Mikel Arteta and Arsenal fans entered a new phase in the relationship which usually spells the end.
Arsenal put on such a bad performance, it was hard to feel anything for the day.
You could have sympathy for the situation if you didn’t have the wider context of what’s been going on at Arsenal. The team started brightly, the system looked interesting and it had City a little bit on the back foot in a way we’ve not seen before. The players looked comfortable, we were moving the ball well… then BANG.
An extremely hopeful ball into the box, Bernd Leno doesn’t come and claim it despite it being 6 yards out, Cal Chambers makes a total hash of the situation, City go 1 up from one chance.
It didn’t take too long for the next error to arrive, a poor cross into the box evades our right back and Xhaka and finds its way into the back of the next. Basically two shots on target and two goals.
What next? The most predictable thing ever. Granit Xhaka is rightly upset the game plan has been destroyed by shoddy errors, so what does he do? He Granit’s hard with a lunging tackle. No one can say we didn’t see it coming, he’s dropped this challenge already this season and gotten away with it. It was a nice touch to see Arteta pat him on the shoulder after this reckless move.
That bit of dimness killed the game. We had no chance. I don’t really care what happened after that because we couldn’t recover with peak-Wenger in charge.
Arsenal shouldn’t be making errors like this. Our games shouldn’t be decided this way. But it’s now a pattern.
How can you feel sorry for a coach that is at the very centre of these issues?
We are game three of the season. I have rationalised William Saliba taking a loan. Then Arteta rolls against the Champions with Kolasinac in central defence. A player that is a shite left back, who is known for not being comfortable on the big occasions, who we are trying to terminate as we speak.
Dropping Pablo Mari was the right decision, but how are we here? We knew the Spanish centre-back was ropey last season. Arteta spent a whole summer watching him. Decided he was better than Saliba. Now he’s getting dropped for a left-back in a mega away game? It’s unspeakable what that says about his decision-making and talent ID. It might be a bit rash to suggest Saliba was best placed staying here, but honestly, if Kola is getting games above Mari, how can anyone deny loaning a 6ft 4 ball playing center-back was a shrewd move? The coach is either a bad judge of players he’s watching on the daily, or he’s being extremely petty about the Frenchman. Today, I stand with the Saliba Ultras. They are now officially right on this topic.
We don’t know who our best right-back is, but we absolutely know who the worst one is. Another game of clarity for Soares. How is he still landing game time? Why wouldn’t Arteta just make life easy for himself and play a fan favourite in Ainsley? He’s more mobile, he’s a big-game player, and he’s done it against City in the past. It’s unfathomable.
Then we move onto Bernd Leno. His start to the season has been poor, the club knows he doesn’t want to be here, and it showed again. He let himself be pinned vs Brentford because he doesn’t care, then he let that cross sail over him because he’s not focused. Where were the consequences for the keeping coach that crashed his form? Nowhere to be seen. We’ve added Ramsdale to the mixer, what is going to happen there? At least we know he’d have come for that cross.
The Granit thing is a blessing. Why? Well, we’d lost the game already, now we will absolutely spend the next 3 games watching Sambi and Partey save our season. That’s great news. But my word, Arteta dying on the Granit hill is a sight to behold. We know he’s a good player, but we also know he does shit like that. Who said Ruben Neves was the same player? We missed out there. I think Arse & Nose on Twitter said Granit reflects more than a player, he’s the vibe of our own club, the reward of average service just because.
You can’t progress a team if you make errors like we make under Arteta. You can’t move forward if you don’t sell people that always let you down. You can’t progress under a manager that is buried in the doom of his own bad decisions.
This is end of days stuff. If there’s not a massive improvement in the next phase of the season, he’s going to be out on his arse. Many of us could have taken a loss today, but it needed to be glorious failure, not painful schadenfreude. Mesut Ozil mocking the process? My word. What a low.
5-0 to City is appalling. Bottom of the table after 3 games is a stain. Not registering a shot is pathetic. Scoring zero goals is P45 stuff.
But what is the next step?
Are you going to trust the CEO who promoted Arteta after 6 months?
Are you going to trust the Technical Director that was demoted and stripped of powers? The guy hitting the BBQ after loses? Hanging on a boat with shady agents and execs? The guy being leaked against as good for the chop? That’d be madness.
This is extremely worrying on so many levels. There’s no simple fix. You can’t put a manager into a power vacuum, because even the best need a functioning structure. We don’t have it at the moment. Too many big positions need changing and I’m not sure we have the sharpest people to shape them.
We deserve better.
What a horrendous way to head into the break.
More thoughts tomorrow.
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