by .

You gotta love beating Spurs. Nothing feels better. It’s the only thing outside a trophy that has such a sensual afterglow.

But let’s get back to business, we gotta talk turkey about what we’re seeing and why it matters.

There are two ways to build a football system. You can structure one by throwing money at it, or you can be smart, and build out a sustainable football system.

Spending lots of money on an unsustainable system can work. Lio Messi at Barca is a case in point. But longterm, it’s killed them. Madrid created an unsustainable model with the Galacticos, a very expensive model that wasn’t really that successful.

Spurs are not building a sustainable football approach, after years of being pretty decent at it. Jose Mourinho, now a glamour coach, has one plan. They are working on an anti-football system that can kill opposition with the brilliance of two players on limited chances. That is not a sustainable system of football. One of those two players picks up an injury and it’s back to bang average. Jose constantly cries about the lack of money because his coaching is dated and it can’t outsmart the best like it could when he was at Inter Milan. He needs worldies in every position to make up for his coaching deficiencies.

United are very similar, they chuck a lot of money at players, but there’s nothing particularly interesting about what they do. They are second in a shit league season and bumming about in the Europa with us. There’s not another level under OGS except them spending more money on better players in the hope something might click. It won’t.

Clubs like Liverpool (prior to this season at least) and Manchester City have sustainable models. They are incredibly hard to create chances against, they run teams ragged, and they are deadly with their creativity. Their systems are strong even when they are bad, which is generally not for very long (because they rich). Big clubs like Bayern have sustainable football. They have great infrastructure, a certain style, so when Hansi Flick gets the job, he can tweak the football and make it electric.

What you’re seeing (or trying hard not to see) is that Arteta has spent the last 14months trying to build a sustainable model at Arsenal after years of the club shortcutting the hard work. Teams do not like playing against us now. We control games, we restrict opposition chances, and we’ve now added creativity in attack with two players with #10 like features that can hold a 97% pass completion rate against a deep block of a top 6 side. Our rolling xG since Christmas is going the way of Liverpool’s way back when Klopp started showing promising signs… we are conceding less xG and creating a lot more. Players roll in and roll out of the system and the output is pretty similar.

A lot of the press yesterday was about how bad Spurs were. Wrong. Arsenal were brilliant. They rattled Spurs. Their players hated that game. Jose knew he was in trouble because the system Arteta has can’t be bullied by ‘aggressive pressing.’ Spurs were limited to 6 attempts at our goal. They spent most of the game uncomfortably chasing shadows… but that wasn’t new from Arsenal, we’ve controlled every game since Chelsea like that.

A sustainable football system is what makes all of our centre backs look elite at the moment. Under Emery, the back four were under attack 50% of the game because he had a shit system. Now they’re only activated 20% of the game because of the way we set up. The system is making Gabriel and Luiz look like rockstars because it protects them.

The football is more cognitive now. Players understand the patterns of the game, they move with ease and fluidity, space opens up all over the pitch, and now we have killers to find those pockets and pass around corners. Look at the football, look at the intelligence of our movement, look at how protected we are all the time. That’s no accident, that’s what progressive coaching gets you. Lee Dixon, George Graham, and Tony Adams all saying they’ve heard the coaching is excellent… because it is.

Now, the great thing about this sustainable football approach is that it’s very clear what needs to be improved upon. Before Liverpool banged, they were consistently a really difficult team to play against. The criticism was Klopp couldn’t coach a defence, he always said that was nonsense, then he brought in the best centre back and keeper in a single summer and the rest is history. Before they could afford those mega players, they sold and bought smartly on a low net spend like we’re going to have to do. City, when Arteta joined them, were knocked out of the FA Cup by us and they bumbled into 4th. They had a bad season on paper, they were making defensive errors, and they weren’t finishing enough chances… but everything else was the best in the league. One summer and BANG. The best team the league had seen. Arsenal can’t afford to move that fast, but we can upgrade this summer, improve, rinse repeat in the next window until we get to the levels needed.

City, Bayern and Liverpool has the benefit of a world-class backroom to feed off. Arsenal hasn’t really had that and it’s still debatable if we do heading into the summer. My views on Edu haven’t changed. We have wasted so much money that could be helping us right now. However, what is exciting is the gaps are fairly clear. Add some elite quality and mobility to central midfield, build some support around key positions (full-backs in particular), and sell the dross and we could be cooking. Can Edu fuck that up? Who knows. No one had Willian in transfer bingo last season, the hope is Odegaard is more reflective of where we’re heading.

The point is, we can now go into the summer with a clear idea of what needs to happen for us to move forward next season. The reality is, we’ve been playing like a top 4 side since the Chelsea game. The results haven’t always followed performances, but let’s be true to ourselves, we’d rather be performing well, than shithousing wins on a road to nowhere… it’s dominant performances that’ll show us whether Arteta is the right man for the job and now we’re getting them.

What I don’t think is in doubt now is that Arteta is the right man for the job. You aren’t getting this sort of progressive football from any of the managers that were in our price range, I can assure you. Who is talking about Jose, Carlo, Hassenhutl, and Nuno now? Not many.

Arteta has been rebuilding the club from a very low ebb. He’s made plenty of mistakes, some absolute howlers, but that was priced into the move. Alex Ferguson wasn’t exactly in great shape in 1990, many United fans thought he was going to lose his job that season, but an FA Cup run saved his bacon. He was in his 3rd full season with the club, United lost 16 games in the league, conceded 47 goals and scored 46, finishing in 13th position. The fans were calling for his head from December onwards. The FA Cup win against Palace saved him. He never looked back, becoming their greatest ever manager.

Arteta’s ‘cup win’ wasn’t the actual FA Cup from last season, it was ESR hitting the ground running and raising the bar for everyone. His electric partnership with the other Hale Enders brought new energy to Arsenal. His performances shamed the slacking seniors. His progressive skillset opened up our entire style. That was a stroke of luck because most teenagers can’t do that, and 3 more games of losses might have seen the Spaniard with a P45 in his hand.

Things are different now. Fans seem behind the coach. The Auba move yesterday has been lauded by the media, ex-players, and fans. Gunnerblog reported the missed covid test I’d heard about earlier in the season, apparently he ‘missed’ it near an ugly away game in the Europa. That sort of sloppy behaviour has been all over the club this season. Even with some of the Hale-Enders that aren’t in contention at the moment. Simply put, you can’t tolerate dickheads, especially if they are your most important players. For Arteta, the most important thing is the decision was correct… as Merson said, he’ll have gained a lot of respect from the players after that.

There’s still a lot of games to go this season. No doubt there are more bad results to come, but the reality now is that we’re a very good side going places. If we sell off the remaining dross this summer and buy well, we’ll be extremely competitive for top 4 next season. If we have a good summer the year after, there’s a very good chance we’ll be competing for the Premier League title.

Football is a game of faith, no doubt, but if your faith in an idea is underpinned by a good hypothesis, it has a chance of being successful. I think we made a sharp move hiring an innovative young coach, with City IP, that knew the club. The major problems have been structural at Arsenal. Julian Nagelsmann is the German equivalent, except he’s always had great systems built around him. Hoffenheim were an elite budget outfit run by the guy who owns SAP. He moved back to Leipzig who has one of the best structures in the world. Arteta hasn’t had that sort of leadership around him which is why we’ve seen some pretty big errors. The hope is the club has learned from them and this summer will not be a repeat. Fingers crossed. We get the next window right and next season will be very sexy. x

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Pierre

    “Xhaka is no longer isolated in one on one situations, that’s what you are missing. He used to be too often exposed, ”

    Playing in central midfield with Aaron Ramsey wouldn’t have helped..
    He loved bombing forward, though not too quick to get back to his proper position.

    In saying that , before smith rowe arrived on the scene, we were missing a ramsey type player to make the runs into the box to disract defenders .

    Xhaka playing well is a good thing as we will be able to get maximum value for him when he leaves in the summer.

  2. Cazorla

    Freddy: ‘We haven’t been punished for his mistakes lately but they’re still there, almost happened a couple of times just last game against Spurs.

    Seems to me and everyone that read your comment that your talking about a mistake that almost lead to a goal. So it was a trivial mistake?

  3. AFC Forever


    As I said earlier, its a sum of all parts. Putting a team together is like building blocks. When he joined he had to work with what we already had and try to mould them into the way he wants to play. There has to be a compromise based on what the players can actually do to what you want them to do. A process. Initially it was a defensive shape over creativity. Ultimately, that means constantly upgrading the playing stock.

  4. Freddie Ljungberg


    We almost got punished for it. Not he almost made a mistake. How are you counting almost mistakes anyway?

    You can still make stupid, significant mistakes despite them not leading to a goal, sooner or later it’ll catch up to you to have an error prone player in the middle of the pitch. As we have seen so many times with Xhaka. My point is the mistakes are still there, as it was against Burnley, they just don’t always lead to goals against us, still, he’s a ticking time bomb. Just like Mustafi was, just like Kola was.

  5. Tom

    “Berd Leno has 0 errors leading to a goal – but it could be argued that he was responsible for the error against Burnely playing Xhaka a ridiculous pass.“

    Maybe it could be argued until you roll the tape and stop it dead as the ball arrives at Xhaka’s feet with enough space to his left to drive a trailer tractor through, with three unmarked Arsenal players watching on.

    The fact Xhaka’s defenders claim he couldn’t have possibly played it there first time on his weaker foot is indictment enough he’s not good enough under press. Which btw is the direction the game has been trending during recent seasons, Jose’s boneheaded strategy of holding back his deadly duo of league leading (76 in all comps) goal/assists getters notwithstanding.

  6. Jamie

    David Luiz has 1/3 of Xhaka’s errors leading to goals stats in the PL over the same time period (2016 -).

    He’s scored 8 goals, just one less than Xhaka.

  7. Pierre

    “It is different mate.Arteta did the right thing with Guendouzzi 100%. We had too many issues with players not toeing the line when Arteta joined, there was a culture of ill-discipline and I would argue that too many players were acting up, as if it was about them”

    My belief is that it was Emery and Arteta that were as much the problem as the players

    Man management is a vital part of the job and both have failed in that area in my opinion .

  8. Pierre

    “My point is the mistakes are still there, as it was against Burnley, they just don’t always lead to goals against us, still, he’s a ticking time bomb. Just like Mustafi was, just like Kola was.”

    This is true.

  9. Northbanker

    How can you possibly know that Pierre.? You’re not on the training ground and have no access to privileged information so citing man management is a nonsense. Lie the rest of us you can only surmise based on the limited details made public.

    If Emery had allowed his bigger names to get out of control (as seems to have happened at PSG with Neymar) then it would have been an impossible situation for Arteta to deal with without breaking some eggs along the way. That process is no doubt still needing to continue but the ousting of Guendouzi and Ozil along with the benching of Auba,, shows the guy is not going to tolerate indiscipline beyond a certain public level. I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff he also has to turn a blind eye to too

    Let’s give MA some credit where its due. Even Guen is now coming back on bended knee asking for his job back. If that isn’t great man management I don’t know what is

  10. AFC Forever


    “You have a bigger hardon for Granit than CC. Miss that guy”

    Ha ha. Blokes have never made me hard mate, that’s a fact.

    To be honest, I am not a massive Xhaka fan I just don’t like bullying or unfairness. He’s stood up to the plate and works hard for the team, he never hides or shirks responsibility. I’m not a ‘hater’ – not in my make-up and I accept that the younger fan is more guided by the media and clickbait type journalism, which is why ‘hating’ on a player is more prevailant. My point remains; if you want to be taken seriously then make sure your opinion is even-handed, that way opinions are taken more seriously because they come across as informed and not part of an agenda. Posting a stat that he has made two errors this season when every other player on the list has committed one, as evidence that he hasn’t been playing well is mind-blowing stupidity & pretty ill-educated. Have a list of players to hate on, if that floats your boat, but don’t mug yourself off.

  11. Jamie

    AFC –

    You have to lighten up. This is an opinion blog. Criticism of players isn’t personal, and it’s even less your job to defend the players from those criticisms, although you’re welcome to.

    We all hope Xhaka can make it through the rest of the season without many more unforced errors. He needs replacing in the summer if we want to improve. Agree or don’t, it’s no biggie.

    All the rest is what keeps the comments section rolling.

  12. AFC Forever


    “Let’s give MA some credit where it’s due. Even Guen is now coming back on bended knee asking for his job back. If that isn’t great man-management I don’t know what is”

    Yep Arteta’s man-management has been impeccable. He came into a club with lots of problems related to players, none of which was of his making. He shipped out those he could no longer trust because ultimately when you have young players you can’t have that poison around. The Ozil decision was a brave one too. What he did with Guendouzzi was brilliant, it’s about time someone started standing up to these players egos. What he did Sunday with Aubamayang took real balls but it has paid off in spades. It is no coincidence the whole culture has changed, it’s a much happier place.

  13. salparadisenyc

    Xhaka get put under the microscope too much on here, if you haven’t been made aware of his limitations this past year you’ve been smoking something special.

    He’s quintessential modern Arsenal for me, Jekyll and Hyde. The perfect representation of this club at moment, the good the bad and the ugly.

  14. Matt

    I was one of those questioning Arteta’s treatment of Gendouzi, but after hearing how he has been in Germany and other stories, it is quite clear he is jut a petulant prick. I used to credit him with ‘passion’ and fight, which were attributes that we were generally lacking at the time, but I don’t think he channels it in the right way at all and perhaps he never will. You can see how we would be a complete nightmare behind the scenes.

    He is the sort of person who would get involved in an argument that has nothing to do with him but would be the first to run if punches started to swing. He is a good player and with a different attitude, he would be worth keeping, but he is not a mercurial talent who you make allowances for and if we can get £20m plus for him, he should be one of the first to go, but I don’t imagine buyers will be lining up for him, because his reputation is well known.

  15. AFC Forever


    “AFC –You have to lighten up. This is an opinion blog. Criticism of players isn’t personal, and it’s even less your job to defend the players from those criticisms, although you’re welcome to”

    Jamie, there is no need to be so defensive or patronising mate. I know what I am welcome to do; it’s a blog mate pretty bloody pointless writing food recipes on here. If you are going to make ridiculous comments or try to be disingenuous then expect to be challenged. No need to tell people to ‘lighten up’ when all they have done is correct a poorly orchestrated and presented narrative based on some stats you pulled off the internet that once analysed are pure bollocks.

  16. AFC Forever


    “I was one of those questioning Arteta’s treatment of Gendouzi, but after hearing how he has been in Germany and other stories, it is quite clear he is just a petulant prick”

    It’s a difficult one because at the end of the day he is still only young. With maturity comes better behaviour and you would like to think now he has a kid he would be less ‘objectionable”. The one thing we cannot do is have someone around the club who is disruptive or causing friction, irrespective of ability. You only have to compare him to ESR and Saka to notice the lack of humility. I would sell him and if we can get £20m that would be a result.

  17. Tom

    It is an opinion blog but if we can’t agree a professional player on £6M a year should be able to slot a slowly rolling ball through a 15 foot gap from 7 yards out, then maybe we should just start talking about our feelings instead.

  18. Matt


    He is only young, but that’s what they were saying about the likes of Pogba and Ravel Morrison, until they were no longer young and it was clear that they were just that type of person.

    As you say, he may change, but recent reports from Germany don’t seem to suggest that. We have let better players with better attitudes leave in the past. I for one wouldn’t lose any sleep if he was sold.

  19. Jamie

    “Posting a stat that he has made two errors this season when every other player on the list has committed one, as evidence that he hasn’t been playing well is mind-blowing stupidity & pretty ill-educated”

    This is unreal though. He has the most of any outfield player since his arrival in the PL

    Highlighting that he’s joint top of the list for outfield players this season too (regardless of the number) shows he’s consistently error-prone, and all his errors didn’t come in a single season anomaly.

    Calling someone stupid and ill-educated after cherry-picking a single stat to shit on is pure comedy. Peak Bamford.

  20. Nelson

    During the press conference, Arteta on Martinelli
    “If anything it’s my fault. He’s done everything perfect”

    Good. Arteta has admitted that he hasn’t treated Martinelli correctly.

  21. Nelson

    There was an image in Arsenal/Youtube:
    Kieran Tierney gestures for Thomas Partey to concentrate during the NLD.

    KT is already doing Auba’s job now..

  22. AFC Forever


    “Good. Arteta has admitted that he hasn’t treated Martinelli correctly”.

    Mate, you have misinterpreted what Arteta said. Asked about Martinelli not playing this is what he said:

    “If anything it’s my fault. He’s done everything perfectly, he trains incredibly, & his attitude couldn’t be better. He’s really disappointed he’s not playing more obviously, & I have spoke to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient”

    He hasn’t said he has “mistreated” him, he is simply praising the lad’s attitude and saying he needs to be patient. I suspect Martinelli will have a big part to play for us in the near future.

  23. Dissenter

    No need to be so defensive about Arteta

    Arteta, it turns out is more open that you his main defender.

    Artreta is saying he has not done right by Martinelli. He’s admitting that the kids deserves better.

  24. AFC Forever


    Yes, I saw that. Tierney is a leader, we discussed this yesterday he has an incredible will to win. he has a great attitude, the desire he shows during the game is immense. Future captain.

  25. China1

    ‘ David Luiz has 1/3 of Xhaka’s errors leading to goals stats in the PL over the same time period (2016 -).He’s scored 8 goals, just one less than Xhaka.’


  26. AFC Forever


    I think Aubamayang was made captain more for his presence being our perceived best player. That doesn’t always correspond to their on-pitch ‘management” but to be fair, you shouldn’t need a captain for that. When you have experienced players like Luiz, for example, they are automatically looked to as leaders. In fact, you need that leadership mentality all over the pitch, you don’t need an armband. Never understand strikers being made captains but Kane is at Spuds – they tend to make the ‘star player” the Captain now because they are more captains off the pitch than on it.

  27. Foxy

    My concern about Guen other than attitude, based on his Arsenal games and a few HB ones I have watched, is his continued inability to challenge players effectively either in the air or on the ground which has to be a basic requirement for any deep or box to box midfielder. Not to mention that he cannot properly hold off a challenge without falling over trying to win a free kick.

  28. China1

    How statistical errors are logged is rarely accurate anyway

    He gave away two assists to the opposition in his last 3 or 4 games. I’m fairly confident he’s done more than that in the last 27 league games. Not including the red card.

    A key factor is some mistakes get punished and some do not. I’ve seen more than enough errors which didn’t get punished to know ‘2’ is only a fraction of the mistakes he’s made.

  29. China1

    Foxy yeah the constant falling over is annoying to watch

    He usually does win the foul because he draws the foul on very effectively but on the occasions when the player wins it cleanly he comes off like a right mug and I’m not gonna lie I’d much rather see our players beat their man and pass the ball early than beat their man, fall over their face and win a free kick every time.

    Free kicks slow the game down and stop there from being any chance to transition quickly and counter before the opposition have set. Drawing in fouls in your own half should always be a last resort rather than 30% of your game. I hope guen has learned this in Germany

  30. Pedro

    Diss, big difference between mistreatment and not getting starts.

    One is about competition in a squad, one is about toxic management. Which you well know.

  31. The Bard

    AFC I tend to agree with you on Guendo. If he is a disruptive presence Arteta then we need to get rid of him. We’ve all known people at work or in teams who are shit stirrers and back biters. They are toxic. I dont know whether he is or he isnt. We will find out soon enough.

  32. China1

    There’s also a difference between not getting starts and not getting any minutes at all for a very talented player with a good attitude and work rate

    My first choice wingers would be saka and Pepe atm and ESr has done a great job vs Spurs, Willian is playing better than before etc

    But it’s hard to believe Martinelli has absolutely zero to offer this squad. Absolutely nothing

  33. Dissenter

    The Guen thing is already done.
    He has only one year left on his contract. The technical director just needs to answer the question of “do we extend his deal”?
    If the answer is NO, then sell him. We can’t afford to lose money on any players right now.

  34. Pierre

    “My first choice wingers would be saka and Pepe atm and ESr has done a great job vs Spurs, Willian is playing better than before etc”

    Which means Smith Rowe or Odegaard will miss out ….which one?

  35. Pierre

    The way i look at it is, Arteta clearly rates and trusts certain players above others , which is fair enough , that’s his job to make difficult decisions..

    I believe his definite starters ( when fit ) are Leno, Luiz, Tierney , Xhaka, Partey ,Saka and Odegaard…

    Which leaves 4 positions ….i would say Aubameyang and Smith Rowe are very close to being automatic starters , which leaves 2 positions , right back and centre half.
    Gabriel and Bellerin look favourites for the last 2 positions.

    I believe Artea will play his strongest available side tomorrow and sunday as there is a 2 week break before the liverpool game.

    If any players should feel unhappy about being benched it should be Holding and Mari as we conceded fewer goals with those 2 starting .

    However, Luiz and Gabriel have done well so 4 good centre backs who can do a job can only be a good thing.

  36. Samir


    Why not try one of ESR/Ode at CM? Just like City do with KDB.
    I think Odegaard would make a fine CM to partner Partey, he certainly has the stamina.
    Would allow us to play ESR at no10, Pepe LW, Saka RW.

  37. Samir

    Bellerin a favourite for RB?
    How come Cedric started against Spurs then? I think Arteta rates him higher than Bellerin.

  38. china1

    Pierre I prefer ESR to Ode because I think he has a little more to his game and he’s also ours to keep unlike Ode who may or may not be come the end of the Summer transfer window

    I also think it’s not clever of Arteta to always play both of them at the same time. you said a million times earlier this season how much we suffered without a 10. now we always have 2 on the pitch at the same time. There should be some frequent rotation between them both to keep them both fresh and fit and we also have more than enough good wingers that I don’t think it’s necessary to have ESR out wide (as good as he was there vs Spurs).

    like imagine if arteta keeps picking them both and in 3 games one of them breaks down with an injury/exhaustion, then we’re down to 1 creative 10 in the whole squad who will have been playing every game and could also be tired/injured easily leaving us with zero. if we didn’t have any wingers I’d understand it but since we have about 4 players competing for wing positions who are actually wingers and in light of the above, I think it’s a naive risk to keep playing ESR and Ode together and it’s also completely unnecessary

  39. china1

    for the record pierre I like ode a lot and provided we can also upgrade on xhaka I’d gladly see us sign him in the summer. I think he’s going to have an excellent career tbh

  40. AFC Forever

    We don’t play wingers in the traditional sense.

    The team set up is more fluid than that, which is why ESR and Odegaard have been bought in. You have to be able to do the other stuff well without the ball and that requires not just a different skill set but desire and understanding. For example, if you watch how ESR & Odegaard press and take position, it causes the opposition a different problem than someone just running at them. Against Spuds, they couldn’t get out due to the pressing and positional balance we had without the ball.

    It is also about using Tierney’s strength, if you stick Pepe over there will that restrict the damage Tierney can inflict? ESR isn’t played on the left to be a winger or a wide player, he’s there to link play and move the opposition around and when we haven’t got the ball to press or take up positions that inhibit movement between the lines.

  41. AFC Forever


    “I also think it’s not clever of Arteta to always play both of them at the same time”

    Couldn’t disagree more. They should play together whenever possible.

  42. China1

    Ok AFC so if ESR pulls a hammy on Thursday you now have a single player left who can play as a 10 and he will need to play most or all the games as our team dies without a 10. If he drops what next?

    And is this necessary when we have saka Pepe Martinelli Willian and auba as options there? My answer would be no

  43. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal have currently six central midfielders [4 deep central and 2 offensive] and that is the minimum number required to meet all our season’s commitments.

    I hope that Odegaard will stay at the club next season and compete with Smith-Rowe for the
    offensive position.

    I am happy to retain Partey, Xhaka and Elneny, but I would like to see us replace Ceballos with a physically stronger and more productive replacement.

    Personally I don’t see a future for Guendouzi, Torreira and Maitland-Niles at the club. They
    should be sold and provide the funds needed to buy a top class replacement for Ceballos.

  44. zacharse

    Word from arteta in the press is that martinelli should probably be getting minutes soon… maybe surprise start tomorrow if auba is still benched

  45. Sid

    It would be unsuitable to play Ode as CM if the forwards are Auba and Pepe on the wing, Bellerin,
    which would mean he would need to recover the ball.
    It works for KDB because most of the players at man c can keep possesion of the ball.

  46. Zacharse

    Lotta little stories about footage of martinelli running CF drills in training. Speculation that some of the down time is being spent converting him from the wing to the center. Imagine having him fresh and ready to play CF w esr ode and saka behind him. Thats sounds intriguing to me, hope thats coming

  47. Habesha Gooner

    Martinelli’s Exile is ridiculous to me. Players should play based on form regardless of seniority. Arteta is telling us how much willian has been performing well. We have been playing some good football recently but this is one of the reasons I have doubts about Arteta. The fact that Luiz is still playing ahead of Holding who was on a great run of form too just says to me Arteta prefers Seniority over Youthful Exuberance. And I don’t like that. If he the players he prefers were great for us I would shut up about it but they aren’t. Anyway I just hope Martinelli is being groomed for a C F role next season when Lacazette leaves. Otherwise we are wasting a generational talent.

  48. Nelson

    Luiz is better than Holding when he doesn’t have brain farts. He can lead the defense. Martinelli vs Willian is a totally different situation. Not only Martinelli is faster and more energetic, he still has a lot of up side. The more he is developed, the sooner he can really help our team.. Willian, not so much.

  49. Pierre

    “Bellerin a favourite for RB?
    How come Cedric started against Spurs then? I think Arteta rates him higher than Bellerin.”

    Maybe ..we will see.

    Personally, i prefer cedric but here isn’t much between them
    I am hoping for an upgrade in the summer., Ola Oina is an outside bet for me. Can play left or right back or wing back and wouldn’t break the bank as he is on loan to Fulham from Torino. ..but i do like his game.

    Bissouma has been top of my list since the summer of last year for the cm position , though i really rate jorginho but it looks like tuchel can see what he brings to the chelsea team , so we may have missed the boat there.

  50. Foxy

    Zach I was pondering exactly that reason for Martinelli’s current lack of play time then I read you post. Hopefully if he is making progress in training he will get some minutes at CF soon. I rwckon he could develop into a prime RVP type CF maybe also a touch of Vardy.

  51. Pierre

    “Yep Arteta’s man-management has been impeccable. ”

    That’s pushing it a bit…I’m all for being positive about the club and manager but Arteta’s impeccable man management almost cost him his job back in december if Smith Rowe hadn’t fell into his lap.

  52. Zacharse

    Sure would explain the need to quietly insert martinelli back in if the conversion is on. Can’t say i’d be sad to see laca and auba upstaged after the calamitous season we’ve had with them- but obviously squad politics is always gonna be a thing…

  53. Northbanker

    Nelson – Holding has been immense for us on numerous occasions. When they’re both at their best, Luiz probably does edge it but which Luiz turns up? For consistency it’s Holding all the way for me

    Agree with Willian – at best you’re getting average and even then piss poor return on his wages. At worst……….. nuff said

  54. Foxy

    Willian is going to be a tragic drain on this club’s resources for the next 2.5 years unless we can move him m on to the MSL. Worried about Auba being the same.

  55. AFC Forever

    Sal, yes tight first game and this may be the same. If AM get an away goal early on it will change the dynamics. Two pragmatic managers, so they might both play safe meaning it could be a bore until the last 15 minutes or so.

  56. Northbanker

    the point that keeps getting spouted over and over from the cynics on here was how lucky MA was in stumbling across ESR. No more so than someone buying Auba before he arrived (re last season) or Saka being developed, albeit mostly as a LB, or the slug buying Tierney.

    Less so than having a number of poor performers on the books which meant he couldn’t buy at any decent level.

    MA welcomed ESR back from loan prior to the season and stated he was looking forward to working with him. He was then injured for much of the beginning and needed to get fitness after that.

    There was no stumbling but instead a delayed plan.

  57. Habesha Gooner

    Luiz either performs like a world class player or a clown. And the clown may show up at anytime. He has personality. But for the position he plays you need a calmer and more reliable player. That’s why I have never rated Luiz as a great CB even when he was fetching world record fee for a defender. He can play 4 great matches and he will have 1 absolute stinker.

    I would rather we give Holding the playing time than Luiz who may or may not be here with us next season. For me playing Luiz and willian is short termism. We need to play players that will have a long future here.

  58. Nelson


    Holding and Gabriel are both not ready to lead a defense. Luiz is perfect to team up with Gabriel. Holding with Marie is acceptable but not as strong as Luiz witn Gabriel. Luiz’s outlet passes are much more superior than Holding.

  59. Pierre

    I’m not sure Vieira under Arteta would have still been at the çlub after getting sent off v west ham and spitting at ruddock, resulting in a 7 game ban.

    Luckily we had a manager back then who understood that not all players are perfect and consequently Vieira was allowed to lead the Arsenal to success and lift many trophies.

  60. Karsa

    Luckily we had a manager back then who understood that not all players are perfect

    He wasn’t as tolerant with Szczęsny having a sly smoke though.

  61. Major_Jeneral


    Guendouzi and Viera cannot be placed on the same comparison charts.

    Moreover, I am not surprised by Mikel’s Man management style and decisions. He has learned some cues from Pep. Pep had issues with players when he arrived at manCity (Yaya Toure ). The same at Barca when he started there. Ronaldinho was known for off the pitch behaviours that did not fit into Pep’s plan for a new Barca that will be feared. This is a normal phenomenon as a manager of players and people at a club you win some and lose some. Wenger despite his man-management skillsets lost Gnabry.

  62. Pedro

    Pierre, Xhaka and Pepe both sent off for dim reasons. Guendo isn’t out because he was mean to Maupay, it’s much deeper than that

  63. MAXCAT

    The Future..Which future?
    How many of the best prospects from the Academy and out on loan are due to leave fr free this summer?