by .

Sometimes you have to roll your sleeves up and make some big unpopular calls. Arteta is about to have to do some of that. The Everton result was not par the course this season, that was a throwback to December last season. The levels were shocking. The performance was incoherent. It was a throwback to the hell days of late Emery and Wenger.

Gutless, insipid, unfocused, meek… the list of unpleasant descriptors could go on for days.

Arsenal did what is true to our recent history. We rolled up the team bus and said, ‘Rafa, I hear you have a problem, may we assist you?’

Our team is better than that. There was no excuse for that level of mediocrity. We let the situation happen to us and there isn’t a specific place to point a finger… because all of it was shite.

You could pick on the starting 11 and say that Thomas Partey shouldn’t have started and he’s been 4 out of 10 dreaful by his own account. You could say it was too soon for Tierney. You could say Xhaka wasn’t fit. You could say Lacazette up front on his own is usually not great. You could list issues with every single player that started that game and you’d be right, because it was that bad.

The biggest issue for me here was that we can all take a loss. But that was more than a loss. That was a dereliction of duty.

At a base level, that type of performance should be so far beyond us right now.

Arteta has the players for a week at a time. They are all fresher than our rivals. How can he send them out so mentally weak?

There are levels in the Premier League. Our lows simply cannot be that low. It was so, so poor.

What I can’t fathom is how things can fly off the rails so badly. That was Everton. The team with the worst form across ALL UK divisions. They were shit. We simply have to be holding our players to higher standard.

Then there’s the players.

If it wasn’t obvious, Auba has not been behaving like a captain this week. He was benched. Eddie was picked ahead of him from the bench. That’s how bad he’s been. I can sit here and debate the merits of his football contribution, but why are we here debating his behaviour again? He’s not a leader, he’s a precious baby.

Lacazette, I love him, but that was the performance of a player who knows he’s out there looking for a new deal. Where was the fight? Where was the contribution to the team he’s been giving? He was painfully nothing.

Thomas Partey, our big man in midfield, was absolutely diabolical (again). He played in one of the most ruthlessly disciplined systems in world football. He was great. He comes to Arsenal, we give him more freedom… and he’s giving away possession from a throw in under no pressure. It is wildly unacceptable how awful he’s been.

How about Ben White? £55m. The vision of what a defender could be. Makes line-breaking runs for 30 yards, then passes 3 yards to whoever is next to him. Defensively, he was a mess. Why was he standing off like a frightened rabbit? He wasn’t doing that at Leeds. Not good enough. He needs to get better, yesterday.

I don’t want to go there… but Bukayo ain’t been right since he came back from the Euros. Another anonymous performance from him out wide. He’s barely showing for the ball. His confidence is shot. He looks tired. It’s very worrying.

Things were so bad we’ve got the Pepe-Ultras out suggesting he’d be the difference. No people. He’s had his chances. Eddie missing from one yard was terrible, but at least he was there showing for it (created 3 chances). What was the counterpoint? Auba. Threaded in by Eddie, missed the sort of chance Auba of old scores with his eyes shut.

We could talk about Mike Dean and his shocking officiating, but it’s not worth it, we put that result on ourselves. It was the worst performance under Arteta to date, and we’ve had some bad one’s.

We can’t stew on it though. It feels like a catastrophe because in its own way. It was an bad performance addict having a relapse. That was old Arsenal. The question is… can we deal with it? Can we show bravery? Can we bounce back?

There’s not really a choice.

Southampton is a must-win.

West Ham is a must-win.

Leeds away is a must-win.

Norwich away is a must-win.

Wolves is a must-win.

Do I think we win all those games? I don’t think so. We’ve gone from looking robust-ish, to looking like the start of another death-spiral is incoming.

There’s no defence for it.

These are his players.

He prepares them.

He coaches them.

He motivates them.

We can all take a loss, but it has to be glorious failure, it has to look sexy in places… not like what we saw today.

Arteta has to own it. When you staff the players yourself, it’s you, regardless of how bad they are.

We live in a world of extremes. The currency of the internet is outrage. People love to live in misery. The season isn’t over, we could still claw something back… but the biggest worry is Arteta is not shaking out patterns of play that would indicate there truly is a change in culture. Last night wasn’t about the lack of a striker. It was about sending a team out that lacked focus, fight, and the edge to find a way.

This moment cannot blow out into another December drama. There is too much riding on a Top 4-able season. He needs to find a solution fast, because time waits for no one.

Check out our On The Whistle Podcast. Thank you to all you lovely good-humoured weirdos that join the LIVE feed. It’s very fun. We truly appreciate you hanging around with us in the misery pool.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Goobergooner

    “It’s just not honest to go down that path and willfully ignore the level of talent in the midfield and forward areas. Arguably every single player mentioned gets into our XI.” (In regards to Wenger’s 2010-13 teams.

    But you then also say our forwards are past it and you were against the auba re-signing.

    It’s just not honest to continue to say that Arteta is the man for the job, yet can’t play to the strengths of the players we actually have.

    Implement a process yes!!! But don’t disregard what you already have for the next transfer window (*or the next 6).

    Our midfield is the absolute weakest it’s been in a decade. And our tactical approach is absolute gash.

    Just say it. Arteta is never going to produce the aim of the club the size of Arsenal.

  2. gnarleygeorge9

    The Arsenal’s forward line is like pre & during Dunkirk WWII. But getting a marquee like Haaland will be like when the Yankees arrived in Blighty. Then the offence can begin. We then begin to take back ground!

  3. Goobergooner

    ” being foolish enough to rest his attack on the shoulders of a one trick pony was a massive failure”

    You say this.

    But no he didn’t rest his attack completely on his shoulders.

    We have a squad not just attacking players. It takes a solid base to be both competitive in attack and defence.

    He spent fucking 50m on white when we have Saliba on our books. He could have bought in someone to actually take control of the middle of the pitch.

    He purchased ode which I don’t mind, but he (and edu) thought our current forwards could do a job.

    Literally until that miss last match in the 90+ mins, I thought auba needed more play attributed to his strengths

    What I’m trying to say is our attack is fucking shit.

    And our midfield is not far behind. But it’s Arteta that has control of what he thinks he needs. And our last transfer window, while I rate, was literally avoiding the granite xhaka sized hole in the mkddle of the pitch. And we are sooooooo bang average with our one dimensional play with him in the middle, let alone parteys lack of either form or adaptation

  4. Goobergooner


    “You really think another manager ups the level of these guys to something enviable? Massive no chance for me.”

    Yes. Yes I do.

    Because he would have built the squad as a whole. Not from some rhetoric that a good defense makes a good offence.

  5. Valentin


    The reason I have stopped writing is because I realised that it was becoming toxic for my mental health. I keep arguing the same points with the same people despite proof time after time that their judgement was just flawed. Getting insulted by nasty bully before being proven right later was not fun.

    Combined that with the sudden losses of a few of long term friends due to COVID and cancer induced by delay in testing caused by selfish morons refusing to vaccinate meant that I decided to concentrate on my wellbeing and family.

    Also with regard to the death of the Arsenal I loved, I have reached the last stage of grief acceptance. It gave me some detachment to the whole situation. Losses don’t make me angry anymore. Not sadness, just a shrug. I know we are going to win the easy games and lose against top 6 teams. Once in while we will win against bigger oppositiin with a plucky underdog back to the wall tactic, but even in victory the football is mostly boring and turgid. Our goal scored show that we are a passive team that react too late rather than a pro active team.

    Deep down most people recognise that Arteta is not the right man. His in game management show such a level of ineptitude, as soon as Arsenal falls behind , it’s curtains. Pedro and his cohorts are still on the bargaining stage and may never move to the next stage before the hip Basque blagger is removed.

  6. Goobergooner


    I always read your posts.didnt agree every time, but you’d say the same for me haha.

    Keep them coming. Although the mental health part I can concur with.

    This blog is hilarious.

    So many extreme views, but at the end of the day we all love the club.

    So as much as I’ll call someone out. I like their input

  7. gnarleygeorge9

    I’m here Gooby, where no one where’s a mask, where lockdowns are fantasy, & where the economy is BOOMing.

  8. Goobergooner

    I will agree though. It’s a lot more like untold now than the open minded legrove we used to love.

    (DW Pedro, I’ll still be here reading your waffle regardless 😂)

  9. Ray+in+LA

    Thanks for your comments Valentin

    The only point I would dispute with you…

    “I know we are going to win the easy games and lose against top 6 teams.”

    I’m not sure we will even win the easy games at the moment 🙂

    My sadness is that the cautious hope that was building was crushed and was obviously just another a false dawn

    I trolled Amy Lawrence’s comment section [not her, big, big fan for a long time] on the Athletic — usually get a battering from the rabid pro-Artetas…this time got 26 likes

    Dead man walking

  10. Valentin


    You are wrong, I don’t think that Messi will ever score 40~50 a season in Ligue 1. He may score lots of penalties and free kick, but his output from open play will be much more limited.

    Three reasons:
    + Ligue is different
    + PSG does not have the type of strikers he need at his current stage of his career
    + Pochetino who I used to think was a great coach, clearly does not know how to handle a changing room with strong ego.

    Ligue 1 and la Liga are completely different leagues with their own idiosyncrasies. Moving from la Liga to Ligue 1 is a culture shock. In Spain bar a few Athletico types of team everything is about the midfield, passing the ball. There elegant midfielders are king. In Ligue 1 defenders are King.

    It stems from France 98 world cup victory. After that the DTN the National Technical Département who supervise all the coaching and train coaches decided to replicate Jacquet methodology. Be compact have great defenders, a maverick genius in midfield and hard working if limited attackers. The emphasis was given to the defense.

    For the next 15 years that was the archetype of Ligue 1 team. Boring to watch, but solid defensively with one or two star players to get people excited. Academy replicated that schema. So France produced bucket load of tough, tall athletic defenders. Usually from African or Carraibean descent. In 2008, that created a controversy when Laurent Blanc was heard mentioning that approach.

    So defenders and defensive midfielders just physically bully attackers with more impunity than would be acceptable in Spain.

    Messi who despite winning the ballon d’or is in the twilight of his career. He is not anymore the genius who keep bamboozling defenders with mazy runs and score. He plays more centrally and need an anchor he can bounce from. He does not have that at PSG.
    Mbappe wants the ball passed to him behind the defense. At Barca with Suarez, Messi had somebody who could do both harrasing defenders, holding the ball up and make run behind the defense. None of star PSG strikers have those characteristics. If PSG were to get Haaland, things may change but right now In Ligue 1 Messi is just too isolated to be effective. As soon as he gets the ball, he is surrounded by 2 tall players who just brush him off the ball.

    Pochetino has disappointed me because the output of PSG has not been great. He wants a team of pressers, but that not MBappe, Neymar and Messi. He may get that from them on the odd games for the Champions’ League, but they won’t do it consistently in Ligue 1.
    I don’t think that he knows how find a system that can accommodate everybody and still play like he wants his team to do it in a consistent manner.

  11. Ishola70


    “the hip Basque blagger is removed.”

    That’s what it’s all about really the hip image.

    I’m surprised to read on here that the hipster Athletic readers well some of them at least are turning against Arteta.

    Say it ain’t so.

  12. The Bard

    Valentin I’m sorry to hear that this blog has affected your mental health. But my advice is to treat it as a bit of fun. Its not that serious. Online selves aren’t real selves. Most on here don’t read other people’s points of view they just spout their own view regardless. The now defunct online gooner with Kevin Witcher at the helm was a wonderful forum. Insightful and very funny at times. .

  13. Ishola70

    Yes Val you shouldn’t take this blog so seriously.

    Some agreed with you others did not that’s the way it works most times everywhere.

    And I’m surprised to hear where you live that the most vulnerable to covid are refusniks to the vaccine. That’s just daft.

  14. Ishola70

    lol someone on twitter is hoping that the english football clubs will make some sort of stand against vaccine passports in regards fan attendance.

    Er no the english football clubs will be at the forefront of requirement of vaccine passport.

    Virtue at it’s best. Any virtue signalling the english clubs will be at the front.

  15. Ishola70

    3 more jabs needed now for the monster omicron.

    Sounds like a baddie in Doctor Who.

    It’s never going to end until people stand up.

    Why perfectly healthy adults and children are thrown in the same basket as the vulnerable is hysteria.

    But then health matters always brings out the less pleasing aspects in people.

  16. Artetauphillclimb

    The Everton game plan was predictable yet Arteta could not prep his team to be up for the fight. Benitez outsmarted him and this really exposes Arteta as a gutless manager not suitable to manage a team aiming for top 4 in the prem. Keeping Xhaka for the entire game is more like sabotaging your own team. Arteta does not have what it takes to return Arsenal to greatness.

  17. TR7


    Welcome back !!

    I agree with you about Messi not being at his absolute best anymore. For me, Messi of 2009-2013 scores tons of goals in any league in the world including Ligue 1.

    I think PSG can click as a team if Neymar is sidelined. I can see Messi forming a good on field partenership with Mbappe, Verrati and Di Maria but when Neymar is in there too it becomes very difficult. I don’t think many manager can find a way to get Mbappe, Neymar and Messi playing together in the same team.

  18. Dream10

    Big Chances created 2021-22 Premier League

    1 Liverpool 93
    2 Man City 61
    3 Chelsea 57

    17 Arsenal 28
    18 Burnley 27
    19 Aston Villa 26
    20 Norwich 17

  19. Ray+in+LA


    “So France produced bucket load of tough, tall athletic defenders. Usually from African or Caribbean descent.”

    If only we could acquire one to partner with Gabriel and maybe free White up to move further forward, but I guess it won’t be possible 🙂

  20. Terraloon


    Welcome back

    “Also with regard to the death of the Arsenal I loved, I have reached the last stage of grief acceptance. It gave me some detachment to the whole situation. Losses don’t make me angry anymore. Not sadness, just a shrug. I know we are going to win the easy games and lose against top 6 teams. Once in while we will win against bigger oppositiin with a plucky underdog back to the wall tactic, but even in victory the football is mostly boring and turgid. Our goal scored show that we are a passive team that react too late rather than a pro active team.Deep down most people recognise that Arteta is not the right man. His in game management show such a level of ineptitude, as soon as Arsenal falls behind , it’s curtains. Pedro and his cohorts are still on the bargaining stage and may never move to the next stage before the hip Basque blagger is removed”


    The sad part is that some are still in a sort of bubble in that they rate certain players who at best are mid table as some sort of WC players. They are not.

    Some rely on history. Well that’s the past.

    Some focus on others misfortunes but they seem able to address matters.

    But worse of all some always fall back on the old “Yea But “ because it’s always someone or something that isn’t controlled by Arsenals fault. For instance VAR, Mike Dean , COVID whereas every other club has the same issues

  21. Graham62

    Arteta is not only “gutless “, he lacks imagination.

    Pedro and a few others harp on about what a great coach he is and how highly he is rated but, based on what I’ve witnessed these past two years, he lacks key/fundamental skills that any coach, in any discipline, should have in his armoury. The ability to adapt and improvise when needed.

    He is rigid, boring, scared. He is unable to see things that a coach at any level should see.

    Just not good enough.

    Yep, no one can convince me otherwise.

  22. Tony

    Just had time to read your post snd sorry to hear it got to you .

    I don’t get into long winded duels with people. I say what I think and leave it at that. Winning points don’t win prizes on this or any blog.

    Thought of you when I watched France in the autumn rugby internationals. I thought they were too early in their development for the last WC, but the they are looking good for the next WC and worth a punt.

    Ignore the trollers enjoy posts from others.

  23. Valentin


    A good friend had been waiting for more than a year for a test. By the time he got his test they told him that he had 1 month to live. He died of pancreatic cancer 2 weeks later after being admitted in hospital as an emergency. He missed our weekly 1 hour long video call. The following week, got a message from his daughter telling me that he died before our call but that he had left a video message for me before his death.

    A friend that I have known for 15 years had genetic blood disorder that could be treated, but meant that she could not take the vaccine. Her boyfriend who she had kicked because he refused to take the vaccine, lied to her. because he wanted a reconciliation, he pretended to have had the jab. He gave her COVID and she died, just after she saw her 7 years son with the same genetic predisposition getting infected and die in horrible pain. The only saving grace was that she was able to be with him at the end.

    So no Having lost friends due to reckless and feckless behaviour of selfish morons, I will not share any tears for people who refuse the vaccine. It can sound cruel, but my take is really enjoy your Howard Cain award and let me move on.

  24. Nigel Tufnel

    Jamie says:

    “Sadly, he always goes missing after a loss. So too do Positive Pete, Negative Nigel, EB, Matt B.”

    I was here during the game tearing into Arteta and all over yesterday’s post as well… it’s only stupid people who lump me in with Arteta loyalists. I’m not Arteta out either. There is room for a reasonable middle ground.

    I’m still liking the many new additions to the squad, but was disgusted with the mismanagement in the past 2 games. Amateur manager decisions.
    I don’t think you’re lying about me avoiding the conversation.. I’ll assume you just happened to miss a couple dozen of my critical comments.

    Be more careful who you call out please.

  25. Nigel Tufnel

    Can I ask, am I the only one wondering why AMN and Lokonga have disappeared after very good recent performances?

    El Neny starting against United, Xhaka rushed back to start… it should have been a cameo appearance to get his stamina back…. at very most, 45-60 minutes. Incomprehensible to have him do 96 minutes.
    Both games were crying out for a midfielder to help gain control and move the ball forward. We don’t have many options, but was Lokonga listed at all as having a knock?

    Instead we got 2 strikers brought on for 1 striker. So wasteful.