by .

The most predictable outcome of the season occurred in the first home game of season when the European Champions absolutely took advantage of our messy starting 11. They were better than us, they didn’t really step out of 3rd gear, and they took their chances with absolute brutality.

I’m sure I’ll be accused of excuse-making, but when you’re 8th placed Arsenal and you’re missing your best two strikers, your best midfielder, your best two defenders, and your most effective creative midfielder… there’s a chance you aren’t going to do well against one of the best teams in the world. You can give me the ‘standards’ chat,  but reality is, that was always going to be a nightmare day out.

There were some bits that I liked. The most important start to the day was seeing Arteta come out all guns blazing, it’s a small thing, but after his carry-on pre-Brentford, it was nice to see him bring a bit of fire to proceedings. The start matched that intensity as well, for a truly glorious 14 minutes, we pressed hard, we tackled with power, and we looked a nuisance. The football was exciting.

Then BANG. Caught out on the right by the excellent Reece James, we failed to stop a cross that found Lukaku who finished with ease on his debut.

That took the wind out of a young side and we struggled to find our composure. The organisation went out the window, the gulf in class became more pronounced, and the weak links started to break in front of our eyes.

The second goal came 20 minutes later. Xhaka didn’t do well enough on the edge of the box, James was found in acres of space on the right that we didn’t solve for, Leno was beaten easily with a lashed shot that went high across his goal.

We didn’t totally fade, but you could see the players looked beaten. The ref didn’t help us, just like last season when we were on all the extreme ends of VAR decisions, against Chelsea, we were at the mercy of the new relaxed reffing on penalties, where apparently clattering through someone’s legs in the box doesn’t cut the mustard a season after a rogue bootlace would have the ref pointing to the spot.

The second half was marginally better in that we didn’t concede, but to be honest, Chelsea dropped into first gear because they knew we didn’t have much in the tank mentally or physically to move the needle. We dropped a lot deeper, which stopped the beasting, but it didn’t give us much in attack.

The fans, in fairness, stood by the team. When they showed some fight, there were cheers. Auba came on and looked pretty sharp, Tavares looked tidy when he replaced Tierney… but really, no one was saving that game.

It’s hard to pick through a game like that because most of the players we were missing represented starters, however, there are some things we need to discuss.

Cedric Soares isn’t going to cut it this season. We’re on game two and no one has a clue who our best right-back is… I have a sneaking suspicion it’s probably Ainsley if he can get his head on the project. There’s no position that needs a jolt more than that one.

Nicolas Pepe dropped another poor performance, as he seems to against big teams. He lacks a wingers instinct, he’s too slow making decisions, and most of the time his mazy runs end in him losing the ball. This is his 3rd season with us and he still looks like a raw 19-year-old finding his way. He had a couple of decent corners, but didn’t create a single chance.

Pablo Mari really is nowhere near the level needed even as a back-up. He has absolutely no idea how to handle Lukaku. He was too close, then he was too far, he had no street smarts about his approach, and his feeble collapse in the penalty box summed him up. How can you let another man do that to you when you are a professional athlete? That’s an Arteta and Edu decision though. They had him for 5 months, watched him train every day, thought he could handle the Premier League. He was shite against Brentford, then we let him loose on Lukaku and it was predictably bad.

Gabriel Martinelli was a 0 out 10 again. It was weird against Brentford and even weirder yesterday. Where is the beast from Brazil? Where was the nusiance press? Where was the player we saw burst onto the scene? It wasn’t good enough from him again and that’s a real shame. I can sympathise that he had to drop deeper because Mari was so poor, but he still didn’t shower himself with glory.

There were some bright sparks. Rob Holding might not be the best, but my word does he always give you a full-throated performance when you give him a sniff of the starting 11. He made some great passes, he was always in the game, and he did a better job than I thought he might.

The fact that Xhaka is the least of our problems but still a problem is also irritating. I watched a Reuben Neves masterclass against Spurs, who were the jokers that said he was the same player? Far more ambitious with his instinctive forward passing, certainly a level above the player we just gave a new deal. He’s slow, he’s safe, he switches off to danger, and he’s never going to win you games. Yet he created the most chances yesterday with two. I really hope the long-term plan is Thomas Partey and Lokonga.

Mikel Arteta’s performance? He was caught out by Tuchel who exposed the left side brutally and he didn’t react. The tactics didn’t match our reality, if ever there we a time for a shit-house special, it was with 6 starters out the team. Two banks of four with a springloaded counterattack was the move. We tried to go at them, which worked for about 14 minutes. We simply didn’t have the personnel to play the way we tried to play.

So where are we now?

Arteta has spent all his fan capital. Boos at halftime isn’t cool but that’s football in 2021. Fans want to see wins, Arteta hasn’t been delivering them, and it doesn’t look like he has it in the locker right now. We’ll go into the international break rock bottom and that will be a painful week or so. His only hope after that is that the players aren’t broken by a brutal City spanking, and that the players coming back in can pivot the season right away.

Beat Norwich and Spurs, who were dreadful against Wolves, and you can slowly start to pivot the negativity. Lose those two games and it’s pretty clear the season is over before it’s started and Arteta will be out way sooner than he should be. Football is about winning games, if you don’t win enough at a club like Arsenal, you’ll be out on your arse and we’ll move onto the next manager.

Still, at least the next manager has some good players to work with. Sambi Lokonga looks an excellent signing, his passing range is a breath of fresh air. ESR looks like he’s going to go from strength to strength when he gets his more experienced teammates back in the mixer.

Those points aside, it’s bleak out there… not all of it is on Arteta, but the bad transfer decision of last year bit him hard again, and it’s hard to avert your eyes from Soares and Mari and who welcomed them to the club.

Right, we did a video, just me and Matt. Enjoy it. See you in the comments.




Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Champagne Charlie


    Not true though is it? Reported he was delaying and delaying because he wanted the move and told his Chelsea lads as much, but it was us that couldn’t commit because of the likes of Eddie and Laca on the books.

    Now here we are toothless and maybe angling for a last minute RB addition at best. That’ll tip the scale towards the goals for sure…

  2. BacaryisGod


    That’s a great deal for us that Willian’s team is proposing Look at the options:

    1) We pay him his full salary and he sticks around like a rotting corpse.
    2) we pay him most of his salary and Corinthians picks up the rest. If his base is 100k as reported (we’ve probably already eaten the signing on bonus) and if Corinthians pick up just a third of his wages then we’ll have got rid of him (at least for this year) and saved about 1.5m at least.

    I suspect the deal rests on whether we can get Corinthians to commit to a loan deal in his final co tract year with us too. That would be a relief.

  3. salparadisenyc

    Surely Abraham. stays in London and the premiere league if possible. I’m not buying Arteta couldn’t temp him, if their was a deal on table Tammy jumps. Sounds like media piling on at a very low point if we’re honest.

  4. WengerEagle


    See it’s very confusing to me that nobody really wants Eddie Nketiah as I was led to believe by a very wise man on here that correctly predicted Ozil tearing apart the Turkish League with Fenerbahce that Eddie has Ian Wright potential and with 1 year left on his deal, even a lowly fee would surely have tempted the club to get him off the books.

    Palace are supposedly balking at a mere £20m for such a stupendous talent.

  5. Positive pete

    Oh & did anyone catch the story of petr Czech our ex goalie jumping up & down in our directors box on both occasions the chavs scored.Classless c**t.No more .Repeat no more Chelsea rejects through our doors.Unless they bleed red & white & can prove it.

  6. Northbanker

    Sid – i will be my own person irrespective of other views. And i’m not suggesting there shouldn’t be debate and even banter- but there’s a line. That’s all.

    I also didn’t spend my entire summer going on about sacking Arteta. We (the Board) didn’t and that was that. Hence graham 62 that is why I hoped there would be some learning process. Some people do learn from their mistakes and most managers / coaches would probably accept they have learnt as they’ve gone.

  7. WengerEagle


    I mean I wouldn’t hold it personally against Cech tbh, doesn’t he work for Chelsea now in some capacity too?

    He won 3 League titles, 4 FA Cups and a Champions League title where he was largely the hero on the day of the Final. Spent 11 years there compared to his 4 twilight years here where he won nothing but 1 FA Cup where he wasn’t a starter.

  8. Chris

    ‘Willian ‘irritated Arsenal haven’t fulfilled promise that club had big plans.’

    Maybe if he had put a shift in on the pitch once in a while we could have got closer to whatever targets they were. What a joker and what a shambolic deal made by Arteta and Edu.

    The whole transfer is hopefully pinned up on the notice board in the office at Arsenal to remind them to do something as foolish again!

  9. Northbanker

    I always suspected it wouldn’t save us much by shipping Willian out. Even well funded Inter Miami weren’t interested. The only good thing is that no matter how bad a game is going, we won’t have to experience Willian coming on to save the day.

  10. salparadisenyc

    I’ve just notified Willian’s entourage that Le Grove isn’t happy he didn’t fulfill his end of the bargain, which clearly stipulated he needed to enter pitch with the bare minimum of a pulse.

  11. Northbanker

    Rumours on Trippier seem to be popping up. The age profile is again wrong but he might be just what we need to toughen up the defence.

  12. Champagne Charlie


    Palace want him for 10 mil according to Orny, we want 20…..or to see his contract extended. Cannot fathom the total lack of attention paid to our forward options.

    Said it to Middy, that’s around 12 deals under Arteta and only 2 attacking players, soon to be 1 with Willian going. An attacking unit that’s delivered 55 and 56 goals is getting the nod once again to deliver. At least we’ve started defiantly on that front….

    Balogun to the rescue, a player woefully out his depth – almost like the under 23’s isn’t the PL.

    Should’ve seen Laca, Eddie, and Willian exit during the Euro’s and sourced 1 player that would’ve brought something lacking (Tammy, Dembele, Vlahovic, Lautaro etc). But no, pivotal we spend big on a GK, CB, and scramble for a RB in the last week to add goals to a side with 0 so far this season.

  13. Guns of Hackney

    Lolz. You lot crack me up. One poster says no more chelsea players through the door. A few posts down and Trippier is being hailed – ex Spurs!

    You can’t make up Arsenal fans.

    We are worse than the scouse schleppers ever were.

    Reality check.

  14. Champagne Charlie

    “Chelsea and United in for Saul Niguez whereas Arsenal extending Xhaka’s contract.“

    Xhaka actually provides value, maybe shine the light on a player you were actively praising last season…..Elneny.

    Chelsea are employing the tactic most would agree ends in success, to make your worst options good enough still. Xhaka getting shit for a one year extension when Elneny, Torreira, and Guendouzi are still in the building says everything.

  15. salparadisenyc


    Some very solid looking young right backs out there indeed, Mazraoui as Habesha and Eagle have stated likely leads the list followed by Mukiele, Celik and Aarons for me with Royal worth a go at cash strapped Barca.

    No question this crew will dive into a heavy transfer on Trippier locking him down long terms at 31, all of course contingent on Bellerin exit.

    Have to agree with CC, lack of interest from Edu and Arteta in the business end of the pitch is somewhat mystifying. How do these owners see Ramsay leave on a free then double down with Lacazette. If deals we’re struck for both he and Eddie then Tammy enters at essentially no cost.

  16. raptora

    Weren’t you one of the people repeating time and again that White’s progressive passes and carries will help our attack? I might be mistaken. Also, you defended the need to replace Luiz pretty rampantly here.

    I also wonder, when you say that Arteta has made 12 deals and only 2 are offensive, are you having a dig at him, or at our attack, or at the club. Because I would believe, that’s entirely in Arteta’s hands and his hands alone, just like he decided to drop 75-80m on White and Ramsdale.

  17. Graham62


    What exactly was Willian expecting?
    Just because the manager talks a good game, doesn’t mean he can play a good game,
    In the case of Willian, it quickly became evident that we got someone who’s mindset wasn’t at AFC and maybe, just maybe, he also realised he’d made a huge mistake joining us.
    Another colossal mistake by Arteta and co.

  18. Valentin

    Bacary is God,

    The one that really hurts is the one where a Brighton minus the “exceptional Ben White” has shorter odd of making the top 6 than us beating ManCity this weekend.

    Some betting companies have WestHam with shorter or similar odds than Arsenal to make top 6. That’s a poor indictment of Arsenal recruitment policy and coaching staff. David Moyes is making a better job there than Arteta here.

  19. Pierre

    “See it’s very confusing to me that nobody really wants Eddie Nketiah as I was led to believe by a very wise man on here that correctly predicted Ozil tearing apart the Turkish League with Fenerbahce that Eddie has Ian Wright potential and with 1 year left on his deal, even a lowly fee would surely have tempted the club to get him off the books.”

    Normally you are quite educated on the game but this time i feel you have fallen short.

    As you know , I have never mentioned a word about what Ozil would do in Turkey, mainly due to him not kicking having one minutes football in the previous 11 months .
    Unsurprisingly he picked up an injury and never managed to get himself back to full fitness last season.

    Ozil has one assist and one goal this season and unless I’m mistaken is 2 more goal contributions than the whole of the Arsenal squad so far this season
    Who knows , maybe he will regain his full fitness and play under a manager who respects his style of play.

    What i have consistently said about Eddie is that he has more to his game than Martinelli and i doubt if anyone would argue that point at this present time.

    Eddie started 4 league games last seaon(2 goals) so had little or no opportunity to showcase his talents despite the fact that our attack was sorely lacking in goals and creativity.

    As you should probably know , it is impossible to say who has come in for Eddie and the simple fact is it is his decision and only his decision on whether he leaves the club or not.

    Anyone who saw Eddie in pre season would recognise that he is ready to make an impact , unfortunately he picked up an injury and missed a chance of establishing himself in the side.
    Martinelli had that chance instead and he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory did he , though i put a lot of that down to Arteta and his inability to build a creative side.

    I’m sorry to have to keep mentioning our lack of creativity which coincidentally began when Ozil was omitted from the side, leading to a couple of 8th place finishes and now sitting 2nd from the bottom of the league..

  20. raptora

    We aren’t Chelsea. It was more than obvious, the moment Xhaka’s transfer to Roma failed, that our hope of getting a ready midfield player went out the window. It’s not – “Xhaka is value so we keep him but our other players are shittier”, it’s “if we sell Xhaka, we buy a CM, if we don’t we don’t”. Probably because Arteta rates him and he never wanted to sell him.

  21. salparadisenyc

    Fucking hell I get the White signing was bizarrely timed and over priced but lets give the guy a few games to bed in before going in studs up on his actual play.

    Not my first choice either in fact not even on my radar but he’s now ours boys.

  22. Valentin

    S Asoa,

    The Guardian had the same story but with a later date. They wrote that his position will be reviewed at the beginning of December.
    Journalists have also tweeted that images of Arteta being surrounded by a mob telling him to leave the club has shaken the Kroenkes who were under the impression that Arteta was widely popular among Arsenal fans.

    They are seriously mistaken, Arteta is now widely popular among the Spurs supporters.

    Arteta was never a popular choice, but most were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After 20 months in charge, most have no doubt anymore. He is out of his depth.

  23. Champagne Charlie


    White will help with our football because of his ability on the ball, but I’ve never ever said that’s where the priorities lie. You’d know that if you read the entirety of what I post vs getting your fanny knotted over anything that doesn’t align perfectly with you.

    Luiz was comfortably our best defender imo, I’m glad he was replaced because of that. But I don’t think it was necessary this window before drastically tackling the frailties in our attacking unit. Same goes for a GK, fully accept and appreciate what we want from Ramsdale, but I wouldn’t have dropped the money on him and suffocated our ability to make changes at the top end.

    I’ve talked about our shit attack for the past two seasons, I don’t rate Pepe, have dubbed Auba an elite Theo Walcott,, and was champion of the ‘we need an AM’ club all last summer. That’s before banging the drum that ESR and Saka shouldn’t be leading our attack.

    I’m having a dig at Arteta and Edu, they’re the transfer duo. I don’t like the lack of business, which maybe speaks more to Edu and his ability to do deals in a timely manner. But I also don’t agree with the priorities, which I imagine is more Arteta’s remit. I fully support the profile and strategy behind the players coming in, but I don’t agree at all with the areas we’ve covered.

  24. Pierre

    “Xhaka getting shit for a one year extension when Elneny, Torreira, and Guendouzi are still in the building says everything.”

    I would have those 3 above xhaka any day of the week.

    I sat up in the stands on saturday and i couldn’t believe how poor xhaka was

    Poor positional sense , poor anticipation , poor reading of the game , poor pressing and a very poor performance..
    The 2 goals were a consequence of Xhaka not doing his job properly .
    His job was to mark Mount when Chelsea had the ball and each time Tierney had to vacate his position to mark mount leadung to the 2 goals.

    Xhaka was a disaster and i felt sorry for Lakonga who was head and shoulders above Xhaka and was a joy to watch.

  25. Pierre

    “I’ve talked about our shit attack for the past two seasons”

    You are missing the point charlie , the shit attack is because we have a shit manager.
    We didn’t have a shit attack under Emery did we .
    We didn’t have a shit attack under wenger did we .

    It doesn’t matter who we bring in to the attack with Arteta in charge, nothing will change as he is clueless in how to get the best out of our strikers..

  26. raptora

    Fair enough.

    A lot of money spent on probably very good players, not excellent or top class, but very good. I don’t think the positions we targeted were the ones we should have.

  27. TR7


    I wouldn’t give a damn if Arsenal offloaded Elneny. He is a tidy player bought for £7M and is content with being a squad player. He doesn’t start games for Arsenal. Xhaka on the other hand is a regular fixture in our starting 11 and thus adversely impacts our chances of winning games. Pretty sure he earns much more than Elneny too. For all the adulation Xhaka gets from you and many others including Arteta, he delivers very little on the pitch and that’s why no other club wants him.

    Torrera and Guendouzi haven’t done any worse than Xhaka. In fact Torr did not even get opportunities to prove himself whereas Guen was offloaded for “disciplinary” reasons. Would love to hear from you about Xhaka’s “contribution” against Chelsea.

  28. TR7

    In fact I would say this much – no player has cost Arsenal more points than Granit Xhaka in the last 20 years. He has been that bad. I don’t get fooled by his predictable diagonal passes to our full backs.

  29. Dissenter

    Holding was our best defender last season, as limited as he may be.
    From what I’ve seen so far, he will start most games. It’s a question of who starts with Holding.

  30. raptora

    I also think Luiz was our best CB.

    Thing is, option 1 was to keep Saliba and spend 50m on the likes of Cunha + Aouar, and option 2 was to spend it on White. I’d pick Cunha + Aouar every day of the year.

    White’s height worries me a lot.

  31. TR7

    May be our attack wouldn’t look shit if Arteta had a clue how to set up our team.

    Lukaku spent most of his time in the opposition box getting regular supply from players behind him. Martinelli on the other hand had no supply and spent most of his time tracking back to help our defense. This is the reason our forward players look increasingly worse every week. Arteta is shit, not our attack.

  32. Champagne Charlie


    Our attack was dogshit the moment Emery saw technically proficient build up players exited for Pepe.

    We got rid of Iwobi, Mkhi, and Rambo for that shocking star signing. We scored 18 in 13, which is on track for 52 goals in 38 games, when Emery was sacked. The attack has been shit since then, that’s a fact.

  33. Pierre

    “Holding was our best defender last season, as limited as he may be.”

    Of course he was , and he was our best defender at the weekend.
    Why Arteta didn’t put Holding on Lukaku god only knows..
    Holding would have relished playing against Lukalu whereas Mari struggled to contain him.

    I blame Arteta as much as Mari for the situation that allowed a centre forward to be so dominant .
    We didn’t attempt to close down the passing .lanes to Lukaku and it was embarrassingly easy for chelsea to get to the heart of our defence.

  34. raptora

    CC: “Our attack was dogshit the moment Emery saw technically proficient build up players exited for Pepe.”

    Emery: “We signed Pepe,” Emery told The Guardian “He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience.

    “I favoured someone who knew the league and wouldn’t need to adapt. Zaha won games on his own: Tottenham, Manchester City, us. Incredible performances. I told them: ‘This is the player I know and want.’

    “I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own.”

  35. raptora

    Imagine blaming Emery who had players brought upon him unlike Arteta who singlehandedly picks his every player. The lengths someone can reach are unseen.

  36. Pierre

    Mari struggled at the weekend but he won’t be the last to struggle against Lukaku, he was set up to fail although he didn’t do himself any favours with a very poor performance.

  37. Champagne Charlie


    Torreira, Elneny, and Guen to a lesser extent have all been demonstrably worse than Xhaka. It’s why he was consistently picked ahead of them by every acting manager that’s been in the position to start a team.

    You view Xhaka through a ridiculous prism where you dismiss all his value and highlight his shortcomings. Could take that seriously if you did the same for each player, but you don’t or you’d see just how bereft of quality we’ve been in CM. He’s been a starter because he’s been along the best available.

    You change that by swapping him out for someone else, sure, but you move the needle by swapping out the chaff for someone else that can also bench Xhaka. Im not content with having a new player with Elneny still floating about being a useless husk, I’d rather he get booted and Ruben Neves bench Xhaka.

  38. Graham62


    It was one of the reasons why Tierney was drawn in so many times, to cover for Mari.

    Rank poor management by Arteta and yes, you are spot on with your Holding perceptions.

    He should have been the one assigned to Lukaku.

  39. The Bard

    The most relevant question currently is whether Arteta can turn us into a top4 challenging side sharpish ? Winning a few games against the likes of Burnley isnt going to cut it. The fans are not going to stomach another season of mediocre football. The answer to the question is no he cant. We dont have a good enough strike force and our midfield is mediocre. The owners must know this so to my mind it’s over for Arteta. The delay in sacking him is to give themselves some time to scope out alternatives. Can they persuade Conte ( the best option) or someone else of a similar calibre ? They cant afford another inexperienced lightweight who may or may not be up to it. They have to halt the slide quickly or get used to banners/abuse calling for them to sell.

  40. Champagne Charlie


    Emery had a voice in the recruitment process, you’re deluded if you think he was idle. Also not the point being made, it’s the fact that at the start of 2019 we didn’t have an attack built to deliver in the PL.

    It was clear in the build up to Emery’s sacking, and it’s been clear in the time since with us racking up mid-50 goals over a season. But here you are again searching for any excuse to take offence.

  41. Tony

    My real issue with the club lies in the hallowed halls. The boardroom was more of an exclusive gentlemen’s club than a football decision making board made up of knowledgeable football men.

    Now I think it’s in no man’s land neither one or the other.

    As many have said we have no leadership. Although I have no intimate knowledge, it looks as though Arteta seized his moment in the wake of winning the FA cup: he brainwashed Josh into being his closest ally. Multi lingual Arteta and data armed would have easily had Josh thinking Arteta could lead him to glory.

    Trust was garnered by Arteta and Josh acquiesced.

    By doing such and Josh promoting Arteta to manager and equal footing with Edu, Josh was left with no oversight but himself who was being led by Arteta. If Vinai interjected Josh would assuage Vinai’s concerns, if he had any of course.

    I say this strengthened Arteta’s dogmatic resolve even further and fuelled his power trips over players in particular, the young players. He has instilled fear and confusion on and off the pitch with non-negotiables and banishment or exiling to other clubs regardless of how much they are needed, such as Wlilock; a rare breed goal scoring midfielder who could only get better.

    it’s the perfect world for Arteta doing his own oversight with Josh and ruling out accountability in favour of ‘The Process’ a deeply guarded secret only know to Arteta and Pedro.

    I’m guessing, but in the wealthy son / father relationship, Josh would have wanted to make a real statement to his dad. He probably promised Stan to get back in the CL and keep the promises they’d made the fans/club, which mainly are left being empty and forgotton.

    Now we have dad stepping in and heads hung low waiting to see who is getting the chop or a stay of execution. Problem is Stan can’t complain because he was hoodwinked by Arsne and Josh by Arteta, which does have a certain irony to it.

    Now comes the lull before the storm. Josh and Arteta furiously looking to stabilize the ship, but finding it hard with half the rudder missing and the extremely confused crew very close to dissenting if some aren’t already.

    I’d say this looks like Emery’s dying swan act trying to salvage his job, but there were too many knives out for him particularly social media including national press and all things Pedro.

    You have to admire Arteta, though, most people don’t come up more than three times before dying in the depths. Arteta has made 20 major errors in his 20 months as listed recently here. At least a dozen would be sackable reasons or any 6 in combination would be enough to say, “it’s not working, we’re done”.

    It’s entirely possible we’ll spend £250m gross, which will be leveraged against the club in some fashion. Looking at our situation with unsettled players, such as Auba and Laca and other heads dropping as Saka’s did. Then add the mounting injuries after 2 games to the fact that Arteta has no idea how to fix or adjust playing players in their best positions.

    With Partey coming back and Ode back in the side we’ll be close to our end of season team with Lokonga and Travares decent additions. Buy or loan Trippier and that is the defense sorted for this season if not the next three.

    All sounding positive? Wrong I’m sorry to say. Why? In a word Arteta.

    We’ll be 7 or 9 points adrift of the pack before the international break.

    Should Arteta make it through the break – doubtful, but Arteta seems teflon coated at times, and barring no international injuries, Arteta should have a full deck to play with as in players but not in brain and attitude.

    Norwich and Burnley should be bankable points. Spuds home also should be 3 points for us. But what will the reality be? 3 points?

    If they are, Arteta will be reprieved, but faces tough ties against Brighton away always a brutal test, Paddy’s Palace for extra bite, Villa where Emi and Buendia will want to prove points. Leicester and Watford home with the fans breathing down Arteta’s neck, then The Bin Dippers away.

    All winnable games and should be 50/50 away to The Dippers. 18 points available I’d say we will have 7points plus the 3 where after 12 games we will have 10 points or thereabouts.

    Ok this is a worst case scenario, but Arteta is good at adding them to his tally, where his latest accolade is the worst league start in 118 years.

    Let’s look at it another way, who would bet against the above happening and us finishing around 9th having spent £250m?

    I wouldn’t.

  42. TR7


    If the shortcomings far outweigh the value Xhaka provides then of course people will talk more about negative aspects of his game than the positive ones. I mean you talk a lot about Auba’s little contribution to build up play because in your view this shortcoming of his matters more to you than the goals he scores. Likewise for me Xhaka’s errors and his lack of mobility do more harm to us than the value we get from his passing which honestly is overrated. Take Chelsea game for example. His positive value whatever that is did not yield anything but his lack of tactical nous and awareness cost us two goals. You could argue whether he was solely responsible or not but for sure he was guilty in both the instances.

    Elneny who again I don’t care whether he stays or goes does his job whenever he comes on to protect our slander lead of 1-2 goals or to help us give rest to some of the regular starters.

  43. raptora

    No. Here you are again throwing baseless digs at our ex manager. Not picking his own players was one of the reasons of why he failed and was ultimately sacked.

  44. Valentin


    Arteta has made it clear that he wants his left footed CB to play on the left and his right footed CB on the right. So the positions of Holding and Mari were fixed.

    Any smart striker/manager will pick the weaker of the two. The same way the Brentford manager instructed Toney to bully White, Tuchel told Lukaku to bully Mari.
    If Mari and Holding had swapped side, Lukaku would still have picked Mari and the we would have seen a very poor right side of the defense. Cedric missing in action instead of Tierney.

    Xhaka was poor, but he was clearly tasked to sit in front of the back 4. The problem was tactical and our formation. We did not adapt to the problem their formation gave us.

    Tuchel played with two strikers. A physical Lukaku who was able to busy both CBs. But also Kai Havertz who was able to roam around Lukaku. Tierney then move narrow to block Havertz but in doing so open the space for James.

    Saka should have been the one tracking James, but clearly was not told about it. In fact none of our wide attackers Saka, Pepe tracked their opposite wide players.

  45. Dissenter

    Xhaka’s lack of tactical awareness or nous didn’t cost us two goals against Chelsea

    It was the manager’s mistake for starting the game with four at the back and not changing course when it was obvious what Tuchel was trying to do.
    It was the manager’s fault for not putting Holding on Lukaku to slow him down
    , especially when Mari was flailing.

    If you have to blame anyone for the two goals then it’s Arteta, Saka and Tierney
    Lets get honest here.

  46. Ustyno

    A bit funny when a lot of posters were saying that spending 50m on an area where we were meant to believe we did well(defence) instead of strengthening the area(attack) we did poorly wasn’t well thought-out but they said those posters had agenda, today it becoming obvious the people with agenda

  47. Dissenter

    Even then it was Saka that was supposed to provide that coverage, not Xhaka

    Saka was absent, switched off defensively all game

  48. TR7


    I suggest you watch both the goals again especially the second goal. Xhaka’s comedy of errors in the middle of the park led to Mount having enough time and space to pass the ball to James.

  49. Valentin

    Emery was the headcoach under a bullish boisterous Raul. Not manager at the same level than a meek Edu.

    I can hardly be accused of being a closet Emerysta.
    I wanted Emery sacked as much (and maybe a lot more) than the next Arsenal supporters, but trying to blame for the recruitment is shameful.
    He was a patsy for Raul and he knew it.

    He wanted Nzonzi, he got Torreira.
    He wanted Zaha not Pepe.
    He told Mustafi to find another club, buy was overruled by Raul.
    He wanted a CB or a winger and Raul provided him with somebody was neither in the person of Denis Suarez.

  50. Guns of SF


    We throw out so many good names on here… that are gettable but the team clearly does not read these good opinions!
    Dont they have PR person monitoring the blogs etc?

    Anyhow, ode was signing that shows how little effort went into finding a CAM….

    The Buendia bid was a telling… if we did in fact bid. He rejected us.

    I think a lot of this is driven by Arteta to be honest.

    Still think Coutinho will come somehow, since its Kia….

  51. Pierre

    I’ve never been a Xhaka hater and have never been his greatest fan( charlie) , however my biggest disappointment this transfer window was hearing the news that Xhaka was staying and having his contract extended.

    To me , this meant that we would not be signing Bissouma or similar, it meant that xhaka would be the first name on the team sheet after hearing Arteta’s comments on Xhaka, it meant that Lakonga wouldnt be starting if xhaka and Partey were fit , it meant that Willock would be sold , and yes Willock can play the xhaka centre midfield role with ease and would add pace , strength, aggression , anticipation and goals to the role

    Arteta is a fool and he misunderstands the feeling towards Xhaka from the arsenal fans and this one decision will come back to haunt him as i can guarantee that if results don’t improve, the crowd will be after Xhaka , and it will be much worse than before and Arteta will have to come out and defend him.

    Let’s not forget, Xhaka wanted to leave unlike a few others who have been shown the doir who wanted to play for Arsenal football club.

    Let’s see how it all unfolds.

  52. salparadisenyc

    Edu should have the good sense to leave the wife at home knowing full well levels it could reach.
    This has just begun.

    Emery not worth discussing, once Red Truth.. sorry Recycled Sock takes the thread and keeps rolling heavy its pretty good indication its done. To state our attack under Emery was good is peak banter Pierre, i’d say its gotten worse since then but let’s not create something that didn’t exist for sake of making point.

  53. Guns of SF

    At this point, I agree Valentin

    AMN is a useful player. Use him in a 3 in midfield or just make him the RB….

    He does move the ball well up the field. No end product but at least the fella can move with the ball better than some of the others

  54. Champagne Charlie


    Fact you aim to dilute Elneny’s role to accommodate his lack of ability bolster his use to us says it all, he’s a CM with the same remit as the rest. I don’t believe in players that exist purely to use up some oxygen in our colours. Who is the Chelsea player there for 20 min cameos and training ground bants?

    Xhaka has his shortcomings, but he’s comfortably ahead of any of the names we’ve had on the books. That’s the issue. His ability is derided because of numerous reasons, but even with you diminishing his strengths he’s a more valuable player than the rest bar Partey – and hopefully Lokonga to come.

    I don’t rate Auba highly for what I’ve stated, but I don’t dismiss his worth to the side for what he does/did produce. Only recently when he’s become highest earner, and captain do I have issue with his inclusion over Laca given he’s not even bringing his strengths to the table. Will be the same with Xhaka if we see a better unit created from Partey/Lokonga.

    No mate, it’s you that’s desperate to cause a storm and argue something that wasn’t even being targeted.

  55. Bob N16

    Emery couldn’t communicate his ideas well enough to his players and tinkered relentlessly.

    Arteta can communicate which begs the question what is he saying to his players? Very good article about our poor tactics against Chelsea on Arseblog.

    Tony, would love to be a fly on the wall listening to Stan questioning Josh.

    The only positivity I can hold onto at the moment is that we have the basis of a decent team which a decent coach could get a tune out of.

    It has been a perfect storm, the banana skin of Brentford’s fans first game back at their new stadium, a newly promoted team untarnished from a few, losses, coupled with a Covid outbreak and injury of our three best CFs. Then to play a formidable Chelsea without our shiny new CB, at a time our best CM is injured. Just to throw into the mix, key refereeing decisions that could easily gone in our favour in both games. Oh, and our next game is away to the best team in the PL.

    That being said, Arteta is obviously on very thin ice; the way we’ve played ( and been set up) has been so poor. I was hoping that he’d still come good but even after two games under really difficult circumstances, it’s now the third time that I ‘ve wanted Arteta replaced – third time lucky?

  56. Northbanker

    If that’s true Dissenter then what exactly was the role of Xhaka? Sorry but he’s a deep midfielder and watching / containing attacking midfielders must be part of the DNA. He didn’t do any of that; in fact i really don’t know what contribution he made at all. However he wasn’t the only one to go missing…….

  57. TR7


    Saka is a forward player, I am not going to criticize a forward player for not tracking back the entire length of the pitch to subvert an attack.

  58. Dissenter

    Emery never had his players. He was HEAD COACH at a time when there was utter confusion and music chairs in the back room. First it was Gazidis-Raul-Mislintat, then Mislintat left and it was Raul and Edu [who was still very green]

    Emery wanted Ozil gone- they did nothing to help him.
    Emery told Mustafi to find another team, the club didn’t back him
    Emery wanted Zaha, they gave him Pepe

    The only player he brought in was Denis Suares on loan, and boy did they [especially Charlie] savage him for that loan move. We stopped paying for that loan once the player left early to Barca, by the way.

  59. TR7


    One thing is pretty much clear – there was no need to extend Xhaka’s contract. There were so many able replacements available in the market. Sticking with Xhaka is accepting the status quo.

  60. Dissenter

    Whatever Emery’s detractors thought of him then has to be tempered with the simple fact that he’s gone on to have success at his next club with lesser players.

  61. Guns of SF

    Emery did things wenger was too scared to do. Get tough with certain players. Sub the “stars” when he wanted to change things etc. Getting rid of players.
    his experience level is what we needed at the time. However, the bad results began to come and he could not pull the team up.
    Death sentence with the Chelsea hammering…

  62. Dissenter

    The reason why Emery gets talked about is because his successor hasn’t done any better and there’s a narrative to burnish that successor by sliming Emery.

    Did Emery deserve the sack,? 100% YES
    That doesn’t mean history should be redrawn

  63. Pierre

    .” To state our attack under Emery was good is peak banter Pierre, i’d say its gotten worse since then but let’s not create something that didn’t exist for sake of making point.”

    Not really, 73 premier league goals in Emery’s only full season is up there with Wenger’s average.

    Arteta’s only full season brought 55 goals

    So i think it is a relevant and true point to make that we were better offensively under Emery than Arteta..

    At least Emery played to Aubameyang’s strengths, unlike Arteta.

  64. Bob N16

    Seedy being a snidey c*nt. as per..

    The reason I haven’t been on here ( as if anybody should give a flying f*ck)as after going to the miserable game on Sunday I didn’t need or want to magnify that misery by reading the comments on here after the game.

  65. Pierre

    Watching monday night football analysis of the game, it made it pretty clear that when Chelsea were attacking, Xhaka would drop into the back line , meaning Tierney would pick up reece James.

    For both goals Xhaka failed to do his job meaning Tierney had 2 to pick up .
    I don’t belueve it was Saka’s job to track back, the plan was for Xhaka to drop making it a back 5 , obviously it didn’t work.

  66. Guns of SF


    Seems its more becoming a reflection of our players versus Emery not being able to be understood. Its not like he did not speak a word on English etc.
    Majority of our players are not native English speakers anyhow…
    I just have a hard time buying this line or narrative…

  67. Valentin


    You are incorrect.
    Emery never wanted Denis Suarez. He made it clear that he wanted a left footed defender to replace Koscielny and a Winger.

    Raul took upon himself to provide him Denis Suarez. That was the last straw for Mislintat who then left after what he qualified as irrelevant and misguided loan. Denis Suarez in first interview at Arsenal made it clear that he was not a winger.

    Emery deserved to be sacked, because he could not handle the egos at the club. Maybe it is a cultural thing, because outside of Spain he has not been extremely successful. I also think that his underdog, Spanish tinkerman approach cannot work at a club who aspire to be a dominant force. Players and fans will demand that the club impose his style of play on the opposition rather than continuously adapt to the opposition.

  68. Champagne Charlie


    Extending his contract by a year means we aren’t at his mercy next summer, the club shouldn’t enter into the last year of anyone’s deal and the sooner we rid ourselves of that habit the better. Xhaka went from a 5 year contract at Roma, to entering the last 18 months here, seems to me that a one-year extension was a gesture to him for the fact we prevented him securing his future.

    Of course there were better/more suitable players available, I was all for Neves (and still am). But for 10 mil I wouldn’t want Xhaka replaced, I’d want someone like Eddie out and Neves added. That’s my point.

  69. Dissenter

    You’ve proven yourself to be straight shooter
    You were at the chief prosecutor of Emery at the time and boy did Pedro love you. Now he’s asking you why do you support Arsenal?

  70. Receding Hairline

    Personally i do not condone the personal abuse on staff of the club simply trying to do their jobs no matter how badly.

    Why was that fan heckling Edu and wife? Why was it being filmed?

    Why was Arteta’s car surrounded after the game? What was that meant to achieve?

    All that is just rubbish, boo the team if you must, stay away from to show your displeasure , do not go around acting like children throwing personal abuse at club employees

  71. TR7


    “Xhaka went from a 5 year contract at Roma, to entering the last 18 months here, seems to me that a one-year extension was a gesture to him for the fact we prevented him securing his future.”

    You got to realise that next year there will probably be even fewer takers for Xhaka. For a club which spent more than £100 M, taking a hit of a few millions on Xhaka transfer fee wouldn’t have been a big deal. Our midfield couldn’t match up to Jorginho against Chelsea and we will struggle to dominate midfield play against most opponents.

  72. Valentin


    The problem is that Chelsea had three attackers and even with Xhaka dropping in, that still left 3v3 in the middle of the park.
    So both Tierney and Cedric were moving narrower. The problem is that Tierney was then trying to be pro active and chasing players, when Cedric was dropping to avoid being overlapped.

    On the first goal, Cedric is too deep and keep everybody onside. Tierney is too narrow and chasing Mount leaving James free on the outside. If Saka had been tracking James that would not have been a problem, but clearly he did not.

    On the second goal, Cedric is just bamboozled and bypassed, Holding has to move to intervene. But because Lokonga is compensating for Pepe not tracking, Xhaka is on his own with two players behind (Lukaku who has dropped away from Mari and a midfielder). Again Tierney is too narrow and advanced and nobody has tracked James who can then slot the ball in the back of the net.

    For the second goal, a more mobile player would have been able to make the interception, but in term of position he was right where he was supposed to be. He was following the tactics and instructions given to him by Arteta. So we can either blame Arteta for frankly pathetic instructions, Tierney for being too narrow or Saka to never track back his man.

  73. Valentin

    We extended Xhaka’s contract by 2 years. His current contract was up to 2023 with an extra 1 year option to extend, and now his new contract is until 2025. If there is an option to extend that has not been disclosed.

    Irrespective of what he was offered by Roma, we are now saddled with him for longer on higher wage!

    There was no valuation to protect, because Arsenal and Arteta valued him at way more than the rest of world does. The extended contract will just increase that difference.

  74. Dissenter

    The extended contract and wage increment for Xhaka was to persuade him to come back in a good state of mind.

    We had the leverage of two years on his contract. They ought to have just let him run down his contract at the same wage level. He could have been let go on a free transfer in two years.

  75. Valentin


    Again the defeat to Brentford is due to Arteta. Managers can get their initial formation and personnel wrong, but they should be able to adjust and respond to what happen on the field.

    Arteta looked at the disaster unfolding, shouting on the sideline but did nothing to fundamentally change things.
    White was systematically bullied by Toney and MBeumo kept getting the knock down/second ball in position where he could directly attack Mari.

    Tactically shocking, but more importantly completely absent in game management.

  76. Guns of SF

    Mikes lack of in game management has done us in many times.
    Formations, players, tactics, in game management, all have been wanting a lot since he took charge.
    We cannot score goals anymore.
    We let in goals – where is the rugged defense?

    But its always an excuse here and there… illness, visas, injuries etc.
    Happens to a lot of teams.

    We have specialist coaches galore. Why are the results so poor then?

    Baffling… I think its time for a change…

    Give Conte, Zidane a call and back them with the $$, lets do what the big clubs do instead of dither and wonder, and hope.
    that is not recipe for success…. “hoping”

  77. Pierre

    I’m not dure you have got Arteta’s game plan right.

    In the opening 15 minutes when chelsea were in possession in our half , Xhaka dropped back into the back line alongside Mari , allowing Tierney to pick up Reece james and saka to stay further upfield.

    For both goals , Xhaka didn’t drop into the back line and mount ( Xhaka’s man) became the problem as he moved into the hole between tierney and Mari.

    Tierney ,especially for the first goal , had no option but to follow mount as he was the danger , and ee know what happened next.

    Saka , i don’t think was given the job of marking Reece James , if he had i have no doubt he would have tracked him back and as we know the players are not allowed to think for themselves, so Saka was sticking to letter of the (Arteta’s)law

  78. Valentin


    You might be right, but then it is an even dumber plan than I thought.

    Having a midfielder dropping to compensate for a fullback going forward is one thing. But having a midfielder as clumsy as Xhaka dropping between the CBs is a recipe for a disaster.

    Asking Xhaka to drop between the CBs leaves only Sambi and a much higher up ESR to cover Jorginho and Kovacic. Leaving those two free to roam as they see fit and giving them time to pick their passes is a sure way to relinquish control to Chelsea. Chelsea in full control of the midfield is a guaranteed defeat.