Partey to start the ball rolling towards a more expressive Arsenal

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Bernd Leno shrugged a sigh of relief as Emi Martinez dropped his first blunder of the season as his Aston Villa side crashed to a 3-0 thumping at the hands of Patrick bloody Bamford.

Leeds had more shots yesterday than we’ve had all season. Sad times.

What is interesting about our lack of shots is the absolute consistency of our lack of shots. It’s hardly budged in 9 months.

People keep saying this is the same as it was under Emery, but I disagree. Our lack of attacking swagger is a clear choice by the manager. He wants to play football in a buttoned-up way. We’re trying to be more Atleti than Barcelona. It’s hard to stomach, but ultimately, I suspect an exCity coach would play the City way if he thought he had the players to do it.

Still, just because the way we’re playing now feels a bit sad, doesn’t mean that it will last. What we didn’t have in our last Premier League outing was a match ready Thomas Partey who ‘can control the midfield on his own.’

Does Thomas Partey mean we’ll see more ambition in the final third? Will we see our front three start to click? Will the manager settle on a starting 11 and loosen the handbrake? It’s clear he’s aware that his main goalscorer needs to see more of the ball in opportunistic positions.

‘He needs to get in more goalscoring opportunities, he needs to get the ball more around the box, in order to do what he is able to do. Thursday was a different game to some of the other games we have played against some of the big teams we have played this season’

I also like that he’s pumping his confidence.

‘It is the same for him or Aguero, who didn’t have a shot on target as well on the weekend [for City against Arsenal]. It is not an isolation of just our player. But Thursday it was promising, I said to him before the game, go out & win us the game, and he did it’

Arteta is painfully aware there’s a lot of work to be done, I find it weird that so many people think that we’re at the finishing line already… reading people say, ‘Arteta plays football like this because that’s what he was like as a player’ does seem to be the one observation that links dim people on the internet.

Though I wouldn’t be shocked if the plan with this squad of players was good defending and efficient attacking. It’s hard to argue that we should be playing the Bielsa way after we watched Unai Emery opt for 4-3s over 1-0s and absolutely tank his career.

We have seen, for 10 years, what playing open football does to our league position. If we’re trying the opposite while we develop the squad over the next few windows, maybe let’s see how it pans out? Remember, the only reason Arsene Wenger could immediately play expressive football was firstly, he had a world-class defensive united that had won titles at his disposal, secondly, he had money to throw around.

Leicester City is an interesting game for Arsenal. They are widely seen as a better side than us, but for me, they sit in the same collection of sides as Chelsea, Everton (based on form), Spurs, and United. We’re all a much of a muchness, and we can all do damage on our day. I think we should be beating them. It’ll be tough, they play great football, but they won’t sit deep, which suits us. They’re also not City or Liverpool in attack. It’ll be an interesting tactical battle.

I’m a bit concerned that we already have Willian fitness issues, but more worryingly, Dani Ceballos is also a doubt for the weekend.

Arteta was keen to impress that actually, the Rapid win wasn’t the loss many fans are painting it as. He acknowledged that Bernd fucked up, because he was told to take risks, and that’ll happen this season. The reaction was what made the manager happy.

One of the examples is the reaction the team had with Bernd after his decision [for the Rapid goal]. I ask them to do that, to take those risks, to play the way we want to play and sometimes it is going to happen, but the reaction of the team with him when we scored the first and the second goals was really good. That comes from them and the culture we are trying to create here.

I have been heavy on Leno, and maybe on reflection, that was deeply wrong and I should flog myself as restitution. As a fan, it feels like everyone is living more in the moment more than ever… versus looking at the bigger picture. Literally, one bad half of football and fans are questioning everything. It’s a bit exhausting.

The reality is, Arsenal is not a project that can be solved with one non-Raul window. It’s going to take some time. Arteta spoke to that in a delicate way.

It is about finding the cohesion in the team and the fluidity with and without the ball what we want. Finding some specificity was in my opinion lacking in the squad, to get the pieces in the right places where everyone is comfortable doing their job that we give them to do. I think we are much more balanced. The same with Gabi (Gabriel), the performance he had last night as well and what he brings to the team. We will see a team that is closer to what we are trying to do.

As fans, we keep asking why players are doing jobs they shouldn’t be doing. It’s because we’re still in a round pegs/square holes phase of squad building. I don’t think our issue is tragic, but it’s clear that there are things we lack. We don’t have a Jack Grealish. We don’t have an elite centre forward that can beast people the way Arteta needs. Willian and Pepe are both struggling on the right. All that might change. Pepe might click, Willian will no doubt start performing, and Gabriel Martinelli is ever so close to reclaiming a starting spot… and to my mind, he could play through the middle. Imagine that monster back to his best weighing 5kg extra?

I. Am. Purring.

Anyway, the main thing we need to remember. We have new players that open new possibilities, but new possibilities will take time to bed in. So be patient and let’s not lose our minds until we see what the shape of the side is going to look like.

… then, if we don’t like it, we can fire up the BannerAir brigade and get our message out there. Until then, let’s enjoy the games today and go to war tomorrow!

771 Responses to “Partey to start the ball rolling towards a more expressive Arsenal”

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  1. Marko

    I personally wouldn’t of banned him yesterday sure he’s a melt but I find how little he knows of football to be entertaining so I would have kept him around. In saying that months ago when he was previously banned and his subsequent twitter outbursts where to me he came across as an actual mentally unstable person I would have perma banned him 100%. Yesterday no though. But some people just can’t help themselves

  2. Dissenter

    Are gooners going to make the same donations to food banks in the UK to protest the PPV for todays game.
    Scousers and Geordies raised good money.
    Maybe it’s time to enlist Ozil to help out.

  3. TR7

    Shut up you haters, kudos to Bamford for showing enough humility to accept his power rankings can be a bit off the mark and reshuffle the rankings every weekend using the actual results as credible inputs.

  4. Dissenter

    Marc has three bin-lives left in him.
    If Pedro bins him three more times then he’s not going to be flee hades again.
    He’ll spend the rest of eternity condemned to watching an endless loop of Spurs winning DVDs o

  5. Rich

    Banning someone for having the wrong opinions does seem quite tyrannical…..

    I’ll be sure to restrict my inner urgings to create any power rankings, and stick to what’s known as the league table to draw my opinions from….

  6. Marc

    “He’ll spend the rest of eternity condemned to watching an endless loop of Spurs winning DVDs ”

    How can you watch something that doesn’t exist.

  7. Marc


    It’s not the wrong opinions it’s Bamford gets far too close to trolling, get’s warned about it and carries on, when he starts getting abuse on here he plays the victim.

    You can’t walk into a Spud pub on match day call Harry Kane a mong cunt and then be surprised you get a smack in the mouth.

  8. Pedro

    Rich, the rules are very, very clear.

    1) Please adhere to the spirit of the comments section. That means open debate, no insults, and no active trolling. If a commenter has an outsized negative impact on the flow of conversation, they will be removed.

    I’m here for the freeflow of comments. If everyone is talking about the behaviour of one person, then that one person has to change, or go.

    I warned the person. They didn’t heed the warning. I only have one choice.

    Nothing tyrannical about wanting a pleasant thread of conversation on a privately run blog.

  9. Rich


    I thought he was reasonable, and I shared similar sentiments.

    Can’t say I was surprised we finished 8th last season, and I
    see the margins between 3rd and 10th being marginal this season, we could easily finish anywhere within those places.

    I don’t see that as being negative, I’d love us to win the league, I just don’t have much faith in this current squad of players, hopefully they shove my words back down my throat.

  10. Rich


    Who doesn’t love a compliment?

    When I’ve left kisses at the end of posts for you, don’t pretend that you didn’t get butterflies xxx

  11. AFC Forever

    On match days, it doesn’t matter if we win, lose or draw, this blog will see the appearance of the ‘match day regulars’ pissing on the club, players, manager and other fans; essentially doing doing what Bamford the troll did to drive a negative narrative. Good riddance to bad rubbish, Pedro made a great decision, Dariano was a narcissistic troll. Anyway, let’s see if we, the fans, can actually debate the game with Leicester, honestly;- before, during and after the game.

    I thought Partey really looked the part (oops) against Rapid; he was composed and resilient on his full debut despite hrdly hving trained with his team mates. He offers added steel to our midfield and an element of additional creativity.

    Gabriel too, is another new signing strengthening our spine. Like Partey, he is top quality and a composed player in the mould of the great Gilberto Silva.. Those two have really improved our side; Gabriel is still much underrated probably because he defends on his feet and is so easy on the eye. His anticipation and reading of the game means he doesn’t have to make sliding or last ditch challenges, he is an upright defender, like VVD.

    If Vardy plays I expect Leicester will play long, so we need to press early and from the front, picking up their hopeful balls. If Vardy gets behind he is dangerous because he always hits the target but that’s where Gabriels pace and reading of the game should help. Arteta may revert to a back four, without the ball, if Vardy plays, to avoid too much space for Vardy to run into, with a midfield three of Xhaka, Partey and Elneny. Ceballos/Willian still not 100% confirmed back. Front three of Laca, Auba, Pepe.

    This will be a tough game today, Leicester under Rogers are a very good side, so it’s a good measure of our progress under Arteta. I don’t expect an open game or one with loads of goals, it will be competitive. If we can keep Vardy quiet we will win a tight game by the odd goal. Partey or Gabriel MOTM.

  12. AFC Forever


    Mate, binning the troll Bamford was the right decision and long overdue. He wasn’t an Arsenal fan and anyone who thinks he was is ether an idiot or a miserable sob.

    Dariano offered nothing except unpleasant comment and negativity. He was a clever troll; if the conversation seemed positive he would suddenly appear throw his bombs and drag the comment section down to the basement. The more positive fans would bite and it would trigger a level of conversation that often forgot what we are all here for. Because we love Arsenal. He hated the club and everything about it, often getting so angry he would give the game away. He would treat Arsenal fans with utter contempt, tried to moderate the site and went out of his way to ensure that his opinion was never countered. He shat on this blog and the genuine Gooners that frequent this place. Took the piss out of Gooners. There are a number of trolls on here, they tend to raise their heads on Matchdays and then disappear having successfully created a negative atmosphere, irrespective of the result of level of opposition. Every blog has them, fake fans who enjoy winding people up because they have too much time on their hands.

    You make the effort to write good content every day and that takes time to research and prepare. Don’t always agree with you but respect the effort you put in to drive conversation and provide us with a place to talk Arsenal. You love the club as much as most genuine fans do and that shows through the effort and the narrative you provide. It’s not right that some idiot pretending to be a fan uses the blog for their own ends to ultimately contradict what you are trying to achieve. Who on earth wants to read a load of shit from someone who is only righting it to wind people up? He didn’t believe half of that verbal bollocks himself, it was all a game.

    Pedro, I stopped commenting whenever he came on, it was pointless because he would discredit every opinion usually with an insult. He had no intention of allowing sensible opinion and debate to be heard. It was always about him, nothing else. So well done mate. It will be a better blog for it and you might find people contributing who stayed away when he was acting the narcissist.

  13. SpanishDave

    Spot on.
    The majority enjoy fun banter and reasoned discussion, we don’t always agree but respect others opinions.
    I think it’s the best Arsenal Blog.