by .

Mikel Arteta dropped a long and slightly self-reflective press conference ahead of the Palace game.

Key points wrapped:

  • He knows he’s made mistakes this season
  • There’s a very, very specific plan that is going into action this summer
  • Anyone with a contract will likely be here next season

That third point doesn’t really make much sense to me. It’s clear that plenty of players with contracts are going to be ousted, and I’m struggling to see what the hidden meaning is with that sort wording.

The coach was emphatic about all the positives around David Luiz, without detailing the problems.

He was pretty clear Willian hadn’t hit the heights, but he took the blame himself.

He said Arsenal have had Ben Knapper managing the relationship with Saliba and a decision will be made at the end of the season. I suspect he didn’t commit to him replacing Luiz, because Luiz was our best defender and we’ll likely need to buy. Saliba might have to pick up the place of someone else.

The picture I hope we’re getting is that Arsenal FC made some bad decisions last summer based on a time crunch in a pandemic… this season, those same mistakes won’t be made.

Mistakes we made last summer?

The club didn’t communicate who was staying and going early enough or with enough force. William Saliba was always going to need a loan, that we had him in training early and still didn’t find a move for him was a really poor moment for the club. Same for some senior players. Mesut Ozil didn’t know he’d be omitted from the squad. I think a number of problematic senior players weren’t aware quite how left out in the cold they’d be. We need to address that early this summer so there are no illusions that cause deeper cuts when the chips are down.

Arteta and Edu need to make decisions based on reality, not emotion. Last summer, we kept a lot of the players that won us the FA Cup, thinking they’d turned a corner, when the reality is those players and their character had downed Wenger and Emery. Keeping Luiz was a disaster move and clearly not made based on pitch form. AMN should have been sold if we had no intention of playing him. Emi Martinez was clearly the better keeper for our system, but we stuck with the man that felt right.

We need to build out our first team with the future in mind. Oddly, I think Bertrand is a future-facing signing. It means KT is prioritised and we’ll have space for a homegrown player when they break in a couple of years. As for the gaps in the first team? Let’s not lean into 29-year-olds this summer. Instead, build out a team that can grow in value. Camavinga has a high chance of being an £80m player in 3 years time, he’s a gamble, but a sharp one based on what he’s doing at the moment. Martin Odegaard has been a touch flaccid at times, but if we can get him firing, he’s an £80m in 3 years time. Arsenal can’t go to KSE every summer with a begging bowl, at some point, Edu has to fire up the transfer machine and move on players for big sums. That only has a chance if we sign players that have high ceilings in their early twenties.

… and leading off that point. Signing older players to get you to the Champions League is a bum strategy. FIrstly, because we’ve been trying that since Wenger’s last season and it doesn’t work. Secondly, because if it succeeds, you have to replace everyone immediately because they are fading and you’ll not be competitive at the highest level with cast-offs. The best approach, based on what we know this season, is to grow a young group of kids into Champions League players, then when we hit the competition, we are ready to explode because those young players are now 25 with their best years ahead.

Arteta, love him or hate him, is doing what the future of coaching is going to require. That means asking players to learn new things. I don’t think it’s a surprise the kids are reacting better to that than the senior players. That’s a solid insight for team building. There’s no coach that is going to come in that is any good and not ask our senior players to change. So move out the players that don’t have time for growing and replace with profiles that want to advance their game and careers. Arteta is a young coach, he should work with younger players that are going to be receptive to his ideas and the longer-term nature of our project.

The last 3 years have taught us that there is no shortcutting the Champions League. You have to do things the hard way unless you have a spare billion to invest. The closest model to our truth is Leicester City. Good scouting, an elite ecosystem of in and out, with a clear footballing philosophy. There’s no reason we can’t make the Champions League under Arteta. There’s no reason we can’t go a long way to fixing the mess of our squad this summer. It’s just a matter of whether we’re learning our lessons or not.

We have an extremely consequential summer ahead, the lessons are clear, let’s see the Arteta chat is more than just whiteboarding. Arsenal fans need to see action and fast.

See you in the comments. x


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. CG


    ”””’If Joe Willock score tonight, he’ll become the youngest player to score in six consecutive games during the PL era. Quite a feat””””””

    It sure is. Lets hope he does it too.

    To compare :

    Partey 22 games (0 goals)
    Cebollas 49 games ( 0 Goals)
    Willian 25 games ( 1 goal)
    Elneny 68 games ( 1 goal)

    The Arteta Effect!

  2. Habesha Gooner

    I wouldn’t sell willock in the summer. I would just extend his deal and loan him out for the whole of next season. We need to know for sure what players are worth before discarding them. Sell AMN though. He has had enough chances. I wouldn’t sell Nelson either unless we are selling him to fund a signing like pedro neto.

  3. Matt


    The number of games played from those players is a depressing enough fact alone< never mind when you then consider they have 2 goals between them!

  4. Dissenter

    Nelson needs to be let go because he has shown a lack of ambition. Any young player who’s not champing at the bits to play isn’t worth keeping.
    It was reported that he refused the option of going out on loan in January< that’s d deal breaker for me.

  5. andy1886

    Matt/CG, when you take into account ‘errors leading directly to a goal’ I’m pretty sure that the net result would be zero goals from that lot (Ceballos has made at least two I recall although they may not be in the PL).

    Mighty impressive!

  6. CG

    ””””””CG The number of games played from those players is a depressing enough fact alone< never mind when you then consider they have 2 goals between them!''''''''''''''''''''

    Anyone , who knows anything about English Soccer so lets ignore ( the Everton mob currently at Arsenal and Edu) knows you need goalscoring midfielders to get you up at the top of the table.

    Think Lampard, Rambo, Gerrard in recent times.

    Freddie/Pires in less recent times

    John Wark/Peter Lorimer /Charlie George / Bryan Robson types in the good old days

    Not rocket science Matt.

  7. Rich


    In the same way it’s best to teach kids as early as possible to read, write, play the piano, learn a different language, and also behavioural traits

    It’s best to teach them the exact same things with football, like how to control a football, how to control space on a football field, how to deal with stressful situations, this then becomes muscle memory, and becomes second nature

    They can use aptitude tests to identify kids who have a knack for geometry, kids who have a natural talent for geometry, are much more likely to have a natural talent for the tactical side of the game

    You don’t have to think about writing, typing, reading, your brain just automatically does it, you can use neuroscience to help people cope with stress, pressure, anxiety and depression in exactly the same way

    You have no problem in having kids who are literate, but you have a problem with using neuroscience in other areas of society

    If you think this isn’t going on, then respectfully you’re very naive

    A talent is usually just a repetitive thought pattern, and the earlier those thought patterns develop, the more implanted they are into the person, this are how phobias are usually developed, as well as all types of other behavioural traits

    This type of thing has been used for centuries to control the masses, why do you think they invented heaven + hell?

    Why religious cultures pass the fear of god into future generations at a very young age?

    Used badly or by stupid people, this could turn out to be catastrophic, but there’s billions of pounds at stake in football, and there’s jobs worth tens of millions a year for young people

    Used in the correct way, this won’t just change the way that we develop young people in sports, it’ll transform the way we identify talents in young people in all areas of society, and how they deal with stressful situations

    IQ tests, aptitude tests, emotional intelligence tests, the Myers- Briggs 16 personality tests, is so accurate it’s spooky

    If we can identify exceptional kids from all areas of life, put them with other exceptional kids, then they’ll become our future leaders, innovators, scientists, doctors, and business leaders

    The same people who complain about a lack of social mobility, and are concerned about the rising levels of poor mental health in young people, are the same people who’ll have to be dragged kicking at screaming into the brave new world

    You think this is Orwellian, but it’s been going on for centuries in other formats, if the left get hold of this, they’ll turn everyone into a victim, if sensible people get hold of this, they’ll build resilience, endurance, and a can do attitude into young people

    They’ll identify talents and abilities early, so at least young people will know where their talents lie, and thought correctly they’ll be thought to work twice at hard at their weaknesses

    When someone finds their passion, it’s usually something they’re good at, and when people are happy in what they do, they usually attract all types of other good things into their lives

    People are usually unhappy when they don’t have passion or hobbies interests, and don’t know what they’re good at, because they lack purpose, use in the right way this will help people find purpose

    The one thing I’m certain of is this is happening now, and the level of talent coming through over the next 5-20 years, will be like nothing we’ve ever seen in this country

    And that’s because of inflation in transfer fees, wages and agent fees that are unsustainable, that means clubs have had to put huge resources into developing their own talent, not just technically, but also mentally, tactically, and physically, where we’ve seen huge advancements in sports technology over the past 20 years

  8. Pierre

    “and in just over 6 weeks time Ozil will be off the books.”

    Yep, not playing Ozil worked out well didn’t it…

  9. andy1886

    “Used badly or by stupid people, this could turn out to be catastrophic”

    I think you just identified the problem there Rich. All this good stuff is all very well but it’s manipulated by the usual suspects for their own benefit rather than for the good of society as a whole. Just take a look at who runs most modern democracies. The brightest and the best or the most ruthless and immoral? Same question for your average billionaire or club owner.

    I think that we all know the answer to that question.

  10. DivineSherlock

    Steve Bruce is getting the best out of Joe Willock ! Meanwhile Arteta has regressed worldclass Auba. Seeing Arteta makes me realise that he is too rigid , people have to play his way exactly or its the bench . He is Mourinho with a little more class and speaking ability.

  11. Marc


    Arteta hasn’t only regressed Auba, basically the only players in the squad who haven’t got worse are Saka – young player still improving but give Arteta time and Xhaka who couldn’t actually get any worse.

  12. Danny S

    Xhaka has improved in artetas system I think. And that is only because he is a very dense individual who needs very specific instructions and discipline. He needs a very specific position on the pitch and a very specific role.
    You let him go free style and you get headless chicken Xhaka who tears around the pitch scissor kicking people in the penalty box.
    But however well he has improved, he is still a poor player for a team trying to challenge for top 4 and he limits us massively.

    My only worry is Arteta likes players like Xhaka and we will end up with eleven of them eventually if Arteta gets his way.

  13. Vintage Gun

    Xhaha has improved. The problem is that we have to change the whole system in exchange for this improvement. An improvement of around 9% on a bang average player isn’t worth changing the system for.

  14. Vintage Gun

    Honestly, I’d clear All our CM’s bar Partey and El Neny (Back up) and buy Bissouma and Berge.
    Next Season have Party, Bissouma, Berge and El Neny fighting for two spots.

  15. Nelson

    Xhaka has developed a skill to amend his weakness. In the past, he lost the ball when being pressed. Now he just falls on top of the ball and get a free kick.

  16. DivineSherlock

    There are two types of managers basically , one who can get the best out of their squads and one who needs players according to his system . From what I’ve seen Arteta is the one who needs players who play according to him . He cant get the best out of the squad he has , that is why I dont think He’ll be pulling up any trees soon. He cant properly motivate the team unless their backs are against the wall , like the Chelsea game. Managers like Brendan Rodgers , Ranieri , Arsene , Ferguson did their absolute best to get most of the squad . Arteta sadly will ostracise the whole squad pretty soon.

  17. Rich


    The media has been brainwashing the population for years, there’s all types of subliminal messaging pushed into TV programs, and the whole point of religion, was to install the fear of god into people, in order to control the masses, we imprint reading, writing and all sorts of cognitive abilities into young people, there’s nothing wrong with downloading better information

    If neuroscience is used to help young people develop in the right way, then it’ll be a force for good, there’s dangers, but this is the direction of travel, whether we like it or not

    The private sector is developing young players because there’s billions at stake, and because there’s so much money at stake, they’ll get it inevitably get it right

    My concern is when the civil service start getting involved, because instead of being results orientated, they’ll be hung up on crazy idealism’s, instead of doing the wrong thing to get the right result, they’ll do the “right” thing, even if it produces bad results, because lefties are nuts, and the road to hell really is paved with good intentions

    Either way, my theory on inflation in football forcing clubs into the development of young players, not just technically, but tactically, physically, and mentally, is spot on

    If there wasn’t a shortage of top talent and a demand for it, talent wouldn’t have become so valuable, and there wouldn’t have been the inflation we’ve seen in wages, transfers, and agent fees

    To make up the shortfall in talent, the market then adapts in order to produce what’s in desperately short supply, because the inflation is unsustainable, and there’s billions at stake

    Free markets produce lower prices, better service, more consumer choice, and the need for consistent progress and innovation

    State and corporate protectionism’s produce higher prices, no consumer choice, worse service, and there’s no need for anyone to innovate or provide progress, because there’s nobody to challenge the statuesque, that then leads to stagnation and regression

    The best thing for inflation is usually more inflation, because if there’s a shortage of something in the market, and there’s demand, then whatever’s in short supply, becomes more valuable, when something becomes more valuable, people then produce more of what’s valuable, and inflation balances out, because more of what’s valuable then gets brought into the market, because there’s money to be made

    The best thing for deflation, is usually more deflation, because if there’s an oversupply of something in the market, the market will deal with the waste and inefficiency all on its own, because there will be a halt on the production of whatever’s there’s an oversupply of, because it’s no longer valuable

    And you don’t need economists to do any of this, a truly free market based of free and fair competition, does this all on its own, it finds its own natural balance, and that is an exact science

  18. Valentin

    Xhaka has not improved, it is just that the Arteta system does not expose him as much. In effect we switched an attacking mobile midfield style of play for a more conservative. So his lack of mobility does not show as before.

  19. DigitalBob

    I’m not really convinced by the potential of Berge, not a difference maker in my opinion, he might be a decent midfield addition but its a very mid table deal imo.
    Giving Bertrand his retirement package is also very underwhelming, while he’s been decent at this level I’d rather we sign a younger prospect or even make use of the loan system again than be lumbered with another 3 year deal for a past it player.

  20. Useroz

    DivineSherlockMay 19, 2021 13:28:27
    There are two types of managers basically , one who can get the best out of their squads and one who needs players according to his system . From what I’ve seen Arteta is the one who needs players who play according to him . He cant get the best out of the squad he has , that is why I dont think He’ll be pulling up any trees soon. He cant properly motivate the team unless their backs are against the wall , like the Chelsea game. Managers like Brendan Rodgers , Ranieri , Arsene , Ferguson did their absolute best to get most of the squad . Arteta sadly will ostracise the whole squad pretty soon

    It’d take mega brain cells to squeeze performance of an existing squad by devising and tweaking mainstream formations ad systems. The other route is relatively straightforward. Kinda like making a new bespoke suit vs resizing one been worn!

  21. DivineSherlock


    And even in that other relatively straightforward route he screwed up royally . Extending Luiz & Ceballos contract , signing Willian , selling Martinez , pissing off Saliba. Pedro is literally rejoicing that David Luiz and Willian are leaving , Arteta signed them ! I literally have no confidence over Arteta taking this summer transfer choices adequately. Its why I recommend we take a punt on a manger who can make the most out of this squad . There are many managers who will do the job.

  22. Valentin

    What worries me is that I don’t think that Arteta or Edu have learned from last year transfer fiasco.
    Most of the targets we are linked with are shirt term fix that do not move us forward.

    Ryan Bertrand on a 1+1 optional year kind of make sense, but papers are talking about 2~3 years contract. The squad is already saddled with people we can’t move without paying them off. Why adding another long term problem.

    Bar a miracle we are not getting top 7 and European football, so it would more sense to use the last games of the season to assess the academy players and to put in the shop window fringe players such as Nelson. I know Arteta is not going to do that, because that would be admitting what most objective people can see, that he failed.

  23. Danny S


    Last 2 games

    Spuds lose and draw
    West Ham lose and draw
    Everton draw and win

    And arsenal win 2, we finish 6th.

    Not too difficult if you get over the fact we have to win 2 games.

  24. Left Testicle

    What are the odds of eight results going our way?
    I wouldn’t put any money on that.

  25. DivineSherlock

    Danny S

    Spurs last 2 games Villa and Leicester .
    West Ham play West Brom and Saints
    Everton has Wolves and City .

    I would say its a good chance we get 6th problem is I am not confident we can win both. 6th lands us Europa League right ?

  26. salparadisenyc

    Quite a place to be, willing losses and draws to somehow finish 6th in the Europa places, to think I and many slated the absolute shit out of Mertesacker and Koz for celebrating 4th like a trophy. And rightfully so in my opinion.

    Really wonder how far down the hill we’ll tumble before finding the ability to arrest the slide.

  27. DivineSherlock


    As long as we finish above Spurs I am cool with it . I am not too bothered about conference shit , Either Arteta is a great manager and he will se us through it or not . Either way this season has been shit anyway.

  28. Dream10

    I have more trust in Spurs and WestHam losing the last two than us winning two in a row.

    Palace will be playing to send Roy Hodgson on a great note, so today’s match will be competitive.

  29. Marc


    And those systems has seen our goals scored dropped by between 20 & 25 PL goals per season under previous managers. We might be conceding a few less but the reduction in goals scored is far more damaging than the upside of not conceding quite as many.

  30. Frost

    “Oh to have an exciting young squad like Leicester”

    Funny thing, we actually have a more exciting young squad than Leicester.

    You’d swear we don’t tho, with our manager giving fucking Willian 37 games this season.

  31. Gonsterous

    Remember when we had gibbs and Monreal LB. Made both of them up their game.

    Get a young LB back up for peanuts or get a 27 year old monreal 2.0 who will complete for the first 11.

    Don’t understand this lack of competition that the fans on le grove are asking for. Why have we never had a competition for bellerin? Why was the only competition for leno sold? Why does arteta persist with favourites?

    How are we going to be competitive if our first 11 is safe from being dropped unless they are injured?

  32. Gonsterous

    Healthy sense of competition not only keeps players on their toes, but we have a competent replacement when they get injured or run into the red zone by the dunce. Ahem Saka ahem.

    Fans wonder why we are slipping into mediocrity. One of the main reason is the lack of competition and lack of fight in the team. It’s all one big happy family. Pathetic to think we have gone from the likes of tony Adams to pansies like auba, who can’t captain a team of girls.

  33. Vintage Gun

    Maybe we will get that Josh Doig from Hibernian. 18 yo LB who’s just won Scotland’s young player of the year.

    Maybe our recent announcement of a friendly against Hibs is part of the deal?

  34. Left Testicle

    On a positive note – it will be nice to see the new yellow (sorry, pearl citrine) kit tonight!

  35. Foxy

    As per Mundo Deportivo, Neto has informed Barcelona he wants out this summer. As a result, they claim Saturday’s match at Eibar will be his last for the Blaugrana.

    he will move to Arsenal to become Gunners No 1. According to reports, Mikel Arteta is ready to offload Bernd Leno this summer. And while Arteta denied those claims on Tuesday, it’s understood they want Neto to replace him.
    Mundo claims Neto was the subject of an approach from Arsenal in January, with the move blocked by Koeman.
    However, a deal worth around €10m (£8.6m) looks likely to go through this summer. Neto, capped once by Brazil, will reportedly sign a three-year deal at Emirates Stadium.

    Is he any good for the Prem? needs to be at least on par or better than leno how tall is he?

  36. Left Testicle

    tonight’s game on BT sport at 7pm – need to get my moneys worth as no Europe next year

    They’ll still be a europe – it’s not going anywhere. It’s just we won’t be involved. 🙂

  37. Valentin

    IMHO, a lot of people have the Xhaka issue backward. The new system is not designed to protect Xhaka. This is the system that Arteta wants to install and it just turns out that this is the system where Xhaka qualities are put to the forefront and his flaws less exposed.

    If this was not the case, we would not have been playing the same system even when Xhaka is not in midfield. In a sense you could say that Xhaka is the protector of the system because we don’t have anybody in our squad who can make it work as well as he does.

    Arteta is all about control and possession. I have said it before, to me he is confusing possession and control. During the first half, Arsenal had the majority share of possession, but was never in control. The oppositions were deliberately conceding possession to us because they knew we would not hurt them, while at the same we would make a mistake upon which they could capitalise.

    Arteta favours players who keep the ball ticking over players who take risks to move the ball further up. Ødegaard is the perfect example of that confusion. With ESR, we lose possession but are a lot more effective toward the goal with quick interchanges, while with Ødegaard we have more the ball but away from goals. That’s the reason why ESR scored 2 from inside the penalty point and Ødegaard from outside the penalty box.

  38. Dunchirado

    Though I want Arteta out, but if Rogers bottle it again and don’t make it to champions league and Arteta make it to Europa…I don’t see big different between his achievements and Arteta in premier league with his experience..it took him many years to win FA cup, but took Arteta six months….I don’t know where all this praising he received here coming from

  39. Valentin


    You need to compare the results with the quality of the squad.
    What Leicester have accomplished with their resources is astounding. Even if they missed on Champion’s League, nobody expected to make the top 4 so competitive until the last day of the season.

    Meanwhile at Arsenal, everybody and I mean everybody including the Arteta fans club expected Arsenal to compete for top 4. Not necessarily to achieve it, but not to be out of the race for top 4 before Christmas.

    That’s the difference. Based on the resources available to them, One manager overachieved while the other underachieved. That does not means that if the role were reversed, the results also be reversed because circumstances and people are different. But it means that next season, with all things being equal, I would think that Leicester will compete with top 4, while I am not convinced we will with Arteta at the helm.

  40. NORG


    The whole Ozil affair is an example of how not to run a football club. One common denominator and lots of parties to blame.