley vs Hector argument.. again, Bellerin would fetch us a bigger transfer fee and Ainsley would be cheaper on the wage bill. I really feel that Hector’s best days are behind him and Ainsley with Arteta’s guidance will grow even more.
    Still wondering what the plan is Auba in terms of position.. we can’t go into the season with Eddie as our #1 central option if Laca leaves (which he should as he’s not the elite centre piece to win us trophies either). Great options on the wings and Auba down the middle but will it ever happen?
    Agreed Elneny was solid yesterday but how many times have we seen this with players having a good preseason.. We wouldn’t be heading anywhere with him and Xhaka as the starters in the middle of midfield.. it’s a ticking time bomb which will inevitably go bang!
    Sell list:
    Hector,Leno,Laca,Chambers, Holding (loan), Guen, Ozil,

  9. Useroz

    “… really lacking is a decision and a moment of magic when it matters. Ozil when he cared, Santi, Thomas Rosicky, Jack, Andrey, could all create magic with a deep block… “

    All cool. But Jack doesn’t belong in the list. Those few moments don’t count.

    Issue of consistency definitely apply to AMN but not Martinez. I watched every game Martinez played this year and just don’t see it. If his form drops over a couple of games definitely Leno should be back in goal. But until then…

    AMN appears more focused since the resumption of the PL May be Arteta has done some work with him Don’t know but if he keeps it that way,, definitively should be kept. Especially with a call up by Neville. Even the brilliant Saka hasn’t made it to the England squad!!

    Martinez is earning a pittance in today’s PL market Double his £20k wage to start with. He’s worth way more than a third of Leno ffs.

    Saka. Have kind similar feeling when Fabregas first played as a 16yo. Less aggression (eg the Milan game vs The Patrick… oh my!) but Saka appears as intelligent. It’s reported Saka is also a straight A student. I think intellect matters.

    Once Gabriel is affirmed, our back line should be great on paper. The current frontline is also potent. But what’s missing is the middle however you slice and dice the situation. What we have ain’t good enough and let’s not wish they’d be coached to become Messi.

    Focus on selling to raise whatever we’d in the current market and let Vinai earns his pay packet with creative financing and accounting.

    Let’s not talk about a Elneny rebirth unless he’s taking 20k pw…. Any clubs offering more than 5m?? Using the same arguments some level against AMN and Martinez (ie only Wolves, A Villa etc come after ‘em), should have put Elneny in the garage bin last night!

    As a not too expensive loanee, Ceballos was sort of ok but no way a permanent signing due to physical limitations. Mobility and physique worth more in PL than other leagues unfortunately.

  10. andy1886

    Useroz, AMN hasn’t had a call up from Neville unless he’s had a sex change. Southgate is England manager, Phil Neville manages England’s women’s team.

  11. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s be clear everyone knows what Xhaka, Elneny, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ceballos and Willock have to offer.

    All these players do have work ethic, but their contribution in offensive department is minimal.

    None of these players is going to score 10 goals and/or 10 assists in a season
    and that is what the team requires in midfield as an absolute minimum. You
    cannot rely just on Aubameyang, Lacazette or even Pepe alone to deliver those

    Ozil is the only genuinely creative midfielder in squad but his performance level has declined dramatically in last 3 years and no-one believes that he has
    the hunger or commitment to resurrect his career. Rather like Wenger he is
    well past his sell by date.

  12. Useroz

    “No-one is going to convince me that Xhaka,Willock and Elneny or for that matter Ceballos or Guendouzi are going to solve our weakness in that department.Collectively they cannot score half a dozen goals or assists.

    Can’t agree more.

    Ideally they should be sold , and Ceballos not returning.

    That’s riding on what the Sauce saying he’d aim to win the CL in 3 years.

    If Willock, Elneny, Guendouzi etc are on £20k a week, it’s a different story. But it’s the same most of us been saying, we pay Cl level wages to those at Europa or below level players. Too many.

  13. CG

    Re: Eleney

    Our Wenger only bought a handful of bad players in his Arsenal tenure.

    Jeffers, Paulista, Squllinici , Stephanovs and The Horse come to mind.

    Off course certain players don’t always play to their ability and go onto stink the place out but that doesn’t mean they cant play. ( like that 5 I mentioned)

    Maybe Elneny under Arteta will prove to be player AW thought he was buying.

    Unlike Genduzi- Eleney is immensely likeable too.

    I was impressed with him yesterday. I hope he stays and surprises.

  14. Emiratesstroller


    Re: Elneny

    Do me a favour. We do not need a 5 metre square or back passer in team. Yes
    he does not give the ball away too often and in the formation played yesterday
    he can and does add additional cover.

    However, Arsenal need much more in the midfield department than he has to
    offer. He would be fine playing in a relegation side in EPL, but not in an ambitious team.

  15. CG


    “””””CG Re: Elneny”””””

    He scored at Barcelona in an Arsenal shirt.
    He can play.
    Problem is – he ain’t been playing very well.

    Another one they should keep for this season.

  16. Chris

    Elneny did okay yesterday but to be fair that is how he always has been, a 6.5/10 every game. He could stay as cover if he must but he can’t be a starter in our midfield if we want to challenge.

    It’s is great to not fear the games aghast the elite anymore. Improving our league record against the ‘top six’ from the last decade or so could be the difference in terms of hitting our targets.

    We seem to have a good tactical formula against the best teams but as been said it won’t take too long for them to counter it. It’s how Arteta reacts to that, and how we can pummel the bottom feeder teams, that will go towards us getting top four and beyond.

    Congrats to AMN on his England call up also. It’s great to have an Arsenal guy in there again at last. His penalty yesterday was prime Lauren giving them keeper the eyes.

  17. Emiratesstroller


    So he has scored a goal against Barcelona and also incidentally against MK Dons. Big whoops. Xhaka and Torreira can also score occasionally screamers.

    However, that is not we need. We need to recruit a player of the calibre of De
    Bruyne, Fernandez or even Hazard who can score consistently goals and provide assists.

    The club has got enough journeymen on the books.

  18. CG


    “”””We need to recruit a player of the calibre of De Bruyne, Fernandez or even Hazard who can score consistently goals and provide assists.”””””

    off course we do,
    Email Stan then.

  19. Nelson

    Leon is known to drop the ball when he comes out to catch a cross. We have seen it a couple of times. Recently, he only punches the ball when he has to come out. There is an advantage of catching the ball when the team is defending. The GK can start a fast counter attack.

  20. Endi

    Elneny is like a hotel with a glittering reception, but the rooms aren’t good enough.




  21. englandsbest

    In a nutshell, Arsenal need a truly outstanding midfield creator. Someone like, say, Alfredo di Stefano, would propel the team into the elite. Nobody of that calibre whom Mikel can afford in Europe. Maybe in Brazil or Argentina or even Africa.

  22. Marc

    At least everyone (well almost) is on the same page. Midfield needs an upgrade, do that properly and we’re looking challenging for the top 4. Continue with the current players as first choice and we’ll be 6th – 8th.

  23. The Godfather

    ElNeny was excellent yesterday.
    He basically played in midfield all alone while Xhaka waddled around doing nothing. It’s so typical of that scrub.
    El,Neny never shied away from the ball, showed excellent technical skills,a great first touch and remarkable spatial,awareness despite facing a swarming press.

    Now we definitely need an upgrade and El Neny is a good squad player … but the player who needs to go is Xhaka.

    We become so much better without him.

  24. Captain Tierney

    Reports coming out that Emi Martinez is close to signing a new contract at Arsenal. Big and very very good news if true. Get in.


    I liked what I saw from Elneny yesterday. I think he can be a good squad player if we sell Guendouzi , Torreira and buy only 1 midfielder to replace them both. But since you like to rate midfielders on their goals and assist numbers ( like you have been doing with Guendouzi for the last year or so ). I would like to ask you how many goal/assists does Elneny have in an Arsenal shirt?

  25. Marc

    Elneny has a decent game yesterday but if you’re Xhaka and you’re completely outshone by a player who the club would’ve been more than happy to sell over the last couple of years then your time has to be up.

    The only question is how long is it going to take Arteta to realise it.

  26. SpanishDave

    El Neny is a sub level player to bring on for twenty mins to block the midfield
    We don’t have midfielders who score regularly and can carry the ball forward and have a shot on them.
    Two quality mids are desperately needed.

  27. TR7

    Fabrigio Romano : Leeds are seriously interested in Rodrigo de Paul from Udinese – as @mcgrathmike reported. Price tag around €30/35M and talks on between the two clubs. 🇦🇷 #LUFC #Leeds

    One of Le Grove’s fav is being snared by Leeds.

  28. TR7

    Martinez to be offered a new contract. Thank God Arteta is smart enough to not be swayed by the astounding 10M fee on offer for Martinez.

  29. CG


    “””””” I think he can be a good squad player if we sell Guendouzi , Torreira “”””””

    Even Leicester City execs would struggle to find buyers for these 2 wallies.
    More money poured down the drain. Arsenal style.

    I take your point re: Elneny. Not a huge fan- but I personally prefer him than Partey. At least he can trap a ball and pass it 10 yards. Although Partey has a better engine.

    great news re:Martinez.

    We have the 2nd best keeper in world soccer. No doubt about that. Only Neurer in front now.

    Since he has been in the team – we have gone from a frenetic team to a very composed one.

    Our Wenger will be kicking himself not playing him more often.

  30. gunnerram

    bang on point today Pedro. Have a couple of mid-fielders who can up and down the tempo of the game – a la Fabregas – Rosicky – Helb style and then we are in money to compete with the big boys. This is so so important to take that next step as Tempo becomes the key when we have a tight situation to manage or up the tempo to go and get the 2nd or 3rd goal to close the match.

  31. Marc


    If we need money to make the CM signings we’re desperate for can we afford to not sell AMN?

    When we have a full team available and are starting 4 at the back where does AMN even fit in?

  32. Bojangles


    “The asking price for Van Der Beeb is 60 million, that’s not chump change my friend.”

    He is being offered at 40 mil, same as we are apparently offering for Aouar. As i said, VdB would have been my preference of the two.

  33. TR7


    Yes, checked the Daily Mirror article after your post. I hope their info is correct. Never good to offload a player who is buying in to the manager’s philosophy and improving game after game. The only concern Arteta has about AMN is his mentality, he seems to have faith in his abilities.

  34. Uwot?

    Captain Tierney if those reports are true.Excellent news.As for who should still be offloaded.The list is Sokratis,Mustaphi,Bellend,Torreirra,Gwen Dozy,Hacker( but he won’t be) Would prefer Elneny who is far more mobile,Holding,chambers & Laca.There has been enquiries on at least 8 of that lot.Surely to god the likes of Laca,Gwen,Torreirra,chambers,Bellend are sellable at reasonable fees.enough to get us the Two midfielders most of us crave.Partey/soumare/Diawara & Aouar/coutinho.🤞

  35. Bojangles

    “In footage posted on social media, Van Dijk wins the coin toss and is asked by referee Andre Marriner whether he wants Liverpool to shoot first or second.

    The Dutchman confirms that he wants his team to go first, but this prompts an interesting response from the Arsenal shot-stopper.

    Martinez, looking directly at Van Dijk, appears to say: “You sure? Are you sure?”

    Aubameyang’s face was an absolute picture…”

  36. Marko

    To be fair it would be very Arsenal like to do a uturn on a player who’s cost us in the past and who’s not good enough overall. Hey maybe we can finally get to see a midfield of Xhaka and AMN. Should be good certainly fits in with our aspirations of improving

  37. GunnerDNA

    Good performance and result for Arsenal yesterday but don’t get carried away with the outlandish comments on Elneny and all the other players that should be out the door. Liverpool is slightly overrated, they have everything going their way for the last two season. Hopefully some of that luck runs out. The moment the two fullback fall off they’re back to where they was 6 seasons ago. They’ve become predictable, the squad needs upgrade and they’re unable to see it

  38. Freddie Ljungberg

    Instead of sending Elneny out on another loan just keep him and snooker someone into paying 20m for Xhaka.

    We need 3 new starters in midfield anyway. Would rather have someone with Elnenys mobility than Xhaka and his mobility scooter on the bench to throw down in the last 15 to shut down games.

    Hilarious btw that Doherty has been caught deleting his ” I love Arsenal forever” tweets, should endear him to the spuds fans…

  39. bennydevito

    Good post Pedro,

    Afternoon Grovers. I’ve got a horrible feeling Aubameyang’s off. He could easily have just said he’s staying. I hope I’m wrong but his decision to take the last penalty thus winning us the trophy reminds me of Patrick Vieira in the FA Cup final 2005 shootout victory against Man Utd. He scored the winner then joined Juventus.

  40. Dream10

    Leeds interested in Rodrigo de Paul of Udinese. From the little so I have seen of him, he looks a quality player.

  41. Graham62

    For the first time in 25 years we have a coach that is capable of maximising the potential of all his players.

    You can see Arteta’s mind working overtime at the side of the pitch as he contemplates his next move.

    There is no repetitive(boring) rhetoric that became common place over the years at Arsenal. Everything is simple, logical and interesting and is communicated to us in an articulate manner.

    Most importantly, the players are responding to it. It’s so refreshing.

    Maybe Arteta was more important to MC than we first thought.

    Sorry Pep.

  42. Marko

    Who said Liverpool were overrated! We beat them in the league recently after they won the league with ease and after City beat them what 5 nil? And yesterday was a friendly so let’s relax okay. It was impressive how well we done considering the lack of preparation but I wouldn’t read into it too much we’re still very much a work in progress. Shout out to Luiz though who put in a performance after one training session

  43. Marko

    Fabrizio saying Juve aren’t interested in Aouar and he wants to move to the premier league and us and City are interested. We know we made an offer already. Are City even interested in him? Anyway we’ll need to get some money together if we want to sign him and you can’t do that if every potential outgoing gets push back

  44. GunnerDNA

    “Liverpool slightly overrated?

    Nigh on 200 points, a Champions League and a Premier League over the past two seasons…”

    Luck and referee decisions helps them along the way to thier elevated heights. I won’t even mention the under performance of United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

  45. China1

    I know people probably won’t believe me because I didn’t say much about it previously and because I’ve always been fine with us selling el neny, but I’ve never thought he was a bad player – just not a special player

    I think he’s got all the qualities xhaka has but releases quick and more decisively. Not a top class player but what I noticed was that he and xhaka actually did well as a pairing even if neither is top class.

    Going out on a limb here but if we can only afford one major player it makes me wonder if we should focus just on a 10 and play with El Neny (presumably partnering Xhaka) behind.

    Xhaka + el neny is a very disciplined double pivot which should let our offensive players operate with relative freedom.

    Again neither are top quality but they did a job combining and with resources being tight it makes you wonder

  46. Captain Tierney


    Partey is double the player Elneny is and more .

    And seriously lets not get carried away by 1 Elneny performance.
    Xhaka is a much better player than Elneny and theres really no doubt about that. The thing is Xhaka’s personality, wages and game style demands him to be a first teamer. His profile is not good for a squad player. And we currently dont have the players to allow Xhaka to really flourish and even if we did he is not really a world class talent like Ozil who warrants such squad building.

    Elneny’s profile screams squad player and his wages are also low.
    If we were signing Partey and Aoaur and getting Ceballos back on loan then keeping Elneny and selling Xhaka makes sense.
    Keeping Elneny over Xhaka for a starting spot is outright funny.

  47. China1

    One thing is for sure is if el neny doesn’t stay he needs to be sold as these stupid loan deals are a huge waste of time

    If we can’t get solid coin for him keep him. He’s worth his wages, that much I’m confident of

  48. Champagne Charlie

    I love our fans, we play a game at half fitness and Elneny is suddenly good enough to play in place of a player that’s been the mainstay of CM through 3 different managers.

    Fuck it, just put Torreira in front of the back four and we’ll never concede a goal. Deary me.

  49. Marko

    China they’re all not bad players just most of them are not good. Certainly not for a declining club looking at improving and getting back into the champions league on the regular. Like don’t get me wrong I see improvements but take that starting 11 into a new season and over 38 games and see where they finish. We still have at best a top 6 squad at best.

  50. GunnerDNA


    “Who said Liverpool were overrated! We beat them in the league recently after they won the league with ease and after City beat them what 5 nil? And yesterday was a friendly so let’s relax okay. It was impressive how well we done considering the lack of preparation but I wouldn’t read into it too much we’re still very much a work in progress. Shout out to Luiz though who put in a performance after one training session”

    I’m not basing anything on whatever you mentioned above. The moment 3 of those players drop back to their levels they will be back where they belong. Kloop almost got BVD relegated after tearing the League up for couple yrs. Someone of the decisions that went their way during this two season spell was head scratching. They’re a team that’s system based and it seems teams are already working them out. Not long now before they fall off!

  51. Marko

    Quick question how does Eddie Nketiah get so much game time? Like genuinely under Mikel he’s gotten a fuck tonne of game time despite generally speaking not adding much throughout the game.

  52. Marko

    They’re a team that’s system based and it seems teams are already working them out. Not long now before they fall off!

    On the basis of what exactly? How have teams worked them out? Because of a couple defeats at the tail end of a season where they utterly dominated? Or after a most pointless community shield game?

  53. Marko

    One source has told us that Arsenal are now looking into a new deal for the defender Maitland-Niles, who still has three years left on his present contract. [@SkySportsNews]

    Joke of a club. Got all the hallmarks of what we did with the likes of Joel Campbell, Gibbs, Wilshere and certainly Chambers. So scared of making a decision. Well if come the end of the transfer window and we’re still lacking in quality additions we can look back at moments like these scratch our heads and wonder yet again why we didn’t do the smart thing. Very hard to be able to afford the likes of Partey and Aouar etc etc when we’re scared shitless of selling someone when their price is up

  54. Eddu

    Bennydevito, Viera was let go by the club. He was more than willing to stay put after several years of agitating for a move to Real Madrid failed to materialise.

  55. CG


    “”””””The thing is Xhaka’s personality, wages and game style demands him to be a first teamer. “””””

    No bigger Arsenal supporter of Xhaka than me.
    you wont find any criticism from me with Granit- suffice to say – he is not the most dynamic.

    Same personal characteristics as our Wenger.
    Durable, loyal, resilient, honest ,respected, never hides and is hugely underrated and under appreciated.( and immaculate haircuts too – always neat and tidy)

    When he received ‘The Eboue Treatment’ from The Arsenal Luvvies a few weeks back- and gave them them some verbals he even went up in my estimation even further.

    (Kudos in not apologizing too)

    He is a man- the majority of them are bloody babies.

  56. Tom

    Well, at least there’s no longer the talk of AMN being not up to it because he’s too nonchalant and lackadaisical.
    And we all know how those players never make the grade.
    So glad Arsenal passed on VVD at 13m from Celtic.
    Dodged a bullet there.

  57. bacaryisgod


    A bit harsh considering we got about 30m for Iwobi last summer. Besides, you simply can’t compare Wenger decisions to those of the current regime.

  58. Captain Tierney


    The Xhaka comments were not meant for you.
    Btw how many G/A does Xhaka have for Arsenal .
    Since you rate midfielders on their G/A numbers and are admittedly his biggest supporter the numbers must really be high , eh?

  59. Tom

    Leicester execs don’t go out looking for buyers for their players.
    Players perform to certain levels and interested clubs come knocking.
    Don’t forget to add Kante to the list next time you are on the subject, or do you skip his name purposely because our Wenger blew it when the Arsenal French scouts recommended him for peanuts way back.

  60. Graham62


    We WERE a joke of a club.

    All those players you highlight would have developed in a progressive system and under a proactive coach.

    You do realise the dilly dallying culture came about for a reason.

    Couldn’t solve our problems on the pitch

    Couldn’t solve our problems off it.

  61. Champagne Charlie


    Lol I’ll pass. He’s a nothing player at the club, I don’t dislike him but I’m not having any of this ‘as good as Xhaka’ stuff. You wanna put respect on a name start there, man-like-Granit.

    Elneny is another good pro though so I’ve little of anything toward him, just think he’s ripe for making coin off at zero impact to the side. Should be doing ALL those kind of deals imo. But am under no illusions about the be current state of our CM, and subsequent uncertainty regarding like 95% of them.

  62. CG

    “””””””Don’t forget to add Kante to the list next time you are on the subject, or do you skip his name purposely because our Wenger blew it when the Arsenal French scouts recommended him for peanuts way back.”””””

    Surgical nitpicking Tom.

    Wenger did his job,

    x 2 decades of Top 4.

    Like it or lump it- that’s the name of the game nowdays.

    Thats all what Arteta and Arsenal are striving for now.
    No more , no less.

  63. Champagne Charlie

    Benrahma getting linked as a Lacazette “replacement” (not directly). Would be tasty wide left and Auba coming inside, big step up though.

  64. bacaryisgod

    I think ultimately we’ll look back to the renewal of Ozil’s deal as our real sliding doors moment. That deal really has handcuffed us. Imagine if we had just released him at the end of the 2017-2018 season. It would have given us 54m extra to play with. Whether we would have spent it well is anyone’s guess but it’s hard to imagine us wasting it like we did on him. Add to that swapping Alexis for Mkhitaryan and then picking up another big salary instead of just selling Alexis for about 25-30m.

  65. China1

    Lol Charlie, you say Xhaka was a mainstay under the last 3 managers like it’s a compliment, whilst until Arteta came in (and in his defense he’s cut most of the errors out), xhaka was considered a core culprit in what has been our worst midfield in a good few decades

    I’m fair enough to say he’s playing ok since Arteta came in, but if you want to underscore that you think he’s good I wouldn’t be so quick to refer to his long time record as a mainstay in a midfield so bad that we typically say ‘we don’t have a midfield’. It’s not a pretty record by any stretch of the imagination when you go beyond Arteta

    As for El Neny, he’s not a special player, he can do a job of sorts with some basic tidiness in the right system though, which is broadly true of what xhaka brings to the table under Arteta anyway

  66. Marko

    We WERE a joke of a club.

    No we still are. We’re improving sure but we’re still making really stupid decisions in the transfer market. Could have sold Xhaka to Hertha Berlin we decided to keep him and now we could have got good money for AMN and we’re keeping him for some unknown reason it’s beyond me. I guarantee you that we’ll end up regretting this decision much like we ended up regretting not taking that 20 million from Palace for Chambers a few years back or the 20 million that Milan were reportedly willing to pay for Joel Campbell back in the day. Really poor decision making but as I said we’ve only ourselves to blame when come Oct 3rd we haven’t signed Partey and Aouar.

  67. Radio Raheem

    Xhaka the marmite player.

    I can’t say I fully understand the derision he gets on here. I like him and see him as one of our top players, has been since he arrived.

    To each his own I suppose. Football.

  68. China1

    Bacary not only that but ozil’s rep in those days was still good unlike now. We could’ve offloaded him to any number of major teams who would’ve gladly taken him. Utd were supposedly very keen. I don’t doubt PSG, Bayern, Juve etc would’ve all seen him as a great bargain

    I bet we could’ve made 35m on top of the saved wages. We could’ve bought two quality players with that.

    What a shame

  69. CG


    “””””CG Top four? Haven’t you heard?
    Arsenal are winning the CL within three years. That’s why we got Willian.”””””

    Winning the CL is the easy part,
    Winning it with Willian in the team is the problem.

    What a pathetic signing.
    Will cause huge problems behind the scenes with his obscene wages


  70. Captain Tierney


    Guess you dont have an answer to this.

    ‘Btw how many G/A does Xhaka have for Arsenal .
    Since you rate midfielders on their G/A numbers and are admittedly his biggest supporter the numbers must really be high , eh?’

    As expected
    The score now must be 100/1 in my favor given the countless times you have avoided my questions when I’ve caught you red handed. 😉

  71. Marko

    I still need someone to tell me where AMN plays when we have a fully sit squad.

    Marc that’s the fucking thing we’re forgoing on 20+ million for someone who isn’t going to start at LB/LWB when everyone is in and fit and who isn’t going to start at RB/RWB when everyone is in and fit and don’t even start on him at CM because he’s never been trusted or good enough to play there. We’re basically saying fuck 20 million we could have used to strengthen the team we’d much prefer to keep 20 million on the bench. It’s really dumb imo especially for a team in need of making sales to improve the kitty

  72. Champagne Charlie


    I’m not going to argue such a tragic opinion, if you genuinely offer up Elneny and Xhaka as the same then all I’ll say is make sure you’re loud and proud of that one.

  73. bacaryisgod

    Agree with you CG on Arsene. He had several flaws but people so easily forget the massive disadvantage he was put under by Chelsea and Man City’s billions spent on buying up the best players while we were busy trying to keep our best players from leaving.

    I would love someone on here explaining Arsene’s incredible record in F.A Cup finals and the Community Shield matches where I think he was a combined 14-3. I’m not trying to start an argument but genuinely want to know if anyone has a theory why he did so well in these one-off games. I think we were probably favoured to win a decent percentage of them but I doubt 82% of them.

  74. Just Another Customer

    Arteta is flexible with the formation and positioning of the players so there is no use in worrying about that.

  75. bacaryisgod


    That 20m for Joel Campbell was a fantasy offer. Anyone knows we would have jumped at that deal right away. I think we loaned him out 6 times. Of course we would have taken that kind of money. As for Chambers, I don’t think we were able to get the 20m we valued him at but of course anything around 15m looks good in retrospect. If not for Covid and an unlucky injury, I still think we could have got close to 20m for him this summer.

  76. Moe

    Both Elneny and Xhaka aren’t good enough if we are serious about challenging Pool, Chelsea and City. Zero creativity, dribbling and little athleticism and defending between the two of them. However, as much as I’ve been on Xhaka’s case, I’ll take him over useless Elneny any day. Need to see way more than a glorified preseason performance. Elneny has been pants for way too long.

  77. Marc


    AMN’s put in a couple of good performances when we’ve played in a very defensive manor – same with Xhaka. We can’t play that way against the majority of the PL.

  78. Moe

    In a fully fit squad, AMN plays exactly where he played yesterday and in the finals if tho coach chooses that formation. It’s between him and Saka, and he offers more athleticically and defensively.

  79. bacaryisgod

    I think the biggest problem we have is that we start the beginning of every season at the top of the Premier League table and the pressure of losing that top spot is just too much to take. If we change our name back to Royal Arsenal or even better Woolwich Arsenal would take care of this problem.

  80. Marko

    Marc literally a couple performances. Honestly baffling decision. He won’t start over Tierney he won’t start over Bellerin I don’t see the point in passing up on 20 million for a bench player when we’re struggling to get enough money to pay for Partey’s release clause

  81. bacaryisgod


    We’re not pissing away 20m because at some point in the future he might be sold for around that much anyway and possibly more considering the market is likely to pick up in the next couple of seasons.

    Also, we valued him at 20m but haven’t been offered that much.

  82. Moe

    C’mon Tierney is a baller, but Bellerin? AMN is more athletic, stronger and if Arteta stays he’ll end up a better more rounded player who can fill more holes than Bellerin.

  83. bacaryisgod


    I’m not 100% on this but I think Boro got relegated the season he was on loan with them so they likely wouldn’t have been able to afford that amount. Same with Fulham too! He was highly rated by both clubs though but couldn’t keep either of them up. I think Fulham have enquired about him for about 12m but that might just be the usual gossip for clicks.

  84. CG


    “”””I would love someone on here explaining Arsene’s incredible record in F.A Cup finals and the Community Shield matches where I think he was a combined 14-3. I’m not trying to start an argument”””””””

    Well, the Great Mans book is out soon.
    Maybe he will explain why Arsenal always performed well in cup finals.

    Pre Wenger we were shocking at Wembley Cup Finals

    Swindon, Ipswich, West Ham and Luton Town etc

  85. China1

    Yeah Charlie, I’ll put my name on it because I’m more than willing to be up front about what I specifically think.

    No need to constantly skirt around issues like you.

    In all these years protecting xhaka you’ve consistently tried to make it some weird cat and mouse game of avoiding explaining in detail why you’re so protective of him – or as I questioned above, why it would be a badge of honor that xhaka was a mainstay at the heart of our worst midfield in many decades.

    But alas, I don’t expect you to ‘waste your time’ sticking your neck out if you’re worried people will laugh at it

  86. SpanishDave

    Arteta said when he joined us that he had to be ruthless to move the club onwards and upwards.
    Stan could loan the club money to secure the midfielders we need then the club has to have a fire sale if needs be to pay off the loan.
    If we muck about trying to sell players before we buy then we won’t get the quality that we need.
    Just to remind you our owner is worth $ 10,000,000,000.
    It’s small change

  87. Marko

    We’re not pissing away 20m because at some point in the future he might be sold for around that much anyway and possibly more considering the market is likely to pick up in the next couple of seasons.

    Like we did with Chambers. Anyway we need money now so it makes no sense

  88. Pedro

    CC, the site is being developed so there’s some odd stuff going on. No idea what the + thing is, but it’ll all be sorted over the next few weeks.

  89. Champagne charlie


    Yes China, I’m worried about people laughing at my pov and dismissing what I have to say, that’s why I’ve vocally backed Xhaka on this site numerous times over the past two years…………bowing to consensus 🤡

    The logic is flawless, it really is.

  90. China1

    Charlie id really have so much more time for you if you’d just come out and say

    ‘I think xhaka is a fabulous passer of the ball. The way he *whatever it is that makes you really like him so much* etc etc’

    Just come out of the fanboy closet and admit you *really* rate him as the amount of times you come out swinging in his defense but skirt around saying why you think he’s great never adds up

    Just take it on the chin and be a fan boy lol, what’s the worst that can happen? It’s just a blog!

    Let me go first – in this team I’m not a real fanboy of anyone, but I have lots of unpopular players I’ve rated over the years. Cygan was a very underrated player and scapegoated for a very small number of actual errors and poor performances throughout his time at arsenal. People will laugh at me for saying that but whatever. I still thought he was underrated

    Trust me you’ll feel a lot better getting it off your chest lol

  91. Jamie

    I think I might be alone in not stressing about bringing more players in (as long as we complete Gabriel and Auba contracts).

    Pedro wasn’t fucking around when he stressed the importance of coaching, and it’s clear as day Arteta is starting to extract more out of our squad. Super keen to see what he can do over the course of the season. We aren’t miles off Leicester, Chelsea, Utd, Spurs..

    I’m far more interested in the outs:

    Kola, Papa, Mustafi, Torr, Chambers, Ozil, Laca (wages far too high for his return, needs replacing with a more cost-effective backup, Eddie is nowhere near ready), and the Egyptian Denílson (all he’s good for is recycling the ball laterally or backwards, a 5/10 player). £50m flushed down the drain in wages right there. Shocking.

    Happy to add more to the list of outs assuming we raise enough funds to drizzle some sauce over the squad.

  92. Marc


    You want to play AMN at LWB every match?

    He’s right footed so no over lap and I if we bring in Gabriel I want to see Tierney playing either LB or LWB.

    Playing AMN at LWB when not forced to is just negative.

  93. bacaryisgod


    Not looking forward to that book. I think it will be basically everything we’ve already heard before and he’s probably too classy to trash anyone. Here’s what I would like to know the most though:

    1. What went down in detail between him, Ivan and RVP in their infamous meeting. We’ve heard some of what happened but I’m pretty sure RVP really acted like a diva.

    2. What does he really think of Cesc now. It used to be a father/son relationship but I don’t think it ever recovered from the Barca sale.

    3. Of course, I would love to know his dream XI of players he managed at Arsenal. I can take a pretty good guess but if added 7 subs as well we could have a much better idea of his real preference. For example, does Kozzer make it in ahead of Kolo, Keown, Mert and Bould on the bench. I can’t believe he wouldn’t go with Adams/Campbell in the 1st team. Does Alexis make the bench? Bacary, Dixon or Lauren for RB ? Clichy or Monreal for the bench behind Cole?

    I just don’t think he’ll cover this kind of stuff in his book. There’ll be a lot about financial doping and his conflicts with Mourinho and Ferguson (and then his later friendship with Fergie) and I’m sure there’ll be the usual ones that got away recap (Ronaldo, Messi, M’Bappe, Essien etc).. Just don’t have that much interest in reading that stuff. However, he might just shed a little light on RVP.

  94. China1

    But Charlie you typically don’t back xhaka you just attack whoever gets praised at his expense, And attack whoever gave the opinion

    But you never spell out what you rate so highly about him

    I’m genuinely curious

  95. Radio Raheem


    As we’ve seen 4 different managers at Arsenal have built their squad around Xhaka. 8th is the lowest position we’ve finished with Xhaka in that time.

    Apart from the top 2 a case can be made for in any of the other sides depending how they’re set up. Just as an example I have watched a fair few manure matches and can say Xhaka is a lot more consistent than Pogba. This might sound sacrilegious to some but I’ll say watch the games.

  96. Pedro

    CC can be accused of many things, but not explaining why Xhaka is a good player isn’t one of them.

    Also weird to keep bagging on a player that’s been pivotal to our recent success. Has his limitations, but we are a better team with him starting.

  97. salparadisenyc

    Think we have enough assets to sell once the market gets into swing to cover Aouar / Partey or whoever the targets end up being without selling AMN and Martinez.

    List Jamie threw up is solid and all seem to be in play along w/ Douzi and potentially Holding.

  98. bacaryisgod

    There’s a saying that ‘sometimes it’s better to be second’.

    I wonder if that applies to Mikel. I have a feeling it would have been much tougher for him to take over directly from Arsene and that the pressure on him was much lower following Emery. He clearly would have done a better job than Emery regardless but I have to think it’s tough to immediately follow anyone who has been such a dominant influence at any club for such a long time.

  99. Champagne charlie


    Ive said my piece on Xhaka numerous times over the last two years, if you’re unable to follow along then that’s your own vice. I mean the fact you talk in terms like “fanboy” says it all to me, you’ve zero intention on registering what someone is actually saying and far too interested in labelling others who subscribe to a particular view you dont. Let me yawn real quick.

    That’s cool, you dont rate Xhaka in any capacity and think Elneny is the same player. But you also were between Ceballos’ arse cheeks after 1 game against Burnley, and spent a season telling everyone Torreira is mustard.

    Meanwhile I’m over here saying the same thing I always have of Xhaka and in comes Arteta who affirms everything I’ve said day one and cracks on with the rest of the show. Some things dont deserve the indulgence anymore, and this chat about Xhaka being useless and the like is prime example.

  100. Marc


    Our goal difference in the PL after return from lock down was plus 4 – 16 scored with 12 conceded. Not exactly a great stat.

    I thought you’d be the first to realise that Xhaka must go.

  101. China1

    Really? I’ve never seen it in all these years. I only ever see roundabout mentions about why other players are worse

    Unless they’ve been on days that I’ve not come online, I’m still yet to see it

    And tbf I didn’t bang on about xhaka recently because as I said above, he’s been a bit tidier recently and less error prone. He’s done a job so whilst I’d still happily replace him, he’s not been on the shit list and owns a spare key anyway so he’s going nowhere whether I like him or not

  102. Pedro

    bacaryisgod, I think taking over from Emery was perfect in the sense that fans had incredibly low expectations, and that extra 18 months with Pep was probably very good for his development.

    My regret in going for Emery is that we spent a lot of bad money on players I doubt he’d have opted for.

    Still, we’re two trophies in now, so can’t complain too much.

  103. bacaryisgod

    Xhaka has been so much better under Arteta. I used to hate him starting but he’s cut down on his errors and improved his passing and both his positional and behavioural discipline. I would love to have a better player in his position but he’s definitely a valuable member of the squad.

  104. Trask

    If the club is serious about doing anything meaningful this season then 3 new midfielders are needed

    Xhaka is absolutely limited. The only reason he has looked better under Arteta is cuz he rarely receives passes under pressure. Ceballos used to do the heavy lifting there. Yesterday Elneny was saddled with that responsibility.

    The moment Xhaka is pressed he either makes a wayward pass or tries to buy a flimsy awkward foul. The guy is bang average at best

  105. Pedro

    Marc, what I noticed is that after lockdown, we beat City, Wolves (A), Sheff U (A), Liverpool (H), City, and Chelsea landing a trophy.

    We’ve started the season unfit, with Xhaka in midfield again, and we just beaten Liverpool.

    Xhaka has been an absolute asset to Arsenal since December. Very much doubt he’s going anywhere.

  106. Champagne charlie

    Xhaka hasn’t had a red card in 2 years and had zero errors leading to goals last season.

    He deserves a statue, and hopefully its one of him telling the fans to fuck off, Torreira can be in the background crying.