by .


Now, we begin.

There’s really nothing better as a writer than the penning a boring post about how things are pretty decent. It’s a joy after 3 months of writing about how an idea you really pushed was actually pretty terrible.

This week is about three things. Moving on deadwood. Praying for Gabi’s ankle. Winning three points in a tough game against Crystal Palace this Thursday.

Players aren’t moving out the door fast enough and everyone is getting themselves into a bind. Fans tend to lean harder into believing the rumours they don’t like (stole that from Arseblog). The latest is that Arsenal are putting their foot down with regards to selling Eddie Nkeitiah to West Ham. Are you fucking kidding me? Arsenal just borrowed £120m to see them through the season. If someone offers £30m for an academy player that hasn’t been able to dislodge our strikers in the worst goal drought in a decade, I think Boris Johnson might roll down to Highbury House and call in that loan early.

There are very few players on our books that aren’t for sale at the moment. Kieran Tierney to Napoli? No chance. Eddie to replace Haller at West Ham for £30m? No way we’re not considering that sort of deal. We do not have the financial luxury to keep passing on good cash for squad players only to bench them.

I fully expect Willock, Reiss, Eddie, Mustafi, and Sokratis to be on the market this window… loan or sale. Sad reality is that Nico Pepe should also be on that list. West Ham took a £20m ‘L’ on Haller, the player wasn’t good enough, so they took what they could for an asset that was fast depreciating. We should look to do the same with Nico. It’s clear he’s not at the level. His basic technique is off, he’s too one-footed, the positions he takes up don’t help the team, and if anything… he seems to be regressing.

Also, what the fuck is going on with AMN? Arguably, he’s our best right-back, third-best deep-lying midfielder, and our back-up left-back. Why is Joe Willock landing minutes over him? I hope he’s being given the job of marking Zaha on Thursday, if not, it again starts to look like another ‘I just don’t fancy him’  issue from a coach with hard-to-comprehend player taste principles.

The biggest weak point for him is the weird relationship he has with young players. Why isn’t he coaching AMN to be better than Elneny? Why was he about to loan out ESR when he was literally the only #10 at the club? Why doesn’t he embrace young players he can coach with the same passion he embraces older bums? Painful viewing.

He’ll say that plays Gabriel and Saka. Sure, but those two were Emery’s doing. Gabriel was not part of the action at the start of last season and we wondered. The talent isn’t in giving minutes to generational talents, it’s making decent young players great ones.

If you’re going to hoard young players, you have to give them minutes. If you aren’t going to do that, sell them. We have to break the cycle, because at the moment, we’re giving minutes to players with no resale value at the expense of pumping the value of talent that could pick up £20m plus this summer. That’s dim.

Edu needs to find his cajones this summer and put an end to this sort of thing. Arteta shouldn’t have the option of clogging the path for young players. Let’s hope this window and the summer see Arsenal own up to the truth… the future is kids and there are no shortcuts to be had with bum players nearing the end of their careers.

I’ve just made myself angry after starting this post stating that writing was going to be a breezy affair this week.

Stupid football.

LISTEN TO THE ARSENAL OPINION PODCAST. Also, thanks to the sharp-eared listeners who corrected my error on Manor Solomon’s nationality.

He’s Israeli… not Brazilian… though that name easily passes the Brazilian test IMO. Could we not just pretend?


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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Rich

    Upstate Gooner

    The argument for Xhaka playing is really simple.

    He’s not a good option.

    But he’s still better than Elneny

    Partey is injured.

    And that leaves Xhaka + Ceballos.

    At the start of the 2019/20 season

    Xhaka had more experience than Ceballos, Torreira, Guendouzi + Willock combined.

    I think Guendouzi will develop into a far superior player, and there’s definitely a player somewhere in Ceballos

    But last season Xhaka was still our best available and most experienced option.

    We need better midfielders, but until either Guendouzi matures and returns

    Ceballos finds consistency,

    Or we enter the market for an upgrade who can hit the ground running to partner Partey

    Then Xhaka is still our best current available option

    If we had to sell either Elneny or Xhaka, I’d keep Xhaka

    Xhaka is average, but the fact he’s better than our available alternatives, goes to show how poorly we’ve constructed our squad, and how poor our scouting and recruitment has been.

    If we sold Xhaka, but then replaced him with an inferior player….

    Would anyone really be that surprised?

  2. Nelson

    I hate Green Bay

    All Arsenal fans will follow you for this Saturday. If Rams defects GB, KSE may be in the mood to help us out.

  3. Tee

    Saliba’s motm was based on twitter poles. He didn’t do bad performance wise but the mirror noted he lost his man which later resulted to a goal.

    No need scrutinizing his performance to score cheap point or attack the manager. The best for him is the loan which I believe will fine-tune him.

    Ozil had better announcement his departure this evening.

  4. Upstate Gooner

    Xhaka only “looks after the ball” when no one is around him (as China1 rightly pointed out to you earlier). He’s extremely weak under any sort of pressure. Hence, his first instinct is to pass the ball back to a defender or keeper. Both Guendouzi and Torreira are better players than Xhaka by a country mile. But both were binned by Arteta for reasons that have nothing to do with football. So there you have it, a poor player who should be nowhere near the pitch for us but is because of a vindictive, petty manager who only cares about his own personal agenda.

  5. Upstate Gooner

    Xhaka should’ve been gone the second he told the fans to F off. If a club like Inter could bin their best player in Icardi, then certainly Arsenal could and should have done it to Xhaka. He’s nowhere near good enough and he doesn’t even care or has respect for the fans who pay his salary. I’d put Elneny, Ceballos, AMN, Partey, Guendouzi, and Torreira all ahead of him. Hell, I’d even try Luiz in his place. Or better yet, Willian/Partey combo which I think might work (closest I can think of to Santi/Coq partnership that worked wonders for us).

  6. Danny+S

    Xhaka is also pretty clueless off the ball, he just ball watches and plods to get himself between the ball and the goal while the opposition players all run past him.

    Add to that his ability to totally switch off at any point during the game and you have a huge liability in the team, no matter how well he ‘looks after the ball’.

  7. Upstate Gooner

    ‘Xhaka is also pretty clueless off the ball, he just ball watches and plods to get himself between the ball and the goal while the opposition players all run past him.Add to that his ability to totally switch off at any point during the game and you have a huge liability in the team, no matter how well he ‘looks after the ball’.

    Precisely, Danny. Someone actually watches games and is intelligent enough to recognize Xhaka for what he is, a complete bum.

  8. Mark


    What’s the point of having possession and doing nothing progressive with it??
    Surely you saw the futility of this in the games we lost after having more possession than our opponents.

    Backwards and sideways passing just pads stats. Slows us down and worse discourages people to make runs, cos the ball Never comes.
    Can’t tackle, and dangerous free kick giver always a moment away from some kind of madness.

    Nah . Whilst Elneny isn’t up to it and has played poorly recently, he offers more legs and is a (slightly 🙂) better tackler than Xhaka.
    Best solution for me buy another DM or B2B like Bissouma and a creative attacking midfielder.

    Our priority this window should be a backup keeper and DM/B2B + CAM. Surely we can afford this with a few outgoings. That way we have some back up for Partey and can play both if needs be against the big boys.

  9. Upstate Gooner

    Willian can at least attempt to dribble passed someone. Xhaka can only watch others dribble around/passed him.

  10. Upstate Gooner

    A cardboard cutout would do a better job in the middle of the park instead of Xhaka. It might even get in a way of someone and won’t get a needless red card.

  11. Habesha Gooner

    I hate Green bay
    Actually when we have used your plans, which should really be the plan, we have either succeeded or haven’t tanked that much in the past two seasons. Leno, Martinelli, Tierney, Gabriel, Saliba, Torreira and Guendouzi all signed below 30 mil. 3 of them are mainstays on our team , One is a superstar forward interrupted by injuries and one is a kid on loan. 2 of them not liked by the manager. But both better than Xhaka and Elneny. At the very least we will break even or double our money with Guendouzi and we will make a little loss on Torreira.
    What we have majorly screwed up is on Sokratis, Licshtiener, Pepe ( under 25 but we payed more than double), Luiz and Willian. We need to sign younger players for modest amounts.

  12. Upstate Gooner

    Willian centre mid?

    Funny how one can tell right away if a person has British roots. Still laugh at a Chelsea buddy of mine who has their “Yokohoma Tyres” shirt. He thought they misspelled it 🙂 .

  13. Danny+S


    Having control is futile if you don’t actually do anything progressive with it.

    In a fast league, playing an aggressive pressing game which I think is Artetas desired style, having someone who passes the ball back to the CB when your team is surging forward may help you keep possession and ‘control’ the game but it doesn’t get you goals.

    Xhaka is a one in 5 games player mostly with the odd little run of games in him. He lacks the mental strength to keep anything up for long.

  14. Ernest Reed

    “China thanks for taking 4 paragraphs to miss the point and show me you’re clueless”

    This being your schtick Wilko, everyone is somehow clueless in your estimation, based primarily on your level of comprehension.

    Perhaps you ought to best consider that if others are clueless its like because you are incapable of registering what having a clue actually means.

    There are ways to engage people in a thoughtful and engaging manner, something you clearly have no desire or capability of doing. Save your schtick for yourself you pompous fool.

  15. Pierre

    Where Xhaka is useful is that he is decent ( not great) in the air, and due to Arsenal’s lack of height throughout the team he will often get the nod.

    If you look over the past couple of seasons, our central midfield consists of Elneny Ceballos; Torreira, Guendouzi and Willock.

    None of these are dominant in the air, in fact i would say they were weak…xhaka will at least defend the box well.

    Taking into account our strikers and full backs are neither tall nor strong in the air is another reason for playing Xhaka .

    Will just point out that this is not a defence of Xhaka, just putting my manager’s head on and trying to understand why he gets so much game time.

    The situation v Newcastle with Xhaka coming on is when Xhaka thrives , lots of possession in the opponent’s half , time on the ball and he does use the ball well in those situations.

    Bissouma is the only signing i would make in the window , to play alongside Partey..

  16. Northbanker

    Green bay / Habesha – agree entirely and consistent with my own views. Arteta and Edu would be forced then to focus on getting real value. We should also be aiming for Academy products to fill half the team / squad with the other half being 5- 15m signings generally with the odd ‘marquee’ signing such as Tierney.

    As you say Habesha. had we forced that policy on both Emery and Arteta inc fat Raul just imagine the shite it would have filtered out

    We wouldn’t of course had Auba and Laca but I suspect that would have ended up being positive with younger signings now key players in those roles. Wouldn’t have had Ozil either!

  17. Rich

    Upstate Gooner

    Just had to google that,

    Never knew across the Atlantic you spelt centre as center.

    On my auto correct, center comes up as inaccurate spelling.

  18. bacaryisgod

    Can any of you tell me where the 30m Nketiah fee came from? I just don’t believe Arsenal would turn down that much for him but I can see us turning down 15m for him.

  19. bacaryisgod


    I think the fairest thing to say is that Xhaka has a history of making sloppy mistakes but he seems to have improved that side of his game. In general, I’m guessing most fans have no problem with him as a squad option but dread the idea of him as our midfield leader/captain.

    I’m perfectly fine with both him and Elneny as back-ups to Partey and one other in CM. As I said before, I would like to see a Partey-Guendouzi combination given a try but fear that Guendouzi’s relationship is too toxic with Arteta for it to work. His contract is up in June 2022 so my prediction is that Poch will snap him up at a slight discount this summer for PSG and he’ll go on to be a boss there.

  20. Pierre

    Wilko talks a lot more sense than a large percentage of the posters on here.

    Anyone who is remotely positive about our players (especially youth) is regarded as an idiot..

    You just have to look through the comments to see who the idiots are ..

    Snide jamie tops the list ..
    Freddie …
    Danny s has to be in there .
    Tony…without a doubt.

  21. Victorious

    ThankGod for the tough FAcup draw, we have a decent first team but a very poor squad, remove Saka and ESR and we’re almost a dogshite team.

    The goal for this season should be top4 or Europa league win

    Fck the FAcup!

  22. Upstate Gooner

    “Never knew across the Atlantic you spelt centre as center.”

    Yep. And theatre is theater, and so on… I grew up in Soviet Russia (or I should say USSR) where we studied proper British version of English language. So I was quite perplexed when I came to US to find out these weird differences. Now, of course, it’s funny for me to see it the other way around.

  23. Globalgunner

    Also in America route is pronounced “rout”. You have to wonder what they would call one team dispatching another quite comprehensively?. That would be a “route” I guess. Its like Quebec teaching French the way to pronounce stuff.

  24. Northbanker


    1 it is still an historic trophy which we should take pride in winning
    2 it may be our only passport into Europe
    3 you speak as if its a choice – far better to aim to win everything possible

    but yes if it was a choice (there isn’t) then I would pick the Europa esp as that gives a CL place

  25. Ernest Reed

    “Looks like our Cup luck might run out this year.”

    Never underestimate the capabilities of this squad when it comes to the FA Cup, Bacary. They all know this may be their only ticket back to the EL. They know what’s at stake.

  26. Northbanker

    Rich – where the hell have you been hiding to not be aware of American spelling?. You almost can’t avoid it and my fear for the future is the Americanisation (but hanging on to an s and not a z) of our language. When you have half the newsreaders pronouncing schedule by saying ‘skedule’ phonetically rather than “shedule” the decline in standards becomes noted.

  27. Nelson


    I remember you have compared Phil Foden with Saka. I like Foden’s low shot to the corner. I remember watching Saka in the England NT, he couldn’t keep the ball low with every shot. Just watched the replay of the game vs NewCastle. Saka again shot every ball high. How come the coaching staff didn’t improve Saka’s shooting skill.

  28. Upstate Gooner

    “You ought to be worried about having to learn all 100,000 different Chinese characters.”

    That’s pretty funny… and sad at the same time because you’re not that far off the truth.

  29. Chris

    Personally I’d be happy to see another season like 92/93, mediocre league showing but two cups in the bag.

    We are more than capable of going for both cups with the squad we have, provided we rest at intervals in the league perhaps. The league is somewhat close in terms of points but the sheer number of teams in close proximity means an awful lot has to go our way to finish in the European places in the league, plus a remarkable run of form from ourselves. And we have a very hard run of league games coming up after our next couple.

    Let’s go hard in both cups, the point of football is having fun and winning stuff, plus it would gets us euro qualification. I’d rather rhat than rest players in the cup and bust our balls to finish 7th.

  30. Dissenter

    “Dissenter – no I really don’t”

    Not in our lifetimes, I agree but there will come a time when tat will be the thing.
    Chinese speaking nannies command a 6 figure income right now amongst the super wealthy because they want someone to teach their children Chinese [any variant] early in childhood.

  31. Northbanker

    Dissenter The US and British English pronunciation are identical.

    Er – no they’re not

    paytriot vs pattriot (phonetic)
    skedule v shedule
    levvverage vs lever-age

    and so on

  32. AFC Forever

    “Are people really discussing whether Xhaka is a good player or not? He’s shite, plain and simple.”

    Sometimes you just have to shake your head on this blog. Comments like this are something that is not uncommon, which is a shame. It shows a closed mind and arrogance that should not be challenged. Adrian Durham in disguise?

    Now I don’t think Xhaka is a World beater but I do know he is an experienced international footballer who has his good and bad points, as every player does. On Saturday we saw the good side of Xhaka, someone who helped us control the game. He was strong, held off challenges well, and passed the ball with pace and distance pinning Newcastle. His pass for the second goal was high quality, splitting the defence. Anyone who didn’t see that Saturday should take up another Sport.

    His limitation is really his lack of pace, which he himself is aware of, and one of the reasons he gives away so many fouls; when exposed in one on one situations he gets found wanting. Get players around him and that weakness is less evident. No, he’s not a world beater, but he’s not ‘shit’; a phrase that really does get overused on here and just shows ignorance, limited vocabulary, and someone looking for an argument. For years we had Bammy doing that, convinced in his own mind that Giroud was ‘shit’ or a ‘donkey’ and not in the same class as Benteke, even when Benteke was hitting 5-yard sitters into someone’s garden or heading the back of someone’s head. That didn’t end well.

  33. Dissenter

    I was specifically referring to “Nookulear”. It is pronounced same way everywhere. GW Bush had that speech impediment that mad him call it differently.

    I was schooled in British English and had to retool my brain to the US English.
    My first car was a coupé, when I pronounced it as “coopay”, the saleman almost had seizure correcting me that it was “koop”.
    I asked him to spell it …and lo and behold the joker spelt is as “coop”. He didn’t even know it was derived from French.
    Needless to say I bought the car from another dealer.

  34. Northbanker

    AFC – not a Xhaka fan at all but credi where credit’s due – he really turned the game on Saturday.

    There have been some Elneny negative comments on here but i would pick him ahead of Xhaka simply because he is more mobile and a better tackler. Someone needs to play in the DM role.

    Foe me the ideal formation is 4-3-3 with AMN/Elneny – Partey – ESR in midfield. Xhaka would be cover for Partey until we can sell him.

  35. AFC Forever

    My spell check function was sticking a z (zed not zee) and Americanizing my words. Bloody awful. Funny bunch you Americans.

    Take Sport: Rugby in suits of armour and crash helmets. Who would have thought that possible. Even more bizarre it’s called ‘football’? Then we have a game where you have to be seven foot tall and outscore an opponent by 120 points to 110?

    Don’t get me started on American politics, now that really does take some beating.

  36. AFC Forever


    Pretty much agree mate. Elneny has done okay, he’s a lot more mobile than Xhaka but his passing range is not as good. As you say, that area of the pitch can be improved by getting Partey fit and finding a partner for him of a higher standard. Partnerships are key and it’s something we have lacked at the back and in the middle of the park for a few seasons too many.

  37. Tee

    “Sometimes you just have to shake your head on this blog. Comments like this are something that is not uncommon, which is a shame. It shows a closed mind and arrogance that should not be challenged. Adrian Durham in disguise?”

    It shouldn’t surprise you. Once they hate a particular personality, they can go to any length to rubbish the person even if it entails displaying their stupidity.

  38. Upstate Gooner

    AFC Forever
    “His limitation is really his lack of pace…”

    And absence of a (footballing) brain. Basically, he lacks pretty much everything that makes an athletic, and intelligent football player. But hey, he’s good in training, I hear.

  39. Upstate Gooner

    “Once they hate a particular personality, they can go to any length to rubbish the person…”

    A joke came to mind:
    “There is a senior citizen driving on the highway. His wife calls him on his cell phone and in a worried voice says, Herman, be careful! I just heard on the radio that there is a madman driving the wrong way on Route 280! Herman says, I know, but there isn’t just one, there are hundreds!”

    Nothing to do with football, I know… but when there’s 99 people out of 100 think/say that a certain player is just complete pants, don’t you think that it’s not them but perhaps you who’s not seeing something that they do?

  40. AFC Forever

    Tee, yep pretty much. I call it socialmediaitis.

    West Ham game is fun, that pitch reminds me of what football used to be like…!

  41. Tee

    “And absence of a (footballing) brain. Basically, he lacks pretty much everything that makes an athletic, and intelligent football player. But hey, he’s good in training, I hear.”

    This is one of them. You don’t have to scroll long before you come across them.

    Like Pierre would usually say, they abound here.

    Pace is one thing but footballing brain?

    You should actually be the one to get one, if it’s gettable because I still don’t know how someone with a functioning brain will refer to xhaka has a footballer without footballing brain.

  42. Rich

    “You ought to be worried about having to learn all 100,000 different Chinese characters.”

    This ☝️

    You know you’re dealing with a complete looney tune, when a leader of a country outlaws Winnie-The-Pooh, because people noticed a striking resemblance……

  43. Upstate Gooner

    What do you call a player who gets a needless red card for grabbing another player’s throat which in turn results in a loss, dropped points, and a three game suspension? Is this a behavior of a professional and intelligent football player? I’d say not… but that’s Xhaka for you, in addition to the lack of pace that is pretty imperative in the game at this level. I also don’t appreciate clear disrespect for the fans. But hey, maybe some like to be told to F off. Shows maturity and understanding between the player in question and the casual fan such as yourself.

  44. Bojangles

    The fickleness of football fans is certainly highlighted on this blog. At the end of last season the consensus here was sell Lacazette and do everything to ensure Aubameyang’s contract at any cost. Now that Laca has found a bit of form which coincides with Auba’s loss of form, there are posters wanting Auba sold.

    The man carried us on his back for two years and deserved the contract he received, no question.

  45. Rich


    I was on the fence with Aubameyang, he’s 31, at some point is going to start dipping physically, would have quite happily moved him on this summer, wasn’t bothered either way.

    We should avoid giving Lacazette a new long term deal

    He’s 30 in May, and looks physically shot

    We should go back to 1yr extensions for over 30s

    Incentivise players, and make them earn their next contract

    Avoiding Willian 34, Aubameyang 33, Lacazette 31 as our frontline options in 2 years time, should be a priority

    Aubameyang should come out of his bad spell, we’re starting to create a few more chances.

    Any bids of £20-£30mill though?

    I’d be inclined to accept, and go in a different direction.

  46. Dissenter

    I expect that the premier league clubs that faced non-league and league one or league two sides are going to have an explosion of positive covid testing by next week.
    That will be the true test of whether they can keep football going through the winter.

  47. Valentin


    I am not sure if you count non CBs position, but here are the players who are considered CB by Transfermarkt:

    Tarkowski – 28 yrs old – Brentford/Oldham
    Ben Mee – 31 yrs old – ManCity –
    Kevin Long – 30 yrs old – Cork City – 6 EPL appearances
    Jimmy Dunne – 23 yrs old – ManUtd – 2 EPL appearances
    Bobby Thomas – 19 yrs old – Burnley – 0 EPL appearance
    Richard Nartey – 22 yrs old – Chelsea – 0 EPL appearance

    None of the players who have appeared in the EPL have been formed at Burnley. Most in fact come from other academies.

  48. Valentin


    I did compare Foden and Saka potential.
    However on the shooting, I did acknowledge that Foden has a calmness in front of goal that Saka lacks.
    I don’t know Saka skying some shot are due to poor technique or lack of composure. Either way, he needs coaching session about it. It could also due to Arsenal playing with desperation, so a lot of attempt are further away and rushed than ManCity.

  49. Valentin


    I do expect an explosion of COVID positive results and in February a pause of the premier league competition.
    Already in the FA Cup some teams have not been able to have a full team.
    The French government have banned the Rugby Union clubs to participate to European competitions with Great Britain based clubs. Both European competitions have been forced to be postponed.

    The French government will take the same stance with regard to football. I can’t see other European countries agreeing having their football teams traveling to UK and risk getting the new variant while French club just forfeit. I think that The EPL and the Europa League competitions are likely to be delayed.

  50. Dan T

    Just been reading through the comments there….

    UPSTATE – I have to say I agreed with most of what you said until you said you thought Willian could do a job like Santi!? Am i taking that out of context because most of what you were saying made sense to me? I think even if Willian was on form I don’t see him playing a role like that – he doesn’t compare to Santi in terms of vision and creativity (and I am one of those who thought Willian was a good signing at the time)..

    PIERRE – Arguing that Xhaka is good in the air? I haven’t seen that. Ever. Though I do have some sort of nervous seizure whenever he goes near the ball so maybe I have missed it all these years? Can you give some examples?

  51. Toniboy

    Not sure how Xhaka protects the ball….the better teams used to target him during our build up play cos he always panicked and can’t turn so they pinched it from him. Say what you want about ElNeny but at least he is available to pass to during build up. Xhaka has been removed from that process cos of his first touch and errors

    Also due to his lack of pace, he constantly retreating into the back line when the team has to defend leaving a hole in the middle for whoever the other midfielder and Laca to cover.

  52. Upstate Gooner

    Dan T
    I’m desperate, man. I loved Santi. And I too thought that Willian was not a bad signing (not on those terms though). Seeing how he’s struggling, I thought why not try him in that position. Worth a shot, IMHO. Can’t be any worse than Xhaka, that’s for sure… even though some dumbasses will disagree.

  53. Upstate Gooner

    Precisely. Xhaka is not comfortable with or without the ball. He’s pressured, he panicks and losses it. He’s not pressured, he doesn’t know what to do, and passes back or sideways most of the time. And when someone is running at him, god help us because all bets are off.

  54. Nelson


    I suspect when Saka shoots, his action on the ball is the same as trying a cross. He most likely hits the lower part of the ball.The result of the shot is more like a cross. A striker knows how to hit different part of the ball. Ozil can even hit the top of the ball resulting in the ball bounding over the GK’s head.

  55. Bojangles


    I know that there were 3 or 4 guys here who questioned extending Auba although I’m sure far more will be laying their claim to being one of them now (after all hindsight makes experts of us all.)

    I think we owe the man some loyalty. I know some here think loyalty is something we can’t afford but if you can’t give loyalty to players who have earned it, why would anyone expect players be loyal to the club.

  56. Tony

    That is the problem where Auba was scoring for fun either cutting in from the left or from mostly crosses from the left or cut backs from the right.

    That route has pretty much been cut off now or Saka/Auba being doubled up on, especially as Pepe/Willian doesn’t offer the same from the right.

    I thought it was only a matter of time before Auba’s limited skills would be nullified after last season and, for that reason I didn’t want Auba to get the size/length of contract he received. I felt if we were going to keep Auba his contract should have been on goal bonuses rather than a huge salary and a rolling contract for either club and/or player to decide on its continuation for the next 2/3 seasons.

    If it meant Auba left for another club, then so be it. Auba had been excellent for us, but also He had received remuneration to match his accomplishments.

    It was clear to most of us that youth was going to be the way forward reasonably early on this season except Arteta and Edu were clueless as to the continuation of our rebuild, as was evident re the Willian signing along with Cedric and Ceballos.

    Eddie doesn’t work for us as he’s a similar player to Auba where they both need quick service in the box and for that we needed a far more quickly functional attacking midfield than we had and Arteta had put all his eggs in the Willian basket with the failing Pepe as back up.

    Look how that worked out.

    So I was happy to let Auba go and get Edouard or similar CF who could hold the ball up and play through the middle offering an option from aimlessly piling in crosses for our midgets to head or Auba who clearly isn’t well versed at heading goals as say Giroud was.

    Now it’s up to Arteta to get Auba scoring freely again by playing to Auba’s strengths but, as Arteta is forced into youth selections and struggling to accept in that respect due to Arteta’s poor ability to accept that the old timers of the squad don’t work well together, Auba will continue to be ineffective cutting in from the left and the lack of previous goal tally will continue.

    The Auba problem was a combination of Auba, Edu and Arteta (captain, TD & manager) not understanding what the team needed to consistently win games going forward.

    Unless Arteta bloods more youth quickly and buys a AM this window we are 3 injuries away from heading back down the table.

    Sadly Martinelli is one fo the 3 injuries. ESR is injury prone and Sake is being overplayed for his age.

    Arteta, Edu, contract decisions and player purchases are the most worrying aspect right now and have been since the last TW save that of Partey and Gabriel (defender.

    Question for you Bojangles; who is the better defender in your mind: Gabriel or Mari?

  57. China1

    Can anyone shed any light on ESR’s injury prone-ness?

    I don’t know if it’s accurate but I read he only missed 6 games last season to injury. This season he missed 5 weeks or so thus far. I think maybe 2 years ago he had a worse one? But unless the stats I saw were incorrect it seems he’s not been too bad these last couple of years

  58. China1

    It’s really tiresome reading about all these WSL covid cases including from arsenal women because half the league fucked off to Dubai on their jollies over Christmas

    People seem to think just because the gov wasn’t stopping them from visiting Dubai that it was a good idea to do so. It’s actually quite remarkable how dumb that is. It’s almost like the penny hasn’t dropped yet that covid is contagious

    Baffling reading the other day that Peter Andre’s wife (an actual doctor ffs) was initially shocked and doubted the accuracy when he tested positive for covid because ‘he doesn’t go out much’. You’d think a bloody doctor would’ve noticed that covid is highly contagious and you only need to be unlucky enough to spend a handful of seconds near someone who is contagious at the local supermarket to be at some risk. Let alone you could have touched some surfaces or products that have been contaminated. It’s really not rocket science

  59. China1

    Tony I agree saka is overplayed. The issue is he’s our most important player. Without him and martinelli we could be in big trouble…

    But we really must not run this kid into the ground. Save a penny, spend a pound as they say. If we benefit from overplaying him now we will regret it by the middle of next season I’m sure

  60. Guns of SF

    Good Article Pedro,

    Use the youth or sell them.

    I think its Arteta being an insecure rookie coach… ironically the youth is the ones he should be targeting to get better as they are more likely to listen.

  61. Guns of SF

    Been reading a lot of click bait about Bissouma.
    I know Brighton will not likely sell, but how about we try a cheeky bid, and see what happens?
    I really think that upseeding Xhaka must be a priority
    Bring in Buen and Bissouma and amen to Jesus

  62. bacaryisgod

    FFS Pedro-Gabriel is the name of our Brazilian defender. Gabby or Martinelli is the name of our striker. You interchange Gabriel and it confuses the hell out of things!

  63. bacaryisgod

    Also, not sure about the youth theory. Everyone is going to be different. I love AMN but he’s wasteful in possession. He’s a classic case of a utility player that can’t lock down a single position.

    Guns of SF-can’t be a one size fits all approach. If Spurs had taken that approach with Harry Kane he would have been out of there a long time ago. Hi signed his first professional contract in 2010 and then spent over 2 years at 4 different clubs on loan (where he scored a Welbeckian 1 in every 4 appearances).

    It comes down to player judgement. So far, I’m not sure I can trust Mikel’s.

  64. bacaryisgod


    Here’s why Bissouma’s a possibility but not until the summer.

    1) He’ll agitate for a move. That alone won’t get it done but it builds pressure and they won’t want a miserable player on the books.

    2) He’ll have 2 years left in the summer. The clock pressure will be increasing too.

    3) Arsenal might be able to offload Guendouzi in the summer. This loan move might have rescued some value for him even if he’ll have one year left on his contract. If we get 20m plus add-ons for Guendouzi and put in a 35m bid with add-ons for Bissouma, it’s hard to see Brighton turning it down.

  65. Habesha Gooner

    Arghh, There are some people on here that think they are a genius because they think xhaka isn’t shit. He is shit for too level football. I don’t mind having a player with weakness but if he doesn’t bring some positives then that player is really poor. Taking care of the ball can’t be a positive when you pass it backwards so much. This is a player that has been giving the ball away for 4 years in critical positions. What infuriates me is he isn’t just slow physically but he is also slow to make things happen. How many assists has he had in 4 years? If he played like Fabregas or any other decent CM at creating opportunities, then you could justify his defense. But he has always been poor. None of our rivals would take him if they had a choice. The only team that came in for him were Hertha Berlin. That is about his level.

  66. Sid

    When the discussion switches from Ozils chance creation to Xhakalsons whatever he does, it means mediocrity has spread to the fanbase.

  67. Tee

    Habesha Gooner,

    So, “number of assist” is now the new yardstick to determined a good CM?

    You even mentioned a generational talent like Fabregas to buttress your point. Maybe you can do us a service by mentioning these good CMs in the league that create and assist like Fabregas.

    Like I have been saying, say things the way they are and stop trying to pull down.

    It’s a known fact that xhaka isn’t suited to the EPL but that doesn’t mean you should taint his talents even with lies just like one said that xhaka has no football brain.

    If your hard-on is due to the fact that he gave you the middle finger, you should at least wait till he is out of the club because as far as I’m concerned, if a new manager comes in, xhaka will still be used which is to tell you that these managers see what a novice like you can’t see.

    How can a poster says xhaka has no football brain even after he changed the way we played against newcastle? That wenger bought him thinking he is a DM while he isn’t doesn’t mean he can’t be useful for the team while he is still here.

    He keeps disappointing you because you were of the believe that xhaka will be nowhere near the team again with the introduction of partey but the reverse is the case.

  68. Mysticleaves

    If Eddie is sold, Balogun signs 100 percent. I think with Eddie at Arsenal their agent who is the same would not want Balo to remain there cos he would want both of them to be in teams they can play. It’s logical though

  69. Habesha Gooner

    Okay most of them don’t. But they also have far less weaknesses than xhaka. If you want to have a player like xhaka with major weaknesses in his game, then he must do some thing exceptional with his offensive potential. I was a fan of Ozil when he actually gave a crap. He was so good at creating that it was actually fine with him being crap defensively. Xhaka is good at neither. You missed the whole point. Fabregas was a special player. I brought him up because it would take that level of production to tolerate the rest of Xhakas game. The fact is no one from teams above us would take him over their CMs.
    Kovacic, Jorghinho, kante
    Pogba, fred, Mcthominay
    Teilemans, praet, Ndidi
    Wjinaldum, Thiago, Henderson
    Gundogan, Debruyne, Rodrigo
    Ndombele, Locelso, Hoijberg
    Barkley, McGinn, Douglass luiz
    James ward prowse, Romeu
    Out all of these midfielders xhaka is one of the last players anyone with objectivity would pick. There are also better players like anguissa sanderberge and Bissouma who are in relegation threatened teams that are better. He would start at those teams and bland teams like crystal palace and Newcastle. But that is where his level is.

  70. China1

    The reality is xhaka is always in his managers good books because of his ‘attitude and professionalism’ rather than anything football related

    Notice how when the chips are down his managers never come out and say no the way he does xyz is instrumental to how we want to play or anything of the like. It always has been and always will be intangibles like ‘leadership qualities’ and ‘professional qualities’ etc.

    Sorry but we signed a footballer not a bank clerk. Being professional is important but if you don’t play especially well you have no business being near the first team at a major club. It’s really that simple

  71. China1

    There are no particular footballing qualities xhaka has that el Neny doesn’t but with el Neny people accept he should just be a cheap and cheerful squad player whereas with xhaka just because his managers love him, people will act like he’s bringing something of value to the table. His managers love him for nothing to do with football, they love him because as a manager who doesn’t love staff under you who will give 10000% to you? Picking him has become a point of loyalty to him as a reward for his loyalty to them. There are no footballing reasons why he deserves to have played 1/4 of the games he has for arsenal

  72. Habesha Gooner

    I can’t wait till he is phased out. I know Arteta likes him too much to actually sell him. But I also think xhaka thinks too much of himself. And he will be a squad player once we have another good CM. He will agitate to move. He was being benched when Partey was playing. Elneny took his spot for a couple of games too. Sign another CM this summer and he is leaving the next summer. If results improve without him which it will when we have a better player there, we will see the back of xhaka.

  73. Bojangles

    “Question for you Bojangles; who is the better defender in your mind: Gabriel or Mari?”

    I haven’t seen much of Mari yet but what I’ve seen I’ve been impressed with (against mainly poor teams it has to be said. He lacks a little in pace but he seems to have a quick brain and reads the game very well which can negate the lack of pace. He seems a solid defender to me. Gabriel, at 22, is still learning the trade. ATM I’d put him on a par with Mari but would hope in 5 years time he will be top quality

  74. I hate Green Bay

    James fron AFTV (I know, I know, but James is actually really good) just posed a question the other night.

    “When was the last time we played really well when Xhaka wasnt in the team.”

    Very interesting.

  75. Graham62

    I see the Australian cricketers are at it again.

    Steve Smith has to be the dumbest person on the planet. Deliberately scuffing up the pitch is beyond reproach.

    Just ban him for life and put him out of his misery.

    Also, there’s sledging and there’s sledging but as far as the Aussie’s are concerned, anything goes.

    Disgusting antics and I hope the authorities hit them hard.

  76. JOEL

    It is clear that Arteta has his favourites and on the other side of the coin there are those who he doesn’t fancy….Looking back he wasn’t initially keen on Martinelli and played Eddie in preference.He ostracised Guendouzi…pushed Saliba out of the 1st team squad and has consistently refused to see that AMN is undoubtedly a better right back prospect than Bellerin and only gave him a chance at Left Back because he was misusing Tierney as a Centre Back at the time.There is no doubt that AMN will demand a transfer should Arsenal continue to stick by a Manager who is firmly stuck in a his own blinkered beliefs.Yet AMN also has more to offer than either Elneny,Cedric or Willock.So who could blame him if he demands a move.
    Similarly Eddie has illustrated perfectly to this point that he is never going to be a primary Premier League striker.Yet Balogun who might just have the ability to be just that has not been given the chance to prove his credentials.At the very least Arsemal should have loaned out Neketiah as soon as the Transfer Window opened and moved Balogun on to the bench.
    It is also clear that Willock is never going to get anywhere near the standards set by both Saka and ESR and as such should also be shipped out to make room for other Academy prospects.
    For as long as I can remember (ever since Dein”s departure) Arsenal have struggled to rid themselves of “deadwood” in the form of bloated senior professionals earning more than they are worth or younger ex-Academy prospects who are never going to get to the level required.Instead the Club had consistently allowed players to leave who should have been kept and vice-versa….Its about time a multi-billion pound organisation was run by Professionals rather than by complete Amateurs….

  77. Graham62


    How can you not be “keen on Martinelli?”

    Then again, if you’re going to favour the likes of GX, Willian, Luiz, Mustafi etc, it doesn’t surprise me.

    You are right in respect to Arteta’s “blinkered beliefs” and although he can’t be blamed for the indiscretions of past years, it is perfectly clear his beliefs on the way that things should be done to move the club forward, are slightly warped.

    Yep, the worst run club in world football.

  78. Leedsgunner

    Tim Stillman said something on the latest episode of the Arsenal Vision podcast which I thought was interesting.

    Willian and Pepe are being used and played wrongly… as in Pepe is being asked to do what Willian excels at and Pepe is being asked to played in the spaces and roles that Willian has traditionally been doing.

    In Stillman’s opinion Pepe should be given the freedom and brief to come inside that Willian has been given to to do (but is not doing) and Willian should be asked to play on the wing that Pepe is struggling to do.

    I really like Tim Stillman and I think he’s an excellent commentator, and I think he might have a point here, but whenever I watch Pepe play he has the pace to be an excellent winger but I have observed he is often too easily crowded or pushed off the ball. Plus he’s so so left footed opposition defenders find him utterly predictable.

    As Willian? He never should have been bought… like I said earlier he’s become Mkhitaryan mark II.

  79. Crabregas

    Thiago would have been a baller or us, someone who is progressive with his ball retention and passing. I know not the right age profile but imagine a centre mid of him and Partay… I will get back to reality soon.

  80. Bob N16

    Just to pick you up, Smith didn’t scuff the playing surface but the area where the batsman makes his mark on the crease; pointless and stupid but not really affecting play. I agree sledging is usually puerile but the pitch mics pick up stuff that has always gone on.

    You’re coming across a little ‘holier than thou’ – ‘ban Smith for life” – might as well go the whole way and hang him!

  81. China1

    Wilko what percentage of matches since man utd away has xhaka not been involved in?

    He’s been a regular starter in most of them in the league. Plus he was regularly present during our death spiral

    Or does it only count when the team play badly if he’s not on the pitch? How about we ask the question ‘in what percentage of games in the last 5 years have we played well with xhaka in the team?’. We’ve been in our most dramatic decline over this period for several decades and he’s been an ever present in a midfield that has frequently been described as so bad that ‘we didn’t even have a midfield’ for much of the last few years.

    Perhaps if you want to look for correlation vs causation links you should reference a different player because it doesn’t look good for granit whichever way you spin it

  82. China1

    Much as it strangely disappoints some people, people don’t resent Granit ‘just because’. They resent him because he has been a weak link since the day he joined. He has been an ever present as arsenal went from having a good midfield to having no midfield. He is so vulnerable that arteta has to redesign our systems to protect him from himself. He has contributed very little to our offensive output and yet he is known as poor defensively. He very very rarely dominates the midfield as evidence by the fact you can literally probably count on one hand how many MOTM awards he has won in 5 fucking years. For all of our lowest ebs in arsenals last 25 odd years, his face has been there again and again. Only arsenal fans would see that, then have him tell them to fuck off and still be on here trying to justify him.

    He is trash at this level and completely I’ll suited to this league. No amount of him sucking off arsenal managers or collecting fines from those late to training to stay in their good books is going to change that.

    Arsenal fans want to love their own. When such a big % *hate* a player it should really tell you something. It’s not our problem, it’s his.

  83. Pierre

    Pepe , willian and Eddie ( and hopefully Balogun) are our offensive back up for the foreseeable future.

    For the first time in a while we have a balanced attack that doesn’t rely on one player or one side of the pitch for our goals and creativity..

    I will be very surprised ( and disappointed) if the offensive line up isn’t Aubameyang left , Saka right , Lacazette up top , Smith Rowe in the hole against palace and Newcastle this week.

    With Tierney in blistering form and Bellerin beginning to form a good partnership with Saka , we look dangerous from both sides of the pitch and Smith Rowe balances it all up with his clever movement and one and 2 touch football in the middle…

    Tierny , over the last few weeks , has developed a nice little feint before crossing that gives him half a yard of space to deliver a cross or a cut back..

    A solid centre mid pairing with good positional sense is required to allow our full backs to overlap.

  84. Graham62


    I know your the judge and jury on here when it comes to certain issues BUT, I’ve always had this opinion that when competing at any level of sport, the gap between gamesmanship and cheating is exceptionally narrow.

    Smith was shamed last time out and the rhetoric that came from him at the time has been proven to be all bullshit.

    Sledging has been customised by the Aussie’s over the years and although I know it goes on at all levels of the game, I personally feel it should be controlled and penalties applied if and when it goes over the top.

    Why not yellow or red cards to make things interesting?


  85. Leedsgunner

    This is what I don’t understand about how we are utilising Pepe, why isn’t he being played as an inside right attacker? This was his best position when he was ripping it up for Lille and I don’t see the need for Nico to be reinvented into a winger when we already have lots of players who can play as wingers…

  86. Leedsgunner

    Before everyone writes Pepe off, let’s learn from Tierney. He didn’t have the best starts either… his body was best with injuries… and because of that he was in and out of the side.

    Let’s judge our players when they are fully fit and they have been given a proper run in the side.

  87. Pierre

    Don’t doubt Aubameyang, he will score 20 goals or thereabouts this season from the left.

    Saka will hit the diagonal cross from the right with his left foot and Aubameyang just needs to time his run perfectly on the blind side of the full back for a one touch finish as the pace will be on the ball.

    Alternately the overlapping full backs will provide opportunities similar to Aubameyang’s goal last weekend , plus smith rowe is more than capable of sliding him in , so yes I can see the goals flowing for Aubameyang until the end of the season .

    That’s as long Arteta doesn’t start .messing with tje front 4 or the effrctive 4-2-3-1 system.

  88. Graham62


    One other point, how is what Smith did not affecting play?

    It’s called psychological warfare.

    Desperation? Gamesmanship? or cheating ?

    Take your pick.

  89. Spudnik


    When you post the team up like that, it looks like a good PL XI short of a DM.


    Bellerin Holding/Mari/Gabriel Tierney

    Partey Xhaka


    Saka Lacazette Aubamayang

  90. Tee

    “If Eddie is sold, Balogun signs 100 percent.”

    Balogun’s agent in here has spoken, over to you Arteta. Lol

    What as nkethia got to do with Balogun?

    Nkethia played because laca was firing blank in the league. Don’t be surprised if nkethia, henceforth, plays just few minutes here and there and maybe in europa.

    Those in charge goofed big time by allowing him to run down his contract. It’s got nothing to do with nkethia.

    Has Balogun even gone on loan before? Maybe I’m wrong but I doubt it. No 19 years old should be allowed to hold the club to ransome. His records for U23 aren’t even better than nkethia’s.

    It’s high time arsenal started buying highly technical strikers not all these “good run” kids we have as forwards.

  91. Tee

    “Let’s judge our players when they are fully fit and they have been given a proper run in the side.”

    So, pepe isn’t fully fit right?

    Just read what you posted again and tell me how easy it is for you to relate tierny’s case to pepe’s.

    I’m not in the “pepe is shit camp” but I think it’s insulting comparing tierny to pepe. We all know tierny was battling with the injuries and from his first match the talent was there to see while pepe was hot and cold all through.

    Pepe has the skill set but applies it like a kid. Arsenal is presently not in a comfortable position to give time to a player you don’t really know what to expect. One moment he is world-class and another you feel like stoning him.

  92. Leedsgunner


    I see what you mean, and I’m.not trying to say Pepe is not fully fit… although I can see why previous comment might be construed to say that.

    All I’m asking for is that we don’t write off our players too early. In Pepe, we literally can’t write him off or freeze him out like we did with Özil.

    We have to make him work… we’ve invested too much in him not to. It would be smart to see if ESR could bring the best out of him… rather than those two acting as the sub for each other.

  93. curse

    against Brighton, Yves was a level above anything they had and he did a good job of bullying our MFrs on his ones. thats the kind of double pivot I’m talking about. summer can’t come quick enough.

    wasn’t Moe the fly’s best mate at one point? part of that Islamic click that is being ‘kicked out’ of the club, finally, praise Jesus!! lol

  94. Doublethink

    I’m probably wrong because I’ve only watched Bissouma watched him for 90 minutes in the game against us recently but wouldn’t people prefer a more progressive player to partner Partey?

  95. Bojangles

    Bringing in players now is not so easy, foreign players that is. Apart from lack of funds, our foreign quota is full. Would mean either selling some foreign players or de-registering players from the squad once again.

  96. Emiratesstroller

    Yesterday I spent time reading the most recent financial reports published on Twitter by Swiss Ramble.

    This showed that Arsenal have dropped dramatically in the top six behind Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs. We earn now far less than the other clubs in total and commercial revenues and also we seem to generate also less on outgoing sales.

    The only segment of analysis where Arsenal are ranked fifth was the wage bill where we
    finished above Spurs who spent less than us.

    Interestingly Swiss Ramble assessed our decline not just in the poor recruitment of players
    but also in our wage bill.

    He pointed out that only one player at the time of publication of the report was paid £200K pw and that was Ozil. This is in direct contrast to the 4 clubs listed above us.

    To match Liverpool who were ranked third largest wage payers we should be spending £200K pw to six more players. Since then we have of course paid both Aubameyang and
    Willian £200K pw +. neither of whom are performing well.

    The difficulty we now find ourselves is that we are no longer financially attractive to top
    players not just because we do not play in Champions League, but the wages we are paying

  97. Pierre

    I’ve always liked Nzonzi..

    I know what you mean but I think Bissouma has a lot more to his game than he is showing at Brighton…here is a link i posted a few months back….yes, I know it’s youtube but it shows that he has a lot more to his game than just sitting in front of the back 4.

  98. S Asoa

    Pep is a a very successful manager needing very EXPENSIVE squad to succeed.
    So what else can one expect from Fraudeta who learnt under Pep ? No wonder he keeps on picking up all his expensive toys and fits them in wrong places because Arteta is hardworking, and learnt from Pep Guardiola by rote.
    That looks to be the sad conclusion. This average Joe needs someone intelligent and all colones in place for AFC to come out from the dumps.

  99. S Asoa

    Cojones in place . Although agree a DoF capable of administering the colonial to the constipated guy might help to get his shit off. Very inspirational auto correct !

  100. AFC Forever


    Quite interesting to read that the legendary German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld rates Xhaka, highly. He should know a thing or two I guess.

    My own view is that amongst his dominant performances there are other games where he gets exposed in one on ones for his lack of pace, which is part of the reason for the number of fouls he commits. He’s better with players around him where he doesn’t get isolated in front of the back four. It’s hard to blame him for the period when we tended to play sideways, as some do because there was no movement in front of him. Part of the problem perhaps but not the problem. As some of us have said for a long time and have been proven right, we needed a number ten in the team because we are playing teams playing a block. You need short quick passes and movement. Players don’t make runs if they don’t think they will get the ball and without the movement, in front between the lines you are forced back or sideways; a vicious circle. Basic stuff. Willian was supposed to do that but his form is pretty poor at the moment, so he couldn’t so we ended up with no creativity in the team until ESR came into the side. Blaming Xhaka for that is odd because it was a collective, and we had the same problem Saturday when he wasn’t even in the starting 11. Against Newcastle, despite the haters refusing to acknowledge how well he played when he came on, he helped change the game and his pass for the second goal was high quality.

    You might be right and Arteta will play him with Partey and Elneny/Ceballos as the option. It is a position we need to find better quality for, as we all know but Xhaka is not as bad as the bullies, cultists, would like to make out. The balance of the team has been the problem and it is going to take a few transfer windows to put that right, shifting players in and out but with the pandemic that’s probably more challenging than we all think.

    PS; As you said previously, it would be nice to have a sensible debate on this subject without the immature ‘he’s shite’ troll comments which only have one purpose; to advertise we have an idiot troll present; once Partey has a few poor games he’ll get it too just like Xhaka< Giroud and Aubamayang.

  101. Tee

    ”You don’t have time for pepe but you have time for a nothing player like xhaka who has been here for ages?”

    If you read properly you will see that I was only against the comparison being made with tierny.

    I think I posted I’m not in the pepe is totally shit camp. Yes, he is frustrating to watch sometimes but in as much as he is still here, my hope is he will come good. If he does excellent, if he doesn’t he is off.

    I’m just not the type to say our player is without a football brain because he once gave you the middle finger.

    I also pray we get a world-class CM to partner partey but won’t condescend to make things up against xhaka. He is still ours and no amount of bitching here would put an end to it.

    I can assure you that when xhaka is finally gone, y’all will pick another player to witch-hunt. Already, there are some here calling Auba names because of his present form

  102. Tee

    “If that’s the case wouldn’t it make sense to sign a more creative cm/dm and allow to Partey to play his natural game?”

    What’s Partey’s natural game if I may ask?

  103. AFC Forever

    “I can assure you that when xhaka is finally gone, y’all will pick another player to witch-hunt. Already, there are some here calling Auba names because of his present form”

    This. Pepe scored 22 goals in 38 games for Lille, second only behind Mbappe at PSG. We have seen him do some impressive things but lack of consistency and confidence are problems. Technically he’s excellent and he hits the ball sweetly but he’s struggling like the rest with our lack of creativity. I wouldn’t write him off yet. Can’t help but think he would be better more centrally, remember Arteta is working with players he inherited which he has to fit into his way of playing or adapt tactics.

  104. Tee

    “Pep is a a very successful manager needing very EXPENSIVE squad to succeed.
    So what else can one expect from Fraudeta who learnt under Pep ? No wonder he keeps on picking up all his expensive toys and fits them in wrong places because Arteta is hardworking, and learnt from Pep Guardiola by rote.
    That looks to be the sad conclusion. This average Joe needs someone intelligent and all colones in place for AFC to come out from the dumps.”

    Who is this bitter soul? Your post is always on Arteta. Who is this world class manger that doesn’t need money to win the league. Even klopp spent over a 100M on two players to complete his team

  105. AFC Forever

    Leeds, agree Nzonzi is not what we need. Hard to disagree about Bissouma he looks a very good player and the right age.

    We need to build a younger team and I think Arteta is trying to do that. he needs to be cut some slack because he didn’t buy these players and some fans seem to think you just pick eleven players and off you go. It’s really not like that.

    Where we have struggled is building partnerships on the pitch. This is a crucial part of building a team and I’m pretty happy with Gabriel and Holding, as good as Mari has looked. Centre Midfield we need to build that, look at all the best teams and they have these partnerships throughout the team. That’s what Arteta will be doing I’m sure but harder with players you haven’t chosen for the way you intend to play.

  106. Rich

    Emirates stroller

    We’re run extremely badly, our scouting + recruitment + squad planning, has been shocking

    We’ve got an oversupply of players, and an undersupply of squad places, which puts us in a very weak negotiating position, both in terms of buying + selling players,

    But we’re still a massive draw,

    All the extra money in the game doesn’t necessarily create any extra talent, all it does is create inflation.

    We can pay some of the highest wages on the planet, but that doesn’t mean we should.

    A businesses ability to trade is based on the basic economic principle of supply and demand

    Paying our players too much, reduces the size of the market we can sell into

    The price paid for a player isn’t just linked to the players value, it’s linked to the size of the contract

    A £40million player earning £5mill p/a over 5yrs is a commitment of £65million

    A £20million player earning £12mill p/a over 5yrs, is a commitment of £80million

    But if we want to sell those players, more clubs can afford to buy the guy earning £5mill, than the one earning £12mill

    The bigger the market, means potential for more competition

    The more competition, the higher the price you’ll likely receive for the player

    It’s the equivalent of either manufacturing cars that very few people can afford to buy, but the people who can afford to buy your cars, aren’t interested

    Or manufacturing cars that plenty of people can afford to buy, and want to buy, but they can’t afford to maintain the car once they buy it (wages)

    Leicester have proved that with quality scouting, recruitment, squad planning, and succession planning, you can create a competitive team + business model, but we’re a few levels up, and can do much better

    We need to build a model that can sustain the malleability of football revenue

    The difference between CL qualification, and no qualification is

    The difference between Europa + no Europa is massive…..

    We need to incentivise the players contracts more, so a bad season doesn’t effect our disposable cash position as much

    Also from my experience, the best way to get the most out of people, is to heavily incentivise them

    Then if players are hitting their incentives? Their basic earnings drop, so moving on players who aren’t involved, becomes easier

    The PL was in danger of strangling itself before COVID, now it’s a certainty.

    We need investment, but before we invest anymore money, we desperately need more competent decision makers.

    We can absolutely compete with our revenue streams

    But we shouldn’t be paying our players more, except in exceptional circumstances

    Strategically we want to market ourselves just above the top 15 richest clubs in the world, but not so far ahead that we reduce the market in which we can trade into.

    Otherwise we’ll continue to haemorrhage money.

  107. Valentin

    Pepe has had one great season in Ligue 1, but if you take his penalties and the assists from corners and free-kick duties his stats for that season become mediocre. When you add the fact the entire structure of the play was organised to put him in the best situation, you need to reassess the quality of player.

    Pepe is very one footed and a good dribbler. Being one footed and a one trick pony does not mean that you can’t be a brilliant player. Arjen Robben had one trick, but he was so good at it, very few defenders could stop him.

    The problem with Pepe is his lack of interchange with his teammates. He is on a different wavelength than everybody else. He comes alive when the play is one of Lille playbook.

    Trying to put Pepe as No10, in the middle of every moves is akin to giving the key of a Ferrari to a 10yrs old kid. It is going to end in carnage. Nobody seriously believe that he will show the same level of quick instinctive interchanges than Saka, Laca and ESR. He can’t and he won’t.

    That does not mean that he is a shit player, just a player unsuited to Arsenal. We should use him as an impact sub or sell him.

  108. Valentin

    Nzonzi is definitely not the long term solution, but he could be a quick stop gap solution. We have to accept Arsenal is skint and is unlikely to be able to afford a midfield player with high ceiling and an upgrade on the other positions including backup position such as CAM, goalkeeper and leftback.

    A 18 month deal could be exactly what we need to upgrade without breaking the bank and giving us time to potentially find an internal solution via an academy kid.