Arsenal vs Leeds game day blog: Arteta goes big with changes

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Just a quick blog today so we can start a fresh thread of elite comments for the Leeds game.

Mikel Arteta clearly took a pilgrimage to Arsenal Internet and he has been baptised in the knowledge of the fan selection demands.

Joe Willock starts. This game is huge for him. He has the chance to show he’s more than Europa League player.

Auba looks like he’s starting through the middle. Again, this is huge. It’s an acceptance that our best striker should play through the middle and it’s an end to the rein of Lacazette.

Willian gets the nod. Arteta clearly loves the player. He believes form is temporary, class is permanent. He wants to see if he can make his stuttering free transfer rock today.

Nicolas Pepe also gets the nod. The Ivorian is a maverick, he lacks consistency, but deep down, we all hope there’s a rocket man waiting to blow.

I think Saka is being rested. He’s played a lot of minutes and we don’t want to break him.

The only other notable exit is David Luiz. He didn’t make the game-day squad. I think he’s fit. This could be disciplinary action. To my mind, he’s too slow for a game like today, but we will miss his abilities in the build-up.

UPDATE: His wife had a baby. Damn, I just went straight to drama. 

So, in short, we have seen a reaction on the line-up, now let’s see if there’s a reaction on the pitch. We need to see high energy, we need to see smart on and off the ball movement, and we need to make some chances.

See you in the comments.

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1,250 Responses to “Arsenal vs Leeds game day blog: Arteta goes big with changes”

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  1. Graham62

    Two excuses for yesterday.

    1.Some tired players.
    2.Crappie pitch.

    That aside……….Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

    Arteta has a lot of questions to answer.

    Don’t see anything in his managerial style and methods at present that gives me hope.

  2. China1

    Lol Bojangles here’s you telling me I’m talking shit whilst confirming exactly what I said that you agree 3 points would’ve been ‘stolen’ if we got them and ‘not deserved’

    So if I’m chatting shit perhaps you shouldn’t be corroborating exactly my point that by all accounts including your own, we were once again shit and dropped 2 points. This time against a newly promoted team.

  3. Leftside

    Pedro we’re not going to beat Wolves and Spurs, this probably take a turn for the worst before they begin to look up.

  4. Leftside

    For me if your going to be an authoritarian then the rules have to apply to everyone. God knows what Willian has done to waltz into this football club and be above everything.

    If we’re basing the treatment of Guen solely on the Brighton game then its excessive, I’m in the minority that doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Let the rules be the same for everyone or its harder to take Arteta serious.

  5. Kegunner

    Arteta was not spectacular as a player. He lacks the experience to inspire league topping performance. He has to make up for it in other factors like man management. Arteta has resorted to be a strict displinarian hoping that will inspire his team. That might work for limited players that know their limits but not for all players. He is draining the soul out of the team and needs to add a bit of creativity to the side.

  6. Graham62

    Good morning Tony

    Hate to admit it, but my local team BHA play far better football than AFC.

    Unlike Arsenal, they’ve had no luck this season but Graham Potter has got them looking like a team that not only play attractive football but actually know what they are doing.

    Arsenal on the other hand.

  7. Graham62

    By playing Willian Arteta made a major cock up.

    Cut his own throat on that one.

    Even Pedro won’t be able to explain that decision.

  8. Danny+S


    But who is creating the chances for Brighton? What player in their team would walk straight into our starting 11 and start making chances? Because apparently according to some we can’t create chances because we don’t have the players, so all the teams that have scored more goals than us this season
    Must have a player that can walk right into our team and start pinging out chances surely?

  9. Mee

    What did anybody expect from one of the worst midfielders in recent memory for Arsenal? If Granit turned out in the dug out for us ten years down the line what would you expect?

  10. Ronald

    Honestly blaming Pepe is just deflecting from the main issues. He was definitely shit yesterday and I even told my pal at about the 35th minute that I could see why Pepe doesn’t play. The role and tasks he is given are not in line with his abilities and will therefore always be inconsistent. The problem is that this is not a one off performance. It is the new norm. Even when he keeps saying that the goals will come/we need to offer solutions to the players and stuff like that, truth of the matter is that on the ground, we can’t see that. We are stuck with having 2/3 moments in a whole match and we are banking on our disjointed, shot-shy, demoralised attack to finish these few chances. Totally unsustainable.

    I was watching the chelsea – sheffield game a couple of weeks ago with some Arsenal fans and I got there when Chelsea were one goal down. All it took me was about 3/4 minutes to see that with the vigour, pace, aggression and quality chelsea were attacking with and how much sheffield were retreating to tell my mates that the score would end 3-1 or 4-1 unless something really weird happened (this is still football anyway and a red card/referee/penalty cold change a lot).

    A football match has 90 minutes. We look like we are terrified of conceding even a single goal. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it reaches ridiculous levels of having 8 guys lined up in our box then it is very very worrying. worst part is when we are doing this even against even promoted teams. Mikel is overcomplicating football to a point that it is robotic and horrible to watch. Fine margins are well and good, finding a weakness in an opponent to take advantage of based on their dominant style of play. But first and foremost, get a working style of play that is viable. And then a small tweak here and there should be enough to get you three points.

    But with us, we all can’t really see what we are trying to do. Is it playing from the back? Look at Klopp’s Liverpool team when he arrived. I must admit, I was one of those who ridiculed them because of the number of goals they would concede, but the guy knew how he wants his team to play and you’d see what they are trying to do. With Arsenal, you cannot see it. Are we just a pass pass pass pass and wait to nick it team? worst part is that even the areas we are passing passing this ball are usually places where the opponent is very comfortable defending against.

    This is going to be a long season for sure and we can all see what a lack of experience is going to do to us. Like binning Ozil off without having a plan to address what he brought to the team when we all saw after the lockdown how robotic our game play had turned. The only way arteta will succeed is if he is given the sort of players he wants, (Partey, Jorginho and Aouar were the players he wanted and are very very technical-makes me think he is definitely not an attack-minded coach) He definitely cannot form a winning team with the players he has now, especially the so called senior players. I actually preferred watching Nelson yesterday to willian and pepe. He should just give up on them.

  11. Floom

    You wanted this clown at Arsenal. Arteta is worse than Don Howe, Ricoh and Terry Neill. Worst manager Arsenal ever had


  12. underrated Coq

    You gotta feel for Pedro.

    We get the ‘If we win the next two games, its all good’ comment, every week now.

    Ends up falling flat on the face every week.

    So he’s now adding a risk clause. ‘If we lose the next two, we can win the next ten afterwards’


  13. Receding Hairline

    We are not in a false position, our results reflect our performances. We have not been unlucky but lucky, West Ham and Leeds were four points fortuitous gained, both teams should have smashed us on the balance of play

  14. Valentin

    Unless you have been taken by the cult of Arteta, it is clear that we are not heading in the right direction.
    On the pitch, we are frozen by the fear of conceding, robotic play stifle our attack and our defense look good because we do in number but when facing an organised attack with a precise game plan we are overrun and overwhelmed.
    Like somebody else wrote, if your game plan is to be more solid defensively but to the detriment of attack and your xGa is higher than your xG, then maybe the game plan does not work.

    Off the pitch, the initial baffling decisions are just compounded on a weekly basis. The so called non-negotiable are harshly imposed on players on Arteta’s shit list, while senior players viewed as allied are treated with kids gloves.

    How on earth is Willian avoid punishment when it is now clear not only did he breach the club rule, but he also broke the English lockdown rule. Not only that, but his small travel escape is most likely the reason why he was jaded during the first half and got himself injured.

    Using Pepe (who did something foolish) as a scapegoat, when our performance with 11 men was worse is just a smoke screen. It also signal to the players than instead of protecting them, Arteta is ready to throw them under the bus to save himself from the media scrutiny. Way to go to foster respect and trust within the camp.

  15. Ishola70

    Any player would have gone down in the Pepe incident.

    Any player.

    So while it is good to see Tierney show some spirit there he really shouldn’t be getting involved in this instance in regards the idiotic Pepe. Show your spirit for more worthy causes than Pepe.

    As for Xhaka he looked a bit over-protective of Alioski but it’s the old Balkan brotherhood thing going on there.

  16. Tom

    Crap pitch is actually a valid excuse but for Bielsa and his quick passing style of play.
    They played Liverpool and City earlier this season in perfect conditions and Leeds were mesmerizing to watch.
    Some of their worse results this season Leeds have suffered were in a rain.

  17. Tom

    Leno /Maupay, Tierney/Mane, and now Pepe/Alioski incident…….. how many do you need to figure out Arsenal players are a bunch of pussies who don’t stick up for each other?
    Lack of character runs through the core of this team.

  18. Tom

    So while it is good to see Tierney show some spirit there he really shouldn’t be getting involved in this instance in regards the idiotic Pepe. Show your spirit for more worthy causes than Pepe.

    Like what, global warming?

  19. Valentin

    That description of the game from the guardian site made me laugh:

    Arsenal played like a team of ringers, a group of players who had been introduced to each other on the morning of the game. How else to explain the lack of synchronicity, the painful viscosity of their passing exchanges, the sense of football being played while simultaneously trying to read the instructions from a manual?

  20. Pierre

    ““That flair, that creativity and that momentum that the players need to make the last action, it’s the most difficult thing in football,”

    Flair and creativity are born within you ..some have it , most don’t…

    Flair and creativity are like dirty words to most on Le Grove..

    A player that does possess flair and creativity will not reach the top of their profession without hard graft….

  21. Ishola70


    Pepe obviously has issues. At this point in time many have Pepe down as a bit of an arsehole character.

    I know there is the old adage that he is one of our arseholes but in this instance “sticking” up for Pepe looks a bit silly as he was clearly in the wrong and was idiotic.

    It then becomes a false narrative and doesn’t impress anyone.

  22. Valentin


    Albanian brotherhood would have a more appropriate term because I doubt that there is a Balkan brother hood things. Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Albanians hardly consider themselves as brother.

  23. Ishola70

    “Can we all agree that Arteta is done and Pepe was hired due to a cleverly edited YouTube reel and not scouting.”

    Pepe goes down with Xhaka as players that were clearly not scouted properly before signing them.

  24. James wood.

    Tierny shackled in the first half.
    Released at half time until the sending off.
    Probably our best player.
    But really only an average player
    over hits balls on a regular basis
    and some times looks like he’s in a cars
    Sums up another day in a very average
    Arsenal performance.
    How did we get a point???????😡angry.

  25. Pierre

    In the wenger days, the opposition manager would instruct the groundsman to let the grass grow longer for fear of being outplayed on a perfect pitch.

    It’s now getting to the point where Arteta will be instructing our groundsmen to slow the pitch down for fear of being humiliated by proper footballing sides.

  26. Ishola70

    “Albanian brotherhood would have a more appropriate term because I doubt that there is a Balkan brother hood things. Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Albanians hardly consider themselves as brother.”

    You get my drift though.

    If it came to the real crunch outside of football in everyday life Xhaka is going to put his neck on the line for Alioski rather than Tierney.

  27. Pierre

    The disappointment for me, was seeing willock playing as a CAM in a defensive role man marking Phillips.

    This was a usual Emery tactic and i look at it as a negative tactic.

    For a start , phillips is not that good a player to be afforded a man marker, it should be phillips worrying about Willock’s position, not the other way round..

    You could hear Arteta throughout the game shoutiing “Joe, Joe ” for Willock not to lose his man.
    The disappointment on Willock’s face when he was taken off was there for all to see.

    Of course , it is now doubtful that Arteta will play him in the league again so we will never know if he is good enough..
    He has so much more to his game offensively than what he was being asked yesterday.

  28. SpanishDave

    The morning after.
    We were lucky not to loose.
    Leeds at times were queuing up taking pot shots at us Leno made some great saves.
    We had no midfield there were big holes in midfield and no movement forward.
    It’s hard to fathom out what Arteta is trying to do, the players are not on his side, and being constantly shouted at is not coaching its bullying.
    We won’t suddenly start wining as it is clear that the players have no belief in his methods, and the new players must be wondering why they joined us. Probably just for the big wages.
    We are back to square one.

  29. Tom


    Posters have been making the same lame argument after each and every one of those incidents on here, especially if the player in question isn’t their favorite or some shit.

    “Leno should’ve protected himself and you see theses little nudges on keepers all the time”

    “Tierney is short and Mane isn’t that kind of a player, and if Arsenal players thought Mane’s elbow was intentional they would’ve reacted”

    “Pepe should’ve known better, every professional player would’ve done what Alioski did….”

    There might be some truth to all theses statements in isolation but when looked at as a group they tell their own story.

    Arteta didn’t stick up for his players in either situation. If you don’t think that might be a problem than I don’t know what to tell you.

    Leno was furious and no one backed him- fact

    Tierney looked around bewildered and no one backed him- fact

    Pepe cost 72 million and even if he’s a dud you still need to protect his value and maybe try to build his confidence so it’s not a total loss.

    Arteta’s man management is poor.

  30. Graham62

    I think we can all agree that Arsenal are in deep shite.

    Arteta is ……………….well, to put it frankly, out of his depth.

    Not only has he disrupted the flow and visible progress of the team since our Cup Final success, he has systematically dismantled the structure of the team by making rank poor decisions.

    Pierre is correct, we do have “flair and talent” in our ranks but Arteta has drained it out of those few players capable of doing something special. We are playing with too much fear based on too much theoretical claptrap from Arteta.

    I felt for Willock when he was substituted but most of all I feel sucked dry of any hope with the way Arteta is going about things.

    Sorry, but it’s definitely “Arteta Out!!” for me.

  31. Graham62

    Who are these sources that Pedro speaks of who say Arteta is a great coach.

    Great coaches don’t do what he’s doing.

    That’s not an opinion either.

    That’s a fact.

  32. HerbsArmy

    The only gift Pep Guardiola gave Arteta was the opportunity to work alongside some very expensive footballers.
    He (Guardiola), inherited the best club side in world football from Frank Rijkaard, and a young Lionel Messi. He hasn’t won the CL without Messi, the last being nearly 10 years ago, and whilst he has won titles with Bayern and City, it has come at two clubs who’ve indulged his need to spend massive amounts of money.
    Guardiola hasn’t been a great manager he has been lucky, and you can’t teach luck.
    Again, Arsenal appointing an inexperienced unknown quantity on a completely false premise.
    It would be comical if these people weren’t getting £millions to continually make stupid decisions to the detriment of our football club.

  33. Emiratesstroller

    Let me remind all critics of Arteta that our transfer budget under him has been limited to £74 million spent mainly on two highly rated players in Gabriel and Partey who are considered regular starters when fit and a considerable upgrade on what we had previously.

    By contrast Arsenal spent during the Emery era around £216 million, which included buying
    Pepe costing £72 million who is not considered a regular starter and Saliba costing £28 million who cannot make the first team squad.

    So let’s stop blaming Arteta for all the mistakes made by his predecessors.

    As has been discussed frequently on Le Grove there is no short term solution to our current
    situation unless Kroenke is willing to invest significantly in transfer market.Chelsea spent
    over £200 million in last transfer window.

  34. Bojangles


    I didn’t state we were shit. I stated we could have stolen an undeserved victory but we deserved the point. I watched the match twice and although we didn’t play well we were not shit. Our biggest problem was giving the ball away all over the park which invited pressure on ourselves.

    Watch the game and then comment on it don’t judge the match on the knee jerk comments of the in game crowd here.

  35. Emiratesstroller

    Graham 62

    Which great coaches are you referring to?

    Last season only three managers won a trophy. Arteta was one of the three and managed to
    beat both Man City and Chelsea in FA Cup.

    Everyone knows what are our shortcomings in the League. Let’s stop blaming Arteta for
    the paucity of our squad.

  36. G8

    Agree that Arteta s man management is shit (dosnt involve ozil he deserves it)
    its obvious that he is trying to act like Pep has done with the likes of Aguero, yaya and Hart for example, its just that he forgot we can’t afford to alienate players and replace them with 100s millions each transfer window, we are not backed by oil rich country .
    .I am disappointed about what he did to Guen and saliba,
    and before them Martinelle
    I can also understand Pepe frustration and lack of form. Casually leaving him out after good or decent performance, dosnt build up confidence
    the way he set up the team dosnt help fair attacking footballers
    I don’t think he has done enough to help our 72m investment weather that could have worked or not is another argument, the fact that Arteta hasn’t done enough to try to make it work
    I am pretty convinced that Pepe would do much better under klopp or a similar manager.
    Mourinho shipped salah to Italy after 6 months because he didn’t stick to his rigid tactics and the rest is history.
    I just fear that winning the FA cup has got to Artetas head and now he is a acting like a big shot!
    On a positve note I think it was a good point after all and Arteta has tried something different and played with different formation, so there is a hope!

  37. Emiratesstroller


    I am not clear why you consider Arteta’s man management to be poor.

    What decisions has he made that were wrong?

    Arsenal senior management not just Arteta want to shift Ozil out of club. So not registering him was not a mistake.

    Guendouzi’s behaviour was rated poor not just by Arteta but also several other managers in
    France as well. The club has made a decision to offload him.

    Saliba is not rated currently to be good enough to play in first team. Okay Arteta could have
    included him in Europa and Caribo Squads. So perhaps failure to do so is considered a mistake.

    Pepe is not playing up to the required standard to play regularly in starting lineup. Some posters may consider that a mistake.

    We sold Martinez. Some including myself may judge that a mistake. On the other hand would we have been able to buy Partey without the funds?

  38. underrated Coq

    I work in Software and a lot of the managers I worked for were hands-off, ‘Do your thing but get me results’ types. I had them pegged as flimsy, directionless and not dependable.

    Then I got to work with a completely different sort. This guy talked well, loved to be the focal point, knew exactly what he wanted and how to go about getting it. I loved it initially. But it lasted six months. The micro management, the endless meetings with the constant blabbering, the alpha ‘My way or the highway’ attitude. Its tiresome and not sustainable in a team environment.

    I found a new respect for the hands off types.

    I suspect this is the same experience that Arsenal players are going through.

  39. G8

    Emirates, see my previous post re Arteta man management,..
    And with all the excuses I ask again what is the point of hiring Arteta if he is not able to (hasn’t shown positive signs he could) solve the club inherited problems !?

  40. Kwame

    Let’s not get over ourselves. Arteta is no magician.
    He would need two more windows; January and summer. It looked like we were going in for Partey and Aouar. We were not able to generate the needed revenue to acquire the services of the two and had to make do with one. At the moment we can be sure about Leno, Tierney, Gabriel, Partey, Saka and Auba. The rest are squrd/ fringe players. Arteta will come good
    Not long ago we were celebrating his win over Man U although we were not able to create any clear cut chance in that game.