SUSPENSIONS FORCE A BETTER STARTING 11. HOW MUCH BETTER?

by .

Good morning my darlings. I’ve been to hell this week. Arsenal has been shit. Advertising has been worse (we won that Ad of the Year award though, so thanks). I’m on my 4th accommodation in 2 weeks after dealing with rodents. The only joy has been finding out that lizards are quite social and like to hang out when you work. Weirdos.

It’s time to get back to business though. I can’t have Arsenal being shit forever. Mikel Arteta’s fall from grace needs a swift turnaround. He’s going nowhere and he needs to fix the problems.

Southampton are not exactly shit these days. Ralph Hassenhutl overcame a similarly shocking run last season, now he’s fighting for the league. They’ve been so good even Theo is looking like a player.

Still, at some point, something is going to click. I know everyone is crying that we’re going to get relegated… it’s not going to happen. Here’s how bad the season has been: if we’d beaten Burnley and Southampton tonight, we’d be 3 points off Chelsea.

What does that tell you? If we put a run in, we could climb the table pretty fast. Now, we have good players. Some are downing tools. Some are out of form. If we can work out who is who, then we could find some sparkle.

Auba looks shattered confidence-wise, but we were finding him the other night and he didn’t stop working. It’ll click for him. I simply refuse to believe he’s an Ozil-like issue.

Granit Xhaka can’t be used tonight. He’s been fined and now he can’t play. That means there will be a change in midfield. A lot of fans were critiquing Arteta for not savaging him a week after savaging Arteta for going off a Nic Pepe. I think he learnt his lesson, his post red reaction was virtually the same. Everyone fucks up, let’s move on.

Hector Bellerin, bless him, is finally being dropped because he’s suspended. What will Mikel do? I really hope he plays Cedric Soares and puts Ainsley in midfield. If he doesn’t, we’ll know that the Kia deal for the Southampton player last Jan was probably some sort of final straw for Raul.

I think we should go back to being Shithouse FC. Play 5 at the back until we have the players to roll with a back 4. Our midfield base should be Mo and AMN. Let’s have Auba left, Eddie centre, and Pepe on the right. then maybe Joe Willock or ESR in the creative position.

We need a win. The players he’s forced to pick have to come with the goods. This has to be a stepping stone to a better starting 11.

My fear is we see another round of Willian, Lacazette, and Ceballos.

The reality is we’ll probably fall somewhere in between.

I keep on calling every game a turning point. It never happens. But if you were honest about the last game… we were pretty decent. We played some good football before Granit saw red and we ended the game with an xG win (lolololol I am soooo desperate). I know it means nothing right now, but at least we saw less aimless crosses, some structure in our attack, and a bit of variety.

Arteta was asked if the players are behind him. He laughed and said, ‘my feeling is yes.’ Honestly, I don’t think we are in ‘downed tools’ territory. The results are worse than Emery, but the situation is very different I think.  That said, you need to see some wins at some point. Today would be a nice moment.

There was a lot of talk about bad situations and what you learn in the presser. Mikel has never had his squad do to him what they did to Emery. He needs to remember this moment. How it feels. What people said about him. How close he came to getting the boot. Those are the things that need to be written in a diary so when May next year comes round, he’s ruthless. I don’t want to see Mustafi given another chance. I don’t want to see Luiz here next year. If we get an offer for Xhaka in Jan, let’s push him out. Arteta will escape this dip because industry people think he’s the next big thing. The execs will ride out the calls for his head this time… but he won’t get a second chance. This moment needs to be like the first time you licked a plug socket. Let me tell you friends, you only try that once.

Those conversations can happen later, today, is about the win. I liked it when Mikel was asked why we’re so shit.

‘This is football.’

Very true. Our team is more than capable of getting back on track. The talent in the squad is way above where we are in the league. Mikel is a great coach. Let’s see what the counter punch at our shitty form looks like.

P.S. Now listen to The Arsenal Opinion. I bring together Janan and Matt for the first one. It’s a good one. Therapeutic listening.

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1,381 Responses to “SUSPENSIONS FORCE A BETTER STARTING 11. HOW MUCH BETTER?”

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  1. Valentin

    Bojangle,

    In your own quote of my comment, I wrote that that Leno of course does not blame Arteta for the tactical fiasco. Can’t even read properly! 🙈🥗🙊🤡

    Why do you think that Leno felt necessary to add that it was not the coach fault?
    He does not want to fall foul of Arteta. They are all afraid of how he will react if criticised!🤐

    However how can he criticise the idea of sensing crosses after crosses and not blaming Arteta. Arteta himself acknowledged that the players just did what he asked them to do. This is a stupid tactical idea that will not be successful with the type of strikers we currently have: smallish with little to no aerial threat.

  2. Sid

    Gabriel is too far forward playing the Luiz role of CB creator, another tactical favourite of the charlatan,
    Hasenhuttl figured it in no time

  3. Mr Serge

    Calypso aka redtruth no true Arsenal fan wants us to lose a game to get the manager sacked
    We never want to lose any game ever
    Unless it’s Arsenal ladies then we don’t give a shit

  4. moray

    Just watched the game.

    A few thoughts:

    – It looks as though we still aren’t coaching tackling.
    – We have twice as many red cards over the last year than any other club. with foul throws, poor corners etc, it really looks like poor discipline and lack of proper coaching (again).
    – AMN really looks like a young George Foreman.
    – Anyone that didn’t bet their house on Walcott scoring in this game is a complete mug.
    – Is Arteta trying to hold out for the transfer window? Does he know something we don’t?

  5. Receding Hairline

    “Is Arteta trying to hold out for the transfer window? Does he know something we don’t ”

    So basically he has given up coaching and is waiting for new players to make him look good. That’s bad

  6. moray

    “We finally score a goal and shock horror it’s not from q cross. We only attempted 11 yesterday anyway and only one found someone.”

    Without the giant that is Lacazatte in the middle, there’s no point in playing crosses in fro the box.

  7. China1

    Yeah sorry but if the only way our form can be fixed is by spending money then there’s no difference between Mikel and an amateur manager

    The whole point of being a manager is you have to make the team greater than the sum of its parts. If all the parts are underperforming and your answer is to buy a new engine, new wheels, new clutch, new paneling, new upholstering and a new gearbox then your miracle transformation is nothing more than paying money to compensate for being incapable of doing anything with what you’ve got

  8. moray

    We are just incredibly poor all round. I really worry about the coaching.
    Can’t tackle, can’t press effectively, can’t shoot, can’t pass, can’t dribble.
    This has all gone off the cliff since Tyts was promoted.

    What are our coaches doing? Or did we sack all of them too?

  9. Tony

    Absolute fiasco of a game.

    Nothing of note to change my opinion of Arteta’s level as being assistant coach at best.

    The song remains the same so onto Everton away Saturday.

    Arteta vs Carlo the manager I wanted before Emery.

    My heart wants us to win my head and gut says a draw at best but most likely we’ll lose.

    Edu’s reaction to the Saints’ goal was priceless.

  10. Dr J

    If Arteta is still here in January, Arsenal will be playing in the championship next year. Name one EPL manager who is worse than him. One

  11. Habesha Gooner

    To be honest, I think it doesn’t matter what fans want. It will be a done deal that arteta will be sacked. I don’t care whether they say they back him fully. If he loses the next couple of games the I think he is gone. There was a lot of news regarding how they back Emery too and they were already lining up a replacement. I will be shocked if they haven’t talked to anyone yet. And there is a strong possibility of losing with an inform Everton and a Chelsea side needing a result. They will be forced to act. Edu was shaking his head last night.

    We might purge players too this time though. Anyone new that comes in will ask to sell a lot of players. If we can sell this group of dross and sign a couple of good players in midfield, there is a way back for us.

  12. Freddie Ljungberg

    Playing a front 3 of Auba Eddie Pepe is just stupid, apart from Pepe who can occasionally make something out of nothing they all need service, they need to be on the end of moves not messing up the build up.

    We need a creative player on the left (Saka, or Martinelli when he’s back) with Auba in the middle, give up on the Eddie and Laca as striker experiments, they’re just not good enough. Laca is past it and Eddie is on current displays a championship player at best.

    He almost got the personnel right for once but the formation and tactics are still off. How much longer is it going to take him to figure it out, it’s not exactly rocket science is it.

  13. Davey

    The 3 things I picked up from last night

    1 AMN must keep his place over Bellend

    2 Eddie can never cut it in the prem his hold up play is shocking and is too lightweight

    3 We need Partey back (not rushed) big time, no matter what the midfield combo is it does not have the athleticism to compete especially on our big pitch

    IMO..

  14. Tony

    Southampton were slow out the gates for the 2nd half, but were starting to dominate as they did in the first half when Gabriel saw red.

    Walcott would have been away for a one on one with his pace, so Gabriel fouled him.

    Eddie did nothing of note other than his assist with Auba playing through the middle and scoring.

    Teams know how to cut off Auba’s supply out on the left or keep him out of the box unattended.

    Salah has the same issues on the right, but has a quicker service consequently having an extra yard or 2 to on his markers, which makes the difference on his goal return ratio.

    Had Bolagun and ESR played service to the attack would have been quicker and more decisive as Saka and ESR would have occupied more attention from the Saints defense muds snd defenders.

    Balogun would have held the ball up from the Graham Tailor like long balls over the top tactics Arteta employs every game.

    Arteta is a wash rinse repeat man hence our position and points tally.

    Arteta fails to recognize the options he has available to him.

    If it wasn’t so demoralizing, it would be laughable.

    Doubt Saturday will be any different to last night and Burnley’s game.

    Like Pedro, Arteta doesn’t learn from errors in judgement.

  15. Ishola70

    Don’t understand the love for AMN last night.

    He’s physically up to the task but his brain just switches off too many times.

    He was guilty of giving the ball away in dangerous areas in the second half and in quick succession. Basic passes that he should be making but gives it away.

    You’ll get some good matches from him but overall it’s unlikely that he shows consistency of performance and this has always been his problem.

  16. Davey

    Not AMN greatest fan and he did give the ball away but would take him over Bellerin all day and not seen enough of Cedric SOREARSE to judge yet but no to the fashion guru!

  17. Pierre

    Very nice assist from Eddie last night , the touch on the ball had to be inch perfect with the perfect weight .

    Just because he made it look easy doesn’t mean it was easy, only someone who understands the game would recognise that.

  18. Valentin

    The 3-4-3 formation is not a new formation. It fact it used to be common in South American common until it fell out of favour. Since once in a while a manager reintroduces it. Conte success meant many other managers just copied his template.
    However that formation is a very demanding tactically and physically formation and it requires specific types of players to work. Because it is an unusual formation it tends to initially baffle opponents, but once they work it out, unless the team has the perfect blend of players it can be easily counteracted. That’s why a lot of managers switch to a different formation after experimenting with it.

    Unfortunately Arsenal does not have the perfect blend of players.

    GK:
    Needs to be calm and a vocal organiser. As they will have more of the ball they need to be technically good with the ball at their feet. They must be able to bypass the press by accurate medium length passes to the wingback but also be able launch quick counter-attack. That does not describe Leno at all. Martinez (who IMHO was the better goalkeeper anyway) was the better fit.

    Defenders:
    On top of the usual defenders requirements, they need to be fast, strong and good in 1v1 situation because they will often being pulled into wide area when the opposition counter-attack. Holding has progressed, but he will never be comfortable in a 1v1 foot race situation. David Luiz is fine as the central CB but can’t play wide.
    They also need to be able good passer especially long ball passer because in that formation they have one less option to pass to in midfield. This is where David Luiz superior passing come to the fore and again where both Mustafi and Holding are unsuited. Saliba would be perfect for that kind of interaction.

    Wingbacks:
    Like in the German 3-5-2, they have to be superior athletes capable of bombing up and down for 90 minutes. They need to be good defenders but also good dribbler who can whip mean crosses with their dominant foot. Tierney is good going forward, but can be left exposed against pacy powerful winger a la Adama Traore or St Maximin. Bellerin does not have the athleticism to play that role anymore. Put him on a paleo diet. AMN is perfect in that position.

    Central Midfielders:
    In South America those players used to be physically dominant players who barely left their area. They were patrolling stopping any attack through the middle. They need to be good tackler able to quickly release the ball to the attackers. Xhaka may have a good long passes but can’t tackle. Ceballos dance with the ball but rarely release quickly the ball. Elneny is adequate, but is not forward looking enough. Partey fit the bill. Willock is wasted in that role as his main strength is his ability to make late run into the penalty box, which unless compensated by a diligent wingback leaves a hole in the middle of the pitch. ESR is a classic No10 who would be overwhelmed by the defensive of the game. Miguel Azeez needs to bulk up and improve his defensive side, but on a few years he could be perfect for such position a mix of 6 and 8.

    Attackers:
    One of them usually the central one needs to be able to held the ball up on his own and linkup with his teammates. None of Aubameyang or Eddie are good at holding the ball up with their back toward goal. Lacazette is better in that exercise, but then his passing and shooting is worse than Eddie.

    The other two used to be smaller, quick, direct dribblers who harass the opposition defenders when not in position.
    That’s none of Pepe, Willian. Pepe is a quick dribbler, but unless he is at the end of movement because he is so one footed as an inverted winger he tends to slow things down. Saka and Nelson could be the wide attackers.

    So in short Arteta is using a formation that is very demanding but does not have the players to make it a success long term. 3-4-3 is his comfort blanket as it gives an extra defender, but by conceding the midfield it tend to put the midfield and defense under extra pressure. So expect more red card. Offensively in the premier league bar the Fulham game outlier we scored from open play either because of individual brilliance or when we deviated from the initial plan. Time to sit h the 3-4-3 training wheels.

  19. Graham62

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    If after Wenger, we had hired the right person, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    The problem Arsenal had was that our tosser of a CEO, Ivan the terrible, was lost up his own ass and was incapable of making the right decision. Some actually thought he deliberately screwed us by pushing Emery forward. Wouldn’t surprise me.

    Our board might as well be on display at the natural history museum for all the good they do and our owner is an absolute joke.

    Arteta was not what we needed after Emery and now that we see he is not this so called “special sauce” that some on here said he was, we have to make a massive call.

    If he stays, things will get progressively worse ( can we sink any lower?) if he goes will it destabilise us even more?

    My take on it is very simple. Lose against Chelski and Everton, which is highly likely, we are going to be in the quagmire and Arteta must be shown the door.

    No ifs or buts.

    He is making far too many basic mistakes.

  20. Pierre

    Valentin
    “Wingbacks:
    Like in the German 3-5-2, they have to be superior athletes capable of bombing up and down for 90 minutes. They need to be good defenders but also good dribbler who can whip mean crosses with their dominant foot. Tierney is good going forward, but can be left exposed against pacy powerful winger a la Adama Traore or St Maximin. Bellerin does not have the athleticism to play that role anymore. Put him on a paleo diet. AMN is perfect in that position.”

    Spot on

    That system gives you 2 strikers , 3 central midfielders and 3 central defenders, and you are right , it is all about the quality, speed and fitness of the wing backs to make it successful..

    Personally, i would put AMN right wing back and Kolasinac left wing back , both strong powerful runners with pace …. partey, saka and willock in the middle and play Aubameyang up top and try Pepe up there with the instruction that he has a free role …it may or may not work ..worth a try though..

  21. Simon

    Industry people think hes the next big thing. Hahaha…maybe but not with Arsenal. Its Josh Kroenkes L A Rams Sean McVay experiment projected on to Arsenal and its failed. Its embarrassing. Arteta needed to cut his teeth at a much smaller club. Hes a dead man walking.

  22. Merciless

    I said I would never ever comment again on this shite again – March 2020 I think! But cannot resist now I have had my dinner. Have not even been here since then but had to have a poke.

    Hahahahahhahaha!
    Kneeling dogshit, rubbish football and low IQ footballers.
    Arsenal are f****d. Arteta is doing exactly what wenger did in his last 11 years. Still got my old shirt from Peter Storey days. 2021 forward – football will still be an interest, but only a small U18 team in Surrey courtesy of my son. Football BUSINESS officially a joke. Fill your boots lads. I could not give a shit!