by .

Arsenal notched their first win of the season versus Norwich City. The game wasn’t easy. The result felt like a bit of a slog. But the 3 points on the board were more than deserved and will hopefully act as a pivot point for the season.

The starting line-up was pretty wild. Arteta put most of his new players out on the pitch. We saw Tomiyasu, Odegaard, White, Lokonga… and Ramsdale. Those were big decisions. The Premier League is tough, to make so many changes in one go was always a huge risk, especially notable considering Tuchel had to yank Saul at halftime against Villa. Arteta even dropped Ainsley into midfield. When the chips are down for Mikel, he always turns to the kids, and they usually do the job.

The first half was a fairly mixed bag. We dominated the first 20, fell off a little, then came back before halftime. The second half was where it was at, we refound our intensity, kicked up into the 4th gear we haven’t had all season, and finally made the game count when Nicolas Pepe fizzed a shot at the inside post, bundled himself at the second chance, allowing a rebound to fall comfortably for Auba to prod home from a single yard.

It was the sort of goal the game needed. Just a mad one even the footballing gods couldn’t deny us. At the stage Arsenal were, you couldn’t complain. We just needed something, anything, to get this season going.

So what did we learn?

When Arsenal have all their best players out, even those that have never played together, we are a far more interesting and capable side. It’s weird having to argue with people for 2 weeks that mass injuries and covid outbreaks impact performance, but there you are. We created 30 attempts at the Norwich goal. That is a beasting. The problem wasn’t dominating the opposition, the problem was finding the target.

This new team will deliver what the summer needed of it. Every component piece we’ve added helps us move the ball forward faster and with more variety. The players make us more unpredictable and the quality of final ball is better so it gives players like Auba the confidence to make runs because he knows the chances are that someone will find him.

Aaron Ramsdale was the big move for me. Bernd Leno isn’t committed to the Arsenal cause, but I didn’t expect him to be dropped so soon. The move worked. Sure, it was Norwich and they didn’t do much in possession, but the issues we had in goal weren’t about shots. It was more about communication, decisions making, and raw ground skill. Aaron passed the game with flying colours. His passing range is varied, he’s comfortable on the ball, turning a Norwich player with ease at one point and pinging a pass out wide, and he seems to radiate energy. Patrick Vieira always had great engagement with the fans, Ramsdale seems like he’s going to be that type of persona because he’s basically like having a fan in goal.

Ben White is a good player. You can’t deny it. The weirdos writing him off after one game will look very silly this season. He created three chances of his own yesterday. His ability to move the ball out of defence like a midfielder makes his problematic. As a defender, you can’t sit back because he can pass, you can’t let him run because he can overload, and he’s risky to press because he’ll go past you. He’s a very rare type of problem for a centre back. I thought he was excellent. It’s also clear that the partnership he has with Gabriel already is a game of opposites. The main bonus? Both are very athletic defenders.

Tomiyasu was the real surprise package of the day. He had a debut to dream of. The fans loved him, they felt his presence, and they could all see that he has all the raw ingredients to be a good player. Firstly, he has it all physically. He showed off his pace early catching up 5 yards on a dangerous run with ease. He’s aerially very strong because he’s basically a centre back. His technique on the floor is great and his hunger to join the attack means we’re more balanced going forward. I really like him, his work ethic looks great, and Arteta went to great lengths to communicate that he’s a smiler behind the scenes that is always happy.

Midfield was a mixed bag. Ainsley started next to Sambi and struggled at times, but did grow a bit in the second half. He created a few chances, but his 76% pass completion rate in the final third needs to be higher. It was good to see him given a chance regardless. Sambi Lokonga is such a talent, he came off on 60 because of fitness concerns, but he really does have it all. Great awareness, he’s tactically mature, and he is basically everything Ceballos is not. Quick at passing, tight control, forward momentum.

In attack, we had a good day for movement and attempts at goal. Nicolas Pepe was frustrating, but also nearly really amazing. He created 5 chances, made plenty of direct runs, and was decisive for their goal. He needs to be coming out of games like that with 3 goals and 2 assists. He looks fit, he looks very interested, and I think having a proper right back to create chemistry with is going to make him more involved in ways he wants to be. I just wish he could sharpen his footwork, sometimes he looks easy to defend against because it’s the same bag of tricks over and over. I’m hoping there’s more to come from him.

Odegaard is a very, very good signing. He’s a leader, he works relentlessly, and he often leads the press. I think he’s going to love it at Arsenal this season and I can’t wait to see the sort of relationship he forms with Auba. I can’t believe people were calling him a boring player, I love watching him, his eye for a final ball is something else and we’ve barely scratched the surface with his ability.

The real star though was Thomas Partey. He’s a new player to my mind. He’s our best player and when he came on, he made a huge difference. Keep him fit this season and we’re going places. He’s the difference-maker. We’ve missed him, he will be such a driving force for us this year. Honestly, I cannot believe how good he is.

Finally, so much for the fans getting on Arteta’s back. They are there to support. He’s built a very likeable young team, everyone at the club has communicated that this project might take a bit, and they are all there to back the players. They were excellent all game and it turns out… Twitter/blog comments vibes isn’t an in-stadium thing.

Arteta has a lot of work to do regardless. You could sense he’s been to some dark places of the past few weeks. He’s likely taken onboard some home truths as well, because the way he’s conducting himself is a lot more positive than before. Every game needs a result. Burnley and Wimbledon are huge games, but Spurs is our cup final. We need to gel fast, the football needs to keep adding 10% of excitement, and the fans need to see where the project is going. Everyone was very quick to complain about the talent we brought in this summer, but no one is pinning for Maddison. Not many of the Emerson experts are clawing for him this morning after his disaster-class yesterday. There also seems to be quite a bit of love for our new keeper. Those kids were good signings, I’m convinced of that.

There’s a long way to go this season,  there will be bumps in the road, but for now… it’s one game at a time. Let’s see where this season can take us now everything is in place and looking fit.




Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Dan

    Nervy game, but most important thing was the 3 points. Lot of players playing their first games since injury/ illness and confidence was low.
    Hopefully we will see better performances and it all coming together as we don’t look like we know how to attack

  2. Ishola70

    The EPL is tough.

    Except when you are playing Norwich.

    Their 14th consecutive defeat in the EPL yesterday.

    White struggled a few times defensively with the mighty Pukki.

    Still not convinced with Gabriel. He was yet again over impetuous again involving the mighty Pukki.

    Now there will be oposition strikers thinking I can do what that mighty Pukki did and some more on top of that.

    The season looks like it rests on whether Aubameyang can repeat a big haul of goals like a few seasons ago. There are many doubters regarding that.

    Xhaka will come back into the side and slow things down as well as being a defensive problem himself.

    It will be about pass, pass and pass again.

    Didn’t have to be like that. Arteta could have dumped Xhaka. He could have brought in a goalscoring ACM instead of Odegaard. But Arteta is about pass, pass, pass. That’s why he brought in White. He is putting all his eggs in the Aubameyang basket and when that fails Xhaka will still be around to completely blow up that egg basket of course.

    Still looking a bit bleak for Arteta.

  3. T

    Really happy allround about everything! We had good control of the game whether it was sitting back at times or turning the screw at times. And all that with 2 kids in the middle! Wow

  4. Almuniasaynomore

    We were shit but there’s real signs after scuterring a one nil win against Norwich that if the stars align and he’s given another few hundred million that Arteta might,just might make us mediocre. Anyone spotted Arsenal football club anywhere?

  5. Ishola70

    Well you know what’s being implied Pedro.

    That the team lacks cutting edge and decisiveness because of a fixation with passing and control over everything else.

    As you discussed with Mr Cochrane Lokonga looked to give the midfield a bit of a quicker impetus other than passing with actual running on the ball but both you and I know that Xhaka the pass master and master of absolutely nothing else will be brought back into the side sooner rather than later.

  6. Ishola70

    Smith Rowe can gives us someting else other than passing as well but Arteta didn’t start him yesterday. Used from the bench.

    Odegaard will be Arteta’s preference from the centre.

  7. Captain Tierney

    Tomiyasu is sooo good technically for a 6’2 right its amazing. He can control, dibble, pass and shoot with both feet and looks like he’s got real pace. The first half moment comes to mind where he easily recovered 5 yards on the Norwich winger with ease.

    Lokonga looks like a real gem. The flat long ball he plays out to Tierney reminds me of Kroos. Very few players in world football have that flat long ball in their arsenal. He always looks to turn and is a good back carrier as well. We’ve got another green in our hands. Partey and him are going to be an exciting partnership.

    White is a rolls Royce in attack but looks like a Honda when defending aerial duels. The ease with which Pukki man handled him inside our penalty area in the final minutes is concerning. Thankfully Gabriel was there to make a goal saving block.

    Saka has looked off his races this season. We need him to get back to his best if we are to do anything good this season.

    Pepe as I’ve said since he arrived, needs to be played closer to the goal. Inside the penalty area he is our best player by a mile ( given Auba hasn’t been himself for a year now) Arteta for some reason plays him on the touch line where frustrates everyone a lot. Poor touches, poor decisions, silly mistakes he’s got it all.
    But when he gets into the box he is decisive. So play him to his strengths. Saka on the other hand is poor in the penalty box but does everything else to perfection. Why not interchange their roles?

  8. Ishola70

    No people like to talk in reality and what they think and feel is the truth.

    If Arteta surprises many on here including myself then all hail Arteta.

    Until then a win over a hapless Norwich isn’t going to bring out the bunting.

    Mr Cochrane Pedro’s accomplice on the podcast must also be a very sad individual as well because he was basically implying the same thing.

    Lots of sad people around it seems.

    Or just realists.

  9. Almuniasaynomore

    Instead of telling Ishola to fuck off what don’t you enlighten us as to what you saw yesterday that makes you believe we can surpass one out of city,utd,chelsea and pool which we have to if we are to qualify for the champions league in what is Arteta’s 3rd year after outspending everyone in the last window? What did you see? Tell me? I’m watching football too long to believe that Arteta is putting a top 4 team together. Enlighten me.

  10. Moray

    It’s 3 points out of 12 so far.

    If we end up in the top four I will be the first in line to suck Arteta’s dick.

    As it is, young team or not, be look mediocre and poorly coached, and importantly short of goals up top. Hopefully things will turn for us but it’s going to be a hairy season for us, that’s for sure.

  11. Chrispy

    AL….youre another one. Just give it a rest for once. I sat there in block 128 and I enjoyed my day. Painful for you I know.

  12. Dennis+the+Menace

    I like a win. I like a win that ends a goal drought and gets us our first points. I am, frankly, relieved. I also like to keep some perspective and acknowledge that Norwich are the easiest team to beat in the Premier League this season. I am disappointed we only scored one goal. That’s a worry with 30 shots and 21 of them from inside the box (but at least the chances are being created, finally). I still can’t see why our expensive and complex management structure couldn’t invest more evenly in both experience and youth. I still don’t think Arteta is good enough. I am desperate for us to beat Tottenham. But I worry we won’t and that we’ll struggle against a very direct and physically strong Burnley who will look to outmuscle Ben White.

  13. Graham62


    Of course Arteta isn’t good enough!

    There’s passing and there’s passing.

    With Arsenal, it never seems to flow.

    Why is that?

  14. Almuniasaynomore

    I’m delighted you enjoyed the day,going to the game and being rewarded with 3points is a great feeling. But Ishola was expressing the view that the performance reflects no real improvement after all this time and money. You saw improvement? Great. I don’t agree with you. Difference is I won’t label you or tell you to fuck off because of it.

  15. Muppetman

    You can’t complain about people writing white off after one game to then praise him to high heaven after one game. Let’s wait until a good run of games to start judging. Everyone just wants to argue because they are pro or negative Arteta

  16. Sly

    Contrast our performance with crystal palaces
    Will be very interesting to see how paddy does
    Great performance thrashing Spurs

  17. Mafuko

    Holding in defence, then line up White, Lokonga, Partey in CM against stronger/tougher opposition. White at the base, Lokonga left, Partey right

    @C Tierney
    Hondas are pretty reliable though :).

  18. DigitalBob

    A win is a win, and we needed it. I predicted 3-0 before the game and we really should be beating this Norwich team 3-0. They are a Championship team punching above their weight but credit to Daniel Farke for at least setting up his team to play positively. I reckon a more confident Arsenal, same eleven mind you, is more clinical and puts two or three more in the back of the net.

    I agree with much of your post Pedro, the positives really being Tomiyasu(that volley!!) and Lokonga, two really promising summer acquisitions. Personally, I don’t think this is the game to judge Ramsdale as he had nothing to do, he did look confident and assured though. The drag-back was evidence of this but at the same time, Aaron mate don’t do that!

    Ben White also didn’t put a foot wrong, yes he’s not great in the air and may get bullied from time to time but from where I was seated in the stadium he’s not exactly powder puff and is a committed defender.

    The uproar around Pepe is ridiculous, some actually said he’s a shit player. I stayed for the whole 90 minutes, every time he gets the ball the fans and opposition defenders are on alert.

    If and I know it’s a big if, he can develop some consistency he’ll be up there with the best wingers to ever put the Arsenal shirt on.

    In regards to Ainsley, yes not a great centre mid performance but if the alternative is Mo Elneny or Granit, then Ainsley gets the nod for me every time, let’s see him grow and develop his game with Partey(super cameo) and Lokonga.

  19. Receding Hairline

    “We created 30 attempts at the Norwich goal. That is a beasting.”

    No it isn’t. 13 of those 30 shots were blocked shots, only 6 of that 30 was on target, we created only 2 big chance the entirety of the 90. Norwich had long spells in the game where they were comfortable and played some good football.

    No one who watched yesterday’s game will say we beasted Norwich or played them off the park.

    I know you want Arteta to succeed but come on, there was nothing exciting about yesterday’s win or the football on display.

  20. Receding Hairline

    And we are not going to play many teams this season who take the type of risks Norwich did playing out from the back, they kept turning over possession in very dangerous areas.

    And Ben White was only a problem for them in the first 20 minutes then they stopped allowing him space, any semi professional coach can plan against that, he doesn’t really take the risks Luis used to, his passing is top notch yes but that’s once you give him space, once Norwich settled we saw less and less of those passes.

    As for Ode, I don’t know what game you were watching, he was painfully average, Smith-Rowe did more once he came on,more direct and ran at Norwich. Saka had a poor game, if he had a good game we could have created more, our season once against rests on those two staying fit and sharp and Aubameyang scoring. As for Pepe, the day we start without him we will struggle to create anything, he is the only player that looks to take on defenders.

  21. Thank you and goodnight

    I’m not a fan of the passing game, or I should say I’m not a fan of sideways and backwards passing for no real gain or reason. It’s why I think England are boring to watch. Look at the game v Poland, 800 2-3 yard passes but no real cutting edge, that’s Arsenal to a T. I much prefer the football Wenger served up in his hey day

  22. David Smith

    Nice one Pedro, good to read a bit of optimism, and I for one do not believe it is unfounded either. It’s clear there is a way to go with this project, what we saw yesterday is clearly nowhere near the finished article, but as you say, some very likeable players on view in that game. Most of yesterday was just one of those days to enjoy on the sporting front .
    Would be intrigued to know all that Arteta has had to deal with in that post Wenger dressing room, his demeanour yesterday gives a tantalising glimpse, he clearly had more than his share of problem players, just hope those there now back him. Pretty sure there have been attempts by powerful players to remove him from post . Arteta strikes me as someone who tackles things head on, this club have needed a manager to do just that.
    Just hope he can get on with it with these players , and we can judge him on things as they are now rather than situations inherited. He has made mistakes clearly, but maybe anyone would facing some of the issues he has faced .

  23. Dissenter

    I’m glad Pedro out some balance into the Pepe commentary.
    I’m even more glad Arteta left him on, he does have to play him closer to goal, more centrally because he s far more like to score than Auba.

  24. Thank you and goodnight

    Fuck sake it was a 1 nil against a team that make ours look like peak Barcelona. I had us as down for 3 nil win. I can’t stand Arteta but thought even he would have enough in him to put Norwich to the sword. Sorry if I didn’t see any improvements yesterday , must of been streaming a different game

  25. Dissenter

    The Burnley game is going to be so different from yesterday that I’m not even sure there’s any carry overs.
    Ben White will likely be a liability, Holden need to one back
    Drop Auba and play Laca, Auba can come in late on

  26. WengerEagle

    For all the 30 shots, I can only remember 3 real clear chances and they were- (1) the goal, (2) Auba’s 1 vs 1 in the first half and (3) ESR’s 1 vs 1 in the 2nd half.

    Norwich created just as many clear cut opportunities. They really should have scored and a better side i.e pretty much any other PL side would have punished us.

    Some positives for me were Tomiyasu’s debut which I was encouraged by, I thought that ESR looked very good when he came on, Ramsdale while not massively tested looked assured in goal and Pepe in moments looked very dangerous before going back to his karaoke impression of a pro footballer. Franz White also passed very well out from the back in the 1st half.

    Unfortunately just as many negatives for me considering a Norwich side nailed on for relegation were fairly unlucky not to get a point. Auba once again looked a shell of his former self up front, benefitted from a very lucky tap-in to paper over the cracks of yet another stinker. I also was very underwhelmed by both Lokonga who looked off the pace yesterday and AMN in midfield. Allowed Norwich to dominate large spells of the game which is unacceptable especially at home and at 0-0.

    Starting to worry a bit about Tierney defensively, gets caught napping a bit too often for my liking. White also was beaten pretty easily in the air once again and I wasn’t at all convinced by his partnership with Gabriel. Pepe’s for large spells looked shocking, he literally couldn’t control the ball.

    And Saka and Odegaard for me were both quiet and fairly ineffective.

  27. Dolomite

    Regardless of your thoughts on Arteta, the players or owners…..

    If you’re not pleased about getting off the bottom of the table with a win against Norwich you’re NOT an Arsenal fan and frankly you should just fuck off.

    End of.

  28. Receding Hairline

    “Fuck sake it was a 1 nil against a team that make ours look like peak Barcelona”

    That’s the thing, against a team that are so accustomed to losing in the premier league, we didn’t even look that good. For long periods the stadium was quiet and worried. Yesterday was arguably the easiest fixture we will play in the league and it was tough.

    Yes we had a lot of new faces but the coach has been here 20 months, there wasn’t really any pattern to slot into. Everyone made it up as they went along. Contrast that to Norwich who knew exactly what they wanted to do, how they wanted to play, the coaching was clear to see.

    We are going to have a very tough season, rather then preparing fans to accept that we really should be asking why that’s the case twenty months into the “best young coach in Europe’s” tenure

  29. Pedro

    WE, that wasn’t reflected in xG and on another day, against another team, that’s a 4-0 beasting for Arsenal. If Arsenal had registered 1 shot on target away and been pumped for 30 shots, there’d be no ‘it was close’ from people.

  30. WengerEagle


    I don’t really get that sentiment to be honest. Yes we are all glad we beat Norwich and are off the foot of the table but yesterday was more worrying than worth celebrating if you really watched the full 90+ mins.

    Does anybody have Norwich staying up this season? And we had to fight tooth and nail for that 1 nil win. We very likely would not have beaten any other PL side playing like we did yesterday.

  31. Pedro

    David, agree, just a good afternoon out. So boring to read the usual suspects whining after a win.

    Basically a brand new team of very young player playing out of an almighty hole. Plenty to look forward to.

  32. AFC Forever

    Nice piece Pedro.

    Facts are the first three games injuries & Covid deprived us of players. We saw when he came on yesterday how much Partey adds. We’ve bought new players who haven’t played together yet & some ‘fans’ seem unable or unwilling to acknowledge that fact or how important it is. Arteta inherited a bloody mess which required culling the squad . They’ve identified players and spent money to bring in young players for the future & to fill holes.. Over the past few weeks, people have expected us to compete with Chelsea or Man City and that’s ridiculous, Those two teams have invested for years & have been able to recruit whoever they want. They have won the League & Champions League because of the quality they have. We are way off that level & have been for years, sadly.

    What we have now is a squad of young players that should be hungry & keen to learn. They need playing & training time together to gel and build partnerships and awareness. Really important. Team patterns will evolve, tactics will be tweaked and hopefully we will see a ‘team’ come together. Won’t happen overnight. They need support but some sections of the fan base have no idea what that is The fans in the stadium did. It’s always nice to see younger players and hopefully the group we have will develop into a hungry, athletic & determined group and a top team. It won’t happen overnight, pretending otherwise is setting yourselves up for a fall.

    As for the “it’s only Norwich’ brigade, remember that was the first time our players had played together. Despite that fact, we carved out enough good chances & with better finishing would have won more convincingly. Give the players time to gel & form partnerships instead of setting unrealistic expectations. We do need Aubamayang to find his form, he’s still off his best. Ramsdale looked so much more composed with the ball and the new right back looks a really good player. Could be exciting times now we have a bunch of young, athletic & hungry players but you have to allow them time to gel & form a team.

  33. Receding Hairline

    “If you’re not pleased about getting off the bottom of the table with a win against Norwich you’re NOT an Arsenal fan and frankly you should just fuck off.”

    And you think this sought of loser mentality makes you a better fan? We are in for 34 more games this season in the league and most of it against opposition miles better than Norwich.

    We are Arsenal football club, getting off the bottom of the table is not something we should be associated with let alone pleased over.

    What’s wrong with Arsenal fans? The whole management team are bent on self preservation hence the “it’s a process mantra” and the outright refusal to set targets for a league season and this is being accepted because? We huffed and puffed at home against Norwich City ffs

  34. Chris

    I get the feeling Lokonga and TT especially are going to become big fan favourites.

    My fear, which I think is likely shared by others, will be the inevitable return of Xhaka to the team once available. We still wait to see a Partey and Sambi partnership and you may just get the feeling it could be very special. I think we will see this next week against Burnley.

    I do think it was the right call to go with Ramsdale also, as long as he gets a consistent run in the team and Arteta doesn’t decide to start mixing up the keepers for different games. I’d even start Ramsdale against Wimbledon and allow him to continue to assert and develop his game. He looked to be a good communicator also yesterday.

  35. Pedro

    ‘Ben white will be a liability against a better team’

    Someone get diss a copy of Brighton vs City before he buries himself

  36. Receding Hairline

    “Leicester had 9 attempts, 3 on target.”

    Leicester were at Carrow road. We were at home.

    We didn’t beast Norwich, I watched the full 90 and was very worried. We didn’t look remotely well coached and their lack of individual quality was a saving grace.

    Yesterday’s game was just one of those wins you take and move on. That you are trying to make out it was a win that rendered all the criticism’s we have had this season as unfair doesn’t stand up to real scrutiny.

  37. WengerEagle

    “They need playing & training time together to gel and build partnerships and awareness. Really important. Team patterns will evolve, tactics will be tweaked and hopefully we will see a ‘team’ come together. Won’t happen overnight”

    Yep agreed, just give it another another 2 years and we should start to see a pattern emerging I am sure.

    “They need support but some sections of the fan base have no idea what that is”

    “As for the “it’s only Norwich’ brigade”

    Like clockwork back from your hiatus as soon as we finally scrape a result against the worst team in the league at home and already dishing out the sanctimonious ‘true fan’ bollocks to others on here, no shame at all.

  38. Graham

    I would imagine Ramsdale is very keen to play against AFC Wimbledon as he is something of a cult figure among their fans both got his personality and ability (having staved off an almost certain relegation) – and goalkeepers that swap teams normally get a much better reception than outfield players.

  39. Pedro

    Chris, does a shift to a 4-3-3 avoid that?

    Wonder if Xhaka starts to fade. Covid and the red card was not a good look to the start of the season.

    Also, Sambi has looked very good.

  40. Chris


    I think 433 would be a formation worth using at home, and it would be easy to see Partey/Sambi/Odegaard featuring in that. However despite Xhaka’s calamitous start to the season it is hard to shake the feeling he will be back in the line up, mainly owing to Arteta’s very public backing of him as one of our leaders. Unless Arteta has done a 180 on his thoughts on Xhaka during the int, break, here is hoping.

    For the first time in a while it will be fun to go into my Spurs fan filled work place on Monday and I already know what song I will be whistling as I pass by them!

  41. Kris

    Nice one, Pedro, though I feel WengerEagle’s summation of the game was better. In fact, I agree with everything he said.
    But yeah, new players looked good, and I feel we will rival Spurs this season (may only mean a fight for 6th or 7th, though).
    Would just add that Tierney is so frustrating to me with his crosses to Auba because that’s 95% of the time just a waste of time. I would also disagree about Ode being good, he looked quite ineffective to me, especially if you compare him to ESR, who’s all energy.

  42. Distanced hairline

    This arteta team would be a gold mine in the hands of a top manager, arteta needs a goal machine, he wanted tammy, but if he could get onuachu hed be good. Isak is not our level right now, he wont want to come

  43. WengerEagle

    ESR has to be accommodated into the XI, he is easily our best attacking player of late.

    I would have him, Saka and Pepe behind Auba/Laca and bench Odegaard for the moment. Midfield two behind of Partey and Lokonga.

  44. englandsbest

    I know it was a home game and only Norwich but the manner of Arsenal’s performance was truly impressive. I am going to try to sum it up in one word: PENETRATIION. The team scythed through Norwich from all directions, through the middle, down the sides, zig zags across. Umpteen chances created..

    We all know what was missing: in a word, CONVERSION. We need players who find the net.

    It used to be Auba – but no longer. He scored one, but a half-decent striker would have scored three. In a single word he has lost his DYNAMICISM.

    We have several alternatives – Laca, Martinelli, Falogan – but Laca has run out of steam and neither of the others seem to be natural goal scorers.

    Which leaves Eddie, a player gifted with the ability to score. If he had been playing, he would scored three.

  45. Chris

    Wenger Eagle

    That is the crunch for me also, what do we do with ESR & Odegaard. We looked more dangerous when ESR came on yesterday, and I feel he operates best through the middle. Yet I may be outnumbered here but I felt Odegaard brought other qualities to the game yesterday, his lofted through balls and his vision. At times he looked a second too slow ok the ball however but i think this will sharpen up long term.

    However that is the question, how does ESR and Odegaard fit into the same time without affecting the overall efficiency of our attack? I don’t feel Odegaard is suited to playing out wide and while ESR can, he definitely fits in better in the middle for me. Having both provides good squad depth obviously but it will be interesting to see how Arteta uses them both this season. It did seem last season that ESR was the one to be placed out wide a lot of the time.

  46. Sid

    According to sauces, Viera waved his longstuff at the Spurs player during halftime, the got scared and confused in the second half because of that, Arsenal need someone like that.

  47. Pedro

    Not sure why anyone thinks it’s either or with MO and ESR. Both compliment each other. ESR only benched because he was sick.

  48. Dissenter

    This is going to be unpopular but I think Tierney needs to be dropped as well.
    His output has been consistently average all season. His defending is shoddy and is attacking contribution is utter predictable and almost certainly dross.
    He shouldn’t be guaranteed a starting spot.
    That square jaw-strongman routine is wearing thin on me.

    Maybe Tomiyasu. will bring some balance. Tierney just bombs forward and crosses blindly.

  49. SurferX

    Spot on Pedro. Cracking atmosphere too- and no doubt he & the team has the backing of the fans right now.

    My Two pence: Ramsdale might / might not now be as good as leno, too early to tell, but from a communication and organisation perspective best I’ve seen since Lehmann. White took like a rolls Royce with the ball at his feet- not entirely convinced defensively but the partnership between him and Gabriel could become very good given time. Tomi had an air of Oleg about him- he steamrollered and down the right like a train. Sambi looks really good, but I can’t see him lasting 90 in many- he looks a bit short physically for EPL- a full season on the weights / strength & conditioning he’ll be a fine player.

    Main concern is still the ability to put the ball in the net- we need goals from the 3 behind Auba- if they are a bigger threat Auba will get more as defences won’t just double up on him.

    Either way- it’s definitely heading in the right direction- a real shame we had such a difficult opening 3 fixtures coupled with the covid issues and lateness of the incomings. Still, think we’ll win both of the next two- and can’t wait for the spuds game, it’ll be bouncing.

  50. Dissenter

    The magic is really with ESR
    Ode is indeed overrated, that much is clear. He is eager to press the opposition but won’t run at players because he has no acceleration

  51. Danny

    I’m still trying to work out how the goal wasn’t offside. It’s worrying because if it had been cancelled then a nil nil drew with Norwich is beyond useless.
    Hopefully now we’ve won and we’re off the bottom, psychologically things can only get better but I still want Arteta and of course Edu out of our club.

  52. Pedro

    Surfer bringing out the big gun references with Oleg!

    Same as you, goals is the concern. We need a lot from players that don’t have great track records.

  53. Radio Raheem

    We could play a diamond 442 with Laca and Auba upfront with ESR behind them.

    Midfielder three of Partey, Xhaka/Lokonga and Ode.

    Saka and ESR have been overplayed the last year or two. I don’t think bit was a coincidence ESR had a good impact coming off the bench yesterday.

  54. Radio Raheem

    The goal wasn’t offside because it rebounded off their goalie to Auba who was onside at the time. Initially, Auba was offside but that was considered another phase of play.

    I know it’s the same phase of play for most reasonable people but dem are da rules!

  55. Chris


    I didn’t mean necessarily only playing one of Odegaard or ESR, I feel they both do their best work through the middle. So can we play them both there? A double AMC formation as such probably means leaving out one of Saka or Pepe. We undoubtedly have a lot of options now, its whether they will deliver and how best use them all efficiently

  56. Dissenter

    ‘ I’m still trying to work out how the goal wasn’t offside. It’s worrying because if it had been cancelled then a nil nil drew with Norwich is beyond useless.
    Hopefully now we’ve won and we’re off the bottom, psychologically things can only get better but I still want Arteta and of course Edu out of our club.“

    I’ve looked at it too, many time, I’m now convinced it was offside
    I hope the resident refereeing conspiracy theorists use that freebie goal to challenge their theories.

    I would be peeved if that goal was given against us.

  57. SurferX

    I’m still trying to work out how the goal wasn’t offside.

    Auba only becomes active after the ball cannons off the post then off Pepe as he falls (he was offisde before that, but inactive as he wasnt interfering with play). At that point, he is behind the ball- you cant be offside behind the ball.

  58. Radio Raheem

    The only contact their keeper had was when he pushed the ball to the bar for the initial Pepe shot,,
    Auba was offside …and stayed offside.all through.

    Who did the ball rebound off when a couple of players where on the ground before it fell into Auba’s path? I thought it came off the goalie or one of their players. I might be mistaken.

  59. Radio Raheem

    Danny and Dissenter,

    Just watched the vid again and the second contact by Pepe after it came off the post played Auba onside. It’s like SurferX said above. Auba was behind the ball at the time.

  60. andy1886

    Simple answer, play 433 with Partey as a ‘6’ and Ode and ESR as ‘8’s.

    Pedro, I spent ten minutes or so talking to a group of Norwich fans in the queue for the tube and in their opinion their side didn’t turn up today. Cantwell didn’t start and Gilmour was rested from their best XI.

    Happy with a win, fans certainly support the team in the pitch but opinions on the manager are ‘mixed’ to put it politely.

  61. UTarse

    Let’s see if I can give a balanced view….the positives : we scored a goal, we won the game, we created chances…..the negatives : at best we were disjointed, at worst we were haphazard ,almost scatty in our approach play. We struggled against a very poor team, the worst in the league.

    This isn’t early days anymore, he’s had ample opportunity to in-still his style or system, there isn’t one.


  62. Danny

    At that point, he is behind the ball
    Sorry, I’m just not seeing it, I don’t see Auba “behind” the ball but all’s good!

  63. Danny

    They say all bad decisions balance up over a season, well both Brentford goals were iffy (plus the match shouldn’t have been played at all!), for Man C’s 2nd Chambers got thumped in the face etc etc

  64. SurferX


    Watch the clip you posted @ 2.06 in. As he falls, Pepe’s left foot clips the ball into the path of Auba- it is at that point when he becomes active- he is behind the ball (as well as being behind Pepe & Krul- but thats irrelevant- if you are behind the football you are never offside).

    If Pepe’s foot hadnt clipped the football (ie it had just cannoned off the post and the keeper), then he would of been offside earlier in the move- @2:04 on the video. So Pepe’s touch was key (and very fotunate). But was definitely & clearly onside.

  65. Terraloon

    The goal wasn’t offside because it rebounded off their goalie to Auba who was onside at the time. Initially, Auba was offside but that was considered another phase of play.I know it’s the same phase of play for most reasonable people but dem are da rules!

    If it rebounded of their GK a PEA was offside. Unless the defender intentionally plays the ball the defenders/ goalies input is ignored.
    It can only be called onside if Pepe touched the ball because even though the ball bounced of the post that too

    Personally I have no idea if Pepe or their keeper touched the ball and unless VAR had anything conclusive then in that respect it couldn’t be overturned but I do wonder about the handball in the build up

    A win is a win and three points was welcome but Norwich were truly terrible a d will finish bottom.Much much tougher tests around the corner and one of those will be Burnley for no other reasons they are PL experienced and have big ole beasts playing in advanced positions

  66. Radio Raheem

    They say all bad decisions balance up over a season,

    Sorry mate but this is a fallacy. One so often repeat it has become ‘truth’ but it isn’t.

  67. Nelson

    I have an advice to the coaching staff if they read this blog. We should practice this attack move. Once the ball reaches Odegaard, Auba and Pepe should start cutting in so that Odegaard can send his long passes. Manure did that very well with Pogba and Fernandes. Pogba has his eye already on Fernandes before the ball reaches him. He then one time the ball to where Fernandes is heading. I am sure that Odegaard can do the same thing as Pogba.

  68. SurferX

    If it bounces off the post / bar you can be offside even though the ball is travelling backwards

    No- you can never be offside if you are behind the ball. You are getting confused- the offside is measured when a player becomes active. So;

    A player is in an offside position if:
    – any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and
    – any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent

    So, if you are behind the ball, you are never offside. The point at which they become offside is when they are deemed active- this is where the offside is mesaured at. The two key points;

    A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:
    – interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or
    – gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has:
    – rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent
    – been deliberately saved by any opponent

    So, if it isnt touched by Pepe, he would of been offside when Pepe takes his shot (at that point, Auba was ahead of ball and 2nd last opponent- so even if rebounded of Krul & post- goal would be offside). Instead, Pepe touches it, so he is active at this point instead (and then Auba onside).

  69. Nelson

    From my screen Pepe tried to score both times and the ball bounded off the post. The GK was lying on the floor The bounding ball reached the GK and he kicked the ball while lying on the floor. The ball didn’t bound off the GK. He actually kicked the ball. Pepe never passed the ball. He tried to score.

  70. Pedro

    Andy, we stopped Norwich playing and controlled the game. Norwich were much more of a problem against Leicester who are a better side than us… so I’ll take the win.

    Weird that people want to come here and fight a win.

    So many promising performances. Fans who went all seem to approve of Aaron. You could hear the love for Tomi. Thought Odegaard was great.

    Still can’t put my finger on Pepe, he’s either about to blow or what we’re seeing is what he is.

  71. SurferX


    You are missing it then:

    @2.06 you can clearly see the touch was off Pepe- not the keeper. There is daylight between Pepe’s leg, the ball and everything else.

    Whether or not the keeper touches it is completely irrelevant: the keeper isnt making a pass, he’s making a deliberate save attempt. And the ball is rebounding off the goalpost. Intent is irrelevant here- if Pepe doesnt touch it, offside. He does, onside. Its that simple.

  72. andy1886

    Pedro, nice to see that you’re equally happy to tell Norwich supporters that they’re wrong in their assessment and not just Arsenal fans.

  73. The Bard

    Im pleased we got a win but its a bit premature to be waxing lyrical about where we are going. It was Norwich after all. Im also not sure what your point is about the fans. Yes they were well and truly behind the team but lets see where we are when we throw in one of those error strewn games. The bottom line is where are we setting the bar. According to a report from Ode we want to challenging for the CL in 2 seasons !!! I still dont see anything other than a top 8 side.

  74. China1

    Yesterday the best new boy was absolutely Tomi

    You can’t read that much into one game especially against Norwich. But was he good? Absolutely. He did everything you could’ve hoped for. I had zero criticisms of his game yesterday. More of that would be very welcome.

  75. Positive pete

    As Arseblog has pointed out”if you’re not happy,that’s up to you.But stop trying to tell others how they should feel”.Sums up this blog,perfectly.

  76. TR7

    We played our full strength team yesterday against the worst team in the league and yet the performance was so unconvincing that I am now convinced we would struggle to finish in top 10.

  77. andy1886

    Happy with Ramsdale but will have to reserve judgement until he’s tested fully against better opposition. Tomi looks like a great signing but will have to adapt to playing 90 minutes in the PL. Odegaard was a willing worker and tried a few nice tricks but I still can’t see him contributing a whole lot in terms of goals and assists. White and Gabriel need time to build that partnership because a few decent passes are meaningless otherwise.

  78. Pedro

    Andy, thankfully, we saw what Arsenal fans were all about in the ground yesterday, so we don’t have to pretend people like you have a majority view. As for Norwich fans, please, who cares what they think about getting beaten.

  79. Pedro

    TR7, most shots we’ve ever attempted under Arteta. First time that back 5 has ever played together. Debuts for a keeper everyone said is shite. A right-back that flew in from Japan on Thursday. A totally new central midfield. 81% of the team under 24 years old.

    I know sporting context means nothing to most on here, but ask anyone that works in the game about how all of the above would affect a starting 11 of humans and they’d all tell you it would be very tough.

  80. andy1886

    Pedro, I was one of the fans in the ground as I was against Chelsea and as I will be for all the remaining home games this season. As it happens I support the team 100% when I’m there, I cheer them on, clap them off win lose or draw. And I speak to other fans around me so I have a pretty good idea what they are thinking. It’s perfectly possible to support the team but believe that they would perform far better with a decent manager, that’s hardly a new idea amongst football fans is it?

    Sorry that you’re pissed if people don’t kowtow and blindly follow your narrative. When did Le Grove become the place that you can have an opinion just as long as it aligns with Pedro’s? Probably about the time that many informed and intelligent posters decided to give up commenting I suspect.

  81. TR7

    “I know sporting context means nothing to most on here, but ask anyone that works in the game about how all of the above would affect a starting 11 of humans and they’d all tell you it would be very tough.”

    Oh I understand sporting context. We will talk about context and results again 6 weeks down the line when all the new guys will have well settled in. As for 81 percent of players being under 24, well it was Arteta’s call to get young players in. So if it doesn’t work out in the end the buck will stop at Arteta. I think there are many chinks in our armour which many good teams will exploit.

  82. Pedro

    Andy, totally the opposite. I’m overjoyed that fans with online views like yours don’t spill-over into the ground. You talk to Norwich fans and want to weigh their opinions against the club. So, so dull. And you absolutely know that in an Arsenal bar, that sort of view would be laughed at.

    Your ‘informed and intelligent’ is most fans ‘toxic and really fucking boring.’

  83. Pedro

    TR7, don’t think that was Arteta’s call, whoever called it made a good decision though.

    Arsenal fans underestimating their own players and pumping everyone’s else’s is quite standard. Not a lot of talk about how average Leicester have been this season despite all the praise of their transfer business.

  84. Dissenter

    andy1886’s views look measured and realistic
    Not sure why Pedro is jumping all over him for not being as optimistic as desired.

    This Norwich win is in the same class as us beating Westbrom’s reserve side 6-0.
    How much if this win is transferable to playing good sides?

    Only time will tell.

  85. Pedro

    Diss, Andy’s views are extremist like your own.

    ‘Ben White will get found out against a good team’

    Put that on a chalkboard and let’s revisit.

  86. TR7


    “Not a lot of talk about how average Leicester have been this season despite all the praise of their transfer business.”

    Ok so where do you think will Arsenal and Leicester finish in the table ? I am reasonably certain Leicester will do a lot better than Arsenal.

  87. Globalgunner

    Pedro indulging in the same premature triumphalism that we saw after beating West Brom in the FA cup.

    Yeah we beat Norwich with a thumping 1-0 win. Burnley and Supds will rightly be trembling in their boots.

    F1 what an accident there: That was some crazy shit. I hate the Halo thing but boy was it needed there. Hamilton had some wide ass Pirellis roll right over his helmet

  88. andy1886

    Pedro, you’re getting confused mate. Norwich fans gave me their opinion on their performance, the ‘we didn’t turn up’ is a direct quote. Nothing to do with any thoughts on our performance more a counter to your argument that this was a team that gave Leicester a game of it last time out.

    Pre-game the banter was Norwich singing “you’re going down with the Norwich” which we countered after the goal with a rousing rendition of “we are staying up!”

    As I said I support the team 100%, stay to the end and clap them off. Hardly toxic. But then again I want the best for the team, I’m not fixated on one individual to the detriment of the rest of the club.

  89. Dissenter

    Arteta didn’t have to throw in so many new players at the same time though

    More experienced managers ease players in.
    He made that choice, he threw the dice that way. It paid off yesterday against a crap team.

  90. Pedro

    TR7, you have plenty of confidence in a team that was battered by West Ham, had one more shot on target against City than us, was out xG’d by Norwich, and has one more win on the table this season than Arsenal. We also spanked them when we went there away earlier in the year.

    Fancy our chances.

  91. Dissenter

    The problem with Leno is is lack of enthusiasm. It’s like he’s working his way though a move that he regrets.
    His body language suggest that he doesn’t want to be at Arsenal, which calls into question why we didn’t shift him out instead if Emi.

    When he was fouled at Brentford for their second goal, he didn’t even embellish the contact and didn’t put the referee/VAR under pressure to reverse the call. I suspect that had he made a scene, they would have had to review that video and change the call.

  92. Dennis+the+Menace

    Pedro. Do you think we should switch to a back three for Burnley to help White deal with high balls and physicality, drop him and use Holding or stay with White and Gabriel in a back two?

  93. Dissenter

    We beat a team.that’s 100% certain to go down.
    Apply some perspective to the victory, exactly what you’re asking from others.

    Ramsdale want troubled much yesterday, and did okay within that context. He does need to be careful with all that dribble he was doing. The likes of Salah will Nick that ball off him and score.

  94. salparadisenyc

    Nice post Pedro,

    Don’t agree with it all but it is Le Grove after all,.

    Arteta’s biggest decisions will take place from the attacking mid into the final third. Our lack of clinical finishing is such an achilles. Pepe had moments but he’s not going to be reliable enough for our needs, we need Sterling output. Auba yet to show any sign of regaining form, Laca will score 10-15 then it gets very difficult to see where other output comes from barring Saka. I’d like to see more of Martinelli as season progresses as his form hopefully rises.

    Sounds cliche and I hate reading but this rings true at moment, in terms of identity not sure where Arteta’s headed. For me this side should play front footed attacking ball. Something we seem very reticent to do, less hand break in the immortal words of big Weng. Feel like i’m in minority here but that means accommodating both ESR and Ø whom many on here don’t rate. Which I’m hoping is born from overall Arteta frustration more than anything else, we don’t need another Ozil scenario. Those two are big keys to season in my eyes. The first hurdle has been jumped but Arteta is far from being on secure footing at moment.

    Big call on Ramsdale over Leno full credit there, have to think he’s our number one looking forward.

    Gotta feel for Norwich who’ve faced Liverpool, City, Leicester and Arsenal thus far.

  95. Pedro

    Dennis, I think Ben White played all the games for Leeds in the Championship and was promoted, and he played most of the games with Brighton last year. Think he should start. We need to start our best centre backs… no more Holding.


  96. TR7


    Come on !! Leicester has a well functioning team which contested for top 4 two seasons in a row and added to their squad again in the summer. Arsenal finished 8th two seasons in a row and look woeful again. You can’t be knee jerk to such an extent that you write off a team based on a couple of poor results and then prop up another based on just one decent result. Arsenal have problems in creating chances, we look woefully out of ideas. It is plain and clear to see. We are porous at the back too.

  97. Pedro

    Diss, they aren’t 100% going down. You just can’t see past their fixture list which has been brutal so far. Plenty of time for them to catch up/

  98. Pedro

    TR7, a well functioning team that finished 5 points ahead of Arsenal in our worst season ever.

    Rose-tinted for others.

    They’ve been shite this season, we easily beat them post-Xmas (they beat us in November with one touch in our box I think), and are 3 points ahead of us.

    Think you are overestimating how good they are.

  99. Dennis+the+Menace

    If we play White, I would go for a back three given what happened at Brentford. Just to counter Burnley’s tactics and help White out both mentally and physically as he adapts to a new team. Probably would play Holding and Gabriel with him. But, if not Holding, then Tomiyasu or Tierney instead. But I’d prefer to see Tierney and Tomiyasu out wide rather than stuck in central defence.