Can Arteta defy the typical Arsenal narrative?

by .

Well good morning to you all!

Lots going on in the world of Arsenal, my overall take from a fan perspective is that everyone is just a little bit miserable. Look, I understand you, because I look at your Facebook data for a living. You are sad that you stopped reading, there’s no more power-yoga session on that ‘really great app’ you don’t use, your closest relationship is with a bag of Haribo that you can’t stop topping up…. and the football, well, it’s starting to smell like a bag of rotting Emery.

Fear not… this is not how it ends my friends. So stop sad-eating Hagen Dasz, because today, the only dessert breakfast we’re treating ourselves to is a bowl of Cheeri-positivos.

I spoke to some United fans for The Elite Football Show yesterday and they seemed to think that we’re in a similar position to the one United were in before the last January transfer window… namely, lacking creativity.

Now, we all know how they worked their way out of that problem, they signed a world-class creator in Bruno.

I think the biting reality we’re likely facing with Arteta is that until that sort of signing comes our way, we might have problems creating. The issue we have is that at the very highest level, only special talents can truly make a difference if your objective is to hit the heights. We could pump money into a lesser mortal, but that’ll only move us so far. We need to go big on a talent that can grow with us.

Now, I don’t think that quite excuses the depths of our bland creative output, so I’m not giving up. We absolutely have the squad to start creating. There’s a potentially world-class spine developing. Auba, Partey, Gabriel, and Leno could be very special if they all find their game at once. Bellerin and Tierney are top drawer. Saka is an elite young talent. The question really is, who do you build around them?

Pepe, looks like a dud at the moment. He strikes a ball with outrageous venom at full pace, but we rarely see it. He needs confidence and about 5kg in weight. Can he do that this season? Jury is out…

Dani Ceballos hasn’t played a game as bad as the one he did at Leicester in a while. Can he occupy a more advanced position now Partey has joined the midfield?

Gabriel Martinelli might not have been a fave of Mikel’s before the break, but the coach can’t tell us he’s not good because we have seen him with our own eyes. I cannot wait to have him back, he certainly looks like he’s put on the weight Pepe needs.

Willian cost a lot of money. I’m still very unsure if that was Mikel and Edu or the dregs of Raul, but whatever the situation, he’s a quality player that needs to find a role in the team and sharpish. The whole point of him was that he’d not need 3 months to adapt. Well, we’re basically in November and it’s been bland. More to come. We need senior players to step up.

Then there’s the riddle of Joe Willock and ESR. Can they be the surprise packages this season? Will Arteta trust them? Who knows…

But basically, I think we need to pull our heads out of our backsides, realise that this season will be bumpy, and pray to the gods of football that this weekend is our watershed moment.

There’s so much going against us…

We do not win away at Old Trafford. Arsenal hasn’t beaten a top 6 side away since 1912.

We are a gift to struggling managers. That is OGS right now.

We are in terrible form when you look at our style of play and output.

This game is nailed on for a loss… or is it?

CHINS UP, spoons down my friends, this is going to be a great week. I’ll see you in the comments. Come join the party and AGREE with me.

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494 Responses to “Can Arteta defy the typical Arsenal narrative?”

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  1. Marko

    Again WE the argument was he was 3rd choice behind Konate and Orban because Konate was the superior player and last I checked he played tonight too. But you take that lap lad I’ll eagerly await the next hot take

  2. Dissenter

    I didn’t realize that Arteta included Mari in the EL squad until now
    He included a lad that played less than 100 minutes for Arsenal and never proved his quality … even though he was injured long term.
    He left out a young talent that’s highly rated and we paid 289 million for.

    It’s not a stretch to think he’s made a very bad error, hope it wont be a recurring pattern.

  3. WengerEagle

    You were the one bringing it up earlier waving Marko Jr about, yeah Konate played too but Upa was the worst player on the pitch by a country mile, was single handedly at fault for 3 of the goals. Dont remember you creaming yourself over any player as much as you have about Upanecano on here.

    Orban probably should have played eh?

  4. Dissenter

    I agree with you about that EL squad
    It’s a very tragic error, he picked an 18 year old goalie as 4th keeper who is not a senior player by any stretch.

  5. Dream10

    At this moment, don’t think we can trust Arteta with whatever he says regarding personnel. Sounds like a guy who is running interference for the executives.

  6. Leftfootcurler


    No point listening to Arteta talking about players.

    Better to look at his actions.

    I stopped listening to Arteta since he said laca is his type of 9 and dropping him for Nketiah the very next game.

    What he speaks is irrelevant.

    Actions matter.

  7. Bojangles

    “Personally I find Rich a bit left wing.”

    Lol but I see where you’re coming from Mark, I find Steve Bannon a bit left wing compared to yourself.

  8. Freddie Ljungberg

    Mustafi has denied that he’s been offered a new contract but he wants to stay, the way Arteta talks about him is worrying too, hope we don’t double down on that mistake.

    Martinelli back in training with the group and could be available in a couple of weeks, great news (if he gets games)

    With only 2 CBs available in Europe and Mustafi just getting back from a long term injury it would be nice to see Saliba getting some game time against Man U.
    Not the ideal first game to play but that’s on Artetas bad planning.

    Nelson rejected going out on loan this summer so that explains why he’s still here, doesn’t explain why we’re playing our strikers out of position though.

    It’s not really rocket science how we can up the creativity, atm we only have 1 creative player at the pitch at the same time, either on the right in Pepe, who seldom gets the ball, or on the left in Saka.
    No one in midfield.

    All this just to squeeze in an extra underperforming striker, an extra underperforming CB, and to protect Xhaka.

    If we play Auba middle, Saka left and Pepe right with Willian behind we have 3 players that can create for Auba, all 3 can also score, even if they’re not prolific.

    Hope we’ll see a lot of youngsters tonight, and Xhaka.

  9. Dark Hei

    Just realised that Pep, Prilo and Arteta have one thing in common. They played in the same position during their playing days with similar style (Arteta joining belatedly to the party via Arsenal).

  10. Freddie Ljungberg

    Pepe needs some continuity above all, he’s been in and out of the team regardless of how he performs.
    He scores one or 2 goals in one game and then he’s benched the next game, he gets and assist or 2 in one game and then he’s benched again. No rhyme or reason behind it.

    We paid a fuckton of money for him and the talent is obviously there so give him the opportunity to show it. Preferably with some support on the pitch. If he then fails it’s on him.

  11. Guns of SF

    i dont see Pepe as talented more so than any average winger in the EPL…
    most are quick, can beat their man, score and put in crosses.
    What makes Pepe so special? He is a one dimensional player with one dominant foot. All this talk of supporting him does not make sense when he himself never changes his game. I did see he tried a right footed cross once last season…. yipee!

    I would go with a natural right footer ( Reiss) who is stronger, and a decent dribbler and scorer too.
    Pepe loses the ball so much that when he actually dribbles a few times it seems like he is the second coming of messi. but he actually just did some normal dribbling.

    Uncle Raul was looking out for number one, when he gave the fans a new shiny toy that summer named Pepe. Only thing is that it broke fast and there was no warranty

  12. raptora

    Makes sense to gang on Raul when we were all ecstatic when Pepe transfer happened. Most of us thought it’s a pipe dream we could pull an insane talent like him. Raul was adored by fans at the time. Everyone was over the moon. I legit thought we are buying a Hazard type of talent.

    Why are we trashing Raul for a transfer 99% of Arsenal fans would have done in the blink of an eye? That it hasn’t worked since then is why everything is easier to see in hindsight.

    Just reading some articles and opinions at the time, I also remember watching a twitter video of fans so happy shaking his hands thanking him, calling him Don Raul, our savior. Other fans wanted him knighted, name a stand after him, a statue. Everyone thought we are making a coup, a game changing transfer that could skyrocket us to the elites.

    It’s not fair to put all the blame on him when we all would have done it.

  13. Guns of SF

    I think your right Raptora, it was hard to see what would happen to Pepe. Perhaps a lot more more scouting and with Emery having more of a voice would have helped. That $ could have landed Zaha. Emery is on record stating he even spoke with Zaha about coming.

    But because of Wenger’s pitfalls, Emery was only a coach… with very little say in transfers.
    So Raul, and I do think he was also working to keep himself in good graces got the big fish for us. However, as we know now, the Kroenkes are pissed and even hired the new attorney fella to oversee things.

    OTOH, if Pepe was as good or better, all of us would be calling him the Don….

    I just think we need to be careful with these one hit wonders from Ligue 1. They are great there but EPL is a different beast.

  14. Leftfootcurler

    What makes Nicolas Pepe special?

    Outstanding footwork (dribbling)
    Ability to take shots off with the curl he gets,with minimal back lift.
    That makes it hard to stop him from taking shots and doesn’t give the GK enough time to set himself.

    Why isn’t he effective?

    1)His dribbling is nullified because he loses control of the ball under physical challenges.
    Lacks upper body strength.
    He needs to bulk up.

    2)Doesn’t get into good positions to receive the ball.
    And doesn’t get into good shooting positions.

    This nullifies his shooting ability.

    If he improves on these two aspects,he would be a world class player.

    He is clearly a world class talent

  15. Guns of SF

    Left foot

    All those things are valid points, but he has been here a little while now, why have they not been addressed?

    I think Arteta is of the mind, to give Pepe the ball and then he expects him to score worldies or something

    OTOH I think players themselves know what they need to work on, and I dont see any visible improvements If there were, I would acknowledge it.

    I do hope Pepe can give us something this season… I think personally having AMN behind him would help… He would not have to cover and drop back as much as he does now….

  16. Leftfootcurler


    Bulking up takes time.
    You can’t do that in just one day.

    As for improvement in positioning and movement is concerned,Arteta has been working on it.

    Saka had neither when he first broke in the team.

    He has them now, which is clearly as a result of coaching.

    Players’ improve at different rates.

    Saka has improved quickly.
    Pepe hasn’t.

  17. Dark Hei


    Raul basically bought Pepe for more than what was quoted.

    He was sacked for that.

    Nobody screws with the Kronke’s cash. Made you thing if the Kronke’s were all so good with that management thing if that slipped through.

    Football wise, I can’t be arsed to hate him. I think Pepe was at least exciting as a purchase.

  18. DivineSherlock

    Nice chat about Pepe , why not play him like Dybala as Second Striker . He should be allowed to roam freely in the front three. Devastating. If you only allow him to play on the right side with Bellerin also playing so much forward you are not using him properly .

  19. Guns of SF

    that is my point. Bellerin is a big issue on the right, defensively and going forward. With Pepe, he is only also allowed to hug the touchline…so this creates this very rigid and unfluid attack on that side.

    In FA final he drifted all the way across the field and even on the left for part of the game.

    I agree that allowing him to tuck in more would help but poor Bellerin would be screwed even more.
    that is why I want AMN behind Pepe, at least he can cover better and even overlap too…

  20. Freddie Ljungberg

    The money for Pepe couldn’t have bought Zaha, don’t know why people still don’t understand that?

    The only reason we could afford Pepe was because Lille agreed to let us pay over 5 years, Palace wanted even more money for a player with less end product and who is 3 years older, they also wanted the fee in one lump sum, we didn’t have anywhere near enough cash for that.

    Pepe needs the ball closer to goal where he is more likely to make a difference with a shot or assist, not in our half with 3-4 players ahead of him.
    He also has to be able to make mistakes, not everything will come off for him but when it does work it’s often decisive. The problem is that he only gets the ball in decent positions a couple of times a game at most, just like Auba is now and that’s clearly not his fault, which is why he needs support, and so does the rest of our attack. Doesn’t help when the few chances we create per game falls to Laca or Eddie either.

  21. raptora

    In his ever Arsenal start he was a nightmare for the best team in the league Liverpool.
    It’s true he had space to play on the counter which is probably his desired style of play, and we were also very direct playing with some long balls, some fast forward passing, but it’s clear that the player has it. It was a fantastic performance and VvD looked scared at times which literally never happens.

    Arteta needs to move Pepe more central. Hugging the touch line is so stupid when you have a 20 goal per season player.

    Another thing – I believe Emery played Auba and Pepe as partners in attack. It was a good display and it definitely showed some signs of a potential great partnership. As things stand Pepe and Auba are so far on the pitch from one another that they literally never combine. It would definitely be worth trying placing them close again with Auba through the middle and Pepe on the wing but also moving central.

    It’s been 14 months since then and I believe it’s a shared fault – both the player’s and the manager’s, that things haven’t worked out great. Arteta needs to help him somehow, give him his trust and see where it goes. It just feels like such a waste having a talent like him not perform up to his standards.

  22. Guns of SF

    Bell___Luiz__ Gabriel___KT
    ____ __AMN___TP_______

    Bell___Luiz__ Gabriel___KT
    ____ __TP_______

  23. Leftfootcurler

    Tbh whenever Arteta gave Pepe a consistent overlap,he has sucked.

    Ozil consistently made overlaps from RCM and Pepe came inside and played remarkably bad in the Olympiakos debacle.

    Bellerin consistently made overlaps in the spurs defeat but Pepe did nothing.

    These two games stick out in my memory as I was very pissed at Pepe in those games.

    Having Pepe hogging the touchline and floating in crosses to Auba seems to be the best use of him now.

    Best case scenario is to play Saka RW.

    His performance vs Leicester at home last season
    And against Liverpool in the community shield is the best performance by any arsenal player at RW in a long time.

  24. Tony

    Depending on Pepe’s body composition, such as ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph and how fast Pepe’s muscle twitch is will depend on how much lean muscle bulk he can add.

    If he’s an ectomorph, which I expect him to be, then expect at least 6 months to add 3 to 4kg.

  25. Sid

    Pepe is facing what Alexis faced at man united. At arsenal Alexis had Giroud and ozil to combine with around the box. Thats why having Edouard instead of Laca was priority.
    Another tactic that worked was Alexis and Walcot so playing Auba who is a fast as walcot nearer to Pepe would be ideal.

  26. Tony

    No I wouldn’t recommend any of that, but would suggest you make up a talking post file of you orating your best 100 posts for Pepe to listen to to help with his sleeping.

  27. peanuts&monkeys

    LeGrove’s condoning and patronizing attitude towards Arteta will be shortlived- very soon Arteta will be manager EMERY. And, let’s hope that day is not far away. Let this borefest be over before Dec-end.

    Pochettino it is next. Amen.

  28. peanuts&monkeys

    Pepe was a wrong buy. Sooner he is offloaded, the better. I wonder whether any PL will be interested in him. Even if a Dutch or Turkish league team isnf8ne with him, Arsenal should get rid of him ASAP.


  29. Graham62

    This bulking up malarkey is driving me nuts.

    Yes, he is lithe and sinewy and his legs look a bit thin but, come on, we all know what the real problem is here.

    This is all psychological with Pepe.

    Is it his fault he has a £72m price tag around his neck? No it isn’t.

    He is naive, we all see that, some would say immature but, from what I’ve seen, he is capable of causing massive problems for the opposition.

    Arteta, imo, and as highlighted yesterday, is suffocating him. Why not give him a free reign against Dundalk? Rather than stick him out on the right, let him interchange with Nketiah or whoever else is playing up top.

    He is capable of doing special things as he showed when he came on against SU the other week, I just hope he doesn’t drop him for Nelson.

    Come on Mikel, give him some freedom.

  30. Kris


    “Need bulkier players? I thought footie was a non-contact sport these days. To me plus 5kgs will mean a slower, less explosive Martinelli. But maybe I have wandered on to a rugby union site?”

    Finally someone who knows a bit about athletics on this site. There’s a reason why most slim players who rely on speed like Vardy, Auba, AMN etc don’t ‘bulk up’. Sure, you can then still be very fast in a short sprint, but modern football needs players to be a combination of sprinters and long-distance runners, so the best comparison in athletics would 800 m runners.

    Anyone here really thinks Auba or Vardy are physically unable to bulk up?

  31. Kaz

    Regardless what everyone thinks of Pepe, he should stop taking corners. Not being able to consistently get it past the first man is embarrassing.

  32. Valentin


    Everybody who had watched Ligue 1 and Lille in particular knew that Pepe was not a €80 millions player. He is a highlight reels, YouTube great but a very limited player. When I expressed that opinion, I was lambasted about it.

    People got sucked in by the hype, the price, but it was Raul’s responsibility to know better. Instead of buying unknown gems with high resale value, he bought badly experienced player with no resale value and even less potential.

  33. James wood.

    Left foot curler.
    Heads the ball like a kid with a balloon.
    To easy to read ?
    Runs into trouble .
    His biggest problem total pitch
    unawareness —-a nomad.?
    Sorry take the money.

  34. Valentin


    When TH14 joined us, the first thing Wenger did was to stopping Henry from overdoing the gym as he had been taugh to in Italy. Wenger wanted more explosivity rather than body mass. The only gym work Henry was allowed to do was his upper body muscle.

    Footballers run up to 15km in 90 minutes, but it is not a regular run. It is a mix of static, jog, sprint. Like you said the best morphology for that type of physical exertion is semi long distance runner 800m/1500m/1 mile/5000m. None of which are heavy and bulky.

  35. Chris

    Apologies if this has been pointed out already but read something yesterday that during the Invincibles season, there was only 2 games where the starting line up was:

    Lehmann, Cole, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Henry.

    Doesn’t seem right but apparently true! I recall Vieira being out for a chunk of games in the late autumn, especially when Parlour skippered us in the San Siro.

    Edu started more games than Bergkamp.