Arteta motivates broken squad by revealing how many players need replacing

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Crisis usually brings you closer to the truth in football. When shit hits the fan, people on the inside leak out the dirty secrets. Players bitch to agents. Coaches whine to journalists. Directors call up Arabic ITKs to brief against their staff.

Arsenal right now is in a crisis worthy of leaks.

Everyone is second-guessing the process, the recruitment, the moves we took to rocket launch back to the top. It’s all on the table right now because we have a brand new team of fairly junior players trying to rebirth Arsenal.

The leadership at Arsenal has been fumbling for the last 4 years to get a footing on a club in freefall. The Kroenke’s rested on their laurels and didn’t recognize that Wenger was past it and that investing in a busted coach would eventually lead to a very steep decline. We’re still at the mercy of some of his decisions, the remnants of his signings still haunting the setup. Arsenal has tried a host of ways to reimagine the post-Wenger Arsenal and they’ve all failed. The latest iteration showed early signs of promise, but the half-baked approach to summer, because of financial constraints, has left the club in shite football purgatory.

We’re trying to cycle out the deadwood, bed in new first-team talent, blood youth, reinvent scouting, cull the wage bill, survive the pandemic, and work towards an exciting brand of The Arsenal Way football.

It was always going to be tough this season. There’s no stability anywhere. Even our BoD has swirled.

Stories are now swirling around relationship strains.

I told you way back when that rumblings would start to happen around Edu. Those started yesterday when Kike Marin said the two of them are not getting along. He indicated that the stronger candidate normally survives those battles, alluding to that being Edu… I think he’s way off base here.

Now, I don’t know that the two of them have had a falling out. I do know that there have been question marks over Edu since he arrived. Let’s be honest, he was a curveball hire when he took the job after Monchi said ‘no thanks.’ His actions since he’s arrived don’t speak to a man of independence. He was on the books of Kia and he happily ate the slop he was fed at great expense to Arsenal. He was the right-hand man of Raul and happily gave the technical credibility to some of the worst transfers of the last 5 years.

Two contracts for Luiz. A 4 year deal for Soares. Pablo Mari. Willian on a 3-year deal at 32. All of the super-agent variety. That can of course be partly countered by bringing in both Gabriel’s and Thomas Partey. But overall, the picture looks grim. Made even grimmer when Vinnai sat him in a garden and made him tell the world he was happy about being demoted to the same level as a rookie manager with less than a year under his belt.

Hardly a lot of leverage going on there if you’re talking performance.

Then factor in Arteta going to town on DAZN. He basically went public to assure the fans he’s not a football terrorist, he’s just working with a busted squad. His latest PR tactical masterclass was to tell the media he wants an attacking 4-3-3, but he’s SIX players away from that. Holy mother of Jesus… what a thing to drop a few days out from a North London Derby. Peak Mourinho, except when Jose eviscerates his players, he’s usually got a billion-dollar squad to keep him going until the cash flows.

Now, the flip side of that sort of carry-on could be that he knows KSE is going to invest in January, so he’s keeping us tuned into his thinking, namely 1) he knows the squad is shit 2) they are fixing things. Either way, it seems a huge risk to take with a mentally weak squad of players known for downing tools.

He’s not wrong though. Think about the things he can’t say publicly.

He has 6 or 7 players in the squad, that are senior, that are not being offered new deals, that will be gone next summer. How fast was creepy Keith from accounts processing your expenses when he handed in his notice? Imagine his slowball mentality in elite level sport. The players going are BIG personalities as well. Have you ever been at a company with directors that are toxic? They can bring you down man. Players that know they are shit and know that their next deals will be half what they earn now. Ouch.

Arteta had a shite midfield when he picked up the squad last season, but he got a turn out of them. This season, it became pretty apparent, pretty fast that Xhaka was taking a backseat in the new world. He knows there’s no future, now he’s bumming around in the midfield like he was in the bad days. You think that’s a coincidence? He’s not the main man. He’s not interested again.

Arteta also made two huge bets last summer. He invested £500k a week in Willian and Auba. Both have been utterly shite. Conte and half the Chelsea fans could have told you Willian was a waste of money. A fair few of us wondered about re-signing Auba. But that’s what Arteta and Edu thought was right and so far it looks, so, so wrong. The on-paper logic was there, but Arsenal history was NEVER favouring those deals working out.

I was once told that if you really, really pursue an objective, like, live and breathe it – when you finally achieve it – the win can really impact you negatively. You can go into a deep depression. I don’t know what the psychological term for it is, but you are basically mourning the loss of an objective like you’d mourn the loss of a pet dog. There are a LOT of players that play well for the deal, sign it, then go off into a funk. Auba looks like he’s there. He looks shot. Lost. Without purpose. It’s sad, but maybe that’s it? Bale. Adebayor. Theo (lololol).

Whatever is happening, it’s all going wrong for Arteta at precisely the wrong time. He’s never dealt with pressure like this and he has to find a way out. I’m not sure shitting on his squad / the way the club has done business was the correct approach. Excuses are not cool.

… but at least he’s confident that something will happen in January. I just hope it’s not Christian Eriksen. That’s not how you get back to the top. Signing the blonde-haired version of Ozil would be criminal. Edu should not be allowed to keep investing in past-it players that other clubs don’t want. If there was true leadership at Arsenal, someone would just say, ‘guys, no fucking way. Mikel, here are some elite young players, go do some generational coaching.’

Shooting for Champions League football with bum signings in Jan is sooooooo 2017. If we’re spending, we should be spending on players that have a future. Players that will hit peak in 3 years time. Then we’ll be left with a squad that can compete for years, not 1 year, then everyone leaves and we go back into the same cycle.

Arteta and Edu need to get back to basics. Elite young talent. Tell the fans we’re clearing out the shit players and we’re starting again. Don’t tempt us with top 4 dreams then inform us in November you thought HALF the starting 11 wasn’t up to it.

The ride just got a little bit rougher people. The honesty should have come in the summer. All this moment shows is there’s no one at the club truly leading. The glow of the FA Cup final win should not have allowed so many players back into the mixer. We should have binned the deadwood at the peak of their powers, not indulged one last job for the boys. We rode into this season on emotion, not data and facts. That’s not good enough. That is the type of nonsense fans engage in, not handsomely paid execs.

What. A. Mess.

The banter years were never gone, they just waited in the wings, as always.

How very fucking Arsenal.

See you in the comments.

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1,111 Responses to “Arteta motivates broken squad by revealing how many players need replacing”

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  1. Useroz

    Pepe had a better game. But… with his supposedly potent left peg and guile, Pepe should be able to make the ball glue to and /or dance around his boot , and skin today’s opposition defenders for fun.

    Sadly,, saw none of it. Instead, lots of half baked, overplayed, poorly weighted moves, etc. Even crosses weren’t exactly dangerous.

    Though would take today’s performance of his in a league game !

    Still, nowhere near a £72m player and a defo significant write off

  2. Kaz

    Oh yeah, I have no problem saying I was wrong if Arteta somehow turns it around and is here for 10 years creating a new legacy of success.

    No problem at all.

    But to say he hasn’t been making repeated mistakes and selections, to say he can’t get more from the players he has is ridiculous.

    Comparisons to Klopp at Liverpool are farcical too. They had a worse collection of players when Klopp started and Klopp won the Bundesliga with a team that wasn’t Bayern.

  3. Pierre

    I like the 4-2-3-1 system and tonight Arteta didn’t go with any of his fancy tactics.

    our striker played as a striker , our wide players played as wide players , our CAM player in the hole and did what a CAM was supposed to do , our 2 centre mids didnt play on the touchline , they played through the middle with AMN doing a good Ramsey impression(with pace) with his runs into the box..
    And our full backs .didn’t over commit as we have often seen in recent weeks.

    There seems to be 2 different Pepe’s, the one tight on the touchline lacks confidence and is caught in possession often and offers little, whereas the Pepe in the old inside left (or right ) position is very effective.
    Pepe running with the ball towards the corner of the box is a nightmare for defenders, used correctly he could be as lethal as salah as he also loves that inside right position……salah can also be just as wasteful as Pepe..

  4. Valentin

    According to L’Equipe, Aouar was on his way to Juventus until some late financial issue stopped the deal. Looks like he was just using ARSENAL interest as a way to force Juventus hand.

    We can forget to get him this winter. Next summer He is bound to Juventus unless RM under instruction by Zidane (if he still is Real Madrid manager during the winter TW) makes a bid.

    That would explain Edu made the late decision to overrule Arteta and to buy Partey. Better have one player than dreaming on one who was never going to come.

  5. Pierre

    Ceballos played well when he came on but he doesn’t release the ball quick enough , you rarely see him play a one touch pass.
    It’s normally 2/3/4 or 5 touches of the ball before releasing it, which of course slows the play down..
    Xhaka is similar but slower, very rarely a one touch pass.

    I think this is where the team are failing, you have ceballos, Xhaka , pepe and Lacazette who all like too many touches on the ball..
    Today was better from Lacazette at times and the 3rd goal was a classic example of how one touch football can be so effective.

    AMN to Eddie to Lacazette to pepe to Nelson to eddie to find the back of the net.

    Yes rapid were average but that type of one touch football played at speed can beat any defence as been proven in years gone by under wenger.

  6. China1

    Lol at the defending on laca’s goal (great finish btw)

    The last man at CB was sprinting away from Laca like he was an arsenal player trying to join the attack. I proper chuckled when I saw that

  7. China1

    That final CB looked like he wanted an early through ball so he could smash in an own goal off the bar

    Watch it again it’s great 😂😂😂

  8. China1

    Pierre you’re right – and last season for 2 or 3 games we had a virtual policy of two touch football for 20 mins at a time and it worked wonders for us in forcing players to pass and move quickly and open up spaces. All the stuff that we used to do all the time but haven’t done regularly for about 4 years

    Then weirdly the tactic was just abandoned never to be seen again

  9. Guns of SF

    I agree with you Pierra

    Ceballos played well when he came on but he doesn’t release the ball quick enough , you rarely see him play a one touch pass.
    It’s normally 2/3/4 or 5 touches of the ball before releasing it, which of course slows the play down..
    Xhaka is similar but slower, very rarely a one touch pass.

    I think this is where the team are failing, you have ceballos, Xhaka , pepe and Lacazette who all like too many touches on the ball..
    Today was better from Lacazette at times and the 3rd goal was a classic example of how one touch football can be so effective.

  10. Guns of SF

    Screw Aouar,

    If he really wanted us, he would have found a way. We were close… and if he told Aulas please let me go, I am sure they would have figured it out. HE does not want to come to us. Why would he if Juve and Madrid etc are after him…. it makes no sense at all. Why the hang up with this fella is beyond me….

  11. Gonsterous

    Great win, good to see the younger players get some game time. Come the weekend, dreading watching willian, xhaka and co stink up the place.
    I think it’ll be a 0-0

  12. Tony

    Obviously happy for the expected win but yesterday was a game of “why’s?” for me.

    Why did Laca play?
    Why did Nkethia start instead of Balogun
    Why has it taken this long for AMN to be given time in MF?
    Why did Willian get minutes?
    Why did Danni C get minutes?
    Why the Saliba EL cup fiasco? (If he can play for the U23s, he can pay in a nothing EL cup game against extremely poor opposition)
    Why play Kola who’s not PL standard and still kept back passing?
    Why didn’t ESR start?

    There are other “why’s” but I’ll leave it at that.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if we win the NLD by the odd goal purely because it’s the NLD and our players shouldn’t need any excuse not to be up and committed together for the game.

    So I’ll genuinely hope for the win but not be in the least bit shocked if we lose.

    I’ll remain on the fence regarding Arteta until the end of January.

    Like others I’d like to see a pairing of Guendouzi with Partey, so a recall for MG would be a good step forward for Arteta to show He is maturing in the job making educated decisions instead of ruling by fear using the Fergie premise.

  13. Aussie+Gooner


    Couldn’t agree more. Dead rubber needed more experimentation. Balogun will be gone – he won’t hang about playing second fiddle to Nketiah – then watch him tear it up in a new club! ESR is class, as long as he avoids injury and keeps playing the way he is then he will go far. Needs to be groomed for the starting 11.

    Why would you give minutes to Willian, Ceballos, Mustafi, Kola etc when you know what they can offer (very little at the moment)? Azeez didn’t even get a look in – he too may well decide his future lies elsewhere. And again 2 goal keepers on the bench – just frustratiing! Good to see AMN put in a shift.

    Yes we won but the NLD will be a whole new ball game. Hopefully the Spuds will be tired and not take us seriously enough!

  14. Tom

    “Sid What’s so massive about winning a game where we have already qualified from the group.“

    I’m pretty sure it’s called sarcasm………..and it’s for free.

  15. Northbanker

    Agree with the sentiments already expressed. Absolute nonsense that ESR and Balogun were not playing from the start.. I don’t want to hark back to Wenger but he would have played both. Do not understand why Laca, Kola and Mustafi playing.

    Great to see Chambers and Mari back and a solid game from Mari. Squad looks that bit stronger.

  16. Danny+S

    This game shows Arteta really has some favourites.

    I think he’s scared to play Balogun in case he tears it up and he has to tell Laca and Eddie they are behind him in the pecking order.

    I’m looking forward to Martinelli getting fit again and watching him sit on the bench while we play Eddie and Laca.

  17. Radio Raheem

    Good win but reading through the comments most are getting carried away. A League one side would would’ve offered more resistance. Until the quarters of the Europa you can’t really read much into the team’s performance. I stopped watching after we went 2-0 up seeing how dreadful Rapid Vienna were.

    As for the upcoming match on Sunday I hope players like Laca take some confidence from this match. I take more encouragement from our second half performance against Wolves than battering a shitty Austrian side at the Emirates.

    I get the desperation of some fans, there was a time we thumped half decent sides like we did tonight.

  18. Valentin


    Every manager has favourites, the issue when those favourite consistently let them down and still they persist in playing them when there are obvious better options.
    Bar the initial ‘Gimme’ game against a poor Fulham, Willian has only produced below average performance. Xhaka is Xhaka. Everybody can see that he is unsuited to the EPL.

  19. South African Gooner

    The G

    ***Willian has only produced below average performance. ****

    And only brought on last night , in a vain attempt by Arteta to pad out some goals and assists.

    And if he is still stinking the place out with Arsenal looking like Chelsea in their ridiculous blue kit( At Home) and against that garbage last night, what chance do you have?

    And I am in full agreement with Rich too.

    Whoever gave this joker a 3 year deal needs The Sack.

    No iffs ,No buts.

    I suggest to all Arsenal supporters to email ,Tim Lewis of Clifford Chance and demand answers.

    No club in world soccer would have given this contract to this part-time player, except Arsenal.

    £250,000 a week × 156 weeks.

  20. Pierre

    “I stopped watching after we went 2-0 up seeing how dreadful Rapid Vienna were.”

    So let me get this right , you’ll sit there and watch us play shit ,boring football all season, and then the one match where we play some nice intricate football , scoring some excellent goals… decide to turn off ….makes sense .

  21. Radio Raheem


    You find it shit boring…I find it part of the process. Rapid Vienna were too bad to watch. I’d seen all I needed to after the second goal.

  22. Daniel Altos

    Champagne football yesterday it was actually the first arsenal game I have enjoyed this season.I really like that esr lad he is so good at making forward runs.Heres a thought why dont we srick elneny,Esr and amn in the middle of the pitch on sunday?Surely they cant be any worse than xhaka and ceballos.

    On a side note however I wasnt impressed with how arteta reacted to the pepe..especially as he didnt have the same reaction when ceballos and willian misplaced the ball.

  23. South African Gooner


    **Rapid Vienna were too bad to watch. ***

    Well said.

    The Lacacette goal hit the back of the MIDDLE of the net.

    The Mari goal came when he was totally unmarked from a corner.

    And by the way, Pepe STILL looked devastatingly average against these clowns.

    The Europa Cup matches, farcical.

  24. Jamie

    A much needed shot of confidence yesterday leading up the the NLD. Shite opponents, granted, but we did what he had to do. 4 goals from open play shouldn’t be sniffed at given the last few games we’ve had to endure.

    I hope Partey is fit enough to risk against Spurs. coyg

  25. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal won yesterday’s game comfortably enough as they have done in all the other games
    in this poole of Europa Cup.

    Realistically we are in a weak group so it is to be expected that squad players at Arsenal should win comfortably at this level.

    However, I am a realist and I know very well that our current squad is currently well short of the quality required to win games in the far more demanding EPL.

    That has been the case for a very long time and why I am prepared to be patient and allow
    Arteta the time and space to build a team which is fit for purpose.

    It is clear to me that our first X1 needs at least 4 new players to compete consistently with
    the strongest teams in EPL.

    Lacazette had a good game yesterday, but apart from him I saw nothing in our team, which
    suggests that they are regular first team players.

    Most of the others are squad fillers and that has been the problem at Arsenal for a long time.
    We need to be far more selective in future in our recruitment policy than we have been in a
    long time.

  26. Jamie

    “You said the same thing when we beat Molde 4-1.”

    Me? Probably. I prefer watching Arsenal win than lose. At this point, I don’t care who we beat.

  27. Emiratesstroller


    Arsenal have on their books including those out on loan and playing in U23s enough players to put out 3 X1s who can win poole games in Europa Cup and also preliminary rounds of English Cup Competitions.

    That is our problem we have accumulated too many players of this calibre and spent an awful lot of money on transfer fees and wages buying such players. Most of these players
    would not be difficult to shift if we were paying them appropriate wages for their level.

    What we lack at the moment is players of the requisite class to compete consistently at the
    top level of EPL.

    I am the last person who posts on here to criticise the club when we win games. I am a long term Arsenal Supporter.

    However, I do recognise the failings of the club going back many years and personally I don’t
    blame Arteta for our shortcomings. He can only play with the resources we have got.

  28. Graham62

    ESR was a breath of fresh air when he came on.

    More please.

    Want to see more of Balogun.

    Cedric should start ahead of Bellerin. Far better option.

    He also knows how to take a throw in.


  29. JP

    Would love to see Pedro write down a job description for what he thinks Edu should be doing.

    The constant banging on about the demotion and being at the same level as a rookie manager (who at the same time he calls a generational coach).

    This summer we signed Gabriel and Partey..two signings everyone is happy with, which show long term thinking about the shape of the team, which show good scouting, good knowledge of contract clauses and also good work done in convincing those players to join us.

    At the same time we also signed Willian, kept Auba, Xhaka and David Luiz probably, from what we read, at the request of the coach.

    The club took a huge gamble on Arteta and believe he is the real deal so they have chosen to back him and keep him happy by allowing him a say in the players he has at his disposal.

    I’ve written this before but you cannot constantly tell a coach which players he has. Especially one as stubborn and ambitious as Arteta.

    You cannot compare it to RB telling Nagelsmann he can’t splash the cash because RB know Nagelsmann will be off to a big club in the next couple of years, they also know they cannot compete financially with the big clubs in Europe and are happy to pick up young cheap players with an idea to sell them on. Thats their model….it isn’t and should never be our model.

  30. JP

    Another thing from the pod which I find funny, and heard this on pretty much all other Arsenal pods, is this idea that we would all be happy if we just had a long term vision knowing we will be shit for 5 years but at least there is a plan.

    This is what is happening right now. We are in the shit period while the plan comes together. The club literally told us they have a plan this summer. And everyone is moaning.

    I had and still have huge doubts about Arteta but lets give it some time to play out.