by .

I spent last week back in England after two years out of the game due to the pandemic. Honestly, it was so good to be back. I knew it had been too long because I was oddly enamoured with people’s accents. I loved the little things, like not being able to get a haircut until after 3pm on a Saturday, or being strong-armed into destruction drinking by nearly everyone. I honestly can’t wait to be back at Christmas and take a few games in. I miss London man, I’m in pieces at my desk this morning stroking a box of PG Tips whispering ‘alright you facking melt’ quietly to myself.

The other nice thing about the trip? I am something of a good luck charm for Arteta’s career. He won his first game with my presence and he just pulled himself partially out of a hole this weekend.

I went back over his interviews. I don’t know what the ground zero situation looked like over the past two weeks, but it felt to me like some people at the club sat down with him and had a proper conversation. I might just be projecting what I’d liked to have happened.

Notable things:

Vibes: His demeanour was very different before the game. He’s back to selling a future we can buy into. There was no moping or feeling sorry for himself. There were no excuses, no disgruntlement at what had gone on, just a laser focus on clearly communicating with the fans what the plan is moving forward.

Content: I think his content has improved over the past couple of weeks. The main message I was getting from his pressers is that he’s happy with the talent, but more than that, he’s happy with the new characteristics of his squad. I’ve found that interesting. When he spoke of his new players, he spoke of their personality traits. Tomi was ‘all smiles with a desire to play’, Sambi Lokonga ‘was desperate to play despite a knock’, and Aaron Ramsdale ‘is a great energy, something different.’ 

Happy family: I think Arteta also went to great lengths to thank the wider staff for getting him through it. Moving up to manager can cloud your ego, we’ve all been there, you make director and you think you’re a GOD of the internet at first. Arteta is not a god, so throwing his weight around in August in press conferences like peak-Jose wouldn’t have gone down well. It read to me like maybe he’d been force-fed a bit of humble pie because he was very keen to stress that everyone had mucked in.

Have you ever seen those memes on the internet where there’s a bear hugging a dog with a caption like “This bear loves the dog” then an animal expert writes underneath “this is a dog tied to a bowl, the bear is about it eat him.” That could be me with these hack observations. They might not be true, but whatever went on, one thing is for sure: the players didn’t down tools on him. Sure, it wasn’t an A+ performance for the ages, but you could see the specifics of what we were trying to do. I thought we were very aggressive for most of the game, our players pressed far harder than they usually do, and our overall play was far more unpredictable. Ben White creates chances, has great passing, and uses his runs to create overloads. Sambi Lokonga, quite simply, is not Dani Ceballos. Tomiyasu gives us height defending longballs, he gives us an option outwide, and he can actually right back. Ramsdale can pass so playing out the back looks good. It didn’t work as a piece of art, but at the very least, you could see the component parts and how they’ll make us better.

Some of the criticism after the game did make for painful reading. People position themselves as elite analysts of the futbol but fail to understand that we’re putting humans out on the pitch. You put a bunch of people together in a new office and it takes a while to get going, it’s the same with footballers. Arteta gifted 4 players home debuts, only one of our back 5 remained the same from the previous two games, we started a brand new keeper, we ran a midfield pairing that had never played together, and we did that all in the first game after the international break.

I know we’re all dying for a blowout here, but once again, we have to accept that it’s going to take a bit of time to start firing on all cylinders.

The good news? 

  1. We don’t have European football so the players can spend more time on the training ground
  2. We have specificity in the important positions, so if we can keep players fit, we’ll have a system that works
  3. We’ve played the two best teams in the country right now

I suspect the club will have a lot of attention on Spurs, who have been shite this season, because that’s an Arteta Cup Final. It’ll be very interesting to see what he does against Wimbledon this week in the league cup. For me, it’s not a rest day, it’s a ‘let’s work each other out’ game. It’s a practice game with a trophy attached to it. Certain players shouldn’t be risked, like Saka, Auba and ESR, but I’d really like to see a strong team out there so we can get some minutes in the legs.

This idea does run into challenges though. We have all these fantastic kids looking for minutes. Folarin Balogun scored for the U23s at the weekend. We’re all watching the Patino hype videos. These players need experience as well. There’s a balance… but the most important thing at the moment is the development of the first team and for the players to get to full match fitness.

I’m weirdly looking forward to the away day at Burnley. It’ll be a roughhouse game and I want to see how this new defence stands up to a thug 90 minutes. I think we have more than enough to dispatch them and I really hope they can be the team we find our edge against.

Right, that’s me done for the day, see you in the comments… and please watch the videos below.



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Graham62


    Stop being so pompous. You’re an Arsenal fan who sees things differently from someone like myself.

    Arsenal FC play in one of the best stadiums in the world, have a fantastic infrastructure but are one of the worst run clubs in world football. If you don’t see that, then I’m afraid you’re in denial. You know, I know, we all know where we once were and where we have fallen.

    I don’t need you, or anyone else for that matter, to convince me otherwise.

  2. Bob N16

    Recycled – I don’t see myself as a customer, I’m a supporter. As a 7 year old I went to Highbury for the first time 1972- I didn’t really give a monkey’s about the manager, it’s always been about the team. Of course I understand the importance of a good manager, GG and AW were contrastingly excellent. But once the whistle blows and the game starts, it’s always been about the team. I’m old enough to know that stamping my feet because I am frustrated about the owner’s decision making is pointless. I’d love to own Arsenal but sadly I don’t.I went to the Kroenke out demo with my mates but that’s about it.

    Have you done anything to initiate change?

    Arteta may well be gone in the next few weeks/months and I’ll be excited by the next appointment – hopeful that this will signal an upturn. If he stays for longer, great because it’ll mean the results and performances have improved significantly and the new players and partnerships will be gelling.

    Nelson, Arteta does seem to communicate well but it’s obviously how well he gets his ideas across to the players and whether those ideas are any good.

  3. Kroenkephobe

    What with all the perfidy on here, I’m unavoidably finding myself getting bogged down in detective work in spite of myself. More Dixon of Dock Green than Philip Marlow.

    Can I therefore politely ask you a frank question which I sincerely hope doesn’t offend. Are you a real poster or are you like negative Nigel, Nigel Tufnell and positive Pete, ie alter egos of Pedro which deploys to try and add balance in numbers when it gets too antiartetary on here. I hope you don’t mind – I’m just trying to build up in my mind’s eye who’s real and who isn’t.

  4. RecycledOldSock

    I’m not disputing Liverpool will finish higher than big spending Chelsea.
    What is irrefutable is Chelsea would not be challenging and winning titles without spending big in the transfer market.

  5. Bob N16

    Graham62, you call me pompous, ok!

    Where did I say that Arsenal is being well run? It’s been ridiculous; management in and out, poor appointments, appalling transfer negotiations, poor loan arrangements. I do think these latest incomings look promising but White and Ramsdale seem a little pricey.

    I’m not sure what you’re ‘arguing’ exactly?

  6. Kroenkephobe

    It’s quaint that you consider yourself (only) a fan but you give the club a proportion of your income in return for something. That makes you a customer and allows you rights to accept what’s being provided or to complain about it.

    On the other hand, if you were a bloke in your local park who turned out with your dog every Sunday to watch a pub team to which you’d taken a shine, you could reasonably call yourself a fan only.

    I remember you saying a few weeks ago how you were a stickler for precise, management accountancy type English. You are a customer of AFC, albeit one who seems to be in denial about it. You can rest assured that Vinai and his shyster colleagues are more interested in your custom than your random.

  7. Majesticgooner

    Saw the feynoord coach say yesterday that reiss nelson broke down because he found the training at feynoord more intense than at arsenal, begs the question what and how exactly are these players coached , trained and conditioned, let’s be honest the Dutch league is not as physical as the premiership , yet it appears they have a more rigorous training regime.
    Another thing is why are we so bad at corners and free kicks? Players come from other clubs being good at them yet one season on at arsenal it’s coached out of them, don’t they realise little margins are of great importance at the top end? We never look a threat from set pieces. What are all these coaches and specialist coaches there for? Doesn’t look like it’s paying off.

  8. raptora

    Graham: “Arsenal FC play in one of the best stadiums in the world, have a fantastic infrastructure but are one of the worst run clubs in world football. If you don’t see that, then I’m afraid you’re in denial. You know, I know, we all know where we once were and where we have fallen.”

    Couldn’t have said it better.

    Thing is that there is no proper explanation to why we have fallen behind the likes of Spuds, Leicester and recently behind Wolves and West Ham. We shouldn’t even be behind Liverpool who we’ve outspent.

    We should be finishing between 4th and 5th each season. Because money talks. If we are the 4th or 5th richest club in England, and our NET spent is 4th, but we finish 8th, it’s because someone/many people along the line are underperforming.

    I was unhappy with the Wenger because I knew we had what it takes to go all the way if we only made a couple of deals at the right time. Wenger had the ability to outperform our money limitations.

    I am unhappy now, landing 8ths while spending a huge amount of dough with an uncompetent manager and people around him.

    Then we have Pedro who was unhappy with Wenger because he wanted to fight for titles to now support Arteta’s 8th place finishes instead of calling for his head like he did with Emery.

    I want Arsenal to appoint the right manager who will bring the glory back. Like Klopp did in Liverpool. I shoulnd’t be sorry for not having the patience to persist with a manager who has lost K/O games to Olympiacos and Villarreal and has finished behind the likes of West Ham and Wolverhampton. In fact, he hasn’t shown much football relatated qualities other than bullshitting the blind fans in his interviews.

  9. Bob N16

    Kroenke – ‘quaint’ – if you say so. Strictly speaking I’m a customer but I don’t see myself as one. The money I spend on my ST is almost incidental – I can fortunately afford it, so the money I pay doesn’t feel like a normal transaction.

    Recycled – I never said I was happy with the status quo, I would prefer a ‘better’, more engaged owner and a more competent manager. Feels like a cop out to expect other people to act when you’re unwilling to do anything.

  10. Emiratesstroller


    Elneny’s current contract ends next summer. I doubt that it will be renewed and there is some evidence before his current injury that Arsenal would have allowed him to move to Turkey.

    Xhaka’s contract was renewed, but my sixth sense is that Arsenal might still offload him at
    the end of this season if the right offer is made or we find an adequate replacement.

    There are currently about 15 players on our books either in current registered squad or out on
    loan who I think that the club might consider offloading either in January or June next year
    and would not make any significant impact on our squad. These are:

    Mavropanos and Guendouzi are on loan with “obligation” to buy. Some others will leave by
    end of contract next June eg Kolasinac,Elneny, Lacazette and Nketiah.

    So I think that the bulk of clear out will be completed by next summer irrespective of whether Arteta and Edu are still at club.

  11. Kroenkephobe

    The money I spend on my ST is almost incidental.

    I’m gushingly pleased for you. All those years at Arthur Andersen and Peat Marwick weren’t wasted then. I too had an ST in the NorthBank then the Clock End for a decade back in the days when I lived in N5 and we were playing in a more pleasant stadium. Unlike you, I thought it gave me greater stake in the club (from a drop in the ocean to a spit) and it made me even more engaged but also ready to criticise if the club strayed. Horses for courses eh?

  12. Emiratesstroller

    Recycled Sock

    Why do you find it necessary to attack Bob N16 just because he is a season ticket holder and a lifelong supporter of club?

    You are beginning to sound like MARBLE with your constant “protest” ideas. Do you seriously think that it makes a jots difference to the Kroenke family whether there is a protest?

    I suggest that you contact Jeremy Corbyn who claims to be an Arsenal Supporter. He is very
    good at protesting.

  13. Mr Serge

    RecycledOldSockSeptember 14, 2021 16:48:57
    Bob N16I’ve called for the manager’s head, what have you done besides cheering on the worst manager in Arsenal’s history.

    not one boo rang from the emirates on saturday if you want to protest why dont you come and do so yourself you can actually get a ticket these days and if you can’t i will gladly get you one to see how you get on.

  14. Bob N16

    Recycled- you’ve called for the manager’s head- what, on here? Or did you put out a contract?

    Kroenke – not sure what I’ve done to offend you as your posts are dripping sarcasm. I’m not a big earner but my ST money is sacrosant and I’m lucky that I can afford it. Don’t think it makes me more entitled as a supporter though just because I get to go to home games.

  15. Mr Serge

    don’t get me wrong i don’t like Arteta either but the team has to be suppored especially if we win, now if we lost to Norwhich on saturday that would have been a diffeent story, the fans let arteta know in the first ten mins what they thought about him with our Vieira song being sang so loud through the entire stadium

  16. MidwestGun

    Thing is that there is no proper explanation to why we have fallen behind the likes of, etc.

    Can’t agree with that Raptora.. I think it is very clear why we have fallen.
    We cluster-fucked the transition from Wenger to a new regime. Picked the wrong managers and Ceo’s/ DOF. Gazidas/ Raul/ Vinai/Edu. ​Emery and now Arteta. That is clearly on the Kroenke’s… when Josh sacked Wenger.. he trusted Gazidas to have a plan… He promptly left. We dithered on getting a DOF and let a bunch of suits run rampant. And now we are throwing money at the problem with a rookie manager who has changed tact about 12 times.

  17. AFC Forever

    Bob N16

    “Arteta may well be gone in the next few weeks/months and I’ll be excited by the next appointment – hopeful that this will signal an upturn. If he stays for longer, great because it’ll mean the results and performances have improved significantly and the new players and partnerships will be gelling”.


    Couldn’t give a flying fk who the manager is except Mourinho!!. I’ve said it from day one, this was a massive rebuild job and whoever undertook it was going to have a challenge on their hands. It wasn’t like taking on the Chelsea job with the players they have, major culling & recruitment job.

  18. Tom

    ”””’How’s Sean dyche doing?””””Doing his job, like he been for the past 7 years.
    Keeping little Burnley in the prem every season with no money.I expect him to do it this season too.


    The lack of self awareness from some on here is staggering.
    Burnley have constantly been one of three least expensive squads in the PL ( this year only second to Watford) under Dyche so keeping them in the league every year is a success.

    I would argue Dyche as about as progressive these days as any PL manager and his pressing schemes are actually better than Arteta’s.
    Burnley will press the shit out of us on Saturday and flood the area with attackers in bigger numbers than I’ve seen from Arteta’s Arsenal.

    Arsenal squad is the league’s sixth most valuable ( equal to Leicester) while Burnley’s is the second least, but I’d bet a large sum Dyche outperforms Arteta in the standings vis a vis his spending and clubs talent.

  19. MidwestGun

    Haha .. Yes..I will have to dig into my bottom drawer… I think I have a few old concert T’s in there. Actually being serious for a moment.. Based on Tony’s exploits there is a better then good chance we were at some of the same concerts and therefore in the same room at some point in the past.

  20. Kroenkephobe

    Kroenke – ‘quaint’ – if you say so.

    Drip, drip, drip.

    I like reading your stuff Bob but you do tend to clutch at your pearls sometimes. You always make a rational case for your position which I’d summarise as being closest to the middle of the road and you stick by your gun(ner)s. You either have a higher tolerance of failure or you’re hoping against hope that Wing Commander Tets will extricate himself from the tailspin he’s manoeuvred us into. I hear your point that his tenure is nearing its end but I’d be interestedto know how vocal you were about Wenger and Emery in their own final throes.

    I thought you’d have enjoyed my reference to those two behemoths of management accountancy.

  21. Tom

    “””””stop telling other folk on here how to act and behave.It’s rather tedious.””””””

    No, we need these paragons of virtue to keep us heathens on our toes.
    I’m so glad the “extremists” like Andy 1886 — the Taliban of Arsenal fandom — make only a rare appearance these days.

  22. Pierre

    “I would argue Dyche as about as progressive these days as any PL manager and his pressing schemes are actually better than Arteta’s.
    Burnley will press the shit out of us on Saturday and flood the area with attackers in bigger numbers than I’ve seen from Arteta’s Arsenal.”

    There is a misconception amongst the ignorant media and some Arsenal fans that Arsenal have struggled against Dyche’s Burnley….we haven’t.

    Since Dyche arrived at Burnley, he has managed to aquire .38 points per game , meaning Arsenal acquired 2.62 points per game , and that is including our home defeat to them last season.
    Only Man city better our record against them.

    So when one hears the usual rhetoric like “Burnley will press the shit out of us on Saturday and flood the area with attackers “, I take it with a pinch of salt , as the reality is that we invariably beat Sean Dyche’s Burnley and I wouldn’t expect anything different at the weekend.

  23. Tom

    Pedro, certain amount of decorum and respect towards yourself is required from anyone visiting your blog , and I hope I’ve never crossed the line, but you should probably not talk about shame.

  24. Mr Serge

    Tom gaslighting ? lol seriously i would not want Dyche anywhere near my club he does not even like foreign players how is he going to cope with a cosmopolitan team in the most cosmopolitan city in europe? he won’t thats a fact bollocks to dyche

  25. Tom

    Pierre, you mean a squad worth $600m will most likely beat one worth $180m?
    Well that’s some amazing insights there.

    Next you’ll be telling me Arsenal won’t be favorites playing City I suppose.

  26. Mr Serge

    MidwestGunSeptember 14, 2021 17:40:03
    Oh come on Pierre.. Let every voice be heard. I still think you missed your calling as a sport’s agent.

    too much time would be wasted with Ozil any other clients would not get a look in

  27. Tom

    Serge, who wants Dyche at Arsenal ?
    Saying he gets more out of this squad then Arteta from his isn’t lobbying for bringing Dyche in.

  28. Luteo Guenreira

    Pedro is like a pushy boyfriend that tries to convince you that you love anal and how great it is. Even after two years of pain and fissures, he tries to convince you you’ll like it eventually with enough lube and horsepower. Maybe anal just isn’t for some girls though? No means no more than ever these days.

    (Arteta is anal in this analogy, for those that didn’t pick up on it.)

  29. Dissenter

    Is Arteta-ball that much better that Dyche-ball?
    At least get a better manager in place before you start throwing stones around the glasshouse

    Sena Dyche is getting the most of the meagre resources that he has.
    Can you say the same of Arteta?

  30. Mr Serge

    Tom, i get that and yes he does get more out of his team, Once Arteta goes and that will be sooner rather than later we need a top level manager to sort thi team out and get them playing

  31. Valentin


    That was the same misconception that Arsenal struggled against Sam Allardyce’s team. That was never the case, but that the narrative that plays well in the media.

    But the truth is that under Arteta we did struggle against Sean Dyche’s team. I think that last season was his first win over Arsenal. So while the idea that we always won in the end was true under Wenger (I used to love those goal scored in the last 5 minutes after they’ve spend the entire game time wasting and kicking the shit out of our players), it isn’t true anymore.

    Benitez’s Everton initially struggled against them before he changed system and instructed his team to play faster, direct physical football.

    So unless we overwhelm them by the speed of our passing, they will bombard our penalty box and make the game a physical aerial battle that we are at risk of losing.

  32. AFC Forever


    “Whose pulling the Tony intervention?”

    Ha, ha. Guys clearly a sausage short of a hotdog. Need someone brave to intervene with him if the racial abuse he levelled at ES is anything to go by.

  33. CG


    “””””the reality is that we invariably beat Sean Dyche’s Burnley and I wouldn’t expect anything different at the weekend.””””

    Arsenal , indeed normally beat Burnley.
    EXCEPT when Arteta is in charge.

    Dyche/Arteta met 3 times

    Dyche 1 0.

    Give Dyche £200 million, he will have Burnley back in Europe AGAIN!

    Best manager around on a shoestring budget.

  34. Pierre

    The shame is that players like Martinelli, Willock and Eddie appear to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I would suggest that under any other recent Arsenal manager other than Arteta , those 3 would have been given a chance to prove themselves considering the lack of goals and creativity in the side over the past 12 months without them in the side.

    The players that have failed to deliver during that period (xhaka, Aubamayang, Lacazette and Pepe) still have the trust of Arteta.

  35. Dissenter

    Anyone read the Ivan Toney comments about Arsenal, or rather Arteta’s Arsenal?
    “‘Arsenal fans are going to batter me for this, but you see Arsenal at the moment and they’re not the best,’ Toney told Baller Talk.

    ‘There was a difference (between the Championship and the Premier League), don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t crazy like: if you make a mistake, it’s going to end up in the back of the goal.

    ‘I didn’t really see that. They were good at keeping the ball, but it didn’t really affect us.

    ‘They weren’t as crazy as I thought (they would be). I don’t know if it was (whether) they weren’t so good or we were just excited as it was our first game and it was Arsenal and Premier League (and) all these things coming into the picture.

    I just didn’t see them how they used to be. You used to look at Arsenal and think (they were) crazy and they were going to win this game, win this game.

    ‘These days, I don’t see them winning nothing any time soon.’

  36. AFC Forever

    My god some of you really have lost the plot. Sean Dyche?

    I know you’re all blinded by hate and that makes you talk a lot of bollocks most of the time but please. There is no way the stadium would put up with Pulis Mk2 and thug ball. He wouldn’t last five minutes. That type of shit football works up North because these are really Rugby Towns (Look it up if you are American it’s a game not too dissimilar to NFL but without the motorbike crash helmets, Dallas Style shoulder padding and special needs, I mean teams) and tends to be more aggressive and agricultural. I can see you all cheering Burnley on, be honest about it, as they hoof the ball upfield and throw their elbows.

    You lot have no shame.

  37. Bob N16

    Kroenke – I like the clutching at pearls line unless pearls are a euphemism for a part of the anatomy that should remain private! Aren’t all supporters guilty of ‘clutching’ at some time or other? I don’t think I have a high tolerance of failure, I just except anything I say or do will have minimal impact on the owner’s decision making. As I mentioned earlier, I went to the Kroenke Out demo- not sure how many other Grovers did. I would argue that people who get overly worked up about wanting an Arsenal manager out are wasting their emotional energy and areproverbially bashing their heads on a brick wall but each to their own.

    I hope Arteta turns a corner but I don’t particularly expect it to happen.

    I’ve never chanted to get rid of a manager- never felt the desire. I only chant to support the team (or slag off other clubs) and I make no apology for that. I’m not making any sort of judgement to those who did/do; that’s just my sensibilities and I don’t think that anybody has the right to dictate to me to do anything else, particularly if their contribution is limited to posting on Legrove as significant and important as that obviously is!!

  38. Ishola70

    AFC Forever

    You would love to play nice soft Norwich every week wouldn’t you and you have today made great significance in that narrow 1-0 win over them.

    The EPL is what it is and has different styles of team play from certain clubs. If you are a good side you overcome and adapt to the different styles you come against. That’s what makes the EPL interesting these contrasting styles.

    Your rant about Burnley there came straight from the Arsene Wenger hymn book.

  39. AFC Forever


    “Tom, pumping Sean Dyche over Arsenal today? You really do have no shame”

    Dyche is probably not the only bum (American term) Tom pumps. Perhaps he could hook up with Luteo and see how it goes?

  40. Bob N16

    Thanks Sal, the tip comment made me laugh.

    Sean Dyche is a complete red herring- there is no way he would even get on the short list and anyone arguing otherwise is loony tunes.

  41. Pedro

    AFC, there’s a great story about how Dyche bullied Patrick Bamford because he thought he was from a posh family. Wouldn’t get near any big side.

  42. Elmo

    As CG points out, under Arteta we’ve played Burnley thrice, and not won yet.

    Feb 2020 0-0
    Dec 2020 0-1
    Mar 2021 1-1

    A win this weekend is the minimum expectation to give any impression of ‘improvement’, and even better to score 2+ goals.

  43. Tom

    AFC getting all cocky, so sweet of him.
    Get your shots in now buddy , by all means, before you make your usual disappearing act after another Arsenal loss.
    And while you’re away next time try reading comprehension exercises.

  44. AFC Forever


    Yes imagine a manager telling a player he’s not playing him because he’s “Born with a silver spoon in his mouth”? Nothing about not working hard enough off the ball, instead it’s jealousy. No chance he would get a big job, he’s got too many chips on his shoulders and it’s easy to play the way Burnley do, it’s pretty basic stuff.

  45. Dissenter

    You weren’t “forever” around here, when we had zero points on the table, with zero goals scored and -9GD

    Now you’re back to doing the bantz thing again.

  46. AFC Forever


    “You would love to play nice soft Norwich every week wouldn’t you”

    I’m not convinced the Premier League would allow that. It would be a bit harsh on whoever has to play Man City every week.