100TH GAME UNDER ARTETA, WAS IT WORTH IT?

by .

Listen, I simply won’t tolerate it on this website. I will not have you laughing at Aston Villa. They are trying to be elite, people. It’s not funny that the team that went to great lengths to extract Emile from us this summer has now lost 5 games on the bounce in the League. I don’t think it’s amusing to point out that the last time they tasted victory was September 18th. Don’t even dare try to trigger me by saying ‘only two teams have conceded more than Villa this season’ (20) because I like Emi Martinez and he’s dealing with separation issues. None of this is funny and I truly hope their ‘elite’ summer signings some of our fans were pointing at come good… especially those that said they’d prefer Danny Ings to Alex Lacazette.

Now we’ve set the ground rules, can talk about what needs to happen tomorrow? Yes we can.

We need a win.

The club has done a lot of very good work in Phase 3. My target was 10 from 12. If we do the business against Watford, we could be on for that exact number. I suspect that a win will put us firmly in the top 4 mixer. West Ham has been one of the standout sides in the Premier League this calendar year, but I think it’ll be very, very tough for them to take 3 points off Liverpool. United were bounced 2-0 by City (lolololol). That’s as far as it goes for top 4 competition right now.

Win the game should be top 4 proper. No post-Christmas tables for us. That is GOOD news. Not that I want to hang on that post-Christmas table, but are we about ready to admit that the form was more predictive than many gave credit for? 5 months of continuous form was always a good sample, amazing that it was a debate. But, we were in a world where people were getting upset by the use of the word project, so there we are.

The Watford game is very winnable, but the focus simply has to be there. We don’t want the players reading too much of their good press and Arteta needs to make sure they know that you have to show up, even in the games that aren’t sexy. You make top 4 by racking up points in the winnable games. This is the sort of game that should start to form bread and butter, but I’m not sure we’re there yet.

The team has had the luxury of a week off again. There will be a full squad to pick from. I’m not sure there’s much reason to change what is working. There is always the challenge of finding balance. A squad is a living being. If you only water part of it, the neglected areas can wither and die. That’s why there might be some rotation at some point. Martin Odegaard might get some minutes and we could see some changes elsewhere.

Or maybe we’re in ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ territory. I don’t know, I’m not the coach, leave me alone.

Arsenal are making a big deal of Arteta’s first 100 games on the .com. It’s been a literal rollercoaster. But finally, it looks like we’re getting some traction as we head back up the table.

Has it been a success so far?

Depends how you want to frame it. On a football level, it hasn’t been… yet. But I think the Arsenal project so far has been bigger than results, it’s involved more people than just the coach, and it’s been harder work than anyone suspected it would be.

We’ve shipped out a lot of bad eggs, about 21 I think.

We’ve weathered the most consequential mitigating circumstance in sporting history.

We’ve brought in a whole batch of new players that are young, vibrant, and full of character

We continue to give chances to an exciting group of Hale-Enders.

We sacked our Football Director.

We pivoted hard on a new, more modern strategy

The culture at the club has taken a huge reboot.

Arteta is talking about ‘unity’ as the identity he has at Arsenal. I’m not quite sure that’s an identity, but it’s certainly the output of a lot of change, and we can see it on the pitch. We can even see it by the deals that are getting signed by players. Last season was about the young players pulling us to higher levels, this season, it’s about everyone doing that. So you have to salute the work and hope it lasts. Whatever happens with Arteta, you can’t deny that he’ll leave the club in a better state than he found it. Could you say the same of Jose Mourinho who joined Spurs at the same time? How about Carlo Ancellotti? How about Ole G at United?

Arsenal took the hard option when they went with Arteta, but the upsides still feel more tantalizing than if we’d moved on Rafa Benitez. We took the hard option on transfers this summer, fans went nuts about the deals, but it’s hard to deny the direction was wrong. We’re still on a long-term path and that will come with some pain, but this sustainable approach, when it finally delivers, will have us competing at the very highest levels for the very biggest trophies.

It’s exciting. There are no victory laps, but if you have a good plan, good ideas, a good culture, and everyone is united around the singular mission… you have a chance of doing great things.

So let’s see where the 100th game goes.

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814 Responses to “100TH GAME UNDER ARTETA, WAS IT WORTH IT?”

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  1. Northbanker

    Habesha – i agree. I can’t see us buying another CM any time soon. With Partey, AMN, Lokonga and (sigh) Xhaka on the books,, with Ode also playing deeper as an 8 (but probably not his best position) and with Azeez, Patino and maybe even Hutchinson emerging, it would have to be a very opportunistic signing of an outstanding prospect to alter this.

    Our transfer priority has to be at CF – Auba seems to be gone mentally, Laca and Eddie )maybe) are physically going, and with Martinelli and Balogun not ready, we have to make a key signing ideally in January.

  2. TR7

    Habesha

    Not surprised by AMN’s good performance. Has always said he is quite underrated as a player. He has decent pace and power, can be enterprising with his passing at times and covers a lot of ground with ease. Yes he has errors in him but if he is played regularly he can be very consistent.

  3. Northbanker

    TYG- he’s a beast in the air but I’d like to see someone with more skill at ground level too. Other than our opening game, Ihaven’t however seen enough of him to make a good judgement. Reports on Vlahovic suggest he has the ball shielding skills and physicality of Laca and the eye for goal that Auba once had. At 6′ 3″ he seems perfect. so I hope it can happen. But I’ll trust the process!

  4. englandsbest

    What did the weekend games reveal? There are no easy pushovers in the PL. The TV money has enabled the so-called lowly sides to bring in top class players. So this ‘It’s only Watford’ stuff is nonsense. They were hard to beat today.

    The PL is the toughest football competition in the world, tougher by far than the European Cup – you still find a few ‘pushovers’ there. Which is why the whole world watches the PL. Which is why top managers need to prove themselves here.

    Down the road we have Wesr Ham United, a bit of a larf not long ago. Today they overcame Liverpool, head them in PL table. Chelsea could only manage a draw against a so-called pushover, and Man U were whacked at home.

    So let’s give credit to our team of youngsters. They didn’t give in to bullying. It was a good win.

  5. Northbanker

    What I find really heartening is that we are starting to get nearer to the point where fine tuning is required rather than needing to fill a mass of positions. Last season we were listing so many problem positions and the club filled nearly all of them with high quality young players.

    So incredibly we are now looking at future TWs where hopefully the club can put all of its energy into filling one or two key positions which allows for much greater focus. Perhaps the odd super kid can be thrown in too.

  6. Thank you and goodnight

    Yeah I was hoping he’d burst out of the blocks in the premier league. Still like the player and young enough at 25 I think? But anyone has to be better than aubu. I think we’ve seen best of aubu and he’s now not good enough to lead the line. Clubs going forward but his performances are in the past

  7. James wood.

    For all the time Laca and Auba have
    spent playing together their understanding
    of playing together has hit an all time low.
    We are at the moment looking like we could be
    looking at an all time low scoring season.
    We are just grabbing scraps .
    There is no one putting his foot on the ball and actually
    Controlling the game that’s why Xhaka will come
    straight back in.
    We are a side that is now more than willing to battle
    but lacks quality in several positions.
    Moving forward yes .

  8. Bertie Mee

    Hard to imagine anyone making a. bigger hash Han Auba today . With any halitosis in his ball control he takes the first chance which fell to Saka. . His penalty was dire. . It hit Foster who would have struggled to avoid it and his.lack of thinking cost Odegaard a goal .
    He worked very hard but as several, posters have said we need a younger, dynamic striker .We would have won 4-0 minimum today if he’d done his stuff ..

  9. Bertie Mee

    Cracker of a first line sorry !
    I meant with any quality – nothing to do with halitosis .
    What’s happened to all the posters who said we’d bought crap and needed Buendia and Ings?

  10. LoveSausage

    Northbanker, TYAG,

    I’m just looking at the character and leadership qualities of the player. Take our last two captains for example.

    Xhaka – dumb brute. The equivalent of a parent who uses the “do as I say, not as I do” approach with their children.

    Auba – stupid grin on his face after he prevented Ode’s shot from going in an killing the game. Enough said.

    Rambo and Tierney both have big characters and set a good example. White has been looking like a real player lately but character-wise still comes across a bit meek. Would be more clear if he didn’t have Gabriel (aka Godzilla) next to him.

  11. TheLegendaryDB10

    TYAG

    From what I have seen now, Ramsdale. He definitively has more character.

    But we really need someone else in the middle of the park so that he can speak to and encourage everyone when the going gets tough.

    PV4 and Tony were the best at doing that

  12. Ray+in+LA

    Re: Gabi is a beast…even though he does have the odd fuck up in his locker

    everyone has a the odd fuck up in his locker

    Saka [who I love as a player] gave the ball away a couple of times today in ways that would have the mob baying at Xhaka

    Smith Rowe was anonymous in the first half

    it’s the net package that a player brings and BS & ESR have so many more berries than thorns 🙂

  13. Pierre

    Northbanker
    “Rich – a team with av age of 23 is only gong to get better; a team of av age 29 /30 is only going to get worse.”

    Exactly

  14. LoveSausage

    Tierney also gets extra points for the fact that he’ll play in short sleeves in literally any weather.

    Benny Blanco gets minus points for looking like a Love Island contestant.

  15. TheLegendaryDB10

    TYAG
    .
    Me neither. Simply because they are to far away from the play of the game to make any impact when needed.

    I’ll be honest though, right now nobody strikes me as captain material.

  16. zacharse

    +3x as many fouls on us and us w 2x the amount of yellows. joke of referee today which is not to whine about anything more than having a half game to watch. its not a strategy to break up every possession with a cynical foul. why the stop and start was permitted after multiple obvious reckless challenges by rose alone is a mystery to me but thats what happens when you have a fat toddler running around trying to run a game like that, he just didn’t care. missed +5 hand balls. but we play against the refs too not just the other team.

    3/4 next games are away to liverpool manure and everton. depending on ow these go i think we will have a pretty good idea what kind of man manager and motivator arteta really is.he’s on a hot streak. it could all go down the tube in one poor performance. or we could walk away w 7/9 points. after those games we’ll be pretty close to that point we talk about in the summer, headed into the clusterfuck…

  17. Thank you and goodnight

    @TheLegendaryDB10

    Yeah that is a little worrying that no one player really does stand out. It was quite obvious from a young age that players like Adam’s, Viera, Gerrard etc were leaders of men. None of our players stand out in that regard.

  18. Rich

    “Rich – a team with av age of 23 is only gong to get better; a team of av age 29 /30 is only going to get worse.”

    Pierre, Northbanker is literally quoting me word for word, I’ve been pretty the sole voice making this point the last few months

    You think we can pack our team with 11 under 23 players and win titles, I think we need to find a balance of youth + experience, particularly against more established teams, and in the centre of the pitch

    Statistics back up my argument, the best managers in the world’s team selections, and squad ages, back up my argument

    But you think you know better…..

  19. Zacharse

    Rich
    I agree. I thought players like lichsteiner and sok would have more of an impact as seasoned vets but it aint cheap to get pl ready talent at the level we want so the idea of youth becomes the offsetting factor. Some
    Of these guys will still be babies in 2 years time, orhers wont

  20. AFC Forever

    Rich
    “You think we can pack our team with 11 under 23 players and win titles, I think we need to find a balance of youth + experience, particularly against more established teams”

    You’ve not been a lone voice, I’ve been saying the same. I have said many times. Young players bring fantastic energy & desire but also have a degree of nativity.

  21. Awa

    Great to get another win! Takes us into 5th, a very good spot given our first 3 games

    Auba’s performance was worrying, I get the sense he is being picked at the moment just to keep him happy as he seems like the type of guy that would throw a tantrum and disrupt the locker room if dropped.

    He should have had a better touch for saka’s disallowed goal, should have scored the pen, and shouldn’t have tried to touch odergaards shot (knowing he was massively offside). That’s 3 very clear goal scoring opportunities that could have made this a a 3/4 goal margin type of game.

    Arteta definitely has a dilemma on his hands with this one
    Do you drop him and risk him blowing up all the positive energy around the squad, or do you let the squad carry their out of form captain in the team when he shouldn’t be selected and hope we can get the job done?

  22. Nigel Tufnel

    Was it Love Sausage saying that we won despite Arteta?

    He gets sh1t on for the players he bought. He’s the guy who bought them, trains them all week, sets up the team, screams at them through the whole game.

    And them, when they win (on an excellent run) …. this cretin says that it’s in spite of him.

    Your mind is made up about the man. Admit it. So much that you can’t even truly enjoy the success like we all are lately. That sucks for you.

    Change your handle, because you don’t love anything in this world, least of all Arsenal.

  23. Nelson

    I don’t think Danny Rose has anything to complain about. Watford was trying every trick to delay the game. His player fell down after minimum contact. The Ref. didn’t stop the game We continued the attack and Rose intercept the ball closed to their baseline. He kicked the ball out while his player was getting up. I don’t think that we had to give the ball back. They were unhappy because we scored our only goal right afterward. If Auba didn’t screw up those three chances, Watford wouldn’t think that they deserve a point.

  24. LoveSausage

    Nigel,

    Like most people who think of themselves as some kind of righteous crusaders, you just come across as petty and nasty.

    I’ve been mostly positive towards Arteta lately, incl his change to the team’s tactics. And I said that we won today despite Auba and Arteta’s in-game management. If you think he did well on that account today then you really should be calling others cretins. Stones and glass houses.

  25. DivineSherlock

    Gonsterous

    I dont see it that way , I thought Auba was really up for it . Despite the pen miss , he was still up there fighting for every single press. Didnt see him dejected as before . Against Liverpool we need him so that they dont press high , look at how West Ham did it with Antonio . Both Laca and Auba should play.

  26. Tony

    What an almost perfect weekend for Gooners with only West Ham not getting the memo about how good the Bin Dippers were.

    More about them later.

    I loved the feisty nature now omitting from the players on the pitch. Beginning to see the attitudes of first Wenger decade coming through, especially from the kids; sadly Auba still wants to hug and grin his way out of confrontations and missing gilt edge chances again.

    Auba should have been taken off around the 50 minute mark with Martinelli getting 40+ minutes to be kicked to near death by the knuckle dragging Watford’s dark-art kicks, elbows and studs in painful places.

    At around 65 minutes Eddie or Balogun should have been brought on and would have been by a manager who has mastered the art of in-game management or at least some semblance of being able to read a game and ease us into a plan B with subs, even if Plan B is remarkably close to Plan A.

    I finally felt vindicated with my waxing lyrical of Tomi in the NLD. I thought Tomi was very good yesterday and enjoying the PL. More to come from that lad with come good coaching.

    I felt for Ode when Auba had his brain fart – so desperate he is for goal.

    I thought White’s heading of the ball was decent today because most of the time his feet didn’t have to leave the ground. White epitomizes the “White men can’t jump” (remember the movie?). Before ES can scream racist! I mean no disrespect to any creed or race: Hungarians in their70s living in London with a moniker of ES notwithstanding.

    Absolutely loved the game a real one-nil-to-the-Arsenal of GG’s days.Tavares and Sambi have ripped up the usual acclimatisation period memo and are looking more established in their positions; looking like good value for their prices.

    All in all I have no real negatives, only positives to add to the posters before me here. Watford came here with Pulis kick em hard and kick em often playbook, where the lads responded in kind.

    The ref more suited to reffing a Subbuteo game didn’t offer us much protection. It was funny and yet heartwarming watching our kids kicking and elbowing lumps out of Watford players who all seemed to suffer from the rare ‘feinting goats syndrome’ dropping at the mere feather like touch.

    Yet the recovery rates of the Watford militia was insanely quick.

    Anyway, if you haven’t guessed by the silly tone of this post I’m happy with the team spirit and collective fight. There is a clique beginning to form amongst the players. as they are bonding.

    Now it gets serious with the Bin Dippers in 2 weeks.

    West Ham has shown how they can be beaten, so Arteta really has no excuse for setting the team up to win and not just to keep the score respectable.

    Are the Hammers better than us? Man for man I’d say no, but man for man playing their best football, then some questions could be raised certainly in Auba;’s direction.

    Rightly so from our results Arteta is slowly winning more fans over, but and, unfortunately there has to be a but; it’s the results Arteta gets out of the team by 1st Jan and then in May that will really tell what Arteta has to offer going forward.

    Arteta’s ‘Rookie’ excuses are done, Arteta has his full winter plumage now after 24 months. He and Edu have to manage January TW well and buy right as well as selling more dead wood.

    The 2 main threats at the moment for the 4th spot come from West Ham and Manure. Spuds will pose an as yet unknown threat with Conte at the helm. If Arteta can keep us in front of this 3 the scrap will really be on in the final run in where we play probably a couple of top 4 cup finals against Manure 23rd April and West Ham April 30th.

    We have the players, and now the spirit and bond; the rest is on Arteta and Edu in that order to land the 4th CL birth.

    I’m still positive not as much as Pete, but positive nonetheless.

    We couldn’t beat the Dippers at Anfield, could we?

    Good to see Josh channeling his inner Aquaman with the new beard look. Just 40kg of muscle and he’ll be there.

    Have a good day Grovers.

    .

  27. Habesha Gooner

    We need to drop Auba against weaker opposition. Although he scores in vital moments, his overall playing ability is poor. Everytime he has had form, the system had to be a counter attacking one. Even his run of form during th FA cup win under arteta, we were absorbing pressure and counter attacking. Odegaard needs to play with Lacazette upfront.

    One of the best performances I have seen under Arteta was westbrom away last season. Lacazette, ESR and Saka were running rings around them because you could feel everything they did was in sync. Auba worked hard yesterday, he just wasn’t good enough. What made him a dangerous opposition was his super speed. Now he has slowed down a bit. And if he is not scoring regularly, then he is a liability.

  28. Kegunner

    Team is playing well and new players have been a boost. Club picking up good players lately and I believe that will continue into the future. European football is likely and club can realistically win a cup.

    Arteta has proven himself and needs to keep up the performance. Next gear is to be able to play the top three teams but he has proven he can do that in the past.

    This feeling of success at the Arsenal has been long absent. It’s about time good cheer came from the Emirates.

  29. gnarleygeorge9

    Aston Villa

    Taunting The Arse about Smith-Rowe one minute,
    On Skid-Row the next 🙂

    The Watford win was good, but next up bindippers will be on the rebound!

  30. Gonsterous

    Auba and laca can finally play together. Both up front is better than one on the wing.

    Auba was an absolute mug, standing offside and trying to Nick away odegaards goal. What an awful captain.

    Really don’t see any traits that make him the captain of our side. Chaka may be better in terms of being a captain.
    A captain should be a leader, not automatically the best player in the squad but someone who can lead and the other players look up to and respect.

  31. Leedsgunner

    With Partey out last night, this means surely that he is missing games for his country right? Are we going to pull him?

  32. Graham62

    The PL is undoubtedly the toughest league in world.
    Put the likes of Bayern, PSG, RM, Juventus, Barcelona in the mix and they would suffer big time.
    West Ham have been remoulded under Moyes and even as an Arsenal supporter I’m pleased, because it makes things more interesting for us all.
    The top teams are going to slip up even more this season and that can only benefit the league and us as a club.
    I’m slowly coming to the realisation that Arteta is learning by his mistakes but will not hold my hands up in total admiration just yet.
    So annoying that there’s another international break.

  33. Emiratesstroller

    This has to be the tightest League for many seasons.

    Two weeks ago I thought that Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool were guaranteed to finish in top 3 and qualify for Champions League.

    Then there were perhaps another three or four teams competing for the final place including
    perhaps Arsenal.

    Now when you look at how tight the league table has become you might argue that there are
    maybe six to eight teams who with a decent run compete for the final place. Just take a look
    at how Leicester has dropped down the table. A few weeks ago they would have been considered challengers for top 4.

    Arsenal are clearly an improving young team but they are prone to errors and I still believe
    that they struggle in last quarter of games particularly if they are tight.

    Another major concern for me is the lack of a clinical finisher. We should have buried Watford yesterday.

  34. Spanishdave

    13 goals in 11 matches.
    Very poor and we will be punished for this lack of goals.
    We have two old strikers whose legs have gone both get overpaid with poor returns.
    Long time since we had some muscle up front.

  35. Terraloon

    Rich
    We’ve got some top young players, but we need to supplement our team with the right balance of youth + experience, otherwise it’s highly likely we’ll get edged out of the top 6 over the course of the season

    Like you I think too many are writing off the importance of experience. At this point in time all is going well but in a blink of an eye it could go massively tits up and as time goes on you can be sure that there is going to be a run of games where the opponents are able to out think or out manoeuvre and I am not talking about the likes of City Liverpool Chelsea

    The biggest mistake that is likely to be made is overplaying the likes of ESR and Saka but there are others that will go through challenging times and they simply don’t have the experience themselves or come to that the experienced players around them and that will be a concern.

  36. Pierre

    I can’t see what our so called experienced players bring to this present Arsenal side, and yet we have posters on here concerned about our lack of experience.

    It shouldn’t be about whether a player is experienced or not, it should be about being good enough and if they improve the team .

    Our experienced players in the squad are xhaka, mari, leno, cedric , elneny, Aubamayang, Lacazette , kolasinac and possibly pepe and Tierney to a lesser extent.

    Last season our experienced players included Willian, Bellerin, Luiz.

    For me , our young players are perfect for what we need at this present time , they are quick learners and don’t make the stupid mistakes on and off the field that our so called experienced players do.

    The thought of Arteta bringing back Xhaka into the side because he adds experience is just too ridiculous to contemplate.

    Fortunately, Arteta is now taking the younger , less experienced route and it’s working , just need a little injury to Aubamayang(nothing serious) and we will see one of eddie, Martinelli or balogun come in to change the face of our attack , all less experienced but possibly more beneficial to this present Arsenal team .

  37. Dark Hei

    “Arteta’s ‘Rookie’ excuses are done, Arteta has his full winter plumage now after 24 months. He and Edu have to manage January TW well and buy right as well as selling more dead wood. ”

    I am on the same page.

    I might not be a big fan of our style, lack of goals is still a concern, but I will reserve judgement on the final table standing. No more excuses.

  38. Thank you and goodnight

    We’re all grateful for what aubu did in the past, unfortunately he’s been on the decline for 14 months now, if not longer. The team are slowly coming together and I think they deserve a better forward up top. At least laca puts the work in even if he wasn’t ever as clinical as aubu, he works his butt off.

  39. TR7

    What a brilliant manager Pep Guardiola is. No striker, no problem. Absolute footballing masterclass from him against Man United. The league is blessed with some real titans of the game in Pep, Klopp, Conte, Tuchel etc. I don’t think we have ever had such great array of managers competing against each other in the same league.

  40. TR7

    AMN has got better footballing technique than Xhaka and Sambi. All he needs to do is to be disciplined and focused and he can start for Arsenal week in week out.

  41. Nigel Tufnel

    Tom
    November 7, 2021 17:20:18
    Are Europa League games included in Arteta’s first 100 matches in charge?
    Did Wenger play the likes of Dundalk in his first 100 Arsenal games in charge?

    This comment makes your agenda so obvious. The guys record is his record. Old time manager stats must include many league opponents that were not a difficult as the league is today… from middle to bottom. They also didn’t include the free spending man city and Chelsea type teams that possess 2 starting 11’s.

    You hate Arteta, we get it.

    What’s particularly stupid is that you persist with it … in the face of an incredible run of results under him.
    It comes off as pathetic right now.