by .

It was quite the scene watching Real Madrid pick Liverpool to pieces last night… and once again, really highlighted the job we need to do this summer in the transfer market.

Madrid controlled the press, they were obviously extrememly efficient in midfield with Kroos and Modric pulling strings, and they moved the ball accurately at speed.

Who in our team, bar Xhaka on a very, very good day, could pick out Vinicius with a 2 yard advantage on Trent?

The most impressive part for me was how Madrid played around Liverpool and demoralised them. That really is the key to beating big teams with intelligent pressing, you play around them a few times early in the game and make them doubt themselves. Madrid did it with some beautiful one touch football and Klopp didn’t have an answer.

That sort of football from Arsenal can only really come when we have our best starting 11 out with the correct players in the right positions.

Arsenal need to start shaping our squad with players that can do things like the Madrid side can. An obvious statement, but if the direction we’re taking is highly technical, then we need highly technical players with the right physical attributes to be able to do that.

Currently, we have a good idea that can operate with certain players in the right mood. Take a few players our and we’re in a desperate situation.

We need more Smith Rowe like talents, his addition to the squad has been absolutely crucial. Without his intelligent running and quick passing, everyone drops a level. Odegaard is a fine player, but he was taken out of the Liverpool game with ease when there weren’t other creators around him

Technical means intelligence as well. I don’t believe for a minute Arteta didn’t have Trent down as a weakness, but he didn’t have players on the pitch that could execute a plan to take advantage. Madrid players don’t need a week to deliver on an plan, Liverpool don’t… Arsenal players aren’t smart enough to operate to a high level on short notice.

Auba and Lacazette don’t play well together, we have to give up that game and start playing the names that click on the pitch. If we’re playing Auba as the 9, we have to build technicians around him. We can’t try and have it every which way to appease the big names. It doesn’t work. Lacazette has good link-up play but limited threat in front of goal, Auba is deadly but won’t run the line or link-up. It’s a nightmare of our own making… but let’s be clear on Auba, he gave us the season we feared we’d have if he didn’t sign up for 3 years (no goal threat). Who saw that coming?

We also need to make decisions on the defence next season. If you need to be world class with the ball at your feet to survive in the Arsenal defence, let’s shape our squad that way and make sure we have players that are comortable playing a high risk game.

William Saliba is still very raw, he’s ony a kid, but his game is what we need from a centre back. He’s in the top 3 for ball recoveries, no one has run past him this season, and he can move with the ball at his feet. He needs to be in the four next season. What is the point in David Luiz next year? What is he preserving for us? If the coaching staff are looking at him, thinking he’s keeping us stable, and we’re 10th, it feels like they’re under-analysing the problem. None of the senior players are keeping us in the mix this year and none of them have a resale value. What’s more… the surgery… it’s a big fuck off siren… he’s old, fitness does not get any better. Old players that are injured all the time are not fun to be around at the training ground. Arteta can attest to that, not many people were huge fans of the man he was at the back end of his injury ravaged Arsenal career.

We should be experimenting for the future, not doubling down on a past that has had us 8th and now 10th or possibly lower this season. Calculate our unforced errors this season, look at the average age of where they come from, and you’ll find it’s probably over the age of 25. If you take even half those errors out of the system, we’re in the top 4 right now… but you have to have the guts to do that, and there are huge question marks over whether our coaching stuff is ruthless enough to make moves like that. If your most crucial players cost you the most points because of errors… then your squad is built to fail. The footballing equation can’t be ‘we play better with that person in the squad, but they regularly cost us games.’ That’s like building an electric car that thrills with 0-60 at 2 seconds… but regularly explodes and kills its passengers.

Arsenal will get to the end goal a lot quicker if we just do the difficult work now. At the moment, we’re the guy having one more beer before they hit the diet… we’re delaying the inevitable.

If there is one thing we’ve learned this season, it’s that players with a future to play for are far more hungry than those that don’t. Willian has no special qualities that are relevant to the now. David Luiz might be a great big game player, but if every 4 games he serves up a howler that costs us 3 points, what’s the fucking point? Our prestige names are fair weather. Who would I prefer as my #9 in a one on one with my house on the line? Auba. Who would I prefer over a 90… I’m not far off saying Martinelli this season.

Here’s the thing though, most of this post is directed at Arteta… it should NOT be that way.

‘He’s a bad manager but a good coach’ is something I hear at lot and I absolutely agree.

You could be a good coder, doesn’t mean you’d make a good CEO. All the brightest young managers in world football have brilliant systems built around their weaknesses. Nagelsmann is not a manager, he’s a coach, and he’s surrounded by people that know how to extract the most out of him. Marco Rose will not be handling the vision of a Dortmund when he’s hired there. There are so, so few true managers in world football right now because it’s an outrageous amount of responsibility to bestow on someone. We bestowed that on a novice.

We should have a strong technical director running the show. Edu should be the bad guy making the tough decisions. Arteta should be able to shrug and say, ‘I just work with what I am given’… it is farsical that a 39 year old is given so much power for delivering so little.

But here’s the thing, you don’t want Edu running things, nor does Vinai, which is why he promoted Arteta. When that sort of weakness runs through the clubs leadership, it’s absolutely clear why we are where we are right now. Too many people are learning on the job. Edu and Arteta should not be sharing roles. The blending of swimlanes makes it hard to see who is doing what. Arteta should coach, Edu should be building the squad. That said, I’m not saying we can’t succeed. I’m just saying we’re building out an unsustainable model based on the hope that one person can do it all… that’s not future proof. Might not even be now proof.

This summer is going to be massive. All three of the leadership trifecta have jobs on the line. KSE are unlikely to foot another rebuild bill. We’ll have to make money before we can spend. We’ll likely have to improve the level of our squad on lower wages. We’ll likely have to move a historic amount of talent both ways and keep stability in the first team.

A huge ask. If they pull it off, then I’ll back the fuck away…

One way to make the summer a little easier would be to win the Europa League, more on that tomorrow night.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. China1

    I’m curious about the LB position against Slavia

    Most people (myself included) think Saka will be LB but my hunch is this is a mistake as he’s so important to our attack.

    Personally I’d gamble on a less than ideal Soares LB and Chambers RB instead so that we can play Pepe, ESR, Saka as our attacking unit. Not sure who I’d choose at CF, probably Laca this time.

    Soares and chambers is clearly not ideal but my hunch is the pay off to our attack will outweigh any cost to our defense so I’d roll that dice

  2. peanuts&monkeys

    “Who in our team, bar Xhaka on a very, very good day, could pick out Vinicius with a 2 yard advantage on Trent?”

    OMG! OMG!!! Is this blog an Arteta-Xhaka newsletter now??????

  3. peanuts&monkeys

    Pedro, you think only Xhaka can hace that kind of passing accuracy? Haven’t you seen 98 out of Xhaka’s passes are backpasses? and, the rest two are sideways? haven’t you? Which Arsenal are you watching for the last 4 years?

  4. peanuts&monkeys

    This Arteta style of defensive and stale football has polluted the football understanding of ppl here. They have started falling for that style, believing that is gold standard. This is exactly why they (you guys here) cannot appreciate Ceballos. Ceballos is a footballer is capable of making that kind of a pass 8 out of 10 times ONLY IF ARTETA the donkey gives him a free hand. Poor Ceballos is stuck in this Arsenal rut of Arteta-Xhaka quicksand.

  5. Tony

    Agreed but play ESR centrally and Odegaard with Partey feeding the front 3 you stated.

    Let Odegaard do the Xhaka duties only far better and then Partey should have less ground to cover.

    That way Odegaard doesn’t lessen ESR’s play as it does when ESR plays on the left to accommodate Odegaard centrally.

    Cedric doesn’t link up as well on the left as he does on the right.

    Maybe play Gabriel as LB.

    Keep Saka on the left to track back when necessary and play Pepe on the right as he’s linked with Cedric well before.

    Chambers is a better RWB than a RB if he has to play in the right.

    As Laca has done previously I think ESR in the advanced CF position could do far better than Laca and interchange more dangerously with Saka and Pepe.

    A primed Martinelli full of raw steak doing plenty of warm ups on the touch line could add to the energy.

    Let the tainted golden oldies warm the bench and witness raw aggression with technical ability give their all.

    Last piece of the play would be to gag Arteta on the touch line.

    Just a far away Gooner wishful thinking lazing in the garden with nice sounds emanating from a $400 Sonos Move. Excellent product for the money.

    Sorry Northbanker 🙄

  6. Tom

    “Who in our team, bar Xhaka on a very, very good day, could pick out Vinicius with a 2 yard advantage on Trent?”

    More a case of Vinicius running on to the pass from TK than him picking out Vinicius.
    Tony Kroos is top quality so he gets the plaudits but by far the more difficult skill was on the part of the striker.

  7. Tony

    No problem Northbanker we all let our emotions run off when we’re so stressed from the incompetence we keep witnessing.

    Then there are the C-19 constant threats controlling lives.

    Totally understandable.

  8. Northbanker

    Feel free to discuss super-woofers as much as you like, my friend. All over my head but I do have a very nice set of 4 Sonos speakers installed in my kitchen ceiling when I extended it.. All was great until Sonos stopped their app from being linked to iTunes, where all my music is stored. It seems I now need to switch to Google Play or use Spotify

  9. Kroenkephobe

    Tony and Northbanker

    These audio-related discussions are cool. I’ve still got my vinyl and hi-fi. Mostly technics stuff with a Marantz amp and some large but dodgy-ish Sony speakers which, to coin a phrase, are all about the bass, not the treble. I think the deck needs a new stylus however.

    Turning to tonight’s game, I know little about Slavia although I have seen them play through a haze of Pilsen in Prague in the early 90s. Very chic kit – a bit like Feyenoord’s. It was a dour nil-nil against Viktoria Zizkov I believe but the hangover went to extra time and penalties…

    I agree with others who say that we need to go out and impose our plan on them, home and away. Arteta showed at the weekend against the bin dippers that he is not astute enough to react to and plan for another team’s tactics. Big game tonight – win and keep a clean sheet (for a change!) and we should have enough for the semis.

  10. Wiglaf


    I totally agree with your analysis there
    Only I’d have Pepe and Saka swapping. Also swapping with ESR too
    Keeps them guessing and harnesses all 3 of their varying attributes in different ways
    You want Pepe as close to the striker as poss. He should be our second highest contributor for goals with his leve of finishing.

  11. Tony

    I’m a big Sonos fan. As speakers they punch well above their price range.

    In our family room I use the new Arc under the TV then directly opposite I situated the Move as its base.

    As you move the Move around the room it changes the sound dynamics with the Arc and so you can apply the sound to specific directions with different listening experiences.

    I use Tidal here for music because sadly we can’t get Qobuz. Crazy because we used to.

    B&W WiFi speakers play HiRes files the best but cost triple the amount of the best Sonos Fives, which incidentally are much improved on the original Play 5s.

    Great sound for condos or similar.

    Whoever you chose for streaming I’d go for one that offers at least FLAC file streaming. It’s a good fit file format for Sonos. You’ll probably need to add more bass with that file but your kids and highs will be much more crisper.

    Like you I have Sonos in our kitchen. We also have the new app problem but I can stream from the network I’ve set up throughout the house and grounds. With over 5 Terabytes of digital music to choose from.

    To be honest I don’t use them; when we’re in the kitchen we take the Move with us.

    Sorry if that’s TMI but hopefully some info is u see useful.

    And now back to Sid for the football. 🙏

  12. Sid

    Now he blames others for his nastiness, just like he likes accusing others of negativity, his self awarenes is hilarious

  13. Tony

    That was my point of having ESR as the CF. He, of the 3, can glide around going deep to collect while Pepe and Saka interchange dragging CBs with them.

    If they can be fluid with each other we have a good chance of goals.

  14. Tony

    I’ll drop a post tomorrow morning my time re your HiFi. I find myself smiling because the brands you mentioned I also had in the late 70s.

    In its price range Technics was a much loved brand.

  15. Sid

    Im also an expert on sound systems, nothing comes close to my
    Goldstar TW-P41 Boombox, AM/FM Stereo with Dual Cassette Recorder
    Instant pantie remover

    Im telling yiu for free!

  16. Terraloon

    Munching on my toast have just listened to a quick debate on Sky Sports which followed on from Gary Nevilles comments on MNF
    The view very much is that Arteta has lost the dressing room and what Neville called the front 6 have downed tools.
    The debate also touched on the near enough impossible position that Arsenal finds itself in when trying to move on these six their contracts, their age and above all the depressed marked makes it not just difficult but it’s going to cost a wedge.

  17. Emiratesstroller


    Ajax can afford to pay significantly lower wages in Holland for two reasons.

    Firstly, because their primary objective is and has been for decades to focus on their youth programme and therefore in the knowledge that their best players will leave and go elsewhere.

    Second the Domestic League in Holland is relatively weak and therefore finishing at the top
    is relatively easy compared with EPL where there is far more competition.

    Arsenal’s current problem is that their wage bill has been designed for a club competing at
    the top of EPL and playing in Champions League. Unfortunately we are currently nowhere near that level at moment.

  18. Arsnil

    With regards to Martinelli and Saliba and possibly Mavropanos if they were with a CL club they would be playing regularly. Shows just what a fuck up of a club we have become. We instead rearrange the aging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  19. Rich


    Players downing tools, always says more about the players, than it does about the manager

    Moving players on this summer is going to be more difficult than some people seem to think, there’s a good chance we’re stuck with the bulk of this squad

    Players need to drop their egos, put their petty squabbles to one side, and start playing for the shirt, there’s still plenty to play for this season

  20. Gonsterous


    ESR at forward, now I’ve heard it all. When he drops deep, we will be left with no forwards. Haven’t we had enough experiments? Why not play players in their original position, they can cover other positions for back up.
    This is Wenger and his idea of putting alexis up top.

  21. JOEL

    Chambers was hung out to dry in the Liverpool game and as he proved previously he is far and away a better right back than Bellerin…Yet Arteta brings back one if his favourites as soon as “the pressure is on”…Similarly instead of slotting ESR back into the number 10 slot given Odergaard’s injury…he goes back to Willian…When WILL ARTETA LEARN..
    He refuses to start Martinelli although he has thankfully finally noticed that Aubamayang does not merit a starting berth based on current form.
    I’d like to think that their last performance…or rather their lack of one…means that Arsenal start this game on the front foot and play in a way that will allow them to put Slavia to the sword…
    I’m holding my breath and hope that we’ve seen the last of plodding and predictable sideways/ backwards Arsenal.