by .

The Europa League last 32 kicked off to a fairly muted start.

Arteta rolled with the same line-up he used against Leeds United at the weekend. On reflection, that might have been a mistake. I felt like the game was leggy at times and we certainly lacked the zip we saw in our last 3 league games.

That said, the approach to the game could have been tactical. Arteta doesn’t have a one-size fits all and he’ll adapt to the moments. My assumption is that the lack of intensity might have been a choice. We totally controlled the game from start to finish. Arsenal didn’t need to fly at them and I suspect coming out of the first leg unscathed might have been on the minds of the coaching staff.

There was a lot of whining after the game, which I found odd. Not only did we control the game, we also had a lot of very big chances we fluffed. Odegaard had his most impressive game so far. He was very influential and he opened up Auba’s game with quick thinking and quality final balls. On a normal day, we don’t miss those chances… it happens. I’m not sure blaming Arteta for Auba missing those chances is sharp analysis.

I also found it horrifying to read people taking jabs at ESR after the game. The currency on the internet is to be the first for everyone so you can say, ‘I called ESR a fraud’, and it’s fucking embarrassing. Even though it was a quiet game, his running and off the ball movement was essential to all the good bits that happened yesterday. He can’t have a 9/10 every game, but just having him that 11 is so, so important. Perhaps some of the noise was shaped by the handball, which felt pretty harsh to me, but there we are.

We responded quickly, which was what was needed. A quick pass from Odegaard that found Cedric in space on the left, his accurate cross found Saka who finished with a fairly simple tap in.

Subs were questionable again, not because they were the wrong bodies, but because they came so late in the day. But, if you thread the decisions through the idea of total control, you can see why he maybe erred… because Gabi and Pepe aren’t exactly controllers in big moments.

I’d have started with them, particularly Gabi who deserves some minutes. There was still time to see a bit of Willian and Mo, but this time, they were only given 3 minutes. Safe bet. Subs are an art, it’ll take time to master them, but at least they didn’t cost us anything this time.

1-1 in an away leg on a European night isn’t a terrible start. I don’t think Benfica are very good and if we replicate that performance in the next game, we’ll cleanly win the game. We will need to be at our best though.

My thought are on Sunday. That was basically our first team out there. What is Arteta going to do against Manchester City? Surely he can’t go with that starting 11 again? Who comes in? Control is absolutely essential against the most dominant team in the league… but hey, if there’s any team he’s going to have a clue against, it’s City, so let’s see what happens.

Right, short one today, if you haven’t already, take a listen to the podcast I did with Touchy Gooners below.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. into the red

    Good summary, thought it was odd to see a double sub in the 90th minute. What was that about apart from wasting some time? Did Arteta fear losing a last minute goal, instead of going for a winner?
    As far as Sunday goes, was he assuming it’s a busted flush, so didn’t save the kids, or does he think they can play every few days? Saka is our Sterling, but it would be foolish to rely on such a young player every game. Will be interesting to see the line up, my money’s on the old stagers coming back and us trying to park the bus, then getting something on the break, maybe Saka off the bench. Good to see Tierney coming back. Will he risk him for the whole match on Sunday?

  2. Kroenkephobe

    I fully agree with the para about ESR, and the hypercriticism of players in general on LG.

    I think some kind of rule or etiquette is needed on here that precludes personal attacks on players’ performances until they have greatly underachieved in say 5 consecutive games. Or 10? But its all just a bit sad when this or that player is slated after a game or two. It just smacks of fickleness and feeds into that narrative that other supporters think we’re entitled.

    The manager, on the other hand deserves much more scrutiny because he is a constant and he makes the decisions, for better or worse.

  3. James wood.

    ESR has helped the drive of the team
    his enthusiasm and determination have to be admired.
    Saying that he is far from top class but in a wanting side
    he has done wonders.

  4. Anonymous Commentator

    This idea that we had firm control of the game is… optimistic.
    If we were in firm control or dominated then the eye test needs to look like city running rings around the opposition and playing keepsies with the ball.

    I don’t get it, is this “dominating total control” thing just some arteta felatio or does Pedro and crew actually believe that was domination or total control?

  5. Matt


    Stop talking so much sense. You have to see past the numbers don’t you know…

    Looking past the numbers, Leeds was a dominant display, even though we conceded 2 goals. We looked dangerous and our play was dynamic for the most part.

    Yesterday on the other hand was slow, laboured and uninspiring for the most part. Not adjectives I would associate with a dominant display.

  6. Emiratesstroller


    Arsenal should have refreshed the team for this game. I agree that the team looked “leggy” and also perhaps the pitch looked “slow”.

    However, I thought that Arsenal should have won this game comfortably and the fact that we failed to do so is a reflection that we allowed them to play at their pace and level.

    Arsenal’s goalkeeper and defence resorted once again to square and back passing and our
    movement in midfield was far too slow.

    It beggars belief that Aubameyang missed an open goal with his first attempt and from that
    point onwards he looked bang average.

    Above all else my concern with Arsenal this season is that there is always an “accident” or
    “critical mistake” waiting to happen in almost every game whether it was Xhaka’s idiotic
    cross in last minute of first half or Smith-Rowe’s ball handling resulting in penalty.

    Arsenal’s basic errors and rashness has been a problem in far too many games this season
    and has cost us games. No side who makes these basic mistakes is going to progress.

  7. Tom

    “I don’t get it, is this “dominating total control” thing just some arteta felatio or does Pedro and crew actually believe that was domination or total control?“

    If I’m being charitable different posters have a different idea of domination and control, but otherwise it’s probably a way of controlling the narrative.

    Leeds were one dodgy penalty call for the Soares tackle on Babford from pulling one back and making the last 10/15 minutes a super nervy affair , but for some we were always in control and the result was never in question so there.

  8. Tom

    “The game was played by two evenly matched teams with Benfica edging the shots on target by 4 to 2..“

    or …………Arsenal should’ve won 5 nil because all Auba’s attempts were tap-ins he normally puts away plus one easy left foot gimme, and Benficas pen was a case of referee on a take.

  9. Rich

    Football’s a game of fine margins, you can play well and lose, and play badly and win

    The more quality you have, the more chance you have of consistently pushing the margins in your favour

    Last nights game was like watching paint dry, it was really painful to watch

    In key moments where we had the chance to win it, we weren’t efficient enough

    At least in tight games like this, against well organised opposition, we’re now creating good chances

    Are Lacazette + Holding on the naughty step?

  10. AFC Forever


    Mate behave, they were not two evenly matched teams. As for the shots, are you being serious? They never threatened us at all, you could have had an 11-year-old in goal and they wouldn’t have scored from open play. Their tactic was to protect the away goal and put bodies behind the ball, which is sensible. They were disciplined in that respect, they are no mugs. Unlike Benfica, we created 4 or 5 clear opportunities during the game including an absolute sitter that isn’t in your shots on target figure because Aubamayang somehow missed the target. That goes in so early, different game because they have to come out.
    I wouldn’t say we dominated play, what I would say is that we dominated the ball. We moved them around the pitch which we do by continually switching play but the penalty helped them with their game plan. I agree with Pedro, second half we looked leggy and there started to be quite a bit of sideways play, so I was surprised we didn’t make earlier substitutions. The second leg will be a different game because they have to score and I can’t see us missing such easy chances.

  11. The Bard

    Pedro I agree with most of your post. Its all about scoring and usually Auba is a reliable finisher. It didn’t happen no big deal. I can understand why he went with the 1st team. The league is gone and City are way better than us. We could get into the CL via the Europa Cup. It makes sense. I dont read other teams blogs so I don’t know if it’s just us but it seems we are full of hysterical fans. ERS has a less than stellar game and the knives are out, pathetic.

  12. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal should not have won the game 5-0, but it should have been won comfortably.

    I am not going to blame Smith-Rowe for penalty. That could have happened to anyone, but
    the lack of intelligence and decision making, which led to the preceding corner is symptomatic of Arsenal’s weakness.

    We make too many critical and costly mistakes and that has been a problem for a very long
    time. For a start conceding 5 red cards in a season is as we have done has probably cost us
    10 points this season in 4 games for starters.

  13. AFC Forever


    “There was a lot of whining after the game, which I found odd.”

    You must have had your tongue stuck firmly inside your cheek when you typed that.

  14. Captain Tierney


    Re:last post

    How will Pepe find consistency if he is getting benched even after putting in 4-5 good performances one after the other.


    We did control the game but really didn’t create many big chances. We only created 3 clear cut chances, one was a goal and the other two were fluffed by Auba.

    The xG score was around 1.6-1.1 in favour of Arsenal.

    Even Xhaka looked tired after 75-80 minutes which is new. Him, Saka, ESR, Bellerin and Cedric have played a lot of minutes. Need to be rested.

    On a positive note, Cedric has been deputising really well at LB.
    Deserves more praise.

    I believe we’ll roll with Laca, Gabi, Pepe and Ode against City. Have a suspicion Willian might play at 10, just hope it doesn’t happen. Esr and Saka shouldn’t start under any circumstances.

    + Holding needs to be played over Luiz. He is not our future. One bad game and Holding is demoted 3rd choice. How many bad games has Luiz had?

  15. Cmansf

    Unfortunately, the internet has allowed everyone to be a critic – they often create the most noise and have the least valuable things to say. If they can judge a player by one game (even though the performance was quite good) they can hardly be trusted to analyse anything over a longer period of time.

    Sadly, if this same mob watched Henry over 5 matches some could probably find reason to say get is a ‘fraud’ for having a 7/10 performance.

  16. Tom

    “Arsenal should not have won the game 5-0, but it should have been won comfortably.“

    Of course, but my post was an attempt to illustrate how two different posters can watch the same game and walk away with two diametrically opposed impressions of it.

    The 5 nil bit was me paraphrasing someone’s opinion from last night.

  17. Anonymous Commentator

    To be honest, I’m losing what little patience i had with arteta that he had restored.
    Any time he takes 2 goalkeepers on the bench he is giving one of the young players in the squad the middle finger and he knows it too.
    If I were Balogun I would jump ship on this guy and take my chances at Leipzig.
    Same with reiss, he’ll be our zaha minus the managers daughter fiasco.
    I would even suggest that omari Hutchinson extricate himself from the club while arteta is manager cause I can’t see him ever getting minutes or being developed by arteta.

    We had 2 left wingers on the bench yesterday but arteta wouldn’t make the subs when it was clear that ESR wasn’t having a fun time of the game.
    There are a myriad of poor decisions that arteta has the final say on that are frankly inexcusable.
    I really would love to know how this blog and Pedro would have reacted had Wenger taken 2 goalkeepers on the bench.
    Probably start an actual riot outside the Emirates, peroni Molotov’s in hand, all the Wenger out banners in force.
    Yet arteta… It’s roses. And I can’t understand why it’s roses because he is doing things that no other manager in the world is doing and they trend negatively.
    At least if he was doing the double on city for the season that would be one thing, but instead villa done the double on us and he gets away with taking 17 year old Karl Jakob hein on the bench along with Matt Ryan as though he will ever give kjh the minutes if Leno needs to be subbed off.

    It’s disgusting to be frank. Vomit in mouth and swallow again type of disgusting.
    There is no way that there is any truth to arteta saying he’s close to an agreement with Balogun, which would make him a bald faced liar too.
    And for what? So we can watch auba miss tap ins all season?
    That’s fresh.

  18. SpanishDave

    Last nights game showed us how urgent it is to get a young powerful centre forward.
    Martinelli just isn’t being used by our glorious manager why we don’t know.
    Auba is going to be a fading star and he isn’t focused any more.
    Laca is not good enough now so we need more options

  19. Chris

    “ I dont read other teams blogs so I don’t know if it’s just us but it seems we are full of hysterical fans”

    No ‘seem’ about it, some of the comments on here after the game last nights were ludicrous as well as some personal attacks on one particular player. Laughable.

  20. Pedro

    Chris, at least we’re progressing the agenda… I’d prefer it to be about Balogun’s feelings than shite football.

    On the pitch, it’s getting much, much better. We’ll be in good shape next season if we don’t fuck up the summer. We’re creative, unpredictable, some of the football is really good. Exciting times. Martin O should be a priority signing.

  21. Chris


    Already clear to see Saka, ESR and Odegaard have vast potential to be a bedrock of our attack for years to come potentially, obviously hope we can extend the loan of Odegaard or buy him outright. He has that slide rule defence splitting pass we have lacked overall for a long time.

  22. Pedro

    Chris, those guys make us very unpredictable to play against. We can play high intensity, we can control possession, we can hit teams on the break.

    Notice how often Auba was running yesterday? He can smell killer balls now. Changed his game massively. Really exciting.

  23. DigitalBob

    Thanks Pedro, good post!

    As discussed with a few others in your last post Odegaard is the real deal and a real asset. I expect at the very least his loan to be extended for next season with maybe an obligation to buy included or we’ll try and buy outright considering how long he has left on his deal at Madrid.

  24. Tom

    Europa league is all about results, or it should be. Style and excitement is secondary especially with no fans in attendance.

    Mourinho won it with United playing some of the most boring football around and nobody cared.

  25. Pedro

    Performances are always important, especially with a fanbase that spent so much time pulling apart our defensive football when we were playing it.

  26. GuNZ

    I remember as a kid over on the Hackney Marshes getting beat by some team or other because ‘the ‘pitch was slow’. Funnily enough they also moaned about not beating us by more ‘
    because ‘the pitch was slow’. Weird innit?

  27. The Bard

    We aren’t competing for trophies and I get the frustration but there is much good stuff brewing. We have a terrific group of young players performing at the top level. Odegaard is beginning to settle and looks the real deal. Unless you’re a moron you can see a side developing. Whether Arteta can deliver is of course the unknown. But our parallel is Untd post Ferguson. They still haven’t recovered from his departure. Reshaping a club that revolved round one big character takes time. We also have the handicap of owners who don’t really give a fuck. We need a bit of patience not tears and tantrums.

  28. Pierre

    Aubameyang will still score 20+ goals this season…

    Pointless turning yourself into an Auba obsessive, he is what he has always been …a goal machine who saves his energy for what he does best , and that’s the way i prefer my striker to be.

    Fans worrying about his work rate and putting his foot in and being physical are wasting their energy, he’s a striker who will score goals …end of.

  29. Kroenkephobe


    They’re made from a compound of camphor, naptha and sulphur. If one doesn’t kill you the other two will.

    Killer balls reminds me of that awful programme called goldenballs. Hosted by the chronically unfunny Jasper Carrott where people tried to fuck each other over to win a couple of hundred quid.

  30. JJ

    I loved that ESR looked like he had just run over the family cat when he came off. Luis, Pepe, Xhaka don’t show that kind emotion after they get sent off for their irresponsible behavior.

  31. JJ

    Pierre – that argument is fine if he was scoring goals. He is fluffing too many opportunities and not appearing to put in the effort (until recently) and as such, criticism should be expected.

  32. G8

    Last night game,
    was good first half with wasted chances
    Substandard 2nd half with terrible game management from Arteta
    Xhaka was good defending, but slowed our attacking play and resorted to sideways and backward passes most of the game
    I don’t know if it was Arteta instructions, but we didn’t push hard enough for the win after we equalized
    Hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us 2nd leg
    Wonder what excuses the Arteta crowd would come up with if the Olympiacos scenario happens again!

  33. Nelson

    “not appearing to put in the effort (until recently) ”

    That’s because not until recently, Arteta didn’t know how to build an offense to support him. Unlike Laca, who involves in the build up, Auba’s game relies on service. If you try and try and the ball never comes, you’ll give up.Now he can see that the service is coming, he starts to run the channel. Last game, the timing is slightly off resulting in a lot of offside.

  34. Pierre

    “Pierre – that argument is fine if he was scoring goals. He is fluffing too many opportunities and not appearing to put in the effort (until recently) and as such, criticism should be expected.”

    6 goals in his last 5 starts tells a different story..

    It tells me that that chances are being created and Aubameyang is getting in the right areas to finish them off..

  35. Anonymous Commentator

    Where is auba gonna get 20 goals?
    Based on his form this season he’s gonna hit 15 as a high estimation, I’m being very kind with him there.
    13 most likely. Still being kind.
    We are halfway through Feb already guys, this isn’t December anymore.

    Like, you know, I would love to be steel manning these arguments you guys are presenting me but there’s so many holes in them, the stats and math aren’t going to back the arguments, the eye test isn’t going to back the arguments, the coach is suspect in every manner.

    Where are these goals going to come from? They surely aren’t coming over the next few League games because auba doesn’t score against top teams in the league, but will bang out a hat trick against lower opposition, and we are hovering on the precipice of being one of those lower opposition games for other teams.

    Come on man, what are we even looking to do over these next few League games? Not get embarrassed and have our season derailed?
    It’s already been derailed by how we started.
    Or let me guess, auba is going to pad his 8 League goals by February with some goals in the Europa League? There isn’t any other competition that we’re in for him to get his goals. That’s wishful thinking at best cause there’s no guarantee we get through next week.

    We haven’t had Balogun come on in the league to establish what the level of our strikers are because arteta has no vision. Are these guys underperforming or is this as good as it gets? With auba channeling sanogo when facing an open goal.

    In December i could still believe that he’ll find some form, but really this is looking like his level for this season, and we simply can’t have that.

  36. Winthorpe


    The are 14 league games left and 6 Europa if we make the final 20 games
    He’s only got to score 12/20 to reach 20 goals for the season. He also score most of his goals when the weather is warmer
    This is when he comes to life:
    I’m not his biggest fan but I know he’s more than capable of reaching 20 goals this season

  37. JJ

    Auber’s 6 goals in 5 games is completely skewed by the hat trick. He has been shocking for most of the season. Don’t buy into the story of not making runs because he’s not getting the ball. He would get the ball and pass it back immediately (often giving away possession) instead of turning and running at the defense. He also missed a boat load of sitters. He stopped making his front post runs which gave him loads of goals last season and took the lazy back post run option.

  38. Radio Raheem

    Walker-Peters’ (Southampton) is a decent right back we should be looking at.

    We can get rid of Bellerin and Cedric be the cover at both fullback positions, not like we’re stuck with him the next 4 years.

  39. Pierre

    “He also missed a boat load of sitters.”

    He didn’t.

    Creativity was zero without a CAM, and yes it was Arteta’s fault for thinking that the team could function without our most creative player ( who had created the most chances under Arteta) ..

    His skin was saved with the introduction of Smith Rowe (a cam) and changing back to the previously successful 4-2-3-1 at the end of December.

    And yes , it was successful before the march lockdown, Arsenal being the only unbeaten team domestically in europe in 2020 is confirmation that the 4-2-3-1 with a CAM was working…

    Unfortunately Arteta brought in the negative wing back system after lockdown, and I would say it set the team back 9 months .

    We are now back on the right track , back to where we were 12 months ago, creating and scoring goals and still quite solid at the back, which would be better but for a couple of soft penalties recently and a soft red card.

  40. Nelson

    Auba has played only two games with the support of ESR and Ødegaard. Already ESR has an assist and Ødegaard should have an assist last game if Auba didn’t miss the net. I trust that they will develop the chemistry between them after a few more games. The quality is there.

  41. Bertie Mee

    Gone was the ‘ new’ Xhaka of the last few weeks, playing vertically , passing quickly and imaginatively . All he did was sit in front of the back four and pass square or backwards and of course( it’s Xhaka) almost give a goal away . Ceballos had to do the work of two men because we had no drive on the left .
    I’m afraid the twitterati who have abused Willian today and apparently slagged ESR don’t deserve a voice because they don’t use it to say anything constructive. It’s a constant part of football nowadays and it sucks .
    We have no chance against Citeh. Sunday is about damage limitation .

  42. Socrates

    “That said, the approach to the game could have been tactical”

    OKAY, yep!

    Note to self never read another word from the sauce salesman

  43. China1

    Sigh I’m getting so tired of woke people talking about cultural appropriation

    People freaking out that kendall Jenner has started a tequila brand despite not being Mexican and it’s named after a place in America. It’s probably shit tequila but why the fuck must doing that only be ok for Mexicans and why wasn’t there the same outrage where the rock just launched his tequila brand recently?

    Carlsberg has the nerve to produce some of the worst beer on the planet and describe it as the best, despite the fact barley beer was started in the Middle East. Shall we get the pitch forks out? Or you know, just not drink it because it’s gassy urine?

    Maybe we should cry that the Japanese have made award winning whisky despite that being a Scottish creation?

    How sheltered a life must people live when they are offended by people from culture copying something from another? It’s a sign of admiration not disrespect and every country in the world does it but it’s only wrong when developed western nations do it. Maybe we should complain that the French won the World Cup in a game invented by us…

  44. China1

    Another thing that keeps getting my goat recently is seeing people promote outright fatness as body positivity

    I personally don’t give a shit if someone is fat. My parents were growing up. But unless you have particular medical conditions which is rare, it’s not healthy – it’s really that simple. I saw Adele got lambasted for losing loads of weight by fat losers saying she had let down the +size community by losing the weight. And it was offensive that she’s done so for ‘health reasons’ which made it very triggering

    If you are huge and offended that someone else took the time and effort to lose their weight and get into a healthy routine the problem lies square with you

  45. Anonymous Commentator

    Everyone having a hard think about the state of the club.
    Or perhaps it’s just Friday.
    We are moving backwards.
    That Leeds coolaid does not hold up for long.
    Again I ask, where are we going to be in the table when it comes time to play Liverpool?
    There is fuckery waiting in the wings.

    You know what’s funny? Observing the dropping of standards over time as it relates to this beautiful club.
    If rvp missed those chances from auba, fanbase says it’s disgraceful. Even giroud lol, everyone would be up in arms.
    But auba missed? “Don’t worry it’ll be fine, look at the goals he scored last season” empty points that don’t do anything to help us right now, just some more if’s but’s and maybe’s to mull over. But at the end of the day the reality is in, he missed, we’re in a poor position, and we have a terrible run ahead of us.

    What is a madness is that there is still so much interest about our season when the season is dead already.
    How the blog hasn’t been deaded since December is a testament to the loyalty of this fanbase. Honestly the kroenkes don’t deserve us.

  46. Tony

    Anonymous Customer (17:52)
    My thoughts exactly.

    My post yesterday asked the question why Arteta subbed Auba for Martinelli then Arteta promptly took off ESR and MO – basically the main suppliers to Martinelli.

    Why make the substitution if you’re going to leave the sub hanging and wanting for balls put through?

    Rangnick looks to be perfectly suited to our current youth model, which has been made necessary by our poor financials.

  47. Tony

    Been a fan of Martin Ødegaard since the media started writing about him prior to his RM move because there are a couple of Norwegians in my MC club who waxed lyrical about him when he was at Strømsgodset.

    I felt it was a mistake for MO to go to RM when he should have spent time at Ajax before moving to a bigger/elite club.

    The ball MO threaded through to Cedric’s for his assist was sublime and right out of Bergkamp’s locker. Fact is I’ve always seen MO as a modern Bergkamp potential. Transfrmaket lists MO at 40 million Euros where the problem will be that as MO’s form improves so will his transfer price probably to a point where we can’t afford MO at the end of the season.

    Personally I’d be looking to bring in Bergkamp as AM coach for ESR, Pepe, MO and Azeez as well as any new AM/CAM signings.

    Never going to happen (Bergkamp) because Arteta like Wenger before him hates to delegate important coaching duties that is going to take the spotlight off Him ala Keown when Wenger stopped him coaching the defense way back.

    Also, never going to happen while the suits’ incompetence continues to spiral onto the next level of dithering and poor decision making.

    At the end of the day the Suits only have to make 2 decisions: whether to keep Edu and Arteta?

    If they make that decision, they should have already put things in place to sign the next manager.

    Problem is the Suits contracted Wengeritis with Wenger’s continual dithering over the years that has become the norm and never found the cure.

    Haven’t seen you here for a while but could be down to our time differences.

    Hope you’re well and finding your way in life after such a tragic loss.

    I miss your posts here as I’m sure many other do too.

  48. JJ

    Pierre – agree with much of your response but still think Auber could have done better. Let’s see how we progress with a better midfield feeding him now. I want him to catch on fire again as much as anyone!

  49. Aussie+Gooner


    “Why make the substitution if you’re going to leave the sub hanging and wanting for balls put through?”

    Easy answer:- Arteta is trying to “white ant” players like Martinelli, players who have broken his secret code of non-negotiables. Make them look bad when they do get an opportunity to play and it justifies his decision to leave them permanently on the periphery. Then he can explain to the media “..see I told you @#$@!% (fill in a name) is not ready for the EPL, best that I start Willian next time instead”. There can be no other explanation for this type of sociopathic narcissist behaviour – other than he is a crap coach who has no idea what he is doing. And we don’t want to consider that option do we?????

  50. Tony

    Aussi Gooner
    The flaw Arteta is missing- there’s always at least one- is that if we lose to City and go out of the EL cup with Martinelli sitting behind 4 keepers on the bench, Martinelli will be hailed as the missing component left out with many fans asking “what if”.

  51. Winthorpe


    This summer Odegaard will have just 12 months on his contract. Real are over a barrel.
    I’d love it if Bergkamp came back to coach this lot
    What a dream
    You’re right though, Arteta wouldn’t allow that.

  52. Graham62

    The Martinelli situation bothers me immensely.

    Here we have one of our most gifted players being treated like a rag doll. What Arteta does behind the scenes may be totally different to what we see but, from where I sit, it seems that he is playing with the kids head.

    Talent is visible to most of us and this kid has it in bucketloads. It is concerning that Arteta seems to be treating him this way and yet continues to have faith in those other players that are struggling and are clearly not at the races.

    Very worrying indeed.

  53. Tony

    Good morning Graham
    Agreed.with adding MO to the fray we have a nucleus of youth who could evolve into something special for the next decade.

    Only stumbling block here is Arteta.

  54. Tony

    Arteta seems to miss the glaringly obvious right in front of him.

    He over thinks things too often, takes the edge out of his tactics.

    Smart and successful managers make maximum use of the people around them always hiring the best who’ll ultimately test them to become better themselves.

    Hiring Bergkamp is a perfect example of this.

  55. Gonsterous

    I get giving Martinelli a rest, but what about Saka and ESR, you can’t argue giving rest to one youngster whIle running two other youngsters into the ground.

    I agree arteta has done some good since he came, but he’s miles of being the best possible solution to our problems. Though if he wins the EL, that would change my mind. Top 4 or EL, the team is good enough to get one of these.

  56. China1

    Pedro I said martinelli is not a priority for arteta and you said ‘let’s see the benfica lineup’

    No further evidence of him being a priority

  57. Gonsterous

    Guen, Saliba and Martinelli, the trio would have gotten us a hefty profit but what Mikel is doing is, letting them rot and selling for cheap while holding on to liabilities like willian.

    I hope his MRs is in charge of the money in their relationship or else he’s going to be spending it very unwisely.

  58. China1

    What we can clearly see is that Arteta dislikes it when young players are treated as first team regulars and it’s only cases where his hands have been tied through consistently game changing performances at times when we’ve needed them that he’s felt obliged to indulge them (namely Saka and ESR). For Odegaard he may soon have forced his hand to keep picking him as well.

    But rest assured if any of these guys play the same way Willian has for 2-3 consecutive games they will be dropped to the bench quicker than a stone in a river so the old guard can reclaim their place

  59. Gonsterous


    I kinda like Edu, he’s handled the last 2 window wonderfully. Yes he got the willian and luiz deal wrong but, gabriel, and ordegarrd while getting the likes of kola and mustaffi out is a proper plan.

    If it wasn’t for arteta, edu may have cashed in on auba and gotten a younger profilic striker. Whether that would have been right or wrong, we won’t know but it would be bold unlike anything the generational coach does.

  60. China1

    My only guess with arteta is he didn’t join a major club until he was 27 or so and he’s at pains to see 19 year olds getting lavished with praise at this level when he didn’t get that much admiration even when he was the team captain.

    I’m honestly not sure what else it could be that seems to bother him

  61. Tony

    If Arteta wins the EL cup, he deserves to have a crack at next season.

    Arteta is a survivor if nothing else, so who knows where we’ll be after the fat lady sings at the end of the season?

  62. Tony

    True what you say about Edu, but I can’t see Rangnick working under Edu as manager.

    If Rangnick were happy to do that with Edu being equal, as he is with Arteta, then that would work with both Arteta and Edu benefiting greatly from Rangnick’s experience.

    Take away egos and agendas and that team could be interesting.

  63. Socrates

    Imagine for a minute if anyone here wrote that it was by choice or was a tactical decision to play turgid sideways passing whilst struggling to move the ball forward. You’d be laughed out of the blog, Yet somehow the owner of the site gets aways with it. For me, it’s straight out propaganda.

    Imagine someone wrote that as a defence of Emery, there’d be a riot. I used to love this site, it was required reading with a coffee in the morning. Now it’s become something I bearly read and if I do, normally just skip the owners blog and go straight to the comments. Even then, all I read are sycophants that don’t have anything rational or objective to add.

    I could accept the rationale of giving time to Arteta if there was one.

    We have a better squad than last season, why are we midtable? You could literally give this squad to any manager in the league and at worst we’d be in the same position. Why isn’t the owner of the blog critiquing our league position and therefore Arteta’s position?

    Why is Arteta playing Willian ad infinitum and why no critique?

    Why is Arteta freezing out Martinelli?

    What has Pepe or Holding done after finding form to be completely left out in the cold?

    After lucking out with ESR, why is Arteta now overplaying the kid to near breakage?

    I could go on,

    Answers on a postcard!

  64. Gonsterous


    Mate, I still enjoy reading the comment section, especially when it goes off topic and people are just getting along talking about a subject they have in common.

    Hardly do i read comments that make me dive down to the text paragraph to vent or rant at them. But I do my part, because I’m part of the blog and we all have to occasionally chip in with something 😅😅 even if it’s not interesting.

  65. Winthorpe

    China1February 20, 2021 07:32:14
    My only guess with arteta is he didn’t join a major club until he was 27 or so and he’s at pains to see 19 year olds getting lavished with praise at this level when he didn’t get that much admiration even when he was the team captain. I’m honestly not sure what else it could be that seems to bother him

    There’s something there with certain young players, without doubt, but he played for psg and rangers as a young lad and Everton are no small club. They were in Europe for most of his stint there and sometimes serious contenders for a CL spot
    He was also great at coaching the young players at city and played in an arsenal era littered with young first teamers.

    I’m not sure that’s the issue here

  66. Gonsterous


    If ralf rangnick comes in, I wouldn’t mind having him as the head of football. He is someone with a short and long term vision that would revolutionize the club.

    We never seem to act when the time is right. Look at chelsea, tuchel was available and the next thing you know, lampards out the door.
    We need to be ruthless like that. Change course when something isn’t working.

  67. Gonsterous


    I think it’s more do with favourites. He has players that he likes and players that he considers outsiders. AMN, Martinelli, Guen and co are in that bracket.

    Nothing wrong with having favourites but there comes a point when logic has to make way to likability.

  68. Emiratesstroller

    I think that the final mass clear out of players will take place this summer and that should generate a considerable transfer budget albeit that most players on the list will sell for
    modest transfer fees in £10-20 million range.

    My guess is that the following players will leave:
    RUNARSSON probably on loan [By all accounts Okonkwo in U23s is outstanding GK prospect]
    CHAMBERS. No logic in keeping him
    KOLASINAC Probably released on freebie to get wages permanently off books.

    I have omitted from list of departures Ryan, Luiz, Ceballos, Odegaard and Willian, because I
    think that Edu and Arteta will attempt to keep first 4 and I think that offloading Willian will
    be too expensive and complicated.

  69. JOEL

    Arsenal are never going to improve if Arteta’s “modus operandi” continues to be …Luiz,Bellerin and Xhaka slowly passing the ball backwards and sideways amongst themselves up until the point that they then give the ball away or pass it to a colleague who is immediately closed down by the opposition and forced to begin the cycle once again.
    With the introduction of ESR,Saka and now Odergaard there are certain occasions where the ball is moved around at the right pace and with the right intent but these moments within the game should be seen to be the majority of the time and not sporadically..Time and time again during the Benfica game Odergaard was asking for the ball only to be ignored.There were so many occasions when having received the ball the usual suspects immediately looked to lay it off sideways when under no real pressure from the opposition and should instead have turned forward into space and moved forward with intent.This negative and timid approach has to stop.Playing with this type of continuous fear can only result in a mid-table position where Arsenal will stay in this cycle of win one or two…followed by lose a couple…and this cannot be considered progress by a club of Arsenal’s stature…Whats more…the players that they have are mostly capable of so much more…Its just a matter of finding a coach who’s capable of utilising the players that he has at his disposal more efficiently…in the way that Villa,Leicester,West Ham,Everton have managed this Season.

  70. Emiratesstroller


    I would offload Elneny, but Arteta continues to use him so I omitted him from list.

    All the players listed are either loaned out or not getting game time in first team. So they are
    clearly unwanted.

  71. Graham62

    The first time I saw Martinelli, I said to myself “Wow, this kid is special”

    Yes, he has his flaws and apart from his obvious talent and insatiable appetite to win, the kid has that special ingredient that makes me believe he will go on and be a superstar, whether it’s with us or another top club.

    You see, Martinelli frightens opponents. When he gets the ball, you expect something to happen. On top of this, he fights like hell for his team. Ok, he may have got out of position once against MU the other week but he fought tooth and nail to get back to clear that ball….. and he did.

    He was taken off and replaced by Willian for “tactical reasons”. Did it really make that much difference? I don’t think so. Would it have dented Martinelli’s confidence? Most likely. Had he been in the pitch would we have been a greater threat? Yes, of course we would.

    If Martinelli doesn’t feature in tomorrow’s game against MC or the return game against Benfica, I’ll be livid.

    Watch this space then.

  72. Nelson

    Laca is old. He is still worth something. He has only one year left in his contract.

    Leno is a very good short stopper. But his ball delivery is so boring. He needs a lot of time to decide. After that, his long ball still landed no where close to our player.

    Without Partey, Xhaka is back to the version that Marc hates..

  73. Emiratesstroller

    I think that Lacazette will be sold on three counts.

    First because he will be in final year of contract next summer and there well still be demand
    for his services in £20-25 Million price range

    Second he will have reached his 30th birthday and his performance level is no longer at top

    Third I think that Arsenal will want to freshen up strike force with younger players who
    will add more energy and will cost less in wages.

  74. Tony

    “The first time I saw Martinelli, I said to myself “Wow, this kid is special”

    Brought a big smile to my face when I first clapped eyes on him.

    Martinelli, Saka, MO, KT, ESR, Partey, Pepe, Azeez are the future and of the right age to develop together. Certainly some talent pool.

    The manager that does that and add whatever is missing will be firmly on the right road to challenging for top honours again.

    Light at the end of the tunnel me hopes.

  75. Tony

    They fit along with Gabriel and Saliba.

    What manager wouldn’t want to mold them into a team?

    Bet Overmars would be happy to apply his Ajax experience, bring Bergkamp with him, and would be sure to know who to replace Bellerin with.

    There are some excellent options out there that if brought in now could make a difference by the end of the season.

    Arsenal is a job too soon for Arteta. He chose the baptism by fire route and sadly got burnt.

  76. Le Professor

    There does seem to be an agenda against Arteta. The team he sent out should have won that game at a canter but our most potent weapon fluffed his lines. To be fair it can happen to anyone, we move on.

    Agree the comments in social media against ESR shows how fickle some fans can be. The players are not automons FFS.

    This match (and without Tierney and Partey too) shows we’re going in right direction, squad still not right, needs a few goings and comings, (maybe two more transfer windows) so more than happy with the big picture 🙂

  77. Graham62

    Arsene…..Oops!, I mean, Le Professor.

    No, I think what it is is that despite the obvious talent in the squad, there is something that doesn’t sit right with many fans as to how Arteta is going about things.

    Decisions have been made and continue to be made that don’t make sense.

    The next two games are massive, yes, even tomorrow’s. Team selection will be pivotal and although I don’t expect us to beat MC, I do expect us to put up a good show, irrespective of the crunch game against Benfica.

    To be honest I’d love to see Martinelli start and also Balogun given a chance.

    Why not?

  78. Uwot?

    Ems,you left out Bell end.Pretty sure this summer the Barca bandits will be sniffing about for the DNA.Bite their hands off.& prof 99% of social media are clueless dildos.

  79. Anonymous Commentator

    Why is it that arsenal are sold a process, but every other team has managers that are expected to get the thing working right away?
    Where’s the process at West ham, villa and Everton?
    We weigh up the other managers with apples, but arteta gets grapes as his makeweight? Why is arteta being handled with the kiddy gloves? He’s managing arsenal FC.

  80. SpanishDave

    Your right why should Arteta have as much time as he wants to use the club for his CV.
    Emery didn’t get more time and currently he did better than this clown.
    On Thursday they could have won the game but obviously Arteta has no faith in his players to express themselves and go to win the games.
    We simply cannot wait three years in hope he will come good, because to date he is clueless

  81. Graham62


    “Arteta has no faith in his players to express themselves and go to win the games”

    So true.

    It’s his teaching methods that I’m questioning.

  82. Nelson


    I am just reporting the fact. The reason so many fans criticize Xhaka is because he has made our game slow and boring in the past. It gives the opponent time to set up the defense.He has improved a lot while Partey was controlling the midfield. But last game, he has to carry the midfield load. Our midfield became slow and boring again. Our offense looks much better though.

    Yesterday, I have watched Leeds game. They moved the ball very quickly from back to front. That is so enjoyable to watch. I admit Arteta has a better defense than Leeds.

  83. Anonymous Commentator

    Xhaka is arteta’s main man, that means he’s allowed to flip off the fans who pay his wages.
    We’re also supposed to forget that he flipped off the fans otherwise we’ll be accused of being negative.
    How xhaka is still at the club is a mystery itself, but until that gets questioned we will be in this mire for a while yet, where all standards and principles are forgotten because the good looking Spaniard has convinced people that he’s actually a good manager.

  84. Chris

    OTD 1999 – Arsenal 5-0 Leicester.

    Anelka hatrick, Parlour brace, and just the 4 assists for Bergkamp.

    Anelka in almost unstoppable form, but already looking moody in perhaps a prelude to his departure that summer.

  85. Winthorpe

    Anonymous CommentatorFebruary 20, 2021 11:44:21
    Why is it that arsenal are sold a process, but every other team has managers that are expected to get the thing working right away?
    Where’s the process at West ham, villa and Everton?

    Liverpool, spurs, Southampton, Manchester United. All long winded routes to relative levels of success

  86. Winthorpe

    West Ham’s form is an unexpected bonus. There was never anywhere near any expectations on Moyes
    Everton have money and ancelotti. Not a novice with over half a squad of over paid underperforming misfits to deal with. Their board rooms are settled when Arteta has had to work with Raul fucking things up and now Edu who’s also a novice, months after getting rid of 3 managers as well as mislintat

    Villa’s manager was only expected to beat the drop. The fact that he’s done such a great job in such short space of time doesn’t change that there is/was little expectation on him

    You’re not being honest mate

  87. Globalgunner

    Xhaka is useless always will be. No other team in this league has a static mule like him in their midfield. Not one.

  88. Winthorpe

    Anonymous CommentatorFebruary 20, 2021 12:40:16
    Xhaka is arteta’s main man, that means he’s allowed to flip off the fans who pay his wages.
    We’re also supposed to forget that he flipped off the fans otherwise we’ll be accused of being negative.

    The fans deserved to be told to fuck off. Booing their own player off the pitch like a bunch of self entitled morons. The only other fanbase i can think of that treats their players as badly are at Real Madrid

  89. Globalgunner

    Winthorpe, the fans can boo whomever they want. If a player constantly plays like crap, he needs to be made aware of it. If Xhaka doesnt like it, he can take his talents elsewhere. I used to boo the TV whenever that muppet Eboue would run aimlessly forward and flop into the box for no reason. I absolutely hated the sight of him.

  90. Nelson

    Chelsea is missing a striker who can score goals. They pass the ball around beautifully but can put the ball into the net.

  91. Pierre

    Not sure why Tuchel would leave jorginho out of the chelsea side .
    He is the master at controlling the game, i expect to see him on pretty soon in the 2nd half.

  92. Winthorpe

    Winthorpe, the fans can boo whomever they want. If a player constantly plays like crap, he needs to be made aware of it. If Xhaka doesnt like it, he can take his talents elsewhere. I used to boo the TV whenever that muppet Eboue would run aimlessly forward and flop into the box for no reason. I absolutely hated the sight of him.

    The fans can boo whoever they like but the question is wether they SHOULD do. And who decides what’s crap? You? 😂 The majority of fans would never behave like that towards their own player, just a vocal minority of wankers.
    People like you called Wenger a clown and a fraud and senile. Well look at us now. When xakha is out of the team we are clearly worse. Nearly £100m spent on central midfield players since we signed him, every time lauded as the answer by the smug, self congratulatory know nothings and yet not one of them can displace him from the team.
    If you knew what you were looking at you’d not be moaning about xakha at all but rather the players who are costing us wins and points and have done over the last year.

  93. Anonymous Commentator

    no winthorpe you’re griefing.

    liverpool under klopp

    15/16 – 8th
    16/17 – 4th
    17/18 – 4th
    18/19 – 2nd
    19/20 – 1st

    do you see the difference between that and us over the same time period?


    how clear of a regression needs to be painted?
    we’re gonna finish worse than 8th this season with footballing giants west ham, everton and villa ahead of us.

    man united




    these are teams who arrested regression with new managerial appointments regardless of the outlay required to get rid of current managers.
    we’re basking in the regression presented by arteta.
    and i’m not even going to touch that southampton one, that’s a joke in itself, we are not comparing ourselves to southampton. that is unacceptable. the same southampton who sold mane and van dijk to liverpool btw, their talent acquisition is what ours should have been.

    worse yet, spuds are objectively failing on their targets this season and they’re still ahead of us after their form has gone out the window.
    arteta isn’t even going to match last season’s finish exclusively because emery started the season and got results that arteta proved he wasn’t able to get this season.
    binned off assets that we needed for this season in guendozi and saliba.
    matter of facts that’s what arteta is seemingly here to do, strip us of our key assets.

    i’m asking for an explanation as to why west ham, villa and everton are doing better than us. any other manager, even Ole at united, would be doing better with our potential squad than arteta is, instead our novice has hamstrung himself by binning of needed talent. i’m supposed to give this guy time? for what?

  94. Ronald

    VAR referee having a shocker in the Saints vs Chelsea match. Can’t believe the drop in refereeing standards with zero ramifications. Quite a joke.

  95. Winthorpe

    used to boo the TV whenever that muppet Eboue would run aimlessly forward and flop into the box for no reason

    What a pillock. Who sits booing at their tele like a 6 year old at the pantomime.

  96. Winthorpe

    do you see the difference between that and us over the same time period?

    1) the season isn’t over
    2) klopp inherited a squad which had just finished 2nd and should have won the league
    3) he got £140m for the sale of coutinho alone. Arteta has had £75m.