Ainsley makes the case for a start with his football (and hilarious post-match interview)

by .

Well, here we are. Another safe space special from Mikel Arteta and the boys. A fine win at home in front of 2000 Arsenal fans, playing stunning tika taka in the only European competition the people care about

Now, same as before, I KNOW IT IS THE EUROPA LEAGUE… but there hasn’t been a lot of joy around these parts over the last month. So let me give you some in this post.

THAT WAS EASILY THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON.

No question. That was the first time we’ve seen a game of football and gone, yeah, that is the sort of football I’d like to see us play every week at The Grove. After all the shit that went down last week, it was a pleasure to watch the players go out and rip a weak team a new one.

The team played with far more aggression than we’ve seen of late. The passing was faster, the midfield had more energy, and the players took risks. We had had 22 attempts at their goal and hit the target 11 times. Our passing accuracy was 86%. We dominated posession at 71%.

Arteta’s 4-2-3-1 system looked interesting. The only way it works is if it has energy and speed. He found that yesterday and it should be a lesson.

AMN was absolutely brilliant. He said after the game he ‘had a bit of legs in midfield, got about, made some tackles, I won the ball back and got up and down the pitch. Give us bit more… dynamics. It was good.’ Couldn’t agree more. He was everywhere, but it was more than a show of muscle power. He was smart with his positioning, he read the game well, and he moved the ball with purpose. I love the ambition of some of his one-touch passing. There was a moment when he danced through the middle of their defence and tried a chip shot. He duffed his lines, but that wasn’t the point. It was the first non-mechanical attacking action I’ve seen in weeks! He offered the game so much. If he can level that sort of confidence with the right amount of concentration, how can he not be starting in our midfield?

Mo Elneny had his first game back after the ‘rona. It wasn’t perfect, he had some covid brain moments, but it’s hard not to notice that his workrate changed the dynamic of the midfield. He never stops, he’s positive in his play, he keeps the ball moving fast with one-touch passing and he is industrious about winning it back.

We were also better in attack. Lacazette had his best game in a while. He let off a ripper of a shot to open the night. He needed that. However, it was his link-up play that was the standout. He moved faster, he made better decisions, and he was a handful to deal with. Eddie was also excellent, I’ve felt that he’s maybe banked on being a tap-in merchant over the last few months, hiding in the shadows hoping for a crumb. Not last night, he took the game by the scruff and imposed himself. I loved that he dropped deep, he ran the line, and he worked hard for his goal after missing with his first attempt. He also gave the assist.

Nicolas Pepe looked really good. Weirdly turbocharged, like someone told him to be more Neymar. I’ve not seen him have a game like that where his take-ons were coming off. He was all over the place, wide, inside, crossing, shooting… he looked the part. He was very interested, which was great to see.

We also have to hand it to Reiss, he’s refusing to let this club disrespect his ability. He used his pace to cause problems, his passing was much better, and he made a nuisance of himself all night. I loved that he hit a corner past the front post, finding Mari for an assist. He’s making a very good case to land minutes over Willian, who looked drossy again.

I was also really pleased for Pablo Mari. It’s a small point, but he’s one of the players everyone loves at the club. He has a big personality and I think everyone is hoping he can be more of a regular. I loved his perfectly executed header from a setpiece to score his goal. I like the way he runs with the ball. I love how big he is. Hopefully, his recovery continues at a pace and he adapts to the Premier League.

The good news didn’t stop with those names. Dani Ceballos had a free kick 30 yards out AND HE HIT THE TARGET. Wow wow wow. What a moment for Arsenal. I don’t think we’ve seen a keeper move for a freekick in 3 years.

There were some other nice moments, we also had our first glance of Cal Chambers after a long time out of the side. People forget he was looking really good before his injury and he was starting for Arteta in the Premier League. We also saw Balogun and ESR come on for cameos. I really like the look of ESR. He’s hungry, he moves powerfully and he scored his first goal for us after a lovely move. I also really like the look of Balogun, he moves like a 9. He’s powerful, he can act as a target man, and I think we’d do well to keep him and make him our Kun Aguero. Too far? No. Not today.

A lot of people after the game were snarking at the result. Well fuck them. If you can’t see that the football we played today was worthy of praise, you need to pull your head out of your backside. The big question, as ever is how it translates into first-team football. We won’t see a formation like that at the weekend, but the confidence of the win will filter through, and a few of the players staked claims for inclusion. It’s about time we had a little glimpse into the future, I liked it.

There were three key takeaways for me.

Firstly, it doesn’t look like the squad has given up. I loved hearing Ainsley say they were told to have fun, we need more of that in the side. I think Arteta still had plenty of buy-in with the players, which is important because that means when we escape the trough we’re in, we’ll be much stronger.

Secondly, we finally saw a glimpse of what Arteta has planned. The football was… good. We still have a lot of work to do, we could still lose on Sunday, but I like the shape of the starting 11 today, and with a good January window, we could start to move the aesthetics forward. Key attributes were speed, one-touch passing, combined with risk-taking actions.

Thirdly, we have to start prioritizing the attributes that will make the future system. Arteta has insisted on experience making it happen for him this season. It hasn’t worked. If we’re going to be bang average, I’d rather do it with young players that can improve and give us good days of football, versus opting for Xhaka and Willian stinking out the starting line up because we believe in their great qualities. Reiss offers more to the system than Willian right now, so play him. AMN cannot possibly be worse than Xhaka, so play him. LACAZETTE FORGIVE ME YOU NUMBER 10 HERO.

Right, that’s me done, have a fine day… I’ll be banging out a podcast later with a guest I am very excited to speak to.

 

150 Responses to “Ainsley makes the case for a start with his football (and hilarious post-match interview)”

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  1. Daniel Altos

    Good post padders…for the NLD I would go

    Leno
    Holding Gabriel Tierney
    Bellerin

    AMN Elneny Esr

    Saka auba lacazette

  2. AC

    Good Post! Normally I come here to disagree with you but not today. Also happy that the players are fighting for the manager which I wasn’t expecting.

    Not many people have noticed this but Xhaka was dropped from the squad yesterday.

    And I also thought Reiss was substituted early as he might be involved in the Spurs game. Hope arteta finally makes this move, I think he is worried to put both Joe and Reiss in the PL starting line up at the same time but yesterday would have done reiss no harm.

  3. Crabregas

    Sadly Nelson’s delivery is awful whether it be from corners or freekicks. He got an assist but that was more to do with Mari than anything else. We don’t make many opportunities so set pieces are crucial and he needs to up his game.

    Other than that, it’s always nice for us to beat any team convincingly and was fun to watch.

  4. AC

    Pablo mari was the captain yesterday for the last 20 minutes. Very interesting move, I thought Mari was an agent recommendation but seems the manager has faith in this guy.

  5. RockyRoe

    The main question will be, whether arteta gives these guys a chance or not. His treatment of martinelli, Guen, saliba and AMN so far doesn’t fill me with confidence.

    On a different topic, I didn’t think it would bother me but looks like it does. Why does arteta never wear anything that represents arsenal? forget the club colours, atleast wear a lapel pin or something. Are you ashamed?

  6. Crabregas

    Yeah it was an interesting decision. I think Mari has got a bad rep on here because of the way he was brought in and how much football he has missed. The times I have watched him he has played well, comfortable on the ball, good height and strength so has good attributes for the premier league.

    It was funny when he nearly tripped himself up in the first half though

  7. Ben+D

    Refreshing performance last night. If only it could become s regular feature. I’m very worried about the Spurs game this weekend, but then again we more often lose when I’m confident so I hope I’m pleasantly surprised by a win. COYG!!!

  8. Foxy

    Or was AMN just advertising himself to a club like Leeds to buy him in January so he can escape his Arteta hell – if so he did a damn good job of it.

  9. Gbat

    So the manager does know how to play attacking football.

    That was the best football we’ve played all year. It should have been way now than 4. Yes it was only Rapid Vienna, but our other performances in Europe have been dull. You could see the confidence they were playing with. Fast one and two touch.

    The main thing for me was the movement off the ball and the number of bodies were had getting into the box. That’s not been happening in a long time.

    I don’t get the Willian hate. He wasn’t ‘drossy’.

  10. Emiratesstroller

    I have just posted on previous thread but I will repeat what I said there.

    Arsenal have got probably enough players in our squad, out on loan and playing in U23s good enough to select THREE TEAMS who can win group games in Europa Cup or preliminary rounds of Cup Competitions.

    Most of these players would have no difficulty in finding alternative clubs around Europe or
    in Championship League. Our problem is that they are being paid wages which makes them
    difficult to shift out of the club.

    This is and has been the problem at Arsenal for a very long time and why unlike others who
    post on Le Grove I am far more tolerant of Arteta’s difficulties at the moment.

    As I posted earlier this morning most of the players who played yesterday are not good enough to play in our starting X1 or to compete at top level in EPL.

  11. Foxy

    Was it Arteta, or was it the players out there were just left to express themselves with their early career Wenger ball training and without Arteta’s control freakery.

    Smith-Rowe looks the real deal – need to be given serious playing time

    I thought Willian looked OK as well, seemed to relish the freedom and pace at which we played.. Good impact sub against a tiring team perhaps.

    Worried about Nelsons lack of end product plus why is he taking corners and free kicks?

    Playing Pepe on the left takes away his goal scoring ability.

    Laca did Ok but I think he will still be too slow in that position at premiership level, – sell January.

  12. DM

    I must’ve been watching a different Nketiah last night if he was “also excellent”, as Pedro says.
    Nothing against the guy, I’d love for him to do well for us, but we’ve seen him play numerous times for us now and he just looks bang average to me. Hasn’t impressed me at all. Balogun got 20 minutes and looked just as dangerous as him.

  13. Emiratesstroller

    DM

    I agree. I have seen absolutely nothing to date which suggests to me that Nketiah is remotely
    a potential top class striker. He is very average.

    We need more from a striker than a “tap in merchant”.

  14. Kay

    While it was a good performance yesterday, we need to kick on.
    We need smash the spuds and that should become our moment to show the world we have turned the corner.

    We usually are at the receiving end of teams who use us to come out of slump.
    Now is the moment to show otherwise.

  15. Foxy

    I would be worried if players like Laca and Nketiah did not look good against such a poor team.

    Ceballos looked far more effective as an attacking midfielder rather that as part of a double pivot. Does not have the pace and power for Box to box. Needs to play ahead of say Eleneny & Party or not at all.

  16. DM

    Emiratesstroller

    Yup. I mean, compare him to someone like Martinelli, who’s only played a handful of games, and the difference is glaringly obvious. I honestly don’t think Martinelli would get into the starting line up of pretty much any PL teams right now. It’s not that I don’t think he *might* have a future with us – course he might – but right now he’s offering very little when he plays, and I’d much rather see someone else given the chances that he’s getting for now.

  17. Danny

    Shame Arteta didn’t bring Balogun on earlier and didn’t let Miguel Azeez play at all, very disappointing but at least he had 2 goalkeepers on the bench……

  18. gunnerram

    A lot of people after the game were snarking at the result. Well fuck them. If you can’t see that the football we played today was worthy of praise, you need to pull your head out of your backside.

    @Perdo — against a makeshift team everything looks fine. The oppn team were having 3 teenagers and most of the 1st team players were rested. That should tell you the story you need to know. With Arteta & Sauce — its the classic case of “The Emperor has no clothes”. I was saying in this forum about the positive spin you will throw against such a meek oppn.

    My suggestion is – get your frutin head out from your buthole and reflect the reality in this frutin blog. That we are a team in deep decline is pretty clear for everyone to see.

  19. Stephen Camfield

    I have not understood why ANM has not been used in midfield this season, to me he is far far better than Willock will ever be. Frankly, I do not consider Willock to be Premiership level and I believe that ESR will be far superior to him also.
    I don’t get the rave reviews that either Eddie or Reis receive either, Eddie is nowhere near good enough, if fact, I think that Balogun already looks a far better prospect, and Reis cannot cross a ball to save his life. I agree that he should play rather than Willian, how did we ever take this guy from Chelsea, but he is not the long term answer.

    I fear the worst on Sunday, it reminds me of the years I used to go in the early to mid 60’s when we scraped a draw sometimes.

  20. Danny

    Balogun got 20 minutes
    ————
    He came on in 81st minute.
    Another on the ever growing list of Arteta brain farts.

  21. Elmo

    “It’s about time we had a little glimpse into the future”

    That’s the key point. We all know it’s not a simple fix to return the club to relevance, and while Tets talks the talk, he needs to SHOW those whose instinct is to say “give the manager time” that there’s a brand of football and exciting style we’re working towards. If he can get the team performing like last night against bottom half teams in the PL, with positive results, then he’ll be cut some slack for a year or two if we’re still struggling against the top teams or finishing 6th/7th/8th.

    At present in the league there’s no indication whatsoever that we’re on the path anywhere we want to be going, so we need to see these EL performances against Burnley, Southampton, Brighton and West Brom over the next month.

  22. Pierre

    This is how Le Grove works .

    Arsenal have an academy player who has just broken the England under 21 all time goalscoring record, he is also the top scorer for the club this season despite only starting one league game..

    Le Grove has decided that Eddie is average.

    At the same time , we have a slightly younger academy player breaking through who’s goalscoring record for England is no comparison to Eddies all time record

    Le Grove has decided that Balogun is the real deal.

    Last night, Eddie scored with his only chance and Balogun missed his only chance.
    Do I think that Eddie scoring and Balogun missing makes Eddie a better player or a better prospect….of course not.

    if it was Eddie missing and Balogun scoring , Le Grove would have been shouting from the roof tops at how Balogun is a much better striker for finding the net..

    How do i know that …..it happened last week when Balogun scored.

    Now , i think both are fantastic prospects and I’m hoping Balogun stays and becomes an Arsenal legend…it is possible to like and rate both you know .

    The thing is, they are both different types of strikers, Eddie keeps it nice and simple at the moment, he doesnt dwell on the ball , its all one and 2 touch with him, he gets it to feet and lays it off , but i can guarantee you if any of our players have a shot at goal , Eddie will be ready to pounce for a rebound..his appetite for scoring is insatiable, he lives for scoring goals.
    Eddie is a 20/25 goals a season player if he played in a team that created chances and played to his strengths.

    Put it like this, if Aubameyang is struggling to score, any striker in the world will struggle when they are feeding on scraps.

    Balogun is more explosive and more powerful and also has a hunger for goals …i expect him to go a long way in the game …to let him go would be criminal, Arteta should be giving him more than 10 minutes if he wants to keep him.

  23. Kris

    Nice game after some time!

    It seems Arteta has called Arsene again and was told to drop the whole control freak act and let players enjoy themselves as they attack.
    Will this continue?
    Let’s hope so, although the Spurs game might not yet be the best indicator.

    I hope Laca’s long slump is finally over – he MUST start against Spurs.
    Pepe is a different player when unleashed as well.

  24. Emiratesstroller

    Jamie

    I was advised two to three years ago that Smith-Rowe was the best of the bunch of academy
    players, although Saka has clearly overtaken him.

    On the evidence of what I have seen I do think that he has more potential than many of the
    other players of the same generation. The only question mark is whether or not he is injury
    prone.

    Those players aged 18-19 have two to three years to prove themselves. That is the key difference between them and players like Nketiah, Nelson and Maitland-Niles. Once you reach 20-21 you need to decide whether the player is likely to kick on.

    My personal view is that Nketiah and Nelson will not reach the required level at Arsenal.
    Maitland-Nile’s versatility may justify holding him on at moment, but I would still take an
    offer of £25 million+ for him.

  25. Pierre

    Have Balogun and Eddie ever played together….they could be lethal together…

    Instead of playing Lacazette next week , why not try something different and give it a try .

    They could be the new Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke.

  26. Chris

    It was just great to watch Arsenal play a game with decent football, and some of these young players have much more of a claim for a first team place than some of the regulars.

  27. Chris

    There’s no reason why we shouldn’t field all of the youngsters next week, unless we want the 6/6 wins from a European group stat, I don’t think we have done that before.

    Hopefully some crowd is allowed in for that one for the Irish Gooner contingent

  28. englandsbest

    Great to have a game to applaud. After a grudging nod, the moaners will get back to moaning. They can’t help themselves, it’s in their nature.

    Onward to Spurs. The same eleven would not disappoint, they might even make us proud. At any rate, I hope Arteta leaves Xhaka, Bellerin and Auba on the bench.

  29. Captain Tierney

    ET

    Even I held the opinion that ESR was the best of the bunch when we started seeing more of him in the preseason friendlies.
    And I dont think anyone doubts his ability. He has many many good qualities at a very young age. His standout quality being his ability to operate well in tight spaces. Even Saka is average in this regard.
    I think ESR if he stays fit will be a part of Arsenal first team for years to come with Saliba, Martinelli and Saka.
    If I were asked to rate their potential Id say Martinelli has the highest ceiling followed by Saliba, Saka then ESR.

  30. Kesses+gunner

    With Mourinho record to defend spuds will try tricks and win at all cost but I really fancy us to Nick a draw.

  31. South African Gooner

    ES
    ****Maitland-Nile’s versatility may justify holding him on at moment, but I would still take an
    offer of £25 million+ for him.*****

    ( which paradoxically means he must be a very good player )

    Yes , and watch our Dopes spend it on more overrated ,over priced and overseas dross or Chelsea rejects.

    £50 million on Partey- and he has ‘done ‘his groin minutes into his 2nd home match ( Villa)
    £50 million on player- who don’t score or create- insane and only at directionless and rudderless Arsenal.
    Fulham got the better value -getting Loftus Cheek on loan than we did.

    AMN- is our best midfielder, best full back and our best penalty taker at the club.
    He has the lot. When folk talk about players with high ceilings- no one has greater potential than AMN.
    Makes you wonder, why Arteta has completely ignored him in recent games

    (I stated that seasons ago. Then again I know the game- you just seem to rely on other people for your opinions)

  32. Marc

    Last night was fun and it’s always enjoyable seeing the young players get a good run out – can we please see Balogun for longer in the final group game.

    Beyond that I think Pedro maybe had too much sugar before writing the post although it’s good to see people coming round to the view that no one can be worse than Xhaka in the team. I keep hearing mixed news on Partey – is he out till the New Year or is he back sooner?

  33. Nelson

    Yesterday I saw this trick twice. The inside attacker purposely let the ball slip pass him. The outside attacker was already ready to pick up the lose ball. It must be an Arteta’s special. That’s one way to break through a defense.

  34. Le Sauce

    Moving forward we need to be more expressive in attack as we are in the Europa league. You can sense Artetas fear when he said the Europa offers a bigger margin for error than the league but you’ve got to put the so called smaller teams to the sword. Same thing I was saying the other day, we should be comfortably beating little teams with a lot more freedom and expression in attack. We need to see more of the Hale end boys, they are proving to be better than the so called first team players

  35. The Godfather

    Lord have mercy …. this is the AFTV mentality on full display as some people here
    are trying to outdo each other about how miserable and angry they are over AFC.

    Guys enjoy the win for what it is and let’s look forward to Sunday.

    Check the moaning you miserable sods!

    I feel sorry for anyone who spends more than two seconds around some of you miserable muppets.

    Jeez!

  36. Le Sauce

    Marc

    Partey is back in full training and if it all goes well could be on the bench at the very least. The player is pushing to get involved (according to the manager) but they await the scan results and see how it goes …whatever that means. I feel its more like our own version of the Harry Kane NLD injury special

  37. Sid

    AMN can do a better job than Wijnaldum, Guend a better job than Henderson also include Willock and Elneny to rotate, considering Partey as DM.
    Theres no excuse about needing 6 new players its simply incompetence.

  38. Captain Tierney

    Maitland Niles put in a good shift yesterday. I really liked his one touch passing. His composure is elite and he could develop into a top quality midfielder. But first he needs to eek out the silly mistakes and moments of complacency which he displays every game. Tho we saw very few of those yesterday as he was being played in his favored position. His off the ball movement was very interesting. He flew past 2 Rapid defenders like Messi but then ended up fluffing his shot. Another example of his complacency kicking in.
    I think he needs a few more midfield appearances in the EL and League/FA cups before we consider him as an option for PL.
    Right now Partey and Elneny is the way to go.

  39. Marc

    Thanks for the update on Partey fellas.

    Taking the news at face value what do we do? Risk him or give him a week to make sure he’s 100%.

  40. Ernest Reed

    You know Arsenal had a good game when you get some on here complaining about Arteta not wearing anything Arsenal on the sideline.

    One thing is for damn certain, LeGrove certainly attracts an interesting group of people.

  41. Emiratesstroller

    South African Gooner

    Sorry but I don’t rate Maitland-Niles as highly as you clearly do.He is average player. I don’t
    see him as a regular starting X1 player in top 4 EPL/Champions League Team.

    Partey cost £44 million and is rated a top class DMF/Box to Box Player who has played at top
    level for Champions League Team.

  42. South African Gooner

    ****AMN can do a better job than Wijnaldum, Guend a better job than Henderson also include Willock and Elneny to rotate, considering Partey as DM.
    Theres no excuse about needing 6 new players its simply incompetence.****

    Well said Sidney,

    its not only incompetence -its Bullshit!
    I am glad you ain’t falling for it!

  43. Marc

    Ernest

    There are stories (all denied by the club of course) that as part of a local charity / community thing Xhaka turned up to appear in an over 80’s walking football match and still looked the slowest player on the pitch.

  44. South African Gooner

    ES

    ****Sorry but I don’t rate Maitland-Niles as highly as you clearly do.He is average player. I don’t
    see him as a regular starting X1 player in top 4 EPL/Champions League Team***

    And that’s fair enough.

  45. Emiratesstroller

    Marc

    Both Nketiah and Maitland-Niles are already 21 whereas players like Smith-Rowe, Martinelli,
    Saka and Balogun are 18-19.

    The club has made previously announcements that once a player reaches his 21st birthday
    they would make decisions whether players have a future at club.

    I need to be convinced about Nketiah based on what I have seen when he played for our
    first team. From my perspective playing for England U21 is irrelevant. There are plenty
    of players who do well for them, but fail to progress.

  46. Marc

    Emirates

    No argument from me on that – as I said I’d like to see a bit more of Balogun as well as getting him tied down to a new contract. Nketiah will go on and have a decent career but I don’t see that being at Arsenal.

  47. Roy

    A bit of a dampener here …..
    Young ones … aren’t they kinda mismanaged somewhat ? Or am I the only one to notice ?
    Second, would it be good to have Allegri or Sarri to have a year or two with Arteta as the assistant ? Too radical ? !

  48. andy1886

    Come on, we all know that every young player showing potential is the best thing since sliced bread until they’re not and then they are rubbish.

    Pierre has a point but it’s just the way fans are. People get hopeful and then pissed when a player doesn’t match their lofty expectations. Human nature.

  49. Graham62

    ESR was a breath of fresh air.

    Cedric ahead of Bellerin, all day long.

    AMN must start against Spuds. No GX!!

    Holding, Gabriel, Tierney + Cedric at the back.

  50. Roy

    Young ones … Well Saliba, AMN, Martinelli, Azeez, Cottrell, Niketiah, Balogun, on loan guys, ESR, Nelson, Willlock, Macey …. are they all going to be bits and pieces or go the Gnabry or Bennacer route ? Not much talk on that while there’s still time.
    Other than Saka, who’s gonna be a star and when ?

  51. andy1886

    Why am I on here when I should be working? Answer: I’m on a MS Teams meeting listening to a marketing bore go on for 5 hours talking complete bollocks. A plague on marketing and marketing people!

  52. Roy

    Saka, AMN, ESR all have the capacity of being good AMs….. the difference is that they are not getting opportunities in that role like Szoboszlai or Aouar.
    Balugun is a better version of Giroud.

    Lets get to see those guys flower in our club than somewhere else.

  53. Tom

    I don’t know how loud a couple thousand fans can get in a 60k stadium but is it possible Arsenal players played a free flowing, positive football because they couldn’t hear Arteta’s ground breaking pass and move instructions?
    If that’s the case can you imagine what these players might be capable of when with even bigger crowds they won’t be able to hear Arteta at all?
    Sky’s the limit.

  54. Roy

    Saka, AMN, ESR all have the capacity of being good AMs….. why can’t they play there more … its where we lack. the difference is that they are not getting opportunities in that role like Szoboszlai or Aouar.
    Balugun is a better version of Giroud.
    Lets get to see those guys flower in our club than somewhere else.

  55. Biggles

    I understand the opposition wasn’t exactly top notch, but I think AMNs athleticism makes him a much better choice than Xhaka.

    However I expect Xhaka to be picked. And then I expect him to do something unforgivable, like get sent off. Or duck under the ball to let Kane score a winner.

  56. S Asoa

    AMN was absolutely brilliant. He said after the game he ‘had a bit of legs in midfield, got about, made some tackles, I won the ball back and got up and down the pitch. Give us bit more… dynamics. It was good.’ Couldn’t agree more. He was everywhere, but it was more than a show of muscle power. He was smart with his positioning, he read the game well, and he moved the ball with purpose. I love the ambition of some of his one-touch passing. There was a moment when he danced through the middle of their defence and tried a chip shot. He duffed his lines, but that wasn’t the point. It was the first non-mechanical attacking action I’ve seen in weeks! He offered the game so much. If he can level that sort of confidence with the right amount of concentration, how can he not be starting in our midfield?

    Ans – Players played with freedom , enjoying themselves. Also considering a core of Academy players on the ground, the game was free flowing like we see during the Juniors matches. The solidarity between these youngsters indicated as much that they were playing out of the restrictive micro managed Arteta normal play ,which has been tentative. Will ANM, Smith Rowe, Balogun get decent minutes. If Don Quixote stays true to type ANSWER IS NO. There appears to be some psychological block in Arteta’s mind . Can’t say if it is timidity or ,God forbid, perverse politics in a power and control game

  57. S Asoa

    Courtesy MarkMyWords

    Have you ever tried performing a task, while someone is continually leaning over you, telling you how to do it?

    Guess who ?

    and
    Guess the outcome -14

  58. Pierre

    Tom
    ” that’s the case can you imagine what these players might be capable of when with even bigger crowds they won’t be able to hear Arteta at all?”

    You may have a point.

  59. Tom

    “The moaning is so bad here that someone is complaining about the colors of attire the Coach chooses to wear?“

    Actually, my data suggest Arteta’s attire correlates directly to game results.
    The slicker the look, the better the outcome.
    The puffer jacket from a couple weeks ago being the worst. It needs to be retired along with Xhaka.

  60. Nelson

    “Saka, AMN, ESR all have the capacity of being good AMs….. why can’t they play there more …”

    I have a feeling Arteta wants to train Laca to play that position.

  61. G8

    It was very good performance last night..
    AMN did very well
    It’s Arteta big call ,should he stick with the useless xhaka or should he make a generational decision and play AMN
    If Partey starts ,should AMN play as right back/wingback, Bellerin is not cutting it at the moment and Son will eat him alive!
    What to do with Aruba who had his worst football game ever and wasn’t even trying against wolves? Keep playing him central, shift him back left or drop him completely?
    It will certainly be interesting to see the starting line-up on Sunday

  62. SpanishDave

    Pedro really excited beating a pub team.
    For me I cannot fathom out why he put Willian and co on .
    The young players need game time surely.
    Arteta has odd things going on in his head, due to panic no doubt.
    Mari had a solid game , Cedric about the same as Bellerin .

  63. JP

    Decent and enjoyable performance against a shit side. Think its possible to both enjoy that and also see that there is a reason why we were able to play like that.

    It’s not because Arteta set them free its because the level of our players is miles above theirs and in a dead rubber, at home, it’s easy for the players to play with confidence.

    Laca played well last night but really didn’t see the point in playing him there as I highly doubt in any game of importance Arteta would give up a midfielder to a striker playing out of his natural position.

  64. Matt

    Genuine question, where has everyone seen so much of Balogun? People talk about him like he is the second coming of Christ, but based on what – under 23 football?

  65. Champagne charlie

    I don’t share the enthusiasm about AMN performance, nor Eddie delivering a good shift. Don’t think AMN has the awareness to play central, and Eddie hasn’t the game to last at Arsenal.

    Think we’ve been starved of decent football the standards suddenly slipped when we saw a team swat aside a nothing opponent. That is what it is, we didn’t pick the group and you need to beat who’s in front of you, but drawing conclusions from it is a no from me.

    Lacazette looked like Coutinho yesterday. Great for his confidence, but that tells you a lot about the nature of the game. It was a time and space orgy out there.

    Hopefully we’ve boosted morale and upped the confidence for Sunday, that is all. I’m afraid midfield is patchwork stuff until we recruit the varied characteristics and qualities essential to playing proactive possession football. The gaping void wasn’t filled in the summer by Thomas Partey alone.

    Partey, Xhaka, Ceballos, Elneny, AMN, Willock is not at the level no matter the numerous reincarnations offered for various players within the group. You could sell all but Partey and nobody would bat an eye. For me, 3 of those players need replaced if we’re talking about anything other than a fight for 4th.

  66. G8

    CC if I have a choice to play xhaka or AMN I would certainly play AMN and that itself tells how bad xhaka has been.
    As for Nketiah only Pierre thinks he is going to make it with Arsenal

  67. Omozuafo Frank

    I couldn’t watch theatch but reading the comments I want to believe that the players played a good game. I believe the way to get the best out of this present bset of players is to do it the Arsene Wenger way. Allow them to express and enjoy themselves without shouting instructions at them from the side line. That was the main reason the players are restricted and are always looking frigid.
    As I said sometimes back Arteta should get many types of Arsenal matches under Wenger and learn how attacking football is played. The main problem of Arteta’s game is that there is lack of movement both on and off the ball. The players are too static and frigid thus not giving room to pass and go movements. They pass the ball and remain on the same spot not giving room for or creating spaces for return passes.
    As we have qualified for the knock out stage of the EL, the next thing is how to improve on our games and results and thus move the team up the table. The earlier the better.

  68. Sid

    Xhakas biggest defender trying to lump AMN and Willock in the same group, hilariuos.
    Offcourse everyone Partey included(if someone offers 70m or more) could be sold and no one would but an eyelid

  69. Valentin

    Vieira worked after two managers (Claude Puel and Lucien Fabre) who despite the financial constraints had decent results and played attractive football. Under PV4 the football has not been as attractive, worse since they lost Dante their lynchpin CB the results have also dropped.
    So the new management looked at it and thought, bigger budget, worse football and now worse results. All in all the Decision was not as unexpected as some here may thought.

  70. jwl

    Joke Friday (mitch hedburg edition) –

    They catch the fish and then let it go. They don’t want to eat the fish, they just want to make it late for something.

  71. Upstate Gooner

    Lol at Pedro for first acknowledging that it was only a Europa league game but then going full speed ahead with how everyone looked good, how the football was great, and essentially saying that we just about turned the corner and Arteta is still the guy to take us forward. What a bunch of BS. If we didn’t have these Thursday night games Arteta would’ve been sacked by now. Nice just fired Vieira after 11 games and 17 points. We have 13 after 10 games. Do the math. Oh, and if anyone thinks we’ll have more points after Sunday, they are kidding themselves.

  72. HerbsArmy

    Maybe as a former captain, Vieira could offer something in a coaching capacity, but he too rushed into management without serving any real apprenticeship in a competitive European league.
    The idea that a great player makes a great manager is complete nonsense.
    In 1973-74, two of our celebrated WC winners Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles were joint managers of Preston NE in Division Two (now the Championship), and took them down, in the same season as Bobby’s brother, Jack, won the same Division with Middlesbrough by a massive 15 points. They swapped places in the First Division with Charlton and Stiles’ former European Cup winning giants, Manchester United.
    The Arsenal weren’t doing too clever, but we weren’t relegated, and this is our 100th year anniversary of being in English football’s top flight, something no other English club can celebrate.

  73. Valentin

    I would have assumed that having worked under Wenger, his former protégés would have picked up something about man management, but most don’t seem to have.

    Maybe because they were so brilliant players, they don’t seem to be able to relate to less dedicated and/or less talented players.

    Vieira who was Arteta predecessor before he managed New York FC was groomed by the group to be Guardiola successor. Good thing that Guardiola just signed a contract extension because I don’t think that PV4 could take the job.

    Henry after his initial bad experience at Monaco seems to have recovered. Maybe once he has cut his teeth at Montreal, he may come back to Arsenal as manager.

  74. Valentin

    Herbs,

    The thing is Vieira did his initial apprenticeship at New York FC, however as he explained in an interview a year after he took the Nice job the structure in the MLS is so different that it did not really prepare him for the cutthroat environment of the European club.
    No relegation, meant that once a club knows it can’t reach the play-off the pressure is off. In Europe, it is the opposite. Bad results means threat of relegation and the threat of relegation ratchets the pressure.
    Also there was such a gap between star players and regular players that some of the star players found difficult to motivate themselves to push for the extra miles.

    Arteta knows that DB10 has no desire to become a club manager yet he is deliberately ignoring DB10 pleas for a role in the current setup as striker coach. There is absolutely no chance he will involve PV4. Even Ljunberg was moved to a position of tactical observer. For all his public niceties, Arteta is not going to let a potential rival in. PV4 is not going to be bring into the club without somebody higher the food chain direct intervention.

  75. Leedsgunner

    It might have been our best result of the season — shame it was against a vastly inferior side.

    I do hope Arteta gets his head out of Willian’s backside though… both Nelson and ESR look more up for it than Willan does.

    He’s looks annoyed that he is actually being asked to do some work for his living… 200k a week and he doesn’t understand why he isn’t being left alone to relax and play Fortnite like Mesut.

    He came to the Arsenal to retire… for goodness sake!

  76. Valentin

    I love the fact that Arteta pretended to value the players frank opinion and input and then told them he was still investigating the leak.

    Tell me what you really think of the process. Trust me I will not keep any personal grudge for any negative things you may say about and my staff.
    BTW whoever leaked the fight between Ceballos and Luiz is a dead man…
    Inspirational man management at its finest…

    Anyway, I hope that the clear the air meeting between players will have the same positive impact that the one during the 97-98 meeting but in view of William sulking or disinterested approach that may not be the case immediately.
    https://www.espn.co.uk/football/arsenal/story/4253259/arsenal-squad-hold-clear-the-air-talks-in-bid-to-rescue-season

  77. Ishola70

    A poster mentioned previously that Rapid Vienna themselves put out a weakened side.

    Their manager made seven changes to the first team side that played Arsenal at home resting players for their upcoming league match and following european tie at home to Molde which they think they could win.

    Considering Rapid Vienna putting out their first team are no great shakes either this latest result from Arsenal has to be seen in the context of this reality.

    We all hope for a better display against Spurs from previous EPL matches but smacking a Rapid Vienna reserve side will have no bearing on that.

  78. Calypso

    This Arsenal side have shown how dangerous they can be when afforded the chance to play on the break. Last season’s FA Cup wins over Manchester City and Chelsea stand out in that regard. But it’s a different story when they are faced with deep-lying opponents.

    This is largely down to how ponderously they move the ball.

    Often, it appears Arteta’s men are instructed to wait for openings to appear rather than seek them out themselves. They are passive rather than proactive and the statistics bear it out.

    According to Opta’s advanced metrics, only Southampton and Burnley progress the ball upfield more slowly than Arsenal per passing sequence. The Gunners also rank 12th among Premier League sides for distance moved upfield per sequence.

    That laboured build-up play makes it easy for their opponents to get into shape defensively, in turn making the task of finding a way through them even more difficult. Arsenal then struggle to move the ball into areas from which they can cause problems.

    Consider the fact that this season, Arsenal rank third for passes in their own half, behind only Chelsea and Everton, and yet only 16th for passes into the final third. Arsenal’s shot count is so low for the simple reason that they do not put their players in shooting positions.

    The result is that they are easy to defend against and the problems are compounded by an apparent aversion to even attempting to progress the ball through the middle of the pitch.

    This issue is most apparent in Granit Xhaka.

    The Swiss midfielder has made 440 passes in the Premier League this season, but remarkably, only nine of them have gone into the opposition’s box and only 65 of them have even made it as far as the final third. In 580 minutes, he has only created one scoring chance.

    The numbers are damning and Xhaka is not the only one directing the vast majority of his passes sideways or backwards. In fact, Dani Ceballos, his central midfield partner against Wolves on Sunday, has sent even fewer passes into the final third – just 58 out of 468.

  79. Pierre

    Leeds
    “I do hope Arteta gets his head out of Willian’s backside though”

    Do tou mean the same way Champagne Charlie has his head up Arteta’s backside .

    The list is getting longer of the players that he is critical of, Pepe, AMN , Willock , Nketiah , Ceballos and now even Xhaka .
    What is the common denominator with those players….not one was signed by Arteta.

    Why doesn’t that .surprise me ..

  80. SpanishDave

    Calypso
    Thanks for putting numbers to highlight what a lot of us here have be going on about for ages.
    Having the two together in midfield is a disaster.
    Our manager doesn’t seem to recognize this which is a worrying fact.
    Mustafi and Bellerin do the same regardless of the movement in front of them.
    I don’t see Arteta having the balls to be more positive

  81. TR7

    ‘The Swiss midfielder has made 440 passes in the Premier League this season, but remarkably, only nine of them have gone into the opposition’s box and only 65 of them have even made it as far as the final third. In 580 minutes, he has only created one scoring chance.The numbers are damning and Xhaka is not the only one directing the vast majority of his passes sideways or backwards. In fact, Dani Ceballos, his central midfield partner against Wolves on Sunday, has sent even fewer passes into the final third – just 58 out of 468.’

    I have been saying repeatedly that Xhaka and Ceballos are the weakest links in our midfield.

    Partey, Elneny, Guen, AMN and Torrera ahead of the duo in my pecking order. It’s a shame that Arteta has given them more opportunities than he has to the likes of AMN, Torr, Elneny and Guen.

  82. TR7

    Ceballos is a good technician and perhaps should not be lumped together with Xhaka but he has no directness in his game and thus not suitable for our purpose.

  83. Ishola70

    TR7
    “Ceballos is a good technician and perhaps should not be lumped together with Xhaka but he has no directness in his game and thus not suitable for our purpose.”

    He dribbles too much on the ball in deep positions and his passing from deep can be erratic as well with him giving the ball away.

    He has had some better displays than Xhaka in regards overall influence in matches but the decision to extend his loan doesn’t look the best decision.

  84. Champagne charlie

    “Tell me what you really think of the process. Trust me I will not keep any personal grudge for any negative things you may say about and my staff.
    BTW whoever leaked the fight between Ceballos and Luiz is a dead man…“

    In what world are these two the same?

    Because ‘gaffer I think we’re not doing X right’ is the same as leaking that there was a fight on the training ground isn’t it Val….

  85. WengerEagle

    Encouraging stuff yesterday with good performances out of plenty of out of form players namely Laca, Pepe and Eddie.

    Counts for nothing though if we go and get pasted by Spurs at the weekend. Few are getting too overexcited by a win over a very poor and second string Rapid Vienna side.

  86. Up 4 grabs now

    Evening,

    A great game yesterday, the players played with no pressure the youngsters looked good.
    Everything was rosy again.

    But……………….

    Those are the games we’re expected to punish inferior teams.
    Yes you can only beat what’s put in front of you. In this case a pretty weak side.
    The problem as we all know is in the league
    The good thing about sunday is it’s the NLD where form goes out the window. So we have a chance.

    I said I’d give arteta the next five games, if we revert back to our league form though it wont be pretty.
    And if we get a serious spanking sunday then he shouldn’t even get the five games.
    It was great just to get a win though. Hopefully it give lacazette and a few others a bit of confidence.
    Oh and let’s hope xhaka is nowhere near the midfield on Sunday.

  87. TR7

    Yeah checked WE, will turn 27 in a few weeks. Still 3-4 years of football in him I would imagine. Solid player, technically sharp in attack and defensively aware too.

  88. Gunnernet

    Xhaka has been brutally trolled for his inability to defend Traore. As if it was sb else he would have performed better. I hope the joker gets benched on sunday.

  89. Gunnernet

    Elneny is back, even if Partey doesnt make it, start AMN. Can’tcafford to see same mistakes in a NLD. Arteta needs to learn from his mistakes so we move forward

  90. Marc

    Receeding

    All depends on how we play and if he’s left isolated. If midfield and the other defenders are doing their jobs it shouldn’t be an issue.

  91. TR7

    Receding, we will need someone in defensive midfield who can put in tackles and closely mark Kane. Gab will be left isolated if not given defensive cover.

  92. SpanishDave

    Xhaka will play guaranteed.
    He will be slow , bumble around , stop running waiting for the ref to blow etc.
    Total liability which sums up our manager.
    He’s been doing this for five years with three managers ffs

  93. Champagne charlie

    Looks a lot like folk are getting their excuses in early with talk about Xhaka starting the NLD.

    Partey and Elneny started at home against Villa and we were utterly embarrassed. Do wonder what will be the chatter should they start against Spurs and drop another disaster.

    Xhaka is the most boring scapegoat at the club, him and Mustafi need gone so some people can get over themselves.