by .

Let’s get the Alka Seltzer in the cup right away, Matt from the podcast neatly surmised that:

‘If you are going to exit the cup, better now than at any other stage’

It would have been nice to win it, sure, but we didn’t, so going out now preserves legs, heartache, and allows us to focus on the two trophies we have left.

Your head is still spinning right, that didn’t help? Ok, understood… let’s get into the meat of our embarrassing loss. There are two ways I’m looking at it that both have an element of truth.

The first is that this is part of the turbulence of having a young team and a thin squad. We know that when certain players are missing, the Arsenal we’ve grown to love is hard to identify, that happened yesterday. We’re a long way from having a squad that can compete on two fronts.

Yes, we should have beaten Forest with any line-up we put on the field, but the attitude wasn’t there, inexperience and general awfulness won the day, we deservedly lost to a well-drilled side.

The second way I’m looking at things: this performance was partly intubated by Mikel Arteta as he danced a dangerous ensemble to make a point to the hierarchy about how skinny his squad is.

Yesterday, I applauded his ruthless attempt at engineering a player crisis by binning Auba, not signing Jack, and sending Ains out on loan. Today, can I really ignore the fact that a lot of the breathing difficulties were of Mikel’s making?

We’re caught between two truths here. I don’t think Arteta thought there was a chance this rag-tag group of players would tank quite as hard as they did, which is why he panicked in the first half and subbed off Tavares. He knew from the 3rd minute he was in a dangerous moment because there was no fight, no curiosity, and a painful lack of cohesion.

… but he could have done more to avert that disaster. Jack Wilshere should have been signed to a short term deal if we were going to have to play a side like that, because we lacked leadership and calm that he has. We could have kept Ains until the end of January if we were going to have to play someone as painfully shocking as Cedric Soares, who let’s be real, looked like he was doing the dishes poorly so we’d release him to Atletico Madrid.

Arteta cut off his nose to spite his project yesterday, it was an arrogant display from him, which felt like the move of a manager who is maybe leaning into his fan capital a little too hard. Now we only have one way into semi-decent-Europe (not Conference League), this week starts to look like the beginning of a very painful few weeks, we could be in a bit of bother if our best players don’t dig us out of a hole.

The Nuno Tavares move looked very odd to me. The player had a nightmare, he lost the ball 9 times in 34 minutes, his pass completion was 65%, it was really horrible to watch. He was well, well below the standards we need at the club. Arteta pulled him off early for Kieren Tierney. It was a humiliation move designed to crush him. A lot of people are with Mikel on it, including professionals like Ian Wright and Roy Keane. I just wonder if that sort of move is good for squad vibes. In the real world, if you ream someone out in a meeting, it might feel good, it might be deserved, but everyone who wasn’t the target also realises that they could be subject to that at some point. Sometimes it’s motivating, sometimes it’s demoralising.

‘Couldn’t you have done that in private?’ is what most people are thinking.

KT will pick up an injury, we know that, how is Nuno going to play when he’s asked to do a job? I thought the move was rash and panicked. It was also hard to marry binning Nuno while Cedric stayed on until the 88th minute (most pointless sub of the game). The worst thing about the humiliation sub… it didn’t move the performance. Nothing changed. Nuno was bad, but he wasn’t the catalyst for it, he was just the fall guy for a squad that underestimated Nottingham Forest.

There are pockets of good news. Granit Xhaka, who we missed last night, failed his COVID test before the Liverpool game, so he should be back. I think Tomi and ESR were cautionary. We should have the rest of our defence back in place, which makes a huge difference. I love Rob Holding, he’s clearly committed to the cause, he’s trying to elevate his game, but watching Nottingham Forest give him all the time in the world on the ball because they saw that as a weakness was painful. We need Gabriel back yesterday, and someone needs to put Arteta in a video room to watch the progress of Saliba this season, because we are a pinged hamstring away from a very shoddy defence.

The Liverpool game away from home this Thursday now goes from a game where Charlie Patino might have played, to a full-on first 11 run out… because that game sets the tone for the Spurs game at the weekend. We can’t get walloped. We have to take at least a draw away. I’m still very angry that Liverpool are now saying that they had false positives in the camp. Arsenal were absolutely rolled on that cancellation because Liverpool didn’t want to play a form side with injuries. That is a corruption of the rules, signed off by an exLiverpool employee, and it is yet another example of Arsenal being played by the system. Why didn’t Vinai get Brentford cancelled?

Back to Arsenal. I wrote a week ago that we have to expect results like the Everton game. I can’t be reading the usual suspects say things like ‘Ugh, this always happens with Arteta’ like the hope was we’d just sail through the next 6 months winning games without the hiccups. This is the process people. The bumps are painful. But managers we dreamed of at other clubs are like Tuchel are also going through their own process issues, because Arsenal are close to them in the Premier League. If we beat Spurs, we’re 6 points off Chelsea. That’s your perspective.

If you want to see Charlie Patino at the carpet, you have to be prepared to see him struggle. That is part of the deal with young talents. Not everyone can land like Bukayo or Smith Rowe. He’ll learn, get stronger, and come back a better player.

We have to accept that it took 18 months to get a 15 that could fight at the highest level. Our second string is going to take even longer to get right. We’re not there yet. When you are second string, there are questions over attitude, technique, and overall suitability for the club. Cedric Soares isn’t built for Arsenal, Bukayo was telling him off for his hospital passes, he is a relic of ‘contacts’ scouting. But he’s our reality right now because Ains didn’t want to do his job.

I really want Eddie to be the one, but when you are asking Arsenal for big money, and you can’t be seen against Nottingham Forest, it’s hard to see how you deserve it. Another missed header from 5 yards that kills the game? That’s not good enough. He might score that at Palace, but he’s not doing it for Arsenal when he’s given minutes, and that’s the difference between Arsenal taking a chance or Arsenal letting the contract expire.

You also have to accept that Mikel Arteta is not the finished product. He pulled a move Conte and Jose have pulled for years. In fact, Conte pulled it this weekend, his team went off to boos at home against the Shrimps, which is the statement he wanted Levey to hear… then he smashed them in the 2nd half. The difference with experienced managers is they wouldn’t kill a path to an important objective they have. Arteta danced with the footballing gods and was struck by fire, I don’t think he mitigated risk last night, and the failure doesn’t strengthen his case for more money… it narrows it because now Josh has a weaker case when going to Daddy for Vlahovic money.

We have the chance to rectify things on Thursday. Let’s hope everyone is fit and we’re not gambling on long-term fitness. It’s a big week, Arteta just made it harder, let’s see how he can manage himself out of this corner.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Invincibles

    It’s a shame Arteta does not play himself in midfield – that way he could run around shouting at everyone rather than just ruining the confidence of those playing on the touch line

  2. Jim

    Further to your point about being out the cup, it means there’s less opportunity for those hanging around the fringes of the squad to spoil any momentum we build. Barring an injury nightmare ( touch wood ) the likes of Kolasinac and Cedric only have a handful of games left for the club at most. Eddie might get more minutes but he soiled his opportunity right when he had built himself some leverage, and if he doesn’t leave this month what is the point in giving him minutes February onwards if there’s someone else to take them (new signing / Balogun / Biereth / Pepe / whomever).

    I am in support of the no more red cause but think it sort of set the tone that we were looking past them going into the game yesterday. Ian Wright even mentioned it to Idris that it wasn’t a forgone conclusion in his pre match gambit. Not hard to imagine Steve Cooper saying ‘look at these wankers in their all white kit thinking they’ve already beaten you’.

    Disappointing but have to move on and it’s part of the course of becoming a big team. Slice of humble pie will be good and serves as a reminder we still have a long way to go (& a whole second XI to build) before we will be there.

  3. Danny


    No mention of Arteta’s incredible decision to bring on Kolasinac deep into injury time, a sacking offence if there ever was one?

  4. Gooner84

    Get ready for a 4 game loosing streak people, we will get beat by Liverpool via 1 or 2 doggey reff\VAR decisions. Then I’d not be at all surprised if Uni Conte out smarts Arteta, I fear top 4 is a pipe dream this season.

  5. Double Double

    As much as I have come round to liking MO he’s not cut out for that combative midfield role. He’s more Mesut than Partey and needs someone to do the dirty work for him. Same with Lokonga needs some experience next to him. We can’t role with that midfield against the Scousers they’ll muller us. Definitely have to have Xhaka back

  6. Double Double

    Tavares had an off game, but I don’t think he should have been pulled, plus he had the pace to deal with that Spence at right back, who played really well

  7. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s be honest for once.

    The team selected yesterday was the one, which most supporters including myself expected
    us to play factoring in AFCON, covid and injuries. The only player who missed the game and
    would have played if fit was ESR.

    The usual mob who post on here and are Arteta critics came out of the woodwork and blame
    him for the performance. Please explain what you have done differently?

    There are some who will criticise him for offloading AMN before the end of window. Frankly
    I don’t think that he would have made a jot’s difference to yesterday’s result. His mindset was on leaving the club.

    I agree with Pedro that AMN would have been a better squad option at RB in place of Soares,
    but the reality is that he does not want to play in that position. We will need to recruit a
    second string right back in the summer to replace Soares and Chambers.

    Tavares was poor from the outset of the game and that was blindingly obvious. We had an
    option on the bench, which was Tierney and Arteta subbed him. It was frankly the one sub
    option that he could make, which was a realistic upgrade apart from perhaps bringing on
    Lacazette earlier than he did.

    We lost the game and it has confirmed what we know already and that we are woefully short of midfield cover in the absence of both Partey and Xhaka. Hopefully that can be rectified before the weekend game against Spurs.

  8. Nelson

    “No mention of Arteta’s incredible decision to bring on Kolasinac deep into injury time”

    I think that is a statement made to Nuno Tavares . If he didn’t shape up, Kolasinac would replace him as the backup to Tierney.

  9. Danny

    Please explain what you have done differently?
    Tactics mate tactics.
    We failed to have one shot on target the whole fuckin’ match against a pub team, you want me to continue?

  10. Pierre

    No need to panic, it looked like a game where we were in self preservation mode , in that we were not interested in the physical aspect of the game .

    We looked happy to play boring, no risk football and forest implemented their game plan perfectly, gave us a few digs early on of which the referee ignored of course and then allowed our centre backs to have the ball and closed all of the passing lanes , hence the sideways and backwards football.

    I was surprised that Arteta didn’t swap our offensive 4 around a little as Martinelli was getting no change out of the forest right back , Saka was being man handled every time he went near the ball and Odegaard was too deep.

    For me , our wide players were too wide , our best football is when they play more narrow and then you get the link up play ,especially if Odegaard makes the late runs into the box , something he didn’t do yesterday.

    Maybe Odegaard was asked to play deeper to protect Patino , all i know is that i can’t remember odegaard even passing to patino and it seemed that Odegaard was occupyung the spaces that Patino wanted to utilise.

    AMN sent on loan is a cock up however much you look at it , he would have started yesterday , meaning Odegaard could have played higher up the pitch, AMN is confident enough in his own ability to boss that forest midfield without someone having to hold his hand.

    As for Tavares , yes he was playing poor but having mouth almighty in your ear hole for half an hour is not exactly going to make you play better….let’s hope Arteta doesn’t use the famous non negotiables to freeze tavares out of the squad ….we’ve seen it before many times.

    We do have to be careful as losing ( like winning) can become a habit and 2 defeats on the bounce could suddenly become 5 on the bounce in a week or so time.

  11. DivineSherlock


    We lost the game and it has confirmed what we know already and that we are woefully short of midfield cover in the absence of both Partey and Xhaka.

    Even a kid would know this , let alone the manager . The thing is he could have bought replacements . AMN had good displays in CM when Xhaka was out earlier , its serious stupidity to let him go before getting a replacement.. We knew Elneny and Partey will be off to AFCON , Xhaka is unreliable but we didnt do anything.

  12. Bergkamp63

    As I have been saying for ages and recently wrote on here,

    We have a good team but not a good squad, 4th will only land if we have no injuries and we land Vlahovic,

    We are only half way through this rebuild, we still have around 18 players to ship out and replace with 13 new players including all but 1 of the players on loan.

    Does anyone think this can happen in less than 18 months ?

  13. Pedro

    Danny, think you misunderstand football to a great degree when you think tactics were the problem yesterday, and that we should sack a manager sitting 4th in the Premier League on Jan 10 with the youngest squad

  14. Matt


    You’re suggesting that Arteta was trying to prove a point to Josh in his selection, but what are you actually saying, that he set the team up to lose? Or are you suggesting that he set the team up to struggle just enough to expose the lack of squad depth, but not struggle so much as to actually lose the game?

  15. Vintage Gun

    We were so poor and passive that i genuinely wondered if we we trying to throw the match at times.. We got what we deserved from the match so fair enough but the performance was weird. Even in the last mins our CB’s and Lokonga were playing keep ball on the halfway line

  16. Bergkamp63

    I would rather go out of both cups early and save the legs of our first team, we have no suitable replacement for any of them, winning either of these cup will only get EL football at best, we will more than likely attain this anyway.

    Staying in the cups until the end is only going to guarantee we don’t have any chance for 4th.

  17. Danny

    So you’re saying there was nothing wrong with yesterdays tactics? No shots on target the entire match?
    Sitting 4th means nothing at the moment, it’s the 22nd May that counts.
    Youngest squad? Fine but that’s totally on Arteta, that’s what he wants, but let’s see if the end justifies the means.

  18. Matt


    I think you are grasping at straws a bit to be honest. If we had somehow managed to win that game 1-0, I don’t think much attention would have been paid to the manner in which it was done. Getting knocked out of the cup makes a much louder statement and if that turns out to the reason why we manage to get some signings in January then I think it could be seen to be for the greater good. However, there is no way that was in Artetas mind when selecting and setting up the team. If it were, why did he panic so much and haul Tavares off when he did.

  19. Pedro

    Danny, tell us how we set up tactically wrong and what tweak you’d have made to win the game?

    Matt. Artera is a ruthless operator. You know I’m a big fan, but look at the actions this last month. It is a tried and true method to get funds.

    Sid, very odd that you come to life when we are doing badly. It’s a poor look.

  20. Vintage Gun

    Regarding the game, it was clear pretty early on that we were lacking centrally and were struggling for control/ penetration from central areas. With Patino making his full debut and Lokonga starting his 1st match since November it’s understandable that we struggled in CM.

    However, this is where the likes of Holding and Cedric let the team down, not only from a shocking performance level as ALL our players bar Leno struggled but moreso from an experience level. I only saw Odegarrd being vocal during the match.

    Finally i’m gonna make some solid judgments now.

    Whatever Eddie is demanding to stay, (money/minutes) divide it by 100. divide again by 50 then minus by 90%
    He’s basically a Carabo cup king.

    I prefer Rob Balding over Rob Holding. He owes us a performance on Thursday

    Cedric can’t even be relied to be backup. Just not good enough. Remnant from the ‘Dirty Don’ days.

  21. englandsbest

    The anti-arteta brigade out in force blowing up a storm in a teacup into Hurricane Katrina. Fact is the elimination from FA Cup is a blessing in disguise. Clearing the decks for far more important games that lie ahead.

    Despite his apologies I doubt whether Arteta is over-fussed. Neither should we be.

  22. Stephen Camfield

    You wrote that Arteta should watch videos of Saliba, and I hope he does because I have watched him many times this season and he is just a solid center-half. I cannot believe the rave reviews he receives. Even the commentator mentioned that he makes too many mistakes to be a premiership player at this time. However, the one player who does stand out is Guendouzi, he is everything our midfield lacks. You do not make the French squad unless you are a good player. Unfortunately, Arteta is never going to take him back, and we are going to lose an excellent player for a song because Arteta doesn’t have the man-management skills to handle a player with an unfortunate wayward attitude. We will live to regret this outcome.

  23. Danny

    Danny, tell us how we set up tactically wrong and what tweak you’d have made to win the game?
    Firstly, watching Holding and White passing it backwards and forwards to each other a 100 times. I would’ve put a stop to that after 5 minutes. I would’ve told them to move much quicker with the ball towards the half way line to enable Charlie and Lokonga to roam forward and be more involved assisting. the front 3. We should’ve started the match on the front foot and gone for the jugular as quick as possible, 2 nil to us at half time should’ve been the minimum requirement. We had the option of 5 subs, I wrote yesterday at 16:41:24 that he must use them all, a tactic that should’ve been decided in advance. Saka should’ve started from the bench as I also wrote at 16:41, him coming on say on the 60th minute would’ve scared the hell out of the Forest defence.
    Finally not bringing on Biereth immediately after they scored and instead waiting till the 93rd to bring on fuckin’ Kolasinac, well what can I say?

  24. Dissenter

    You covered all the bases in the post
    There’s a hint of self sabotage and I just fear it may get worse in January but no worries, the excuses are already set.

  25. Danny

    Fact is the elimination from FA Cup is a blessing in disguise. Clearing the decks for far more important games that lie ahead.
    Oh dear, a direct route into the Europa League and you call it a blessing we’re out.

  26. raptora

    I didn’t criticize Arteta for subbing Nuno on the blog yesterday, but the moment I saw the sub, thought he had an injury.

    Then I saw he’s fine and I thought to myself “couldn’t Arteta wait 10 mins and sub him at half time?”. The message would have been the same, but Nuno wouldn’t have been embarrassed in front of the world.

    Even if we had conceded before half time, we would have had a full 2nd half to turn it around, and if we didn’t manage to turn it around, it’d still be a game that wasn’t that important for us.

    I don’t think it’s that big of a mistake tbh. It’s why I didn’t comment on it yesterday.

    The first step to becoming a relevant team is to be in top 4 and the whole season revolves around it.
    Manage to do it = successful season. Fail to do it = failed season. Same thing was valid under Emery. It’s as simple as that.

  27. Dissenter

    “ As for Tavares , yes he was playing poor but having mouth almighty in your ear hole for half an hour is not exactly going to make you play better….let’s hope Arteta doesn’t use the famous non negotiables to freeze tavares out of the squad ….we’ve seen it before many times.”

    “Mouth almighty”
    Had to laugh at that , but it’s true
    In retrospect, Tavares was hard done by. Tierney didn’t do any better, he was safe in his restricted repertoire.

  28. Spanishdave

    So we are playing mostly once a week.
    ‘ saving our legs ‘
    ‘ resting players’
    ‘ 20 year olds tired’
    Give it a break please.
    The hard truth is we have a poor squad of overpaid dross .
    We have a manager who is a fast learner!
    We have a manager who destroys confidence thinking it’s the way forward.
    Academy players who are not ready to seamlessly slot in as the top three clubs seem to be good at.
    Championship defense , poor midfield and absent strikers.
    It’s taken two years to get at this point.
    Arteta is godlike according to some.
    Jesus wept

  29. englandsbest


    For all your tactical nous, you seem to have no grasp of reality. Afcon, Covid, inuries, etc don’t exist in your world. Your ‘direct route into Europa League’ would have entailed umpteen additional games for a squad undermanned and over-loaded with games.

  30. Emiratesstroller


    I would be very surprised if Arteta instructed to play the game which we did. Sometimes the
    team goes into a shell away from home and that was how we played yesterday.

    Divine Sherlock

    We don’t know what goes on in the transfer market. Most is media, press and agent speculation.

    If we buy as opposed to loan a midfield player then I would want to get the right player at
    the right deal. If it meant missing out on any game I would have gambled on not recruiting
    before the game against Nottingham Forest rather than the games next week against Liverpool and Spurs.

  31. Jamie

    I can’t understand the folk who think it’s good that we’re reducing the number of games our first 11 has to play for the remainder of the season (by crashing out of another cup) in order to give us the best chance of finishing 4th.

    Then what? A bunch of extra games to play next season with a dogshit 2nd 11 while we negotiate the CL and the need to finish 4th again? Or worse, finish 5th-6th and play EL on Thursdays in Lithuania – the same competition that was seen as a total distraction this season – and try again to finish 4th?

    Maybe the plan is to recruit 11 new players this summer so we have a squad that can actually compete more than once a week. I wonder by how Arsenal FC’s existing £500m debt will increase after all these purchases.

    If being spanked out of the FA cup in the early round against a Championship side is met with a shrug, then shit housing our way to a win almost 2 years ago should be met with a similar shrug.

    Either the cup matters, or it doesn’t. Suggesting it only matters when we win it, and no big deal when we get banged out early, is so weak.

    Last night was terrible. The squad played with completely the wrong mentality and were shit all over the pitch.

    Huge games against Liverpool and Spurs coming up. Being short of confidence won’t help.

  32. Unoni


    (From previous)

    I’m not sure I rate Tavares yet myself as from what I have seen he is very gung ho, but does have skill on the ball. Ramsey was gung ho also and he too left gaping holes but I wouldn’t use positional indiscipline as a definitive example of a player being championship level
    Holding is a premier league defender but requires a run of games to reach his stride and white is an international defender.
    Mari and holding played very well together last season and contributed to several clean sheets, some against the top sides. Do we need better to move forward? Yes
    Are they championship level currently? No, not for me. That’s a tough too far in my opinion

    Lakonga I’m not sure on yet either. Lacks the personality to stamp his authority on matches without an older head at this stage. Paddy was dominating the best players in the world already at 22 but that’s an impossibly high bar to set.
    Things are still far better than we thought they’d be 2-3 months ago though so let’s not get too irate. I’m happy with the current trajectory, all things considered

  33. benkind

    Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Smith Rowe and Lacazate have scored most of our goals in recent games. We ended the game with 4 of them and didn’t have a shot on target. These 4 guys are part of our 1st team presently they played Mancity and will feature against Liverpool. So, no excuse why we should not test their keeper.

    If any of our rivals lost to forest we will not make any excuse for them. Pedro even made fun of Conte when they went 1 goal down. I just hope this isn’t like the wenger days when we exit all Cup competitions and league position within a month.

    Yesterday was a bad day and Arteta didn’t have an answer against them tactically. No matter the players we should have won Yesterday.

  34. Danny


    over-loaded with games.
    Seriously? No europe this season for the first time in 25 years and you reckon we’re overloaded?
    How the mighty have fallen……

  35. Tom

    Thats the beauty of cup competitions, you win a couple games at a late stage against top teams to hoist the trophy and everyone calls you a genius. You lose one to an inferior team early on and everyone questions you. That’s why the league is the true barometer………always has been and always will be.
    I’m not too fussed about yesterday, it was always going to be a tougher match than many thought and the all white kit didn’t help, although Arsenal’s PR department can feel good about themselves.
    You want your team to play like a bunch of strangers put them in colors they’ve never played before. Job done.

  36. Dom B.

    if he really did do that (bad selection and setup) to make a point towards the owners, that is some arrogant bullshit there. He’s not Conte/Ancelotti and this is not RM or Chelski. Also, we are not citeh where mikel spent his apprenticeship.

    Should work with what he has, do the best he can, and develop those who are still on the up. Here I include Pepe, who cannot be a 72m flop and making him successful should be his priority. Also the same with Tavares, guy just came to a new league and country, we need to support him for at least 6 months as there will be problems until he acclimatises.

    Can’t understand such petulant and egomaniac behaviour and for all the green shoots of positive play and some good results we had, I am still very cautious about mikel and have some concerns if he’s the one to take us forward.

    Also, Pedro being so extremely positive about mikel makes me question why he is like that, and his objectivity. He was roasting wenger for years, deservedly and was the voice of sanity in the blogosphere. Now he’s a real fanboy of mikel (before it wasn’t like that so what has changed…?).

  37. raptora

    I’m one of Arteta’s biggest haters, but after crashing out of FA Cup, and possibly out of League Cup, I honestly couldn’t care less. I’m not going to throw stones at him for losing meaningless games. Nope.

    Top 4 is all that matters at this point. We need to get back in the UCL. Our next 3-5 years might be different if we manage a top 4. We ain’t Manure, we ain’t Chelsea. We need the money, we need the exposure, we need to be attractive for top players. One top 4 and our next few Summers could totally change.

    Winning the League Cup doesn’t change shit. Winning the FAC doesn’t change shit. We’ve been there, done that. Nothing changed.

    We need top 4. Then in the Summer the powerful people will need to work some magic and help us secure another top 4. Then after a couple of top 4s in a row, we can start looking towards winning the EPL and UCL. It’s the normal progression of a club that wants to be considered big again.

    FAC and League Cup are just a bonus. Not the main goal. Main goal is top 4.

  38. Graham62

    Tavares was awful from the start and deserved to be taken off.
    The tactics though were abysmal.
    The players were flat.
    Neketiah just wasn’t at it.
    It was if they were all running on empty.
    Big let down.
    No excuses.
    Well done Forest!

  39. Graham62


    Hate is a big word.
    I’m also not an Arteta fan.
    You’re right, top 4 is the objective.
    No ifs or buts.

  40. Tom

    “The anti-arteta brigade out in force blowing up a storm in a teacup into Hurricane Katrina. Fact is the elimination from FA Cup is a blessing in disguise. Clearing the decks for far more important games that lie ahead.Despite his apologies I doubt whether Arteta is over-fussed. Neither should we be.”

    Knife crime victims probably deserve some apology for this performance more than anyone else.

  41. Jdawg

    Ooo Pedro I can’t wait until the end of the season to see who has egg on their face. Could be me could be you who knows.

    Whichever way you cut it that result was shocking and should never! be accepted. We are Arsenal not Watford or Brentford lol

    The enthusiasm for Arteta is amusing. I’m not bothered about the guy and never had much confidence in him. As he is learning on our time and money. However I do have confidence in the direction of the club now. We have a handful of very good young players. Hopefully we don’t do an Arsenal and they go for pennies or for free.

  42. Major_Jeneral

    January 9, 2022 23:03:34
    Djed Spence should be on our radar.”

    After just 1 game, the Arsenal fan base expect Jed Spence to be on Arsenal radar.

    You saw him in 1 game ffs.

    How is he quality after 1 game? Like seriously?

  43. TeeCee

    We suffered massively from a very poor midfield in particular. It wasn’t really the game for Patino, who looks like a boy still, a game against lower leagues is always going to be a physical affair. I know we don’t have much else but we all knew midfield was the main area of concern at the start of the season and it’s magnified now. If we don’t bring in a couple of faces even if it’s just on loan, then 4th is likely to be a step too far.
    There is also a mental issue that exists in the team, when we’re winning it looks like we’ve cracked it but when we struggle it rears it’s ugly head very very quickly and seems to zap any confidence and desire we have. It’s been a problem for years and would certainly be helped by having a proper leader in the team.

    Oh….. and for gods sake get rid of Eddie and Cedric, it’s embarrassing!!

  44. Unoni

    It is accepted and it should be given the circumstances
    We are out of Europe completely for the first time in 23/24 years
    We’ve turned the whole squad around in less than 3 seasons and currently have the youngest side in the league
    We have 4 first team members off for international duty and 2 others off with covid
    Our second string are clearly a bit ragtag and will require more time or just being replaced.
    The priory is top 4

    This shouldn’t have to be explained mate

  45. Unoni

    If we have wilshere and AMN on the field yesterday then it’s a different game entirely.
    Even more so if we had a striker with any sort of presence. Nketiah just ain’t it.

  46. englandsbest


    Wearing all white is a gesture, nothing more. Unlikely to have a meaningful impact. There are far mote effective ways of dealing with knife crime. Cops on the street, for a start.

  47. Matt

    I can see it now should we finish outside of the top 4 this season…

    ‘To finish 5th with the youngest squad in the league is a great achievement and gives us something to build on for next season’.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  48. Arsnil

    Pedro you state and I quote
    “he was just the fall guy for a squad that underestimated Nottingham Forest.”

    I think you are all wrong there in your summation. We didn’t underestimate Nottingham Forest. We just couldn’t deal with them. They put on a high aggressive press and we tried to play out at walking pace from the back because our midfield wasn’t showing and we had nobody up front running the channels.
    Once the press came on we just could not deal with it the same as when we played Liverpool.
    From a physicality point of view we had Cedric Soares who is athletically not up to it, Hoding who is far too slow, Tavares who was having a nightmare chiefly because he came up against a right back with loads of speed and then Patino in midfield who is away off the pace and physicality needed for this level. He was always putting himself into positions where he was not going to receive the ball. Doing nothing wrong but doing nothing right either.
    Martinelli, who had been giving us that spark to date came up against an opponent yesterday who if anything is faster, more atheltic and powerful. Certainly not as skilful but he put Martinelli on the back foot and Nketiah doing squat and so we had no out ball at all.
    Where I have a huge problem is that we can be incredibly fragile. There was no power or zip in that team yesterday. I look at the line up and think that we let AMN go, we let Saliba and Mavropanos go. Three powerful players who we could certainly have done with yesterday. Yesterday we were powder puff. But much of waht we did and did not do yesterday we repeated from the Liverpool and Everton games. So this is not a one off. The team was well rested for yesterday so to describe Saka as being tired is just plain nonsense.

  49. Terraloon


    Mari and holding played very well together last season and contributed to several clean sheets, some against the top sides.

    They actually only featured together in 3 PL clean sheet games
    Brighton, WBA and Chelsea all three were away.

    Football just isn’t a first 11 game nowadays it’s about squad that’s why season after season we see clubs fade post Christmas because their squads just aren’t deep enough and in terms of squad depth that’s where I believe Arsenal are .

    We always knew that 4 players were off the the AFCON so allowing AMN to leave before this game was nothing short of criminal.
    If Pedros take on matters is right then Areteta should be sacked immediately. There is prize money to be won at each round in the FA cup
    Ok it’s tens not hundreds of thousands at 3rd &4th round but it’s stupid to ignore that there would be 45% of nett gate receipts and of course getting knocked out means yet again ST holders are going to get refunds / credits with not one of the add on games being played. That alone is probably going to cost another few million .

  50. IAT-Robbie

    I couldn’t watch the game so no comment on the match performance. The general sentiment seems to be apathy towards our shock exit from the FA Cup.

    Nothing wrong with that though I remember many Gooners making similar comments last season when we were knocked out quite early by Southampton in a similarly limp fashion. “More rest” , “less fixture congestion”, “less distractions” etc. Then we met Emery in the Europa League and within an instant our season was over.

    The gap between the starting XI and 2nd team is big but most of the same second stringers did just fine last season in the Europa League, which is at least on par with the Championship.

    I’m also worried about what it means for the development of guys like Patino, Hutchinson, Rekik and Salah. Better to have three baskets for your eggs than one imo. This was a missed opportunity

  51. James

    Personally I don’t think Wilshere would have made any difference. Other than nostalgia of an era of so much hope promised, which in reality ultimately only provided so much failure, I don’t think he’d deliver.

    He’s not played at a high level for so long and we let him go for the right reasons.

    Shame it didn’t work for him (and diaby as theyre both such talented players blighted by injuries) but he’s not what we need now.

    I’d rather give playing time to Patino. Isn’t he the new Wilshere anyway?

  52. LoveSausage

    In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the worst thing to be out of the FA cup. We have a thin squad so this means fewer risks injuries and Covid exposure.

    That said, I really hope Arteta knows what he’s doing and that this isn’t some misguided power play for funds. AMN should only leave on loan if the owners have agreed to replace him in this window. If they haven’t, and this is Arteta’s attempt to force their hand, then any negative consequences will be firmly on him.

  53. Terraloon


    The gap between the starting XI and 2nd team is big but most of the same second stringers did just fine last season in the Europa League, which is at least on par with the Championship.

    I am far from sure that the likes of Dundalk, Molde and Rapid are Championship level and it was those games where the squad was used.

    Once into the knockout stages Arteta went 100% strong and other than the odd team member like Willian in the home loss to Olympicas or subs coming on none of the second string were remotely trusted

  54. Tom

    “Wearing all white is a gesture, nothing more. Unlikely to have a meaningful impact. There are far mote effective ways of dealing with knife crime. Cops on the street, for a start.”

    Bringing awareness to important issues is commendable. Asking your team to wear an one off kit for an important game…..not so much. I’m sure Arteta wasn’t too thrilled when it was pitched to him.
    There’s a reason most players prefer the first kit and by some distance, and it has nothing to do with club colors but rather the frequency it’s been worn and the familiarity that comes with it.

  55. Unoni

    Yes. I agree to a certain extent but when we are entirely out of Europe and our main aim is to achieve top 4 status then an elite 22 isn’t the the priority yet. It’s baby steps. Most of which are being achieved, week on week to achieve our aim.
    We have 15 players currently capable of achieving and maintaining a top 4 four finish. Add another 3/4 by august this year and we are looking very good.
    I’m not going to bother listing the players but we know who they are. We still have Saliba to come home next season so that’s 16. The squad and the style of play is heading in the right direction

  56. Bob N16

    If you believe that Holding needs a few games to get up to standard then I’d argue that he’s not worth keeping.

    Hopefully White and Gabriel will be joined by Saliba next season – pushing Holding down to fourth choice where he would hopefully only get the odd game. If this is the case, the needing a few games’ defence would be a constant issue. Watching him being allowed to bring the ball out of defence by Forest, knowing he was hopeless with the ball was embarrassing, turning like the QE2 doesn’t help either. Obviously having a functioning CM would have helped him!

    Holding has quite a loyal following amongst some Arsenal supporters, I’d sell.

  57. Bob N16

    Much I support the reason for wearing a white shirt, let’s not do it again!
    ‘Are you Tottenham in disguise?’

  58. Unoni


    Wilshere would have offered us control of the ball and an eye for the pass that lakonga cannot make. He’s have taken the creative burden off Odegaard
    Wilshere with patino or lakonga would have given us options that lakonga and patino would not

  59. Sid

    “””So according to you Arsenal went into a knock out FA Cup match planning to play static and
    defensive football””””

    Is it the first time the above has been used as a tactic in the FA cup by Diet Pep?

  60. S Asoa

    Comprehensive post. All the things would have said myself. But instead of my trolling Artetawith it , Pedro used it to pump up Arteta.
    OK, to each his own way.

  61. Sid

    You can take this to the bank,

    At an away ground where with 2 young midfielders, a leftback from overseas, Diet Pep will demand as many players behind the ball as possible.

  62. Henleygooner

    There is a general school of thought that being out of the cup is good, as it means fewer games. This is true up to a point. If the goal is fourth place, that means more games next year, with a squad that is likely to be too thin. Which reduces the liklihood of 4th place the subsebsequent year. If we don’t get our act together, we could be out of the Carabao Cup next week, lose to Sperz and that’s 4th place gone, and the problem of too many games is completely gone.

  63. IQ

    I’m surprised Tommy was not on the list of most important player in the questionnaire. For me he is the most important difference maker in the team at the moment. He improves both offense and defense as well as adding some much needed physicality in the team. We already have good players but until we add some more steel we’re going to suffer.

  64. Emiratesstroller


    If Arteta was not bothered with outcome as you seem to imply why did he select five regular
    first team players?

    He could have selected a combination of First Team Squad and U23 players.

  65. S Asoa

    “ The team selected yesterday was the one, which most supporters including myself expected
    us to play factoring in AFCON, covid and injuries. The only player who missed the game and
    would have played if fit was ESR.The usual mob who post on here and are Arteta critics came out of the woodwork and blame
    him for the performance. Please explain what you have done differently? “

    This needs parables. If one tries to saw with a drill bit or vice versa , both ways results are meh , although the tools ,individually are top brands.
    Tactics, game management, are 2 buzzwords that come to mind

  66. Spanishdave

    For those lovers of AMN he was responsible for two goals and was rated the worst player on the field by the Italian press.
    So no doubt he will be sent back.
    Eddy is crap.
    We have losers everywhere.
    Arteta brings on a left back with 5 mins remaining , why?
    Why did the team play badly throughout?
    No desire?
    No plan?
    Arteta is so up his arse

  67. Spudnik

    Pedro, great podcast last night and I’d agree with Matt that our momentum has stopped. Who would have ever expected Tavares to be so bad? Not just him though, the whole team looked bereft of fluency. Lose a couple of players and we get this type of dross?
    There is no excuse for the thinness of the squad, especially during a highly infectious pandemic. With Liverpool and Spurs coming up fast there are some red lights flashing on the board

  68. Spanishdave

    Loose to Liverpool ( likely) and Spurs , then what?
    We are artificially 4th with games played and really about 6th.
    We have a brittle midfield, poor goal scoring attack, and Holding and White very average defenders.
    Hardly breathtaking management.

  69. IAT-Robbie

    Terra,This is a good discussion point.

    I can agree on Dundalk but I think the other two are at the very minimum, Championship level. For starters, the winners of the Norwegian and Austrian top division qualify for the Champions League. Rapid used to dominate their league before Red Bull bought Salzburg. Yes, their leagues are below the EPL level but not so far down that their best teams are basically pub sides.

    Looking at the Europa League last season. Many (current) second stringers got more than 6 games.

    Nicolas Pepe – 13 matches, 10 starts
    Dani Ceballos – 12 matches, 6 starts
    Mohammed Elneny – 12 matches, 5 starts
    Cedric Soares – 9 matches, 7 starts
    Eddie Nketiah – 8 matches, 6 starts
    Calum Chambers – 6 matches, 3 starts

    Nothing serious but even guys like Mari and Holding started games beyond the group stage. It wasn’t just Willian

  70. S Asoa

    Am fully with you about agreement of the squad put out yesterday. All are good players individually everyone worth more than the Forest players.. So why we lost so badly as not to have a single pop at the goal, misses yes.
    Let us ponder. That only leaves Arteta’s role unsaid

  71. larry mccarthy

    Where was White was he not signed partly for his wonderful long range passing from the back .I think we should go back to Brighton and buy the player we should have got in the summer .Bissouma strong a ball winner who would stop us getting over run in midfield.

  72. Emiratesstroller


    I don’t buy the so-called Arteta explanation.

    Arsenal put out weaker teams than yesterday in the Carabao Cup and still won games
    comfortably. Why would Arteta choose to play the FA Cup differently as both you and others seem to be suggesting?

  73. InsideRight

    We keep hearing Arteta is a ruthless operator. He knows we need to offload dead wood and he knows we need to strengthen urgently in a couple of positions.

    Well, here we are on 10th January, knowing we had AFCON coming up, and all that’s happened is AMN going to Roma on loan. Why are Arteta and Edu not getting our business done? Surely they know who to ship out and who their targets are.

    Where’s the ruthlessness beyond pissing off our own players?

  74. Tom

    Watching afcon third game already and all played in mostly empty stadium.
    Is it covid related or due to limited interest?
    Any afcon experts on here?

  75. Nelson

    How old is Nuno Tavares. Can we get him some game time playing for U23. He hasn’t play for awhile and was asked to play next to Patino and Holding. He has no chemistry with them at all.

  76. Samesong

    @Tom, its covid related, covid pass needed to get in, vaccination is around 6% in Cameroon

    Business hours ?
    High ticket prices?

  77. Danny

    Arteta brings on a left back with 5 mins remaining , why?
    More like a left back for a right back with 1 minute remaining, genius management!

  78. Dissenter

    “For those lovers of AMN he was responsible for two goals and was rated the worst player on the field by the Italian press.”

    His first game, less than 48 hrs after he arrived in the club.
    It was his 40 yard run in the 52nd minute that earned Roma the free kick the used to score the 3rd goal.

  79. Terraloon


    For starters, the winners of the Norwegian and Austrian top division qualify for the Champions League.

    So do the winners of the Welsh League !

  80. Dissenter

    “Watching afcon third game already and all played in mostly empty stadium.
    Is it covid related or due to limited interest?
    Any afcon experts on here?

    They are playing the first game at 8am ET [2pm] Cameroon time on a Monday
    Surprised that the stadium is empty for some games

    Then you factor in that international travel is close to zero, so no foreign fan contingents are there.

  81. Unoni

    Spanish Dave
    Bit harsh on ainsley.
    He’s got quality. He will come good. He may never become top class but certainly good enough to play for elite clubs like Roma and arsenal consistently

  82. WengerEagle

    To piggyback off of Jamie’s well made point, crashing out at the 1st hurdle in the Cup does matter as it is our only realistic chance at legit silverware this season.

    The Carabao Cup is a joke competition that nobody even remember who wins whereas the FA Cup is the oldest Cup competition in the world of football and still has prestige in my eyes albeit is an afterthought to CL football and the league.

    Which takes us to the main point, it is only a worthy sacrifice if we do indeed go on to finish 4th with the kinder fixture schedule. Utd as of now are still in x2 Cup competitions so it should help us in the run-in.

    Getting knocked out of the Cup early only to go on to miss out on CL football wouldn’t be a successful season by sby metric after a £135m spend.

  83. Unoni

    Which takes us to the main point, it is only a worthy sacrifice if we do indeed go on to finish 4th with the kinder fixture schedule. Utd as of now are still in x2 Cup competitions so it should help us in the run-in

    Exactly. This give us an advantage over them in the race for the final spot. We really only have one competition to focus on now, well, we will do once Liverpool knock us out, which I’m hoping happens on Thursday. One game per week with 7days to prepare for each sounds great.

  84. raptora

    Diss: “It was his 40 yard run in the 52nd minute that earned Roma the free kick the used to score the 3rd goal.”

    AMN also made the cross that Tammy acrobatically shot from, de Ligt blocked the shot with his hand, was shown a second yellow card, so that Pellegrini can miss from the spot.

    I saw a 25-min video of the game. AMN wasn’t good, wasn’t bad. I just hate the fact that he doesn’t defend close to the opponent player, but gives them time to carefully pick their next move. I also hate that he looks like he’s defending some space, like he’s there, but he isn’t really there cause the ball goes in that area and he somehow always finds himself far from the ball in the end. He was partly at fault for maybe 3 of Juve’s goals.

  85. Zacharse

    What we’re all talking about now is the momentum killer.
    Exactly the point of making signings, especially w our cm problems.
    Really dont think we can blame anyone else but the kroenkes for our squad problems. Good point about Vinai FAILING MISERABLY at his job. Ref decisions, pp decisions-its like no ones home upstairs.
    But guess who’s gonna get blamed and which fanbase will suffer for it.
    Josh kroenke is a LARPing Heir. Beard is comfirmation.

  86. raptora

    Szczesny saved Pellegrini’s penalty, as he also saved a Roma penalty in the first game between the clubs this season in Oct 2021.

    He’s saved 11 penalties for Juventus in 3 seasons and a half.
    His all-time statistic in penalties is – 23 saved, 56 non-saved. Stunning stuff.

  87. Samesong

    well, we will do once Liverpool knock us out, which I’m hoping happens on Thursday.

    Did you not see how happy the city player were when they won this competition and we can’t even get motivated to at least beat Liverpool. Player’s build confidence from these type of games.

  88. Zacharse

    We dont have real senior players at our club:

    If u dont have senior players who know how to get things done yer always gonna have games like yesterday
    Not really anyones fault
    Except the ownership for hiring in morons like emery, raul etc. our club has had a long history now of having people in leadership positions who dont belong there

  89. englandsbest

    Klopp’s view of FA tie with Arsenal will be similar to Arteta’s view of Notts Forest game: we have tastier fish to fry.

    Beating Arsenal is bread and butter to the Liverpool players, whereas beating Liverpool would be caviar to the Arsenal players.

    For me – the way things stand – Arsenal seem a better than even bet to reach the final.

  90. Dissenter

    Wenger eagle
    The AFCON is typically held in January/Feb because if the unique climate patterns in Africa.
    It’s the same reason why the Qatar world cup will be held in December after they claimed they will have ginormous ACs to cool the stadiums.

    They will change the competition to the northern hemisphere summer in 2023. I have my doubts how that will progress.

  91. Zacharse

    You think emery was a good fit
    For us? You think he took the job becUse he was skilled manager for a team that plays technical attacking possession football?
    Hes garbage and he was a garbage appointment
    if you like seeing games won pathetically and w no style go watch mourinho reruns

  92. Tony

    I believe the moron finished 5 in his first season missing 4th by a point or Auba’s missed pen.

    Same moron handed Arteta his arse on a plate twice in the EL semis.

    Not bad for. Moron.

    Football not your strong suit then, Zacharse?

  93. raptora

    He was the MotM when we last lost in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. To Notts Forest Again. He was 18 yo at the time and caught the eye with his play. Not surprised I’ve been hearing about him quite often.

    He played for England’s U19 and U20 before he decided to play for Chile instead.

    With so many goals in Championship (20 in 24 games this season), he’ll be in the EPL very soon.

  94. Samesong

    Klopp’s view of FA tie with Arsenal will be similar to Arteta’s view of Notts Forest game: we have tastier fish to fry.

    You mean the carabao cup

    england you think Arteta wasn;t angry that we lost yesterday?? lol

    “We needed more drive, more hunger to win at any cost in every single action, much more. We were not at our level,” he said.

    “I’m really disappointed with the performance, first of all. Not with the attitude but how much purpose we have and what determination we showed to change the game when it’s difficult to play against and the way they play.

    Arsenal were outclassed by the Championship side

    “I have played in games like that for the last 18 years and I know how complicated it is to come here and it’s no surprise the difficulties you are going to face. But when we do that, we have to face it in a different way.

    “It is really hurting. It is a competition that is very related to our history and to get out of it is a big bump.”

  95. Taylor Swift

    On t more sobering stuff. I really thought that reading the comments, that the toys would be out of the pram, the pram would be out of the house and the house would be outof the city. Apart from the usual protagonists, most posts are reasoned. When Nuno turned up on right wing, his days were numbered.

    I do thinks it’s fair to say that Cedric, Holding and Sambi are better players than they demonstrated last night. It’s surely down to lack of minutes.

    From my perspective, the game demonstrated just how much the front four are totally reliant on MO, because he had to play a lot deeper and therefore couldn’t pull all the strings.

    And Saka looks dangerously tired.

  96. Zacharse

    Give it a rest. If you cant bother to read dont bother to respond. You probably wouldve cheered mourinho coming here.
    But in general you are fucking annoying and need friends/book club and less of what you might consider football knowledge.
    Why didnt we just appoint sam allardyce instead of mikel right!!??
    Congrats to emery for winning EL semi final against our impressive squad

  97. S23

    I am totally expecting us to lose the 1st leg to Liverpool,lose to Spurs and win but go out on the aggregate score in the Carabao cup,just like when Arsene was in charge.
    As long as we finish 6th or better,that would be par for where the board expect us to be.
    I am encouraged by the Man City showing,but we still lost,we need to build a winning culture in the team,so that performances like Nuno’s and the rest will not be tolerated.
    Hope my predictions are wrong,but I think I have seen this all before.

  98. salparadisenyc

    Sorry anyone in this space raving about Emery’s level with Arsenal needs to go and have a quiet word with themselves.

  99. Zacharse

    Ya Tony, totally clueless
    i’m the one who can’t tell the difference between possession play and counter attack and the only thing i care about is the final score. real sportsman i am

    and to show how truly clueless i am, i come on here every night and post 50000 word essays to myself praising the like so pink floyd and alan parsons. i’ve got real problems lol

  100. Buzzy

    No pressing from Vlahovic..0 desire.and passion even when the team is down 3 to nothing..making meaningless runs and losing possession…perfect for Arsenal then lol

  101. Shaun

    Our new no 9 looking shit against Torino at the moment, just as he has every time I have watched him, forget DCL at Everton and go for Richarlison instead

  102. Dissenter

    Hope you realize that you could have made all those points without resorting to calling Emery a “moron”

    There was no need for that and it surely doesn’t reflect the man.

  103. Topside Northbank

    Awful last night no positives to take from that performance Leno did ok the other 10 not one played to even average standard.

    Nketiah last night like Everton he missed a sitter, offers no link up play and really don’t mind at all that he’s going, simply not good enough.

    Soares was as bad as Tavares and should of been hooked as well, could go on,Holding awful etc Arteta’s subs made litttle sense Lacca should of been on at HT.

    Annoyed we went out so poorly away from home against sides in our faces and a noisy crowd like Everton and to a lesser extent M Utd we have let ourselves down, Brentford covid issues aside another.

    We need a strong second half of the season going out of the cup 3rd round if you are not going to win it no excuses about fixture lists now. We move on any chance of a reaction Thursday tbh the travelling fans deserve it that was a waste of time and money last night.

  104. Zacharse

    Sure thing Tony Fawlty
    Glad we settled the strange case of the pensioner defending the arsenal great from glib criticism