by .

Hope is a wonderful drug and damn did we just hoover up a couple of grams of it off the bathroom floor.

United LOST to Sheffield United.

Leicester drew.

Chelsea drew.

Villa LOST to Burnley.


Well, technically yes.

Remember, the objective of the club was always to be within spitting distance of top 4 come the end of February. Where are we? 5 points off 4th after 20 games.

Sure, there are plenty of teams that could bypass us, but however you cut it, we’re a 5 game winning streak away from being very competitive.

At this point, the season becomes a cup run. By ditching the FA Cup, we have given ourselves enough breathing room to stay fit and focus on two potential entries into the Champions League. We can make it the old fashioned way or we can win a very competitive Europa League.

After the disgusting run we had in December, we in no way deserve anything this season, but we are where we are, and things are CERTAINLY looking up.

Firstly, we have options for creativity. Arsenal finally landed Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on a 6-month loan deal. The Norwegian is one of the best creators in La Liga, he has a saucy pedigree, and Arsenal are very likely looking at the longterm with this guy if he comes good. This is a superb piece of business from Edu, it really is. What impresses me the most is the easier sell to the fans would have been Eriksen or Isco. This was a harder decision with a long view in mind. That takes courage and I’m glad we did it. It shows we’re learning after our summer fiasco with Willian.

The new boy doffed the cap to his new leader.

“I spoke to him before coming here, of course,”

“That was very important for me and he seems like a top manager and I liked his ideas, the way he sees football and also the way he is.

“He gave me a great feeling and that was important for me to come here. He was crucial.

“I think every time you go to a new place, you want to make sure that it feels good and that there is a plan. But I think everything here just seems good.

“I like the club and I always liked the way that the club wants to play. Everything about the club and now how the manager wants to play, I think it’s a club that really suits me well. So I think it’s a good match.”

I know we shouldn’t read too much into what players say about the words of a new coach, but let’s be real here, he was going to Sociedad until he landed the Mikel call. Arteta is very good at selling a vision, the question is still out if he can deliver on it, but at least he’s tempting players to join him on his quest. Another little basic, but Arteta doesn’t just sell himself, he sells Arsenal, because he loves the club. That’s important.

If you want a superb breakdown of the players, check out the BTL scouting report on him here.

I’m hoping there’s a deal to be done for a left-back but after the solid showing from Soares, maybe we don’t need to worry about that right now.

Transfer wise, it’s been a strong window.

We’re also witnessing something of a CLICK with the squad in general. There are less unanswered questions. We know Willian is not going to cut it. We know Saka is best in the front three. We know ESR can take on senior levels of creative responsibility. We know Pablo Mari, Gabriel, Rob Holding, and David Luiz are our center-back 4. Bernd Leno is a world-class goalkeeper and our back-up is Premier League standard.

We now know that the future of the Arteta system is about young, intelligent, energetic players ready to do the work.

We know that Mikel Arteta does NOT intend to play shit football. He has found the right blend of players that give us defensive control and attacking flair. Still a long way to go, but we can finally see what the vision is.

The squad is finally fit. Say what you will about the first half of the season, but even the most ardent #ArtetaOut fan has to cede that we had problems with injuries. Thomas Partey is a fucking dream midfielder, he’s hardly played, he will be a difference-maker. ESR was injured. Gabriel Martinelli was injured. Those players change the dynamic of who you are.

We’re also fitter from a mentality perspective. Mesut, Sokratis, and Saliba were all problematic. Now they’re out the picture, the strength of the outcasts has weakened. The power of David Luiz and Willian has also been put in check. There can be no big dick swinging when you are a peripheral player and no cheerleading misery from pissed players out of the squad. That’ll be huge for the atmosphere.

Now, all of this feels very positive, but it’ll still be really tough for us to make a mark on our objectives. We’re one or two injuries away from disaster… but the hope is we’ve had our ground zero moment and the rest of the season will see a bit more joy.

United on Saturday is going to be huge for us. We beat them earlier in the season before falling off a cliff. Can we repeat that form? Can we really put a stake in the ground and show that we can manage the nerves of a big game on a good run? Can young players step up again? Can Thomas Partey and Auba lead the charge? So many questions are ready to be answered and I can’t wait… and that’s the plus, right? Looking forward to Arsenal again.

Right, see you in the comments.

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. MidwestGun


    Hahaha thought has crossed my mind.. They have a giant Chelski shield painted on the side of the building. If it was 20 feet lower.. I have a can of red paint.

  2. AFC Forever

    Tunny, you’re a Welsh lad then? Big player for Wsles. As you say, without desire a player is not the same, you have to be up for it. If he’s more worried about he’s teeing off time, that’s a problem.

  3. Kroenkephobe

    Hi Andy The order on that flag was actually Wales Golf Madrid. Living in Wales and knowing what I know about golf, I’d say they were both pretty shit choices tbh! And Madrid must’ve gone right downhill since I was there if it was only his third choice. If I had such a flag it’d say drugs, fucking, footy (in that order!). Bale is such a fucking Herbert.

  4. Pierre

    Give Thiago his due , he showed he could mix it tonight

    There was none of the show pony tonight, watching him the last couple of games, i thought he was posing a little .

    Tonight was different, after a difficult start he got his head down and showed his true class.

  5. tunnygriffboy


    Steady. Welsh born and bred. Old man Arsenal fan from 1930s.


    Bale is done. Euros with Wales when he’ll perform. Other than that he’s done. Him and the Welsh jesus.

  6. Pierre

    Jose cost Spurs the game tonight.

    He lost his cool when the first goal went in and he made changes at half time that had a detrimental affect on the spurs side..

    And no , it wasn’t because kane went off …his stats in the first half were 8 ( eight) passes with a 38% success rate , mind you lamella was even worse.

  7. AFC Forever

    Thiago had a strong game.

    When you consider all the abuse Arsenal take and all the praise heaped on Spurs, you can only smile. If we played like they did tonight, imagine what the media & the usual suspects would say.
    We are much better than anyone wants to admit.

    Kane has two swollen ankles so he will be missing a few games & that’s going to weaken their biggest asset, the attack.

  8. Kroenkephobe

    Tunny Nice one. We loves a bit of self deprecation don’t we butt? In reality I wouldn’t swap living here for Madrid or most other places tbh. If Bale pulls it off at the Euros, fair dos but I’d rather Rambo or Kieffer Moore hit the heights.

  9. AFC Forever

    Mourinho throwing his players under the bus again..

    It is never his fault. His description of the game is fantasy.

    When asked what he has learned he said “nothing”. Well I learned Winks & Lamela are average, Bale has had it, Roden can’t defend, Aurier is stealing a living and Hojberg & Son their best players.

  10. Bojanglesi

    Mystic, are you Valentin’s twin?

    Not getting the bs spoken here about Saka, ESR and Martinelli being played by Emery first. Is Arteta being blamed for not being at the club before Emery now? If you can explain to me how Arteta could have played these youngsters before Emery, please do.

  11. Bojanglesi

    There are a minority of fans that need to find something other than just football in their lives. The speculation that went down on social media concerning Aubameyang’s private life was a disgrace. Going through a divorce, cheating on his wife, wife cheating on him, family member committing suicide to mention a few. That on its own is not great but to then go to his account and start accusing and abusing him of these things based on pure speculation is unacceptable.

    Seems some people require drama in their life and where it doesn’t exist they have the need to invent it.

  12. Bojanglesi


    Yeah, you got that right.

    For those wanting to go full youth at Arsenal, you need to go watch and/or listen to Kevin Campbell on the subject. A guy that’s been there and done it at Arsenal.

  13. AFC Forever


    That is absolutely disgusting. The problem with social media is the annonimity. It empowers sad, nasty types, the weak coward seeking attention because they know they are inadequate.

    I lost my Mum to cancer recently and it was an awful thing to deal with, not just for me but the family. The support my friends provided I wlil be forever grateful for. Two of them managed the funeral arrangements for us, incredible. For someone to think they should make fun of that distress sums up a minority of sick minded individuals. Listening o Arteta and his players with the empathy they showed to Aubamayang made me proud. Others scoffed but it was to be applauded. That’s team spirit & support because some things are bigger than petty arguments. Luckily Ahas Mum made it okay. Hope they find all the trolls,racists & abusers and take them down.

  14. Kroenkephobe

    Matip injured tonight for the bin dippers, adding to the long list of crocked Liverpool defenders. Edu should get up to Merseyside pronto to do the sales pitch of his life on Shkodran.

  15. Le Professor

    Once again, great blog post.

    Only one complaint, the comment:

    “After the disgusting run we had in December, we in no way deserve anything this season”

    we’ll know what we deserve after 38 games have been played as the table never lies 🙂

  16. Valentin


    Mustafi may be shit, but right now he still better than the teenagers CB that Liverpool are left with. Also playing Henderson, Fabinho as CBs means that they lose their influence in the middle of the park. Mustafi may be good enough as a six months gap measure.

    Liverpool next 5 premier league’s opponents are WestHam, Brighton, ManCity, Leicester, Everton. Those are not teams managed by Mourinho that will sit back and play on the counter-attack.
    I can’t see Liverpool keeping a clean sheet against any of them. So if things go against them (injuries, suspension, bad luck with own goals and deflections like they had against Aston Villa earlier), they could draw them and that would be the end of their title aspiration.

  17. Bojanglesi


    The problem with social media is the lack of accountability. People get online and spew their hatred at anyone who disagree with their point of view or who they feel has let them down or for any other sleight they feel has been done them. They hide behind the anonymity social media provides them. Organisations that provide a platform for people to interact need to put better regulations in place that stops re-offenders.

  18. Valentin


    I think that you are missing huge problems:

    1) social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram makes money by advertising to engage users. People deep in conspiracy theory or nationalist political affiliation are the most loyal followers. So they are exactly the kind of people engaged and gullible enough that can be easily manipulated: by political party but also by advertising.
    There is absolutely no financial incentive for them to cut down on the vicious vitriolic excess of those, because they make more money out of those. Anonymity does not exist, social media know who you are and where you live, it is just financially better for them to keep you hooked on whatever crackpot idea you may as long as you don’t scare advertisers.

    2) the volume of data generated by user content is too great. So unless you introduce more automation, there will always be a certain number of abuses that will go through. Action can only be taken retrospectively. Until you have AI that can recognise abuse, insult and differentiate between sarcasm and genuine threat.

    3) a lot of people don’t make the distinction between freedom of speech and libelous, slander, insulting talk. So when you try to make them accountable for their talk, they genuinely don’t understand why they can’t.

    4) Also many don’t understand that in many countries freedom of speech is not absolute. For example in Germany My Kampf and other Nazi memorabilia are illegal. Try explain that to US citizens. Even in the US freedom of speech is not absolute. The idea that you can’t shout fire in an theater, and that by extension you can’t incite violence without having to be legally (not just on the civil) responsible for action of others is something that many Americans don’t accept, despite being written in their own constitution.

  19. Time up

    Combined team from Arsenal and Spud in current form

    GK Leno

    RB Cedric
    RCB Alderweireld
    LCB Mari
    LB KT

    CM Partey
    CM Højbjerg

    LW Son
    CF Kane
    RW Saka

    That would be great team

  20. Gonsterous

    Good morning le grovers

    Just caught a glimpse of the table and although we are 7 points from top 4, I don’t think we will get there. Looking at the teams there, I don’t see them dropping more points than us. They will drop important points only when they face each other or we play them and win.

    This isn’t a Wengers team post 2005, who can go on a 15 game unbeaten run in the PL to make it to top 4, we have a bunch of misfits with a coach who was clearly talking about needing 8 players to compete for top 4.

    Top 6 though is achievable, and would it be fair to say, if arteta doesn’t achieve that, he may never make it as a top coach at arsenal.

  21. China1

    I see most of the teams above us dropping quite a lot of points before the end of the season so for me I think it just comes down to if arsenal do as well. Our current form would have us in top form in 6 weeks in all honesty But even if we managed that (certainly a stretch tho not impossible) would we continue that form long enough to keep the wolves at bay and get over the finish line?

    Personally I have my doubts we will do enough but I think 5-6th is pretty likely

  22. China1

    The real test for arteta this season is to win the EL. It’s a long shot but it’s on if we do well. Winning that would be a massive turnaround in spite of our league failures and would undo an enormous amount of frustration and bad feeling Mikel built up this season

    I’m praying for it all the way

  23. Nelson

    Finally got a chance to watch some video highlights of Odegaard. Compared to ESR, he seems to have more presence on the field. ESR plays more like a support role and appears all over the pitch. Odegaard, from the video highlights, prefers to be the main man. They both can pass the ball very well while Odegaard has some uncommon tricks with the ball. Looking forwards to see him play for us.

  24. Northbanker

    Funny that we’re now debating whether top 4 is still possible and that Top 6 should be achievable, when only a matter of weeks ago it was looking like a real possibility that we could be relegated for the first time since 1913.

    What a season!

  25. Mysticleaves

    😃😃😃 each to his own fellas. I love Sid’s posts. The fact I am getting them for free makes it better. Woulda been dead broke by now having to pay for all that juicy info

  26. Mysticleaves

    Bojangles, I was replying to a post from AFC? That said Arteta put Saka, Martinelli and ESR in the team (he has since said that he meant that Arteta trusted them and continued using them in the team). I was saying in fact that Emery introduced and made them regular first team players. Arteta has only really integrated Eddie in the team from the youf.

  27. Samir

    Just seen a stat. Arsenal have the second best defensive record in the PL this season behind Man Citys Pep Guardiola.

    Arteta has to be praised in this regard. Now we’re sorting the attack out too; I’m excited for the future.

    We’re a top CM, RB and LW away from being a very very good team.

  28. Guns of SF

    everyone buy SCIE…. buy at ask, sell at ask, keep it going until it hits a dollar. Spread the word.

    Everyone doing this will make some bank

  29. Guns of SF

    AMN to wolves?
    Just sell the poor guy, not sure what he needs to do to get minutes….

    I feel for him…. Mike is holding him back.

    Play him or sell

  30. Mysticleaves

    “We’re a top CM, RB and LW away from being a very very good team.”

    And a top coach that will focus on coaching cos he’s inexperienced with the management side of things or top man that can do both works!

  31. Dark Hei


    “I think that you are missing huge problems:”

    Cuts both ways.

    There can be keyboard warriors falsely accusing Auba and there is nothing the big Gs or society can do about it as you have rightly put.

    On the other hand, we Arsenal fans as individuals with social media accounts can go there and express our support.

    No one is too small to do something positive.

  32. Markymark

    I’m going to quote your freedom of speech segment ready for use to a colleague who regularly declares everyone is a snowflake and that there is no such thing as hate speech . I’ve recognised for a little while he’s using a straw man argument to push an alt right agenda in the work environment.
    Thanks for this , very well structured

  33. China1

    Yeah I like and have backed AMN since about a year ago but either play him (ideally) or sell him(at least we get something for him)

    Keeping him and not using him is a completely useless waste of time and money. Can’t believe we turned down 15-20m for him in the summer and then sent him into a footballing black hole straight after. Monumentally wasteful management, honestly

    Arteta needs to cut this kind of shit out as there are no benefits but there are clear and obvious costs

  34. China1

    If we were using AMN as our second choice Rb and LB at least he’d be getting chances to play, but we’ve literally just shat on him this season. Piss poor management for him really

  35. Samir

    Agreed. AMN has been treated very poorly by Mikel.
    He really should give Willock, Nelson and Eddie loans to Championship teams too. They’re being wasted away and not developing nor increasing in price.

  36. Zacharse

    Hey mystic

    Just saw yr response to me from earlier and i can easily give my two cents

    Guen: no fucking chance. Loaning him was the equivalent of standing by him (or inflating his resell value)
    Torreira: wasnt the player the one who demanded to go? Plus he wasn’t really a new signing like willian/mari/cedric was he?
    Saliba: the only reference you made that actually fits, and we all know why he went, too many CBs, need for playing time though i do agree something went off the rails there

    Obviously yr mind is made up on arteta but that certainly doesnt mean youre getting anything right

  37. China1

    In my experience those who keep calling people snowflakes seem to have some of the most easily offended and easily riled

  38. Mysticleaves

    Zacherse, hey too.

    It all links though. Arteta was the one that got his value down anyway. He was wrong to treat the boy the way he did. Either he doesn’t trust him or its the man management stuff which he severely lacks in. Guen played so much prior to Arteta for him to suddenly not be good enough. And remember, Arteta benched Guen immediately he took over so not like he was playing every game until the bust up with Muppet.

    Torreira…he benched him too when he came in. Admittedly, he was injured for a while but when he returned to fitness, he didn’t give him nearly enough time on the field to reclaim his position in the team or even to feel important. We are talking about a Torreira that had a monumental run and impact in our team before the Emery shit show. Boy became disillusioned and then asked to leave (he didn’t like England anyway so why stick around he wasn’t going to play)

    Saliba, nothing to add. We agree on that.

    Even on Guen and Torreira, agree to disagree too. Cheers man

  39. Mysticleaves

    Zacherse, I think that Arteta is a good coach/head coach. I also think that he’s an atrociously out of depth manager. I feel he was given a raise too soon as he had done nothing to deserve it seeing as he is a novice. The only way we progress is if he returns to being just head coach with a superior TD or he’s sacked and a coach that can competently do those works is hired

  40. Sid

    Men’s testosterone levels have been declining for decades. Due to diet and lack of exercise. An increase in snowflakes and rainbows is evidence

  41. Winthorpe

    I think the way Arteta has handled AMN has been atrocious and not without a hint of spite
    Whatever happens I hope the lad goes somehwere he’s wanted and has a the career his talent deserves
    He was given a rough time from arsenal fans for the most part, very unfairly in my view and he’s since proved to us if not arteta, what a very capable premier league player he is

  42. curse

    Ainsley, for all his physical prowess seems to be a little too nonchalant. Contrast with Bukayo. I remember a throw in on the left a few games back where Saka chested it down but it was a little too close to the opposition. Most players probably would have lost the ball in that situation, let alone a teenager. Yet, his head nod of disgust followed by the desire to retrieve the ball was exemplary. That, to me is the bar, this is Arsenal! One of those guys are trying to make it, the other, thinks he’s made it already. Niles is a good squad player but I don’t think he has mental fortitude to grab a spot. I’m getting the Iwobe’s about him, good to really good on his day but…

  43. Aussie+Gooner

    Perhaps Arteta could learn some man management skills from Maureen. How to throw players under the bus at half time so that they storm out of the ground never to return! Bye bye Serge – don’t let the door hit you on the way out!!!

  44. Aussie+Gooner


    “Men’s testosterone levels have been declining for decades. Due to diet and lack of exercise. An increase in snowflakes and rainbows is evidence.”

    Do you think it is linked to soya milk?????

  45. curse

    got to be up there are one of the craziest seasons ever.

    I still haven’t gotten over and remember vividly how Virgil was assaulted by pickford. Then it was swept under the carpet like Ramsey, Eduardo, Diaby, Wilshere…


  46. englandsbest

    The AMN stuff is manufactured by ‘manager out’ obsessives who can’t come up with anything honest with which to attack Arteta.

    From what we have seen Arteta seems committed to keeping the young guns of Arsenal at Arsenal.

  47. Time up

    Artery should start thinking of playing 433. In midfield Partey, ESR right and Odegaard left of him. This would allowed us to play Auba up front, Martinelli left and Saka right.

    With this system we don’t need Laca to drop Dow to hold the ball for the CDM to go ahead of him. Auba up front would benefit as this system would play the ball in front of him behind the defenders. Auba and Martinelli are of the few best who time their run behind the defenders without being offside.

  48. Raulishuss

    Exactly Englandbest I don’t understand how grown men will come up with such bull. Saying Arteta handling of Niles is atrocious when Cedric of all people is showing up Niles even tho Niles have had much more games than him at lb honestly if Niles has to be reminded every month to be focused then he is better off sitting on the bench until he realises he’s not owned anything and he needs to fight. This is not even an English or youth bias kinds just massively lacks the will to improve and it’s evident

  49. Time up

    We could see AMN play as if he was stoned and won’t fit into Arteta style, why did he refused to sell him?. Only Arteta can answer that.

    Strangely enough, Willian similar, he never chase when losing the ball, only Arteta would tell us why he should need him.

    That can only prove one thing, Edu should take the squad building and young players handling out of his hand and let him just do the coaching, which he’s good at.

  50. Samir


    What are you talking about? So you think giving AMN no game time at all is a good thing?
    Surely it would be smarter to let him go and reinvest the money.

    And no, I’m not a ‘manager out’ obsessive.

  51. Raulishuss

    So you’re saying Niles hasn’t played at all this season or you want to see him playing regularly and over who if I may ask?

  52. Bergkamp63

    West Brom & West Ham looking to loan AMN,

    That’s his level, West Brom will be in the Championship next year and West Ham will probably end up mid table or lower.

  53. Foxy

    Cedric’s intensity and concentration over 90 mins against SOTO on Tuesday showed exactly why he is starting ahead of AMN at LB and where AMN needs to get to.

  54. Northbanker

    Time Up – I don’t think MA will want to expose defence too much where we are playing top table teams. Your 4-3-3 suggestion (is there really that much difference from 4-2-3-1?) could work against teams playing low blocks. But with United’s strike force we wouldn’t risk being overrun like that. Partey is probably better used as the linkman CM, carrying the ball from defence to attack. I think he will thrive when has a DM playing aside or just behind.

    That’s why i believe he should use Elneny tomorrow. and why he needs to buy Bissouma or similar.

    Actually i think ESR could go LW assuming Odegaard can hack the pace with Laca as CF and Auba on the bench

  55. Kroenkephobe

    A genuine pleasure to wake up this morning and read about Mourinho and the Aurier thing. Is it St Schadenfreude’s day I wonder? That bus analogy works two ways: he’s either parking it or throwing players under it (ideally when it’s moving). Mourinho’s prophesy about turning his players into cunts as per that documentary no one outside N17 watched is obviously coming to fruition. The team was better and more likeable when Poch was in the seat. Arteta at least exudes calm even if his patter is infected with corporate psycho babble. By contrast Mourinho makes a habit of constantly clutching his pearls in public – we’re fortunate to have such a rotten club as our local rivals.

  56. Abass

    Hello guys I am new here and I always read ur comment every single day and this is my second time of typing here 🙋I want to join the friendly house of fun 😀😀😀😀

  57. Winthorpe

    North banker
    That’s a good shout regarding ESR on the left but I’d like to have a look at Pepe, martinelli on the left with ESR and odegaard in the middle floating around partey, certainly with a deep bloc
    Lots of ball carrying/playing potential there with goals all over the place

    For the big games I think we have to go back to Arteta’s deep break counter attack formula and I’m not sure if such a soft centre would work without leaving us far too open

  58. Winthorpe

    Crab football works better against the big opposition because the less they have the ball the less they can hurt us but I’d like to see Arteta instruct to take more risks with the ball against opposition we know we can hurt.
    We’ve seen what this lot can do over the past 6 weeks against teams of varying quality abs they’ve only just started playing in this new style

  59. Northbanker

    Winthorpe – agree with both. Have thought all season Pepe a better LW than RW as his right foot is so useless. If you’re playing as an inverted winger then you still need to be able to properly control and pass with the weaker foot.
    That said he is not up to the standard we need. Martinelli is some way from being match fit / sharp so hence ESR. He speeds the game up (as will a fit Gabi) whereas Pepe slows the game down by holding too long and trying to beat too many players.

    My wish list attack would ultimately be from R to L – Saka-Martinelli-ESR

  60. Bally

    Genuine optimism and confident of 3 points on Saturday. All any team needs is their best players available playing with confidence and belief.

    The spuds love in is pretty embarrassing.

  61. Bojanglesi


    ” I think that you are missing huge problems:”

    Not missing any problems at all. I fully understand the reasons why social media platforms do not want to police their users but that doesn’t mean the authorities can’t step in and fix the problems. It’s obvious Facebook, Twitter etc have no desire to change things, so somebody needs to step in and force them.

    When you have companies and corporations regulating themselves, you’re asking for trouble. An example is the banks.

    I’m sure that will create a furore among the rw “snowflakes” that reside in lg.

  62. Pierre

    When fit, I can’t see anything other than a starting line up of

    Cedric Holding Mari Tierney
    Xhaka Partey
    Saka ESR Aubameyang

    Would be foolhardy to mess too much with the starting line up..

    4-2-3-1 of course.

    I would like to see Arteta try bringing on Martinelli for Lacazette as sub in the latter stages, plus Odegaard for ESR…
    Cedric and Mari are the question marks but on form, they should start…

  63. Zacharse


    Dunno buddy. Think youre giving LT quite a bit more credit than he deserves. And youre absolutely giving guen that too. Guen is a toxic player and knowing arteta what little i do, namely that he was a CM as well and multiple-club captain before he was peps right hand- it makes sense that he’s going to have little rope for mental midgets like guen and LT who crumbled when things got rough. that he had nothing to do w recruiting them as well as both of them having plenty of time to settle amd rack up minutes- personally i hope neither return and we recruit better. Hopefully as well the loan moves have increased their value while the rest of the world
    Can clearly see they are not coming back.
    Again contrast that w willian (“proven” but obviously not up to current task) who he couldnt throw under the bus the second he arrived without overstepping and making the club look worse than it already does. We don’t know if he had any hand at all in hisnarrival. His previous “gushing” only makes it seem more to me like he’s attempting to protect the club AND perhaps the player, giving him room knowing hed been signed for the club by the player’s own agent on inflated wages AND from a direct rival. Kind of a shitshow for a new manager to deal with if my theory is right. Pepe… well the fee says it all there. While it might be a weakness of his to give players a bit too much rope to hang themselves with, it does seem admirable to give them the benefit of the doubt-i mean regardless these guys are pretty talented. Just think they arent his type of players and we all know how pathetic our recruitment has been up until partey and the moves made this window. Again, seems to me like he was in a tough situation, regardless of his experience, due to our shitshow of an executive team (edu, josh kroenk, kia)- hopefully that has passed and he’s grown into his position. Only time will tell but i’m hopeful. He’s a bright guy that just rode out a six month period that would have ended more than half the managers in the epl. The clubs skint due to recruitment, corona and the worldclass pettiness of the kroenke/walton family and it doesnt look like thats going to change very soon. Hes got little useful support behind the scenes. Hes saddled with a bizarre squad who all think they deserve to be in the first team yet cant see how stupid they are for pushing the issue. Youre not going to change a seasoned vets’ mind about your swuad position by whining to the press and social media or whatever it is they do. Seems to me like this all goes back to limpwristed wenger again and the pathetic club culture he created over his last decade as washed up cult hero, something I think the kroenkes had just as much to do with.

  64. Kroenkephobe

    Cannot see how a possible loan deal for AMN to WBA makes any sense for us, the player or his potential transfer value. They’re in desperate straits managed by a corrupt long ball charlatan who apparently hates Arsenal. It’d be as senseless as when wengo sent Gnabry there to suffer under Pulis’s reign of terror (and look how that ended – talk about putting pearls before swine). Wolves, Villa, Leeds, Soton or even Brighton/Fulham would be adequate, but not allardyce’s albion. AMN is a current England International. Might be better to hold fire and sell him in the summer on the basis that transfers as opposed to loans might be back on the table.

  65. Northbanker

    Pierre – can’t disagree with the line up for Saturday but i doubt that Mari is ready to return. Gabriel is a more progressive player and better overall for us. That said i doubt he’s match fit either which will mean we’re stuck with Luiz.

    In the longer run Laca and Auba will struggle to hold back the tide of youth.

  66. Northbanker

    I would prefer AMN dod go on loan even if it is for Fat Sam. His value is going to depreciate the longer he stays here so a loan is the best chance of getting a proper return

  67. AFC Forever

    Morning all

    It is interesting that for years while he was spending huge sums of money, Mourinho was lauded as this incredible coach. Then when he joined Spurs we were told, by everyone, that he would turn them into trophy collectors.

    On this blog pre-Christmas, people were taking the piss about how not a single Arsenal player would get into the Spurs team. Really?

    Mourinho’s biggest problem is that nothing is ever his fault. As mentioned by other guys on here, he throws players under the bus. The episode with the female physio, who put the player first while Mourinho wanted to waste time, sums him up. It’s all okey-dokey when the team is winning but against adversity Mourinho causes chaos, he doesn’t have the personality to behave in any other way. The documentary was damning.

    So the greatest coach in the world with a team which no Arsenal player would get into is starting to look like the load of bollocks it was at the time. Does credit go to Arteta, the players or is it all on Mourinho?

    Arteta has been smart. Even when we were struggling he remained dignified and calm, believing in what he was doing was right, which will have had a positive effect on the players. He didn’t throw them under the bus, like Mourinho or some of our fans do, he supported them. Harmony and team spirit are so important and Arteta brings that. He must be a great role model for the young players and its no coincidence they have excelled under Artetas tutelage and they have praised him for that.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We are all experts in that particular field. But as good a coach as Mourinho has been, he hasn’t moved on and this type of thing was always going to happen. His narcissism is his Achilles heel. It always has been. And it’s on the cards that this will all end in tears and the Spurs friendly media and the Arsenal knockers will just have to suck it up.

    So now you look at both teams and you ask yourself this; how many Spuds would get into our starting 11?

  68. Foxy

    The idea of Odegaard combining with the non stop movement of ESR is interesting but only perhaps as mentioned if ESR plays as part of front three or we may be to weak defensively in Midfield, Alternatively ESR could develop more as box to box alongside Partey with Odegaard as No 10.

  69. AFC Forever


    Yes. Odegaard gives us the options we need and greater unpredictability. Against the low block he can operate with ESR, which makes us far more creative. Arteta has already said he refuses to overplay young players, so Odegaard and ESR will be able to rotate. Tactically, we have more flexibility to meet our tactical needs, especially in transition. It will take a few games to evolve but we are definitely heading in the right direction and he is a great signing.

  70. DivineSherlock


    Think of Odeegard as Cazorla , Partey as version of Coquelin thats world class and ESR as Ozil . Thats the midfield we should be aiming for. Saka and Pepe/Martinelli/Auba on wings with Laca uptop.

  71. S Asoa

    Thinking hard to give Arteta alibis… convoluted comes to mind.

    When it repeats ad nauseum …compulsive – obsessive it is

  72. Batistuta

    Nothing wrong in saying Arteta and Edu handled the AMN thing poorly, doesn’t mean you don’t support the manager jeez some of you are so high on your ultra positivity no one is to blame run.

    We got a good offer for an average player, the wise thing to do considering we were already well stocked in where he plays was to sell him immediately but like Arsenal and the transfer market, we failed and rejected the offer and kept the player and he’s barely kicked a ball since and then you wonder why we never seem to make profits off our players and they end up leaving for a free afterwards.

    Same this with your Willocks and Nketiahs and Nelson, always wise to let go of players who are not up to scratch especially young ones so they don’t block the chances to be given to the much younger ones coming through the academy

  73. Batistuta

    He’s maybe going to go on loan and we’d end up accepting some partly 5 million pound offer afterwards. Horrible horrible way to manage a football club.

    We did same with Gibbs, got a good offer, rejected it, loaned him and ended up selling for a far lesser amount. Stupid really

  74. Dissenter

    The task of managing the squad shouldn’t be in the hands of the manager, especially a manager with one year worth of experience.
    We need a good technical director to know what to tell this manager or any other manager to get lost when push comes to shove.

  75. Karsa

    Wolves only offered 15 million for AMN. They then bought Semedo for twice that.

    If they had offered 20 million for AMN he would have been sold.

  76. Batistuta

    That’s what grates me, they went and spunk almost 30 quid for Semedo, meaning we could have negotiated a much higher fee and added to our coffers instead our manager and Edu decided to keep a player who was already surplus to requirement. Amateur hour stuff

  77. Mysticleaves


    I hear you brother. It’s true that a lot of the mess we are in right now is a carry on from Wenger and the negligence of the Kroenkes. Wenger got so powerful (deservedly) and didn’t have anyone to check him. This means that he could do whatever he wanted as long as it felt right to him. Frankly, that’s the problem I am already seeing with Arteta. He is barely 18 months in and already has Wenger-like powers. And he’s 18 months into management! A coach must always be checked by a manager or director while a manager must always be checked by a board who are then checked by the owner. As it is, doesn’t see. Like anyone is checking Arteta. Pity

  78. Kroenkephobe

    Agreed. If a loan is the only option Soton a far more sensible destination than WBA. One thing about Tuesday’s game that struck me was Soton’s energy and ability to track back. Our wide players were often surrounded by 3 or 4 Soton players working to regain possession. And the managers are on different planets in terms of reading the game. Those sorts of influences could really help Maitland to improve.

  79. Mysticleaves

    We all wanted to keep AMN, Arteta waxed lyrical about his potentials and skillset. We saw it on the pitch too. It wasn’t sustainable because we weren’t always going to play a reactive 343 hybrid. We then signed Cedric. If Arteta felt the way he felt about AMN why did he sign off on Ced? If he found out AMN wasn’t all that, why then didn’t he sign off on selling him? Head scratcher that one

  80. AFC Forever

    AMN is no different from every player he is competition for his place in the starting eleven. At the moment he’s a squad player. Cedric has taken his chance, Ainsley didn’t do the same. Arteta and his coaches obviously feel he’s not ready for a regular starting position and therefore it is sensible to send him out on loan; to give him playing time and get his wages off the books. Seems pretty sensible to me.

    We need to remember Arteta and his coaches are on the training pitch with these players. They know everything about them, their personalities, ability with and without the ball but probably the most important part, their decision making. You have to also factor in with that the way they can adapt tactically.

    Our judgement is based on hypotheticals, agenda, favouritism or some other bias because we don’t have access to the same knowledge or information to assess as accurately.

    Now if AMN isn’t ‘currently’ up to the job, then the best judge of that is Arteta and the coaches. Remember he has a team around him and they all have valuable input. I like Ainsley but he does seem to lack personality on the pitch, which perhaps he needs to improve.

    Can’t play everyone at the end of the day.

  81. Bergkamp63

    AFC Forever,

    This !

    All these muppets oh here think they know better than those working with these players every single day of training, fact is, they know nothing at all about coaching or Managing a PL football club, Period.

  82. Time up


    “All these muppets oh here think they know better than those working with these players every single day of training, fact is, they know nothing at all about coaching or Managing a PL football club, Period.”

    So basically, you ignorant fool saying “SHUT UP AND SUPPORT THE TEAM” follow my opinion or you’re negative muppets!!!!.

  83. andy1886

    Come on, let’s at least try and be objective.

    For sure usually you’d expect that the coaches would know the players best but be honest, football fans don’t watch thousands of matches and develop no nose for a good player or a poor one. Plenty on here have been watching the game for years before our manager was even born.

    Given for example MA’s persisitence with Willian it’s difficult to claim that coaches are always right. In this case thet clearly weren’t and it took a long time for the penny to drop.

    By all means keep up the cheerleader pom-pom waving if you want but at least accept that actually there are fans out there who do know what they are talking about and coaches can get it wrong, sometimes very badly and obviously worng.

  84. Jamie

    “they know nothing at all about coaching or Managing a PL football club, Period.”

    This is great. Only people with experience managing a PL football club should post their opinions on le-grove. Period.

  85. Bergkamp63

    Time up,

    Tell me, with your extensive knowledge of working with these players daily, which of them are performing during training, which are trouble makers, which of them have bigger ego’s than their team mates or the club itself, which of them fit into the system you have decided to play against our next opponents and which of them are injured.

    Oh, you don’t know ?

    Thought so, why don’t we then leave it up to those who are better qualified and far more knowledgable to do the job they are being paid to do by the owners of the club.

  86. Time up


    I think 433 could work with the defence still being covered if the full back don’t go up at the same time and one of them move closer to midfield.

    As you said, with low block teams we MUST use it.

    Knowing Arteta, for now he will be using 4231, he’s not at the stage to be adventurous, by nature he’s cautious manager. He waited to move from 343, which was a nightmare, after we were in the relegation zone.

  87. Bergkamp63

    You could take some of the comments more seriously if they had something positive to say when result have been good, which they have.

    I get it if we were still around the relegation zone but we are not.

  88. Time up


    I can tell you with my “limited knowledge” that,

    Run boy was a shit keeper and I didn’t need to be goal keeper coach.

    I can tell you Arteta hard on Willian is not healthy, without even saying hello to him.

    I can tell you, I knew after 2008 I knew Uncle Wenger went mental after telling us for 3 years Almunia was top top top quality goalie, without even visit the training ground.

    So, what’s your point????.

  89. Bergkamp63

    JamieJanuary 29, 2021 15:35:05
    “they know nothing at all about coaching or Managing a PL football club, Period.”This is great. Only people with experience managing a PL football club should post their opinions on le-grove. Period

    One can only assume if results are good, and comments constantly negative, they are simply trolling !

  90. Time up


    “I get it if we were still around the relegation zone but we are not.”

    Even if we win the CL every year, we’ll still have an opinion, that’s what football fans do. You like to shut up and support the team!. Good for you, let’s mortals have an opinion without being called muppets 👍.

  91. Time up


    “Understatement of the highest order !”

    At least you said something funny and stopped being miserable bastard.

  92. Leedsgunner

    Ben Cottrell had a stormer this afternoon apparently with the U23s against the Spuds.

    Worth a consideration for the future? Miguel Azeez, Matt Smith and Ben Cottrell are three midfielders I wouldn’t mind seeing more of. If they could make the step up and contribute to the squad firstly as squad players they could save the club millions!

    The people that run the Academy deserve plaudits and securing for the future.

    They are extremely effective in producing EPL grade players. The next step is to start achieving better financial returns for those we decide not to keep on Arsenal’s books.

  93. Samir

    Ben Cottrell has been very good everytime I’ve seen him play. My only worry with him is he’s quite small.
    One player you didn’t mention was Catalin Cirjan. One of my favourite U23 players, he’s very impressive, would love to see him given a go at CM.

  94. Leedsgunner

    Anyone else think that indications are positive that we haven’t heard anything from either camp, the club or the Balogun’s agent that he has decided to move on? Surely, in this case, no news is good news?

    I know earlier int the window the vibes were quite negative that there was an impasse and that it was a foregone conclusion that he would leave.

    I would have thought of this was indeed the case, that the agent and the new club would have made a big fanfare about it?!?

    I mean, think about it, if the relationships between club and players were past the point of no return the player would have nothing to lose right?

    I cannot but think and hope that both the club and the player have come back to the table to secure his future at Arsenal Football Club.

  95. Pierre

    The way i see it is, Willian was a starter and now he’s not a starter.

    Obviously this means that Arteta is losing faith in him but is giving him game time here and there in the hope that he can play himself into form and gain some confidence.

    If he doesn’t play himself into form then i presume he will go further down the pecking order and other players will be tried ..
    Odegaard coming in is a clear indication of where we are going .

    If Willian continues to be given chances and continues to under perform then fans will have a good reason to whinge..

  96. Samir

    Yes, mainly attacking CM but has played on either wing too. He can dribble, he’s got some tricks, great passer and can finish. Exciting talent for sure.

    Hopefully we get a real look at all these players next season.

  97. Batistuta

    Doesn’t matter how many times they zee these players in training, he club ultimately had to make money somehow and player sales has always been a huge part of that and something Arsenal football club has been very bad at.

    Everyone can’t play so no need hoarding players and reducing their value. You get a good enough offer for a fringe player or a youth player who’s not up to scratch then you sell him immediately.

    Again, while its cool to waive pon pons and rejoice in the good form, its also okay to point out aspects where the manager and management maybe failing, absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Besides nothing negative has been said on here today except a discussion around how poorly we do regarding player sales

  98. AFC Forever


    Like you, I have a passion for seeing young players breakthrough. It is really hard for them because of the pressure to win at the highest level. The step up to PL level is massive, it should not be underestimated. That is why Wenger used to use the League Cup as a competition to get young players game time and assess them in more competitive games. I know I repeat this often but with young players, one of the biggest factors is their on-field decision making. Two technically identical players are not the same in that respect.

    The reality is, shoe-horning them in too soon when they’re not ready can be catastrophic to their development and confidence. Few Managers give young players game time because they themselves don’t have time, it’s a results-driven business. Fans don’t give Managers time to build either, everybody wants instant results. Unfortunately, as Managers come and go so do opportunities for young players, which is why Chelsea had such a bad record of playing academy kids. In fact, they stopped kids progressing because of their policy of treating them as commodities, which bought much controversy. So many variables, which is why only a few make it at the highest level based on their own dedication, ability, attitude, body shape, decision-making and taking the opportunities that come their way. Luck plays a big role too.

  99. Batistuta

    Can’t keep a full squad of average joes and then keep whinning the next transfer window that the owners don’t put in money when you keep letting players run down their contracts or like we’ve recently learnt to terminate said contract having cost the club millions of dollars, it’s not feasible.

  100. Batistuta

    Chelsea though make a bucket load from those youngsters though, that’s the thing, not all the youngsters will make it, there’s so much money involved for anyone to carry along players who don’t seem to have the character or desire to make it in the first team or can stand the pressure associated with said club. Its a results business

  101. Batistuta

    We’ve got the likes of Miguel Azeez and co coming through the ranks which is brilliant but they’ll barely get their Chance in the first team because players like Joe Willock who hasn’t exactly taken their chances fully are still taking up squad places.

    We need to be more decisive with our young players, they won’t all make it. We can’t carry them along till they’re 26/27 hoping for them to show any kind of promise. There’s more Afobe’s and Akpom’s than there are Gnarby’s or Malen’s.

    Sell and promote from the academy and give other youngsters more chances.

  102. AFC Forever

    Chelsea stopped players development. They didn’t need to bring young players through because their managers could spend whatever they wanted. So they used young players as commodities to trade. Of course, every club wants to turn a profit through player development but Chelsea took it too far. One season they had 38 players on loan which is why the PL were so concerned. They didn’t see youngsters as potential players for the club, they saw them as a money-making opportunity.

    Arsenal does it properly as do other clubs. I think we should be proud of how we encourage young players. Arsenal is a fantastic club that does so many things right including its treatment of it’s youngsters, it is a shame some people prefer not to acknowledge that.

  103. Graham62


    You could have got a great non-footballing man manager dealing with these players, on a daily basis, over these past few months and he could have done a far better job than Arteta.

    It doesn’t take an Einstein to see where the problems lie in a team environment and it doesn’t take an Einstein to read the body language of players.

    Just because posters have strong opinions on things doesn’t make them ignorant. In fact, I’d say there are many posters on here who are more experienced and knowledgeable at dealing with these aspects of coaching, than Arteta.

    Imo, Arteta needs to apply logic and put his coaching manual down occasionally.

    Saka, Tierney, ESR, Cedric and even Pepe are naturally gifted players who play by instinct and Arteta has to see this. More significantly, he has to understand that these players are desperate to progress.

    We will continue to improve as long as Arteta applies common sense.

  104. Graham62

    The greatest coach ever was Sir Alex.

    Mourinho not even close.

    Any manager who has the likes of Kane, Song, Bale, Lamela, Bergwijn and Moura in their team, who relies on OTT defensive structure to win games at home, against a shaky pool side, is not a great coach.

    Just an opinion.

  105. Time up

    KT hopefully back for tomorrow, ESR and Partey fully fit.

    Team for tomorrow

    Bell (it should be Cedric but Arteta would go with our captain) .

    ESR (Odegaard would be coming late)

    Pepe (should be Martinelli as Bissaka would bully Pepe defensively and offensively)

  106. Batistuta

    But Arsenal hasn’t been truly competitive in like forever. Not sure Chelsea and their multiple league and European championships will care that much that Nathan Chalobah is now at Watford or that Marko van Ginkel hasn’t kicked on properly since like forever.

    We need a more ruthless streak with our young players, one immediately can spot young players that have got something about them and those that don’t.

    Can’t tell me Liverpool are butt hurt with losing Harry Wilson and Brewster.

  107. AFC Forever


    You could have got a great non-footballing man-manager dealing with these players, on a daily basis, over these past few months and he could have done a far better job than Arteta”

    That is not fact. It is your opinion. It is one some will agree with, others will not. It is not a fact at all, it’s just because you have never liked Arteta and part of the anti-Arteta narrative on this blog.

    “The greatest coach ever was Sir Alex.”

    We get a lot of love for the Bully Fergie on here. This is an interesting debate though. Had LeGrove had anything to do with it, Sir Alex would have been fired a long, long time before he found success. It is believed that hard Mark Robins not rescued him in the Cup, nobody would even mention him today, never know for sure. He left the club in pretty bad shape when he left too, jumping ship as the huge sums of money challenged his dominance and his drink cabinet.

    Yes, Fergie was an excellent coach. Absolutely. Can’t disagree with that. However, he had a few big advantages that helped him along the way;

    1. Manchester Utd were the biggest and richest club in the World. Fergie was able to buy anyone he wanted from anywhere he liked. And he did. At the time of his success, there was no oil money in football and everyone had to do the best they could. They had no financial competition. Martin Edwards had made millions of pounds from a stock market float handing out generous amounts to Red Nose; with the reacquisition of Mark Hughes, while signing Brian McClair, Gary Pallister, Paul Ince, Neil Webb and Danny Wallace. Despite this massive investment they finished 11th (1988–89). Next season their form was so bad they dropped to 15th by Christmas; fans wanted him gone. Fergie then broke the transfer record twice in 18 months, £3.75m for Roy Keane the leagues best midfielder and then £6m for the leagues best striker, Newcastle’s Andy Cole. It continued until his final piece of business signing RVP. Without the money to buy those signings, they would not have enjoyed the success they had, that is for certain.

    It wasn’t just the money though, it was the fact that as the biggest and richest club they could attract the best players; they wanted to play for Manchester United. In relation to the financial and global attractiveness of the club, they were also were able to keep a hold onto their players. Why leave? They were at the biggest club in the world already, being paid well. So these factors cannot be ignored it was a massive advantage.

    2. Luck. The class of 92. He was lucky that so many top players came through at the same time. He still deserves huge credit for bringing them in, educating them and trusting them.

    3. Power. Manchester United had huge power in the game. Martin Edwards was involved with the FA and Fergie successfully created an aura of intimidation wherever he went. Graham Poll is not the only referee to explain (his book) just what happened at Old Trafford the moment they arrived. Fergie also had a reputation for being able to have referees removed from his games – if he didn’t like their performance previously – and as Man Utd played all the big games, that wasn’t great for a referees career. All documented you can read about it. Mind you, take one look at the highlights of Arsenals 50th game when Fergies mate Mike Riley was in charge and that game will demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Fergie had influence.

    So, no doubt the fact that Fergie was a great manager. But like Mourinho, he had the finances to be successful and no other club could compete financially. He would not have been so successful had he been operating in an era like OGS or LVH.