Reframing expectations.

by .

‘United will get run ragged by the German boys’

The coolest take of mine this week.

Getting smashed by OGS 5-0 is embarrassing. But look, that’s the reality of United, they have a lot of good players that on their night, can be absolutely devastating.

… poor Nagelsmann. That’s a real spanking. Another one of my hipster fantasies running into problems.

So, onto Arsenal.

We host Dundalk. It’s a dreamy story of a team that’s climbed the ranks with a coach that was teaching kids to play football in America not so long ago. What a day out they’re going to have.

We should beat them, but they’ll be high on life, so this will very much take on the vibe of an early-round FA Cup game. I’m praying for a win out here…

There’s a lot of misery around Arsenal and Arteta at the moment. Everyone needs to take a reality pill and get back on track with what the project is about.

This time last year, people were genuinely talking about Arsenal getting relegated. We were 12 points off 1st, and 4 points off 14th. There was no direction, the players looked uninterested, and things were about to get very, very bad for us.

We hired in a 38-year-old manager. He expertly steered us out of a hideous situation and stabilised the club. That was a huge task most thought he was incapable of.

His biggest mission has been to change the culture of the club, that takes time, especially when you can’t turn over large chunks of the squad that were badly recruited.

Arteta tasked himself with making us difficult the beat. He has achieved that. No one comes to Arsenal to roll us these days, you might think that’s no big deal, but we have literally been getting rolled by top teams for 10 years. We are good at defending. We have the second-best defence in the league and we rarely concede more than one goal. Shots against us have drastically reduced. Again, you might think that’s par the course, but it is within living memory that Watford had 32 attempts at our goal.

Part one of the job is on track. The foundation has been set. The next phase is about fixing the attack.

Here, we have to be realistic. Solving that problem with internal solutions, to the level we require, is unlikely to happen. We don’t have the attacking riches United, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea or City have… even Everton look like they have better-attacking options than we do.

We clearly lack a #10 or a modern #8 player. It isn’t one player either, it’s two. We don’t have players that thrive in the half-spaces. There’s no Hleb, Santi, Wilshere or Rosicky to make the magic happen. We’re currently relying on Saka adapting to that role, and that will be a huge ask. He’s more suited as a wide player.

Wide player-wise, there’s simply no world in which Arteta sanctions £72m for Pepe. He’s not playing well because he’s not that good. We hope based on his price tag, the reality is, if his name was Billy Smith and he was a youth player, we’d not be interested. Reiss Nelson is now the answer, but let’s be honest, he was struggling the break into Hoffenheim after a blistering start and we spent the summer trying to move him on. We love Gabriel, but it’s still a stretch to think he’s going to be a teenage saviour this season.

Then you look at the striking options. Auba through the middle isn’t an option because he can’t hold the ball up in the way we’d like. Lacazette isn’t right, and Eddie seems a way off ready. Fans are pumping Balogun?! That’s not right.

If we’re realistic, solving our attack is going to be very, very tough.

At the moment, our approach is to squeeze out chances to make our powerplays. The hope is that out of 4-5 good chances we create, we score one and batten down the hatches. This season, our form has been poor and we’re not taking our chances. Nothing has clicked and lady luck has covid.

You also have to accept that when you hire a young coach, they will make mistakes and misjudge situations. Arteta has a high ceiling, but he has to learn. We couldn’t afford to spend £15m on Poch, so we took a chance on potential. He will fumble, he will do odd things, but that’s a price worth paying, because when he gets it right, and he will, it’ll be worth the entrance fee.

‘SACK HIM’ is not analysis. It’s what stupid people who live in the moment say. Again, worth noting that the ‘best young coach in the world’, just had his arse handed to him by OGS. RB Leipzig is a very well assembled side deep into its development. They made the semi-finals of the Champions League last season. They are a good team, but bumps in the road are part of the journey when you bring in a young manager. Even Jose, with a far better squad than ours, tanked a 3-0 lead to West Ham.

I also find the perversion people have over William Saliba very, very odd. Arsenal are pretty good at defending. If we are not including a young player in our squad this season, there’s a good reason for it. The player had fitness issues last season, so we know there are problems there, because the Premier League is brutal. He can’t speak English, which is also tough to manage. He’s 19 years old, has just moved to a new country, and he’s dealing with horrendous personal problems. Do we think throwing a precocious talent into the first team, just because Dave on the internet saw two minutes of him on Youtube, is a good idea? Do we need to wreck him in front of millions to prove a point? 19-year-old centre backs at the highest level of the Premier League are a very, very, very rarely a thing. Arteta is protecting a player that has a very, very, very long career ahead of him. You are really struggling if your analysis of our problems right now is #FreeSaliba… but again, when things are not going well, any average idea is given oxygen.

Arteta will experiment. He is humble enough to admit when he’s wrong. He will develop his ideas. But you need to brace for the fact that the path to top 4 is not paved in goals, it’s brick walls and ruthless discipline… and the hope that January might bring a present or two.

Don’t lose faith. Don’t covet busted flushes that started with better tools. Keep the faith. This is the way. xx

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896 Responses to “Reframing expectations.”

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  1. Useroz

    SamesongOctober 29, 2020 20:16:14
    Go on Arteta leave the tactics on the Macbook for all to see.“

    Thats a decoy. The 13th player and sauce to help secure a win against a very strong (physically ) aide!

  2. Gazzap

    This shape is better than against Leicester. It’s just a shame the players aren’t quite top quality. But Willock in that advanced central area makes a positive difference.

  3. Useroz

    Nelson took couple of shots but still nothing on target half way the 1H.

    Elneny under instruction to pass forward it seems. Good start.

    We don’t have ball carriers to take on their defence even with Pepe and Nelson.

  4. karim


    Yilmaz has been good and the other noticeable ones have been Araujo, Bamba and Ikoné with Jose Fonte rock-solid at the back.
    Renato is a bit inconsistent but still quite talented.


    Yep, having Campos as chief scout was always gonna help as far as making profits on talented youngsters is concerned.

  5. Habesha Gooner

    There was a lot of numbers quoted from 15 to 25 mil. I thought we could have got atleast 20 mil for him. I dont get his use to us now apart from playing wingback against big teams. We would have been better served if we had a N 10 instead.

  6. Matt

    All this talk about Pepes confidence being shit because he is on an out of the team. Sorry, but what a meek prick!! Fucking man up, put your big boy pants on and show the world that you can’t be left out. He is a typical Arsenal signing of the past 10 + years. Weak as hell mentally and not up for a fight.

  7. Gunnershabz

    I am liking Nelson he showing some fight and wanting to take a place

    Love to see balogun come on he can’t be that bad then nketiah

  8. Kris

    This is just too depressing again. Don’t blame the quality of the players, as they’re clearly better individually than the pub team, but it seems the coaching is not working out.

  9. Kaz

    OK, so from the few comments, we’re playing poorly, can’t judge our keeper so far, just that their’s has made a howler (I’m guessing flaffed it into danger)

  10. Ishola70


    “(I’m guessing flaffed it into danger)”

    No he completely missed the ball with his attempted puch from the corner.

    He is not up to scratch shall we say.

  11. TheLegendaryDB10

    Very nicely taken by Willock!!!!

    Great to be seeing us more in the opposition’s half.

    But I didn’t expect any less considering that we are playing the mighty Dundalk.

    Another 2-3 goals in the 2nd half would be very welcome

  12. Gazzap

    I like willock. He takes up good positions in the attacking third. He sometimes lacks the golden touch. Played well today so far. I also have very high hopes for ESR in that attacking central role.

  13. Samir

    Pretty poor performance so far.
    Why has Arteta set up defensive against some farmers?

    Only thing I’m excited for is seeing Balogun.
    Pepe is useless once again and always complaining.

  14. Marko

    That’s more like it but Arsenal scoring off two mistakes by Dundalk. I dunno man you think united might help us out Sunday. Is Bailly starting?

  15. Samesong

    Who else hates seeing that Praying Mantis looking mug Crouch polluting their TV every half an hour on that fucking ad with his comically out of his league wife?

    Love Crouchie his parents live round the corner from me.

  16. Useroz

    1H was a pass. Least the team could do against a clearly much weaker team.

    Eddie should watch how Rashford plays. Dynamism ,movements, timing, shooting etc. Way above his league and someone to learn from. Nelson could benefit too.

  17. Leftfootcurler

    Arsenal lacking players BTL and runners again.

    Whenever Nelson and Pepe cut inside, only Nketiah was in the box.

    Pepe was brain dead on Willock’s goal,he had two players blocking him and an easy pass to Willock available. He chose to shoot.

  18. Useroz

    The Willock goal wasn’t a Dundalk mistake to be fair. The shot was clean and well placed.

    But we did make life difficult for ourselves.

    Now that Arteta saw what Dundalk live, surely we don’t need to risk Xhaka in the 2H.

  19. Vickingz

    @leftfootcurler, and if pepe had scored, what would you be saying? These guys are just playing attacking football since arteta took over, it’s not gonna be perfect tonight. Just be happy that we are at least seeing a little bit better arsenal team than what we have been seeing these past few months

  20. MidwestGun

    Dundalk parked the double decker bus… I really don’t think lack of runners is our biggest issue in this one. Just need to be more crisp and less panicked in tight spaces around the box. And don’t settle for passing backwards when frustrated.

    Like that!!!! Boom!

  21. Leftfootcurler


    If Pepe scored,it would still have been a bad decision to shoot.

    If you have followed my comments on here for any length of time,you would see that I don’t do result based conclusions or knee jerk reactions.

  22. Pierre

    Willock is making the difference, good composure and awareness and nice movement off the ball .

    I’m surprised Arteta hasn’t used him this season.

  23. Habesha Gooner

    Inorder for him to do that often he need to be in those positions. Give him some space aroung the box in shooting positions and he is a real threat. But We lack creativity so much that he is isolated on the wing to cross the ball instead of moving around the box. Let him shoot and he is better than all of our players bar Auba.