HUGE SUMMER FOR LEADERSHIP TRIFECTA

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.

178 Responses to “HUGE SUMMER FOR LEADERSHIP TRIFECTA”

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  1. Bankz

    Nice read.
    We really need to start recruiting right. The right players for a system we plan to build on

  2. S Asoa

    Scholarly piece by Devlin , thank you boss

    “ Well Matt, I am a bit frustrated at the fact that we might not know.
    Before Bournemouth came into the league, my answer would have been a resounding yes. But just like with Leeds, the level of the technical abilities of players has to be pushed to its limits for us to know their level.
    Also, its hard to judge for me because players bring different technical abilities to the table. An example would be Pepe, is he technical or not not? He is probably the most skillful, the best at beating a man and an excellent striker of the ball. He has amazing technique and so does the much maligned Ceballos (in his awkward way). At the same time, I wouldn’t call Aaron Ramsey technical, or at least technically excellent.
    What I do see though is a lack of playmaking, in midfield and in forward areas. The ability to decide what you are going to do on the ball and do it. The reason I also do not believe that such can be fixed or will be fixed is Mikel Arteta. Playmaking requires a player to make decisions on the pitch that are dictated to by game state. A playmaker does what the game needs and they dictate it towards the direction that is most suitable to exploit, and if they cant do that through simple means, they then get creative and we start to see outside of the foot passes, insane half-turns, flicks, racking passes, dribbling, and etc…
    People like Jack Wilshere at a younger age would drive/dribble when the game needed it, would pass to the most appropriate options and support where support was needed. Someone like Thomas Rosicky would find pockets or holes to exploit and would attack those spaces with glorious fury and crazy play (I love that guy). Thinking of players like Santi, Ozil, Mikhitaryan, and even Ramsey to a certain extent, rigid systems where their next move was dictated to by management would have had them looking lesser than, less sure and just plainly not confident enough to do what they did. I definitely know that “beat 4 guys and drive out of our own half” is not a tactic any coach gives, not even to Santi. That comes from what he sees and what he would like to doo to get us forward, playmaking. rigidity would have taken away their biggest asset and toned down their technical exploits..
    Can you imagine how useless an Ozil is when he has been told what passes to play, where to receive the ball towards or what positions to take? Completely useless and at all showing what he is capable of technically.
    What we have is a squad of players (outside of the youth for some reason) that play to instruction. when your pass is already predetermined for you, your ways of receiving reduce, in the same way that a completely one footed player has less room to receive into than the space an ambidextrous player has.
    My thoughts? I watched a struggling Leeds side that was very much a midtable championship team at best do the unimaginable. All of a sudden, with midtable championship calibre players, they played fast and flowing football, which requires a high technical level.
    Lesson? We wont find out how fast you are from how fast you jog, we need to see you sprint. In football, we have to see you play to a level that asks for a high level of technical ability to find out and sadly for three years, we have only asked our players to jog. “

  3. Nelson

    ” Real moved the ball accurately at speed.”
    ___________________________________

    That’s the key to play around their high press. We need to sign midfielders who has this capability.

  4. Doublethink

    Pedro
    Ad hominems sure sign of a weak argument. I’m no Emery fan I wanted him gone but how one can be a fraud and the other a generational talent with a worse record makes no logical sense, the mental gymnastics needed to come to that conclusion is crazy. You gotta be in you’re 30’s now calling people virgins who disagree with your opinion, fucking sad.

  5. Ishola70

    Devlin is wrong on Jack Wilshere.

    Off the cuff play can win matches but Jack Wilshere used to over-do it on far too many occassions and over-dribble and lose possession to the opposition. That is down to the overall intelligence of the player. Wilshere would come under the bracket of a player that would have probably benefited from more instruction. Not to straight jacket him but to improve his decision making.

  6. Ishola70

    I said before that Kroos still plays at a high tempo and work-rate.

    He sprints towards his own keeper to receive the ball just outside his own penalty area to start moves off.

    This means that the start of moves is quick, efficient and positive. It sets the tone straight from the off.

    We need a mobile technical midfielder that can set the correct tone straight from first phase play. We don’t have one. We have Granit Xhaka. That’s how to beat an opposition press.

  7. Pedro

    Doublethink, making bad faith arguments with shit data for Unai Emery then geting angry when you’re called out for it on a fan blog is sad.

  8. SAGG

    Doublethink

    Being 3 loses away of the worst season in 45 years is a very exceptional achievement I could call it “Generational”

    Lose at home against Burnley, Wolves, Leicester and Villa. in the same season can be hail as Generational

    7 wins out of 15 league games at home seems very Generational too.

    It seems like Arteta is machine in achieve GENERATIONAL Records in detriment of the Arsenal.

  9. Nelson

    “We should have a strong technical director running the show.”
    ____________________________________________________

    “strong and experienced”. Currently, not only we created more problems, like giving long and big contracts to Willian and Auba, we also mismanaged our young players: Saliba, Martinelli, Reiss Nelson and Eddie. Balo’s contract is still in the air. They don’t give us any confidence that they can do a good job.

  10. AFC Forever

    Think you may be right Pedro.

    Disappointed to hear that Tierney is out for 6 games, this time knee ligaments. He’s not having surgery but the problem with ligaments is once damaged they never get back to what they were. Let’s hope it’s just a strain then. Next season we really do have to sort out these injuries that we keep suffering from. Soares is an able replacement but any team that wants to be successful needs to be able to play their first-choice players more often than not. Take Liverpool, their team last season was the ultimate in consistency, yet look at them now; a few injuries and they have become flakier than a Leper colony. Luckily they bought Jota who gives them a guaranteed improvement in front of goal but he’s been injury-prone.

    Also worth sayng that those who wanted to pair Ceballos with Partey, as part of the never-ending anti-Xhaka agenda, just don’t get it. It’s about the sum of all parts and we have nobody in the squad who can do that Xhaka role as well as him. It is obvious that we have to improve that area of the pitch and Ceballos isn’t good enough. Important transfer window coming up and an opportunity to add much-needed quality to ‘start’ games, not to add to the squad. We need a consistent team on the pitch, which we haven’t had this season and that means making sure anyone we get in has a robust playing record and is not going to get suspended. Big transfer window, we have to improve the quality of players.

  11. Up 4 grabs now

    Pedro your still banging the its not artetas fault drum.
    If he was just the coach like Emery or Freddie for his few games then he gets more protection. But he demanded more power, he gets the players he wants for the most part.

    Maybe he doesn’t have the control that Wenger had but he has a lot more than Emery.

    I’m not an emery cheerleader he had to go because he appeared to lose the dressing room, but most of those players have moved on now, maybe he should have been backed rather than those players.

    Artetas record is appalling compared to Emery, but you make out like its the other way around.
    He’s made mistakes with players, he let players get away with murder while he chastised young players, how many times can he keep saying his shocked at poor performances.

    He’s had the same length of time emery had, and emery had worse players. But we’re dying a death of a thousand cuts in tenth, playing poor football most of the time.

    There has to be a point where he has to be held accountable.

  12. Foxy

    yes Real Madrid were technically excellent last night as always but what was also very evident is what big, fast, direct and hardworking team they were, who dominated Liverpool Physically. both in attack and defence More Invincibles than latter day Wenger . Just compare Benzema to Lacazette !!!!

  13. Ishola70

    AFC Forever

    “Also worth sayng that those who wanted to pair Ceballos with Partey, as part of the never-ending anti-Xhaka agenda, just don’t get it. It’s about the sum of all parts and we have nobody in the squad who can do that Xhaka role as well as him. ”

    No you don’t get it.

    We have been asking for better midfielders including Xhaka for ages.

    If you think this team seriously improves next season with Xhaka still an integral part of it you are crackers. He is a Europa League level player.

    Shame on you for implying that all we needed was Granit Xhaka on the pitch against Liverpool and all would have been much more rosy.

  14. Foxy

    Emery inherited a poor squad and just as he started to make some progress he lost Welbeck, Bellerin and Holding to long term injuries and his only Jan reinforcement was an injured Suarez. Arteta has been spoilt player wise in comparison.

  15. Valentin

    Asoa,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your point.
    However in order to make that kind of sprint football a manager has to be willing to relinquish control.

    A manager has to accept that most of his work has already been done during the training and game preparation. The only interaction he should have during the game is to instruct change of tactics or personnel, not instruction every play step by step.

    Which is exactly what Arteta does. Micro-managing to the level of instructing to whom to pass. Remember the ESR and Saka goals that were the result of quick, instinctive interchange between ESR, Saka and Lacazette. If Arteta wants that kind of unstoppable football, he has to accept that he can’t shout his way into it from the sideline.

    I can’t see Arteta changing. He tried to keep quiet after the meeting where the players complained about it. But a few games later, he reverted to type.

  16. Ishola70

    Any team that seriously competes in midfield against Arsenal and presses high up and puts pressure on our current midfielders then we are in trouble and that includes Granit Xhaka.

    It doesn’t happen in every match but these games come along and we see the outcome. They melt. Ceballos or Xhaka. The only thing Ceballos showed previously over Xhaka was that he could engineer himself out of the press on occasions but not evident against Liverpool and previously he was playing with fire in attempting this on occasions when he shouldn’t have.

  17. Danny

    the job we need to do this summer in the transfer market.
    ——————-
    Pedro,
    Let’s look at the players we’ve signed since Wenger was sacked:
    The Shit:
    Torreira
    Sokratis
    Lichtsteiner
    Pepe
    Runarsson
    Willian

    The Average:
    Partey
    Gabriel
    Soares
    Mari
    Luiz
    Guendouzi
    Leno
    Saliba (who knows?)

    The Good:
    Tierney
    Martinelli

    So in a nutshell, out of 16 signing only 2 are good.
    Not very encouraging!

  18. Thank you and goodnight

    I don’t understand why people think Saliba would want to play for Arteta. Fact is Arteta shat on Saliba and made his judgement on him based on 1 friendly. Yet by all accounts he’s had a good season out on loan, being one of the better players in the team. Truth is I’d give Arteta fuck all to spend as his judgment on players are awful and he hasn’t a clue. 18 months in , 50 premier league games managed, yet the twat still doesn’t know his best back 4.

  19. Danny

    Thank you and goodnight
    April 7, 2021 16:04:39
    ——————
    True which means even more reason to worry!

  20. Doublethink

    Using words like bad faith and shit data mean nothing if you don’t have a counter argument, if win percentage over a 50 game period is shit data, what would you consider good data? Yeah let’s all pretend that we didn’t want Wenger to leave after winning a trophy because it suits my agenda. I’m annoyed because I didn’t expect you the owner of a pretty succesful blog that I’ve been visiting for years to resort to namecalling like a 12 year old keyboard warrior, if that makes me sad then so be it.

  21. Danny

    I could’ve added to the list are 3 loanies (loonies…..)

    Completely Shit:
    Suarez

    Just Shit:
    Ceballos

    Good:
    Ødegaard

    Well I guess one out of 3 ain’t bad……

  22. Spanishdave

    Up for Grabs now
    Well said Arteta s time is up. He has not had the fans face on to attend to he is getting away with it big time.
    The buck ends with him, he is a control freak and the players look pissed off with it .
    He clearly has favourites and that cannot happen as it crates bad feelings amongst the players.
    Madrid showed us how far away we are, as I have said look at Leipzig playing and remind me who the manager is.
    That’s football not the crap we play.

  23. Thank you and goodnight

    @Spanishdave

    Forget Madrid showing us the way. Fulham gave Liverpool a scare at anfield where they completely dominated at least 70 min of that game. We’re going backwards under Arteta no matter how much spin we put on it.

  24. Mark S

    How quickly things can change in football. Before the Arsenal match TAA was getting criticized for his form/play, he plays Arsenal…”Southgate doesn’t know what he’s doing, TAA is WORLD CLASS!”, and then he plays a team that can actually pass out of midfield…TAA gets exposed. From what I can gather, playing against Arsenal is not a good barometer for how great a player is….because everyone looks good against us!

  25. into the red

    Arteta may be a good coach, but how does that account for his tactical ineptitude and choice of players? If he’s only a coach, then he doesn’t have the vision thing to be a manager. Also a good manager needs to be very good psychological judge of character and motivation, given that his squad will vary hugely in terms of individuals and their needs. Obviously we are not party to what goes on behind the scenes, but it is hard to see any evidence of that.

    As you rightly say, whatever Arteta is, and a year later we still don’t know really know,which perhaps tells its own story, he still needs to have reliable colleagues who can overrule him if necessary, as well as support him in purchases etc. Again, we haven’t seen much evidence of that from Edu or Vinai. It really begs the question of whether we have the right structure in place for a raw manager, or any manager to survive and prosper.

    So many questions, so few answers.

  26. Fire

    Edu must go… Followed closely by Arteta.
    There must be consequences for this season. That’s how a big club operates.

  27. Up 4 grabs now

    The league games are all dead rubbers now, all the eggs are in one basket again with the europa.

    Yes there’s a few million here or their for where your final position is in the league but its not like we are going to jump from 10th to 5th is it.

    As others have said arteta doesn’t know his best back line, he doesn’t know his best midfield and the front line is all over though the show.
    He’s not ten games in trying to find the right balance.
    He’s had time, just as long as Emery. And there’s still no clear idea.

    If he had cleared out the crap and played kids, we probably would have accepted the performances, as we would have understood there young and will make mistakes.

    But watching xhaka, willian, Luiz, senior players, giving away goals or playing like there boots are tied together. Is a joke.
    And its not like we’ve never seen xhaka or Luiz make those mistakes before.
    Yet continues to pick them and rely on them.

    Thats artetas choice, no one is forcing him to pick them, or set the team up to play the way they do.

    It looks like he sent the players out on Saturday not to lose.
    A rookie back line that had one shot to deal with the whole game is a disgrace. Liverpool wasn’t great we made them look good by being so poor.

  28. Emiratesstroller

    Pedro

    No-one disputes that Arsenal should experiment with younger players. I would venture to suggest that is precisely what Arsenal have been doing over the last two and half years with
    introduction of Guendouzi, Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli, Nelson and Willock all of whom were
    teenagers when they played in the first team.

    Of these Saka and Smith-Rowe have proven to be players good enough to play in starting lineup. Martinelli seemed to be a huge talent when if first turned up, but has proven accident
    prone since then.

    The others have not looked in the same class when they have played against good opposition.

    We have on the conveyor belt Saliba followed by perhaps Balogun and Azeez who have looked promising at U23 level.

    So the idea that Arsenal’s management and coaches have not been prepared to experiment
    is ludicrous.

    However, when you do decide to introduce younger players it needs to be measured and
    playing perhaps one or two in an appropriate match. My guess is that Arteta may decide to
    introduce one or two younger players at the end of season in EPL games now that we are
    unlikely to finish in top seven. Also there will be friendlies in the summer.

  29. Terraloon

    Danny.

    Listening to Martinelli a few weeks ago he was saying that despite him being told by the medics all was ok he was still in pain.
    There were undoubted glimpses of raw talent and exceptional talent but just like many many players that suffer an injury recovery quite often leaves player short of the levels they previously attained often that can be the loss of a yard or two of pace or as big a worry is the player cant mentally get over the injury.
    Tierney when he plays is the business but his injury record is a worry indeed it’s reported he has missed, through injury, 83 games to date in the last 4 seasons.
    So yes two top players, potentially, but both with problems

  30. Captain Tierney

    Looks like tomorrow we’ll start with a front 4 of Auba, Ode, Esr and Willian. Saka will probably be at LB since that position is very important in the way we attack and Cedric tho a capable LB is just kot like good enough for that role.

    + It has to be noted that Saka’s G+A numbers have dried up after that little purple patch. Doesn’t mean he is not a good attacker, just that it may be better for him to start at LB. Some of his best performances have come in the LWB position

  31. Up 4 grabs now

    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?

    Pedro are you trolling us here with that comment?

    Kroos and modric were being written off as old and past it a few months back, now they can outshine klopp and his midfield, something we couldn’t do Saturday.
    Xhaka can’t even move himself accurately and at speed, let alone the ball.

  32. Danny

    Tierney out for possibly 6 weeks, thanks to fuckin’ Scotland for playing him in all their 3 matches – 270 minutes, especially against Faroe Islands.
    Ødegaard also apparently injured……
    Whatever the final score tomorrow, the main thing is not to concede an away goal, if we do then we’ll be fucked, that’s the disadvantage of playing the first tie at home.

  33. AC

    So it took pedro some painful mistakes by shit luiz and good performances by saliba in Ligue 1 to understand that saliba is better than luiz. When most of us pointed this out to him last October he was just shit talking back to us.

    How long before pedro comes around on Arteta problem and prove all of us were right from the beginning? may be by season end?

  34. Tom

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, Pedro, and start aiming at RM levels of excellence.
    What we saw yesterday was why the player many think is the best and most talented playmaker on Arsenal right this minute,Odegaard, doesn’t make their roster.
    RM could win the double( CL, and La Liga) and no one would be surprised.

    That said, if you don’t think we had the players capable to expose, or at least try to, Trent Alexander Arnold’s weaknesses as a poor defender , not to mention the slow Philips and the rookie Kabak, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Pool are having a nightmare of a season but if you know your football it’s hardly surprising, since moving key players around to plug up holes in defensive positions caused by injuries will always effect the overall balance of the team.
    Their nominal holding midfielder has been their best CB this season.
    Chopping and changing their back line has also effected Allison, who’s been a shadow of himself lately.
    Yesterday he looked more like Karius than one of top five keepers in the world.
    Does that sound familiar btw?
    Leno?!?!

    While Klopp has been forced into it, what’s behind Arteta constant CB reshuffle this season?
    Luiz, Holding, and Gabriel have same amount of minutes this season and all have been fit, until now that is.

  35. Dream10

    Tierney is a quality player, but he is not the smartest. Similar to Wilshere. He goes into challenges where he can hurt himself.

  36. Captain Tierney

    Agreed Pedro

    Promoting Arteta to a Manager looks like a very bad decision.

    We need someone like Rangnick in that role. We should nab him before he embarks on another long term project like Red Bull.

    Having a tough- talking DOF who is capable of making hard decisions and take the flak from fans temporarily makes a huge difference. It even takes some pressure off the Head Coach’s shoulders.
    So many examples spring to mind.
    Perez, Rangnick, Levy, Txiki ( first at Barca, now at City), Zorc, Ruminegge, etc.
    One very important quality all of these guys share is they always keep their sentiments away from the business.

    This is near impossible for a Head Coach to do. In modern world leadership is about relationships. If the HC wants his team to perform well, he HAS to build good relationships with his players. Even a Monster manager and a serial winner like Mourinho has suffered from players downing tools. First at Utd, now at Spuds. Just goes to show, you can’t lead with a stick in the 21st century.
    And if you form a strong bond with someone you are biased when you have to make those tough-for the greater good decisions.
    This is exactly what Arteta is being asked to do now and I don’t think he can be that man.

    Very few if any successful clubs have a manger model now. Especially since player power became a real thing. Days of Wenger, Ancelotti and Fergie are long gone
    Having a DOF just eases the pressure on the HC.

    Let me explain with a general analogy. A DOF is like the batman.
    Very very important, works in the background, never receives the plaudits(tho its changing nowadays), always there to take the flak from the general public.

    Up until now Edu hasn’t really convinced me but he has had bought some good players and cut a lot of dross in the 2 TW he headed.
    Is he the man we need? I’d prefer Rangnick.
    Does he warrant sacking? Not yet but if Rangnick wants to come I’d sack him in a heartbeat.
    Does he deserve another TW? Yes

  37. Nelson

    “Listening to Martinelli a few weeks ago he was saying that despite him being told by the medics all was ok he was still in pain.”
    ———————————————————————-
    WOW! That confirmed my suspicion. Our medics are crap. Luiz had head injury and they said that he was OK. They approved Partey to start and costed us losing him for a few weeks. Why they let an unfit Saka to play against West Ham, etc…

  38. Tom

    Tierney needs to evolve as a player to prolong his career or face football extinction.
    Wilshere comes to mind here but also Ox to a certain extent.
    You can be physically aggressive and still stay on you feet and avoid unnecessary challenges.

  39. Dream10

    Tom

    Tierney is currently walking on water. Every thing he does is praised by fans and media. “Arsenal have missing passion like this for a decade”. They won’t care if he consistently gets hurt.

  40. Champagne Charlie

    “Up until now Edu hasn’t really convinced me but he has had bought some good players and cut a lot of dross in the 2 TW he headed.
    Is he the man we need? I’d prefer Rangnick.
    Does he warrant sacking? Not yet but if Rangnick wants to come I’d sack him in a heartbeat.
    Does he deserve another TW? Yes“

    I pretty much agree with this.

    Last summer was far from an ideal scenario and perhaps you can offer that up as influence for the overall poor window – we fired Raul and had a truncated covid-summer where a new duo had to work somewhat on the fly. The first window both Edu/Arteta ran with some prep time was January, and that was a pleasing one.

    Imo this summer is their make or break as a dynamic. The landscape is tough, sure, but that’s known with time and a plan should be made factoring that in. Fully expect to see much more aggressive moves made toward squad building.

    Have personally hear really encouraging stuff about our outgoings this summer, so I’m encouraged to believe big things are due.

  41. Graham62

    Imo, Arteta’s handling of Martinelli has been absolutely appalling.

    Give the kid a sniff and stop all this crap.

    Preferential treatment of other player’s consumes Arteta’s thought process.

    Odegaard is equally confused.

  42. Nelson

    A good medical department should have a record of the physical health for every player. They should advise the coach who is in the red zone.

  43. Tom

    RM playing their home games on their training pitch in a 6k capacity stadium is a major advantage for them btw.
    It totally altered depth perception for players not familiar with it.
    Meanwhile Pool lost their home advantage with the pandemic.

  44. La croqueta

    Again with the “we must win the EL” Narrative.
    1. We’ve never won it
    2. 2 finals botched
    3. A better manager in Wenger failed.
    4. A more experienced manager in Emery failed.
    5. There are better teams than ours in the tournament on both sides of the bracket
    6. Arteta has never been in this “must win a trophy” position before.
    7. The only players in our squad who have actually won The EL. The only ones who knows what it takes are Luiz and Willian.

    You can’t put ultimatums on people who have never done what you’re asking them to do. It’s incredibly disingenuous. Arteta needs to admit to himself here and now that we are unlikely to win the EL. So therefore how do we move forward if we don’t. We need to plan for the most likely outcome. Leave the fairytale where it is until it happens.

  45. Mark S

    London gunner-I agree with you, I think TAA is a world class fullback. I was being a bit sarcastic. My main gripe is that things seem to be either “fantastic” or “dumpster fire terrible” when it comes to football and its fans. Pedro has pointed out before that traffic on this site goes way up after we lose. Football fandom is a marathon…not a sprint…unless you’re a Citeh fan from the last 10 years…that has been a sprint.

  46. Habesha Gooner

    It is clear what we have to do this summer. Purge as many senior players as we can. sell of young players that haven’t made the grade that have had enough chances so far. sign young players for our neccessary positions.

    That means No new contract for Lacazette, Elneny or Luiz. bellerin had got to go. Sell of Nketiah and willock if the right offer comes. Try and Negotiate a contract termination with old Willian. Give chances to Martinelli, Azeez, Balogun ( If he signs), Saliba and may be Mavropanos.

    But we all know what arteta is going to do. He doesn’t understand any young players. If he did he wouldn’t have signed old willian to play as a winger when we had Reiss and Martinelli. He wouldn’t have been trying to extend Luiz or Mustafi when we had a top prospect in Saliba. Better to fuel your ego with elneny than trying to get the best out of Guendouzi right? That is why I fear Arteta will fuck us even more this summer. We will have Extensions for Elneny and Lacazette and the next manager will have to deal with that. All because of crappy management.

  47. Thank you and goodnight

    But according to Arteta , Willian can be a very important players for us in next 2 months ,apparently. Yeah so far he’s been a great signing Arteta. Def worth keeping him in the first team squad then. Even though their are better players than him. If Nelson had been given us much game time as Willian, I’m prettt sure we probably would of seen and got better use out of Nelson than we have Willian. This is why Arteta won’t make it as a manager as he’d rather cut off his nose to spite his face.

  48. Spudnik

    Pedro,
    When Wenger joined Arsenal, he had the brains trust of David Dein, Danny Fizman and Hill-Wood steering the club behind his vision which was counter intuitive for Arsenal, or at least counter cultural. All had experience and were respected by Wenger. That Brains trust evaporated during Wenger’s tenure. Is it any wonder that Wenger, Emery and particularly Arteta have been in charge of the decline.
    Compare Arsenal’s football executive class to Liverpool or City. The chasm is huge.

  49. DivineSherlock

    Arseblog tactics column about Slavia Prague doesnt make for a good read . Xhaka is in for a tough time. I sure hope we are up for it.

  50. Nelson

    I guess Torr must be feeling quite lonely in Madrid. He is just on loan there and hardly plays. I suggest we keep him in the squad next year and provide him with more love and caring. Let him feel more at home. We can also offer him vacation time back home. He could still be converted to a useful member.

  51. Tom

    “Can chelsea win the champions league?”

    No.

    RM and Bayern are still my favorites.
    City might be bookies favorite but the pressure and Peps tinkering is against them.

  52. Tom

    What the RM game also showed last night is what a terrible fit Auba would’ve been for them, so like with Ozil, Arsenal again negotiated against themselves and some rumor in awarding him that fat contract.

  53. London gunner

    habesha

    mbappe is a generational talent but he often finishes like that. just smashes as hard as he can without any finnese directly at the keeper. He isn’t messi like rolling on a pinpoint into either corner

  54. Bertie Mee

    Very punchy article Pedro . There are two decisions that need to be made .
    Edu is nowhere near good enough to be TD at a club with Arsenal’s problems and aspirations.
    On the playing front I just cannot accept Xhaka as some sort of top midfield player’ not perfect but on his day ‘. There is no day with Xhaka he has had less than ten excellent games in five years. He is a liability not helped this season by Partey’ being very underwhelming .
    Arsenal’s future is ESR, Saka , KT3 , Saliba, Gabriel , Martinelli and Azeez . Seeing Jude Bellingham yesterday he would be perfect for us . Massive upside but a real midfield baller with class. We need Dortmund- quality scouting….and look at the sort of dross we have brought into our reserves . How is that going to take us forward?
    My big hope is Kroenke is frightened by the price tag of taking Arsenal back to the top and terrified of the costs of running a failing PL outfit . With him in charge and his hires we will never recover

  55. Habesha Gooner

    London gunner
    Yeah his finishing is a bit of a hit and miss. He finishes worldies sometimes too though. Remember the third of his hatrick at Camp Nou? Just sublime.

    This is just a fascinating game so far. I feel sad watching it though seeing how far we are from a really too team. The football is like an improved peak wengerball.

  56. Ray+in+LA

    I want to like Arteta, but there are aspects of his coaching that are disappointing –in particular, when it becomes abundantly obvious that something is not working it doesn’t get addressed. The tipping point for me will be Thursday evening…if Auba plays and plays as a left winger!?

    I find the argument compelling, that if a player is so good that you pay him the club record salary then you build the team play around his strengths not his weaknesses

  57. Habesha Gooner

    Raheem
    Your predictions don’t look so hot right now. Bayern have dominated entirely even with out their best player. They look like Machines. And I think they will go through.

  58. MidwestGun

    #Raheemknows
    ————-

    #Uh-oh 😀

    Hahaha How is everyone…? God I hope Pedro doesn’t write a column tomorrow comparing us to Bayern or PSG… we are so far away from CL levels..it’s not even funny.

  59. Radio Raheem

    What did you say?

    Bayern might go through it winners of the competition don’t concede 3 at home in the quarters.

    And PSG also have players missing.

    Anyway PSG 3-2 up

    #Raheemknows

  60. Habesha Gooner

    If Lewandowski is back for the 2nd leg I still would fancy bayern even with a deficit. They are too good. They are also missing Gnabry. It will be a different game. Bayern win anywhere. They are that good. PSG have just been good at taking their chances tonight.

  61. Radio Raheem

    Midwest

    Yeah I’m enjoying the football.

    Sane isn’t quite cut out for Bayern is he? I’ve watched quite a few of their matches this season. He’s a bit too languid not enough ‘dawg’ like they say in boxing.

  62. MidwestGun

    Seems like Bayern have had about a million opportunities…in the last 10 mins.. just can’t break through that last bit. Trying to walk it in the net almost.

  63. Radio Raheem

    Gnabry has been fit sometimes this season but only made the bench. Bayern aren’t what they were last season.

    If Pep can stay calm City should win it this year and that’s the first time I’ve tipped them to do it.

  64. London gunner

    Bayern have had some good opportunities but i think the score line is a fair reflection of the game.

    PSG have had the best clear cut chances and pocctino has set up psg game tactics of counter attacking to a tee

  65. London gunner

    Rr

    Psg made it to the final last season I think they have the mental strength to win it this year and have probably two players in neymar and mbappe who are game changing players.

    Man city could win it but they are more mentally fragile imo.

  66. Radio Raheem

    London

    Yup it’s feasible PSG win it.

    Chelsea could sneak in and steal it. They’re keeping clean sheets at the moment, something very useful at this stage of the competition. They’re my second favourites after City.

  67. Habesha Gooner

    Karim
    Oh that changes things. PSG now the firm favourites. But Bayern deserved at least a draw out of this. They had too many shots and couldn’t make them count.

    PSG are too dependent on Mbappe in the big games for my liking though. Sooner or later a team being held by individuals will get found out. Bayern had 31 shots with 12 on target. It might have worked this time but it is not a great pla hoping the opposition fluff their lines.

  68. WengerEagle

    Real Madrid can definitely win the comp, have probably the most seasoned group out of the lot still left and have the quality in midfield in particular to control games.

    Beat Liverpool fairly comfortably yesterday.

    Vinicius Jr is a real handful when he’s switched on.

  69. WengerEagle

    Great result for PSG.

    Yes Bayern dominated but PSG played it perfectly, sit back and soak up the pressure and hit on the counter.

    They’ll be more proactive at home, Verratti was a big miss tonight for them in midfield.

  70. Aaron

    Bayern going to win this thing, truly the dominant team, and for better finishing could have been 5-3.

    psg will fold as usual, along with pup and the other oiler machine..

    Damn I hate those clubs.

    Now onto our club, who starts at the cb’s?

  71. karim

    Habesha

    Yep. Never thought Bayern would be that good without their two top strikers. They could have won it on any other night and the tie is all but over imo.
    Credit to Paris though, they were very good too. Exciting game next week.

    Hope we do the job come tomorrow night now.

  72. Ishola70

    So Slavia Prague have absences.

    Only one first team CB available and reports that they will have to draft a midfielder into their central defence. Also reports that their first choice GK is unlikely to play either.

    Over to you Arteta. Do the necessary.

  73. Habesha Gooner

    Karim
    Based on tonight’s showing I wouldn’t completely write off Bayern They have a lot of bottle. Better finishing tonight and they win this game. If veratti is back though it will be next to impossible in my opinion.

    Anyway our team is so far back I don’t know if we are even playing the same sport. Even getting CL will show us up as it stands unless we get better players. I think we will make it through this round. I don’t know about SF though.

  74. Spudnik

    Kendo,
    City are owned by a billionaire. Here is list and profiles of the staff who ask for and spend the Billionaire’s money. https://trainingground.guru/staff-profiles/manchester-city-staff-profiles

    Here is a list of the less experienced staff at Arsenal. https://trainingground.guru/staff-profiles/arsenal-staff-profiles

    My point is that I agree with Pedro. Too much was left hanging on Arteta’s inexperienced shoulders. It isn’t Arteta’s inexperience that is the problem – that has it’s own issues – it is the lack of experience and wisdom above and around him which is the underlying cause of decline.
    Pedro may be right in that Arteta is a young innovative coach, it’s just that I’m now coming to believe that he is the wrong young innovative coach for Arsenal at the moment

  75. Radio Raheem

    Wenger eagle

    Beating Napoli earlier saved Pirlo I think. Like Arteta, Pirlo was brought in for a project.

  76. London gunner

    I think people aren’t giving psg the credit they deserve they were clinical lethal and immensely efficent on the counter.

    Though bayern had a lot of chances most of them were shots at bodies in the box. Psg had the clearest cut chances imo and played bayern like a fiddle tonight.

  77. Radio Raheem

    I actually fancy Bayern to go through on today’s showing. That’s the best I’ve seen them this opposition considered. I still don’t think they’ll win it simply haven’t been consistent enough this season.

  78. Words on a Blog

    Having read the Lewis Ambrose tactics column over at Arseblog, I’m feeling very pessimistic about our prospects against Slavia Prague. They look to be very effective at a high press and excellent at shutting off passing lanes for teams that like to build from the back: exactly the kind of side we do badly against.

  79. karim

    Paris always tend to struggle in second legs, especially at home. Remember even Barcelona had a chance the other week after their disastrous first leg.
    But having someone like Navas is a big plus for psg, and Bayern will miss Gnabry and Lewa a lot again.

  80. London gunner

    Words on a blog

    They are absolute minnows don’t even know what league they play for but wouldn’t be surpised if they are a collection of part time plumbers and carpenters.

    We will blow them out of the water

  81. Matt

    So who’s expecting to see KT back this season? It’s not looking good and I think that puts a bit debt in our Europa league ambitions.

    Does Saka get chucked back there now?

  82. Emiratesstroller

    Bertie Mee

    I think that Arsenal’s Youth Academy under Mertesacker has been improving recently its
    scouting of young players.

    According to Jeorge Bird interview which I listened to the concern is/has been the calibre of
    coaching at the club. The question which needs to be asked are Steve Bould [U23] and Gillard
    [U18] the right coaches to operate at those levels?

    I appreciate that Steve Bould is a loyal servant of the club, but I wonder just how effective he
    is as a coach. He has worked with Wenger over many years. You would have assumed that
    he might have had an influence/impact on our defence. That has clearly not been the case
    and even freed of Wenger our defence at U23 level has been rated poor this season.

  83. Radio Raheem

    London

    Think Juve owners wanted more entertaining football at cut-price. Ronaldo was meant to be the last big purchase and their big swing at the champions League.

    Sarriball was meant to usher in this era but he bottled it after some bad results. Pirlo, supported by some older heads, was brought in to carry on the project. It appears the owners’ confidence in this project have also waned.

    Frankly, I didn’t see their football as boring. I always saw it as solid, organised and sometimes entertaining.

  84. China1

    Personally I’m not interested in Slavia. Small club from a small league. Unless we’re robbed by the refs there’s no excuse for us not going through this tie. I know Leicester and rangers came unstuck but that’s their problem. If we have any semblance of ambition to sit at the big boy table in football then we must be able to beat tiny Eastern European teams over two legs.

  85. China1

    Back when we were actually a decent team, I vaguely recall us smashing Slavia 6-0 in one game

    This is not a team we should be respecting. We need to just get the job done and dispose of them

  86. Sly

    Arsenal are a mid table club
    Don’t see any changes or improvement in the next couple of seasons under this current regime

  87. Tony

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-9444387/Emmanuel-Petit-hammers-Arsenal-brutal-rant-recruitment-player-attitudes-Arteta.html

    Always liked Petit as a player and mostly what he has to say these days.

    In the above article he is spot on and what many of us repeated say here:.

    I say:

    “Arsenal is a retirement home for wayward players and shithouse coaches with poor CVs and hopeless rookie manager who repeatedly makes the same mistakes.”

    Can we beast Slavia Prague ?

    Will certain players turn up?

    Will Arteta play not to lose with the handbrake firmly on and or give up away goals?

    I’ll be watching at 6am tomorrow morning as I’m not staying up until 2am to watch the game that’ll finish around 4am and then no doubt the adrenaline will keep me awake for another hour or so.

    Although admittedly game adrenaline levels under Arteta very low these days because it’s impossible to be emotionally charged when the football is flat and team selections are so poor with players that can’t even be bothered to show up in games and give 100% for the badge and club.

    Such is the influence of Arteta.

    I’ll hope with all I’ve got we can win and keep a clean sheet, but …………….. losing by a couple of goals would not be a surprise if the senior players all play in place of the kids.

    To be honest Arteta is in a similar position to Fergie when Fergie was facing the sack and he introduced the golden kids of Beckham and co to the league and never looked back.

    Fergie’s masterstroke was to buy Cantana who galvanized the youngsters along with Keane, Bruce, Irwin and Stam all winners who bled for the club and karate kick Palace supporters lol.

    Those players brought the kids on and gave them the confidence to play their collective games knowing there was a solid back four marshaled by Keane behind them helping Neville to become a solid and RB.

    I really think ESR, Saka, Martinelli, Bolagun, Odegaard, Tierney, Azeez (from what I’ve read) Saliba and Mavros could be the equivalent to Fergie’s kids. Maybe add Eddie to the list.

    Which seniors do we have in the mould of Fergie’s experienced veterans?

    None currently under Arteta that I can see which is very damning that not one senior wants to step up to the mark with the exception of Xhaka who wants to leave if reports are correct and is not fit for purpose for us and never has been.

    The combination of Arteta, his inexperienced lack of winners coaching team if you can call them that and the elder players is why we are where we are this season. Assistant Steve Round has won nothing of note working under Moyes at United for that fateful spell and experiencing abject failure and being fired with Moyes.

    1996–2001 Derby County (assistant)
    2001–2006 Middlesbrough (assistant)
    2006–2007 England (assistant)
    2007–2008 Newcastle United (assistant)
    2008–2013 Everton (assistant)
    2013–2014 Manchester United (assistant)
    2015 Derby County (assistant)
    2016–2018 Aston Villa (Director of Football)
    2019– Arsenal (assistant)

    Not the experience I would look for in my Assistant HC, especially if I was a rookie manager.

    This broken juggernaut of a club is still whimpering on applying past their sell by dates’ band aids at the heartbreak of its fans.

  88. Tony

    Quote from Arteta:

    “Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s abject defeat by Liverpool was a much-needed ‘punch in the face’ and was ‘good to come back to reality’ as Gunners look to win the Europa League this season”

    So what about the other 11 loses? Were they light jabs?

    Complete joke of a manager way too far out of his depth and Pedro being the life guard that can never quite get the water wings to the sinking generational manager and coach.

  89. Tony

    Or have Erik ten Hag as our manager and Rangnick/Overmars as DoF with Bergkamp as AMs and forwards’ coach.

    Stuff that dreams are made of for other clubs and never us.

  90. Gonsterous

    If anyone is getting the sack, it won’t be vinai or edu. It will be arteta. The other two have been their job.
    Edu in particular has overseen the purchase of Gabriel, partey, mari, martinelli, cedric and willian and runnarson.

    Raul paid 8m to get mari here for a one season loan which cost more than to buy him. Edu paid 2 mill for the loan of odegaard, and 2 mill for the purchase of runnarson who should have been scouted better. William is the only flop but he did not cost anything and was a good gamble on paper.

    Arteta on the other hand has mismanaged players and really fought to give auba a new contract( which made sense last season and I think any manager would have done it), he wanted to sell martinez (though no doubt edu was also involved) and he reportedly suggested runnarson (maybe), and he has us finishing outside a European place.

    So if anyone is getting sacked, it will be arteta.

  91. Gonsterous

    So we don’t have kola, mustafi, ozil, sok, leictsteiner, and mkhi but we still have dross to get rid off? Now either every player we have is shit or we are doing something very wrong.

  92. Nelson

    “Arteta on the other hand has mismanaged players and really fought to give auba a new contract( which made sense last season and I think any manager would have done it), ”

    But the contract should be tied to performance:
    – # of goals
    – # of assists
    – # of games played
    – help the team to gain Europa games.