ARTETA DEFERENCE TO SENIOR PLAYERS STILL A MAJOR FLAW

by .

Arsenal and West Ham put on a blockbuster London Derby for the neutrals yesterday as they shared 6 goals and the spoils. The game was the best and the worst of Arsenal. Truly a difficult one to rationally analyse. Arteta put it well after the game when he said there are two faces to Arsenal.

“The first half an hour was really disappointing, we weren’t at the races. We showed the face that we still have, but then we showed our spirit in tough conditions where any team could collapse, start blaming each other or show bad body language.

“We conceded a quality goal, but then we didn’t win enough challenges, we didn’t show urgency, and we conceded another two goals that were unacceptable. That keeps me awake. It has happened too many times too often. At this level you cannot do that because your opponents are too good.

He’s not wrong.

Matt from the podcast always says you know within two minutes which Arsenal is showing up, yesterday was no different. Smith Rowe said before the game that Arteta knows what’s coming, well, turns out David Moyes still has a trick or two, because he countered our thinking and dropped a 4 man high press.

We couldn’t cope. West Ham were running riot. They were fresher, we were slower, and the team didn’t have the tools to adapt to what was happening to them. Lingaard opened the scoring early on, David Luiz showing too little to Antonio who cut back to one of the form players in England, his thunderous shot was sublime, but Arsenal’s defensive structure was far too deep.

The second started because Bernd Leno’s pass wasn’t controlled, Partey gave away a freekick on the edge of the box, everyone was asleep to the quick pass, Bowen took advantage and bundled his shot under a weak Leno. Mari and Luiz looking like a couple of clowns in the process.

The third one was classic West Ham, a great cross from the right, Antonio bullying his way past Luiz to head home with embarrassing ease.

Plenty were writing Artetan obituaries after that, the only positive was we still had 60 minutes to claw something back… things couldn’t possibly get worse.

We did finally start to find our way around West Ham, they started to drop off, I suppose thinking a 3-0 lead was done and dusted. It was not. Partey to Odegaard, Odegaard to Cal C, Cal C to Lacazette who controlled and rifled a shot in off Soucek for an own goal.

We should have made it two, Lacazette finding the run of Saka who struck a low shot too early and close to Fabianksi.

That was what we needed going into half time. I thought there’d be some swift changes because there were some dreck performances, but Arteta resisted.

We came out the traps over the next 45. The football was very special. Cal Chambers slipped Lacazette in on 48 minutes with an outrageous ball, Lacazette lifted over the keeper but West Ham cleared the lines well.

Martin Odegaard decided that today was going to be all about him. He pulled the strings like he’d been taking tips from peak Zidane. His movement was fantastic, he demanded the ball, he made good decisions over and over. He was rewarded on 60, his reverse pass found the run of Cal Chambers who whipped in a ball so perfect, Dawson had to put it in his own net. Brilliant from the Arsenal right back.

West Ham were not without threat. There was a terrible mix up in our area and it looked like West Ham had an open goal, Cal Chambers snuffed out the moment. Benrahma made some space for himself, blazed across our goal, leaving Antonio to hit the post from a yard. Even Declan Rice unleashed a mazy run he should have done better with.

It was Arsenal who took their chance in the end. Partey found Odegaard in the middle again, the Norwegian slipped in Pepe, he found his balance and planted a ball perfectly on the head of Lacazette.

We really could have won it late on. Pepe will feel annoyed this morning over some of his choices in front of goal and there were a few moments at the back end of the game when Martin O didn’t make the right decision on a break.

Overall though, coming back against a very good West ham side from 3-0 down away from home will feel better for Arsenal than it will for West Ham.

So what did we learn here?

Arteta has a real problem with deference to senior players who let him down. The line-up today wasn’t right. Auba stunk out the Europa League tie in the week and he did it again today. Arteta reverting him back to a wide position where he’d have to put a shift in when he could barely crack a smile was just a bad decision. He keeps dropping disaster classes and he keeps getting back in the side. It’s a bit of a joke. Martinelli had a bad 55 against Villa and he’s ditched for 5 weeks. Where is the consistency?

Arteta also has a painful addiction to David Luiz. It has to stop. He wasn’t interested or focused today because he thinks he’s above games like that. He’s a monster when he knows it counts, against smaller teams, he doesn’t show up. He was really poor, he lacked intensity, and he didn’t take control or lead his defence in a bad situation. Why persist with someone like that? If he is the worldie guy, keep him fresh for worldie games and give the minutes to players that will treat West Ham like Real Madrid. Don’t give him a new deal, because these regular switch offs will get worse next season.

What is deeply frustrating is you know that the on-pitch product was an attitude thing, not a talent one. When we bucked our ideas up, we smashed West Ham. But that’s the thing with this squad, they always have that sort of performance in them. Arteta says he’ll have nightmares about that start, he should, I hope he wakes up in cold sweats… but mostly, I hope he remembers who made him wet the bed. Auba wasn’t there for the team again today, 4 sprints in the first half tells a story, it was like playing with 10 men, watching him pretend to challenge for crosses is painful viewing… but he was given 80 minutes. He was caught taking penny sweets from reception before the Spurs game and we sent him to football jail, on Thursday and Saturday, he broke into Mikel’s house and took a dump in his games room and Mikel is looking the other way telling people it was a show of commitment. Where is the consistency?

The coaching staff seems to have starfucker tendancies. It’s weird behaviour. They need to start matching their principles to their actions and treat older players the same way they treat younger players when it comes to shit performances.

Moving beyond the negatives, let’s look to the positives… we came back from 3-0 down away from home and took a point. We deserved a win based on the chances we created. That was an immense fight back and that sort of game will do the belief in the squad an absolute world of good.

Martin Odegaard is an exceptional talent, that result pivoted on his brilliance. His touch, vision, and patience is a sight to behold. We’ll be doing very well to keep him on the books next season. A magical talent that could take us to the next level.

Alex Lacazette, doing everything right again. An extremely unselfish performance marked by dogged work rate, beautiful combination play, and finally… some goals. I have been so, so impressed with the way he’s adapted to a new role. Hard to see him leaving this summer, he’s been too good.

I had a lot of love for Cal Chambers. I hear he’s one of the best people you’ll meet at Arsenal, everyone loves him. He was brilliant yesterday. He’s the sauciest right back at the club, his deft touches and ruthless deliveries were refreshing. If he had a little more pace, he’d be first choice there. I would love to see him given more of a go as a centre back as we head into the back end of the season.

Thomas Partey had a weird game. He is a high-risk player, and usually really good, but he put us in some spots yesterday. Overall, 91% pass completion is elite in a game like that. He made 14 ball recoveries. He was everywhere, but I just felt he was a little loose at times.

Overall, the message is clear… plenty to work on at Arsenal, but we’re still progressing. We don’t come back before Christmas. We feel sorry for ourselves and die. That’s grit and determination. The bigger issue we’re dealing with is how to stop ourselves from gifting opponents the way we do. We will never move forward until we bring that under control.

… and of course, our next game after the break is Liverpool. Would be a wonderful time to start getting our shit together. Hopefully, we can wrap a few of our youngsters in cotton wool in the meantime.

On that note, I’ll see you in the comments. Take a listen to our podcast with Johnny and Matt.

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286 Responses to “ARTETA DEFERENCE TO SENIOR PLAYERS STILL A MAJOR FLAW”

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  1. Chris

    Rich

    That Man Utd kit just reminds me when they did us 6-2 at Highbury way back when. I also need to remember we walked out later that season as champions against it.

    Agree Adidas just boss football kits in general, although I did like one or two Puma did for us and quite a few of the Nike kits. Apart from the raspberry ripple one this year every one Adidas has done so far has been quality.

  2. SpanishDave

    Pedro bending the truth as usual
    West Ham have played twice (not once) in the last eight days we have played one more during the week
    It’s called spin, like the 4th trophy over the past couple of months.
    The league table does not lie.
    Really

  3. Chris

    Mics

    I think a buyer for Aubameyangvis unlikely given the climate in the transfer market and also what we would demand for him plus wages etc.

    I don’t want to be too harsh on him, not excusing his recent performances and attitude, but prior to this season he has been a goal machine for us. As him leaving is unlikely we really do need to work out where he best fits for us when we do use him. With the line up he could have behind him consisting of three from Saka/ESR/Odegaard/Pepe/Martinelli, I wouldikento think we are covered in wide forward positions, so allow him to ply central and reap the benefits of the creativity behind him.

    All this ain’t to say that if some
    Hooray Henry did come on with a mad bud for him, we should absolutely think about it.

  4. SpanishDave

    Auba could be traded as make weight for Ode as somebody suggested
    His age is against him now, so we have our next Ozil.
    He’s done for and he doesn’t fit into our playing pattern

  5. Up 4 grabs now

    Evening,

    Since Xmas we are a top four side???? Not quite sure about that assessment.
    These are the teams we played

    Chelsea
    Brighton
    WBA
    Crystal palace dropped points draw
    Newcastle
    Southampton
    Man utd dropped points draw
    Wolves dropped points loss
    Villa dropped points loss
    City dropped points loss
    Leeds
    Leicester
    Burnley dropped points draw
    Spuds
    West ham.dropped points draw

    Realistically Chelsea, city, United are the traditional tough games the rest are games we should be winning, if we’re a top four side.

    No surprise to lose against city, utd we did have a weakened side and drew, and Chelsea we won.
    Top four sides dont lose to villa, wolves they dont draw with the likes of palace, Burnley, west ham.

    Most of the teams we won against were bottom ten sides barring Leicester and the spuds.

    Yesterday’s first 30 odd minutes was a true disgrace.
    Ten minutes in and we had 14% possession to west hams 86%

    Almost every game we start off slow and don’t usually wake up till we’re one nil down. That’s not a top four side.

    Arteta continues to persist with xhaka in midfield, and how does luiz get in front of holding.
    Martinelli benched while auba stinks up the joint.

    Chambers, laca and odo were immense yesterday, at least there was some fight in the side.

  6. Pierre

    Partey’s contribution yesterday has largely gone unnoticed.
    His 2nd half performance was superb , especially when Xhaka went off.

    Partey’s passing between the lines to Odegaard and Lacazette was sublime, he took control of the game and his touch on the ball was immaculate.
    Anyone who criticised his performance yesterday needs to rewatch the game.

    This gives me great hope for the future, especially if we can keep Odegaard, as he takes up very intelligent positions and partey is the man to pick him out.

  7. The Bard

    Chris I agree re Auba. I wasn’t a fan of giving him a new contract but could see the logic. I dont think he would want to leave as I doubt anyone would be willing to pay his wages at his age. He will go on a free in a couple of years time. I would love us to buy Odegaard as he just gets better with more game time but of course the down side for us is his value goes up and other bigger clubs will come sniffing with mega wages. You can be sure RM will want top dollar for him. Not sure we are financially at the right level but you never know.
    Anyone reading these posts would think lost. We are inconsistent at present so what’s new. Relax and enjoy.

  8. Ernest Reed

    Maybe its just me, but have we not seen Aubameyang showing similar indifference when he decided his time was up at Dortmund?

    Regarding what can we get for him on the open market? Likely not much as the pool of teams that can afford such wages is very limited and at that, how many of them are looking for someone who really is a one-dimensional player who blows hot and cold?

  9. Pierre

    Grabs
    “Can you imagine how much better partey would be if he wasn’t carrying xhaka for most games.”

    True.

    I’m wondering if Arteta may change the system slightly into more of a 4-1-4-1.and sit Partey in the middle and play Smith Rowe and Odegaard centrally ahead of him.

    Of course the problem could be that we are short in midfield defensively but may be worth a try.

  10. Kroenkephobe

    Think we’re the first team in the league to come back from 3 goals down this season.

    Pedro,
    In a cruel twist of fate, WHU also did it earlier this season… Against Spuds.

  11. englandsbest

    It’s become clear that Arteta wants Odegaard as an Arsenal player. His major summer signing. And it’s equally clear that Zidane regards the player as expendable. The key question is: how much does Odegaard want to be an Arsenal player?

    Arteta describes him as shy and humble. Not a pushy guy, very much like Dennis. Unlikely to flourish at the Bernabeu, the home of los galacticos where ego is all. Better far at the Emirates. If the Norwegian decides that he wants to stay, that he has found his home, then by hook or crook, stay he will.

  12. Danny S

    If RM sign Haaland this summer there’s no chance we keep MO.

    I seriously doubt we will get him even if not as he will have the pick of any team in Europe based on his performances.

  13. Na me ooo

    Pierre

    In the 4-1-4-1 that you mentioned, I think as long as the two playing in front of Partey is ESR and ODE we would be fine.

    They both keep the ball well and very hardworkers.

    Xhaka is making Partey look bad. Its also why he keeps getting injured.

  14. Mb

    The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place.

    Over to you Mikel.

    From – Subtle art of not giving a fu*k

  15. Zacharse

    Odegaard is staying. No one should have to worry about that. Zidane has wanted him to prove himself there, but we offer him the system where he’s basically done it in a month. Why would he want to return? Why would he care when his head’s been turned. How much is he on per week? We come in w a fair offer-he refuses a new contract w them. They probably can’t afford at the moment what he should be paid anyway. Be realistic and quit adding pessimism to any new twist that pops up in our season. Things are looking up at the moment

    If RM actually go after haaland theyre gonna need to sell anyway and how many teams are coming in for hazard modric casemiro kroos. Even if they sell varane for 100m they still have bale on their hands for another year. Their gonna have to eat somehow and if you really think odegaard isnt aware of that too i dunno wuut to tell ya

    We’re not a small club. Anyone who isn’t a ‘fan’ can much easier see what’s been going on at our club, if they are perceptive enough. Our club structure was not prepared to deal w wenger late years or the first appointment post wenger. We just didn’t have the people in place or the money for a while that places like liverpool, chelsea, city even tottenham to a degree hd to have in place.

    – if they actually understand what’s going on

  16. Zacharse

    Its gonna take time for things to rebuild and at least arteta is an arsenal guy. Emery for however good he actually was, did not belong at arsenal as the manager of an attacking technical side. He literally had zero experience in england other than the odd europa league game. We’re in safer hands now and jf the club does whats right by its fans they will find better people to end the wenger era and make us a scary side again. We’re like a little more than halfway there. Looking fkrward to mext season already lol

  17. Batesy68

    Pierre is our best striker end of. He is not played well the last couple of games but he better than Laca. We can’t and we are not about to ditch him so think we need to make this work. I like Laca and he deserves his place but we need to think long term. If we are not going to offer him a new contract what’s the point of keep playing him, especially now we can’t do anything in the league .

  18. Uwot?

    @zacharse.Like your take on our current situation.A realistic summing up of what’s been going on & where we’re at & hopefully arriving soon.

  19. Pierre

    i have a feeling that many on here will change their tune about the importance of the pre assist..

    The pre assist has always been regarded as meaningless on Le Grove , not by me…

    Odegaard’s performance v west ham was superb in many different ways but on the records it will show that he didn’t score or assist.

    In the future we will be hearing about the pre pre assist, and we will have the master of the pre pre assist in Thomas Partey..

    It will be Partey between the lines to Odegaard…Odegaard with the ball inside(or outside) the opposition full back to Saka ,/ Tierney who slides the ball across the face of goal for the tap in.. .

    Odegaard is very good but Partey will make him even better as he knows when and how to feed the ball between the lines for Odegaard to receive the ball in the area between the opposition defence and midfield.

    Of course if Odegaard doesn’t make the move to Arsenal, Smith Rowe has already shown that he is more than capable…

    What Partey brings to the team is progressive passing through the heart of the opposition, something we have been missing since Arteta arrived.

    It will bring more risks but anything is better than the constant recycling of the ball from one side to the other(xhaka football)..

  20. Andy

    re. auba, i think i can see what arteta is doing. he did the same with ozil and he is doing it with luiz and willian. he is giving them plenty of chances to prove to himself and the other decision makers which ones need to be cut in the summer. i would love to see auba dropped right now but arteta owes it to the club to try to get the best out of him (and willian, and luiz etc. etc.) while they are being paid and he builds a stronger case for letting them go when they repeatedly let him down.

    i have seen the tide turn against auba in recent weeks among gooners. that wouldn’t have happened if he was benched the whole time. also, there is always the hope he will bang in a couple of goals (he does little else) and we might still get some decent money for him in the summer.

  21. Mark

    Can’t stand to see Xhaka on the ball, just stops the flow of the moves, passing sideways or backwards. So frustrating to see opportunities going begging cos all he wants to do is play nowhere passes followed by his predictable diagonal passes out to the wings.

    Absolutely hate to see him just inside the opposition half and then going long back to Leno,
    But if he keeps getting picked and Luiz then our progress is gonna be slower and harder than it could have been.

    He needs good advice about how to close out a game, especially when in front. It’s not always about just putting on more defensive players. As we know more of a threat causes teams to have to think twice.
    If he can’t do it himself he needs better advice from his staff, or better staff. Cos they ain’t doing it well.

  22. Gbat

    Xhaka, like him or not, is one of the best progressive passers in Europe. What we need is someone who can do what he does and more. A player who offers more offensively. For me that’s someone like Fabian Ruiz or Locatelli.

  23. Words+on+a+Blog

    Pierre,

    No offence but I’d like to make a minor correction to how your statement should read:

    “Passing the ball forward after taking 17 touches to Tierney who is waiting impatiently on the touchline is not my idea of a progressive pass”

  24. China1

    Pedro good post

    This point we always make about Martinelli isn’t that he should be an automatic starter or be playing 90 mins every week. It’s only that the minutes he gets are not relative to the value he can bring this squad. And as you said big name players like auba and Willian have had how many chances this season irrespective of form? Meanwhile Martinelli is a known quantity, not an untested kid. We know what he’s about and what he brings to the table

    This is why Martinelli needs more game time and arteta is wrong to sideline him so hard. He should be a common rotation option, sub and impact player and if he kicks on with that can lag a marker for the first team spot. At the moment he’s just getting cock blocked by arteta tho

  25. China1

    Pierre I agree

    Partey is a game changer in midfield even when he’s not at his best. Our attack benefits enormously from what he can do from deep

  26. Mark

    Pedro,

    He must pad his stats with those 3yrd forward passes that come straight back to him. I just don’t think he’s someone who can pick a nice through ball pass. Most of his go sideways or backwards.
    I know he’s doing what he feels is best and playing safe, he’s limited I get that but he’s just not good enough.
    Even though he’s not mucking up he’s a ticking time bomb who every time I see play, I’m left wondering how we’d look with a real good player in that important position.

    We really need to upgrade in the summer, we really really do.

  27. Nelson

    Last game, Xhake was tired. He hardly ran on the pitch. Normally, he played better while partnering Partey. Also he is responsible to cover up for Tierney.

    Since Auba can’t pass, we can’t rely on Auba for the build up of the attack, Last game, Ødegaard slided a few balls for Pepe to cut in. Pepe is still lacking physical strength to fire a hard shot. Auba is physically stronger. He needs to establish chemistry with Ødegaard and plays like what Pepe did..

  28. Tony

    “Mark, he’s one of the most progressive passers in the side, that’s why he starts”

    Progressively passing sideways and backwards most of the time flapping his arms all over the place. That’s when he’s not gifting opponents with assists.

    Xhaka should have been let go after his meltdown.

  29. Tony

    Dark Hei
    “Lol, why not? Saka is so good even Arsenal can’t make him look bad”

    That’s funny.

    Just hope Arteta gives Saka there rest he needs. Seems Saka is not likely to get many if any minutes for England.

    That’s my hope.

  30. Gonsterous

    Tony

    I agree about saka, he’s a great talent but we are over playing him. If he turns out to have a career like jack wilshere or diaby, it will be tragic.

    What’s more tragic is we are paying him 35k a week, which will end in disaster as it gives us no bargaining power for younger players who will demand more and if we pay more for other younger players, it may discourage saka and effect his performance. 90k like martinelli would have been better. He gets paid well and we get to keep younger players worse than saka under the 50k Mark.

  31. Sid

    The fact that Luiz at one point has been our top progressive passer explains why Xhakalson is being described among our most progressive passers.
    @Pierre has summed it up perfectly

  32. Gonsterous

    Sid

    I don’t care what the diet is, if a body is developing but is always fatigued and getting beaten and kicked down, sooner or later it’s going to take a toll.

  33. China1

    Yeah ESR, Saka and actually all our best players need more protection from Arteta

    We’ve seen the impact on Lartey of pushing him beyond his limits. Thankfully arteta has taken the gas off with partey which is the right thing to do

    Saka ESR and assuming (really hoping) we sign Ode, they all need to be rotated regardless of if we consider them first 11

    We have more than enough wingers chomping at the bit to play. We have Pepe Martinelli Willian and Nelson all waiting for chances if the first choice are ESR and Saka. There’s really no urgent pressure to always pick your strongest 11 when you have that depth. I do think arteta is improving in his willingness to rotate recently but there are still a few blind spots like Martinelli and now seemingly holding

    Not sure what the deal is with holding. He has had a very good season and I’m 100% good with there being rotation and even him not being first choice, but it’s a bit odd that he’s vanished out of contention. He has been our most consistent CB this year and whilst I understand if Arteta considers the other 3 technically better (they are) none of them have been as reliable. In the interest of keeping Holding sharp and not depending on Luiz who varies between amazing and awful, surely holding should be playing *some* games. For example Mari has made more mistakes than holding so not sure why he’s considered ahead of him

    At LB I hope we continue to treat Tierney with kid gloves. Drop him or sub him often for Soares. It’s a step down, we all know. But he can only be an elite LB when he’s fit and if we overplay Tierney I think he’s going to break

    Not a popular opinion but I’ve always quite liked chambers as a utility player. He was on good form under arteta before he got injured and was good again last time. He’s not world class but he’s better than bellerin and also more versatile. Assuming money is tight this summer is focus our resources on upgrading on Xhaka, buying Ode and a good alternative to Leno. Then Soares and Chambers can be RB options. Soares can cover LB.

    Only if we have a surprisingly good income from sales should we buy a first choice RB this summer imo. That should be a priority for the following windows

  34. China1

    This whole buy or sell auba Laca debate I expect is going to end in tears with both staying and Laca potentially even on a new contract

    I will be surprised and glad if we sell either but I don’t think it’s going to happen. We bet the house on auba and it would be a big turn around to try and flog him a year later. Plus he’d be a hard sell. We’d be best off offering him to Madrid in a part exchange for Ode or maybe PSG have a CM we can part exchange for

    Laca I think will not leave as he’s ending the season better (still can’t hit a barn door tho) and I suspect arteta will give him a new contract

    My preference would be to sell or part exchange auba but like I said I don’t expect this is going to happen.

  35. China1

    If Juve sell Ronaldo I expect Auba could be an option for them. They have any CMs they might want to exchange for?

  36. China1

    Regarding progressive passing stats, surely deeper players would be expected to have high progress passing numbers since half the team is ahead of them

    For defenders you only have one back pass on. Everyone else is sideways or forward.

    CMs have all directions available.

    Attacking players usually have more options alongside or behind them

    Isn’t this completely expected?

    I bet Leno’s the most progressive passer in the squad! Great stat

  37. Nelson

    Arteta was asked about his decision to field Aubameyang on the right flank post-match. He didn’t explain precisely why, only that there was a gameplan in place that wasn’t carried out. Laca has also confirmed about that.

    WTF is this gameplan.. What it did is converting the team back to the pre_X’mas state. All the so called progress of the team could disappear very easily.

  38. China1

    Nelson tbf if the game plan wasn’t followed then who knows what the idea was

    Didn’t look smart on paper and probably wasn’t but we don’t know what it was supposed to be

  39. Tony

    China/Nelson
    Wonder when the game plan wasn’t followed?

    After we shipped 3 goals and we started to get out of first gear when the players woke up and the play noticeably changed in tempo and sans the Arteta handbrake?

  40. Thorough

    Tony.
    If Saka works on his shooting he’ll be ahead of Rashford in no time. However, one can’t but note that the list isnt right. There’s no way Mbappe is considered a lesser asset to Rashford, Saka and Foden.

  41. Terraloon

    Trawling through football stories two caught my attention

    This one I just can’t see happening
    http://www.thehardtackle.com/opinion/should-chelsea-make-a-move-for-matteo-guendouzi-this-summer-tht-opinions
    The second , I can’t post a link suggests that Ødegaard has a release clause in his contract of €300 million , is on £85k a week and whilst he didn’t feature in ZZs plans for this season the lack of finances at RM will be a major blocker to Arsenal achieving a permanent deal although a big offer , way in excess of the £35 million value attributed to Ødegaard on transfer league could tip the balance although his performances and the age of Moderic may well be the deciding factors

  42. Tony

    Thorough
    I agree with that thinking I was puzzled as to Mbappe’s position and value.

    I think there’s a lot more to come from Saka if he’s allowed to mature at a fair pace that suits him. Arteta rushing Saka’s development and playing in red zones will eventually take it’s toll.

    Saka is a tough and durable lad who always seems to bounce back up from the many clattering tackles each game. That toughness might hide any early signs of damage and exhaustion.

    We seem to be much better with our medical team and physios, so we can only hope common sense and professional management adhere’s to any future warning signs the lad displays.

    Sadly we’re not a club renown for common sense and accountable decision making.

  43. Habesha Gooner

    Arteta always shoots himself in the foot when things are going well. The success that we have had in games this season if there are any are due to simplicity. No 10s playing their positions, Wingers playing their own and strikers on their own spot too. He tried some Pep Guardiola overlcomplicating stuff when he doesn’t have the players to execute it.

    At this point it is useless to put Aubameyang on the wing let alone the right wing. He might score some goals from the left but he hinders our overall play so much. He doesn’t track back, play incisive passes or be a consistent threat from there. We might get away with that when facing crappy teams and he might look good but he will expose us when we play any decent team. He must play C.F or be benched. It’s either him or Lacazette at C.F at this point. We always play crap football when we play both at the same time. Auba is just good for scoring goals and being in position to score goals.

    Anyway Arteta has found a 4231 formation that is working for the whole squad right now. Just put players in their positions and we will look good. Only ESR on the left has made an impression out of position so far and that is only on the derby.

  44. Habesha Gooner

    And I don’t want us to keep Lacazette. This form is great but how many times have we seen players step it up at contract negotiations. I love him as a player but he is entering 30 on 180k a week. We need to look to the future. We put our eggs in the Auba basket and we need to lie with it.

  45. China1

    I actually am gonna go out on a limb and say I don’t think saka’s finishing is a problem at all

    He has barely scored but with a few exceptions he mostly looks very dangerous with his shooting and has hit the woodwork a few times this season. Imo the main issue to address is he doesn’t actually get many shots off and I’m not sure what the cause is. Maybe because when he runs he often gets double marked and the spaces at really tight.

    But in each game how many shots does he usually take? Probably on average only 1 and those are usually not nailed on 1v1 sort of chances even tho he did miss one the other day.

    You look at players like Ronaldo, Salah, Mane etc and all of them take so many shots. They also miss a lot but take so many that they’re going to score. It’s like fat frank being record Chelsea scorer even though his shooting was only ‘decent’. He missed so many shots but he took loads so he was always a threat

    What we need to do is enable saka to get himself into shooting positions more often and I’m quite sure he’ll score a bunch even without any improvements to his shooting.

    Increase his output from 1 shot to 3 per game and he’ll score 10-10 league goals at least im certain of it

  46. China1

    Habesha i too have concerns with Laca going onto a new contract even tho on form I think he’s preferable to auba at the moment

    We’ve worked ourselves into a messy situation with those 2 and like I said earlier I suspect we will handle it wrong by keeping auba and extending Laca on higher wages

    This is arsenal. It’s what we do!

  47. Habesha Gooner

    China
    I remember Walcott playing like peak Thierry Henry before we gave him 140k a week. Ozil did the same. Aubameyang although not at that crappy level is still way below the standards he set last season. And now Laczette is performing again. I think he works hard regardless but I remember last seasons form where he was terrible. And we can’t gamble on another 30 year old on huge wages.

    The problem is I don’t think all of these players have attitude problems. They play the same way before they had new contracts. I just feel a bit of security and being over 30 makes them take things a bit easier. And I feel like it is what any player will do. Rarely do you have players with Ronaldo’s or Ibra’s mentality. And we should be the ones who are aware of that and protect ourselves. We should put Auba Uptop and surround him with enough creativity to do damage. Get a great CM that plays forward and Aubas link up play being not up to scratch would be totally invisible in my opinion. City are not asking Aguero to play on the wing.

  48. Habesha Gooner

    And one other point, the premier league is genuinely hard. Rarely you see players dive off a cliff regarding form when they hit their 30s. But in the premier league it happens countless times

  49. Captain Tierney

    Habesha

    Every player seems to up their game when playing for a contract. And we’ve seen it countless times at Arsenal.
    Ozil showed peak Ozil form before signing that deal
    Auba carried us to an FA cup before signing his deal
    Ramsey practically carried Emery to top 4 before getting injured and signing that massive deal with Juve
    Willian had his best season for Chelsea last year.

    Now we are seeing the same with Laca. Tho his work rate is always there he has been extremely goof whenever he has played this season, especially after the formation shift.

    Even against West Ham, Laca showed his world class self. Personally, I’d be looking to upgrade on him. There are many very good young CFs waiting to be pounced upon. Edouard, Daka, Toney, Gouiri, and many more
    + We also have Gabi and Balogun

    But I wouldn’t be against a 1 yr extension for Laca provided we sign and loan out one of the above young CFs for the future

  50. Rich

    Contract renewal time definitely focuses the mind

    Men are designed to chase things, it’s why we chase a ball around the pitch, and watch other men chase a ball around a pitch,
    it’s why we can’t resist a girl who’s available, but knows how to make us chase them

    Men have the hunters gene, particularly professional athletes who are full of testosterone

    If a man chases his prey, gets married, and becomes too comfortable, he stop going to the gym, loses his six pack, and sits at home most nights in sweat pants drinking beer, and eating crap, because the chase is now over

    It’s the same with footballers, put them in the comfort zone by offering them security with a long term mega contract, and there’s nothing left to chase, particularly if your season is almost over in March

    Men need things to chase and hunt, this is why long term mega contracts for men in their late 20s and in their 30s are a really bad idea, and we should only be offering 12 months extensions at that age, that way we keep them chasing

  51. The Bard

    Terraloon couldn’t agree more with your comments on Ode. Would love us to sign him but we don’t have the finances or the status. He’s elite level and we aren’t. I’m sure he enjoys playing for us but we need to remember this is a business. His agent will flog him to the highest bidder. Even if we could sign him it would cost us £200th a week minimum in wages and then what do we pay ESR, Saka and Tierney?

  52. Nelson

    “. Even if we could sign him it would cost us £200th a week minimum in wages and then what do we pay ESR, Saka and Tierney? ”

    It wouldn’t be a problem if he could help us getting back into the CL.

  53. China1

    I’m not sure about this one year contract extension talk

    The main reason is players will often refuse to sign them at all and take a more financially viable free transfer instead

    The days of us asking star players like Sol or Bergkamp to take a one year extension (on a pay cut at that!!!) will disappear for most cases.

    There are exceptions like Luiz, but I think as a rule of thumb a player who is 30 or 31 would rather fuck off somewhere else to get more money and a longer stable contract than keep renewing for 1 year.

    1 year is also a message from the club that they don’t see long term value in you. In China most jobs are based on 1 year contracts and work permits which need to be renewed every year at great uncertainty and stress to the worker. If you’re a player it’s even worse because you could get injured at any second or your team mate could play better than you, your manager could change his plans etc in an instant and just like that you’re fucked. Just look at Ozil or Guen as examples of how quickly things can change in football

    So I like the idea of one year contracts etc but I don’t think players who are 30-32 years old would entertain this lightly.

    Lastly if you do a 1 year contract, even if they sign they’re leaving on a free potentially next window which if you do actually want to keep them you’re screwed as you have no leverage and won’t even get a transfer fee

    What if auba had in fact scored 15 league goals this season so far? If he had and he only had a few months left until his contract ends we’d be kicking ourselves silly when he leaves in the summer for free

    So we’ve seen first hand more than anyone how bad it can be when you renew contracts badly. But this is a balancing act and I don’t think it’s as easy as just 1 year contracts for the golden oldies and it will all work out.

  54. Mb

    To handle a 1 year contract and player accepting it, you should be a top club where a player can add a trophy to his name..

  55. Rich

    Jamie

    You probably don’t understand this because your a low testosterone cuck, who has to pay some stallion to come over a please your wife, while you sit on the bed in a gimp mask, because you haven’t got the insatiable appetite to do it yourself

    My theory is spot on, but there are a few exceptions to the rule, soy boys, vegans, vegetarians, and low testosterone cucks

    Incidentally these types usually sit on the left of politics

  56. China1

    Rich what about the low testosterone vegans who made it to the top end of sports, like Bellerin?

    Or do you blame his major drop off in levels on his veganism?

  57. SpanishDave

    If Ode wants silverware then he won’t stay as it is more likely in Spain.
    Also being out of Europe will hurt us being unattractive to top players.
    Arteta is damaging the club big time.

  58. Habesha Gooner

    Everyone likes what Lacazette brings to the table. But he just doesn’t score enough to warrant an extension.If we want to move up to a top 4 position a 30 year old declining Lacazette isn’t the answer. What we should do is put Auba back up top and groom Martinelli for next season. He has already shown he can be great when he starts there with incredible scoring numbers. That’s what looking after our future would look like .

  59. Matt

    1 year contracts should not be a problem at all. If a lucrative one year contract to stay at the club that presumably have an affinity for and stay in London is not enough then that player should be allowed to go.

    If we think a one year contract is appropriate based on the players age and ability, the last thing we should so is try and sweeten the deal by giving them a longer contract. If they disagree then they should be thanked for their services and told they are free to find someone stupid enough to give them a longer contract. Think Willian.

  60. Rich

    China1

    Not sure what’s happened to Bellerin, he was on the slide before his injury

    He was one of the most dynamic players around, that performance against Bayern Munich will live long in the memory

    His form did seem to dip around the same time he stopped eating meat, he’s now a shadow of the player he was a few years ago

    It’s only a matter of time before he puts gender pronouns into his bio, at that point he’ll be beyond the point of return

  61. Jamie

    “You probably don’t understand this because your a low testosterone cuck, who has to pay some stallion to come over a please your wife, while you sit on the bed in a gimp mask, because you haven’t got the insatiable appetite to do it yourself”

    Rich frothing. Settle down lad. You’re having a Don-style meltdown, and it’s not a good look.

  62. The Bard

    Another argument against Ode staying is the relative ease of playing abroad. There are only a few tough games in the overseas leagues, the rest are more like a day out. The prem is relentless.

  63. Champagne Charlie

    This place is comedy, Tony doesn’t know what progressive means and Rich yet again showing why football should be what most people stick to on here.

    Been a busy day today, had things to chase so I’m super fulfilled and avoiding any impending cuckery.

  64. Jamie

    “Been a busy day today, had things to chase so I’m super fulfilled and avoiding any impending cuckery.”

    I have penis envy. My groceries get delivered, I’m not a real man.

  65. Dream10

    We’ve been linked with a CM from Real Betis. Guido Rodriguez. Seems like a guy who plays behind the ball like Partey and Xhaka. Perhaps a possible Ceballos replacement

  66. Dream10

    The Bard

    If Zidane wins another trophy this season, he gets to rebuild the squad. Means Odegaard is available.

    Real want to raise cash for a CB and one of Haaland/Mbappé. Fringe players will be up for transfer.

  67. Rich

    Champagne Charlie

    Keep chasing……

    Always incentivise your staff, always set yourself new targets to chase, always eye up other women in front of your wife, in order to keep her on her toes, and ensure she doesn’t become a fat pig

    Always feed your dog after you’ve walked them, so they’ve got the natural drive to go out hunting on their walks, being hungry is a good thing, a stomach full of food makes people and animals just want to lie down on their sofas and go to sleep, make them chase that next meal, in the same way you make your staff chase their bonuses

    Men are hunter gatherers by nature, it’s the reason young men go to the gym, and chase big houses and fast cars, in reality how big your house is, or how fast your car is, is entirely irrelevant, it’s all just dick swinging

    What women naturally want is security and protection, whether that be physical or financial, and are attracted to healthy looking men who can provide financial security, because they’re hardwired to seek out mates who’ll provide for them , and give them healthy offspring

    And whatever you do,…. never start drinking soy milk or stop eating red meat, because before you know it, you’ll be handcuffed to your bed wearing a gimp mask, you’ll be voting Labour, have an EU flag and gender pronouns in your bio

    Champagne Charlie Him/Her/They

    And at that point, it’s pretty much game over…..

  68. S Asoa

    Take from Pierre points

    “ Partey’s contribution yesterday has largely gone unnoticed.
    His 2nd half performance was superb , especially when Xhaka went off.Partey’s passing between the lines to Odegaard and Lacazette was sublime, he took control of the game and his touch on the ball was immaculate.
    Anyone who criticised his performance yesterday needs to rewatch the game.”
    Partey suffers because he has to carry Xaka. I expect the coach will not notice that we went into mediocrity since XKa signed.
    The trade off would be either the pleasure of having Xaka around or getting full value for Partey. Xaka averages so low, that even some average performance from him is seen as master class.

  69. Dissenter


    BBC: Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, 22, is nearing a move to Juventus in the summer. (FourFourTwo via Tuttosport)”

    Just like many of us thought. We were just wasting our time all summer.
    Hope we don’t dilly dally all of next summer TW on any player…and that’ included Odegaard.

  70. S Asoa

    Aouar was not committing to sign for Arsenal. Arteta’s reputation is in shambles in France. On the other hand Oedegard is keen on Arsenal, since he gets on well with the kids. Of course, it is also diplomatic to say it is because of the Manager drip syrup, to keep getting games

  71. Rich

    Aouar has completed 90 minutes in only 6 of his 24 appearances this season, and regularly gets hooked early in the second half

    Whether or not that’s a COVID hangover or not, I don’t know

    His application has been called into question on a few occasions

    Which is a big red flag, can’t say I’ll be too disappointed if we miss out

  72. James+Mullaly

    What are people’s thoughts about Alain Saint-Maximin as a potential addition to the squad? Seems to be full.of pace power good technique determination and goals. Arguably not our most pressing need but could play upfront to replace or challenge Auba. I think he’d be availavle for good value should Newcastle relegate which seems likely

  73. S Asoa

    Arteta plays by Wenger’s book to stay loved by admitting interest of Clubs like Barca and PSG in him , linking his hoary past associations with those Clubs. Actually , Arteta is mostly remembered for his tenure at Everton.
    It helps to give an example of his loyalty. But guess Wenger was more sophisticated at it.

  74. Pierre

    I’m not sure why Aouar is so highly rated on Le Grove…

    For me, Benrahma in the right set up is a player worth taking a risk on at the right price .

    He is a cross between the Ox and Neymar when he’s on the ball….
    Maybe West ham is not the right club for him and he needs to move on as he is stagnating there.

  75. Karsa

    5 goals in 42 appearances doesn’t endear me to Saint-Maximin. Although anyone would struggle to score following Bruce’s game plan.

  76. Chris

    “ nd whatever you do,…. never start drinking soy milk or stop eating red meat”

    Don’t even know where to start with this steaming pile of shit. I would suggest you read more about these subjects before typing in the future, but you probably wouldn’t anyway.

  77. Captain Tierney

    Benrahma has struggled in the PL. And I wouldn’t want to pay anything over 15 mil for him if we do try to sign him. Hard to think West Ham will allow him to leave for such a low price.

    If Benrahma is stagnating with top 4 challenging West Ham then I’m pretty sure its Benrahma who is the problem and not the club.

    Maybe its just a case of him getting used to the league or something else but right now I’d not take a punt at him or ASM for that matter. Both are producing too little end product to play for a club like Arsenal.

  78. Tom

    ….”always eye up other women in front of your wife, in order to keep her on her toes, and ensure she doesn’t become a fat pig Always feed your dog after you’ve walked them,”

    Definitely……..especially if you want your wife to be an insecure nervous wreck and your dog
    shitting around the house.

  79. Pierre

    Tierney
    “If Benrahma is stagnating with top 4 challenging West Ham then I’m pretty sure its Benrahma who is the problem and not the club.”

    Same could have been said of Odegaard.

    It’s not always the players fault…i would say Odegaard is a prime example of a player struggling to make an impact under one manager and excelling under another.

  80. Tom

    Why stop at eyeing up other women in front of your wife when pussy grabbing would drive the point home much more succinctly.

  81. WinOrDie

    In my opinion, we have all seen what Laca is capable of and it is clear we need someone who can do more than what Laca offers. Him being on form now should not change the decision which is to sell him in the summer arsenal have made far too many mistakes with players working hard at the end of their contracts only to down the tools after signing the extension.
    Arteta should continue playing Lacazette in order to boost his selling fee. Also why cant we give chance to Martinelli, balogun fill Laca’s void.

  82. Rich

    I see I’ve triggered the soy boys…..

    Getting angry over analogies and something that I was half joking about

    Must have touched a nerve

  83. DUIFG

    Bit annoying arteta hawking himself for jobs already, you haven’t done anytubg pal, we’re 10th, steady on.

    Gerrard got asked about the Liverpool job and shut the question down amazingly, and he’s just won a title. You’ve barely done anything, until then just focus on the job in hand

  84. China1

    Lol Rich I don’t agree with most of your points but the gender pronouns thing recently gets me

    Like I don’t care if people want to insist on calling themselves a different pronoun (even tho I don’t really understand this mindset) but what does irk me is when you have institutions falling over themselves in order to make sure zero people in the world are offended

    There are a few hospitals and universities in the UK where a directive was sent out to all staff changing the name of breast milk to chest milk to be more inclusive

    Like have you honestly ever heard anything more utterly ridiculous. Anyone who is offended by the term breast milk has issues which run so much deeper than these words that changing the language is not going to save them. I’m dead serious on that as well. People who need the English language to be bent to their every whim because the word breast upsets them for not having any should be getting psychiatric help

  85. Habesha Gooner

    I would target these players in consideration with price and value for money.
    CAM: Odegaard , Backup target Emi Buendia
    CM : Zambo Anguissa, Back up target
    RB: Max Aarons, Backup target Tariq Lamptey
    LB: q

  86. Dream10

    Habesha Gooner

    Think we’re short on Homegrown players.
    Bellerin, Niles linked with moves away. That is two less.
    I can definitely see the club signing Ryan Bertrand as a backup LB on a free.

    Unfortunately, with no CL, I don’t see us landing a CM for big money. Arteta will likely spend on a CB and loan fee for Odegaard

  87. Habesha Gooner

    Dream 10
    A lot will depend on the finances of clubs this summer. If we get Champions League football through the Europa league all of them are possible. We might go cheap on the Backups at LB and GK. And a lot will depend on Odegaard staying on loan, Permanently on moving back. If so the significant investments will be on him and a new RB. Even with out CL if we sell Niles, Lacazette, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Torreira, and Mahan be Nketiah and willock then there is a chance we might go for that CM too. If we get CL I am fairly confident we will go for all three positions.

  88. Rich

    Dissenter

    The analogies were jokes, thankfully my wife has a better sense of humour than you soy boys, and gives as good as she gets

    I do believe that men have the hunters gene and are broadly designed to chase things, particularly young men, because that’s when testosterone levels are naturally higher

    If you give a player in his late 20s and early 30s a long term mega contract, subconsciously I believe that they switch off, it’s much better to dangle 1yr extensions in front of their noses, rather than put them in the comfort zone

    In the same way that I think if you pay someone a basic wage of £11 p/hr, and incentivise them £5 p/hr, you’ll get a higher level of commitment and performance from your staff, rather than paying them the whole £16 p/hr as a flat basic wage

    If you overfeed and under exercise your dog, your dog will become lazy , unhealthy, and won’t want to get off the sofa, because ultimately dogs have had to hunt to survive, that’s why evolution has provided them with a hunters gene, and men are the same

    Once dogs get neutered, they lose that drive, they calm right down, and the same thing happens to men as they age

    There’s also a strong link between soy boys, vegans, gender pronouns, identity politics loons, EU flags, lefties, gimp masks, and people who look to take offence at every opportunity

    That could just be a coincidences though….

  89. Pierre

    China
    “People who need the English language to be bent to their every whim because the word breast upsets them for not having any should be getting psychiatric help”

    My local butcher is now selling chest of chicken.

  90. Chris

    “ I see I’ve triggered the soy boys…..Getting angry over analogies and something that I was half joking aboutMust have touched a nerve”

    Standard response for a back tracker.

    Chat shit, expect to be called out.

  91. Sid

    Woab, its the other way round, sid posses genes that a certain female demogeaphic cant resist, while the same male demographic wishes death upon him

  92. Vintage Gun

    “Aouar has completed 90 minutes in only 6 of his 24 appearances this season, and regularly gets hooked early in the second half

    Whether or not that’s a COVID hangover or not, I don’t knowHis application has been called into question on a few occasions Which is a big red flag, can’t say I’ll be too disappointed if we miss out”

    Fully agree. Every time I’ve seen him this season he’s been hooked bar one occasion. Even when he’s playing well witch would suggest stamina issues.
    Plus he refused to train earlier in the season and was dropped for it.

    If we can’t keep Odegaard then get Buendiea. Proven creativity and work rate.

  93. Sid

    @samesong
    spending lot’s a dough
    You can tell the way wide-body, sitting on vogues
    And how I’m shining, wit the fresh, fresh clothes
    Always surrounded, by so many (HO!)

  94. Rich+robbins

    Chauncey Gardner we are today. I happen to agree about the green chutes……and growth…and the younger players……..but the needs for leadership to stop the brain dead point giveaways seem to be our most definitive need. Take away stupid reds; and add ten pints (points) to the total, and you see the growth and adherence to a better system. Subs does not look retrievable at present. But arteta has changed others. The future is martinelli…….and the future is as Chauncey Gardner said……..”there will be growth in the spring and health in the summer.” Good analysis Pedro thanks