Stumbling in the 12th round on Boxing Day, can Mikel regain Arsenal balance?

by .

How was your Christmas people? Good I hope. I cooked. My gfs dad said, ‘great meal, the thing with a big Turkey is they don’t have flavor.’ Don’t have flavor? Are you f*cking kidding me? I massaged that Chicken with sage and orange rind butter like it was a Kobe cow. No flavor? You’d best have covid taste buds right no… wait?

OK, enough of the personal talk… Arsenal today is massive.

If we lose, I struggle to see a way back for Arteta. It’s one humiliation too far and I’m not sure the players will put in the requisite shift to lift us in 5 fairly straightforward games after.

Arteta, a manager flailing in the media, behind the scenes, and on the pitch… needs to find a performance. We need to see the players come out of the traps like they did this time last year when Mikel joined. We need a huge, huge game that convinces everyone the corner can be turned.

I don’t really know how you go back to basics again when you are coach that has overseen such a shocking run.

I’d start by playing those that want to fight. Mikel keeps saying he sees the players give it their all in training. Reality is, they are not doing it on the pitch. That has to be solved for.

Deference to players that have weak character has cost him all his political capital this season. That said, he has to stop being a politician. It’s time to start being the guy that set out guiding principles at the beginning. Show the fans and the players who is boss and make tough decisions. Being bullied by shit players is unbefitting. Those players might have been his choice, but we’re in survival mode now, time to castaway personalities that are toxic, because they have us in 15th.

He needs to pick a side that has runners in it. We’ve looked closer to a system when we’ve had players that think fast, takes risks, and move at speed. It’ll be huge if we have Martinelli in the side today. We have to have AMN and Mo at the base of midfield. Then there’s a big decision to make on the third player in midfield. There’s a video of the City game, Lacazette trudging around when we’re 1-0 down, Gabriel charging people down… give legs today. Take a chance. If Lacazette drops another 4 out of 10, we’re in trouble.

Defence is also going to be problematic. I don’t think anyone is seeing it at the moment, but new signing Gabriel has been bad. His form has dropped over the past few weeks. We need a shift from him and 100% concentration. Same for the rest of them. Where do we go with the defence? Do you opt for Hector with his terrible form? Do you risk Soares? Whatever he puts out there, it has to play a focused game because Chelsea are lethal. Surely we don’t play David Luiz? We all saw him digging out Mo in the last game. That is Luiz, deflecting responsibility in full view of everyone. Behaving like that was part of the non-negotiables, I hope he’s not there today.

Mikel sounds like he’s in bad shape. I’m not surprised. This season has been dreadful and I’m sure he had far higher hopes. He said this.

“When I don’t do things to perfection and just the way I want it in the timing, I feel like I’ve let people down. To live with that feeling is incredibly hard.

“As well, I have to know that what I thought a year ago that it would be, what I wanted to do and what I am right now; that perspective is not far from where we are.”

It’s a little bit sad to read if I’m honest. Like, what is he seeing that we are not? We don’t create. We don’t shoot. We don’t press. We stopped defending. Our xG numbers aren’t telling a positive story. What is he seeing that we are not? It’s the Emperor’s new clothes, except it’s not a sexy outfit, it’s Steve Round telling Mikel the numbers are good. Still, I think he understands the gravity of where we are.

“The next seven to eight days are going to be crucial to see where we’re going to be heading to in the Premier League,”

“We have to stand up and we have to pick up the points. Let’s draw a line and move forward. Whether it’s bad luck or these things that are affecting our results, they have to change dramatically.”

If the next 8 days go badly, it’s hard to see his survival. The players might be shite, but you can’t relegate a club to make a point… and at that point, it’ll be clear we don’t have the person in place to make things happen.

Today is the moment. Beat Chelsea and hope returns. The players will take confidence, the fans will have seen a performance, and the next games look easier.

Lose… well, let’s not consider it, but it’ll certainly feel like the prison doors opening on the green mile.

P.S. Olise is blowing up at Reading. £8m release clause. 19 years old, the exact sort of player we should be taking a risk on.

1,479 Responses to “Stumbling in the 12th round on Boxing Day, can Mikel regain Arsenal balance?”

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  1. Marc

    “Low socks makes you a better player imo.”

    Same thing under Emery

    “Allowing a young player to play without the full protection of shin guards is irresponsible and will lead to a career ending injury – sack the manager”

  2. TheBlaster

    Finally a result to wake me up from a sour depression. Arteta is a newbie. Much greener than Emery or indeed Wenger when they started. Hasn’t paid his managerial dues at a smaller club and therefore hasn’t had to develop a psychological approach to get a team out of a tailspin, and it is all about that. The sending offs from trying too hard, all of it. It’s one thing to impose tactics on a team but a whole different league to impose call co centration.

    We can rightly complain about a manager having to learn those skills the hard way on Arsenals time.

    But supporting the opposition, EVER. Nah. It’s not ‘ inferior grade of Arsenal fan’ it’s not a fan at all. It is a really so so simple. You support a team, you want them to win. Always.

  3. salparadisenyc


    The way these boys front there has to be some ball in em, between the tuck in crew and ESR low socks, in fact if you don’t have a stylized quality at this stage just have a seat.

    ESR stepped up and made the case, much preferred to Willock for me. Keep him playing.

  4. Jamie

    Grealish is a fantastic player for sure. So much energy and drive. Carries the ball up the pitch at lightning speed.

    Whatever though, we have Martinelli. Kid is magic. And Saka. And Tierney. We have plenty of talent to kick on and climb the table. Hopefully Partey isn’t out for too long, and we should have enough to beat Brighton and West Brom in his absence.

  5. Graham62

    The Blaster

    Arteta is not twelve!

    Great win today but did circumstances force his hand.

    It doesn’t take a genius to see where the problems lie.

    I hope he sticks with these youngsters because, if he doesn’t, he’ll be cutting his own throat.

  6. Pedro

    Sal, Willock is a bit of a donut… he has the ingredients, but he lacks efficiency. Would love to sell him.

    ESR needs to find some composure, but he looks like he wants to play at this level. That front three had some electricity today.

    No more calls for Auba in the middle.

  7. Guns of SF

    Agreed with Willock Pete or loan….
    At this point the team needs to part with anyone who is simply not making a difference or has improved… we need to have a firm re-build with those 3-5 players that should be coming in….

  8. Pedro

    Guns, he’s had plenty of games to shine, and it’s not happening.

    Would rather see ESR and Balo now… than persist with Eddie and Willock.

  9. Guns of SF

    Our youth players have been playing together for many years.
    its no coincidence that they are better at knowing each other on the pitch and gel much better than the vets we have slopped together.

    I think we have a good academy and its about time we start to use some of the top kids…

    I fail to see what our vets have done this season to help us…

  10. salparadisenyc


    Fact it pretty much went pretty south moment Martinelli and ESR subbed off around 70th says much, we lost the drive forward and energy. No clue why Pepe’s coming on at 3-0 with 20 minutes left to kill the match, AMN was the call for me.

    Think once PEA finds his form he could rock the middle flanked by Martinelli and Saka with a ESR pulling strings.

    Brings up question, the January window which has vibe we’ll be far more active in than recent years.

  11. Mr Serge

    I will say this again if anyone wants arsenal to lose even the coin toss they are a lesser fan
    Real fans never want us to lose anything

  12. salparadisenyc


    Indeed put a text out the my fellow Arsenal warriors that consisted of, “my stomach hurts” when that was awarded.

    Future Arsenal man Jorginho doing his part already loool.

  13. Pedro

    Thank you Serge, amazing that was a controversial statement earlier tbh.

    Sal, yeah, Mikel needs to let go of the wasters.

  14. Mr Serge

    I really fear Balo will leave under Arteta
    Wilock and Eddie do need to go on loan and we all knew ESR should play more

  15. Mr Serge

    I remember watching the players at Highbury as a little boy like Stapleton and Brady and falling in love with Arsenal

    I remember the Terry Neil years ugh

    George Graham coming in and playing the young talent
    Wrighty my hero
    Wenger pre and post Emirates

    It changed when Fizsmann decided to sell the club as he was dying and sold it to the wrong people
    I believe out of spite as he did not wand Deon to control it
    We have never been the same since this is why we are flip flopping
    But my support is unwavering because I want to see us rise again from these shitty ashes
    So I take this win and hope for better

    Not blind or stupid just a fan

    Oh and I am not drunk either hehe

  16. Guns of SF

    Just saw that LA Rams are a potential wild card see for the NFL playoffs

    That means Kroenkes arent paying attention

    Got to wait a few more weeks to get their full attention

  17. Pedro

    Henry, you should put a finer point on that.

    I called out underlying performance metrics that showed there was a lot of luck in our run… and that if we didn’t fix the issues, things would go south.

    What happened Henry?

    Things went south.

    Big difference between good analysis and wanting your team to lose… and I always, always enjoy a win.

  18. Dissenter

    It does take a lot tom know appreciates a simple win after a torrid losing streak.

    That said, Arteta shouldn’t be using Arsenal at his training grounds. He made too many avoidable mistakes about the squad.

  19. DaveB666

    Blimey – we beat Chelski (again) ending a poor run of form, proving that the kids need to play in a 4-4-2 so our wing backs can shine – and there is still a shitstorm of negativity. We aren’t out of this yet true, BUT it’s a good step forward to beat the team that would have gone 2nd – Isn’t it? Surely?

    Other thing which is yanking my chain right now – LAY THE FUCK OFF PEDRO!

    He provides this forum, calls it an “ARSENAL OPINION” site – so we can all have one – doesn’t mean we can all agree or that with the benefit of hindsight some of those opinions do not stand up to scrutiny especially over time.

    We stopped the rot today – hopefully lessons were learnt by Tets and we will get back to where the Mighty Gooners should be.

    Goodnight 🙂

  20. BacaryisGod

    Hate to defend Pedro as he seems to enjoy taking five posters on by himself but I would say he was grudgingly approving of our long unbeaten run under Emery but he was correct to point out everything was falling out way during that run based on the chances we were creating.

    Problem with this run under a Arteta is that our stats have been largely consistent with our results unless you distort the data like Arteta tried to do.

    By the way, did anyone else notice how weird Elneny was holding his head in his hands for several seconds after he hit the bar while the ball was still live and he could have easily have been unprepared for another chance? After his sending off escape in the last game, I’m not sure he might not be a head case in waiting.

  21. Pedro

    Bacary, yep… no positives really this season.

    Hopefully, today was a true turning point.

    Arteta sounded very clear on Gabriel post-game… not so regarding Willian and Luiz.

  22. Pedro

    Dave… 100% it’s a step forward.

    Wasn’t perfect, mistakes were made, but fucking hell people… 15th beating a team that could have gone second. I’ll take it and not whine about Emery.

  23. Goobergooner

    Arteta must have been on the Christmas time sauce with that lineup! Get the man drunk for all our matches!!

    He actually showed he has some balls.

    Keep Luiz and Willian as far away from the squad as possible!

    It was refreshing to see our forward line so fluid. Saka Laca and esr were all over the pitch changing it up a bit.

    ESR loves to receive the ball in between the lines and in tight spaces around the box.

    It’s a shame it’s taken this long for him to get some real play time.

    Was a bit nervous we had holding and Mari back there as their pace isn’t great. But they did a great job today.

    Tierney is a beast. Just keep him fit and he will do the job for us. Him Saka and martinelli really play with their hearts on their sleeves.

    That Saka goal was ridiculous if he was going for a shot. It looked as if he was looking up for the cross rather than shot, but I wouldn’t put it past his intelligence that he was putting off the keeper 😂.

    Xhaka the cunt scored a great goal and did well defensively today.
    If we are to move forward properly and begin to play proper football not all through the wings then him and elneny need to be benched by incoming quality as soon as possible.

    Can’t stand that his goal will have him back in the team as arteta’s favourite.

    But despite that cunt, I’m glad to see Arteta change it up.

    Project youth 3.0 looks to have some potential that’s for sure.

  24. salparadisenyc


    When Elneny nearly knocked the net over with that belter, seemed to take him out of the contest. Fact it didn’t drop for him. Easily his worst performance this season, all I could think was the ultra pressure these guys are under at moment to deliver.

    Biggest take away from tonight was that they desperately wanted to win without a few first teamer’s in side. Has to be something in that, long may it last.

  25. MidwestGun

    Whoooooa Middy Margetic’s socks are Los Angeles hot rod l o w.

    Haha nice Sal.. Yeah I was just looking at some old team photos from the 80’s which reminded me of the low sock era. We actually used to roll them down, sometimes.. 😀

    Can’t believe there was actually a debate about wanting your team to lose.. … about as dumb as wanting to get relegated. No good is going to come from that… none.. Do you think Leeds think they are better off right now.. 16years later after scrounging around the lower leagues? Battling to stay up now. People think that there is a magic bullet if this happens then this will.. doesn’t work like that. Predicting what Kroenke will do is impossible. So enjoy the wins, especially when it involves the Scum. And how about those goals today… Xhaka’s and Saka’s don’t get much better.

  26. Nelson

    Whether Luiz and Willian were really sick or not, I have to give Arteta credit to start Martinelli, ESR and Saka as part of the front 4. Now it is clear that Arteta’s system requires all 4 forwards pressing at the same time..His system will collapse if one or two forwards not doing the job. We saw today Chelsea got stronger once Martinelli was replaced by Pepe.

    I hope Arteta understands why his team worked so well today. Players like Willian and Pepe are not suitable for his system. Only one of Auba and Laca should be selected as the striker. Willock, AMN and Reiss Nelson can be backups.

  27. Goobergooner

    Also that seems to be the first game we came out of the traps with no handbrake at all.

    We could have scored in the first minute, as well as martinelli should have had at least 2 on another day and if he had more match fitness.

    That is what we need to see more of.

  28. Goobergooner

    I also thought bellerin played well today. Was very tidy on the ball.

    He combines so much better with Saka and martinelli. (Martinelli I somehow left out of that fluid frontline comment above, my bad)

  29. Nelson

    I heard rumor that Balo’s agent is actively trying to find some other teams for Balo. Arteta probably feels that Balo wants to leave. That’s probably the reason why Balo is not included in the squad.

  30. bacaryisgod

    Pedro-agreed. Let’s hope that he at least keeps Willian in the sick room for a while.

    Have to say that apart from the first 15 minutes, Holding was impressive. He really hounds the strikers out to the touchline although I’m worried someone will soon do the trick on him like Cesc did to Savage.

  31. Goobergooner

    It’s a little infuriating especially in the case of Saliba, seeing Fofana come into the league and be up for the fight, yet we play players who won’t be here next season in Salibas place.

    Doesn’t even get a chance to prove himself.

  32. Guns of SF

    I hope the club ( Edu/ Mike) get blinded by this win.
    We still need to add GK and CAM this winter… no question….

    Buendia would make a lot of sense… or another scoring/creating 8.
    If Mike wants a 3 man midfield I suggest

    New player___TP____AMN

    That right side needs more help with creating

  33. Goobergooner

    I forgot to mention despite Leno still being slow releasing the ball. He caught a few crosses and did well today.
    That penalty save was his cherry on top for a good performance!

  34. Freddie Ljungberg


    Just going to leave AMNs stats from the City game here:

    “As per Sofascore, he lost possession an incredible 20 times over the course of the night, the most of any Arsenal player on the pitch. He also made no successful dribbles, sent no accurate crosses, made just 20 total successful passes, and lost seven of his nine duels too.”

    This is why he doesn’t play in midfield and barely plays at all, no conspiracy or lack of talent judging in this case, he’s simply not good enough. We need a new CM next to Partey as much as we need a Cam.

  35. bacaryisgod


    Looks like Huss Fahmy took the hit for the Saliba loan screw-up, which was probably fair.

    I think we had a perfect storm as we played late into the summer and there were time pressures on us. We probably expected to be able to offload Sokratis and maybe Chambers and neither happened. In fairness, Luiz was a big part of our Cup win and was a big characted (for good or bad) in the dressing room. We had clearly committed to Mari and Gabriel and for some reason Arteta went soft on Mustafi but thankfully got rejected. By that time it was probably too late to sell him on. Holding clearly impressed Arteta too and we decided against selling him.

    As a result we had 2 more CBs than we needed-Sokratis was shelved and Saliba was shafted.

  36. Freddie Ljungberg

    Considering our budget and needs I’d go with Buendia and Soumare. Lille is supposedly willing to let him go for a song because they’re in financial troubles, heard under 20m. Could probably get both for less than Lyon wanted for Aouar in the summer. Buendia is PL proven too without the PL premium.
    As Weagle has mentioned Rodrigo de Paul would be interesting, but too hard to get right now.

    Not at all keen on Eriksen or Isco. Not really on Brandt either although better than the other 2. Just want us to go young with high potential and the characteristics we need.

  37. Freddie Ljungberg


    He’s had a lot of games like that though, far too sloppy in possession for me, would be a calamity in CM. Does ok on occasion as wingback but would rather we cashed in for someone who at 23 isn’t starting material.

  38. bacaryisgod

    Yeah, Bellerin had a good game and no foul throws!

    I think he’s in danger of being underrated by some Arsenal fans. I think he and Saka could combine well. Not sure how often I’ve seen Saka out on the right but he did great there today.

  39. bacaryisgod

    I’m with you on AMN, Freddie. Feels like there’s two levels to our youth prospects: Maybe a little simplistic but the way I see it right now:

    Level 1: Saka, Martinelli, ESR and Balogun
    Level 2: AMN, Nketiah, Willock and Nelson

    Azeez is trending towards Level 1 but he’s not been tested enough yet. Same could be possibly true of Balogun but his balancing and two-footed finishing sets him apart from the less-experienced prospects.

  40. MidwestGun

    Bellerin is not a wingback.. much better in a back 4. That’s what it boils down to for me. And he can’t partner with Willian and Pepe. As one wants to occupy the same space around the box in Willian and the other Pepe is just not good at link up play.
    Defensively in a midfield 4 as a wingback he is all over the place positionally.. Was much better today.. Still got beat a few times but Holding mostly covered for him.

    I think we could do better then Bellerin but why spend the money when for me it’s a formation issue and he can be good in attack.

    I wasn;t optimistic at all before the match but I did predict a 2-1 victory.. I almost had it right.. Next match becomes huge now… to see if this was a blip on the way down or we have hit bottom and start up.

  41. MidwestGun

    I still think changing Arteta last week or now would have been the right call .. but I wouldn’t be mad if he proved me wrong either and we go on a long run I’m not expecting that though. It is still 2020 after all and there is a lot to overcome and much of it is self inflicted decisions.

  42. Marco

    Julian Brandt is a German professional footballer who plays as a left winger or attacking midfielder for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and the Germany national team. Brandt made over 55 combined appearances for Germany’s youth teams, playing at every level from U15 to U21. Wikipedia
    Born: May 2, 1996 (age 24 years), Bremen, Germany
    Height: 6′ 1″
    Weight: 183 lbs

  43. Kaz

    PedroDecember 26, 2020 20:48:26
    Kaz, your takeaway for today is that Gabi didn’t start a year ago?Honestly, some embarrassing carry-on after a win against a team that was about to go second.

    No Pedro, my takeaway is that your crush doesn’t have a fucking clue and needs to be binned ASAP for the good of the team.

    I’m glad we won, still doesn’t mask the uselessness of his decision making.

    Your spin doesn’t work either, you deliberate miss the context of points and respond like a tabloid.

  44. China1

    Great result, lots of good performances from everyone. A late Christmas gift for sure

    I hope arteta was paying attention because I have this nasty feeling he will revert to type as soon as he can and it will be back to scratching our heads at crap team selections etc

    I’m especially glad for smith Rowe. Martinelli and saka are expected to show up, those two are our golden boys. But ESR has a lot of hype surrounding him but no backing from the manager. Despite believing in him as a player, I’d have expected the occasion to overwhelm him considering he never plays and the manager doesn’t appear to rate him. To show up and play really well is a real testament to his mentality. It’s not easy as a kid to sit on the fringes forever and be eternally overlooked then just show up and do one on Chelsea. Like I said I expect this from saka and martinelli but for ESR that’s a major achievement.

  45. China1

    Also makes a change that we got given a ridiculous penalty

    Hilarious listening to an ex ref on sky sports trying to defend the decision post var review. Rubbish decision but these usually go against us and I’ll take it all day right now

  46. The Godfather

    Didn’t i mention months ago that Ozil should be banned from training with the team and his jersey number given to someone else?

    But there was a clown here quoting the Athletic that Arsenal would be financially liable for doing so😃😃😃never heard such nonsense in my life 😃

  47. Tony

    Good win last night really enjoyable to watch as we actually made Chelsea look ordinary and flat.

    We thoroughly deserved the win.

    That said we’ll have to see if that win can be carried forward into further wins.

    Xhaka had a decent game because he had space and time on the ball. Other teams will rightly close him down into the error prone rash idiot he’s been for most of his time at the club. However, Partey being fit should limit Xhaka’s game time to games that suit his ponderous style.

    I still want Rangnick to be brought in with Edu being moved on.

    If Arteta can dial back his huge ego and chip on his shoulder and work with Rangnick we will see a better management process.

    That would also bring the much needed accountability to Arteta as well as the coaches and players.

    Rangnick would get rid of the ‘comfort zones’ culture that has plagued our club since 2008.

  48. Tony

    The DM is reporting the dressing room is divided with the older players wanting Ozil reinstated in the team.

    They just want a fall guy to deflect their poor abilities on the pitch.

    ESR showed he is better at his age than Ozil is and can only get better.

    Buy on of or both Buendia and Soumare as Freddie posted and leave Ozil to his Twitter trolling.

    Just bench the older trouble makers or move them on.

  49. Bojangles

    Great result last night, well deserved 3 points. Saka, Tierney and Martinelli all had Stirling games, with special mentions to esr, Laca and Xhaka.

    To all those hoping for a Chavs victory pre game and probably during the game, you all need to be fucked with a wire brush.

  50. Paul Mc Daid

    Brilliant Result, Massive 3 points and hopefully a springboard to a good run off results, Give the young lads there dues and keep playing them..

  51. Emiratesstroller


    Arsenal need to move on from holding onto Ozil. He is not the future of the club and he has become frankly divisive.

    Hopefully the club will move on and offload several of the other players in their final two years
    of contract. We need to reduce size of squad and freshen it up.

  52. bacaryisgod

    The Godfather

    Not sure if it was me you were calling a clown but you might want to read a little more carefully. I said I wasn’t sure if banning him from practice could be seen as constructive termination. I have no idea if there are any rules/labour laws around that.

  53. Kenyangunner

    Bellerin had a good game because Elnemy was covering for him.
    Looks like we learnt something from the spurs game after all

  54. Emiratesstroller


    Ozil is toxic and we have reached the point where it would better for all concerned that
    he does not train with first team.

    We have constructively terminated his contract, because he is not registered to play in Europe,
    EPL or Cup Games. The same applies to Sokratis.

  55. Guns of SF


    Spot on with this…

    To show up and play really well is a real testament to his mentality. It’s not easy as a kid to sit on the fringes forever and be eternally overlooked then just show up and do one on Chelsea. Like I said I expect this from saka and martinelli but for ESR that’s a major achievement.

  56. Guns of SF

    I actually think ESR was playing with the handbrake on.
    As China said, he finally gets a BIG chance to play and he knows not to play too risky to not incur Mikes wrath or make glaring mistakes.

    He was neat and tidy today but kept the ball moving in the final third… what we sorely lacked before…

    WIth more time he will find his mojo and can show what he really has got. The coach needs to give more trust to him…without fear of being dropped for millenia if he messes up

  57. S Asoa

    We been consistently and worse persistently playing shit and losing . What intelligent posters been pointing out was exactly what forced Arteta hands last game . That Arteta has not changed his spots was apparent when he brought in the subs . Martinelli had to come out to protect him . But the obvious silar substitute Balogun was not even on the bench. The post match interview Arteta downplayed the youngster which indicates which old way the wind will blow.
    The group of youngsters were interlinking in the way they were familiar at the Academy. The result was the outcome of how they were trained, likely in their passion forgot the Arteta Millstone around the neck.
    Guess is Arteta will have none of it as will become apparent in next 2 games.
    Reason why ArtetaOut

    This is not a downer on the thumping of Chelsea ,but a wish for more of the same

  58. DivineSherlock

    I think its a damn indictment on Ceballos as a player that we never really missed him in the last game . Someone said that we didnt win last night because we played the kids , we won because we played the best players on the pitch , and that is what Mikel Arteta should learn from the game.

  59. Tony

    Agree with you re Ozil and props for calling for ESR some time ago you were right about him as well.

    Must be Xmas with you and I agreeing ES.

  60. Guns of SF

    I expect some players to play with that extra Guen motivation…. seeing what happened last time…

    I can see Martin scoring against them. Seems like the time is any minute now.

  61. Samesong

    Don’t know if anyone noticed first half ESR went everywhere Kante went preventing Kante from making those passes to the attacking midfielders. He also reminded me ala Ozil some of his passes, creativty movement.

    Brighton are one of those teams.that can beat us on any given day. I’ll think this game will be harder than the Chelsea one.

  62. DivineSherlock

    ESR looks like a good mix of Ramsey and Fabregas. Once he gets comfortable in the team like Saka , he’ll win matches for us single handedly.

  63. Guns of SF

    Tony we will get them…
    I think the bad blood still exists….
    We have Martin and ESR too!

    The team looked much better today and there is no way that Chelsea played that bad. I think we win at Brighton 2 nil or 2 -1

    Leno was hurt there and the Guen thing… I think the boys will need no reminding

  64. Receding Hairline

    Couldn’t catch the game last night but nice to stop the bleeding.

    Predicted the win considering Chelsea without Ziyech have been inconsistent to say the least, an indictment on lampard.

    But let’s not do the whole this is the lineup going forward thing, did it after united.

  65. MidwestGun

    Middy -You might appreciate this….Rudy Glenn came to my junior high and ran a 3 day soccer clinic after school.
    No kidding? Small world.. He is a little bit older then me.. But he went to University near where I did.. and I basically wanted to be him at one point.. Always wanted to play for the Sting. Unfortunately the League folded before I had a chance by the time I graduated University. Loved those Sting Kits though Black and Yellow with the Bees. haha

  66. Foxy

    Great win but the real test for Arteta is the next four games. Does he understand why we won last night?

    3 defeats in 4 games could Lampard get fired before Arteta.

  67. Guns of Hackney

    This was a typical late Wenger performance. Just as you thought it couldn’t get any worse and the sack was imminent…a result is pulled out the bag. Magic? No.

    I’d say there’s a 85-90% chance of us tanking the next game, just as we used to. You lot will now say “amazing, we’re back…top four”. Bollocks.

    Also worth noting that even though he didn’t totally stink…Xhaka was straight back in the team. Goal or not, once again a player who has made David Batty look dynamic for the past few years is once again, back in the team and being hailed as the best midfielder since Platini.

    Yuck. Good result but Chelsea all looked like they had the rona.

  68. Chris

    Martinelli has simply been a breath of fresh air since he returned, and you can see his enthusiasm is infectious and rubbing off on some of the other players.

    He has reminded me a bit of Alexis with his tenacity and hassling of defenders, but he has to r technical prowess to make a difference. He was slightly unlucky not to score last night with his big chance and what’s good is you could see the frustration his face when he came off having not scored. He is going to be a big player for us for several years hopefully, I would like to think his contract situation is secure.

  69. Chris

    One win against a good team like Chelsea and it is amazing how the perspective can change. It only takes a little bit of good fortune, bang a few goals in, win and the players can have their confidence back, and suddenly the next few fixtures look entirely winnable.

  70. Guns of Hackney

    Jesus. See what I mean. The comments are full of deluded motherfuckers who thought Santa delivered their gifts and not some bastard from Amazon.

  71. MilanoGunner

    Emil had a banger of a game yesterday, nullified Kante completely, picked up great positions in attack and Martinelli has that Alexis like spark in him which sets a great tempo, and hopefully he channels that energy right in the future.

  72. Pierre

    I have been saying that Saka should be playing with his contemporaries as he feels more confident and has a better on field relationship with the players he grew up with and also Martinelli.

    In typical Le Grove fashion , we have posters talking about letting 2 academy players go who are top this season in goal contributions for Arsenal …Eddie and Willock.(from midfield)…6 goal contributions each.

    They are being written off despite the fact that between them they have only started 5 league games this season

    2 starts for willock and 3 for Nketiah in the league is not enough to judge , especially as the team have been playing so poorly.

    What i have noticed , in typical Le grove fashion , is that if Eddie misses a half chance , the know nothings jump on his back .

    If Eddie had missed the 2 very goid chances that martinelli failed to convert last night , i guarantee you it would have been the topic of conversation on Le Grove..

    I wouldn’t criticise Martinelli for missing those chances because to me , all strikers miss their quota of chances, the important thing is to keep getting in thise positions and the goals will come, as Eddie continually proves..

    Put Eddie(or Balogun) alongside ESR saka and Martinelli up front and he will score for fun.
    Put willock alongside Partey and you have the perfect midfied partnership with willock continuing to score and assist at the impressive rate he has shown this season.

    I will repeat 5 leagues between Eddie and Willock playong in a team lacking in confidence is hardly the time to judge them .

    Put them alongside their contemporaries and watch them thrive.

  73. Jeff

    Well none of us expected that but then again Chelsea did put in an even worse performance than our previous 5 games in the PL so it stands to reason that sooner or later an accident like this will happen.

    Last night’s game wasn’t something to be hopeful about. It was a fluke. A concatenation of events that led to a win. The penalty was fortunate, Saka’s goal was accidental where a cross ends up being a goal. The set piece from Xhaka was excellent and we know he does do that from time to time but not nearly enough to get excited about.

    Our biggest trouble is that we can’t deal with any kind of a stiff defence. We can’t break teams down. We pass it from side to side on the edge of the box (just like Chelsea were doing last night) with no real plan or discernible tactics other than just hoping for something to turn up. Against teams that err on the side of defence or are well organised on that part of the pitch, we are dismal. Chelsea happened to not only have a terrible defence but their attacks were dire too. So we won unexpectedly. Is this a bounce back, a miracle cure, something that has been hiding in Arteta’s locker to be brought out only when absolutely necessary i.e. if we ever got to 15th? No. It was a pure accident.

    Other teams will not give us an easy ride like that and neither can we expect to be so lucky in the games left to play. For me, whilst of course the 3 points are invaluable, the bottom line is that nothing really has changed.

  74. Bob N16

    The argument that somehow our three goals owed a lot to luck ignores the fact that we created 3/4 excellent opportunities that could easily have resulted in more goals.

    Brighton playing today so that should give us an advantage over them; we will have had an extra day’s rest during a busy schedule. An unchanged line up will take the game to them and I would predict a goal from a ‘super sub’ PEA.

    Only concern I would have is Martinelli’s exposure to too much game time after such a long lay off. The pressure to keep picking him will be great and dare I say it, rotating with PEA might be a sensible move.

  75. Goobergooner

    I agree with you Pierre on Willock, though would like to see balogun see some of Eddie’s game time.

    They would push themselves even harder if they were both fighting for the same spot without the favouritism.

    Joe has quite a bit to his game that both elneny and xhaka lack. The main two being that he does get into good areas, and isn’t as scared to receive the ball with an opponent close by.

    Elneny did very well against the Chelsea press on multiple occasions though. Was quite surprised actually.
    There was actually one point he managed to beat two Chelsea players and even he was shocked he beat them, as he took a half second to realise that what to do next was to move forward rather than chase his lost ball. Made me laugh anyway haha.

  76. Goobergooner

    Also I’m with guns of Hackney on this one.

    This one result in isolation is good. But in the grand scheme of the season we are still shit.

    If this match is the catalyst for change we need then brilliant. But it really is what comes next that matters most.

  77. FACupofTea

    You saw how wounded Gabby looked with each missed chance and when he was subbed because he didn’t register a goal. Love to see it

  78. Bojangles

    “Well none of us expected that but then again Chelsea did put in an even worse performance than our previous 5 games in the PL ”

    Maybe, just maybe, we didn’t allow them to perform any better than they did. Chelsea came into the game later as we began to tire.

  79. Emiratesstroller

    ESR was rated two seasons ago the best prospect at club. He is an intelligent and technically gifted player.

    The one concern that I and others have got was that he seems to be injury prone.

    In the current situation that Arsenal find themselves in we need to play both Martinelli and
    Saka ahead of the fullbacks, not just because of what they offer in attack, but also that they are tracking back when required to do so.

    Arsenal have been struggling in far too many games particularly on right side of pitch with
    lack of support from Willian and Pepe.

    The return of Partey and Gabriel should add to our current performance level and hopefully
    Aubameyang will also get back his mojo.

    Whilst Arsenal may be well short of what is required to challenge for a top 4 position this
    season I still believe that we can move up the table to a more comfortable position.

  80. Chris

    I agree that is strange to see Willock being overly criticised, at the very least he can contribute to being a good squad player but at the same time I think there is more to come from him.

    There is nothing wrong with a bit of positivity, after a long run of winless games. Sad to see so many playing it down. Sometimes a confidence boost is all some players need to get back to the level they should be.

    Also agree that we need to be careful with Martinelli regarding his fitness., which is a slight quandary as he is arguably our most important player at this moment.

  81. Graham62

    Morning Jeff

    I’ve been scathing of Arsenal and Arteta these past few months but yesterday’s display was a breath of fresh air.

    It was the first time for long time that we’ve actually looked threatening, The youngsters stole the show and before all those late nerves, we had chances to get a forth and more.

    Chelski were below par but the pace and enthusiasm of Martinelli, Tierney, Saka and ESR was a joy to behold.

    Whether Arteta was forced into the changes because of protocol doesn’t concern me, because I don’t rate him anyway. It’s up to him to act on the obvious. Will he do it though?

    Still feel the same about GX, Bellerin and Willian and although Leno saved the penalty, he is also not good enough.

    My local team next. Fingers crossed Arteta doesn’t revert to type.

  82. Samesong


    Sorry but you’re wrong on Willock. ESR is easy on the eye and rarely looks like he is going to give the ball away or a pass. Willock on the other hand is erratic with the ball and in his passing and his overall game is weak.

    If that makes me a no nothing I’ll gladly hold that title and say Willock is average.

  83. Graham62

    Willock, Nketiah and Nelson are not on a par with Saka, ESR and Martinelli.

    However, to have a core of good youngsters is essential if we are going to move forward.

    Add Tierney and Gabriel to the list and things are not as gloomy as we all think.

  84. China1

    Willock and Eddie are both prospects but they both have a way to go to make the grade as first 11 players.

    ESR is an unknown quantity as he looks the real deal but the sample of games is so small that we can’t pass a serious judgment yet. But he’s at worst a big prospect akin to Eddie and Willock and at best a huge talent like Saka and martinelli. We’ll have to wait and see how he does for the rest of the season

    Saka and martinelli are known quantities and awesome talents

    As far as I’m concerned, these two need to be in the first team for the PL and important cup games but must have their fitness managed to not be overplayed.

    Smith Rowe should get regular opportunities.

    Eddie and Willock should be rotation options in the league and regular starters in cup comps

    But what you guys must remember is not all our academy players need to be saka style monster talents. Simply being good enough to be squad options who you can call on when needed and in lesser competitions is still very valuable. Look at Iwobi who came through, wasn’t really good enough for the first team but he was good enough to earn a solid money move to another PL team that made his development a great investment. If Eddie willock and evening ESR just follow a similar path as iwobi that’s still really good for us. And we see first hand having sold Martinez for 20m that it’s not easy to replace quality backup players on the cheap. If you sold Willock tomorrow then tried to buy an identical clone player from another PL or championship team you’d probably be 12m for the pleasure. We need to appreciate these kids are assets even if not all will become elite