EUROPA LEAGUE NOW DANGEROUSLY IMPORTANT FOR ARTETA

by .

Well, before we dive into the mess. Le Grove passed 2.5m comments yesterday. Quite the number when I consider how many comments I delete on a weekly basis. The shame? That the massive jump happened because Arsenal reverted to pre-December form and dropped an abomination of a performance.

There’s only one way to look at the game.

Meek.

We were absolutely petrified of Liverpool. No one in that starting 11 thought they were coming out of that game with more than a point and that mindset is down to Arteta.

Can you blame injuries?

No. You can’t.

Ceballos in midfield next to Partey. That’s Arteta. He agreed to renew the loan, that was his expert decision, it’s been a fucking disaster. The Spaniard put the same performance in against West Ham at the start of the season, too many touches on the ball, doing an impression of a player that looks good. He hasn’t moved forward.

Auba out wide. That’s Arteta. Our captain has been shocking for a long time. He’s not good enough to play as a 9, so Arteta has hidden him on the wing where he has to do things he’s just not good at. His lack of control, his sloppiness on the ball, the zero confidence he has running at players. He should be benched. An unacceptable decision.

Rob Holding in defence. I like him, but it’s clear he can’t do what Arteta needs from a centre back. But guess who decided to give him a new deal? Arteta.

Bernd Leno. That was an Arteta decision. Two huge errors again from the German, again. This is not a blip, this is an extended run of shiteness that needs to be addressed. Mat Ryan should be used, could he be any worse?

Lots of bad decisions are starting to pile-up, like they did before Christmas. That performance was a copyright infringement on Emeryball. No guts. A bad plan. A spanking by a team we gifted the points.

Now, what you can’t avoid are these two pockets of reality.

Firstly, the reason Arteta opts for Luiz and Xhaka is because against good teams, we have no one better. We missed both today. Xhaka more so, but Luiz for his leadership and presence.

Secondly, it’s clear that the two most important player in our attack are Saka and ESR.

Here’s some truth… and this came from Johnny on the podcast who is not the biggest of Arteta fans.

If the Premier League bothers you, it’s your pride talking. At this point, it’s better we don’t make Europa via the league. Next season would be better served with no Europe, so we could do a West Ham.

Arteta has now refocused his tenure on success in the Europa League.

That is his objective. The blanket he’d love to call his comfort. It’s basically the only thing that saves him this year.

Win Europa, he’s Mr 2 Trophies, in the Champions League, fighting off Barca overtures.

Lose that trophy… well, things are going to heat up for him. That new deal he’s hoping for might not come that easily. Fan sentiment in the stadium will turn.

For me, I’m not really tapping on that beat. ‘Performance’ is what I want from Arteta right now. Bumming his way to Europa won’t do it for me.

I want to see progress every week. I need to see new mistakes, not those that we’ve been over before. Consistency is what takes us to the promised land.

If the system we’ve opted to play needs £500m to work. If it can’t tolerate 4 players missing. Then it won’t work for Arsenal.

The problems we’re dealing with right now are not all Arteta’s… but a growing number of them are. Mo Elneney’s agent telling the press he’s getting a renewal? Arteta playing a centre back as a right back when he has two fit right backs? Willian not getting a sniff? Auba getting a sniff? Gabriel Martinelli being treated he was caught doing something disgusting with the dirty linen? All Arteta.

The picture that hasn’t been painted yet is what is the future of the club? How will we deal with players that have deals running out? How will we replace? Will success in the Europa mean continuity of failed ideas?

Arteta is at ANOTHER pivotal moment of his short career. Dips are par the course… but if this Liverpool game sparks a terrible 2 weeks, the wounds might not heal. We can’t have another fatal month like we did pre-Christmas, it’s too soon for that. Fans will lose interest, and worse, so will the players. Belief is fragile… every day is a judgement… today was shocking. The only way it’ll be forgiven is if there’s a big response on Thursday.

… that’s now looking tougher. We were utterly dross. Project Arteta has just dropped down to amber. The manager has no one to blame but himself.

Thursday needs something big. Can we do it? I have my doubts.

Whilst you’re there, take a listen of our latest podcast. I’m joined by Johnny, you can listen to his How’s Your Father pod here. BUT, for pure Arsenal, click below. He does a great job explaining the reality of our season… let me know what you think in the comments.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play

439 Responses to “EUROPA LEAGUE NOW DANGEROUSLY IMPORTANT FOR ARTETA”

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  1. James wood.

    “NOT FIT TO WEAR THE SHIRT”
    Comes to mind AUBA MORE INTERESTED IN HIS HAIR
    Than what he should be producing on the pitch,?
    Ceballos / Pepe the list goes on.
    To many very average mercenaries who do not care.

  2. Dreams Moniker

    It is not looking good. Really sad because i want him to succeed but the acrobatics put up by those defending him and raising verbal placards for Emery’s end is baffling. He definitely deserves the sack if he fails to win the EUROPA

  3. Kroenkephobe

    Of those 2.5 million comments, 2,499,999 were along the lines of “kroenke is an arsehole and should get the fuck out of Arsenal”

  4. Kegunner

    Arsenal paved the way for Man City, Liverpool now they are way above us. Arsenal once stood for innovation but now it’s better at analysing what other clubs do well and try to copy. There has been alot of changes but only regression so far.

    About time to go back to the drawing board. No more bandages. What is working for Arsenal now are two elite youngsters that the future of the club depends on. Saks and ESR. First thing look for more of the same. Second, get an elite coach that can develop elite young players. Third, buy only the best players that are to hit their prime in one to two years.

    You get what you ask for by experimenting with players and coaches.

  5. Matt

    One of your best posts yet Pedro. I agree wholeheartedly with all of it, except for your questioning of Willian not playing. We are already playing with 10 men with Aubamayang, we can’t handicap ourselves even more by playing the other mercenary.

    It seems like you are starting to see the light with Arteta, but in a strange way, that worries me even more. A part of me hoped that you were seeing something or knew something that the majority of us didn’t…

  6. Chris

    “ Does anyone know how we can get rid of the Kroenkes? Is it impossible?”

    An impossible dream I would say.

    Our decline is intertwined with their ownership.

    Every sports team they own is mediocre, they are in it for the money, plain and simple.

    Even if they invest money, they entrust it to the wrong people who they have employed or kept on too long. They are far too hands off, and realise the seriousness of situations far too late.

    However we are stuck with them unfortunately. This coming summer window is the most vital since I can remember. To this end, the owners need to back Arteta as their man with the players he needs.I’m not sure I hear the ‘we have no money’ point of view, they are billionaires several times over. To protect their ‘asset’ (sigh) they need to speculate to accumulate. Next season we could well be without European football for the first time since 1995. A big refresh of the squad could see is rebound in a big way.

  7. Sid

    The mediocrity continues, now being out of Europe is being sold as a positive.
    How many quality players will sign for Westham?

  8. DUIFG

    Yesterday really shook me as arteta continues to reveal himself and people look past it on the basis of culture and well you don’t see behind the scenes, experience is usually the way chat, no its not let your eyes guide you.

    Saka esr out, OK not ideal but I don’t buy the thing needs to regress to get absolutely smacked about for o0 minutes and create actually zero threat.

    The starting line up stank due to auba wide something which has never ever worked. OK fine do it one more time and let’s see how it goes. Inevitably we got slapped.

    Fine, the key point here is that whatever plan he had with Cavallos auba and Chambers wasn’t working, if you are buying a stock on the market and after a year it hasn’t worked you need to say the trade isdea hasn’t worked, I could fluke a recovery but the initial idea is dissporoced, I need to change it, he didn’t.

    At half time where was the creativity in mindset? We were getting slapped so hard I wouldn’t have minded auba off for eleney go in with a 3 man wid just to get control, give me something man, could even taken pepe off and gone a 442 old school with martinelli. Something to do with the shape needed changing and never came.

    Elenejy came on straight swap for an abhorrent Caballos, made no difference, laca stayed on after doing the basic ley offs all wrong, this was school boy stuff and has been. Seen numerous times all season.

  9. The Bard

    We have shipped 6 goals in the last 2 games, thats relegation level defending. He has to sort out the variable effort levels. Losing is one thing but not putting in a shift is unforgivable. These guys are on big money. He needs to get seriously tough. If they don’t want to put it in week in week out drop them till they do or let them go.

  10. DUIFG

    What’s incredibly frustrating as well is he will take the wrong learnings from this, pepe get fed like 4 balls all game but he will put this on him rather than the fact his midfield got zero control of the ball all game, auba wide will fly again under the radar

  11. james gunner

    Agree with the bard. Arteta is trying to play like MC. MC have better players.
    The passing all day before shooting hasgot to stopp

  12. Leftside

    ‘What’s incredibly frustrating as well is he will take the wrong learnings from this,‘

    Yep, its so frustrating

  13. DUIFG

    Cavallos is a complete lightweight, really really poor, for a guy who probably prides himself on being press resistant you can see opposing teams home in on him, taking 8btouches to set himself invites pressure and he can’t beat it

    Auba is catching a lot of shit but laca was awful yesterday, the myth of incredible holdup is now over, he’s a washed up old man of a striker who can turn up once a month maybe, we need to gut that front line and and bring in fresh blood or use martinelli, laca is not the future

  14. Valentin

    With AMN and Nkethia agents clearly letting know that they will leave Arsenal this summer, I wonder if in fact most of the younger players have given up on Arteta.

    Would not surprise me if Arteta tries to sell AMN, Nkethia, Willock, Reiss, Chambers, Saliba, Mavrapanos to raise funds this summer and freak out that the ones he wants to keep also want out: Martinelli, Balogun, ESR, Saka, Azeez.

  15. Nelson

    – When Klopp subbed in another attacker, Jota , replacing Robertson, Arteta still kept the 4 2 3 1 formation with 2 DM’s, which was already overpowered by the Pools for the whole game . That shows the difference in quality of the two managers.

    – It is not the first time Auba let the opposing FB to cross freely and Holding didn’t closely mark the opposing striker.

    – Both Pepe and Auba didn’t do high press effectively. Martinelli is much more suitable.

    – Both Ceballos and Auba can’t hold on to the ball against high press.

    – After we had dropped the play out from the back due to the high press, our long balls out from the back were not EPL quality. They were worse than those from Championship teams.

    Hopefully, Slavia Prague doesn’t press as hard as the Pools.

  16. Nelson

    Valentin

    Have you watch the video high highlight of Saliba? Holding could never complete what Saliba has shown. Arteta would be blind not to realize that.

  17. Valentin

    The Dutch have a say: the fish start rotting from the head.
    When a manager imposes tactics and setup unsuited to most of the players, they will lose faith in him. This happen with Emery, then Freddie before.

    This is happening now with Arteta. They have not dropped tools yet, because there is still a chance to salvage this season with a good Europa League Cup run. But if we get eliminated before the final, I fully expect shittier and shittier performances in the league.

    That performance against Liverpool showed that the so called improvement since December was not due to Arteta finding a new formula but just to the introduction of ESR forced upon our generational manager by injuries.

    Lacazette, Saka and ESR have an natural instinctive understanding on the pitch which overcomes the instructions of a slow ponderous style of play. That injection of quick, forceful attack was infectious. The other players just went with it. Remove that and we return to pre-December type of performance.

  18. Foxy

    All season since playing 4 at the back we have failed to aggressively close down wide attackers. Yesterday even after the game was well won Martinelli or Pepe would have up to 3 Liverpool players tight on them, so no wonder we never posed any threat in the box.

    Yes Laca and Ceballos are both are not up to level of physicality needed for the Prem. Ditto Holding who is too passive and Leno who cannot dominate his area.on high balls.

  19. DUIFG

    Good post Nelson, yes shape was all wrong and comprehensively outplayed, we needed to do somthing to ba able to build extra mid or a cb to go 5 at the back to build, we barely got odegarrd or the front 3 on the ball.

    Massive lack of ideas and awareness by arteta, klopp old school monster Ed him at the emirates

  20. DUIFG

    Liverpool had 2 no mark cbs not that you would know given how little we tested them.

    You think Rodgers would have let that play out so predictably? Huge question marks under arteta 12 losses is really bad and unacceble how ever you cut it

  21. Valentin

    Nelson,

    You are preaching to the converted. It is obvious to anybody who follows French football that Saliba is the real deal. The issue at Arsenal was just a clash of personality. As neither will back down, Saliba will be sold at a discount or loan for a further season. I don’t think that Saliba will play for Arsenal senior team as long as Arteta is in charge.

  22. Foxy

    What was impressive in the Saliba video is how tight he gets on the man with the ball and then cleanly nicks it away. Hope him and Mav get a chance next season.

  23. Rich

    People are always low after a performance and result that bad

    Our run in is a bit easier, we only play 2/8 teams in the top half of the table, if we win 6, that puts us on 60 points

    If we get to a coin toss final against United in the Europa as well

    Then if someone had told me we’d get 60 points, and a Europa League final against United, at the start of the season

    I’d have thought that was about right, and that was pretty much our current level

    There’s a lot to do to make that a reality, but when you look at our fixtures, it’s really not that far fetched either

    I’m still not convinced of the argument that our problems are coaching or tactics

    We’ve put in some really clever performances under Arteta, it’s the individual errors and regularity of our brain farts that’s been the difference between being where we currently are, and being in the mix for top 4

    All teams have had performances like our yesterday this season, and fans will all take it in turns over who can have the biggest meltdown….

    I’ve never been Arteta in or Arteta out, i have no emotional attachment to him, if we sacked him this afternoon, I’d simply shrug my shoulders

    And in the immediate to medium term, nothing much would really change, other than the name of our manager

    Ultimately we’re desperate for more competent bureaucrats, because if we make better decisions, we’ll give our manager whoever that is, a much better chance of succeeding

    Being successful when you make as many bad decisions as we do, is near impossible, because managers are not omnipotent, it’s the players on the pitch who win and lose football games

    To create a an internal competitive environment and elite culture, you need to not only get the quality right, you also need to get the numbers and the balance right

    Right now our squads still gar too big, it’s still unbalanced, and it’s still lacking in quality, and changing the manager won’t change that in the immediate

    Allowing Arteta + Edu to take charge of our summer, does seem a bit mental though

    We signed Soares, then refused offers for Niles + Bellerin, only to then loan out Niles in January

    We signed 2 centre half’s, only to not register a Sokratis, and fail to loan out Saliba in October, surely someone must have been able to count the number of players we had on our books, and make an earlier decision?

    The fu*k ups are endless, people this incompetent shouldn’t be anywhere near the levers of decision making and responsibility

    Leave Arteta to the coaching, get him some competent help to assemble his squad

  24. TheRoyalArsehole

    Pedro you were absolutely spot on with this post mate. Well done. The most painful thing is to love, care, and support every second of your life to this club knowing that the man who owns it probably has no idea we even played yesterday. Until he is gone we continue to beat our heads into a wall and wake up saying “Might I have another please” Thank god for alcohol

  25. Foxy

    Yes our shape was all wrong yesterday, 5 at the back and counter attack down the flanks like our last two victories against Pool would have been better than just surrendering the flanks and then hoofing it down field to Laca and Oord with predicable results, it just came straight back.

  26. Graham62

    Kroenke is not culpable for setting the team up.
    Kroenke is not culpable for creating a negative/timid mindset amongst the players.
    Kroenke is not culpable for what Arteta is doing.

    By the way, if the fan base wanted rid of Kroenke, that could have forced the issue long ago.

  27. DUIFG

    Need to call the saliva issue out. Pete White washed it as people crying about a 19 Yr old who isn’t ready, no he’s our most talented cb and displayed a huge cracknin arteta man managent early,

    Arteta cant be allowed to fuck the saliva situation again edu needs to be strong and say we have bought you our long term cbs in him and Gabriel make them work, you were wrong.

    Rob holding has gone from arteta deputy captain to water carrier in the space of 4 weeks

  28. Bee

    The kids have carried the team. The big boys of the team are looking uo to the small boys (Tierney, Saka, ESR and Martinelli) to carry the team. Ceballos and Elneny have been poor, so why not give Azeez a chance he might end solving a midfield problem the same way ESR did.
    You can win with Kids and a few experienced players that have the fight. Pepe, Aubameyang, Bellerin and a few others give their all to the glamor of the game and don’t really give the game their all.
    We need to get rid of a few players and we don’t really need to break the bank to get replacements. Saka has shown us that we didn’t have to spend £70 million on Pepe to solve a problem. There lots good upcoming players with the right attitude that can solve our problems.
    Mbesuma
    Mikel Moreno of sociedad
    Eduard of Celtic
    Vlahovic of fiorentina
    Lookman of fulham
    We also have the likes of torreira, guendouzi, we can sell and Saliba and Mavropanos we can call back.
    Arteta and Edu just need to make the right decisions same way the people at dortmund, lille, Leicester and Leipzig have done over the years

  29. Graham62

    If Soares plays on Thursday, I’ll be more than happy.
    If Bellerin plays, I won’t be.
    I hope Tierney recovers in time.

  30. Emiratesstroller

    Now that I have had 14 hours to calm down after perhaps the poorest performance of what has not been our most distinguished season one can at least reflect.

    First of all it is blindingly clear that there are serious weaknesses in our squad. We have seen in far too many games this season that the inclusion of Ceballos in central midfield is a weak link resulting in our team being overrun whenever he plays. Maybe in a less demanding league you can get away with playing this “powder puff”, but certainly not in EPL.

    For all the negativity about Xhaka on Le Grove the fact is that he remains the most reliable
    partner for Partey that we have got and in his absence our midfield is weak if not dire.

    The second major weakness is the right side of our defence. The best options that we have
    got there at the moment are Luiz and Bellerin or Soares. Luiz was injured and we chose
    Chambers and Holding.

    Both are frankly “donkeys” better suited to playing in the Championship League than EPL.
    They lack skill and pace and their passing under pressure is dire.

    Messrs Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe are individually talented players albeit not on great
    form this season, but are collectively a bunch of passengers who do not seem to understand
    the meaning of “work ethic” and “teamwork”.

    The overall outcome yesterday whether by accident or by design was a team completely unsuited to playing against Liverpool and a complete disaster.

    We know that Arsenal are financially not in good shape as indeed is probably the case for
    every other team in EPL.

    I think we all know by now that our current squad is not fit for purpose. On a good day they
    are dangerous, but are too often “error prone” and stuck with too many players who cannot or do not “punch their weight”

    The technical director [Edu} and Manager [Arteta] can be blamed for decisions taken last summer, but not beforehand. The reality is that the bulk of our squad has been inherited and
    decisions taken by others.

    Stan Kroenke has a decision to make whether he likes it or not. Does he have confidence in
    the current management?

    Whatever is his decision this squad/team needs an overhaul and Kroenke must find the money to invest in it. If he is not willing to do so then we need a new owner.

  31. englandsbest

    To be honest, I don’t feel downhearted by the Liverpool fiasco. Not in the least. It was a game that scarcely matttered. If we had beaten the scousers and lose against the Slavs, then yes, that would upset me. Because that is a game that does matter..

    All this ‘blame the manager’ stuff lacks judgement, the usual knee-jerk reaction. Given the circumstances, Arteta is doing very well, the right man for the job.

    He did the noble thing and took full responsibility. But in truth the blame lies with the players. They underperformed. But we need to admit that Liverpool overall had superior personnel. Plus a greater desire. Winning the game mattered to them.

  32. Useroz

    Luiz .may require knee surgery and that would be season ending. May also have played the last game for Arsenal….

  33. David Smith

    Arteta is the same as Wenger in that he will put stubbornness before the best interests of the club, as some of our young players are finding out.
    It seems to me Artetas side are half decent with a fair wind, but have only a handful of players who turn up if things start going wrong, virtually all such players were missing yesterday.

  34. DUIFG

    Let’s not start this circular had a loss but what are the kroenkes doing nonsense, we put out a front line that cost 170m up front, it’s not kronke who went in and said yes please let’s give auba an elite cf 250 k at 31 yrs old to then play him wide.

    The manger needs to look at homeslf, he was completely out played and had zero ideas how to solve it

  35. TheRoyalArsehole

    Kroenke is 1000 percent responsible for this in every fucking way. It starts and ends with him no question no matter what. He appointed this disaster from the top to the bottom. So you feel they master strokes of upper level management and selections in the office since his full take over have been nothing but spot on. We have been a absolute disaster in upper management since he became majority owner. He fucking even dumped his worthless son on us to get him out of his hair and say look our kid has a real job.

  36. Samesong

    Only a few weeks some of you were saying Holding a Mari were our best defenders and now look at you flip flipping back to Luiz. Luiz will do his custom fuk up at some point then your all be lauding Gabriel as the best defender at the club.

    There is no stand out CB at the club. Not steady pairing. And that has been worrying all season. Chop and changing a defence does not work. Yes Luiz was injured but he is not that great

  37. Tom

    Arteta taking blame for the performance but then in the same breath asking the players to show big balls and courage from now on made me chuckle.

    Can we get Tierney Auba’s Mel Gibson/ Braveheart style extensions?
    He’d be more suited to wearing them since he fucked up his knee going in hard for a challenge.

  38. Tony

    Good fair and balanced post, Pedro.

    Probably gut wrenching writing it as much as it is reading it’s message. I’d say we’re all suffering various levels of hurt and have been for some time.

    Let’s hope we do better Thursday.

  39. China1

    You’re damn straight that’s my pride talking Pedro. It’s a mugs game to think the EL can be thrown away next season (if we don’t win the EL) on a hope and a prayer that we have a good league season

    The EL provides us with money we desperately need to put towards replacing our weakest links. For all the mention of how it’s a pandemic it’s pretty startling you’d turn your nose up at 30 odd million sterling

    The EL is:
    – very easy to navigate the group and early knock out stages with squad players. It’s actually a good chance to keep squad players sharp and young players involved when they won’t be much in the league
    – it’s 30 odd million quid
    – it’s a back door to the CL
    – it’s a chance at a bit of pleasure from winning a trophy even if that trophy is second class
    – there are absolutely zero guarantees that we’ll have a good league season if we’re not in the EL

    And lastly and very importantly it is fundamentally against the spirit of competition to hope we finish lower in the table. What do we have as sports fans if not pride in the spirit of competition?

    It’s a fools game to not want to be in the EL. If arsenal are worried about the extra games, just rotate. It’s not rocket science, is it? Wenger used to play his under 14s in the league cup. What’s stopping us doing the same in the EL until deep into the competition? Absolutely nothing at all.

  40. Gbat

    Englandsbest

    I agree.

    I don’t get all this constant slagging off the manager and tactics. You can have the greatest tactics/game plan ever but it’s still got to be carried out by the players. For me, the quality on the pitch makes a bigger difference than tactics.

  41. Grant Elkin

    Looks like your finally starting to see that Arteta isn’t going to take us to the promised land. He needed at least 2 seasons in a lower or less intense league before even being considered for the Arsenal job. Some of his decisions and selections have been totally bizarre to say the least. As for pinning are hopes on Europa, we all know how it’s going to end, will beat the racists then get knocked out by Emery. Who will then go on to win the competition, I will be very surprised and shocked if Arteta is still manager by Christmas 2021.

  42. TheRoyalArsehole

    Arteta is and always will be in my eyes a Evertonian. He was washed up when he joined the club and was only good for a occasional run out. He was lucky to walk in on the very end of the greatest squad in history and be in the true presence of football gods. Obviously nothing rubbed off on him. When I see Arteta all I see is a blue kit on him. We are a boat with no direction or destination. Mid table team with mid table talent. Once again found out to be what we are. Can’t wait for Thursday and do this again! I love this insanity it’s my drug

  43. into the red

    If one thing comes out of this debacle, Pedro, I would be grateful if you never use that word ‘elite’ about Arteta or Arsenal ever again. It is the most misleading, hollow empty meaningless word, designed to give status to somebody, even if they have done nothing to earn it. And Arteta most certainly has done nothing that even remotely qualifies him for such a title.

    It is quite an exercise in branding, to bestow it on an unproven individual, who had a decent, if unremarkable career, most of it with plodders Everton and the end of it with us. The only justification for it seems to be his association with Pep and City, based on unsupported gossip about his coaching abilities – with ‘elite’ players who were perhaps less in need of the basics of good coaching.

    Certainly he seems to have embroidered the myth about himself being ‘elite’ without actually doing anything to justify it, with the carefully cultivated appearances and tight-lipped press conferences. Quite the triumph of marketing in this social media age.

    Moyes isn’t ‘elite’, he is a jobbing manager with a lot of experience who doesn’t act out the superior, mysteriously gifted coach schtick, but funnily enough is getting better results with a far poorer squads and less funds. So why is Arteta, also inferior to Lampard who was sacked and never called elite? It’s all smoke and mirrors, a carefully constructed myth where any negative results are the consequence of the club, their low spend and of course the players whose poor performances and tactical ineptitude have nothing to do with him.

    The elite emperor has no clothes. He’s just a rookie manager out of his depth at a particularly dysfunctional club, who gets good results sometimes, before reverting to poorly planned and inept type.

    Let’s just see him for what he is, and not the ridiculously exaggerated hype about ‘if only he had the players/club he would be a genius’ cobblers.

  44. Jeanette+Kliger

    Surely it’s a mixture of everything. The manager picks the team, chooses the tactics and then instructs the team to carry them out. If they mess up, he has three substitutions.
    However, if you have a manager who totally ignores/freezes out players like Saliba, Balogun and Martinelli (to mention just three) and continues to pick his “favourites”, chopping and changing as he goes, the only person to shoulder the responsibility is the manager.

  45. Rich

    We’ve got 3 central defenders with big potential, but are nowhere near the finished articles in Gabriel, Mavropanos and Saliba

    Luiz is erratic, past his best, but still our best centre half

    Mari, Holding and Chambers, are bang average, and so was Sokratis

    Mustafi is one of the most erratic players I’ve ever seen, could go from resembling prime Sol Campbell, into resembling prime Stephenovs, in the blind of an eye

    Elneny is average, Ceballos physically doesn’t look made for the league and his confidence is shot, Xhaka is our best central midfielder, but lacks pace, agility, and takes too long to get the ball out of his feet

    Lacazette is a decent enough player, but no better than that, Martinelli is 19, and understandably incredibly raw in aspects of his game

    The spine of our team, simply isn’t good enough, and we’ve got too many flakey characters

    Outside Tierney, who we’re running into the ground, our full backs are average

    We lacked creativity at the start of the season, Smith-Rowe and Odegaard have given us a bit more in that department, but we don’t own Odegaard, and have to manage Smith-Rowe who’s going through some growing pains

    Saka is our only consistent wide player, we’re blunt without him, but we risk breaking him, because we’re too reliant on him

    We’ll have better days than yesterday, I’m just surprised that people are surprised at where we currently are

  46. Lewis

    But Pedro, we’re top four since Christmas. That was the mantra of the last few posts. This type of performance has been coming because arteta doesn’t learn from his mistakes. Like you’ve just said, he’s made massive calls that he has to live and die by. All this “performance is the only indicator” narrative is nonsense. As fans, we critique what we see and what we’re seeing is 9th in the league and a commitment to players that consistently let us down. He’s too arrogant to learn. It took a near sacking before he unleashed the kids and when we needed an energetic, pressing performance he went with auba on the left and chambers at rb. Glaringly poor decisions. He has to shithouse the europa like Jonny said or he’s done. Bored of hearing him talk a good game

  47. Foxy

    With no cash in the bank we need to be brave and give Saliba, Mav, Guen and Azeez a shot next season and maybe even one or two of our young fullbacks. In fact no reason why Azees and Martinelli cannot start in some of our remaining Prem games.

  48. Dissenter

    Pedro does this same routine when Arteta shits the bed.’
    He releases very fleeting moans but is ready to embrace his Arteta poppoms once there’s a glint of marginal success.
    All will be forgiven, just wait and see.

  49. China1

    Also the outrage about holding being poor yesterday and getting a new contract is a bit silly

    When he gets a run of games he’s consistently pretty good (not elite, but a decent CB). He was one of our better players this season and got a lot of credit during our post Xmas revival then got suddenly dropped. Barely been since. Comes back after ages away in a game against Liverpool (I said yesterday that’s a really strange game to throw in a player you haven’t picked in the league for a few months). He has a crap game and suddenly all the good he’s done this season has vanished.

  50. andy1886

    Thanks EB for that clarification:

    1. If we lose the game doesn’t matter.
    2 If we win it’s an impotant victory thanks to the genius of MA.
    3. If we lose it’s down to the players.
    4. If we win it’s down to the manager.

    Of course the fact that our players weren’t motivated had nothing to do with the man paid £5m a year to make sure that they are motivated for every single game.

    Begs the question as to why we bother with managers at all?

  51. Peckobill

    Rich
    Once again if changing the manager doesn’t make any difference why don’t we save 5 mill a year and employ a conference league manager for 40 k a year . Nothing would change would it ? We’d still be 9th wouldn’t we by your logic ?

  52. Foxy

    If we have a mid table squad at best then surely we need a manager experienced in getting the best out of such squads. It does not appear to be Arteta – Bielsa could be fun!

  53. Pierre

    All i can say is I’m pleased that wenger did stay for a another 10 years when the obsessives were calling for him to go.

    At least we had another 10 years of quality football , winning trophies ,plus another 8 years of champions league football.

    Imagine where we would be now if the obsessives had their way , it dreads thinking about..

    If the obsessives think that 10 years ago any top manager would come to Arsenal football club with no money to spend whilst trying to compete with the financial might of City , Chelsea and United , then they are sadly mistaken…

    How they all celebrated when Wenger finally left , how they all celebrated when Arteta refused to play our most creative player whilst our creativity was at an all time low …fools..

    I’ve said it many times , we have not progressed at all since the first lockdown , in fact it’s beginning to look like we are in regression again…

    Our season turned just before Christmas with the arrival of smith rowe as the CAM , so what does Arteta do , remove him from his best role on to the flank…

    At the same time as smith rowe arrriving, Mari and Holding started to form a near impregnable defensive partnership.
    What does Arteta do , he brings back Luiz and Gabriel and the team suffers.

    Martinelli had an excellent game also v Chelsea, we had Smith rowe , saka and Martinelli starting v chelsea and brighton and it looked like the kids were the way forward.

    Slowly but surely the kids are being pushed out , saka is the only one playing in his best position , smith rowe has been pushed out wide and martinelli, eddie , balogun , willock and nelson are not in Arteta’s plans.

    These lads have never let the club down, it now seems like the club is letting these players down.

  54. Dissenter

    It’s not a case of “blind faith” between Pedro and Arteta.
    Our Pedro fell in love with legohead, the rest is history.

    Arteta will leave Arsenal a better manager because we let him use our great club to learn his trade.
    Arteta will leave Arsenal worse off because he would have pushed the club to sign or re-sign crappy players. There’s talk we are extending Elneny and are set to make permanent Ceballos loan. That’s Arteta-ball fir you.

  55. China1

    It will be a big mistake to resign Ceballos

    I don’t think there’s anyone who can disagree with this. Guy has not done well enough this year and is very likely a big waste of our tight resources.

    If arteta sanctions his purchase it would be nuts.

  56. Emiratesstroller

    Englandsbest

    Let’s be clear Arteta landed up with limited options to play in yesterday’s game.

    The only options he had to play on right side of defence who were unused were Soares and
    Bellerin.

    Our midfield options in absence of Xhaka were Ceballos and Elneny. Neither is good enough
    and need to be replaced this summer.

    It is blindingly obvious that our forward options whilst all talented lack work ethic. That applies to Aubameyang, Pepe, Willian and to lesser extent Lacazette. You can use one of these players if the team is collectively fit for purpose, but not all at the same time.

    The absence of Saka, Smith-Rowe, Xhaka and Luiz could not have come at a worse time and
    was further compounded by loss of Tierney, which then overloaded Gabriel on left side.

    As I have suggested already Arsenal need to make some strategic changes to our squad this
    summer otherwise there is only one direction of travel for us and that is downwards in league.

  57. andy1886

    “For me, the quality on the pitch makes a bigger difference than tactics.”

    Fine if you’re a cheque book manager like Pep.

    That’s the point of tactics, you win games that you probably shouldn’t. For example:

    Anfield 1989
    Copenhagen 1994

    Incidentally I expect that ‘tactics’ rather than talent had a lot to do with Liverpool losing to:

    Fulham,
    Everton
    Leicester
    and Brighton

    over the last couple of months.

  58. China1

    What is Pirlos salary?

    If it’s 50k or less I think he’s value for a squaddie. If it’s more or he’s asking for more than 60 it’s a waste

  59. Rich

    Peckobill

    Things could easily get worse, I’m just not convinced of the argument that another manager gets much more out of this lot, particularly competing on two fronts

    This is pretty much our level

    If Everton or West Ham had our European schedule on top, I think they’d both be in the bottom half

    If we weren’t in the Europa, and had a close kit squad of 20-22 players, I think we’d 10 points better off in the league, we’d have less injuries, and we wouldn’t be running our best players into the ground

  60. Emiratesstroller

    China 1

    Holding is an average centre back who does his best, but yesterday’s performance particularly playing alongside Chambers highlights his deficiencies.

    I have no problem keeping him in our squad as fourth or fifth centre back option to play against
    lower level opposition, but not against the likes of Man City and Liverpool.

  61. China1

    Yeah the whole point of tactics is to extract a value greater than the sum of its parts from a team

    If the whole approach is just to buy the best players then this is just Fifa or PES management. Quality managers take their squad (however good or bad they are) and mound them into something better

  62. Emiratesstroller

    Rich

    I have made similar observations over last two seasons.

    Last season I expressed the opinion that we should not qualify for Europa Cup. Our squad is
    not strong enough to play on both Thursday and Sunday.

    That has proven correct this season. We need a smaller but more effective squad built to play in EPL.

  63. DrJ

    Into the Red. Great post, absolutely spot on and one of the best, accurate and eloquent read I’ve seen here

  64. Rich

    Basically if we could play

    ………Leno
    ……Luiz Gabriel
    Soares……Tierney
    ….Partey Xhaka
    Saka Odegaard Smith-Rowe
    ……Aubameyang

    38 games, no distractions, plenty of time on the training ground, the ability to build some team cohesion, we’d be in a better position in the league

    When you play more games, you risk more injuries, and have to rotate more

    That first eleven isn’t perfect, and is far from a title winning team, but take out a 3-4 key players, and what’s left is extremely underwhelming

    This is the current issue we have competing on two fronts

    Leicester + Spurs will both benefit in the latter part of the season, from their elimination from European competition

  65. SUGA3

    When I saw the unimaginative lineup, I knew we were absolutely fucked.

    Wenger at least had a pair of balls to play someone like Sanogo, even though he was utterly gash. We have got a hot young player in Martinelli, who could not do any worse than that Ludicrous looking motherfucker Auba.

  66. Peckobill

    Rich
    I see , so your now changing the perimeters ,.
    Changing the manager can make things get worse but impossible to get better . Your way wrong , arteta has made countless inept decisions that has cost us that a clued in manager wouldn’t have made . Negelsmann or Rose I’m convinced would have us both higher in the table and more competitive . Stick to your convictions you started with, a conference league manager wouldn’t change a thing so we might as well go that way and save 5 mill a year

  67. SUGA3

    Right now we have got zero chance of finishing in the top 4, so we may as well go all out and start blooding youngsters upfront.

    Martinelli – Balogun – Pepe is the front line I would like to see whilst Saka is out. Bench the two useless old farts.

  68. SUGA3

    Samesong,

    if we have got the players available, this team is easily as good as any other 7 still in the competition.

    ———————Leno———————–
    Cedric ——Gabriel——Mari——-Tierney
    ———————Xhaka———————
    ———Partey—————ESR————-
    Pepe————–Martinelli————Saka

    Bench: Ryan, Holding, Bellerin, Odegaard, Willian, Laca, Auba.

    It’s bollocks to say that our squad is poor. It is not, it is just not being used properly and Mr Sauce tends to set up his teams way too cautiously.

  69. Kaz

    One transfer story today saying we could sell Saka to get the money for other funds.

    With Arteta wanking money away on players who don’t deserve it and leaving out players who should be given an opportunity to play (Martinelli, Balogun Azeez) I don’t see this as farcical as some of you will.

    He is an extremely poor judge of character, woeful at setting a team out and very bad ingame management. Things I’ve been saying since the start of the season.

    Very worrying. Arteta has taken us 4 seasons behind.

  70. SUGA3

    Kaz,

    I, for one, would not put selling Saka and Martinelli past these inept wankers. That’s probably almost 200M coming in for these two.

    No better time to do this either, as the fans cannot turn up to the stadium with pitchforks and torches.

  71. Ernest Reed

    Play the kids the rest of the way. It couldn’t possibly be any worse or embarrassing as it is now. Maybe just maybe Arteta may discover another gem of a player that he otherwise would never give a chance to.

    Who’s kidding who, Arteta couldn’t unearth a hidden gem even if it were the shiniest object in an empty room.

    Play the kids you saucy sauce, play em like your job depends on it!

  72. Champagne Charlie

    Congrats on the movement Pete, big milestone and evidence of your valuable output that’s much appreciated by many.

    As far as Arsenal are concerned..
    I’ve said it for some time, but the glaring issue with this team is the senior attackers at the club and the overall function/dynamic of how we get goals.

    Auba, Laca, Pepe, Willian are all good players in isolation, trouble is none of them fit into the blueprint of Arteta’s attack. Willian has never landed here, Auba is average outside his poaching, Pepe does nothing then has a moment, and Lacazette is inconsistent albeit the best fit of the lot for one role.

    CM remains a problem area, said it for a few years now that we don’t have the balance there. Partey was a great buy and he’s fantastic. Him and Xhaka are a good base for CM, both 28, great engines, and compliment each other, but it’s nowhere near good enough to have that and then nothing to compete or provide options. Should have two players with high ceilings behind them looking to take over. Agile technicians are a must for midfield, Todd Cantwell is exactly the type of CM we should be bringing in, he’s been excellent this year in the championship and I can see him going a similar route to Grealish.

    Massive headache in the summer, but another version of Jan needs to take place and the faces need refreshed to rid the malaise.

  73. DivineSherlock

    Arsenal is ship full of stale ideas , nobody can help save it from drowning. First off , I dont blame Arteta , because if we had a competent football director we would already have been in a better place. There is no vision of what we are trying to acheive, yes we are marginally playing better but the results havent improved. 50 games now for Arteta and 17 losses , thats astounding . A better director would not have sanctioned all those deals that Arteta has approved , its quite clear his position shouldnt have been upgraded .

  74. Thank you and goodnight

    That’s why I don’t think Arteta is the man for the job. It seems certain players of his get in no matter how badly they’re playing. Take Leno for example. He should of been dropped weeks ago, how does that inspire confidence of the players on the fringes, if you can’t get ahead of a keeper who’s cost us at least 15 plus points this season. It was the right decision to drop aubu because of his tardiness…..but fact is he should of been dropped months ago, and that includes dropped from the 1st team squad.

  75. SUGA3

    DS,

    agreed, it’s one thing to hire a rookie coach, as it is possible for him to do well with some competent direction. Who is supposed to give him this, Edu? He is just a good looking fella in a suit, but has got nowhere near the vision and competence required to support the said rookie coach.

    It’s like a blind leading a lame.

  76. andy1886

    CC, absolutely agree on Cantwell, was disappointed we didn’t try for him last summer. Reminds me more of another former Norwich player in Maddison than Grealish but that’s not a bad thing either.

  77. JayJay

    Arsenal have only had three shots or fewer in four Premier League matches since we obtained Opta data in 2009/10
    All four of said matches have come under Mikel Arteta!
    Now that’s generational, isn’t it? Glad you opened your eyes a bit Pedro

  78. SUGA3

    When you watch other teams play, you see cohesion, quick passing and pacy attacks, Do we get any of this? No. We are just boring, except this does not get us results, so there is no sweetener to all this vomit inducing blandness.

  79. Sid

    We are currently at 45 GA , 6 goals less than Emerys 51 GA with 8 games to go.
    Either Guend and Torr are as good as our current midfielders or its down to tactics.
    GF is a story for another day.

  80. Kaz

    SUGA

    It’s extremely worrying how Arteta has so much influence on transfers and contract renewals. If anything he’s demonstrated his inability to get the right type of players.

    So many poor players getting rewarded with new deals whilst our very talented and enthusiastic talent are being sidelined.

    Could totally see us making brainfart moves like selling Saka and ESR to buy Odegaard (which would never be worth it)

  81. DivineSherlock

    SUGA3

    The worst part of all this is that other clubs are catching up to us rapidly. Leicester have a good scouting network, Everton will have another good transfer window (possibly Europa) . UTD, Chelsea , City will drop massive money . Liverpool will look to have more balanced squad. Meanwhile Aston Villa and Wolves have landed good management who knows what they are doing . Its just Arsenal who are stuck with this reactionary bullshit , if it was really about the future then be Bold , dont give Laca aan extension , sell Bellerin . Sell assets invest in youth . I am still scratching my head with why AMN was not sold , and then loaned in January to WBA. Its really depressing stuff as to what state Arsenal are in right now.

  82. Thank you and goodnight

    2 seasons running he’s finished worse than we did under Emery. The fa cup win papered over the cracks and how bad Arteta really is. But I don’t blame him in all this. We all know he’s not good enough to manage Arsenal, the fact he is is all down to that cretin kroenke. With him at the helm we’ve gone backwards as a club. Sad times for Arsenal

  83. Sid

    SamesongApril 4, 2021 12:08:33
    Does anyone honestly think we can win the EL? I don’t think we can.

    That why supreme leader is preparing you with this quote
    ‘At this point, it’s better we don’t make Europa via the league. Next season would be better served with no Europe, so we could do a West Ham.’

    LMFAOOOO

  84. gnarleygeorge9

    The Arsenal last won the Title 17 years ago. The theme from the Fever Pitch “18 fuck’n years” since the previous in ‘71. Well, 17 years before 2004, Everton won the Title, & obviously still haven’t. My point is, if something fundamentally right isn’t done with this Club, The Arsenal might not win another PL (top flight) for 20 years. Oh, ffs, it’s a worry.

    Yesterday was a disgrace it’s still 1 step forward 2 steps back. I find it so disappointing that we are like Everton of 2004.

  85. IQ

    Playing Lacazette and Odegaard only makes sense when you have the lion’s share of possession. If you don’t have the ball and are playing deep it makes sense to play three quick players up front and tell the mid and defence to hit the ball into the spaces when they win it.

    This allows for a fast break and pushes the other teams defence back. We should have played Pepe Auba Nelson front three with Saka out. Three in the middle to match Liverpool’s and tell the full backs to stay, which would suit chambers more and reduce the space out wide.

    Playing ball players like Ceballos and Odegaard without the ball is basic stupidity.

  86. Wiglaf

    TheRoyalArseholeApril 4, 2021 11:20:15
    Arteta is and always will be in my eyes a Evertonian. He was washed up when he joined the club and was only good for a occasional run out. He

    Arsehole

    Did you even watch us back then? He was our captain

  87. Rich

    Peckobill

    Changing the manager is unlikely to change our fortunes significantly for the better, without better decision making behind the scenes

    This is roughly our current level, due to years of poor decision making

    I still think we can get roughly 60 points, and we’re in with a decent shout of winning the Europa, there’s still something to play for

    If you’d told fans we’d get 60 points, and we had a coin toss final against United in the Europa

    I’m not sure too many fans would have been too surprised by that at the start of the season

    We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there, but let’s see how we finish

    When we sacked Emery, I said things would likely get worse before they get any better, I got nothing but abuse for that opinion, but here we are..,.

    Arteta and Edu have got a lot of things wrong

    Willian 3yr deal

    Aubameyang 3yr deal (I was one of the few against this)

    Not selling Niles + Bellerin, but then signing Soares, and then loaning out our only left footed alternative to Tierney in January

    Renewing Holding, and now possibly Elneny

    Failing to get Saliba out on loan, when it was clear months in advance that we had too many centre half’s, and too many players

    The fu*k ups are endless, and have been going on for years, but these are bureaucratic fu*k ups , are not coaching or tactical, Arteta shouldn’t be responsible for this, and neither should his replacement if we sack him

    Arteta should be involved in the decision making regarding his squad, but shouldn’t be pulling the strings

    A competent director of football laughs a 3yr deal for Willian straight out of the room

    He sells Aubameyang who’s 31, and player who was due to decline, and he picks up a 23-25yr old, who’s just about to hit his stride

    I have no emotional attachment to Arteta, but without improving our overall decision making, we’ll just be setting the new guy up to fail as well

    Brendan Rodgers is a good coach, but a few weeks ago Leicester were crumbling under the weight of the schedule, they’re now out of Europe, they’ll get players back, and probably finish relatively strongly

    Leicester’s scouting, recruitment and squad planning is on a different planet to ours

    They signed Soyuncu + Maddison + Pereira + Justin + Ndidi for pretty much a combined fee of what we paid for Pepe

    Vardy does what Aubameyang does for a third of the wages

    We’re setting up our coaches to fail, and a-revolving door of managers doesn’t really help us

    If you think this group of players are capable of significantly more whilst competing on two fronts, I disagree

    If you think Negelsmann or Rose would do better, fair enough….

    But you’re failing to take into account that Edu + Vinai will still be pulling the strings behind them, which will very likely mean that they’ll fail as well, because our bureaucrats have proven themselves to be utterly incompetent

  88. Champagne Charlie

    Andy

    He’s been excellent this season, looks a league above the rest (including Buendia) every game I see them. Always thought he was an attacking midfielder before watching him, didn’t realise how well he plays as a midfield two, picks the ball off the defenders and glides through the middle, but also is telling in the final third with some goals and assists.

    You see our bunch and we have Partey who is elite, Xhaka who is good facing the game, then Ceballos and Elneny who only get games when the former are missing. That’s not good enough.

    Glenn Kamara has been superb this season again for Rangers too, he’s exactly the type of player I think of when I consider depth at a big club. Not elite at anything, but good at a lot of things and gives the team great dependability and professionalism. Such underrated qualities, the kind Milner exemplifies. Elneny isn’t that just because he’s a good character and pro who gets on well with everyone – it’s totally hollow without the on-pitch substance.

    Lots of mismatches in key areas at present.

  89. Kaz

    @Rich again

    Under Puel Vardy was considered washed up and past his best, under Rogers he’s a goals machine again.

    “the revolving door of managers” as you put it can definitely work.

    We are stuck with the wrong manager currently.

    Ancelotti was absolutely available but certain heads tried to tell you he was washed up. Nonsense.

  90. Wiglaf

    Arteta’s biggest mistakes are coming in the market for me. Willian, Ceballos, Gabriel, Martinez over leno. All bad choices. Giving auba his deal. Trusting these old failures lead this team when they’ve shown for years that they don’t have the balls to grab a game by the scruff of the neck. A team of pass the buckers outside of our young players. All of whom are more deserving g of minutes than the majority their senior counterparts

    We’ve become everything wenger fought to prevent and now Pedro is begging for Arteta to recreate what Wenger gave us post 04. An exciting project filled with the best young players in Europe and an exciting brand of football synonymous with the club.
    We had it all but the spoilt, Johnny come lately fuckers who came in during the glory years abused the greatest man in arsenal history and demanded change.

    Well now you’ve got it. Stop with the pissing and moaning. Savour it. This is what you all wanted. You celebrated when it was announced wenger was gone. We’d not be 10th in the table with him here
    We’d not be watching Willian and Luiz and auba stink out the pitch
    Wed not be seeing our keeper and centre backs pass triangles to each other, slowly.

  91. azed

    Sid

    We are currently at 35 GA…..

    At this point, Arteta has to start planning for next season. Players who are not in his plans should be dropped and youth players close to the first team should be given their chance.

    If we don’t get into in Europe next season, we will be short of cash to buy decent players so we have to start blooding the talented youth players.

  92. James wood.

    I got the distinct message yesterday after the game
    and the way Arteta spoke that he is more frustrated
    than ever.

    Yes he needs certain players on the pitch to perform adequately
    but when you have a squad lacking any depth this proves difficult.
    He’s season will be judged by the games to seasons end and if there is
    little improvement I can see him quitting.
    Europe is he’s get out card but Hey do you really see that happening.?

  93. Pierre

    A football team is all about relationships/partnerships on the pitch.

    For me, the most important partnership is the 2 centre backs and keeper.
    For this partnership to work it needs a settled centre back pairing and the 2 centre backs need to trust and understand each others game..

    Arsena centre back pairings since the Chelsea game.

    Liverpool…holding/Gabriel….3 goals conceded
    West Ham…Mari /Luiz…..3 goals conceded
    Olympiakos..luiz/gabriel …1 goal conceded
    Tottenham…Luiz/Gabriel…1 goal conceded
    Olympiakos..Luiz/Gabriel…1 goal conceded
    Burnley..Luiz/Mari ..1 goal conceded
    Leicester..luiz/mari…1 goal conceded
    Benfica…luiz/gabriel…2 goals conceded.
    City…holding/mari ..1 goal conceded
    Benfica luiz /gabriel 1 goal conceded
    Leeds ..luiz/ gabriel 2 goals conceded
    Villa ..holding /gabriel ..1 goal conceded.
    Wolves ..holding /luiz…2 goals conceded.
    United ..holding Luiz……0 goals conceded.
    Southampton…luiz /holding..1 goal conceded
    Southampton..holding /gabriel …2 goal conceded
    Newcastle..luiz /holding ..0 goals conceded
    Palace ..luiz/holding..0 goals conceded
    Newcastle..mari/luiz ..0 goals conceded
    WBA ..mari/holding..0 goals conceded
    Brighton ..mari /holding 0 goals conceded
    Chelsea ..mari/ holding …1 goals conceded.

    To me , the above shows that it is impossible to build a good defensive partnership because there is no consistency in the selection policy…

    13 games with no clean sheets says it all realy.

    22 games and the most consistent partnership is Luiz/Gabriel who have played together 6 times with no clean sheets……conceded 8

    Luiz / holding ..played 5 …conceded 3..clean sheets 3

    Luiz/mari….played 4..conceded 5…clean sheets 1

    Holding /Mari ..played 4 ..conceded 2 ..clean sheets 2

    Holding /gabriel …played 3..conceded 6..clean sheets 0

    Mari/gabriel ..N/A

    Gabriel ..played 9….conceded 14 …no clean sheets
    Luiz …played 15 …conceded 16 ….4 clean sheets
    Holding ..played 12 …conceded 11…5 clean sheets
    Mari ..played 8…conceded 7 …3 clean sheets .

    So what can we determine from these figures …

    I would say Holding prefers playing with Mari rather than Gabriel .

    Luiz prefers playing with Holding .

    The figures show that Mari is reliable and Gabriel is unreliable whoever he plays with…

    It would appear that Arteta has Gabriel/Luiz as his preference, it wouldnt be mine.
    Luiz is now injured it seems and this poses a conundrum for Arteta as the holding / gabriel partnership has conceded 2 goals a game..

    For me it has to be Mari/Holding all the way until the end of the season.
    The only goals they have conceded as a pairing were a goal each against chelsea and city…

    Arteta really needs to make a decision on his centre back pairing and stick with it.

  94. Jeanette+Kliger

    And another contributor who knows what he/she is talking about – Wiglaf and Into the red, you are so right!

  95. Captain Tierney

    One loss and everyone loses their mind.

    Football absolutely is beautiful and painful.

    Who did we lose against ?
    The champions under the management of one of if not the best manager in the world.

    Did we have our best players ?
    No. Saka and ESR are our best players. Both were out. And other starters like Xhaka and Luiz were out as well. + Tierney also went down injured, after which we conceded 3 goals, all coming from the left hand side
    Granted Liverpool also didn’t have their first choice 11, but the notion that we are close to Liverpool on paper is mind boggling.
    They have Salah and Mane- players who regularly finish in the top 10 in Balandor ratings. One of if not the best pair of full backs in the world and a world class midfield capable of controlling any game.
    On the other hand, our best player is Saka who is 19 and was injured for the game.

    Does the result make a huge dent in our League hopes ?
    No.
    We knew we were not going to finish in the top 4 after that disastrous pre-christmas run. And we are on course for that. Dont think winning against Liverpool would have propelled us to top 4.

    From this point on we have the easiest run in, in the league of all the 20 teams. Only a miracle can make us finish 4th this season, but I wouldn’t bet on it, just because of the no. of teams between us and 4th. Imo, I think Liverpool will knick 4th on the final day.
    VVD is going to be back in couple of weeks. He transforms Liverpool.

    So, all in all, the result didn’t make a huge dent in our season. Our season depends on EL and it has been that way for some time. If the team performs like that on thursday, I’ll be concerned but I’m pretty sure we’ll show up for the EL game.
    Its a quarter final, our only hope, players have bonuses in their contracts. So there is extra motivation there.

  96. Thank you and goodnight

    @Pierre

    I said the same thing about constantly changing the back 4 not being good for any team. Consistency is the key but how can you have that consistency if you’re always changing the back 4. Look at the most successful teams in history and you’ll usually see a team that are defensively solid and play week in week out. Fine, you can switch midfield around with not to much changing drastically, but if you’re back 4 changes all the time how is that benefitting the team or the keeper?

  97. Northbanker

    So many things wrong from that game tht I’m going to just blank it out altogether. Didn’t come on here yesterday and probably won’t be here all week until the next win. Keeps my life simple and sane that way.

  98. Wiglaf

    Pierre

    I said the same thing yesterday. Not in quite as much detail but the stats do show that when Gabriel plays we are substantially worse at the back

    In the league we concede at a rate of over a goal per game with Luiz and Gabriel as our pairing
    With holding and Mari it’s 0.5 per game.

  99. Pierre

    Wiglaf
    We had it all but the spoilt, Johnny come lately fuckers “who came in during the glory years abused the greatest man in arsenal history and demanded change.”

    Exactly

  100. SpanishDave

    Arteta has squandered or future on Auba and Willian , this is 500k per week enough to pay 5 players wages!!!!
    We will not be able to dump them so we have no alternative but to play youth players and Arteta doesn’t like youth.
    This will just go on and on and just imagine the place with fans in the stadium, if they were there he would have been long gone

  101. Andy1886

    CT

    P8
    W2
    L6

    Losses include Fulham, Everton, Leicester and Brighton.

    That’s the team we played yesterday, not the one of the previous two seasons.

    And one thing you can control if not the opponent is your own performance and we were terrible.

  102. Thank you and goodnight

    Players wearing no7 shirt as respect towards Rocky. Loved Rocky Rocastle, a guy who always gave 150% and felt honoured to wear the shirt….. unlike today’s cunt of players we have. If most of them had 10% of Rocky’s skill and effort we wouldn’t be in this fucking mess

  103. Dissenter

    “ One loss and everyone loses their mind”

    Someone just woke up from a coma
    What a disingenuous approach to slag off justified criticism.
    People pin themselves to a corner like MMA cornermen that they can’t even be bothered to appreciate why others are upset.

    Captain Tierney
    What about the performance or results of yesterday’s game doesn’t warrant criticism?

    Yea it’s just one loss that gotten people rightfully angry.
    At least the manager took responsibility but you are happy enough with that shit that was served up for you.

  104. Spudnik

    Pedro,
    Very forthright post. Everything you said is bang on. Like you, I find it hard to see any positives, but I want to see a serious response from the players and management to that performance.

  105. Dissenter

    The idea that you can just shake off poor performances is just laughable
    It’s not like a lightbulb you turn on and off.

    Slavia Prague will fancy beating us home and away…and they sure can based on last nights game.
    They are a team of stinking bruising fighters and we are just made of Arteta-jello.

    The dynamic of Arteta’s teams isn’t right. You expect players to be jostling to earn starting slots on Thursday EL by putting in a shift on Saturday. They aren’t bothered because they know the manager has his favorites. Auba knows he will start on Thursday, no matter what so he can just go through the motions. The manger’s favoritism has come home to roost.

  106. Ernest Reed

    “We had it all but the spoilt, Johnny come lately fuckers “who came in during the glory years abused the greatest man in arsenal history and demanded change.””

    You really are an insufferable soul, Pierre.

  107. Ishola70

    China

    “It’s a fools game to not want to be in the EL”

    It’s purely and simpy deflection from Arteta’s failings.

    Arteta fails to qualify for even Europa League and it is spun as a positive.

    This deceiving game can only be played out for so long though.

    Next season all the spiining games will have to stop.

    The clock is ticking on Arteta.

    If he wins Europa League then he gets respite.

    But the clock will continue to click on him next season even if he bags the Europa League.

    Then he will be judged as he was always going to be on how he fares in the EPL next season again but not only that but also how the team gets on in the CL and this is taking into account the novelty fans will feel in being back in the premier european competition.

  108. Gavqatar

    I love you Pedro. I really do. I read your blog every post and have done from pretty much the beginning. I rarely post on here nowadays due to some of the vitriol that I see in the comments and due to having a view sometimes being viewed of having an ‘agenda’ other than football, which is certainly NOT where I come from, however, you mentioned not giving Willian a chance today after bagging him relentlessly over the course of his Arsenal career. I have agreed, he has been shit, but questioning why he wasn’t included in our recent defeat is quite frankly knee jerk. I can categorically say I usually agree with your match review but questioning Willians un-involvement is bollocks. Please don’t bag players out and then question when they are not included…not cool. If he had have played you would have been blaming him for his incompetence and the reason for the utter embarrassment that we suffered yesterday. Rant over. Love the blog, keep up the good work…apart from the above obviously 😉

  109. englandsbest

    What was missing yesterday was a sense of purpose. Fifth at best? Hardly inspirational. The game on Thursday will see a marked change, a sense of purpose. Winning a trophy is inspirational.

    Needless to say, Arteta will do his best to enthuse the team in the PL games, it’s his job as manager, his duty to the fans. But now he can 100% focus his players on the Europa Cup games. What a coup winning the final would be!

    But, win or lose, by now he knows what needs to be done to advance his step-by-step process this summer. I suspect his love affair with the oldies has ended. Auba’s sulk may have been the last straw.

    Partey needs an accomplice to help him control midfield. Xhaka comes closest, that showed up yesterday, but AMN might return better-equipped. So too might Saliba. And if Odegaard sees his future at Arsenal, somehow Arteta will raise the transfer fee.

  110. G

    ‘’ Could totally see us making brainfart moves like selling Saka and ESR to buy Odegaard (which would never be worth it)

    No I think your getting a bit carried away mate

  111. zaco

    Aubameyang out wide has never worked but why Arteta continue to do that is a mystery.
    how can a manager of a club as big as Arsenal be scared of dropping an average players like Aubameyang. if the guy is not good enough to displace Lacazet as the main strikers then put him on the bench (competition can only bring the best out of them), you don’t compensate him with a position where we have players who can do better there but gets dropped because they are young. There is no way Aubemeyang should play in the wing not while Martineli and even the much maligned Willian are fit.

  112. JoppaRoad

    I;m not sure what kind of improvements we have made? You’ll say X this and Y that but I just use my eyes and it tells me we are exactly where we should be. We’re a mid table team with a mid table manager cutting his teeth. There is no accountability at Arsenal. It’s still gravy train time for all who are aboard.

    LeGrove Twitter was having a dig a Tony Adams a month or so back when he said we need to start at the back. Adams is so right. Leno, he’s a bang average keeper. We have no powerful centre backs. It’s an absolute mess at the back.

    The midfield is the weakest I’ve seen in 40 years of watching the team. Yet you guys will tell me Partey us a Rolls Royce of a midfield. Is he? Okay, will take your word for it.

    Auba is an embarrassment now and Lacazette will never be a natural finisher. Don’t get me started on Willian, Pepe and Nketiah – all duds.

    We’re in major trouble but much like Wenger and the FA Cup Get Out of Jail Free card we have a decent change in the Europa. We certainly aren’t moving forward though.

    The trouble is we have a couple of wins and you think Champions League is on. It’s nuts.

  113. Ishola70

    This Slavia Prague side very much like playing the role of underdog.

    In their last two rounds they have advanced after looking like they were out after failing to win their home leg ties only to win the second away leg.

    So Arsenal playing at home in the first leg this time could be advantageous.

    It will be interseting to see how Slavia Prague react if they get a draw or narrow win over Arsenal in the first leg. It would mean that their very clear underdog status in which they have advanced in the last two previous rounds in winning their away ties will be not so defined and people will actually be looking at them to advance in the second home leg.

    Arsenal should have much more hunger for this tie than Leicester did against them. Leicester have been in qualifying positions for the CL via the EPL for virtually most of the season. Arsenal know it’s Europa League or shit all. No fall back. No consolation prizes.

  114. Rich

    Kaz

    Teams usually come and go in cycles

    Leicester signed Maguire for £11 million, educated him for a couple of seasons, then turned down big offers, promised him his move the next summer, and signed Soyuncu for £17 million

    They gave Soyuncu 12 months to settle, then sold Maguire at the top of the market for £80 million, and arguably already had a superior player lined up as an internal replacement

    Leicester knew they were going to cash in on Chilwell, so they signed Justin for £6 million 12 months earlier, booking a £50 million profit, but already had their internal replacement lined up 12 months before it happened

    This is the type of coherent thinking we’re in desperately short supply of

    Leicester signed Maddison for £21 million, Periera for £17 million, and Ndidi for £17 million, they’d also educated Chilwell

    Those players had gotten significant experience in the previous seasons before Rodgers arrived, and were just at the age and level of experience that good young players start ripening

    Rodgers is a good coach, but he took over a project that had been under construction for a few years prior

    It doesn’t matter how good the coaching is, if the structure around the coaches is chaotic

    You don’t undo years of poor decision making, only with good coaches, good decision making makes coaching easier

    Leicester have a wage bill a fraction of ours, and a first team squad with better balance

    We could improve Arsenal, simply by getting a few basic things right

    Like the size of the squad, too much competition, kills internal competition, too little competition, kills internal competition

    Going into the season with a first team squad of 31, was insane

    We should have two natural full backs on each side, rather than pushing square pegs into round holes

    Going into a season one injury away from Runarsson becoming our No1, was lunacy, as was signing him in the first place

    Going into a season without a fit or registered attacking midfielder for the first half of the season, but having 8 substandard centre half’s on our books

    I don’t know who the best up and coming players are?

    But all we’ve currently got in our locker, is throwing around big money and big wages, Leicester have proven you don’t need to do that, providing you have very clever and innovative people pulling the strings, who do basic common sense things, extremely well

    We’re at the start of a new project with players like Tierney, Saka, Smith-Rowe, Gabriel

    What we need is somebody to pull some hungry and talented 22-24yr olds from somewhere, who have some experience, but are on the way up, not the way down

    A smart operator sells Aubameyang last summer, and signs Neto from Wolves, or pays the £60- £70 million Villa we’re asking for Grealish

    They take the offers for Bellerin + Niles, and force Kolasinac out the door

    Then pick up an elite right back, and natural left footed competition for Tierney

    They don’t wait until January to sign Ryan, because one injury away from Runarsson becoming your No1, is too much of a risk

    We’re a complete basket case club from top to bottom