MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – THE MOST IMPORTANT 3 POINTS OF THE SEASON

by .

Let’s have a little pep talk before we get into this blog.

You… yes YOU need to pick yourself up off of the ground.

All this crying on the internet that you think we’re going have a bad day is weak sauce. It’s low-fat mayonnaise on a plant-based-meat alternative kebab. It’s asking the Doner Operator to box it up so you can have it for lunch tomorrow.

I will not tolerate this type of meekness today.

Arsenal are in control of top 4 with two games to go. It doesn’t matter that Spurs have taken points off big teams, it doesn’t matter that the mainstream media are slobbering over Antonio Conte, no one gives a fuck what G.Nev thinks.

The simple arithmetic is this: We need to beat two sides we have outperformed all season then top 4 is ours.

We are better than Newcastle.

We are better than Everton.

The players aren’t going into this game having a mental breakdown, so I don’t expect you to misbehave on a big night like this.

Channel your inner winnertivity. Go into that Group Chat clutching your cojones (real or metaporical) and shout YES, GLORY TO ARSENAL! TONIGHT WE TASTE VICTORY! PRAISE TO SAKA! PRAISE TO ODEGAARD! PRAISE TO BIG MO!

Now go to your boss’s oak drinks cabinet. Open a bottle of something expensively aged. Pour yourself a stiff one, crush it (no faces), then head back to your desk. If they ask who sent you, tell them Pedro, it’ll be fine with HR, I promise.

Are you set? Good, now let’s talk football.

Arsenal look set to have a pretty decent team to choose from. Gabriel and Ben White went to Newcastle, I would take that news as meaning it is highly likely our defence will have 4 of our 5 starters. That is absolutely massive considering the occasion.

We need huge games from all of them. Aaron Ramsdale needs to exude his early-season confidence, Ben White and Gabriel need to do their jobs with confidence and calm, and Tomi just needs to be Tomi. I don’t know what the fullback choice will be, but having the Lord of Chaos at left-back is probably a worse option than Tomi there with Cedric on the right. Both options are less than ideal, let’s be honest.

In midfield, it’ll be Xhaka and Mo Elneny, they just have to play with discipline and heart. Newcastle don’t have a great defence, the biggest job of the evening is going to be what we can do in their box. Our midfield needs to give a platform to the youngsters in the final 3rd to do some damage.

I don’t know how Arteta is going to mix it up in the final third, but whoever is there needs to take their chances.

Newcastle play out the back, perfect for Eddie to sniff our opportunities, the press is going to be important.

Trippier is on his second game of the season, the perfect chance to run an older player ragged.

Targett on the other side is there to be got at.

Our reality is fans is that we are going to have to watch Arsenal suffer for chunks of the game. West Ham had basically nothing to play for and they went two up against City and should have scored two more. When we were gunning for the league in 1999, we went on an outrageous tear post losing to Villa on December 13th, we didn’t lose a single game, we were looking really good for the league, then we went to Leeds, who had nothing to play for sitting comfortably in 4th, and we lost to a Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank late goal.

Newcastle have nothing to play for outside the joy of being really fucking irritating to our end-of-season run. They are under the lights in front of their rabid fanbase, they’ll want to exit the season with a scalp, Arsenal would be a pretty good one.

They’ll come at us at 100mph. We have to ride out that energy. We have to kill the moment. We might have to take the game into the last 20 minutes to win it.

Prepare to suffer, but be positive about the game, these boys have shown deep character all season.

Spurs was an aberration.

The job to be done is clear. So let’s do it. No excuses. We can taste that Champions League music in the air.

Right, on that note, see you in the comments. x

1,244 Responses to “MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – THE MOST IMPORTANT 3 POINTS OF THE SEASON”

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  1. DigitalBob

    Incredibly disappointing performance to put the full stop on a disappointing end to the season. Newcastle dominating possession and playing like the only team with something at stake, really shameful stuff from the players and coaching staff combined.

    In the last 180 minutes of crucial football we have played well in 10 of those minutes, the start of the derby, I just don’t get it, echoes of Emery’s last days and latter day Arsene in these capitulations.
    So as Champions League footie is over more or less, this will impact the summer targets no doubt(G.Jesus and Tielemans unlikely imo).

    Please can the consistent fawning in recent weeks over the surplus to requirements that are the Mo Elneny, Holdings and Cedrics of this world please stop?

    I’m also seeing a worrying trend of blaming Tierney and Partey for being injured, both players several times over the season have been rushed back half fit, in some cases straight from passport control to the pitch, and when it comes to international call ups and “availability” the guile and gamesmanship has been missing from our manager.

  2. Batistuta

    And all of this in a season when we’ve only played once a week.

    We’re back to Thursday-Sunday next season and it would be an incredible watch to see how that plays out

  3. sarge

    ** We are better than Newcastle **

    No we’re not.

    Can have zero complaints about missing out on CL. Thirteen defeats in one season… that’s proper mid table form. It’s only because we’ve sneaked as many narrow wins as we have that we’re up there at all. Reality is, particularly outside of our starting XI, we are bang average.

    Looking at the game last night, and games against e.g. Palace, it seems obvious to me we lack the physicality and means to counter teams that play an aggressive pressing game. We need players that can handle the physicality, have greater press resistance, but also that verticality to their game to find the space behind the press. Last night that was just not there, individually or collectively.

    Time to reset expectations, accept the process is going to be a slower burn, hope we can still bring in at least a couple of decent additions to the squad. And the for the likes of ESR and Gabi to find what they need to to start performing more consistently next season as Saka has largely done this season.

  4. Buffalo

    Pedro:,”We are better than Newcastle..”

    It is exactly this type of idiotic comment that made last night so predictable. We lost our chance at fourth place at Spurs that was very obvious at the time, too many apologists living in la la land. This has been one of the problems at Arsenal for many years. Last night was pathetic, Xhaka isn’t wrong

  5. Matt B

    Of course we’re better than Newcastle — we’ll be fifth at the end of season, they’ll end up c. 12th. They were better than us last night, a lot better, but get a grip ffs

  6. Thorough

    Why on earth is anybody surprised this team turns out meek more often than not? This is a coach who chases away any player with the semblance of a fight.I can never forget the day I fell in love with Guendozi. We were losing to Aston Villa, we were one man down too, but we had a teenager who looked possessed, he was urging his teammates to follow him to battle literally, and he spearheaded that battle, till we worn 3 goals to 2. I can never ever forget that day. In my eyes, a star was born, someone that instills fear in the opposition just like the invincibles did. That is something you don’t teach – a players hunger and mentality to battle irrespective of the odds.
    For Arteta to now turn around and gave this boy away for this same characteristic – he dared to challenge a player who had just sent our first choice goalkeeper on injury. To double down on that and single-mindedly ignore the talent to the detriment of the club. That broke me. That made me throw in the towel. I now watch Arsenal only when it’s confortable.
    And he has done the same to Saliba, Auba, Mavropanos, just to mention a few. That arrogance to just dismiss a player without giving him a chance or putting yourself in their shoes, was the red flag for me. That stubborn streak to lose the club money just to satisfy the ego of a coach who thinks he’s more than just another asset of the club, like the ones he jettisoned. Tha was it for me.Years and months after:
    – Saliba and Guen are in Les Blues, and headed to the world cup with a national team that actually has the potential to win it.
    – Mavropanos is in the gre nations team and words are that he may end up with a top team in Germany.
    – Auba is noe his usual happy self and back in the UCL…..And guess what? Arteta is on our bench wondering what’s wrong when he was only seeing a culmination of the plethora of his mismanagement of our resources

  7. Mr Serge

    We can have a difference of opinion that’s what starts conversation but to celebrate on an Arsenal blog after the second goal went in last night is ridiculous uzeros should be banned just for that he is not a fan

    Disgusting carry on

  8. Un

    Let’s face it. Doesn’t matter who we sign when Arteta plays backwards crab ball. He chokes the life out of these young players

    Pedro won’t want to hear it but Wenger would have had this team ripping the likes of Newcastle. Yeah he had. very few ideas or inclination on how to set a team up to defend at the end but at the other end? Imagine what he’d do with Pepe, Odegaard ESR saka martinelli? Playing wengaball. This lot?
    My point is that Arteta has enough here to create more and he’s killing them. We aren’t arsenal any more. We are dull to watch with this constant back passing of the ball to our centre backs. It’s not clever.
    It’s not tactical galaxy brain. It’s shit and it’s killing football.

  9. Un

    Mr serge

    👏
    Much more eloquently put than my comment .
    But I couldn’t agree more. There’s no justifying that. Not one bit

  10. Spanishdave

    We really now live in a world of lies and unreality.
    Keyboard warriors just make it up and the disciples just lap it up.
    This is how cults start, people living in a fantasy world and living the lie.
    We are screwed as a club as the owners live in a world of pretending to compete and really they hav’nt a clue. Along comes the narcissist who tells them what they want to hear and they Lap up the bullshit because they don’t know better.
    Arteta was a crab slow footballer and doesn’t understand the art of proper defending, he’s just trying to copy Pep.
    When the attack is being led with a jonny whannbe footballer you know we are done.
    Until we employ a proper manager who has won things and knows what to do to get there we are staying in this shit.
    Depressing

  11. RockyRoe

    People complaining about thin squad. We did it to ourselves, arteta decided to have a thin squad.

    Keep saliba, don’t buy white, spend that money on a attacker (the same saliba who won the French young player but idiots would have you believe he couldn’t have hacked it in a defense that shipped 47 goals?)

    Grow the fuck up and work with guendouzi and torreira. I can forgive a 20 year old with attitude issues, I can’t forgive a 40 year with attitude issues especially when he is supposed to be the leader. The same Guen who after being benched for half a season forced his way in the French side basis his performance this year (but idiots would you belive that it’s better to have elneny in squad than Guen)

    Thats 3 extra players without spending an extra mickle.

  12. Mr Serge

    Um

    Iwas ok with the football as long as we got top 4 the footie is a bit bland compared to wenger but I did not mind having a balance to the all out attack if it meant not getting battered 6 nil by the big teams,

    We have not improved as now we get battered 3 nil by palace and lose 13 games a season,
    Our board are going to give him at least another 18 months whether anyone likes it or not, hopefully the teams deficiencies get fixed with a proper striker 2 proper cm and saliba coming back,

    If not the fans will become restless very quickly

  13. Pierre

    Graham
    “Blame the players all you want but when a manager treats individuals the way he does, you’re going to have problems.”

    Yes Graham , and we know when this started dont we, and i said at the time if we let Arteta treat players so abysmally (ozil and Guendouzi) then the club are making a massive error of judgement and he will continue to make poor decisions and that has been the case.

    Ozil
    Guendouzi
    AMN
    Martinez
    Saliba
    Aubamayang
    Nketiah
    Mari
    Mavropanos

  14. Mr Serge

    Rocky saliba would not have played if he stayed I guarantee you he would have got game time only when it was absolutely necessary he had to go on loan to get all those games and get the recognition his talent deserves, you can’t not play him next season now Gabriel will lose his spot to him Gabriel has been shit for a few months

  15. Terraloon

    Pierre

    Yes Graham , and we know when this started dont we, and i said at the time if we let Arteta treat players so abysmally (ozil and Guendouzi) then the club are making a massive error of judgement and he will continue to make poor decisions and that has been the case.

    Disagree with your take on a few things but yep this one 100% with you

  16. DivineSherlock

    Mr serge

    Ever heard about competiton ? Gabriel performing to poor standards is because he knows he is undroppable , same with Ramsdale , Odegaard and Xhaka .

  17. The Bard

    Sarge in a sane world you are right but this is football and despite Pedro’s belief in ‘long term’ projects short term hysteria rules. If Arsenal start the season badly the fans will turn and Arteta will be out.

  18. DivineSherlock

    Its sad but this is the 3rd manager that will die on the Granit Xhaka hill . The man is a curse truly . I dont care I just dont want to see him at our club anymore , please make it happen Edu !

  19. RockyRoe

    Serge,

    That wasn’t my point. My point is that if we had kept saliba and not bought white, we would still have a CB as good as white if not better (and plenty fans saw it, so much so that the term saliba ultras was coined)

    If we worked with torreira and Guen we would have 2 MFs in a team which has a shit MF

    And we could have spent the white money on a attacker for a team that can’t score goals.

  20. Peckobill

    Mr serge
    “What’s everyone else’s depressed timeline line ?”

    Until arteta is sacked .

    What a nothing season this has turned out to be littered with a litany of fuck ups by the manager. January transfer window an absolute shambles to push us over the line . Absolute piss poor squad management , very tactically lacking and his in game management still remains the very worst in the league .

    He also is still doing that thing he done with William by playing players out of form because they are his signings .
    Loved his first half a season form but the fact is Ramsdale should’ve been dropped months ago . Leno has always been the better shot stopper ( he’s as good as anyone in the league at that aspect ) but Ramsdale rightly replaced him because he was the better all round keeper with better distribution and better dealing with crosses . But those 2 strengths have deserted him for months now , his passing looks awful , he looks flappy so you left with shot stopping and Leno is superior.

    What players has he actually improved ? Tavares, Ramsdale , lokonga have all regressed the longer they’ve been with arteta after early season promise that’s without old heads auba and laca’s form nosediving off a cliff and what the actual fuck has he done to smith Rowe .

    He still has no discernible way of playing and has never been able or will be able to coach a cohesive attack and this is why he will always fail . We are never safe in a game , we never blow a team away by 50 mins which is then when you can bring a Partey and Tierney off and give Tavares and lakonga 30- 40 minutes each time knowing the game is safe which both rests the injury prone players and gives much needed game time to squad players . This to me has alarm bells ringing all over arteta .

    Arteta blew this top 4 with his complete tactical naivety against spurs . They struggle against a deep block and thrive against a high line and a high press . He played a high line with a back four pitting holding against son was suicidal and also didn’t do fuck all about it as he was watching son time and again roasting him . He should’ve immediately changed to a back 5 with tommi against son , holding centrally and gab left of the three with Cedric one wing back and tav or saka the other .
    Arteta actually believed a high line would work when he’s witnessed the might of city and Liverpool fail with this tactic against them when a low block works . I mean he really believed he pull something off that the the likes of Klopp and Pep couldn’t ? The man has a god complex his actual skill set is miles away from .

  21. GOONER49

    Just read Granit’s explanation thats all we need to know.
    Monday night football Crystal Palace, Newcastle etc etc not our cup of tea.Apart from Saka there isn’t one player i wouln’t cry over if they went.
    Who picks Smith Rowe over Matinelli dock him a weeks wages.

  22. Nelson

    “There’s a very strong argument for making rookie managers work the lower divisions first, where they will quickly be found out if they have fancy, unrealistic ideals of football theory.”
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    I like this comment. Arteta can exercise his Galaxy brain in a lower division. Holding is a CB for low block. Asking him to manhandle Son is beyond stupid. Pedro just kept blowing smokes to cover up Arteta’s failing.

  23. englandsbest

    I have been watching Arsenal, a fan, far longer than most on here, and I can honestly say I have never been more excited about the Club and its prospects. The negativity of some shows total ignorance of the process, and how far we are along. Clearly the squad is deficient in quality and in numbers and yet we made – at worst – fifth place. This summer those deficiences will be addressed – I repeat, 6-10 incomers, 2-4 outgoers – and the squad will be markedly improved by the start of next season.

    VERY exciting.

  24. Aasim

    Pedro always insists that Arteta has been trained under the tutelage of the currently the best manager ie Pep. But we’ve seen Peps teams consistently crumble under pressure. Unfortunately, Artetas team seems to have picked the same knack of not delivering when it really matters.
    We discussed in great detail our form for the second half of last season. But what about our form this year in the second half. Spurs, Newcastle have both been so much better than us. And given the season in totality, especially looking at the money we spent, haven’t Moyes, Viera and Howe all proven to be much better manager of men and resources.
    The name of the game is results. And when results are not there everything has to come into focus. Why are we always plagued by perma crcoks. The new additions to our very generous history of rvp, diaby, wilshere, ramsey, santi, eduardo, rosicky are tierney, parte, esr and probably tomi. It sounds harsh but we suffer more than most teams with consistent long term injuries to key players. Why have we had in this new regime, new faces with an attitude issue Every few months. It started with mesut, then Willian, guen, auba and now pepe. What current players have actually improved their skills and ability in the current regime. Esr, Gabi and saka were all players with obvious ability and high ceilings introduced by Emery. Can’t give their credit to arteta. Who has arteta improved. Players walking into Liverpool and city’s squads seem to hit the ground running and enhance their ability significantly. jota, Diaz, Ruben, cancelo, konate. Why were we not in looking at players like konate and diaz.

  25. Emiratesstroller

    The lesson from last night’s game is that Arsenal do not have a big or strong enough squad to cope with two games a week and it was a mistake to offload so many players in January.

    Second there are a number of positions in our squad, which need an upgrade. The two back
    up full backs [Soares and Tavares] need replacement and as I suggested many times we need
    another experienced central midfielder to rotate with Xhaka and Partey.

    In summary Arsenal will need to deal with following positions in summer if we are going
    to be competitive next season.

    GK to replace Leno
    RB to replace Soares
    CB addition of Saliba
    LB to replace Tavares
    CMF to rotate with Partey and Xhaka
    RW/LW to replace Pepe
    CF to replace Lacazette

    So we need six new players in transfer market assuming Saliba and Nketiah stay.

  26. Tony

    What we need ES is an experienced manager with a good recent CV who can push, Klopp, Tuchel, Pep, and Conte for staters.

    Otherwise it’s pointless buying players that will eventually be on the non negotiable bench with the other 12 or so already there or gone on to play far better in other teams.

  27. EdTheREd

    Another point which someone might have mentioned earlier, the last clean sheet for Arsenal was Villa away. That day Bernd Leno was on goal, played a blinder. One of favorite Arteta’s narratives is that he wants competition for every position on the pitch, yet when it comes to executing it, he comes lacking.
    Leno deserved run of the games, he didn’t get it. We’ve conceded in last 9 fixtures.

    This is on manager, no ifs no buts.

  28. Samesong

    The negativity of some shows total ignorance of the process, and how far we are along. Clearly the squad is deficient in quality and in numbers and yet we made – at worst – fifth place. This summer those deficiences will be addressed

    englandsworst your’e one of the most embarrasing commenters on le grove. This isn’t an Arteta thing it’s a mentality thing that is ingrained in the player’s. Winner create a winners mentality. You keep saying next season then the next season then the next. You are more deluded than most of us.

    All we had to do is not lose to both Spurs and Newcastle and show up.

  29. Thierry Martinelli

    We have p5 but let’s scratch the surface a bit.
    We’ve lost 13 games, same as last season.
    We’ve won 21 games, 3 more than last season.
    We have 5 more points than last season.

    That progress, as was mentioned in the pod last night, is PAINFULLY SLOW

  30. Graham62

    Benjamin White is an exceptionally talented player. At Arsenal he has stagnated because we have a manager who doesn’t understand about progressive football.
    Look at White when he plays, no not the fact he looks concerned, I’m talking about his desire to progress and move forward. He’s often looking for able runners and if nothing is visible, he’ll try and move forward.
    At Brighton, under Potter, he was playing a quick passing , one touch style of football. Even under Bielsa he was geared to this style of play.
    Why do you think White looks concerned? Why do you think he’s not so vocal on the pitch ( he was at BHA).
    Well it’s all very simple. Ben White could lead the team in training sessions for one week and he would get Arsenal to play a far better brand of football.
    We have seen him coach academy players at Brighton. He’s bloody brilliant!
    You see, Arteta is not brilliant. In fact, he’s not very good at all. I would say he’s pretty poor when it comes to not only his coaching abilities but also his man management skills.

    Process/project under this guy is a recipe for disaster.

  31. Graham62

    Today is lay into Arteta day, not lay into Arsenal day.
    Try and differentiate between the two, it’s not that difficult!
    I’m actually ashamed that certain folk have actually bought into all this crap.

  32. Thierry Martinelli

    Let’s just get the new signings as fast as possible. Whoever they are. No need for trolley dash before the start of the season. Edu knows who they want and who they want to offload. Let’s do it fast

  33. Graham62

    TM

    Last season was shite!
    What’s slightly better than shite!
    As a collective, I think the team has regressed.
    Do you see an identity?
    I don’t!

  34. Thierry Martinelli

    G62,
    I’d say we haven’t improved at all from last season. As we said, we’ll do an audit at the end of the season. The time is here. Yes, we got Europa, but we can’t ignore the fact that we had way fewer games to play than our direct competitors. We also spent more than them. I still can’t wrap my mind around the 13 games list stat. My opinion on this season is we got Europa by luck – not outright top notch performances

  35. China1

    Spurs have absolutely been lucky

    Lucky that two teams with *decisively* better squads – arsenal and utd both flushed their season away and bent over with cheeks spread wide

    Spurs are not a good team. They’re just the least bad of this trio

  36. Graham62

    What I do know is that PR spin is on the horizon.
    Pedro will be compiling the appropriate post.
    Yes…but. Yes…but. Yes..but!
    Excuses galore, point the finger of blame at others.
    You just know what’s coming.
    Can’t wait!!
    Bearing in mind I’m considered an ignorant supporter, I’ve got nothing to lose in whatever response I deem fit.

  37. salparadisenyc

    Agree with China, Spurs wholly reliant on Kane and Son this season and it paid off narrowly. The bigger worry with them getting champions league is they will spend the maximum and get better.
    Conte knows how to get what it takes to win with Patrici able to bring in quality barring being slated by many for those January signings that helped push them over the line. Kuvuleski has been quality.

    Could see them adding Dybala into the mixer this summer.

  38. gnarleygeorge9

    Pedro

    I bet your sponsors enjoy it when The Arsenal lose, over 1,200 comments. Also, don’t the miserable anti Arsenal sods love it as well. Isn’t it Summer in the northern hemisphere ffs, go outside you miserable anti Arsenal fucks & smell the roses.

    I expected The Arsenal to be relegated after 3 rounds, yet they’ve qualified for Europe. It’s a step in the right direction for me.

    Thanks for the season Pedro, see you next season. Till then, I have a Premiership to win!