Arsenal big names need a BIG performance at Old Trafford

by .

It’s the BIG ONE.

Arsenal vs Manchester United. Away from home. The reignition of a classic? Maybe.

Both sides head into this game out of form in the league. United haven’t won at home for three games. We haven’t won away against a top 6 side in 359 years. We are both not where we should be in the league.

It is a must win for both sides. Both sets of fans will be immensely frustrated with a sharing of the spoils

Arteta needs to win because though we’ve been tough to beat, we’re not racking up points in these big games.

Ole G needs to win because he’s spent a lot of cash for not a lot of output so far.

Arsenal fans are looking for a performance. I don’t buy that we have to have 62 shots on target to make a performance count, I think we just need to do better than we have been. Averaging 8 attempts at goal a game isn’t good for the soul. We need a bit more today. I don’t want to be celebrating a glorious loss again. We need to move beyond being competitive at this stage.

I think Arteta plays a fine margins game, but we’re not quite a fine margins team yet. To get a performance, he needs more than 6 of his players at the top of their game. I’m not sure we’ve seen a game like that so far this season.

These are the moments that are built for big players. Backs against the wall, low expectations, a grim record to surmount.

I want to see a ferocious Arsenal today. I want to see players like Willian show why we invested so much money in them. I want to see what Thomas Partey is all about. I want to see captain Auba impose himself.

Aside from that, I want to see some purpose and intent behind our attack. I think Arteta has cut out a lot of the nonsense we’ve seen from this squad in big games, but that’s led us to become a very low-risk side. When the objective is not to make a mistake, you improve defensively, but you also reduce the taste for risk. I want to see big players gamble. I want to see us take chances. If things don’t work out, I don’t want to see players hide… we need to keep plugging away until something good happens.

This is a huge game. It feels special. I am very excited.

You should feel the same. Let’s enjoy the game and see where we land. Catch you in the comments!


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1,260 Responses to “Arsenal big names need a BIG performance at Old Trafford”

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  1. RockyRoe

    Arteta set up not to lose and team played largely error free. Solskjaer was second best and his team made mistakes. Team have shown that they are most comfortable being the underdog.


    Don’t know which match you watched today but we in no way shape or tactic were playing with safety first, we had the ball in better areas, for longer and had more scoring opportunities and intent.

    Just because arteta used elneny and partey to block passing lines to.fernandes an pogba, doesn’t mean for a second we set up to low block like against City or Liverpool last season.

  2. WengerEagle


    Is it not? Comparing Neymar being an unproven big game player to Jota being a value signing for Pool after a few matches?

    If Jota has been a success, Pepe has been a shocker for 72m.

  3. WengerEagle


    You’re bringing up Jota every other post to me and then get all defensive because you had a massive hard-on for N’Zonzi for an age on here only to see him get passed around Roma, Galatasaray and now Rennes because he is shit.

    What has Xhaka or Hertha got anything to do with it?

  4. Ishola70

    Too right Rocky.

    We were competing right in the centre of the pitch against Man United. We were competing in the heat of the battle.

    In those FA Cup wins we basically gave up the midfield.

    The win tonight was far from those wins against Man City and Liverpool in the league in manner.

    We stood up toe to toe.

  5. Danny Morales salazar

    Looking at Parteys performance he absolutely dominated pombal. Robbed him of the ball so many times and went toe to toe with him physically and was victorious! How many times before could we say that?

    My prayers have been answered by Xhaka being dropped. He is a structural liability, to play him you force Tierney lwb with 1 man in midfield because xhaka becomes a cb. We also recover the ball more often rather than give silly fouls that puts pressure on the team. Long may this continue, he has been part of the deep issues along with mustafa and co.

  6. Ishola70

    Weagle forgive me for not fully taking on board your N’Zonzi is absolute shite remark.

    Elneny was absolute shite to you just this morning.

    If you can’t see the relevance in bringing up Hertha Berlin when you bring up Rennes then what can we do.

  7. WengerEagle

    ‘Elneny was absolute shite to you just this morning.’

    This is what I mean when I say that you’re the most reactionary poster on here.

    ‘If you can’t see the relevance in bringing up Hertha Berlin when you bring up Rennes then what can we do.’

    Don’t think anybody sees the relevance…

  8. Nelson

    I find that with Willian and Bellerin, our attack from the right side has greatly improved. They could have two assists if Saka and Auba took their chances. Bellerin seems to like Willian much more than Pepe.

  9. Ishola70

    Well the relevance is Weagle is that I have implied that N’Zonzi could have done a better job a few seasons ago for this team than Xhaka has.

    You bring up Rennes to belittle him.

    Then I point out to you that if not for the intervention of Arteta our boy Granit would be doing his stuff his stuff at Hertha Berlin now.

    And Rennes are a better team than Hertha Berlin.

    Get it now.

  10. Rich


    You’re a straight up liar 🤥

    You made up comments and attributed them to me, and you also altered one of my comments, to try and prove you’re point, but then got caught out.

    I can’t work out if your really slow?

    Or just difficult?

    Xhaka being our best available option over the past two seasons, doesn’t mean that I think Xhaka was a good option.

    He was just a better option than Torreira + Guendouzi + Ceballos in his first season.

    This season Ceballos has settled and improved, we’ve spent £45mill on an upgrade.

    We’ve now got 3 experienced central midfield options, a 24yr old who’s on the way up, and much more energy, drive and overall quality in Partey.

    And I’m really happy about that.

    You read those comments as:

    “Xhaka is world class, we should never have downgraded in signing Partey to replace Xhaka, I hate that we now have a more dynamic upgrade”

    You then go on some incoherent rant about me being a Xhaka justifier, it’s like you’re not reading the words in front of you, and you’re so blinded by you’re hate for Xhaka, you can’t see the woods from the trees

  11. WengerEagle

    ‘Well the relevance is Weagle is that I have implied that N’Zonzi could have done a better job a few seasons ago for this team than Xhaka has.’

    Haha, you were a little more generous in your praise for him than that. Have never seen you tout a player on here as much.

    ‘Then I point out to you that if not for the intervention of Arteta our boy Granit would be doing his stuff his stuff at Hertha Berlin now. And Rennes are a better team than Hertha Berlin.’

    Has nothing to do with Xhaka though, we could have brought anyone to the club and the only one that you wanted was N’Zonzi, you used to be a smartarse in fact to posters that didn’t quite share a mutual infatuation.

    It’s ok though because Rennes are better than Hertha, lol.

  12. Ishola70

    Weagle be careful now,

    I don’t bother with these things but other posters do at times and you were absolutely brutal about Elneny on here and not too long ago as well.

    If someone did dig up your recent post regarding him there would be Elneny blood over the blog.

    But enjoy the win Weagle.

    Good one.

  13. WengerEagle


    You have brought up Jota half a dozen times trying to be a smartarse and are now after one match telling me to be careful about Elneny?

    You’re a treasure. I remember you being scathing on the David Luiz signing, calling me and several others morons and relaying to us that he was literally one of our worst ever signings and that he wasn’t fit to be a PL CB.

    He goes on to become an important part of our FA Cup winning spine and not a peep from you, cowardly as ever. Can never admit when you’re wrong like now on N’Zonzi, lol.

    Elneny has been absolutely crap for us for the vast majority of his time here, I’m delighted that he was able to contribute to the win today and said as much. Can’t ever remember you giving Xhaka a lick of praise even when he’s played well and here you are telling me to ‘be careful’ or you”ll bring up my Elneny posts.

    Go ahead mate, lol.

  14. Bojangles

    Great win. Most Arsenal supporters will be happy today.

    Thomas and Elneny bossed the midfield, been a long time since we’ve done that. Hopefully this will be our midfield pairing going forward.

  15. Leedsgunner

    I hope Willian improves quickly because to me he was unimpressive again today.. After the first half I think I would have been tempted to sub him off. He’s supposed to be one of the creative outlets but we’re standing still with him in the side.

  16. Guns of SF

    Willian takes all set pieces, he will get some assists that way… we still need to practice our attacks in the final third. When Auba moved into the box he did much better. His lay off for Willian a case in point. I said a few days back that he needs the ball in already dangerous positions versus dribbling to create. He cannot do that. He can do however ,quick splitting passes in the box area to open players.

    I am looking forward to Gabby M playing… that right there would be enough to create channels and space with his dribbling…

    I do hope Art plays him…. At this point we need all the help we can get.

    Laca works hard but again, he has really struggled with any sort of offense lately.

    Rumors of Szholobasi though I hope we get him in Jan!

  17. Words on a Blog


    “Thomas and ElNeny bossed the midfield, been a long time since we’ve done that.”

    You nailed it.

    Normally our midfield is like an empty, arid desert, ceded entirely to the opposition, and we can’t wait to get the ball to the (mainly left) wing. I’ve cringed as unremarkable opposing midfielders suddenly look like Pirlo or Xavi.

    Against Man U, we controlled the midfield. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve done that.


  18. HighburyLegend

    Couldn’t watch the game live today. I’ve just watched some highligts…
    Can’t say what’s shocking me most, the fact that it is our first win at Old Toilet since 2006 (unbelievable how time flies fast), or the fact that Granité was benched by Lego Hair. Lol

    Seems that Arteta have eyes and brain, finaly… let’s hope he continues on the right path.

  19. Nelson

    I can see that those Arsenal fans in UK must be kicking themselves not be able to celebrate this win with the players in the stadium, especially once in the life time without Xhaka in the lineup.

  20. DivineSherlock

    Its clear we have big enough squad so now rotate the fuck out of it Arteta ! I dont wanna see Partey , Gabriel , Leno , Bellerin , Auba , Saka , Tierney , Elneny playing against Molde in Europa .

  21. Gonsterous

    Fk yah, woke up to an amazing result. Are we the new athletico Madrid??
    Looking at the highlights, we fking dominated this game. Should have been more than 1, but I’m loving it. Hope we can build on this and not revert to type. Time to start dominating every game. That’s how we get top 4

  22. Tony

    Absolutely happy to be a gooner during and after beating Manure.

    Well played all involved including Arteta for taking the handbrake off.

    Partey had shades of a young Paddy V and Gabs was immense at the back as was industrious Elneny.

    This win should be the catalyst to jump start our season where Villa should be the perfect next game to consolidate this win.

    Over to you Arteta to keep the results coming with sorting out our attack.

    Pedro has every right to pen his I-told-you-so post.

    Is Hertha still interested in Xhaka?

  23. Tom

    “To my friends on @legrove: Arteta got his shape right; OGS got his second half changes wrong. United still have way more quality than Arsenal, & they’ll still finish 10+ points above Arsenal. If you think I’m wrong, let’s wager. I would be happy to take your money. #afc #legrove”

  24. Tom

    If this is really from Bamford then the fella has lost his mind completely.
    United are not gaining 15 points on Arsenal the rest of the season.
    I will take this bet all day every day and twice on Sunday.

  25. raptora

    They didn’t even show Gabriel’s potential 2nd yellow incident on Match of the Day. Although the commentator said it was a “very soft penalty”, they aired an interview where Pogba said he made a crucial mistake and he should have known better admitting the foul. On another day both decisions go against us and we don’t win yet again. Feels good we finally got lucky vs this bloody lot. We deserved it big time.

  26. Dissenter

    Elneny was very very good today, I just rewatched the game.
    Damn he was good, he was driving forwards at every turn, even hassling United in injury time.
    Let’s hope Arteta will get ruthless.

  27. raptora

    Dissenter: Elneny was very very good today, I just rewatched the game.

    raptoraNovember 1, 2020 16:48:28
    15 mins where Elneny has been playing like a man possessed.

    He set the tone up for the rest of our players. Really made the difference.

  28. Mysticleaves

    My gee El Neny turning up big time. Never would have thought I would be alive to see dissenter praise Mo. Always knew there was a player there. Xhaka was always the problem. Partey is a beast of a player and if he continues like this, 45m will look like 15m

  29. Leftfootcurler

    Great victory,so nice to finally win at OT after so long.

    We pressed more aggressively than usual and capitalised on an utd error.

    When we dropped our physical levels,we still kept a strong mentality and refused to concede.

    A great victory.

    From a long term viewpoint, it’s clear that Arteta’s attacking dynamics is that of a CF dropping and WF making blindside movements in behind.

    We don’t really have CF who can play that false 9 role well.

    We need to stay in contention for top 4 and buy mobile, clinical version of Olivier Giroud for that role.

    I was hoping for Auba to go to CF eventually and buying a btl creator to play on the left.

    But that’s not going to happen. Let’s hope we get the right man.

    We need this to break past low blocks regularly.

  30. Mysticleaves

    Hopefully, just hopefully Arteta has seen the light. Like I saw 2 seasons ago. Xhaka must not play all the matches. Infact, sell if possible cos he isn’t a bench player but shouldn’t be starting for us. We CLEARLY have people, about 2 that can do what he does/complement Partey better than Xhaka can so there’s absolutely no need for that

  31. Captain Tierney

    One player who is not getting the recognition he deserves after yesterday’s performance is Bellerin.
    Has massively upped his game this season. Has lost some of his pace but his overall play has improved a lot.
    This is the best he has ever been imo.

  32. raptora

    Gary Neville before #MUNARS about United’s team:

    This team has turned the corner!

    Roy Keane after #MUNARS about United’s team:

    Some people were thinking that this team has turned the corner. I was never kidded on by that!


  33. Thorough

    Nobody should ever complain Lille robbed us on Pepe.
    Whatever we lost on Pepe we more than recovered from Gabriel. What a player. Gabriel at this stage will be worth 100 million in a couple of years. He’s at least twice the player the Manu unmentionable center back is.

  34. Leftside

    Tom, that is embarrassing from Bamford at this point. At this point its best for us to just ignore him and move on.

  35. CHEN

    Great win last night…

    Partey was everything I never saw in my life. Missed vieras peak.

    Gabriel was a wall… quick, commanding in the air and good reading of the game…

    Tierney, is consistent like monreal was… but with more quality (we did well on this transfer)

    But for me the most impressive performance came from Wenger’s signing… el neny and holding was great …
    Almost everyone including wrote off elneny but he has proven us all wrong… holding, considering he was sidelined for 1 month with many injuries in the past couple of years especially with rashford injuring him…. considering all these factors, he was the most impressive…

    Let us not forget that United played their first team in the midweek….

  36. Useroz

    Buying and selling players is fun and not an exact science. And hindsight is always cool. Hopefully we’d do better overall. I think we still do ok just that when finance is down it makes the Xhaka, Mustafi, Pepe sort if deals so much more unpleasant.

    If we out Gabriel on the market asking for £60m, he’d be gone by tomorrow!

    And Manure probably offets Progba + £20m to join the Partey!

    Values of Holding, Elneny, Tierney have all appreciated somewhat i’d think.

    The immediate concern would be to move on as much dross as possible in the Jan TW.

    Laca isn’t getting a new deal and we certainly don’t want another Bosman. If we’d do something in Jan, lets position for the future. Edouard seems not a bad option. It’s not that complicated really.

    Personally i’d want Szoboszlai in Jan too.

    The Manure game still resonates and it’s the overall team performance that gives some sense of positivity and hope of Top 4. This season that is.

    Arteta should continue to refine, enhance but for god sake don’t overdo it. Again, it’s nit that complicated.

    Taking fatigue and injuries into consideration, the challenge for Arteta is to identify plausible replacements in key positions while maintaining similar level of performance.

    Is Pepe a like for like swap with Willian? Who also plays the Saka role ? Soares is no Bellerin and Kolac ain’t close to Tierney unfortunately. And so on…

    If we don’t beat Villa yesterday’s game would be for nothing in the overall scheme of things, other than broken some 14 yo record.

  37. Emiratesstroller

    I was not a great fan of Elneny in the past, because despite his completion stats I found his
    square and back passing totally frustrating.

    However, his performance this season and in particular yesterday was totally different. He is
    now far more progressive in his passing and we saw even a shot on goal.

    Frankly I thought that yesterday’s midfield performance was amongst the best I have seen
    for a very long time albeit that I would like still to see a genuine “world class creative midfielder” in the team.

    That will require of course a 4-3-3 formation rather than what we played yesterday which was essentially a 3-4-3 formation.

  38. Useroz

    Watched the Southampton goals. Seriously I don’t know how many could’ve have been saved by any GKs. Leno included as a top shotstopper according to some.

    Some questioned the organisation of the walls etc. please watch the slow mo again. U wish we have someone who can curl even 80% like Ward-P.

    Both Fk/ shots skimmed the top of the walls and bloody dipped right in the corners. Oh my. That’s Ronaldo level Fks

    Arteta needs to make 2 to 3 from the team practthe hell out of it and get it right. When you lack goals Fks are bonus and ‘cheap’ They come in handy like the brace Pepe scored in the Europa game last season!

  39. Useroz

    Agreed that stats could misled without context. The infamous Dennilson almost perfect passing record! Crab passes that is.

    Elneny should now have some confidence (if it was an issue) and kick on to progressing the ball in similar ways like yesterday. Take on defenders, draw a foul, make some final passes, etc. There’s more value i am sure even if only 60/70 % if these work out.

    I echo someone who observed Bellerin seems to (like to) work better with Willian and on much better wavelengths. Thats good but Willian can’t play every game. Bellerin needs to work with Pepe and Nelson or whoever occupies the right wing every time he walks onto the pitch.

  40. Buzzy

    Yesterday’s win was huge! Absolutely season changing, morale changing. The tactics were spot on because the 4 man midfield really suffocated United. The two wing backs made it so difficult for United to get out of their own half in the first half. That allowed Elneny and Partey to dominate in the middle of the park. Partey was so smooth and imposing but man what about Elneny? That guy had his best game in an Arsenal jersey yesterday. Always willing to receive the ball and got out of tough situations with intelligent touches and forward passing. Pressed them like a terrier till the end. And of course, Gabriel was IMMENSE! Best defender in PL by a mile. Really looking forward to the season now! We really have a fantastic coach who knows how to win!

  41. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal’s strategy this side of Christmas should be to play where possible two different teams for EPL and Europa Cup.

    Our Group in Europa Cup is fairly weak and it should be not difficult to win our remaining games using a second string lineup assuming of course that we do not have large scale injury problem.

    Obviously in the new year the dynamics change once we play knockout football in Europa
    and the opposition is significantly stronger.

  42. Emiratesstroller


    I am not getting overexcited by yesterday’s result. However, what is important is that we won this game and not making comparisons with Spurs.

    Spurs have had some up and down performances this season so I will judge our performance when we play them.

    Sofar Spurs have won absolutely nothing under both Pochettino and Mourinho.

  43. Up 4 grabs now


    Just rewatched the game again, looks even better second time around.
    Partey was immense. With xhaka not playing, he wasn’t trying to hold the midfield on his own, big mo balanced well with him. And it gave him freedom to move forwards knowing there was somebody with pace behind him to cover for him.
    Probably the Egyptians best game, if he carries on with that form they will be a great partnership.

    Gabriel was great too. Holding looked a little rusty first 20-25 minutes but then found his form and really kicked on.
    Two defenders who won almost everything flung into the box.

    I thought bellerin had a good game as well.

    Laca worked his socks off, and its frustrating seeing him have to drop deep but if it means getting the win then you live with it.

  44. Calypso


    I’m not comparing teams, all i’m saying is Man Utd have suffered the worst start at home for 48 years and that was before the Arsenal game.

  45. SpanishDave

    We hav’nt scored a goal in open play for three games.
    That’s a worry and needs to be addressed.Laca is poor as an attacker and changes will be needed in this dept.

  46. Up 4 grabs now

    Sky made so much about United losing to the spuds, they were 2-1 down then collapsed after going to ten men. Both teams were defending poorly.

    Then again sky also made them world beaters against Leipzig.

    They played pretty average and were 15 minutes away from winning 1-0 when Leipzig collapsed and let in four in the last fifteen minutes.

    They were average gainst Chelsea as well.

    Doesn’t matter, we won up there we now have a run of easier games get some momentum before we meet Maureen and his Neanderthals.

  47. Pierre

    From day one , since I’ve been commenting on Le grove, I have always wanted Arsenal to play with 2 central midfielders who were disciplined, could read the game, were positionally perfect, worked as pair, technically good and never got ahead of the ball..

    Yesterday, at long last , we saw the perfect midfield performance from Partey and Elneny..
    The last pairing in midfield who gave Arsenal the base for the team to play were Coquelin and Cazorla.

    I was always critical of Wenger playing Ramsey in a 2 man midfield as , although being a good footballer, he lacked discipline and would often be caught out of position..

    The central partnerships of Xhaka / ceballos or Xhaka/guendouzi wiil never give the team a solid base as Xhaka has flaws in his game and Ceballos and Guendouzi are neither disciplined or positionally aware.

    What Arteta has is a midfield pairing who will be just as comfortable playing in a wing back system or a 4-2-3-1.

    In a 4-2-3-1 Partey and Elneny are the perfect combination in midfield to allow an offensive 4 to attack with more freedom as they would have the perfect protection behind them in midfield.

    Partey and Elneny know exactly where to be at any given time on a football pitch, they never get ahead of the ball , they protect the defence , they support the attack and they always make themselves available for the pass, plus they know when to press and when to drop off..

    What Arteta needs to find now within the squad , is a player who can play in the hole in a 4-2-3-1, a player who can link the play effortlessly, I have a feeling that Saka may be that player or maybe one of the other kids like smith rowe or willock..

    Yesterday could be a turning point in the season, and it’s the midfield combination that has given the fans belief, although I stiil think our performances will continue to be on the pragmatic side in the league in the next few months and goals at both ends of the pitch will be hard to come by unless Arteta finds the player to link the play in the offensive third.

    It has been mentioned that we need creativity in central midfield…we don’t..that is way down the list of priorities for a central midfielder.

  48. Emiratesstroller


    What we saw yesterday with our central midfield pairing was “composure” and “football

    That makes a huge difference in the makeup of team.

    Nevertheless I am still concerned about Arsenal’s lack of cutting edge and end product up front. We should not forget how Leicester absorbed pressure and were then able to cut us open when Vardy came on.

    We need to start putting the ball into net from open play.