by .

Let’s start with a quote from Mikel.

‘It wasn’t like we had to play them {young players}, because we had enough senior players. We played them because they fully deserved it.’

The most beautiful words I’ve heard all season.

The most beautiful words of 2020?


My major concern after the Chelsea game was that Mikel had been pushed into dropping the toxic exChelsea duo by an unlucky covid exposure. That we’d see them return as soon as they were available. Well, it appears they were dropped because they are toxic. There might be something in the stories about the two of them bitching to Edu. It might be the shitty behaviour behind the scenes. It might be Willian’s shit performances in nearly every game. It might be David Luiz trying to shame Mo Elneny on the pitch. Whatever it was, I’m fucking glad it happened.

Phase two of the season starts today. Mikel is placing value in people that want to do the work. His embargoed press conference didn’t just land on ‘the kids done good’, it went to ‘they showed you a glimpse of what I’m trying to do here.’ He spoke of energy, movement, forward momentum, risk. All the things we haven’t been seeing from the senior players.

Now, it’ll mean very little if we play Brighton and lose like we did last time. My hope is that the temptation of complacency is overpowered by a desire to impress. We won’t destroy Potter’s team, they’re too well-coached, but I fully expect all 11 players to be present and to put on a show. This needs to be the 95 minutes that shows the Premier League the Chelsea game wasn’t a fluke.

We have some things going for us. They haven’t won in 5 games. Their last 3 games have been draws, though they have deserved more if I’m honest. We’ve also been lucky enough to have an extra day’s rest, huge at this level.

I don’t know how Arteta is going to think about squad rotation. Right now, it’s probably best to stick with what worked. Saka, Martinelli, ESR were absolutely key to our attacking game. Brighton like possession, just like Chelsea. I know Martinelli has played a lot of games, but damn, it’d be a big call to rest him. Lacazette was very good against Chelsea, he links play well when he has the space to do so, but you wonder if bringing Auba into the mixer would be a good move. Surrounded by 3 energy merchants is exactly what his game has lacked. What I don’t want to see is Nic Pepe on the field again. He’s not it. He offers very little. Our game dips with him in the 11. He’s had enough chances.

Midfield might see some fresh legs. Granit Xhaka will probably land minutes, deserved based on what he did on the last game, and also worth remembering he’s fresher because of his suspension. Mo Elneny had a pretty horrible game against Chelsea (lots of minutes), I’m hoping his place goes to AMN, who offers far more to the attack that Ceballos ever seems to.

The defence has to stay the same. Gabriel is out with covid. Mustafi shouldn’t be anywhere near the first team. Cal Chambers hasn’t had enough games. I worry a little bit about Kieran Tierney. He’s so imperative to our game, and Kola just isn’t a footballer, so he’ll likely play… but at some point, we’re going to have to get real about an RPL for him so we can keep Kieran going.

Tactically, we need to keep things straight-forward again. It was interesting to read Arteta say this after the Chelsea game.

‘We need to make life as clear, as simple, as efficient as possible for the players’

He’s owning the reality about the players he has. His vision of the game is too complex for the now. There’s too much to think about. The controlling nature of his ideas paralysed the players and the output was consistently robotic and uninspired. Giving energy to the frontline gave the midfielders permission to release the ball fast and early. Loosening the positional rules on the forwards gave them permission to improvise and create little pockets of art. Let’s do that again. If we can replicate that against Brighton, we’ll score more open play goals. Arteta’s big learning is that too many rules for creatives kills the joy. Freedom to express was Wenger’s strength and his downfall. Arteta needed to find a middle ground. Structure should be a platform to create in safety, not a bunker to launch occasional sneak attacks from. Planning creativity in a game of chaos is like scripting sex. You don’t do it, unless you’re in the industry, or a freak (which I know many of you are).

What I found very interesting about his prezzer is how chastened he sounded after a pretty exciting win. I suspect he put a lot of energy into crafting that win. He sounded broken, like he’d lost the game 3-0. Clearly, he’s been to some dark places over the past month. Questioned his worth. Doubted his abilities. Probably read a few mean tweets and wondered if he’d ever escape the moment. Well, that’s a good thing. Everyone goes to hell in their job, especially in the early years, the best don’t cave to the bad moments, or blame those around them. They learn their lessons, they make the changes, and they power forward.

Mikel loves this job, he gushes over how much he enjoys being the manager. He loves the club. But he’s made some very, very bad decisions in a structure that lacks proper checks and balances. Today is a chance to move forward, to show that the 2.0 version of our season is going to be better, to prove to the fans he’s the right man to take us forward.

Let’s see what the boys have for us. Hopefully, it’s something special so we can put 2020 behind us. Over to you, Mikel.

P.S. LISTEN TO THE PODCAST RIGHT NOW. Another one coming after the game.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. englandsbest

    The odds are that Auba will hit a purple patch. Most, if not all, strikers lose form for a period even in their prime.

  2. Pedro

    Agree England, he’ll get better. What is apparent… he’s not a chips down guy.

    We need to do a lot of work in Jan.

  3. WengerEagle


    Isco on a half season long loan is the word on the street.

    No-brainer that to me. Worst-case scenario we get Fat Isco and he’s no better than what we already have, just ride it out and let him go back to Madrid with Ceballos come the summer.

    Best case scenario, we get a reinvigorated Isco reminiscent of his pre 2018 self and he transforms us creatively.

  4. Dissenter

    I recall you were skeptical about the Auba resigning but saw the other side of the argument.
    Auba’s barren run provides an opportunity for everyone to see that we need other options and avenues to score. His goals used to just paper over cracks in the past.

    Ultimately he will come good, hopefully by then we would have other players that routinely score.

  5. Mr Serge

    I need a bit of pace and guile in that midfield if we don’t buy the only guy we have like that is AMN why does he never give him a chance there ?

  6. Dissenter

    Wenger eagle
    Why is Isco for 6 months a no-brainer?
    Do you still think the season is salvageable?
    I think it’s done and all we can hope to do is secure survival early enough to give our youngsters a run-in and maybe go for the cups.
    Players like Isco will command sizeable loan fees, that may be justifiable is were in the vicinity of top 4.

    I may just be too pessimistic. .

  7. DaveB666

    OK just watching MOTD – anybody fancy us picking up Raphina from Leeds? He is quick, direct and loves to dribble past people, and has a killer shot. Kind if everything Willan isn’t.

  8. WengerEagle


    We paid a couple of million to loan Denis Suarez and again with Dani Ceballos, two VASTLY inferior players to Isco.

    Real apparently will pay half of his wages too. They will be desperate to push the deal through to potentially get a fee in the summer for him if he does well over here.

    Re the season, top 4 is out of the question but we could still feasibly finish in a Europa League spot. No reason to chuck it in this early in the season. And it could be a bargain if we get a motivated Isco like Everton have with James.

  9. Rich

    A midfield trio of Xhaka Ceballos Isco, with Willian to the left or right

    Would get completely overrun in this league.

    You might get away with Isco, if you put Partey + Elneny behind him

    He’ll also need runners.

    Seems a bit of a short sighted signing to me.

    But what do I know….

  10. Mr Serge

    We have to remember like the kids Arteta is also learning the more games the better he should become
    We just need to see if he is a cesc or a jenkinson

    I was going to go with Stephen Hughes (shit youngster of the late 90s )

  11. salparadisenyc


    Yes couple years ago i’d of bitten off an arm for Isco, at moment not really sure what state he’s in as he can’t get a look into the starting XI. Zidane pretty much uses him in substitute role with what he’s got on hand. Have to think the full reemergence of Modric and Kroos has changed their plan, add in Odegaard waiting in wings.

    That said pretty sure Isco would have serious effect on our current MF output, adds a dynamic we pretty much don’t have barring the lighter version of ESR whom i’m loving.

  12. Paulinho

    “Stephen Hughes (shit youngster of the late 90s )”

    Bit harsh. Played his part for a couple of years. Two massive goals against Chelsea in 97/98.

  13. bacaryisgod

    Pedro-understand what you mean about Mari.

    Having said that, if we’re looking ahead to next season, and assuming that Saliba is able to adapt in time, we’ll have 4 reliably trustworthy CBs (Holding, Gabriel, Mari and Saliba) and we’ll be done with Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis.

    It will be then be up to the management to make the right decision on the 2 open spots at CB.

  14. bacaryisgod

    I’m a big no for Isco.

    From what we’re being told he’ll most likely be a half-season loan. He’s out of the Madrid side, possibly out of shape and has never been out of Spain. The talk is that he wants to play in La Liga next season even if he goes on loan for the rest of this one.

    It’s another short-term expensive fix when we really should be focusing on our long-term assets.

  15. WengerEagle

    Summer wishlist:


    Anguissa [CM]
    Mattheus Cunha [LF]
    Rodrigo de Paul [CAM]

    Three outstanding players with world class potential, all at shit clubs in Fulham, Udinese and Hertha Berlin.

    We all know the Outs that are needed.

  16. salparadisenyc

    Rodrigo De Paul… criminal we didn’t bring him in this summer as plan B.

    Bacary with breadth of Edu’s game Isco seems a very solid option, considering the guy who finds the next Isco was shelled out the rears of previous regimes arsenal.

    Really don’t see Edu doing much else than the notables.

  17. WengerEagle

    Mr Serge

    He’s much better than Bissouma who Le-Grove have had the tissues out for days now.

    He was brilliant for Villarreal last season and he’s been Fulham’s best player this season.

  18. Mr Serge

    We don’t like bisouma either much prefer ndidi there are plenty of young African players out there just need to be scouted properly so you get a mane not a pepe

  19. bacaryisgod


    Stephen Hughes is still one of the great Arsenal mysteries. Wenger played him 28 times in one of our greatest ever seasons (Domestic Double and League Cup SF,) 25 times the following season and then like Keyser Soze…..

  20. MidwestGun

    What happened to Pyramid Pirlo..? I want that guy back… willing to get forward and take shots on goal from range and make a forward pass. Now he just looks like a mummy… stiff and sightless.

    3 yard square hospital pass? I’m having some of that.

  21. Radio Raheem


    You make good points in support of Isco. But I think we need to start to move away from short-term fixes. It is our experienced players letting us down at the moment, so why go for more of the same?

    Last I saw of Isco, think a couple of weeks ago, he looked totally out of shape. Thing is he looked like that last season too. Since his last big injury he has found it hard shifting that timber and getting into shape. If you can’t be motivated to get into shape for your dream club how could you for Arsenal? And let’s be honest this is a step down for him. He has won a lot as a player so where’s the motivation? I’d prefer a player on the up, someone looking to prove something. Isco was no high press machine at the best of times let alone with a few love handles.

    We’ve got to cut down on the Isco, Soares, Willian…type signings and more of Buendia, Eze… I haven’t actually watched Buendia much but encouraged with all the positive reports on here.

    Another we were linked with is Eriksen. Seriously I hope these are just paper talk as it’s very unimaginative. Of these links turn out to be true then one’s hot question Edu and Arteta’s eye for players.

  22. Paulinho

    Bacary – He genuinely did well in his first season. Good-all rounder and added balance with his left foot.

    It started to become clear in his second season though that he wasn’t long for Wenger’s world. I remember Dynamo Kiev in particular brutally exposing him in the Champions League at Wembley.

  23. Rich

    The benefits of Bissouma is you know what you’re getting.

    He’s been here 2.5 years, done his apprenticeship, and he’s a player who’d hit the ground running,

    It was the same for Ndidi, he was in the league 18-24 months before he started hitting his stride.

    We need a central midfielder for now, not 18-24 months down the line

  24. Mr Serge

    Paulinho I was at that game he did get molested that game for sure
    He got found out and Wenger replaced him with Petit he was not long for this world when he showed up

  25. WengerEagle


    Anguissa has been by far Fulham’s best player and is tailor-made for the PL with his athleticism.

    He’s putting in MOTM performances already, no adjustment period to worry about.

  26. Nelson

    Why do we want another reject for 6 months? We are again gambling that he will be dedicated. There must be a reason why he is now a reject. I prefer to spent money on a young midfielder who has a high ceiling. We won’t waste our effort to integrate someone into the team and then lose him completely.

  27. WengerEagle

    Radio Raheem

    Yeah fair point re Isco’s mentality being a question mark given his trophy cabinet and the shape he has been in.

    I just don’t see much downside with a short-term loan is all. If it’s a disaster ala Denis Suarez, you just cut ties at the end of the season.

    But he’s still only 28 and there is a superb footballer in there, would be comfortably the most technically gifted player in our squad by quite some distance. He hasn’t suffered a physically debilitating injury compromising him like a Torres or Falcao did.

    The same questions were put to James for Everton as well as Gotze joining PSV where he has been killing it.

    We don’t know if he has mailed it in, Real Madrid are a bonkers football club after all.

  28. Radio Raheem

    Yep I was banging that Anguissa drum last season. But later realised he was owned by Fulham. I’m not sure they were prepared to let him go think they rejected Villarreal’s offer for him. I thought he’d be a cheaper option to Partey. He is also 2 or 3 years younger.

    Anyway water under the bridge. Our priorities lie elsewhere, even before Partey.

  29. WengerEagle

    Look, who wouldn’t want a Bruno Fernandes type signing in January over a loanee.

    I would be all over a player like de Paul, Cunha, Depay type player over an Isco/Eriksen short-term loan alternative but would I take one of the latter two over nobody worthwhile? Damn right I would.

    It was only a couple of weeks back that we were in the midst of nearly a thousand PL minutes without a goal from open play. We are still starved of creativity and largely have the youngsters to thank for picking up the last 2 wins.

    These same youngsters WILL blow very hot and cold. Not fair to put them under the immense pressure of keeping this massive club’s head above water on a weekly basis without reinforcing the side in January.

  30. Time Up

    Anguissa , is a big yes. He’s the kind of physical player we need when we play to all the bottom 10 teams home and away and top 10 team away from home.

    Isco!. Just no, no, no. He’s another player would get eaten alive in the PL, a yard too slow for me.

    I like the look of the on loan player from Chelsea at WBA, Conor Gallagher too.

  31. Samir

    Didn’t realise Fulham paid £30M for Anguissa. That means we’ll never be able to get him unless they get relegated.

  32. Freddie Ljungberg

    Not really keen on Isco but if we’re getting in a long term partner for Partey or if we don’t have any money at all it’s better than nothing. ESR can’t play every game and he’s injury prone so has to be managed carefully anyway.

    So many back and sideways passes last night again, especially in the first half, our CM is atrocious. Elneny is only useful next to someone like Partey and when we are on the defensive most of the game. The less said about Pointy Mckeyface the better, Holder of the spare keys, king of the backpass and the killer of momentum. Get him out in January ffs and get a proper footballer in.

  33. Gonsterous

    Great result, but long term, what are we achieving? The team looks disjointed. The players are still struggling against an average opponent and we are relying on lucky moments or individual performances.

    First thing we need to do is get together a scouting department, then find players that don’t cost 50m but can still improve the team, because let’s be serious, if anyone costs 50m, we do love giving them 250k+ a week.

    No medium or long term vision at all in the club. Artefa wants to win the CL in three years, what’s he doing to achieve that?

  34. Guns of SF

    A big no to ISCO

    If he cannot make it with the star studded cast around him at Madrid, forget about doing anything worthwhile here.

    Madrid are good at judging players, and where they are headed.
    Ruthless too but you cannot say they wrong very much.

    No thank you to Isco

    Buy Buendia if we can….

  35. Guns of SF

    Bissouma is about 14M on transfermarket

    We would be stupid to not make an offer…

    He can hold the DM and allow TP to be our B2B
    add another creative CM and we are going to be set.

    Today he was really impressive and plays with a lot of aggression

  36. Dissenter

    See why it’s important to not splurge all the moolah in January
    Wait for Brighton to be relegated – get Bissouma for 20 million
    or wait for Fulham to go down and try to get anguish fir 25 million

  37. Bojangles

    Good 3 points last night, on a roll. Saka’s run and assist was magic finished off brilliantly by Laca. Martinelli had an ordinary game, put that down to tiredness. Maybe rest him Saturday. Onwards to Fat Sam

  38. Goobergooner

    Brighton were seriously garbage. How we only scored 1 is down to our poor form of late and needing that confidence to be built with a somewhat new first 11.

    It’s definitely a positive the young guns are looking up for the task though.

    But 2 in a row should do us a world of good confidence wise.
    We have stopped the freefall for now at least.

  39. Nelson

    Saka can center accurately with both feet. He crossed to Auba who fired the ball at the GK’s foot. He passed the ball to Laca’s right foot, who stopped the ball and shot with the same foot.

    Compared to Pepe who can play only with his left. Pepe has one more bad habit. He likes to stop the ball first. He should watch how Saka ran with the pass and then centered the ball while running at full speed.

  40. Guns of SF

    That is why Pepe will never make it.
    Simple things he cannot do, or think about trying.
    He is quite rigid in his play and dependent on his left.

    Some think its him not being coached right, I see it differently.

    Most of his goals his last year in Liile were PK,

    Is it a mystery now, that he is not the goal scoring talisman we thought he would be?

    I cannot stand his game to be honest, its an eye sore and he loses the ball about 80% of the time

  41. Guns of SF


    Who in the team will get through to Edu and Mike?
    The fans know who to get….

    Edu and Co, look at youtube of Ericksen and Isco and want to blow all the $ on these a holes

    Apparently we do still have scouts, not as many but we do..
    The Athletic article states this.

    Edu needs to do some real work in a few days. I want to see someone brought into our midfield and a back up GK>

    Runnarson is the end of us…. he needs to be sent on loan and someone else brought in sharpish!

  42. Shroomi93

    Pedro you’re a flip flop man. We hired a young coach based on his potential. A year in and he’s coming through his first real rough patch where his highest earners are letting him down. I agree it’s taken him too long to react properly, and he had all the fans goodwill to blow the squad up and start again back in the summer, but you’re really mister hindsight right now. We’ve had injuries to big players at different points throughout his job here and he’s gonna make mistakes before he gets things right. And he’s already shown us he can get things right in high pressure environments, the guys talented give him time!

  43. Bojangles

    It is worrying to keep seeing older players that nobody wants continue to be linked to us. Much of it may well be click bait but that is not comforting either, just seems to point to how we are perceived as a club by these so called reporters.

  44. Goobergooner


    It’s not comforting at all how we are perceived these days.

    We used to scare teams into playing rugby instead of football, now other teams fans feel sorry for us.

    It’s a bizarre time to be an arsenal fan alright.

  45. Goobergooner

    Sal I am with you mate, especially after hearing about his surgery and what not.

    We can’t be that daft surely.
    Even if we have been previously, surely the results of this season should give Edu and tets some perspective and a basis to learn what not to do 😂😂.

  46. Goobergooner

    If we sign a spuds reject we have hit the lowest of lows though.

    Yeah Eriksen has a quality about him. But he’s just not what we need either.

    A younger more robust version of him definitely. But not someone struggling in a slower league looking to get one last mega payday.

  47. China1

    We’d probably get more change out of replacing xhaka with a great DM/B2B to partner partey than we will getting an AM and still watching Granit trot out every week

    Having a proper DM would let Partey play more b2b and support the attack sometimes, or having a good b2b alongside him can alternate with him as petit and vieira used to

    But as long as xhaka is strolling out onto the pitch every Saturday because he’s a world class fine collector, we will continue to play like we are compensating for something

  48. Goobergooner

    Agreed china.

    I’d be willing to get in a proper cm beside Partey if we are going to be giving esr time to grow in his role. Saka can also rotate in that position if we needed.

    In a perfect world we would get a WC mentor for esr as well as a world class cm to partner TP.

    But if we get a creative 8 in a Santi esq deeper role, or a proper DM to let Partey off the leash a bit, we will be looking better as we would be able to play a mixed up game where the middle of the pitch is no longer bypassed for the wing play.

    We need that midfield to function like a top midfield should, not make excuses for our shit players and have to work around them, utilising negative tactics just to fit them in.

    Midfield is the most important position as they are the link between attack and defence and if you haven’t got a good enough balance, well the results have been shown the last few seasons at arsenal.

    Our midfield is all about restricting the damage that can be caused, and is defensively inclined and negative as it comes.

    Xhaka the main culprit though pyramid Pirlo is just as bad.

    Our midfield has sucked ass ever since xhaka came in and we haven’t had a proper technician since.

  49. Moray

    Isco’s liga stats over the last few seasons are Ozilesque.


    Played 10, goals 0, assists 1

    Played 23, goals 1, assists 2

    Played 27, goals 3, assists 2

    Speaking as someone, who loves Isco the player, I really don’t see what he’s going to add to our team, particularly with the mid season adjustment to a new league. It would be another poor decision. It may not cost us much but it would be taking a valuable squad place for a player that is not our future, it would mean less game time for younger players, and who knows, set a bad example to the younger players? (Not all older players are good role models!)

    A year ago I might have thought Edu and Tets knew something we didn’t, but that trust has gone.

  50. Moray

    More important anyway is the clear out job. This season is dead in the water. I would of course like to qualify for Europe but we desperately need to thin out our squad and migrate our players into a more normal salary level commensurate with their ability, experience and potential. Also, I hope we are considering any benefits or threats that Brexit is going to bring in terms of the young players we can bring over, visas etc. if there is a loosening of visa restrictions, say, for South American youngsters then we should be all over that continent before Chelski get their grubby oil-stained fingers on the talent.

  51. Guns of SF

    I think the press is linking us with Costa due to the Brazilian connections
    nothing more…
    He would give Mike a heart attack.
    no chance Mike says ok….

    Buendia seems to make the most sense with our budget for Jan.

    We desperately need dribbling and offense from our center mids… we have nothing but backward passing. Its the most negative midfield I have ever seen.

    Mo is quickly catching up to Xhaka for the shittiest mids in the EPL

    Bisoumma and TP and Buendia could do some real damage

  52. Guns of SF

    Partey scores at a good clip for Ghana.
    I think its 1 in 3 games or something… he plays more B2b for Ghana…

    Simeone kept him more as a DM but as we all know, he is positive and is a good passer…

    takes shots when he can…

    Cannot wait until he is back…. hope he stays fit

  53. Venga, Dani

    DOnt know why isco keeps getting brought up on here. The guy hasnt been a goof player since the second half of 2017 when Madrid won the league and champions league. Literally hasnt done shit since then….

  54. JP

    Don’t get the point of Isco unless it’s for just 6 months with no mandatory purchase. Has been a great player but 28, never played outside Spain and on big money.

    Bissouma would be great addition but 2.5 years left on his deal and interest from other top clubs you would be looking £30m+. Pipe dream for now

  55. bacaryisgod

    Can we not focus on the primary issue here?!!! We’re an injury to Leno away from killing any momentum we might have had.

    Who can we get immediately in order to drop Runarsson down to number 3. What keepers can we get out of cold storage this winter? Vorm out of retirement? Anyone else? The highest value free agent keeper right now is Orjan Nyland who just left Villa not long ago. Snap him up! He won’t be worse than Runarsson. He actually played 7 times in the Prem for Villa a couple of seasons ago. Good shot stopper but error prone. I’ll still take him.

  56. Daniel Altos

    Goodmorning folks….glad we got the win.First half was dull but we stepped up in the second and deserved the win.Pablo Mari isnt lookung that bad eeh?At least arsenal won me some money…not a bad way to end the year.Hopefully we go on a run now and continue racking up the wins

  57. Gonsterous

    Players like isco and ozil should only be bought as the final piece in the zig saw. Not a player we should be building a team around because you know they won’t deliver the goods.

    We need to sort out our midfield, but at the moment we seem to not have any plan B or C when we can’t land plan A in the TW. Don’t see a lot of movement in Jan but if we bring back ozil, it will be a weak decision.

  58. Emiratesstroller

    There is now the framework for a settled starting X1 once Gabriel and Partey resume match fitness.

    I see the following players being our first choice 12 from which we pick the team for EPL games.
    SMITH-ROWE [could be benched if we recruit CMF player]

    Part of the problem at Arsenal is that we have at the moment far too many players in our
    squad and having to satisfy their demands impacts on current form with far too much rotation. Arteta and Edu need to be ruthless and shift out at least three or four fringe players in the next transfer window.

    My preferred options for departure in January would be Sokratis, Ozil, Kolasinac, Mustafi, Chambers, Saliba [loan], Nelson [loan].

  59. Graham62

    I wonder why Big Sam is asking for a circuit breaker.

    Would it be to give him more time to work with his players on a plan?

  60. Pierre

    I would expect Brighton to approach the game the way Brighton did last night..

    Organised with very little ambition and powder lpuff up front.

    Watching the game yesterday, the big difference between the first and 2nd half was how in the 2nd half Martinelli, ESR and Saka received the ball on the half turn and were prepared to commit defenders.

    This allowed our fullbacks to get higher up the pitch in support as gaps appeared through the wide arrears..

    Hopefully the manager and players and will have learnt from last night and how important it is to commit defenders instead of continuously passing back and sideways and playing no risk football , as in the first half last night.

  61. The Bard

    A decent win given the circumstances but we do look slow and ponderous.. interesting to see what Arteta does with Luiz , Willian and a few of the other deadbeats. He really needs to show some steel and get rid of them. It will do wonders for team spirit.

  62. Emiratesstroller

    Graham 62

    There is always too much negativity on Le Grove about certain players in squad.

    Mari had an excellent reputation in South America and he had been previously in squad at
    Man City so presumably Arteta had first hand experience before he arrived at Arsenal.

    He was recruited as a low cost left centre back in squad as back up for Gabriel. Obviously it
    had been hoped that Saliba and Holding would operate in similar fashion in right centre back position. Sofar Saliba has been a disappointment. It remains to be seen whether he will
    make the grade or need to be replaced.

  63. Graham62

    Final post for me today centres around Lacazette.

    I’ve always liked the guy and felt from day one he would have a positive influence on the team as well as team morale.

    Even when he’s been off his game I’ve always felt he’s had the good of the team at heart. He is a street fighter and we need players like that.

    I rate him highly, as he can do things that Aubameyang cannot.

    He is popular amongst his teammates and if there was one person that Saka could have found last night, when he laid that ball back, it would have been Lacazette.

    To be honest, as it stands, he is an essential cog in our going forward and helping the youngsters develop.

    Wears his heart on his sleeve.

  64. Rich

    Emirates Stroller

    Mari looks a bit slow, but it’s too early to draw any definitive judgements on his overall quality,

    The issue isn’t the quality or lack of quality of Mari, that’s still to be decided,

    It’s that we have 8 senior centre half’s, with another out on loan.

    Sokratis hasn’t been registered, so we signed Mari, to essentially pay two players, but one of them is being paid £90k p/w, to prop up the under 23s

    We also renewed Luiz,

    We have Saliba who cost €30million, who’s not registered in the Europa, and can’t even make the bench in the league cup.

    It’s complete mismanagement, you don’t buy squad fillers, when your squad is already bursting at the seams
    It’s basic economics, supply + demand, if you have an oversupply of players, and an under supply of squad places?

    Then it puts you in a very weak negotiating position, other clubs can count, they’ll know you want to do business, but they can just go to the end of a transfer window, and either low ball you, or get loans, like what happened with Torreira + Guendouzi.

    The problem with that, is that those players come back into the squad, and you have the same issue the following summer.

    We’ve got two too many players already, so if we lose Ozil, Sokratis, Mustafi, Luiz next summer?

    But you add in Torreira, Guendouzi + Mavropanos?

    You’re still got 1 too many non homegrown players.

    Other clubs can count, and if you want to add to your squad quickly?

    Then selling becomes harder, because everyone knows you need to sell, or you have a player sitting around doing nothing for a season.

    Too much competition, kills competition

    Too little competition, kills competition

    We don’t just need to purge the dross in our squad to improve the quality

    We need to purge this squad, to improve the competitiveness of it.

    We need to purge this squad, so we can act quicker in the market, and not put ourselves in such a weak selling position.

    Signing Soares, when we had Niles, and also Sokratis, Saliba, Partey, who can all cover right back, was mental.

    We don’t lack quantity at right back, we lacked quality, same at centre half,

    Our squad management is appalling, nobody seems to understand some very basic principles of economics, but it’s worse than that, there’s a good argument that nobody even understands very basic math

  65. Time Up

    Laca back on form, that’s a good news. Now, just waiting for Auba to start scoring and that would be the end of seeing that headless chicken Eddie.

  66. Bob N16


    Agreed with your criticisms of our squad. A leaner, younger squad with a dependence on youth for cup games and a PL ‘16’ that has no overpaid, past it players has to be the vision!

  67. DaveCee

    Yes Rich you have my agreement too. Priority #1 in the transfer window has to be getting players out of the club. Let them go on frees if necessary because they are only a hindrance at this stage. Too many players on big wages with nothing to motivate them. I’d like to 5 or 6 leave the club this January.
    Re Isco, total baller on his day, lovely player. If he is desperate to go to the Euros with Spain this summer he might just be worth a loan. We have seen what having ESR in that 10 role can bring to the team but he can’t play every game surely. Isco, or Buendia, could share the load.
    2 wins in a row! How the standards have dropped, but it’s a start. Happy New Year grovers