by .

Mikel Arteta and Edu are going to have to deal with their political dilemma with honesty at some point. Willian, quite simply, is not good enough for Arsenal. It’s the end of January, he’s scored 0 goals and managed 2 shots on target in 20 games. This isn’t a case of having problems adapting to a new system, it’s not a London issue, it’s not bad luck… it’s desire. He’s on gardening leave of his career in football. It’s infuriating.

The problem our two fearless leaders have is that this deal was naive and incredibly negligent on all the levels we’ve gone over many times before. Arteta was hired as a coach, his job originally was about what happened on the pitch, when he became manager, it was about taste levels. When your major move of the summer is to convince your overlords Willian is going to win you the Champions League at 35, you’d best hope you are at least close to being right. Arteta keeps playing him because it makes his taste look abysmal… trouble is, that infectious zero fucks vibe Willian gives off has contributed to Arsenal losing a back door entry into next years Europa League. Our new Ozil is now costing us future options.

Willian isn’t the only problem. Nicolas Pepe is a £72m flop of the grandest magnitude. Yesterday wasn’t a disaster by the very low standards we have set for him. Statistically, you can point to the 5 chances he created. However, the eye test gives you the true grade. He’s not very influential, he struggles to impose himself on games, and his decision making is consistently weak. Who in the league would give him a starting position in their line-up? West Ham? Villa? Southampton? How low would you have to go in the table to find a home for him? He’s great for youtube clips, isolated moments that edit out the bad, and that’s the problem… he’s the kid at Uni who would destroy everyone in 5 a-side, but look utterly anonymous in a game of 22 on a full-size pitch.

Eddie is very young. He’s clearly going to be a goalscorer, but it’s becoming harder and harder to see his path at Arsenal. He lacks height and his all-round game is missing completeness to contribute to our system. He doesn’t link well, he’s not dominant physically, and he plays on the periphery looking to sniff out the scraps. We need more action, more character, and we need him to be doing better when he does find a way in. I appreciate fans always have the answer, some we win (ESR), some we lose (Willock), but the argument against minutes for Flo Balogun look weaker by the day.

The front three weren’t helped by the axis of bland with Xhaka and Mo Elneny. Cautious passing and sluggishness moving the ball forward made for painful viewing. The Arteta system can allow for one of them, not two. The summer needs to see both of them gone. Mobility and pace is an absolute must.

James Maddison of Leicester had a really nice interview in the week. He was asked about the dirty work he offered. He said that everyone has to do that in a Brendan Rodgers side. Games like yesterday, well, you see how far we have to go with the squad. We didn’t have 11 players doing the dirty work. We didn’t have enough players taking responsibility when we needed it. There weren’t enough difference makers.

The silver lining we can take from the miserable cup exit is that every game like this reinforces the truth to Edu and Arteta. ESR has gone from a nobody to one of the most important metronomes of the team. Saka, Martinelli, and Lacazette are essential to our attack. Thomas Partey sets the tone for recruitment talent levels. Moving forward, every single penny needs to be spent with the future in mind. No more retirement funds. No more £72m buys from Ligue 1. No more contacts scouting.

I do think Arteta needs to sharpen his PR game as well. I appreciate that the two keepers thing might have been related to Auba having to deal with personal issues last minute, but was there really no way we could have had Balogun in that squad? Is it going to take an injury crisis to prove to Arteta that AMN is a far better option in the middle of the park to Mo Elneny?

Still, I am quite confident that we’ll have more than enough to give Southampton a very good game on Tuesday. Partey, Tierney, ESR, and maybe Auba will bring a whole different vibe to the game. Win that and do some damage against United and all will be forgiven. Fingers crossed we’ll have a few new names to select from for that game.

I dropped a quick podcast. It’s solo. Enjoy.

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Pierre

    Not interested much in taking down Eddie or building up Greenwood, but do you think they both have the same ceiling?
    How about speed?””

    Greenwood has a higher ceiling , i like him .
    But Eddie will score more goals .

    You won’t find any comment by me that builds Eddie up to be this world class striker …not one..
    I just defend Arsenal players who through fans ignorance are infairly criticised.

    I said he was poor yesterday and lacked composure in front of goal and snatched at his chances.
    I think it’s also fair to say that having played only 10 minutes of football in the last month, any striker would find it difficult, but of course the Eddie haters would not take that into consideration.

    As for Greenwood, he has been average this season, but that maybe also down to the competition for places at united so his game time is fragmented, similar to Eddies.

    It’s no coincidence that any striker coming back from injury finds it difficult to find their form as scoring is the most difficult part of the game ..

    So when a striker has not played for a month , it is similar to being out injured in that a striker needs to have sharpness , timing , confidence and regain the half of yard of fitness that you lose from not playing.

    I know this may be difficult for people like Time out to comprehend but if you understand the game you would know that it is not just a case of walking onto a football pitch after a month out and the goals will come …it takes a few games to get up to speed…

  2. HerbsArmy

    I don’t think comparing Eddie Nketia with Mason Greenwood is a legitimate argument.
    Manchester United are a much bigger club with a higher ceiling for success than Arsenal.
    They have never sold us one of their star players, and I imagine that to make it at United requires a talent level considerably higher than what a player would need at Arsenal.
    The two clubs have completely different philosophies, which sets the tone for the level of player performance, and Arsenal seem more prepared to carry passengers than every other top club.

  3. Pierre

    Look at jesus at city , a potentially great striker, but is struggling .
    Hasn’t scored a league goal since the beginning of November , even with players like Debruyne, silva, mahrez and sterling supplying the ammunition..

    A.footballer( especially strikers) need to get match fitness and you don’t get that without playing..

    Phil Foden’s game has gone up a level now he’s playing regularly , he never made an impact when he was a bit part player .

  4. Bojanglesi

    There’s now a report that Monaco have put in a 26 mil offer for Torreira. Even if true I’m not sure there is enough time left in this window to get the deal done.

  5. Valentin

    Lacazette who was on fire lately touched the ball only 5 time in the minutes he was in the pitch. I am not even sure if he touched the ball in the penalty box. We can complain all we want about the quality of our strikers, but not even a world class striker can score goals if he is never given decent balls.

    Like somebody has said earlier, the way Arteta setup the team he set them up to fail. Bar a miracle or a own goal, we could have played a further 90 minutes against Southampton without scoring.

  6. Bojanglesi


    It was obvious to everyone that Foden was going to make it. He still comes off the bench now he’s not a regular in 1st team. You cannot compare Nkiteah to Foden.

  7. MD-Gunner

    Have been listening and watching 3 different shows discussing the FA Cup matches and none of the pundits understand Arteta’s selection and shit show against Southampton all of them stated he should have taken that competition more serious.

    Welcome to the disaster served up by Fraudetta, Diet Pep or whatever you call these days Arsenal’s clueless manager.

  8. Dissenter

    I have to say Per Mertasacker has done a very good job on the academy.
    That U-23 team has players that are truly good enough for the senior team. Players like Azeez, Balogun, Moller, Lopez and Cirjan look promising.

  9. Bojanglesi

    There were posters questioning why Martinelli was removed on Saturday. If they gave it a little thought it would be obvious. It is unknown whether Auba will be available for Tuesday. If he isn’t, Martinelli will play in his place.

  10. Pierre

    “Lacazette who was on fire lately touched the ball only 5 time in the minutes he was in the pitch”

    He only touched it 8 times in the first half v palace last week .

  11. Valentin


    The issue is not the strikers, but the way Arteta set up the team. He is behaving like the autistic child who can’t handle things not going as planned. He can’t read the opposition tactic and expect the same success with his new formation regardless. Which is strange because after the reset, he was very good at using the water break to make minor adjustments and give new instructions tobplayer that won us games.

    Roy Hodgson is old fashion, but he is also tactically astute. His team was well prepared for our system. Like Southampton, they hunted in pack our two central midfielders and never let them make decent forward passes. We never looked like scoring.

    For all his talk of generational coaching, his in game management has been consistently poor. There was a stats that under Arteta in the league we have not won a single game when we have fallen behind. I think it was 1 draw and 11 defeats.

  12. Bojanglesi

    Shoot are reporting that PSG are considering a move for Guendouzi and using Draxler in a swap deal. I’m not a big Guendouzi fan but I’m not sure this would be good business. I know Arsenal have been linked with Draxler in the past but I’m concerned with this turning out to be us taking an unwanted player off another clubs hands. Willian is a lesson that should not quickly be forgotten.

  13. Dissenter

    I agree.
    The Draxler for Guendouzi swop is a poor one, it’s very uneven to replace a 21 year old on low wage with a bench-warming high wage earner from PSG.
    We are better off selling Guendouzi and using the money to rebuild the squad on our terms.

  14. Bojanglesi


    I agree but unfortunately this is the type of deal you can see us going for. ATM, it’s just a report from Shoot, I haven’t seen any other outlet mention it.

  15. Bojanglesi

    One thing I will agree with the majority of posters here, Willian should never be seen in an Arsenal shirt again. We need to find a way of getting him out of the club in the summer. It won’t be easy, we’ll need a miracle worker to get it done but it’s something that needs to be done.

  16. Bojanglesi

    It’s my opinion that Balogun would not be getting the game time so many fans here are suggesting he should be getting whoever the manager was at Arsenal. Up to now he has done nothing to suggest he should be in the first team. His path to the first team is clear. Sign a contract, go out on loan, prove that he deserves the chance. If he does that and is successful, next year he is likely to be 3rd choice striker behind Auba and Martinelli. Why? Because I think we will be moving on Laca and Nkiteah on the summer. In two-three years time,. If he is good as he thinks he is he will be first choice for us.

  17. Captain Tierney

    Youngsters and key players playing every game
    Fans: They need rest or they will get burned out.

    Manager rests the key players and the youngsters, we lose the game.
    Fans: Should have played a full strength starting lineup. Fraud. Out.