DATA BLOG: THE ESR EFFECT

by .

Buckle up people, Adam Rae Voge (@AdamVoge) is back with a bang.

If you follow Arsenal with any degree of closeness, you’ve heard the talking point by now:

“After Boxing Day, when Arsenal pulled off its infamous 3-1 upset of Chelsea, the club played top-four football.”

Boxing Day brought the season debut of Emile Smith-Rowe, who quickly endeared himself to supporters and the manager alike becoming a permanent fixture in the starting 11.

The basic statistics make the club’s improvement after Boxing Day easy to see. Arsenal recorded 14 points in its first 14 matches, a pace that over a full season gives you Burnley, 17th place, and relegation fodder. In the 24 matches including and after Smith Rowe’s introduction, Arsenal minted nearly two points per match, which over a season gives you Manchester United, 2nd place and Champions League glory. The club scored 12 goals in the first 14 matches, and 43 (1.79 per game) after. Arsenal conceded 18 goals in those first 14 outings, and only 21 in the 24 matches to follow.

All that considered, you’d expect it to be apparent from match-by-match statistics just how much Arsenal improved once it made the change. Having spent a few weeks wandering that forest, I’m here to tell you it’s not so simple.

Some of the more basic statistics show marked improvement after Boxing Day, even if it’s not earth-shattering. Arsenal averaged about a shot on target better in its final 24 matches, about half an expected goal scored, and completed about two percent more of its passes. The club won about two more tackles and successfully pressured the ball six times more each match. 

Some key statistics actually got worse after ESR’s introduction, such as shooting percentage, ball recoveries, and progressive passes per 90 minutes.

In what proved to be some of their most substantial areas of improvement, the Gunners committed around four additional shot-creating actions per match after Boxing Day, and nearly two goals creating-actions. That’s significant – two GCA/90 is also roughly the difference between United and Burnley.

But does any of that make the club almost literally twice as good, in terms of results? It’s hard to say. What’s even harder to say is whether some of those improvements could actually be tied to Smith Rowe, who ranked fourth at the club in GCA/90 and sixth in SCA, behind the likes of Willian and Dani Ceballos. 

Smith Rowe is not a statistical darling. He doesn’t score a ton of goals, and his key passes are in the slightly-above-average range among Premier Leaguers. He’s not a Xhaka-level progressive passer, statistically speaking, and he didn’t have eye-popping pressing numbers like some attacking midfielders. (Giovanni Lo Celso pressures the ball about twice as often as Smith Rowe, and with a significantly higher rate of success.)

So where does Smith Rowe, Aston Villa’s dream target, really make his mark on this club? It’s all about the buildup play, and improving the play of Arsenal’s key attackers. And after searching at length, I finally found the data to back it up. 

Emile Smith Rowe contributed to Arsenal about 0.59 xgChain every 90 minutes after being introduced, according to Understat. If you’re unfamiliar, xgChain is the cumulative value of every possession a player is involved in. So basically, possessions involving ESR were worth 0.59 goals per 90 minutes. 

That rank puts Smith Rowe 49th among midfielders and forwards in the Premier League with at least 1,000 minutes played last season, and third among Arsenal players after Saka and Lacazette. 

Another key metric from Understat, xgBuildup, puts Smith Rowe 29th in the Premier League, with 0.35 xgBuildup per 90 minutes. xgBuildup is similar to xgChain, but it doesn’t count your key passes or shots. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen in football to what’s commonly referred to as a “hockey assist.”

Smith Rowe’s xgBuildup was third among Arsenal players with more than 1,000 minutes (Martin Odegaard scored a 0.42 xgBuildup/90 in just over 800 minutes.) Again, that may not blow anyone out of the water, but the combination of the two is interesting. At left, you can see the two charted against each other. Smith Rowe’s plot is among Arsenal’s best, showing his quality contributing directly to goal-scoring opportunities as well as contributing to the build-up play that leads to those opportunities.

Even more interesting, though, is the statistical change in Arsenal’s other leaders once ESR took the pitch. [I know what you are thinking on the graph, grow up]

Statistically, it’s hard to find an Arsenal outfield player who looked to benefit more from Smith Rowe’s introduction than Bukayo Saka. The ⭐Starboy⭐ recorded half a key pass more per 90 minutes after Boxing Day, a.k.a. the difference between Allan Saint-Maximin and Son Heung-Min. His xgBuildup rose from 0.25 (on par with Sander Berge) to 0.37 (Christian Pulisic). And his xgChain rose from 0.49 to 0.72, a difference comparable to going from Granit Xhaka to Jack Grealish.  

Four of Saka’s five goals came after Boxing Day, as did all three of his assists. 

Another player whose numbers grew significantly was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Pre-Boxing Day, Auba was in the midst of a major slump. Auba had four goal involvements in the first 13 matches of the season, and his buildup numbers weren’t any better. Auba was putting up 1 key pass, 0.35 xgChain and 0.1 xgBuildup per 90 minutes. Perspective: Jarrod Bowen averaged 1 key pass, Daniel Podence has the same xgChain rank and that xgBuildup over a full season would put Auba in the bottom 20 percent among attackers and midfielders in the Premier League. 

After Boxing Day? It was a different story. Auba’s numbers shot up, to 0.84 xgChain (comparable to Mo Salah) and 0.22 xgBuildup, still an unremarkable but vastly improved number. Nine of Auba’s 13 goal involvements came after Boxing Day. 

Other Arsenal regulars such as Alexandre Lacazette, Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney improved their play after Boxing Day, but one who stands out as one worth mentioning is the club’s 72-million-pound man, Nicolas Pepe. 

Pepe had scored two goals headed into Boxing Day, one from a penalty. His passing was dismal, with 0.31 key passes per 90 minutes, a rate more suited to West Brom’s attack than Arsenal’s. And he was doing next to nothing to create goalscoring opportunities for his teammates, with 0.14 xgChain/90 and 0.06 xgBuildup/90 (again, both comparable to West Brom’s attacking output). 

Pepe didn’t start on Boxing Day, but his performance improvement after that point was perhaps the club’s most significant. 

Pepe after that day was a different player:

  • His key passes/90 rose to 0.7, still a low number but a statistical moonshot from his earlier performance. 
  • His xgChain rose to 0.56, roughly the statistical equivalent of replacing Karlan Grant with 2020-2021 Paul Pogba.
  • His xgBuildup remained low at 0.27, but again was a vast statistical improvement, putting him in the company of Marcus Rashford and Gabriel Jesus, rather than Rhian Brewster or Willian Jose. 

That’s right, even Nicolas Pepe did more to help in the build-up! It’s also worth noting that eight of his 10 Premier League goals and his lone assist came after Boxing Day. 

So there you have it: Arsenal’s build-up play improved significantly starting on Boxing Day, and its stars performed substantially better. Of course, it is impossible to say precisely how much of that was as a direct result of Emile Smith Rowe’s introduction. Tactics will not have remained exactly the same, and the Chelsea match happened shortly after the switch to the 4-2-3-1. Martin Odegaard’s introduction was also some help. But no matter which way you slice it, ESR’s first start of the season was a major turning point for Arsenal, and likely helped cement him as a starting 11 fixture for the foreseeable future (sorry, Villa!)

Give Adam a follow @AdamVoge and thank him for this immense piece of work. Sambi Lokonga just did! #WelcomeSambi

Podcast records tomorrow, we’ll be live streaming, so put some time aside in the evening to come say hi. 7pm GMT. (TWITCH HOME IS HERE)

450 Responses to “DATA BLOG: THE ESR EFFECT”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Tony

    Happy about Lokonga joining us. Right age and appears to have a high ceiling.

    I’m sure Tavares and Tierney will appreciate a more speedy, athletic player shielding the left and center backs who can cover for the advancing LB when he makes his runs.

    I noticed a few posters still calling Arteta a rookie.

    That is no longer the case and other excuses should be banished to Untold.

    Sadly AKBs and Pedro won’t see it that way or will they?

    Hoping for the latter but not holding my breath.

    Arteta has been given more leeway than Emery had and as much as Wenger was given in his last 6 years.

    Arteta has to deliver this season with no excuses.

    Personally, I genuinely hope Arteta delivers regardless of what I think of Him as a person.

    All I care about is is getting our pride back and to stop being the butt of jokes from other club’s supporters.

    First up to get back to the CL at the end of the season.

    The following season mount a serious and genuine challenge for the PL title.

    Subsequent seasons all I ask for are realistic PL title challenges and good runs into the CL that get us closer to winning our first CL.

    Can Arteta lead us to that?

    That’s what my son and I hope for.

  2. Moray

    We need to see significant progress next season.

    We’re not a top four team and haven’t been for a while so I reckon that is a stone too far.

    We also need to restore status quote by finishing above the spuds, west ham etc.

    Bring through new young players with passion and nous and who can play the system the manager wants. Build the foundations for a team that can reach the heights and stay there together for a few years. It’s not top four next season for me unless our rivals drop the ball badly.

  3. Tony

    I rate Maddison highly but wonder if he’s already hit his ceiling or being held back at LCFC.

    From what I have read Maddison is a highly intelligent player who is dogged in his beliefs and that is a concern for us and Arteta.

    If Arteta remains rigid for some and turns a blind eye for others with this non-negotiables, Maddison will fall out with Arteta.

    Arteta has to be rid of his toxicity towards players for this season to be successful.

    That and forgetting a handbrake exists.

  4. Moray

    Agreed Tony.

    I’ve always been excited by the idea of Madison. The ability is there in spades and he’s just the profile of player we need. The concern is around his mentality and attitude.

    Still, you won’t advance by signing yes men and pussies. It’s been part of our problem for years.

    Another question is would it weaken or strengthen our rivals Leicester?

    I’m up for it. Bring him in and hand him the queue. Let him prove himself.

  5. Tony

    Moray
    That’s defeatist talk before a ball has been kicked in anger.

    How about making a sweeping statement like that after 10 to 15 games?

    At least let’s start believing we are a top 4 side and, if reality proves we’re not, then we’re not, and we have to ensure we make the EL cup.

    You’re assuming that the other top 6 clubs are going to be injury free with their top players and not have decisions go against them, as well as slipping up against team they should be beating as has happened in previous seasons.

    Arteta’s brief should be CL next season. Same as it was for Emery and Wenger.

    I accept we’re behind City Liverpool and Chelsea, but we can give any of the other teams Manure downwards a run for the 4th spot.

    Fine margins I know but not unrealistic at this stage.

  6. Tony

    Moray
    “I’m up for it. Bring him in and hand him the queue. Let him prove himself”

    Totally on board with that.

    LCFC are buying well again this season but their acquisitions are not PL ready, so losing Maddison could well set them back a season.

    Generally, Leicester likes to bed a player in before letting him be a regular to replace a player like Maddison or Maguire .

    Like you I want fighters and leaders in the team who usually are outspoken.

    Problem is Arteta doesn’t like outspoken players as Cesc, RVP, Nasri and Sol and so many players that kept us in there CL before.

  7. Pedro

    Tony, bit weird to fear 24 yr old Maddison has hit his peak. Of all the concerns I hear… this has to be one of the worst.

    ‘Arteta is too rigid for players’… how many more players need to commit to Arsenal before this baseless myth dies?

    Saka, ESR, Martinelli, Balogun, and Kido Hart are all in.

    Even players on the out say positive things (Hector/Mustafi)

    At some point, you have to accept you have no clue about how the players feel… and maybe you have to take an L if Maddison wants in?

  8. Pedro

    Also, everyone, I don’t want any chat of what going on at Everton. It’s grim and a legal minefield.

    Thanks in advance

  9. Moray

    Tony, as a club with our history and resources we should be always aiming for top four of course. Would I want to make a moonshot run for the CL at the expense of our longer term sustainable growth and development though? The answer is no. We tried that and ended up with a Willian shackled to us for years.

    Better to aim for a sustained improvement over next season and see where we are at Xmas. We will have many new players to embed and some of the same issues to iron out (such as lack of leadership on the pitch). Plus, we have a young team who will play better with less “expectation” on them.

  10. Pedro

    Moray, amen to that.

    We look like a club finally serious about proper development. No more shortcuts.

    Honesty about who we are and how we find he next level is very exciting. Maddison would be a game changer though. Mind blowing signing if it happens

  11. Tony

    Pedro
    All fair points but young players have hither ceilings early in their careers; it’s not unheard of.

    Nice deflection on your goal fro us this season. Too scared or wanting room to maneuver?

    “baseless myth”

    Tongue in cheek or just plain trolling?

    Arteta has fallen out with too many of our squad for it to be a baseless myth.

    “Even players on the out say positive things (Hector/Mustafi)”

    Sorry Pedro that got me laughing out load. Players no one wants to buy trying to look good training their manager. Mustafi worst player voted by his team mates last season.

    You got to do better than that Pedro.

    You keep the L for yourself Pedro (I assume it means learner) you make far more howlers than I do here.

    As for Maddison, if he really wants to join us then why hasn’t he handed in his transfer request like Bellerin has? You know make a statement of intent?

    I like Maddison as a player. He has injury issues last season I believe that derailed his season. Also reports of friction with Rogers.

    Can we afford £70 million after £50 million spent on White? Are we remortgaging the club for thus season when we’re still paying off Pepe?

    Is there a better player out there for £70million who would join us?

    Would Coutinho offer similar if we got him on loan?

    You’ve got a clean slate for your boy Arteta from me for this season.

    Let’s see how Arteta does in his first 10 games and then see where the L needs to be placed if it need placing at all.

    I won’t roast/bash Arteta unnecessarily this season, but I will point out the facts good and applaud them as much as I’ll vilify Arteta if the same mistakes appear this season from last.

    My only agenda on this blog is for Arsenal to get back to the CL and challenging regularly.

    I don’t care who the manager is or who we bring in.

    Can you say the same?

    So what’s your prediction that’s non negotiable for this season Pedders?

  12. Pedro

    Tony,

    The players he’s exited or exiting like him.

    Our best players are signing their futures to him.

    Is anyone fussed if you are LOLing over these facts?

    Seems a very odd line of attack for someone concerned he doesn’t get on with people.

  13. China1

    Lol Pedro I meant I know how it feels to not want people to discuss certain topics here because of legal minefields

  14. Tony

    Moray
    I appreciate and respect what you’re saying but not enough t agree with you.

    Sustainable growth are such pretty words when not backed up by a SMART (Carnegie old school I know) set target.

    Sustainable growth could be 7th or 6th, couldn’t it?

    You pretty much agreed with me to assess again at Xmas.

    However, we need a starting point for our target and that has to be a CL spot.

    When Pedro agrees with you, you know you got it wrongs because Pedro’s agenda is Arteta first and club second. Same as it was for the AKBs with Wenger for the last dozen or so years.

    Let’s not forget Pedro has been on Arteta’s gravy train since before Emery was appointed manager. Emery the manager who missed 4th by one point and couldn’t get the players he wanted.

    Constant Emery bashing was and still is Pedros mantra.

    Moray I understand your thinking with lack of leaders on the pitch but that’s down to Arteta to appoint the right captain, such as Tierney instead of Auba.

    Maybe White can be a leader? I don’t know enough about him yet.

    Can Mari be more vocal? he’s certainly a cool headed player.

    Would Maddison be a leader if we bought him? Might be the best use of his obvious intelligence.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree here.

    You want sustained growth without a finite targeted finishing place mentioned.

    I want top 4 or better and I’m unmovable on that.

    Regarding Maddison who likes to party = 2105 PLK mins 8 goals and 5 assists.

    Is that worth £70 million?

  15. Leftside

    The remit has to be top 4 at a minimum, if that was what was demanded of Wenger and Emery then it needs to be the same with Arteta.

    Hopefully, mistakes of the past will be learned from and corrected. We need to restore pride back in this club. It’s one thing having our traditional rivals insult us but the likes of Leeds, Villa fans etc shouldn’t even have anywhere near the temerity to join in.

  16. China1

    One thing is sure is there are CMs out there who can add a lot to us. If we fail to get a quality one or any at all it will be entirely on us

  17. Zacharse

    I’m gonna say this and then leave it for all eternity,

    The reason many hated emery was that we saw it as a weak appointment by an exec team without real knowledge. Emery was not a natural successor to wenger style wise if nothing more. It went as expected. No identity. Language, style, culture were all weak points for emery, a wenger he was not.

  18. Tony

    ‘The players he’s exited or exiting like him’

    Sure because he let them rob the club blind on their ridiculous wages.

    No player looking for a new club is going to bad mouth their previous manager.

    Our best players are signing their futures to the club. They know managers come and go.

    If that’s the best you can offer then this discussion is pointless going forward.

    For the record Arteta failed badly for 18 months. You can cover that up any way you like, but he broke all manner of negative records spanning nearly 3 decades.

    He couldn’t beat a poor Emery over 2 legs and we have no Europe this season.

    If you think that is elite then I can’t help you.

    Try introspection Pedro.

    That said I’ll reiterate I want us to get back on track this season whether that finishes the season with Arteta covered in glory then I’ll be happy. However, I’ll be equally happy if it’s with a new manger.

    Still no statement for your prediction for the season?

    Then no point posting further with me today.

    Agree to disagree is the best bin saving statement from me.

  19. MD-Gunner

    Unless making top 4 it would be a failure, but being realistic it would mean beating following clubs:
    Man City, not a snowball’s chance in hell
    Chelsea, no way with that squad debt and manager.
    Pool, same squad that won the PL title and a world class manager, no way.
    Manure, after Varane and Sancho purchase plus more additions and a successful TW, don’t think so.
    Therefore best AFC even with the incoming players is 5th or 6th, that is reality and no wishful thinking through Arsenal rose colored glasses.
    I do like the prospective incoming players, but the competition is too strong to crack into top 5.

  20. Tony

    MD-Gunner
    I understand your thinking but all new non PL players have to hit the ground running for your assessment to be true.

    My guess is some player will take time to get up to PL speed, so Manure’s players probably won’t settle until the back half/end of the season.

    Top 4 is the starting point we have to believe we can achieve.

    If necessary at Xmas we can reevaluate if we’re too far off the goal. That said if we’re that far off it, then Arteta should be gone.

  21. MD-Gunner

    AFC will play Man City and Chelsea in August that will tell you right there and then something about the expected points total. In addition Sp*ds in September. From first 6 games 2 that consider winning the title as a minimum and one that eyes top 4. Don’t see more then 2 points from those 3 games.
    The only way that the bookies top 4 teams will not be in the top 4 is if they collapse. Again can’t see that happening with 3 of them and if Manure do since there was money and will power to have a successful TW they will fire the manager and get Conte, job done.

  22. Guns of SF

    my issue is that we need all new bodies in for pre season as fast as we can. None of these excuses like TP who joined on the last day of the window. I want them bled in and ready to go.
    I want to see Mike Arteta ball this season.. Lets see, glad we are up against the big dogs early

  23. Tony

    MD-Gunner
    That’s the brutal reality we’re facing for sure.

    However, There’s something niggling at me that Arteta might just have something we don’t know about and he’ll make it happen this season. Believe me it’s not a strong belief more of a flight of fancy and hope.

    We may learn something from pre season that gives us a glimpse of what’s to come. Whether that is a big improvement on last season remains to be seen.

    Our situation very much hangs on the manager even more so that other clubs because of the continual slide we’ve been on.

    One thing is for sure we can’t be an also ran in the finishing league/Europe placings.

    At least Arteta has experience of being part of the TV series. Albeit a very small part.

    This time he’ll be front and centre for every episode or have his firing recorded for all to watch. Not the actual action but it will be a feature of the series if it happens.

    Whatever the outcome it’ll be an unsettling environment to get used to if things are going well, but if results go south, it will be unpleasant at best and unbearable pressure to work in at worst.

    It’s going to be an interesting season, which my well see us with Conte or similar if the past pre xmas Arteta’a form transitions into the coming season.

    Pedro’s told us that the post xmas table wasn’t a trivial fluke and will continue at the start of this season.

    And all on camera, too, for Pedro to start his many ‘I told you so’s.”

    Time will tell if this is a much heralded Pedro triumph or another ‘Gazidis’ embarrassment?

    Let’s hope for the former because it would mean we’re pulling up tress once again.

    The bin will be full if it’s the latter.

  24. Guns of SF

    To Rich’s point, we need to shed players. That is not happening at all. We cannot carry a bloated squad again this year,
    We need to sell
    Bell
    Chambers or Holding
    Kola
    AMN
    Eddie
    Nelson
    Hopefully Willian
    Laca should be sold or offered a one year ASAP

    DO not replace these if we dont have to. We cut the wage bill big time too.

  25. Guns of SF

    I am saying it again for all to read
    If we are getting Maddison or Aouar, then they need to come now.
    Those teams need time to find replacements.
    Pay the cash and shake hands and be done… get them in for preseason…
    Then start to concentrate on selling our scrubs

  26. Tony

    Guns
    I think you’ll find both clubs have already got replacements.

    Bojangles said he never worries over what he can’t change; it was good wisdom to impart.

    I’m adopting the thinking the club wouldn’t spend £50m on White and not attend to the MF deficiencies and not worrying past that.

    Xhaka leaving will be positively cathartic for me.

    Other clubs have similar issues getting players in so most won’t have the pre seasons they wanted.

    I often chill to emancipator when I’m in my home office.:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNAYDipM7GM

  27. Goobergooner

    Cc, in regards to esr.
    “Think he’s at home on the left side because he can beat a man and go either way, which is massive.”

    That can’t be done from the centre of the pitch though? I understand the congestion in a more central role, but he was still able to drift to those channels and produce his goods.

    I agree that Smith Rowe is a versatile player but I’m definitely in concurrence with Pierre.
    Smith Rowe’s combination play, especially with Saka is brilliant. He needs to be able to play centrally to link more play. Unless we get proper fluidity behind the striker, where all players can rotate along that line, I’d prefer esr centrally with what we have at our disposal.

  28. Goobergooner

    And Pedro the gift that just keeps giving…

    “because you think it bolsters the last ten years of Wenger tanking as a manager. It doesn’t. We were all there”

    If Wenger was tanking then I have literally no words for what Arteta is doing.

  29. Emiratesstroller

    There have been 30+ transfers completed by EPL Clubs since the Transfer window opened in
    June, but sofar very little money spent in this transfer window.

    Manchester City, Chelsea ,Spurs and Manchester United [excluding Heaton] have yet to complete a single incoming transfer.

    So the transfer window is a very slow burn sofar with primarily low budget and freebies.

  30. Goobergooner

    Just to add to the esr comment,

    If we add more control behind Esr, either with partey stepping up a gear with someone like aouor next to him or Bissouma even Neves, it will go a long way to unlocking the whole attacking element of the side.

    I feel that if tets does get in a proper baller to partner partey, and realises how much more control in the centre of the pitch that affords the team, we will see greater expansive play whether as a result of tets tactics or the plain fact the forwards will have a bit more confidence behind them, and the backline not being as over run

  31. Leftside

    That’s more of a reason for us to get business done. I’ve never got behind the market being slow, different clubs have different priorities and that shouldn’t be used to excuse our relative lack of activity.

  32. Goobergooner

    I’m really excited by the prospect of Lokonga though. Tavares as a back up has a lot more I guess time and leniency to grow into his role.
    I feel that Lokonga will be a bigger part of the playing side this season than Tavares (unless he gets time as RB). If he develops into his full potential then we have scored big time.

    I think it was weagle asking how tall he is haha.
    183cm according to the arsenal website, so he’s definitely going to be handy defensively. Very strong in the tackle and to hold opponents off the ball.
    Seems to like having the ball and doesn’t shit himself under pressure unlike a few of the CMS we’ve had recently.

    So yeah I’m keen to see these fellas in the red and white for the long term!

  33. shaun

    top four is the minimum requirement this season , we no Arteta is a novice and he has piss poor man management but what we have not seen is this master coaching he supposedly has up his sleeve. He has managed to get rid of Mustaffi, xhaka and luiz that is a shit load of individual errors, bad decision making and poor discipline removed from the squad .He has spent 100 million on his defence and it is likely he will have spent 100million on his CM once the window closes .he has inherited a 200milion strike force if you include the valuation we bought Auba and Laca at and then add Saka and ESR (who should both provide 10-12 goals each and possibly the same in assists as most think they will improve +pepe and possibly and AOUR type attacking 8 or 10 who also scores goals he has to finish in the top four as a minimum .That squad could win there first ten games and would I be surprised …fuck no I would think about time this lot started playing to there full potential .This season lego head is on the line there are no more excuses as it is his job to get the best out of the players he has available and he has been really poor so far , so this season he has to deliver as he has the tools and for some reason I think he will get better this season .For me he still needs to add two more players minimum and those two would be bissouma/locatelli and Madisson /Aour .I would probably go Locatelli and AOUR as that would be a financially more suitable option as that would probably cost another 60 million and is realistically doable from an Arsenal perspective .Niles ,ESR,saka and Balagon could all have really positive impacts this season if motivated and managed correctly .Get thirty goals out of AUBA THIS SEASON AND IT SHOULD BE JOB DONE for the top 4 that is

  34. Useroz

    Media says personal terms agreed with Maddison at c.200k pw and we’d table a bid asap, expected to be £60m or thereabout.

    Well, have given up on being criticcal about transfer fees, not my money as many pointed out. Though, disagree with how a rockie with poor records on transfers gets to spend relatively big fees during what many call a depressed, slow transfer markets. What about the we make star bit?

    Maddison is fine. English, PL savvy, track record and all. Just that, if ends up paying £70m, is he the best option for Arsenal longer term, rather than taking a spend to save the generational sauce approach ?

    Everyone knows we haven’t done much shifting out the dross so adding another 200k to the wage bill? Even pretty boy Josh talked about we are on CL wage budget while not in Europe or something not long ago. Is all these prudent financial management? Woukd hate to see the club cumulating ,or plunged into , debt issues due to ignorance, incompetence and negligence at various levels.

  35. Useroz

    Agree absolutely that we need to have whoever the generational sauce wanted brought in right now.

    Players do need to gel and time to learn /memorise the 1,000+ permutation PhD level maneuvers in classroom and on the training ground. Importantly, be coached on how to religiously commit to the process including, but not limited to, a dynamic list of non negotiable.

    There should be no excuses the sauce be given yet another season for lack of a proper pre-season for some players…

  36. shaun

    for some reason I think we might see more of Tavares as this guy plays both full back positions is big and speedy. I would not be surprised to see Tavares on the right Tierney left and white and chambers in the middle .Lego head has options and he seems to love chambers who incidentally always plays better as CB after a stint on the right . We could see chambers and white in the middle although my preference is to have Gabriel in there for his recovery speed and physical presence but if ball playing CB’s are what Arteta wants why not chambers and white . I have to say I see chambers in a different light now to what I did two or three years ago. The guys has seen off three coach’s and is still at Arsenal and maturing and I have to say getting better .The last time he played RB I was not convinced but thought ok he is doing a job but then he went back to CB and I thought this guy is pretty solid ,the stint at right back has made him more mobile and quicker to the ball then he got injured so only the lord knows why kinda of performance he will have at CB now as he was head and shoulders above Bellend and sore at RB so I am thinking we already have a white level CB at the club lol…………………………lol just need to give him another shot

  37. Almuniasaynomore

    Bob/ Rich
    Morning lads, I enjoyed reading your thoughts yesterday and as usual you both made me think hard about my position re Arteta. I made several attempts to post yesterday but I had one of those days where I was so busy I got nothing done if you know what I mean.

    Anyway the reason I’m addressing you both is that you seem to share the same frustration with supporters who are setting unreasonable targets for Arteta ie top 4 or out, unreasonable because let’s be fair there are at least 4 teams ( its,city,chelski,pool) who are significantly better in terms of current squad quality. Telling the world that if Arteta doesn’t eclipse at least one of these teams,not to mention all the rest of his competitors, or he must be fired, seems like the stance taken by an illogical if not agenda driven individual. As previously stated, when reading your arguments you made me pause and question myself because I am absolutely in the ‘top 4 this season or out’ camp..
    So I wanted to explain my view to you ,being clear that I’m speaking only on my own behalf. I also accept that analogies can be flawed but nonetheless I’m going to use one,so apologies in advance.

    When my son arrives home from school on a friday he is laden down with homework from all 8 subjects. He isn’t the most driven student so I pull him aside and give him advice and warning, mixed together, as parents do. I warn him first that he has the whole weekend ahead of him,2½ days to get his work done. I won’t be accepting any excuses Sunday night. I then advise him to spread the work out maybe 2 subjects Friday ( he’s already been to school that day in fairness), 3 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday. But that’s all it is,advice, ultimately it’s up to him how he achieves that target. I also have to give him the respect,the space to do things his way even though it’s tough because I have my suspicions!! I have always insisted on his sisters having their work done and I will hold him to the same standards. So you can imagine my frustration when he arrives up to me Sunday morning explaining that he doesn’t think he’ll have all the work done by tonight. I ask him why and he explains that he had left most of it to do for today but now he’s under pressure because he has a match today, he promised to have lunch with the girlfriend, he left his maths book in school…..I could go on,many of the excuses are perfectly valid taken in an individual context. He is not lying to me and he is genuinely remorseful but ultimately once again he will have failed to do his work.
    His mother will be more sympathetic and plead on his behalf that he has promised to spend all evening and night in his room and even though that won’t be long enough to complete the work,can’t I see that progress is being made etc. Now I don’t know how you would react there lads nor am I saying that my reaction is right. But for me, the lad can’t be allowed to emerge from that without learning some consequences, otherwise we’ll be back in the same situation next week. Anyway the bigger picture is those standards are there for a reason. So I find myself in the unenviable position of knowing that my son hasn’t a hope of reaching the targets set and as much as I wanted him to reach them I am going to punish him when he doesn’t.

    Arteta is like that for me. If he sees this season out he will have had 2½ seasons. The target was clear. As we begin the final season it’s obvious to me he won’t make it. The excuses are appearing, each valid taken in an individual context. But that’s not good enough for me,rightly or wrongly. I have held all Arsenal managers to higher standards for the sake of the club and I’m not changing now. And so I find myself saying that Arteta must get top 4 or be fired while freely admitting that i don’t think top 4 is attainable for him this season. Now that’s the part that you can focus in on and say that I’m being unreasonable about. I need to understand context. But actually i would argue that those who would attempt to judge Arteta on this season and this season alone, who would set targets solely on the conditions entering this season, are the ones who are lacking context. My son might work hard on Sunday but he knew the deal was based on his work for the weekend. There will be no ‘post Saturday table’ in my house. That’s how life has always worked,we are judged in our entirety, you cannot pick and choose if you are to truly,fairly and accurately assess someone.

    That’s my perspective lads and I am fully aware that it may seem harsh,rigid or just stubborn. But I truly believe that the approach that sees targets constantly lowered only sees standards drop. No body wins then. Clever arguments can always be made for extenuating circumstances or individual cases. But the bigger picture must always, always come first. And ultimately my son didn’t get his homework done. And ultimately Arteta hasn’t improved Arsenal……

  38. Champagne Charlie

    “Godfather. Cc was championing Abraham. (and xhaka, so pretty much what we should expect)“

    Is this a playground? Abraham led Chelsea to 4th the season before last and was their top goalscorer. He’s a much, much better proposition than Balogun and Martinelli at CF right now…..which was the point made in the post relative to our striking options being 30+ or a teenager.

  39. Useroz

    Just watched the post signing interview of Sambi. One thing he said upfront was “… it was very long…” presumably referring to the transfer process. It’d seem players also wanted transfers sorted out quickly so they manage own affairs and have the focus on the new club, team etc.

    Covid obviouy doesn’t help but surely we’d move a little quicker with what we’d control? After all, it seems we aren’t too bothered with losing some money here n there with the players to move. Just don’t nickel and dime to the nth degree and things would move that much quicker….

  40. shaun

    Almuniasaynomore ,yep agreed and not harsh at all it’s a very very highly paid job , do we think frank Lambard cried when he got sacked …..of course not he new the score and so does Arteta .these guys have there names up in lights , the rewards are great but you have to deliver and in Arsenals case that means finishing in the top four .Asset wise we are probably 4th or 5th in the PREM (could be wrong) so the average expected performance should be to finish 4th or 5th all things being equal. For me making excuses about Arsenal not finishing in the top 4 is as good as admitting defeat .

  41. Useroz

    Sammi comes across as genuinely happy to be here, obviously a big step up from the Beligum league. Like his smile and persona displayed during the interview.

    He likes to be judged rather than talking about him! ‘Great.

    He plays a 6 and box to box but prefers the 6.

    A bit of fresh air I suppose, where his responses sound more reflexive than canned.

    Good luck Sambi and enjoy our welcome!

  42. Sid

    Chelseas transfer ban produced Abraham, If Arsenal get a tranfer ban and Balogun is given equal playing time he will perform better than Abraham

    You can take this to the bank!

  43. Useroz

    AlmuniasaynomoreJuly 20, 2021 09:41:46

    That’s very fair, and realistic. Closest to how the real business world works….

  44. Emiratesstroller

    Useroz

    The Kroenke family are immensely rich and Stan is one of the wealthiest people in world
    football. The criticism of him since he took a controlling interest in the club has been that
    he had not invested in the club.

    Now that the Kroenke family are prepared to release significant funds there are supporters
    [including posters on Le Grove] who complain that we are a “cheque book club”.

    The reality is that “cheque book clubs” ie those with greatest spending power win all the
    major leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France.

    Arsenal’s failings in recent seasons has not been “the spending power” but the poor handling
    of transfer business and wage negotiations.

    Let’s start off with wages. For years there were complaints that Wenger adopted a “socialist”
    policy of equalising players’ wages. When that changed supporters complained that we were spending too much on players.

    What is true is that the earnings of players who we wish to sell are too high for most of the
    clubs on the Continent who wish to buy them. The transfer fees we are demanding for Xhaka and Bellerin are fairly modest by comparison.

    Lacazette for example is a decent striker albeit not a great one who has reached his 30th
    birthday. There would be plenty of clubs interested in recruiting him if his wages were under
    £100K pw. However, at £180K pw the market becomes limited and the likelihood of generating a transfer fee as well almost nil.

    Arsenal’s negotiating skills are also to blame for our poor handling of transfers and wages.
    Everyone knows very well that Arsenal and its owner are amongst the richest in world football.

    So when we want to buy a player the transfer fee is top dollar and when we want to sell
    the plea of buyer is always poverty.

    We are seeing that over negotiations with Bellerin and Xhaka two players in their prime
    with two years left on their contracts. Inter Milan have just sold Hakimi for £54 million and
    yet they want to recruit Bellerin with “option'” to buy, which is nuts.

    Roma are offering us just £13.5 million for Xhaka who is a first team regular and was rated
    one of the best performers in Euros. If they don’t want to pay Eur 20 million tell them to take
    a running jump. For all the negativity on Le Grove about this player I would be more than
    happy to keep him next season and spend the money on a creative goal scoring midfielder.

  45. Mb

    Almunia

    “There will be no ‘post Saturday table’ in my house.”

    I spilled my coffee there mate. No one can disagree to what you said, except (may be) Arteta himself.

  46. Pierre

    I rated Maddison at Norwich
    I rated Maddison at Leicester
    And I see no reason why I won’t rate him at Arsenal.

    He IS a good signing and believe Arsenal have a good mixture of players in their squad.

    We all know that it was our Hale end boys that got our season back on track last time out, we were heading for a disastrous season , so disastrous that champagne Charlie went into hibernation and only surfaced when the tide had turned.

    Strangely, Charlie refuses to recognise this , I’m not quite sure why as it was there for all to see .

    Let’s look at the 7 league games (without Smith rowe)prior to Christmas and the 7 league games from Christmas (with Smith rowe(

    Prior to Christmas (without Smith rowe)
    Played 7
    Won 0
    Drawn 2
    Lost 5
    Goals for 3
    Goals against 11

    Christmas onwards (with Smith Rowe)
    Played 7
    Won 5
    Drawn 2
    Lost 0
    Goals for 14
    Goals against 2

    It is no coincidence that Saka played his best football during that period with Smith Rowe to play off, his performance did dip later when Smith Rowe was moved to the opposite wing as saka to accommodate Odegaard.

    Also worth bearing in mind that Odegaard had not started a game up until this point

    Look at data and graphs all you like but the above figures do not lie.
    We went from a team that couldn’t score and were conceding regularly, to a team that scored at a rate of 2 2 goals a game and were rock solid at the back of which I think the partnership of Holding/Mari had a lot to do with.

    So yes, Maddison will improve the side and hope will strike up a great pn field relationship with Smith Rowe and saka and also willock , Martinelli and Balogun as the season progresses.

    I’m sure we must be looking at quality centre mids as this is an area that needs addressing.

    After that it’s down to Arteta..

  47. shaun

    I think every one agrees that Roma’s offer for xhaka is derisory but then it comes from mourine so expected really as he has a special contempt for Arsenal so Arsenal should only sell if Roma come up with 20 million pounds not Euro’s but unlike ES I really want Xhaka gone as he is just not suited to the pace of the prem he tries hard but it is not anywhere near good enough .I think Italy is a great move for him. Xhaka is not a clever guy that much is obvious but hey he is coming back to push through the move so I am hopeful , maybe he might just pay the extra cash Arsenal are asking Roma for with his own personnel fortune but either way he has to go for me and anyway he is the last one on my kill list the others can be beaten and other forms of punishment (joking_)

  48. Useroz

    ES

    Most of the points are well known and have been discussed eg wengers socialist wage system that might have been obstacle to signing some top top players at the time., unfortunately.

    Regardless, though,what came out of the Wenger regime was that, Arsenal had most *cash* and financially robust amongst all PL teams. I recall in excess of £200m.

    Point is, despite Kroenkes wealth, again well documented, we aren’t talking about the Kroenke (or more precisely KSE), old or young, *giving* couple of mils to the club to spend in this transfer window. Unless we got it all wrong, and ill be ecstatic if so, Kroenke simply sanctions the relatively large spend, and as a result, the net spend would need to be financed in some ways.

    Credit of course is cheap right now, even for the next 3 to 5 years, but it’d still be some sort of loans the club takes on and repays for years to come..

    If the football business is good, we have decent incomes and serving debts is just BAU however if the club, God forbids, doesn’t manage to climb the *official* PL table real quick and back in CL , business will take a hit (already did since 2 years ago). Add to it the dumb management of player contracts, just a soup of issues…. As a supporter of the club, would hate to see an otherwise ‘healthy’ club facing such dire issues that could have been avoided or navigated from.

    While excited by players coming in, as fans always do and trying to be optimistic, some behaviors, judgment, and competence on display (let alone PL position) aren’t conducive to rational positivity 😉

  49. Champagne Charlie

    “Strangely, Charlie refuses to recognise this , I’m not quite sure why as it was there for all to see”

    Pierre your comprehension needs a lot of work. Maybe go a day without name dropping me to make some puerile point, I’ve no interest in being another Tony for you to constantly measure yourself against.

  50. Useroz

    Shaun

    This gets philosophical and concerns the current state of the club etc. I’d like xhaka sold asap, thus window of course.

    I used to hate (for the club to) losing transfer fees like what’s happening with Xhaka, but then the club doesn’t seem to care…based on loans etc deals Arteta approved last 18 months.

    So as fans it comes to a point (diff for diff people) where okay just get the damn deal done! , 5 or 10m here and there, £ or €, does it matter anymore given the amounts the club thown away through stupid decisions ?

    Xhaka cannot be wearing the Arsenal shirt and play a game. That’s symbolic too if people give a clean slate for Arteta.. The sauce can’t have the cake and eat it.

    All key new players should be in before the first PL game…that’s a non negotiable.

  51. Useroz

    MbJuly 20, 2021 10:12:31
    Almunia“There will be no ‘post Saturday table’ in my house.”I spilled my coffee there mate. No one can disagree to what you said, except (may be) Arteta himself

    LOL… that should be a non negotiable 🤣

  52. Bob N16

    Almunia, fair enough. I strongly believe we should be aiming for a top 4 finish too.

    Let me ask you this question, ‘ If we narrowly miss out on a top 4 finish can you not imagine a scenario where Arteta would deserve to keep his job? A good cup run(s), 15 pts better off, a +20 GD, a more attractive brand of football?

    Wouldn’t it be slightly odd to give a novice 2 1/2 seasons to clearly improve the prospects of the club ( if we finish 5th and improve significantly from the previous season) moulding a group of young players into a team with massive potential as well as learning vital lessons along the way, to then sack him at the point of real success – getting Arsenal back at ‘ the top table’?

    If one of the very best managers gave an indication of wanting the job, okay fair enough, otherwise this top 4 or sack seems intransigent and dare I say ‘ a non- negotiable’!

  53. Valentin

    CC,

    “Maybe go a day without name dropping me to make some puerile point.”

    Your sheer hypocrisy made me laugh. You can’t spend a day without making a disparaging comment about me.
    Apply the same standard to yourself and then you will have a leg to stand in.

  54. Emiratesstroller

    Bob N16

    Yes of course we should be aiming at top four finish assuming that the club achieves its objectives in transfer market.

    However, I suspect that Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and maybe Liverpool will finish ahead of us next season and 5th place and closing the points difference may be more realistic.

  55. Bob N16

    Useroz

    ‘All key players should be in before the first PL game that’s a non negotiable.’ Ideally, yes!

    An ironic statement as negotiations often go down to the wire…31st August and key targets aren’t always made available to suit us!

  56. Bob N16

    So ES would you sack Arteta if he doesn’t make top 4?

    Incidentally would you have got rid of him last season, as many of us would have been happy to see?

  57. Valentin

    Bob,

    Context works both way.

    So you do expect to reach top or at least make a challenge.
    What about if the challenge is over by Christmas?
    Should he then be sacked by Christmas?

    Remember when Arsenal finished second behind Leicester. There was no progression, we were just lucky the other big teams just suffered a rut. So the same could happen again.

    Arteta could gets top 4 but there is no progression. For example he succeeds by sheer luck (half the other top 4 challenging clubs have to self isolate and could not train for 3 weeks) and the football is absolutely ugly.
    Would you give him a pass?

  58. englandsbest

    almuniasaymore

    Sorry to disagree, but with respect for I know where you come from. You are judging Arteta on results rather than progress. The flaw in that is obvious: he won the FA Cup within months of arriving. Last season he won nothing, missed out on top 4, top 6. By that yardstick he is in decline and pretty useless.

    But if you care to judge the quality, the know-how, the commitment of the squad he is assembling, you will see real progress, a massive upgrade. A lean mean machine in the making. He is heading the Club in the right direction.

    Nor do I dismiss the possibility of a top 4 finish this season, despite the apparent superior personnel of other sides. Far from it.

  59. shaun

    Manchester United – 1st overall – £595.9m. …
    Manchester City – 5th overall – £453.9m. …
    Arsenal – 7th overall – £405.1m. …
    Chelsea – 8th overall – £386.8m. …
    Liverpool – 9th overall – £349.1m. …
    Tottenham Hotspur – 12th overall – £241.8m. …
    West Ham United – 18th overall – £166.3m.
    . Arsenal needs to be 3 or 4th in the prem minimum for a club with it’s resources and assets .Arteta should get into the top 4 this season or he should be chopped if he narrowly misses out that is another story and one for debate but if we see another season like we have just witnessed then there can be no dispute

  60. Tony

    Bob I think it depends on many things if Arteta just missed 4th by say Auba missing a penalty.

    Emery got a pass if we’re honest about it. He was rightly ousted when we started dropping down the table from poor performances with the players downing tools.

    I think the question you’re asking is not the right time to ask because that would be lessening the value of the target before the first game.

    At the moment the club hasn’t publicly told Arteta and the fans what their expectations are. Pedro ducks the question each time he’s asked, which I find somewhat disingenuous, but Pedro does like a wind up.

    Seems many on here including myself are staunchly setting the Top 4 or better target.

    How dictatorial we can be about the target will depend on how well we fix the midfield.

    If White fulfils the hype and we get Maddison or similar, I’d and maybe others would say Arteta has the tools to be saucy with.

    Tavares looks as I believe Shaun said as if he could deputise at RB if we don’t buy Aaron’s or similar. Sami looks a prospect and good improvement on Xhaka certainly looks far more agile and athletic compared to the plodding, cumbersome Xhaka.

    I’ve no idea about Sami’s passing range or accuracy.

    As for would we give Arteta a pass for narrowly missing 4th?

    Let’s ask that question again at that time if it happens, and see how Arteta has performed throughout the season.

    If we miss out because of a very iffy VAR decision or a missed penalty then it’s down to Arteta’s performance both on and off the field.

    That said if the club doesn’t bring in a high quality experienced AM that would be as much down to Edu and Arteta than the club, so Arteta would have to use Azeez or bring in a loan.

    I would prefer we see Arteta’s coaching ability with Azeez than a loan up until Xmas, if Azeez doesn’t cut it by Xmas, then we have to loan or buy.

    For me too 4 stands because of poor aTW planning by Edu and Arteta.

  61. Bob N16

    Valentin,

    I’m no Arteta apologist, if I’d been in charge he’d have been sacked after the EL semi if I hadn’t been persuaded out of sacking him in the previous December!

    Of course it works both ways, if Arsenal finish in the top 4 and the football’s unattractive there’s an argument to say that we could then attract a better manager with CL football and a squad that been overhauled since Arteta’s arrival, so Arteta could be dumped.

    Pretty unlikely though. Of course Barca could come in for him!!

    With all the money that’s being spent, it’s very easy to imagine a scenario that he’s gone by Xmas, if we are nowhere close to top 4.

  62. Terraloon

    ES

    “Arsenal’s negotiating skills are also to blame for our poor handling of transfers and wages.
    Everyone knows very well that Arsenal and its owner are amongst the richest in world football.So when we want to buy a player the transfer fee is top dollar and when we want to sell the plea of buyer is always poverty.

    How then do Chelsea with a super rich owner manage to get top dollar when they sell players on top wages?

    Yes Arsenal negotiation skills appear to be poor but just as likely the goods ( players) they are trying to move on are poor.

    Indeed the likes of Xhaka who most on here would agree has been poor in far too many club games and whilst he had a decent Euros doesn’t it tell you something that just one club is interested.

    Of course clubs are going to try and get the best deal they can when they buy but at the same time clubs like Roma, clubs like Inter are well and truly broke. Look back at just how little money has been spent over the last year or so.

    So he poor negotiators but the real weakness in the unrealistic valuations on some real poor players and there are better value options out there

  63. Batistuta

    Top 4 has to be the target, so far it looks like the club is backing him in the market to get what he wants. He’d have had 2 full summer windows now, he’s having his pre season that he didnt get last year.

    There’s no covid excuses or empty stadia anymore, It’s all back to normal.

    We also dont have mid week games so no travel distractions too, if he gets his Maddison or Aurora then the target should be top4, anything else and id show him the door.

  64. Batistuta

    If we’re also not in or within touching distance of top4 by xmas I’d show him the door too. The rookie or whatever else excuse he’s had has well and truly been exhausted ay this stage for me

  65. Almuniasaynomore

    Bob,
    Morning Bob, hope all well. Your revelation of your wife’s occupation the other day made me smile. I think we’re all married to psychotherapists, it’s just your wife is actually qualified.

    The discussion over Arteta is ,of course, far more nuanced,as are all topics worthy of debate. To be clear,my post this morning was specifically an attempt to explain the apparent hypocrisy of those of us demanding top 4 this season while simultaneously acknowledging the exceptional difficulty of it. I hope that I explained that.

    In answer to your question I would say no,it has to be top 4 now. The reason is simple in my mind. He has no credit in the bank with me at all. So if he achieves a season as outlined by you I would still harbour doubts that the season was an anomaly. Imagine if he achieved the season you outlined, we accept it,and the following year he has us back in 8th again. That would be 4½ years wasted! We’d be cursing ourselves for having fallen into the trap of seeing ‘progress’ as success again. It may seem cruel but as pointed out several times,he’s paid a fortune. Hope doesn’t cut it. He’s been in the game his whole life, coached alongside Pep. We can’t give him the job based on this experience and at the same time say that this experience still renders him a novice, that’s nonsensical.
    So a line has to be drawn and as with all lines,failing by falling short seems crueller than failing abysmally. But failure is still failure. Arsenal are massive. To get back to the top the mindset must be that if the top teams. Failure is a non negotiable.

  66. Bob N16

    Tony,

    Top 4 is a challenging but realistic target. We’re obviously just mulling over the expectations for next season.

    The question I’m asking has been provoked by the ‘Top 4 or out position’. Throughout my life I’ve always found that I react to categorical statements that don’t allow for shades of grey. Back in school I was forever butting heads with teachers who must have found me at times really irritating. I’ve long realised I have to ease back a little but I love chatting about the Arsenal!

  67. Terraloon

    Bob

    “With all the money that’s being spent, it’s very easy to imagine a scenario that he’s gone by Xmas, if we are nowhere close to top 4.”

    For me this is very much the point.

    Clearly the club are spending but with that spend will come a greater risk to Artetas position .

    I don’t know about you but the “ Top 4 after Christmas “ mantra which even has found it’s way to Untold is far far more pathetic a reason to justify leaving Arteta in post. It’s exactly the same argument that managers use when they loose the first half say 4-0 but say winning the second half 2-0 is a reason to celebrate.

  68. Champagne Charlie

    Val

    Cant spend a day without mentioning you? Christ, in your head alone. You only get a tongue in cheek mention when there’s gossip given your history of spin and fake knowledge of matters behind the scenes.

    Like the impending fallout behind the scenes that we were told to wait and witness this summer from yourself. Still waiting, maybe tap up an ex-gf for another exclusive.

  69. Bob N16

    Almunia, can’t really disagree with your point of view.

    The only point I would make is that Arteta surely is on a learning curve, he is now no longer a novice manager so no excuses there, but one hopes that as a ‘ project manager’ he is improving and will be able to organise ‘his squad of players’.

    Our bloated squad is in the process of being overhauled so we should be better off, even if Arteta is dumped.

    Assuming fans are let in, it’s really going to be interesting how a returning crowd affects things. There is always positivity and high expectation at the start of the season but I’m not sure how much patience they’ll be if we have a couple of bad, early results.

  70. Valentin

    CC,

    Again backtracking and then completely fabricating thing that I never said to further your agenda. Showing your true colour, an ignorant bully who when challenged just fall back on the usual it is only banter excuse.

    I said and I stand by what I wrote that Edu was furious that Arteta’s staff was briefing behind the scene against him. Specifically that Partey was his and his alone decision and that Arteta wanted Aouar. When it was clear that negotiation with Aouar were going nowhere and that a decision had to be made otherwise Arsenal would have ended with nobody.

  71. WengerEagle

    In the unlikely event that we narrowly miss out on top 4 (1-3 points ish range) and improve our quality of football, points tally, GD and Tets gets the absolute best out of the group then I would be very willing to give him a stay of execution.

    How likely is that to happen though? Top 4 by and large is a fair metric to judge him on after 2.5 seasons, 2 full summer transfer windows and likely by the end of this window all in 200m+ spent since he was appointed.

  72. Tom

    Not a chance Arteta loses his job if he makes top five this season.
    80% of Arsenal fans , according to some online polling, sticking with him after the worst season in 30 years says they’ll stick with him again.
    And so will the Arsenal brass.

    Arsenal might be spending more money on transfers than Chelsea theses days but we are not not like them savages , we have values. Firing underperforming managers makes us sad.

  73. Valentin

    WE,

    Rather than top 4, I would say points tally is a better metric. Look at Liverpool the season they finished second behind a record breaking ManCity. In any other seasons, Liverpool would have won the title at a canter, but that season ManCity were just out of this world.

    The same could happen to Arsenal and if as you said he improves the football and the point tally that may be a tad harsh to then dismiss him.

    However it could also work the other way around. Get top 4 with a very low number of points and that would not show any progression, just regression from our opponents.

    The other criteria is the quality of football played. That is very subjective, but I must confess that I hate that slow ponderous style of football. I find that constant lateral passes and keep possession for the sake of possession boring and frustrating.

    I can tolerate that as a goal to win a trophy (top 4 is a trophy), but longer term I would want a more expensive and joyful football. I don’t think that I am the only ones who feel that way. Even Stoke supporters got tired of Pulis ball even if it guaranteed survival.

  74. Useroz

    Bob
    That’s ideally, as you say.

    Obviously ,and usually, deals go to the wire …. but context is , Arsenal, rather Arteta ,knew what he wanted for ages and would have all the time to line up those deals ahead of the opening of the TW. As some point out here, you can do deals anytime ,just can’t register except during the TWs….

    Takes two, actually three, parties to tango of course but many get the impression it’s the same old same old approach in regard to transfer windows we are witnessing.

    Frankly , don’t want to give Arteta any more room for excuses of non performance per the official PL table.

  75. Champagne Charlie

    Val

    What am I backtracking over? I think you’re a con artist that claims legit sources, that’s the long and short of it. I’ve lost count of the number claims you’ve made about matters behind the scenes. You’ve went toe to toe with Pedro on plenty and he’s actually broke exclusives connected with the club demonstrating his links – you’ve delivered nothing.

    Ignorant bully am I? So when I dismiss your fabricated claims as nonsense that’s me a bully. You don’t know the meaning of the word. First person to call me that on here was Banford, a guy banished for being a loon and who made a point of attacking Pedro’s character professionally to his peers online, who made numerous accounts to come back and target specific posters and their views, and even stole the identity of another poster to further that endeavour.

    You act exactly as expected when confronted by someone who doesn’t read a book from the glow of your arse. Wound so tight you think the world is out to get you, still chuckle at you calling Marc a xenophobic troll because he quoted the Simpson’s you melodramatic snob. Get a grip.

  76. Sid

    Interesting to see left testicles opinion of Diet Pep is now similar to Sid,
    At some point sponge Bob will join us

  77. Champagne Charlie

    Top 4 has to be the aim, just don’t agree the outcome is ‘make or break’ for another season as manager.

    Improvement across all aspects is what will be the deciding factor imo, and it should be. Points, goals, style, story of the season, extenuating circumstances, will all influence a decision to extend or change managers.

    Same parameters should’ve been there for Emery, but his narrow 5th place got him a stay of execution. Many saw the campaign for what it was outside a near miss, horrible defensively, incoherent style, chaos behind the scenes, and a total collapse at the crunch time.

  78. Tom

    Rodgers is willing to part with Madison because Madison apparently likes to party, and Arsenal need a partner for Partey……..it was just meant to be.

  79. Godfather

    No offense to you people with stats of Games played with Player X vs Games Played Without Player X, but if those games are not played against common opponents then what’s the point of such stats?

    It’s sheer nonsense.

    If seven games without including games tilted heavily against the top in form squads and then the opposite or close to it, is reflected in the next seven with “said player” then how are those statistics accurate or useful.

    You people … smh

  80. andy1886

    Almunia, thanks for reminding me about Bob’s wifes’ profession, I forgot to add at the time that I’m in the same boat, my wife is also a pyschotherapist (MA from the Minster Centre in Integrative & Psychodynamic Psychotherapy). Contrary to what many might think no, she doesn’t spend all her time studying me.

    Anyway, back to football. Just wanted to say that it’s all very well stating that this team and that team are better than us so we can’t finish fourth but if it was that simple we could pretty much determine how the season will end when the TW closes and save the bother of actually playing the season. Good or great managers overachieve, bog standard ones just about hit par and why would we accept a bog standard manager at Arsenal?

  81. Mb

    We’ve already witnessed a full season under Arters. Football was crap, worse than Emery’s. We were playing like little chickens against the mighty brightons and wolves.

    If you didn’t want him go by now, why should you wait for a year more?

    Football is bland. It can only go well for Arteta if he delivers results.

    Top 4 is the result at the end of this season.

  82. Almuniasaynomore

    England’s best,
    Apologies, I missed your post until now. I actually think I’m doing the opposite of judging Arteta on his results. He has won an Fa cup, finished 6 points off 4th and there’s the post Christmas table. It is these that I’m ignoring.

    What I’m judging him with is my own eyes,rather than the stats around him. His football is turgid and if Allardyce or Pulis produced it we would laugh at and pity their team’s supporters. His judgement is questionable to say the least. No one has ever satisfactorily explained to me how I should trust the man who sold Martinez,bought Runnarson, tried to build a team around Xhaka and most mind boggling of all,offered Mustafi a new contract. I could go on and on but we’re all sick of saying the same thing. The only point I’m trying to make is that his results are not the criteria on which I’m basing my criticism, he is. And I have seen teams improve and disimprove constantly down through the years but I’ve rarely seen managers change their personalities, so I’m not optimistic about ours.
    However you are perfectly entitled to see green shoots of recovery in the last few months and conclude that there is reason for optimism. I’m not saying you are wrong,I just don’t see it that way. And I can promise you, if Arteta gets fired before Christmas I won’t be celebrating because Arsenal will be in trouble. And if he succeeds I’ll hold my hands up. But I am deeply worried about the future of the club as i see it now.

  83. TheBayingMob

    The squad additions have been good so far. I think we look to be trying to address the right areas of the pitch but the season will still be tough unless Auba can give us another then or midfield starts scoring more because PEA was ducking shite last season (for whatever reasons) and I can’t see Laca doing it all. Where are the goals coming from!?

  84. TR7

    Fabrizio : EXCL. Tottenham and Sevilla are finalizing a new swap deal: Erik Lamela to Sevilla, Bryan Gil to Spurs. Agreement set to be reached on permanent deal and here we go soon! ⚪️ #THFC

    Sevilla will also receive €25m + add ons included as part of the deal. 🇪🇸 #Sevilla

    Anyone knows this guy Bryan Gil ? How good is he ?

  85. Tom

    “The kind Liverpool faced last season which prevented a title defence and had them scrambling for top 4.“

    Charlie, you mean Klopp tanking the season because he’d been found out? …………as per Pedro

  86. WengerEagle

    TR7

    He’s extremely highly rated in Spain, don’t know much about him myself but his Whoscored numbers/clips online of him indicate a very talented prospect.

    Hopefully he goes on to be another Giovanni Dos Santos rather than a Son.

  87. Tom

    Am I the only one with an image of Sid all tied up in rope, naked , watching sponge bob ?

    I hope so, because it’s most disturbing.

  88. Northbanker

    Almunia – your thoughts echo probably most of us. Arteta has made a whole string of terrible judgement calls and the performances against Villareal were largely down to how he organised the teams strategically and mentally. That was enough for me to call it day and he should have gone.

    Neverthelss he remained and so we go on until at least Xmas. We must be within spitting distance of the top 4 by then or else I can’t see the management team allowing him to continue.

    On paper though there is still a lot to be optimistic about. A large number of Hale Enders coming through at different stages of maturity, some really useful additions being made and if we never see the likes of Kola or Willian again in an Arsenal shirt (whether or not we actually get rid of them which is unlikey) we may even have a chance of being in the Top 4.

  89. Northbanker

    I will put up with the concerns i have about his judgement if finally we can see consistent results coming through. So I also take some solace in this post Xmas results factor too – if we can start next season with some better players added then Top 4 becomes a possibility. At the very least i want a serious challenge for this and a sense we’re proceeding in the right direction in building a younger team.

    Getting Balogun and Azeez blooded would be part of that process. We may even start seeing some cameo roles for Patino and Kido which would be really exciting.

  90. Almuniasaynomore

    Northbanker,
    Your final thoughts cheered me up no end, thanks. You’re right of course,there is huge talent at the club and a lot of it is very young. My gloom is because I think if Arteta spends and spends badly it will be a huge opportunity wasted, I don’t see the Kroenkes sanctioning such a spend again too quickly. And of course I don’t trust the manager to spend well. But as you’ve pointed out there is s lot of talent already there if they are managed correctly. Look what GG did with Rioch’s team, look what AW did with GG’s team. Reasons to hope, cheers for that.

  91. andy1886

    Almunia, I think you mean what GG did with Don Howe’s team and it’s worth acknowledging that Howe did start to bring through some of the younger players that George later benefited from just as Wenger benefited from George’s back four and Arteta has benefited from Saka’s time with Emery.

  92. Elmo

    Rule 1 of LeGrove:
    Never click any link posted by Sid! Never search any strange word you’ve never heard before, posted by Sid!

  93. Almuniasaynomore

    Andy,
    I’d accept that,it was the point I was trying ( and obviously failing) to make. In every Arsenal squad there are always players who ,under the right manager, will flourish. Not every team can say that and it’s a sign of the strength of the club that even at low ebbs we still have such players. A real positive, as northbanker reminded me,is the existence of such quality in our squad now. I wasn’t intending to belittle any of the previous managers there.

  94. Bob N16

    ‘Let’s keep it decent’ Seedy Sid drops the mic….

    Left testicle- you’re not the only one not to get Sid…..the only thing your likely to get from Sid would be extremely unwelcome!

    Sid, ignore me and I’ll ignore you.

  95. Dissenter

    “Sid” is is one of the numerous alters used by Pedro to boost traffic on the site.
    “Sid” is what happens when Pedro has had too many Peronis or is jetlagged. from his frequent travels.

    Pedro will deny this as expected.

  96. Tom

    Dissenter, that would explain why he calls himself the supreme leader.
    The ability to delete uncomfortable posts has gone to his head.

  97. Tom

    Talking of uncomfortable posts…….recall the Emery spent £175m to improve Arsenal and still failed line ?
    Pepe -£70m …..described as on of the worst transfers ever
    Saliba- £30m ……described as one of the worst transfers ever
    Torreira- £30m …. cant give him away for peanuts
    Guendouzi- £8m ….. lucky to get our money back, barely.
    Sokratis- £17m ….. begged him to leave for nothing

    That’s £150mil spent on players Emery wanted no part of but was credited with buying.

    I realize this is all well covered ground but I’m desperately trying to get the image of Sid in bondage out of my mind.

  98. Dissenter

    It does seem that we hit a hjgh grade gold pocket in the academy scouting a few years back because we have some really good prospects around the club.
    By design or accident, I don’t know but we may have about 5-10 pretty good prospects coming up, mainly in the attacking side of the game.
    Even if they aren’t good enough to play for the mid-table club that we’ve become they have to to be mined carefully so that the club makes good money out of them.
    It’s imperative that we get a manager who is not afraid of giving deserving youngsters cameos. When were 4-0 up against Leeds, Arteta chose to bring in Willian and when were were 3-1 against Leicester, he chose Aubameyang. A manager who has an eye on development would have given cameos to a youngster who’s worked off his socks.

  99. Northbanker

    Agree on Emery remnants although I’m still not sure whether they really were his signings. There were so many meddlers at that point i suspect it wasn’t. Emery always made it clear he wanted Zaha and not Pepe. Sokratis was however definitely down to him

  100. Northbanker

    Bob – agreed Omari Hutchinson another one who only seems to have come onto the radar more recently.

    Despite his gaff in the Hibs game, I’ve got high hopes for Okonkwo.

    Rekik looks like he could be a really useful CB too if he can squeeze in among the crowds for that role

  101. Tom

    Nortbanker , not sure about Sokratis, although I have my doubts, but Pepe , Saliba, and Torreira — the three most expensive ones he didn’t want.
    Wanted Zaha and Nzonzi, and the fact that he really felt strongly about these two and got neither, suggest he had zero power with transfer decisions.

  102. Dissenter

    ” Sokratis was however definitely down to him”

    Sokratis was definitely Mislintat’s signing, nothing to do with Emery..
    Emery famously told Mustafi point blank in the summer of 2018 that he wanted him to find another club. Mustafi refused, the club didn’t back the manager. A ballsy manager would have given the club hierarchy an ultimatum, either he leaves or I do.
    Emery was head coach, didn’t have anywhere near the powers Arteta has now. Arteta has the role of a manager that is at par with the tech director. Emery always had two people posing as director opf operations/sporting director ahead of him.

  103. Valentin

    Dissenter,

    Sokratis, Lichsteiner were down to Raul who wanted more experience in the team. Mislintat wanted Söyüncü but was overruled by Raul.

    The idea of hiring more experienced players was not necessarily a bad idea, but Arsenal seems to fail to recruit good experienced players. I can’t remember a single over 30 players who was a success. Sylvestre, Squillaci, David Luiz, Willian.
    The first two are in the hall of shame of Arsenal recruitment. David Luiz may be a leader off the pitch, but was a disappointment on it. Willian was a financial disaster and not much better from a football perspective.

  104. Leedsgunner

    Multiple sources stating that Lyon is in the red to the tune of €185m so we can afford to play hard ball with them with respect to Aouar. Although personally I prefer us we purchased Lucas Pacqueta… similar age and price but an excellent transitional player especially in linking the midfield to the attack.

  105. Valentin

    A single over 30 years old player who was a success.

    BTW, the rule than Wenger had to only offer 1 year extension on reduced term to over 30 years old player already at the club seems to be ignored.

    Chelsea has the same rule, 1 year plus 1 year optional or 2 years without an option. It annoys me to no end to see Chelsea applying smart business rules while Arsenal is making thing off the cuff.

  106. Mb

    Tom

    I hate Emeryball more than you any day, but

    Pepe -£70m …..described as on of the worst transfers ever —- he asked for Zaha, got Pepe.
    Saliba- £30m ……described as one of the worst transfers ever —- was a future investment, mismanaged by Arteta not him.
    Torreira- £30m …. cant give him away for peanuts —- Agreed on this.
    Guendouzi- £8m ….. lucky to get our money back, barely. —- unless he wasn’t ostracized and could have fetched us 40m, or playing in the midfield.
    Sokratis- £17m ….. begged him to leave for nothing —- served his purpose, he wasn’t bad, wasn’t good, as expected from a 17m defender.

  107. Aaron

    This kid might turn out to be a good signing, Albert Sambi Lokonga, but what is with AFC, are we the ACL reconstruction club??

    Maybe these surgeries heal better than in the past because of better surgical techniques and rehabilitation, but Hold and Bel took 18 months to get back to playing time, and Bel is not the player he once was speed wise.

  108. Valentin

    Northbanker,

    Check that club statement.
    Unlikely to be one of our player, we don’t have 31 years old players, PEA and William are 32 years old.

  109. englandsbest

    Almuniasaynomore

    I’m left scratching my head. On the one hand you say that it’s hypocrisy of people to demand Arteta make top 4 while saying it’s exceptionally difficult. And then you go on to say that he should be fired if he doesn’t. Isn’t that a contradiction?

    Or is it okay to be a hypocrite?

  110. Valentin

    I have not seen enough of him to judge Lokonga, but the fact that TH14 wanted Arsenal to buy him as Xhaka replacement and that Lille wanted him as replacement for Soumare or Renato Sanches bode well for him.

    We already knew that Tavares was good going forward, but the worry is that defensively he may be a lot more exposed than he was in the Portuguese league. Hopefully he will have time to bed in before Tierney get his customary 7~10 games out injury.