by .

We’ve entered the deadzone part of the season.

There’s nothing to play for. The football has gone back to being shit again. Arteta is playing the November hits because he’s more concerned over proving out his fantasies that his big summer misses will click for him.

A lot of fans didn’t like what I penned yesterday. Many people preferred to focus on the woodwork and missed chances. I can’t have it.

That was a shit performance from a starting line-up we all had a bad feeling about. Not just that, it was another example of Arteta having different vibes for different players. Senior players are allowed to be shit for 80 minutes… young players get yanked early if there’s a sniff of a bad day at the office.

… we didn’t lose though. This is a results business you might say. Well, for me, that’s not actually what we’re judging Arteta on this season… this year was supposed to be about performances and it was a chance to monitor patterns in his approach to the game.

We can all tolerate mistakes. Every coach makes them. What you can’t abide by is the same mistakes being made over and over again.

Gabriel Martinelli should be starting. There’s no data out there underpinning a reason why we’d start a low energy Willian ahead of him. It’s blind favouritism.

The Premier League is dead. There’s no reason for Arteta to put out a senior team tomorrow. This squad isn’t capable of maturity. If Arteta puts senior players in tomorrow, they’ll see it as a punishment, and we’ll get a nothing performance again (just like we did against Villa last season).

Tomorrow, against the worst team in the league, we should be putting out players we need to learn things about. Azeez? Why not. Joel Lopez? What do we have to lose? Martinelli? Yes please. New deal Flo Balogun through the middle? Why the fuck not. Cal Chambers as a centre back? He can play ball, start him. Mat Ryan? Should be. Rumours are Leno wants out, could anyone care less right now?

I don’t gives a shit about going 11th to 9th. I don’t care about Willian, Lacazette, and Auba right now. I care about moving on fromt his dreadful pattern of mistakes that Arteta is presiding over.

The fans will forgive kids, they’ll forgive players trying… they won’t forgive a manager picking the same players that let him down over and over again. They won’t forgive the man who promised to be protagonists stepping into tomorrow with a negative approach.

Willian does not give you control.

Mo Elneney does not give you control.

Power, pace and hunger gives you control.

Time is earned as a coach. It is a reward for good performances. We tracked well for about 12 weeks. Now the wheels look like they’ve fallen off. If we’re heading out of the back end of this season bumming results, then it’s hard to say there’s been progress.

Winning the Europa League cannot be a plaster for a flailing manager. Performances need to be there, with these players, otherwise we’re heading for more misery. We’re not simply looking at the old guard of players dropping howlers now. Thomas Partey has gone from Rolls Royce to Ford Cortina. Cedric, an Arteta signing, cost us the other day. Bernd Leno has dropped his level. Gabriel has gone from world beater to embarrassment. These are on Arteta’s watch. It’s not good enough.

A good way to get performances is by reading the room and picking a squad that wants to be at the game tomorrow.

Lose to Sheffield United and we are in the Unai Emery death-spiral.

Let’s see what the coaching staff have got, I have very, very low hopes we’ll see something unpredictable. That’s a shame. Arteta has been the architecht of his own hill and he’s determined to walk up it slowly ready to end it with the Sword of Senior Deference.

Very meek.

See you in the comments. x

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Rich

    We need Odegaard + Smith-Rowe

    We need more than one quality attacking midfielder, otherwise we’re just 1 injury away from having no attacking midfielder

    Which is what happened this season, until Smith-Rowe recovered from his shoulder injury, and we then loaned Odegaard

    In the same way we need 2 left backs, and 2 competent keepers

  2. WengerEagle


    Absolutely. Cedric has done ok as filler but he doesn’t provide us any threat down the left. Would be surprised if we didn’t look to bring in a LB.


    How many LB’s in the league would you take ahead of Shaw? Robertson, Cancelo, Reguilon and maybe Chilwell at a push. And Reguilon has struggled to adapt to the PL whereas Shaw is at home in it and is actually performing better.

    I think Tierney will be better than Shaw but right now he’s not yet. In fact, the only player out of that group to have a better league season than Shaw is Cancelo.

    He’s far from average.

    As for the midfield, it’s arguably the most crucial part of the pitch and we lack any real quality in there at all.

    You absolutely banking on Partey putting this season behind him and staying fit next season and pulling out his Atletico Madrid self which isn’t guaranteed. We all hope that will be the case but this season hasn’t filled us with confidence that it will be.

    The forward line is obviously a big issue too. We need to bring in one minimum if not two players. Should take what we can get for Pepe imo even if it’s a massive hit on the buyer fee.

  3. Ishola70


    We are not necessarily talking about getting rid of Odegaard to accomodate Smith-Rowe.

    What we are talking about is what will be the best and the most balanced starting XI over the longer term for Arsenal and in particular the ACM position and the starting places of Odegaard and Smith Rowe.

    Not a small proportion of matches. The longer term.

  4. Chris

    From what I have read Modric is set to sign a one year extension at Real. Perhaps that could enable a further one year loan of Odegaard to us similar to the Ceballos deal.

    It’s not beyond possibility that Real trigger Haaland’s release clause next season and put him together with Odegaard for their line up the season after next.

    What with what Dortmund are demanding for Harland this summer and his list of demands, hard to see anyone actually going for him this summer when they can get him for whatever it is next summer, £85 million I think?

  5. WengerEagle


    Don’t agree.

    It’s unlikely that we buy Odegaard due to the price but for the rest of the season, he should absolutely be the CAM as he’s ahead of ESR in his development.

    But ESR has to play, even if he isn’t as influential from a wider position. His ball retention, weight of pass, intelligence and ability to go past his man are all superior to any of our more traditional wider options other than Saka who is better out right.

  6. Pierre

    What has to be taken into the equation is not just how esr or odegaard play in the no.10 role , it’s how it affects the players around them , and unless my eyes deceive me, Smith Rowe and Saka have a unique relationship on the pitch that should be nurtured as much as possible.

    We also need to play one of either Martinelli, Eddie or Balogun up top as I believe they will also be on the same wavelength as Smith Rowe and Saka ….as yet Arteta has refused this option ….baffling

  7. Rich


    It’s nice to have the options

    Both player will get plenty of games, and both players are capable of pumping out 90%+ pass competition rates, while still providing plenty of penetration

    Smith-Rowe + Tierney have looked good down the left in the little we’ve seen of them together, and Odegaard can also play from the right

    This is a much better problem to have, than having no fit or registered attacking midfielders, which is how we played out almost the whole first half of this season

    As much as we could do with an uplift in quality in many positions, we’d also seriously benefit from getting the balance and the numbers in our squad right

  8. Sly

    Good podcast Pedro
    It’s funny how Arteta just can’t get out of his own way with his ego
    I don’t think he’ll make it at Arsenal
    He’s an ok coach but a poor manager and doesn’t have the balls to develop or risk youth (another generational quality)
    Fingers crossed for this week which will have huge bearings on next season

  9. Champagne Charlie


    I’m not banking on anything, I’m saying it’s reasonable to expect an uptick from a guy who has struggled for fitness. If we think there’s more to that then I’d argue we need more invested in CM this summer, but as is the front 4 need considerable reworking whereas the biggest issue I have with CM is our dire lack of options outside two players.

    Get rid of the nonentities like Ceballos and Elneny, replace with at least one player that is ready to deliver and has scope for improvement- like Bissouma, Cantwell, Anguissa maybe as a purchase from a relegated side.

    Auba, Laca, Pepe, Willian are such a poor group collectively. I’d sell Laca, Auba, and Pepe tomorrow, and replace with Edouard and Fekir.

    Edouard, Martinelli, Saka, Fekir, ESR, Odegaard would be a good group of players to build an attack. Draxler is meme-worthy as far as being linked with us, but he’s clear of Willian and Pepe imo.

  10. WengerEagle

    ‘It’s not beyond possibility that Real trigger Haaland’s release clause next season and put him together with Odegaard for their line up the season after next.’

    Seriously doubt it. Benzema will be their CF for as long as Zidane is in charge and he is still in his prime. 25 goals this season already and he’s not a cluster scorer either, scores nearly every week.

    M’Bappe is far more likely. As well as the French connection he is best as a LF in a front 3, he could play with Benzema whereas Haaland is an out and out 9 and would replace him.

  11. Ishola70


    As said before it has been a very small proportion of matches in relation to the whole season where we have seen Smith Rowe taken out from the middle and Odegaard taking that area from him.

    Let’s see if we are all raving about that set-up over a whole season next term.

    It will only be an aside issue anyway.

    With Arteta as manager and Xhaka still rocking it at CM next season we shouldn’t expect really great things should we.

  12. Chris

    Wenger Eagle

    You are probably right, but then again, it would be a very Real thing to do especially if they are intent on collecting Galacticos again.

    Even with a pandemic still hard to believe they didn’t buy anyone last summer.

  13. Graham62

    Interesting article in the mail in respect to Arteta and a players revolt.

    Arteta must realise that the day he said cheerio to Martinez was the day it all started to go pear shape.

    No manager with aspirations of moving the club forward would have made such a ludicrous decision.

    It could have been easily solved.

    The rest is history.

  14. WengerEagle

    Reckon Haaland will sign for City to be honest. Aguero out the door, Jesus as a reliable scorer is iffy at best. See him as a Wiltord like figure for them rather than an Henry one long-term.

    He grew up a Leeds fan and his old man despises Man United.

    City have the best creative midfield in Europe and he would likely break 50 goals a season there with the chances he would get.

    And most importantly, they have the financial muscle to make it happen despite Pep banging on about them not signing a 100m+ player. Which is laughable because they sign 50m players by the bucket load.

    All pretty decent reasons to think it will happen.

  15. Rich

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see Haaland go to Chelsea

    I don’t think Abramovich will blink at paying €150 million and paying him £500,000 p/w, providing he’s convinced Haaland can be the difference maker, and turn Chelsea into genuine contenders for the big titles

    Equally I think United will be willing to stump up the cash

    I’d be concerned about the competitiveness of the league, if City signed either Haaland or Mbappe

    The PL could easily go the way of the Europea leagues over the past decade, and become a 1 team title race

  16. Nelson

    Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Saka, Xhaka, Partey, Pepe, Martinelli, Lacazette

    Subs: Ryan, Bellerin, Cedric, Gabriel, Elneny, Azeez, Willian, Nelson, Nketiah

  17. Venga, Dani

    Would’ve liked to see Balogun but at least martinelli is playing. Pray saka doesnt get injured. He really should be rested but our genius technical director left us without a bloody 2nd LB.

  18. Freddie Ljungberg

    Minimal creativity in that side, but we have no one on the bench that improves it either so it is what it is.

    That midfield is a worry, it’s great to see Pepe and Martinelli get starts but will they get any supply? Suppose we have Saka carrying the ball forwards, not a fan of him at lb though.

  19. S Asoa

    Today’s match , and matches after should have been to gauge the youngsters and give them real field experience.
    We have Partey regressing, looking like from carrying Xhaka tension. Was time to see how he would pair with Azeez . But Arteta is a bully of children aja coward to try to be intelligently adventurous

  20. Dissenter

    “Also Saka just back from injury at LB days before Slavia? Smart decision Mikel”

    Don’t say that, it’s considered anti=Arsenal.
    Saka needs to be wrapped in cotton wool. His quality isn’t in doubt, it’s his fitness.
    Sheffield Inited will kick lumps all over his shins today

  21. Bertie Mee

    The rumours were false about Leno. Usual puerile Twitter garbage .
    If Leno is out Ryan would deputise . Attack would look good if Balogun replaced Lacazette

  22. Samir

    Don’t really like the line up.

    Chambers should be given a go at CB as we all know he isn’t good enough RB.
    Martinelli should be given a go at ST instead of Lacazette.
    Saka should be rested. Arteta could of put a youngster at LB like Cottrell (I know that isn’t his preferred position). He played LB for us pre season and did excellent.

    Why isn’t Balogun on the bench?

  23. Danny

    Playing against one of the worst teams in the history of the premier league so why the fuck isn’t Saka being rested?

  24. Samir

    Would have liked to see:


    With Azeez and Balogun coming off the bench for the last 30 minutes.
    This is bottom of the league we’re playing…A good time to experiment and prepare for next season.

  25. Ishola70

    I think Luke Shaw has been vastly improved in Man United’s better fortunes this season and in the second half of the season.

    Although I might be talking shit again.

  26. Cazorla

    Danny because the moaning cunt fans would have a heart attack if we drew this game. And if he’s going to be an option there on Thursday get him some minutes next to Mari.

  27. Rich

    Saka isn’t being rested because Arteta’s job is on the line

    And we loaned out our only natural competition fo Tierney in January without replacing him, and now Tierney is injured, we don’t have a left back

    Planning or anticipation really isn’t this lots strength

  28. Dissenter

    Sheffield United are already down
    Arsenal’s league fate is already sealed
    This is the perfect dead runner game, the game of the season for us is away in Prague so why in the world is Saka being played in defense today?

    Why not keep him fresh for Thursday?

  29. Ishola70

    Pedro is back at it on his twitter line.

    Stating that Arteta is one of the most talented young coaches in europe on the back of someone else saying it.

    He ain’t dropped Arteta. He is still firmly on the Teets train. Fair play Peds.

  30. Doublethink

    Imagine dropping points with our strongest 11 and losing a player for Thursday, the ‘moaning cunt fans’ will have a field day. The generational one never fails to disappoint.

  31. Danny

    April 11, 2021 18:20:34
    moaning cunt fans would have a heart attack if we drew this game.
    I get where you’re coming from but seriously, this match is so irelevant, even if we win 10 nil!

  32. Samesong

    I get where you’re coming from but seriously, this match is so irelevant, even if we win 10 nil!

    If we lose.this game it will not be irrelevant on le Grove there will be anarchy.

  33. TheLegendaryDB10

    I just saw the line up (thanks Nelson as always!l and i am really surprised to see Martinelli selected!!!

    Wow…. MA is genuinely feeling the heat. I am hoping he is starting to realise that sudelining hard workers is not the best policy.

    I just hope it is not just a one off.

    I have read plenty of (fair) comments as to why he is not playing the youth more often (ie selecting that cunt Willian over Pepe or Martinelli).

    For me the reason is simple: Kroenke wants his top 4 finish cash cow to keep growing the value of the club. This is MA’s only remit.

    What I find hilarious is that Kroenke is trusting a very green coach to do that. This just shows the Kroenke’s total incompetence in.running an EPL club of our size.

  34. Nelson

    I agree with Arteta this time. We need Saka to play LB on Thursday. We have to let him practise that position some what. Should sub him out after 70 mins.

  35. Habesha Gooner

    Don’t really like Saka being used as a LB. He is our most complete forward and shouldn’t be treated like a bit part player. Other than that this is a good line up. It is the best midfield and defense we could put out there with the match against Slavia in mind. I don’t know though if Ceballos has enough zest to fill the void of ESR or Odegaard. I hope we can break them down because it isn’t the most creative midfield with Xhaka and Ceballos out there at the same time.

  36. TheLegendaryDB10


    Why not keep him fresh for Thursday?

    Because MA would feel (rightly) embarrassed if we actually lost to a club who are currently last in the table.

    This for me just shows MA’s total lack of confudence in general and will do anything to show that he is not a crap manager. Hence selecting and selecting Saka in a very meaningless game.

    If I was MA, my big worry is Thursday’s return game vs SP. Getting dumped out of the EL will be his death knell.

  37. WengerEagle


    Just listened to Hunter’s tidbit.

    He only goes as far as to say that he’s an exceptional coach tactically. Which even if it were true is only one small component of the managerial jigsaw puzzle.

    All of the best managers in history and the most successful ones have always been excellent man-managers and handlers of players first and foremost.

    Something which Arteta clearly has struggled with here. He may improve in the future in this aspect but as of now, he’s miles out of his depth in this regard and isn’t ready for the Arsenal job.

    Hunter also keeps banging on about Arteta being in the ‘apprentice’ stage. We’re not a Championship/powerhouse SPL club like Celtic/Rangers in a shit league, we can’t just write off our near future while he learns on the job.

  38. Buzzy

    Graham is right. Arteta destroyed his managerial with the single move of doing away with Martinez. It will go down as one of the most bizzare moves in the history of sport let alone football and certainly the most costly at the Arsenal.
    Absolutely suicidal that. We’d been sitting at least 10 points more if Emi was in between those sticks.

    I remember up til that point I was an Arteta fan myself. Even had his wallpaper on my laptop. That single move turned my opinion and impressipn about him 180 fucking degree.

  39. Ishola70


    Are you telling me we are talking about two Graham Hunter’s here?

    Are you telling me this tenuous link to Arteta is non-existent?

    I have eaten every football word that Mr Hunter has previously generously given us. I just hope it’s not the wrong Mr Hunter I have been worshipping.

    I feel the writing football media is so clued up and have no agendas at all.

  40. Ishola70


    Most of the writing football media and some of the podcasters (Pedro has an entertaining podcast) are full of shit and have agendas or fixations.

    In this case it’s Spain and Barcelona.

    Take it with a pinch of salt.

  41. Ishola70

    It would be wrong anyway for Pedro to give up on Arteta so early after backing him so heavily previously.

    He has to hold out for a while longer yet going into next season before succumbing to the inevitable.

  42. Batistuta

    Not sure anyone needs some journalist to try and convince them of Arteta’s potential or how good he is or maybe because the evidence on ground suggests he’s neither a good coach or manager.

    Oh and he’s tactically poor while we’re at it

  43. TheLegendaryDB10


    I would also be taking a massive pinch of salt re MA based on what we have seen so far throughout his tenure with us. I haven’t seen a single tactical masterclass by MA that would warrant the title of generational in any of his games.

    MA still has a shit ton to learn and if I was he, I would start, like all managers, at the bottom of the ladder and learn from experience and work your way up. Nothing about MA screams genius at all.

  44. Venga, Dani

    Think this is the first time in Arteta’s career that Ceballos is playing in his natural position. I know he’s been horrid lately, but I think a lot of that is Arteta putting a square peg in a round hole. Dani likes taking chances and you cant do that as a CDM.

  45. Pierre

    With Martinelli’s performance tonight, hopefully we are one step closer to having the youngest offensive 4 in Europe..

    He thoroughly deserved his goal .