by .

A week off for the players? Wow. I nearly wrote ‘wowsers.’ Do you get to a certain age where twee words like that become attractive? A friend of mine said ‘aces’ the other day. I was shocked. Is language deterioration part of the ageing process?

I digress…

A week off.

Then Arsenal FC heads into another nightmare crush of fixtures that could open us up to death spiral number two of the season.

It won’t define whether he keeps his job, that seems assured, what it’ll define is how much fan capital he has going into next season.

Managers shouldn’t make decisions based on what the fans want, but they should be very aware of the role we play in their success. Jurgen Klopp is a charmer, everyone loves him, even when things are going off the rails, it’s hard to dislike him. Pochettino is another one, the deep love he commands from his players makes him hard to move on, even when results plummet. The decisions they make and the values they hold are part of the allure.

One of the worst leadership traits is being unable to admit you’ve made a mistake. Willian is becoming a lightning rod topic in the court of fan opinion. He’s shit. He doesn’t care. He has been given more than enough chances… yet he keeps playing. Arteta needs to do the right thing and move him away from the starting 11.

Fan capital is going to be hugely important as we head into next season, because fan dismay will be seen and heard beyond Twitter. That means Arteta needs to start getting his house in order now so his mistakes don’t light a fire with the fans he can’t put out.

You know what gets Arsenal fans in the mood?

Sexy football.

For me, our season keeps collapsing around senior players that were given massive new deals. If you took 4-5 players out of the mix we’d have more money, better results, and we’d likely not be asking these painful questions every 4 weeks.

The football is evolving in a direction that excites. There have been patches in the last two games where you felt like this was peak Wenger ball from back in the day. Intelligent players moving the ball at speed with attacking intent. This sort of football, played by young hungry players, is what will get fans to buy into the project next season.

Our problems are evolving in the right direction, I appreciate it isn’t fast enough for some, but let’s take it for what it is. When you have a young striker that’s not scoring, you generally want the one that’s missing lots of chances, versus the one that’s not in the game. Adebayor was like that when he joined, everyone hated him because he constantly fluffed his lines… but then it clicked and he turned into one of the best strikers in Europe for a brief moment.

That’s where this Arsenal side are at the moment. We’re moving the ball into the right areas, the attacking intent is correct, but we’re one pass and a decent shot away from it coming together nicely. If the players were shit, you’d accept that this was our lot, but they’re not. There is scope for the click to arrive.

I think there are some obvious moves that’ll help us find the click. Firstly, let’s get our best players on the pitch. If Tierney is out, bite the bullet and put Bukayo Saka in that position. He was a top 3 left-back in the country, having him there isn’t a punishment, it’ll help us open up teams because his delivery is so good.

Put Martin Odegaard in the side. We’ve only seen about 25 minutes of him but it’s clear he’s the real deal. He can open up the game from deep and he has really quality in tight spaces. We won’t have £100m to spend this summer, so convincing him to join us next year is going to be a huge win for us while we reshape our finances.

Then the big one… we have to work something out with our striking situation. Auba has been out of sorts all season, his family issues clearly haven’t helped, but we need to address it because we’ve gone from one of the most clinical sides in the league to a side that cannot hit the target for love nor money

Again, that can change very fast. Pepe isn’t going to keep skewing the ball over the bar. Odegaard had a great goal scoring record in Spain. Saka, Laca and Auba should all be doing better.

The key to all of this though is fitness… if Partey is badly damaged again, we are in trouble.

Good news for Arteta is the games coming up present a fresh chance to show he has what it takes.

Beat Leeds? That’ll feel like progress.

Beat Benfica? Feels like a proper team, it’ll count towards momentum for the first time this season.

Get anything from City? I mean, feels unlikely, but who knows.

Leicester? Burnley? Spurs? All winnable for me…

We absolutely have to get back on track this season. The green shoots need to turn into flowering trees. The vision must be crystal clear by the end of this season.

If it is, then we’re in great shape for a run at top 4 next year. If it’s not, well, I’ll be promoting the hashtag #GusHiddinkIn.

Just kidding, but something like that.

New podcast. A bit depressing. But it’s there. ENJOY.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Goobergooner

    It’s like we hired Arteta because the board want to be Barcelona MK2 and were like they did it with pep (and Cruyff just to name 2 of an extensive list) we can do it with our legendary (kiss ass) in Arteta too.

  2. Goobergooner

    Didn’t mean to send that twice.

    But Zach, I don’t agree that Liverpool had a better squad at the time of Klopp taking over. They just lost Suarez and then went on a massive rebuild by selling sterling and Coutinho over the next few seasons for mega money. That is when they transformed.

  3. Zacharse

    Well we disagree then but who in our squad can we sell for coutinho dough
    Who could we sell for sterling dough?
    Even sturridge probably had better figures than any of our attackers this season will post.
    Imo the only guys we could sell for $ is the guy we jus bought, saka and leno.
    But before that 8th place finish they nearly won the league

  4. Goobergooner

    The only reason I comment is because it’s irritating reading people lie through their teeth.

    Though on a different note, Zach, we are better defensively to the detriment of our attack.
    Even Wenger went a season only conceding 36 goals (ironically scoring less that season too).

    That trade off in attack vs defence is at least looking more plausible by playing 4 at the back instead of 5.
    But being better in defence than Emery but not Wenger isn’t progress.
    We aren’t meant to be taking steps forward from being in CL to actually contending for titles.

  5. Goobergooner

    Arsenal also came 2nd in a recent season. Didn’t say much about the next few seasons.

    Saka or martinelli will be our biggest transfer out in my opinion.

    As much as I hate that thought

  6. Zacharse

    It tells me he wants a certain amount of vets in the squad which i agree with. Willian inagree has let him down over and over but regardless i understandhis decision making. Individual errors have cost us but thats part of the deal. Look at allison the other day, he had a howler and arguably cost them the game, but hes also a key reason they won the CL. Before luiz got his red against wolves he was tearing them open w attacking diagonals and im all for having a player like that on sven if u know he has a brainfart in him.

  7. Goobergooner

    And in line with the jokes of Saliba…

    Wengers economics must have’rubbed off’ on the board and transfer/contracts team. We lost more quality players on a free than any other major team, who would never have allowed that to happen.

  8. Zacharse

    Agreed but thats what happens when you have slimey execs making decisions instead of footballers or guys that understand the game. The news that overmars wants in is exciting seeing how successful hes been at ajax and how poor our recruitment has been up until the summer deadline day and the most recent window.
    Ya cant say we arent still attracting the right people, even if they aren’t being hired just yet. Ø and partey are testament to that and i like how partey has been low key. Backing arteta while salibas talking the talk while playing for a midtable ligus 1 team

  9. Goobergooner

    Yeah I’ll agree with that Zach.

    Though I don’t understand the logic of comments about Saliba playing in a mid table club as if it detracts from his performances.

    If anything, being a defender in a mid table team and getting plaudits is a massive credit to him.

  10. Zacharse

    I don’t think our improvement in defense has cost us in atttack. I think our attackers arent good enough. I know laca has been ‘training better’ according to some
    Shit in the press and he works harder now than he ever has but its not good enough, hes not good enough. I welcome an improved pepe but its not good enough hes not Good enough even forgetting the absurd fee that gangster raul negotiated. Esr and saka are playing great but its not good enough to saddle two guys who wouldnt even be allowed into a bar in america to hVe all the responsibility in attack. Willian is clearly shit. Auba seems like he’s crumbled. Reiss nelson looks like a lost puppy when he plays. Willock hd a good game the other day but ffs look at who he was playing for and whomthey were playing. ITS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I don’t think you can draw a straight line between that and our defense.

  11. Zacharse

    There’s a huge difference between the pressure and expectations of
    A) playing in france
    B) playing for a club whose business model, fanbase etc expecta a certain caliber of play
    I’m sorry theres just no other way to say it. Weve seen over and over again how some players just arent cut out to deal w the differences and really,
    No disrespect, belong or play better at clubs that dont hVe the fanbase, media focus, pressure expectation etc
    Not saying saliba is bad or good just saying hes a young guy who doesnt know what the fuck hes talking about. Now that hes been talkinga. Big game in the press, skeletons in hisncloset have popped out. This isnt uncommon

  12. Zacharse

    Not at all what i’m saying and for the record i adored him and gutted about how that ended. That player gave everything for arsenal and they fucked him. What i’m saying is that if saliba doesnt understand that level of scrutiny youre gonna get at a big club ie his mouthing off in the press, that it shouldnt fucking matter if he isnt the first thing arteta thinks about in the morning etc than its highly
    Unlikely or at least less
    Likey that good performances for a mid table french team will translate to one of the biggest english clubs. Or at least that he’ll be susceptible to issues at arsenal that would not come up for him at a team like st etienne. Ravel morrison was undoubtedly a phenom.
    Howd that work out for him?

  13. Zacharse

    Arteta, no matter whT you think of his coaching ability he’snot stupid. Pep would never have gotten near him if he was what all The loudmouth know nothing posters here think he is. Bentdner and he were on the same team. Hes seen what can happen to a youngster who isnt ready. At man city im sure he saw someof the same attitude. Doubt he saw any of that kind of bullshit when he played at everton.
    Its no surprise that it took esr a minute to prove himself and its taking gabi some time as well. He strikes me ad
    The type of manager who isnt going to give you trust until he trusts you fully. Esr and saka have returned it by staying outta the press and working hard each game theyre given, gabi will surely Do the same. But saliba is clearly not on the same level mentally/emotionally and mYbe he has every reason to be where he is, it shouldnt be a problem if he keeps up what hes doing is my point

  14. Winthorpe


    Regarding young players coming to arsenal. Yes people will look at ESR and Saka and all but ESR isn’t a case of Arteta knowing his team and planning it around ESR. It was a happy coincidence really. If Willian was anything better than awful he’d not have gone for ESR.
    But he’s given chances to OUR young players and that is commendable. The foreign lads haven’t fared as well though have they. Saliba, Guendouzi and Pepe have all suffered at the hands of Arteta as well as mainland niles

    My point is if it carries on it may deter young players from wanting to work with him

  15. Terraloon

    Just completed my early morning catch up and is my way I am still shaking my head around some of the claims about the qualities of the current squad.Despite all the denials the league table doesn’t lie .

    Some of the most skilful players I have ever seen are those that can achieve say 500 keepie ups or the player that goes on a 30m dribble and at its end stands around looking for applause . Rarely do these type of individuals make it at the top.

    This snippet from one earlier post struck me

    “We shouldn’t be languishing in 10th. We have way better players than west ham, Everton, Aston Villa. We just don’t have the coach to get the best out of them.”

    On a technical basis that’s probably right but there is far more to being a better footballer and yes that’s having a top coach but in there is a whole load of things a major part of that is the ability to be coached and in there is something that is incredible important and that is the players character those flaws should be identified and in the majority of cases involving a fee the club should walk away, despite the attraction and where those flaws are evident in academy players club’s usually end their association when the player is in their early teens.

    I did a player by player analysis based yes on my take on players and

  16. Terraloon

    I still maintain this squad is no where near good enough and without major investment on established players then I really can’t see anything other than hard times ahead

  17. Winthorpe

    Maybe Arteta would be more accommodating to the young players he’s invested in personally. Maybe he never really wanted Guendouzi or Saliba or Pepe but he’s hardly pumped their value has he?
    I’d say he won’t get as much as wolves we offering for AMN either

  18. Goobergooner


    That statement was based on the last few seasons. You can’t seriously tell me that we have gone from 5th to tenth in 2 seasons because these players can’t be coached?

    Or if that is the case then Emery over achieved getting 5th, so did Wenger the previous seasons.

  19. Valentin


    So after a deep analysis of the squad player by player, your take is that this team is not good enough to be higher than 11th!

    Mama Mia, can I have what you have been smoking!
    You did not drink half of the koolaid!
    Went full on drank the bottle and asked for another case!

    WestHam, Wolves, Leeds, Aston Villa, Everton have squad weaker than us, yet are ahead AND playing better more attractive football than us.

    Nobody is asking for Arsenal to compete for the title, or to guarantee top 4, but at least be around top 6. WE ARE 11th. We complained when Wenger and Emery missed Champion’s League place, but right now we are missing Europa League places!

    Soon we will be celebrating the good job Arteta is doing by avoiding relegation!

  20. Olis

    ‘ You can’t seriously tell me that we have gone from 5th to tenth in 2 seasons because these players can’t be coached?’

    Our performance level has dropped since Wenger left due to the squad having the genuine quality and all of its creativity (bar Ozil) ripped out of it.

    How can you create with no creativity? We collected a bunch of samey safe midfielders with no personality.

  21. Goobergooner

    I am not accepting that Cazorla leaving when he had such an immense injury then quite frankly a miraculous recovery as him being ripped out of the squad.

    Ramsey didn’t want to renew unless on a contract equal to ozil’s. Yeah right.

    Wilshere is a nobody these days so we actually lucked out by not agreeing new terms with him and keeping him out.

    Who am I missing?

  22. Pierre

    “How can you create with no creativity? We collected a bunch of samey safe midfielders with no personality.”


  23. Olis

    I’ll give you a bit of help goober as you don’t seem the sharpest tool.

    mihkytaryn, Ramsey, iwobi, Cazorla, wishere all left or were sold without any like for like replacements. You can say what you want about their quality in your opinion and how much they contributed but they were all creative players.

    We were left with no creativity.

  24. Dissenter

    ‘ If anything, being a defender in a mid table team and getting plaudits is a massive credit to him.’

    I do hope zacharse realizes that Arteta is quickly entrenching us a perennial mid table club these days.

  25. Olis

    Drama drama drama…..entrenched as a perennial mid table club these days?

    Do you know what perennial actually means?
    ‘lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring or continually recurring.’

    Stop me if I’m wrong but we finished 8th last. Once. Hardly perennial is it?

    Faux outrage is hilarious and deserves to be dismissed as such.

  26. Goobergooner

    Also olis who do you blame for that?

    The club? Or just going to put it down to Emery like everyone else.

    Arsenal as a sporting entity has not done much right in the last 10 years.

    And I agree with you our team has got progressively worse. But that slide got way steeper with the signings of xhaka and Mustafi as mainstays in the 11.

  27. Winthorpe


    Emery didn’t want a creative heartbeat in the team
    He wanted pacy wingers and a solid, physical midfield.

    It was his request to take us in that direction in the market