by .

One of the biggest advantages of missing out on European football when you are a well-funded team is that you get a week between games whilst teams in European competition do not. Players are fresher, better coached, and less mentally fatigued.

Arsenal didn’t make Europe last season, one of the big advantages we hoped for is that our brand new young squad would get all of the above advantages, and hopefully, play some of the bigger more established teams after tiring European exploits.

We’ve seen the benefits of rest all season. The last big game that really had an impact on the title race was Liverpool coming back from an away game at Villareal to play a Spurs side that had a week to prepare. Liverpool were average, Spurs controlled the game, and they took an unlikely point. I don’t think it’s outrageous to suggest fatigue played a part in that result.

Now let’s talk about Premier League fixtures. They are programmed by the Premier League in partnership with a ‘digital transformation’ company called ATOS. They’ve been doing it for 25 years. This blog here is probably the most publicity the company has had, they sit so under the radar, no one I follow on Twitter follows them.

Their approach is not a totally random affair. Here are some interview snippets from Glen Thompson who is the Technical Architect at ATOS and the main person responsible for programming almost 60,000 fixtures over the years.

When does the work start?

Glenn Thompson: For me it begins at the start of the year; that’s when I get the playing dates from the Premier League. The whole thing is built up putting in the international dates from FIFA, then the European club competitions, then the Football Association adds in the dates for its competitions and what you are left with are the dates when you can play league and League Cup matches.

What is “sequencing”?

That’s the methodology we use which is all about breaking the season down into a number of constituent parts, which are called sets. We break it down into five sets, which are reversed in the second half of the season.

Are there any rules you have to adhere to?

There are the “golden rules” of sequencing. In any five matches there should be a split of three home fixtures, two away or the other way around. A team will never have more than two home or away matches in a row, and, wherever possible, you will be home and away around FA Cup ties.

A club will never start or finish the season with two home or two away matches because it would be unfair for a team to finish with two aways, especially if they are looking for points.

Around the Christmas period, if you are at home on Boxing Day you will be away on New Year’s Day or the equivalent date and we will also try to maintain a Saturday home-away sequence throughout the season wherever possible.

So what have we learned here?

The fixtures list is not totally random. The algorithm has to be tailored to specific needs. There is no ‘pureness’ when it comes to how the fixtures are compiled. For mostly good reasons.

You don’t want a pile-up of away games at the end of a season, so there’s code to evenly distribute home and away games.

You don’t want Arsenal and Spurs fans meeting on the tube at 530pm on a hot sunny Saturday because they will fight each other, so there’s a piece of code for that.

You also want to be fair to fans on Boxing Day and New Years, so there’s a piece of code that makes sure one is home and one is away.

These tweaks are called ‘conditions’ and they are pre-programmed. Once you put these in, you are affecting the outcome of the fixtures.

The idea of a fair algorithm (assuming ‘advanced programming technology’ of their website means that)  is hotly contested, there are culture wars raging in America over the way content is served up in social media feeds, because both right and left wing politicians think they are being screwed. There are papers written about how algorithms end up creating racist outputs. Even Twitter’s photo cropping algorithm was found to prefer able-bodied white people over people in wheelchairs or those that were black or brown. My point here is that when there’s a human involved in coding something, the idea of fairness can be contested, even if intentions are pure.

Now let’s look at the basics with regard to European and non-European clubs.

There are 7 Premier League teams in Europe.

There are 12 that are not in Europe.

There are 6 fixtures Between September and November where you have the chance to play one of the European teams after a midweek game.

So, how many teams with European exploits did we play during that period?


In our first year out of European competition in 25 years, we didn’t match with a big team in Europe after a midweek game once.

That sort of fact seemed like an anomaly. So I wanted to find out what the actual probability of this sort of event happening was. So I found a world-class statistical expert with a PHD to help me.

Here’s what I found out.

There are 27,132 combinations of fixtures that could occur.

The probabilities for Arsenal’s Premier League fixtures involving a team that played in Europe the previous midweek from September to November are as follows:

Probability of playing:

  • 0 teams – 3.4%
  • 1 team – 20.4%
  • 2 teams – 38.3%
  • 3 teams – 28.3%
  • 4 teams – 8.5%
  • 5 teams – 0.9%
  • 6 teams – <0.1%

So for every 100 times you run this ‘random’ process for fixtures that have a manual input between the Premier League and experts in randomness, Atos, the probability of Arsenal facing ZERO teams after a European day out is just 3.4%.


If there was a 3.4% chance of rain, would you take an umbrella? If there was a delicious cream cake in the work fridge and it was NOT your own and someone said the chances of getting caught were only 3.4%, would you eat it? Of course you would you greedy dessert rustler.

There was a 96.6% chance that we would NOT face zero teams after a European game.

I know what you are thinking, who else had luck like that out of the non-European football teams in the Premier League?

Here’s a breakdown of fixtures for the 13 teams not in Europe were as follows, with Arsenal the only club not to play a club in Europe:

  • 0 teams – Arsenal
  • 1 team – Brentford, Newcastle, Watford, Wolves
  • 2 teams – Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leeds, Norwich
  • 3 teams – Brighton, Burnley, Southampton

Shut the back and front door here… only Arsenal didn’t get the advantage of playing a team after Europe? 66.66% of teams in the non-European pot had 2 or more games against Euro-tired top teams.

Are you kidding me?

To make matters even more intriguing, the original fixtures we had planned had Arsenal playing City, Chelsea and Spurs before European competition resumed on Feb 22nd, with United landing after they were very likely to be out of European competition in late April.

So what has happened here?

Where is the oversight committee from the Premier League or ATOS?

How did no one notice that Arsenal was getting this royally screwed?

Arsenal landing the Premier League Champions, the European Champions, and the newly promoted team in their new stadium in the first three games? How does that happen?

What is the blend of algorithmic randomness and Premier League + Atos human oversight?

When the fixture list comes out this season, what will our 3.4% going to look like?

There’s plenty of evidence out there to support the fact we were poorly treated by the COVID rules at the start of the season. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest VAR hasn’t really worked for Arsenal this season. Arsenal leadership has had enough apologies from refs this season to know we’ve had plenty of very bad decisions go against us.

But the fixtures working miracles against us as well? When does it stop? We can’t keep ignoring all these random occurrences that happen to Arsenal, but not other clubs. This particular nightmare isn’t subjective, it’s just a pure data run, and the chances of our fixtures being this bad is literally 3.4%.

Being on the end of a 3.4% fail is unacceptable and someone needs to explain how that happened. If you were running a company that was supposed to be world-class at delivering impartial fixtures, surely you’d be wanting to know how something this unlikely happened in Arsenal’s first season out of Europe in 25 years, especially as we know it’s not a lottery draw, because the Premier League and ATOS both say there’s a helping hand of a human in this.

Let’s hope the team running ATOS is a little more rigorous about checking the data this season. We don’t want a statistical anomaly to become a pattern, do we?

If you think this work makes sense and you are outraged, share it on the internet and let’s get a conversation going.

P.S. If you are wondering if I really did get a statistics PHD mega geek on this puzzle, take a look at the approach and run the numbers yourself.


There are 6 Premier League fixtures after European fixtures between September and December. We must choose a combination of 6 opponents from 19 available, without repetition for a possible total of 19C6 = 27,132 combinations of fixtures.
Teams are divided into 2 categories; those in Europe, 7 teams, and those that are not, 12 teams.
So, for the case where Arsenal would play no team in Europe across the 6 fixtures, there are 12C6 = 924 possible combinations resulting in a probability of 924/27,132 = 3.4%.
The general number of combinations for playing r European teams and (6-r) non European teams is given by:
12C(6-r) * 7Cr
with the associated probabilities calculated by dividing by the total possible combinations of 19C6 = 27,132


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Un


    Cc had you on toast mate. Tied you in knots. Had you looking like a spaghetti bolognese every time you even dipped your toe in the water with him.

  2. Pierre

    Saka does well on the right but there is still a part of me that would like to see him back in his original wide left position.
    The way he used to pick out players with crosses from the left with precision, whether it was the cut back or into the corridor of uncertainty is a part of his game we have missed since transferring to the right.

    I know for sure that Eddie would benefit from having a wide player that doesn’t cut in on to his favourite foot most of the time as saka/Martinelli/Smith Rowe/pepe tend to do.

    If we continue with saka on the right and Martinelli on the left, unless we can get our full backs into good crossing positions our strikers will continue to be starved of quality chances, and when i say good crossing positions, i don’t mean out on the touchline, i mean within the width ( or thereabouts) of the penalty area.

    We are way too predictable in the final 3rd, Odegaard 5 yard pass to saka who cuts inside and has a shot.
    Or xhaka 5 yard pass to martinelli who hasn’t the skill set to drop a shoulder and beat his man so invariably lays the ball square or back.

    Thankfully Eddie gives the team something different inside and outside the box..
    A 3rd of his goals last season were self created through Intelligent pressing , the other 2 thirds were from quality one touch finishing.

    It has been mentioned that our creativity has regressed year on year with the exclusion of Ozil and the introduction of Odegaard, that’s what the stats suggest anyway.
    It is time for Odegaard to reverse this trend as he cant forever walk in Ozil’s shadow or Arteta will lose patience with him as he put his job on the line in paying Ozil to leave and spending 30 mil on Odegaard without improvement, in fact the opposite.

  3. Un


    Marquinhos appears very very similar to Saka so I dare say we may start seeing more of him on the left sentient when we are looking for width on the left.

  4. Un


    Sounds like the PTSD talking. See a therapist. In time you’ll forget him and the spanking he delivered to you.

  5. Siddeeq

    Yakubu is Arabic for Jacob, which is Jack in English, so Partey is our new midfield crock like Wilshere

  6. Pierre

    ” but on this one I am afraid I’m going t have to disagree
    I rate Odegaard
    I think we will see big things from him in the next 2 seasons and a sharp rise in output, and consistent high performance levels overall”

    When i watch Odegaard, i see a player who who is lacking bravery both on the ball and off the ball.
    That doesn’t make him a bad player but his lack of backbone will always hold him back from being an elite playmaker.

    My comment back in September highlighted this problem and i don’t think much has changed.

    “”The strange thing about Odegaard is that without the ball he sprints about the pitch trying to close down the opposition and looks quite lively , but with the ball at his feet he has no pace and rarely if ever sprints with the ball.
    If I look for a reason as to why Odegaard strugglea to travel with the ball , I can only think that he lacks the confidence or bravery to show the ball to the defender to entice him in to a tackle.
    For Odegaard to reach the top level he needs to show more bravery on the ball, he needs to commit defenders to draw them out of position and he needs to put himself in a position that he will be clattered by a defender like a Gascoigne or Grealish or even a Smith Rowe
    .Playing with the fear of being tackled will hold Odegaard back as he will become another Xhaka who just recycles the ball.
    You rarely see xhaka or Odegaard fouled whilst attempting to dribble, that is because they rarely attempt to dribble into dangerous areas and settle for the simple option .Maybe the deeper role will suit Odegaard more as he has good qualities on the ball that suit a central midfielder more than a CAM.”

  7. Un

    Delusional in what? 😆
    Spotting how auba holds back the team? How Leno was a weak link? That the side needed a play maker as a priority before ESR and Odegaard were brought into the team? For spotting how Emery destroyed the club and set us back? How Saliba wouldn’t get near our first team for a season or two? For stating xakha was a much better player than given credit for? That Dani Ceballos was a total waste of time? For believing in our young players over the toxic senior players Emery brought in?

    Shall we go back to last summer and go through your posts on how awful white and Ramsdale were? Some of your calls done the years have been hilarious. Dani C like Joe Cole 🤦🏻‍♂️

  8. Freddie Ljungberg


    Sure Don, I can’t really be bothered doing this with you today since I know you’ll never stop with your little fantasy trip. Don’t want you to get banned for the 8th time.

    Think you’re projecting on the spanking part though. Feel free to prove me wrong by bringing up some direct quotes if you have nothing better to do. Ta da

  9. Freddie Ljungberg


    Again, delusional. Find me a post where I have commented on how bad Ramsdale or White were before they played for us, I’ll wait.

    Think we could have used the funds much better and still do but that’s another topic.

  10. Un

    The strange thing about Odegaard is that without the ball he sprints about the pitch trying to close down the opposition and looks quite lively , but with the ball at his feet he has no pace and rarely if ever sprints with the ball.
    If I look for a reason as to why Odegaard strugglea to travel with the ball , I can only think that he lacks the confidence or bravery to show the ball to the defender to entice him in to a tackle.

    Yeah. would not disagree with this. However, I would at that he tends to drop into space to receive the pass and is instantly looking up to pop it off
    I do agree he goes back far too often but I think this is down to instruction from Arteta
    When you watch him for sociedad he seemed far more forward minded. How often does Saka and Martinelli really go at their man? Or smith Rowe for that matter?
    This isn’t a coach that encourages creative players to take risks like Wenger did.

  11. Pierre

    “Marquinhos appears very very similar to Saka so I dare say we may start seeing more of him on the left sentient when we are looking for width on the left.”

    I haven’t seen marquinhos but i have seen Olise and for me he is the real deal.
    Saka and Olise on either flank would be a dream , though of course Gnabry is also quality.

  12. Valentin


    Yes it is all about opinion, but some here don’t accept other opinion and often resort to name calling and petty insults.

    You rate Ødegaard, I don’t. You think that with more experience he will become much better, I don’t.
    I think that he is one of those players who has a precocious mind. Those look impressive at 16 years old, but plateau quite quickly. There is limited progress between the 21 years and the 25 years, because of the precocity. Later on everybody seem surprise that those players never kick in. Remember the original Denilson whom Real Betis bought for a world record fee thinking that they had discovered the new Maradonna.

    Ødegaard had 2 international goals in 41 appearances. His first was in June 2019 and it is his only contribution in a decisive game. His second came on March 2022 in a meaningless friendly. So nearly 3 years without goals for an attacking midfielder it is poor.
    His stats for assists are also mediocre for an attacking midfielder. His first two were in 2019 and the next was in an international friendly against Greece in June 2021 then in another friendly in March 2022.

    My point is that in difficult matches such as tournament qualifiers he does not score or assists. That does not make him a bad player, but a limited player. He should not be a starter at Arsenal. He should be a player Arsenal brings when we want to close down a game.

    We spend 35 millions on a luxury player who is not decisive when for the same price we could have bought a player who would have move the needle for the club.

    Also the argument that with age he will get miles better does not wash, because his flaws won’t disappear with age. He does not lack maturity quite the contrary. He is just too one footed and too one paced. He can’t switch gear to run away from a defender and he does not have the ambidextrous foot ability of Cazorla.

    In 5 years time, he will be Xhaka, the player who splits the supporters into 2 camps. Some like his managers see a consummate professional with leadership quality, when the others see a mediocre player who should have been sold ages ago.

  13. AFC Forever

    The Bard

    “Some of the negative comments on Ode make me think some posters don’t know a decent footballer from a bar of soap”

    They don’t. Or it’s classic trolling.

    I go to most home games and Odegaard is a class above. The fans love him. Ian Wright and Micah Richards are massive fans of his too. I remember Paul Merson claiming he was a poor signing last August but he has had the balls to admit he got it wrong, even claiming that Odegaard is one of the best players in the Premier League. Pep was heaping praise on him too. The ultras on LeGrove have some very weird takes but no matter how many times they get things wrong, they refuse to learn from them.

  14. Un


    Ok. I agree. He must raise those numbers.

    In Nasri’s first full season at the club he scores 6 and assists 5 at 22 years old

    Season 2
    At 23

    Season 3

    4/4 (at 24 in Dortmund)

    5 goals 6 assists
    25 year old at Dortmund

    6 goals 6 assists at arsenal

    6 goals 0 assists

    3 goals 5 assists

    Would anyone argue that these two were not great playmakers in their prime for arsenal?

  15. Un

    Freddie Ljungebrg


    1 goal (on debut vs United) 0 assists

    7 goals 2 assists

    9 goals 3 assists


    17 goals and 5 assists

  16. Dissenters

    ‘ Remember the original Denilson whom Real Betis bought for a world record fee thinking that they had discovered the new Maradonna.’

    I remember than one
    He was the king of step-overs, man did them until he got dizzy and fell over.

  17. CG

    Well said and reminded Valentin

    (Excellent post.)

    Re. Odegaard

    Passive, pretty, neat and tidy.Turns up, when its easy.

    But does not dominate in the difficult away games.

    eg Spurs/Newcastle – when he was expected to as an Ex Real Madrid player, costing £30 000 000

    The facts are ZZ and Ancelotti have won x 7 Champions Leagues between them- and they clearly do not rate the player that highly.

  18. raptora

    Charlie is the same guy that said how after Arteta had fixed our defence we’ll see a market improvement on the attacking front?!.

    To the many people saying how we’ve been defending with more people and attacking with less and taking less risks on the offence, how it’s a balance thing and that we’ve conceded less goals is totally connected to scoring less goals, he said that it’s not how it works and Arteta has build the foundation of the defensive first, now will go on and give his attention to our attack.

    2019/20 56/48
    2020/21 55/39
    2021/22 61/48 (56 before the 5 goals scored in the meaningless game vs Everton)

    After £120m spent on defensive players last Summer, we’ve conceded 9 goals more than the season before, and the exact same amount as the season when we defended with Sokratis, Mustafi, Luiz and Kolasinac. That’s after roughly £200m spent on defensive players and multiple players given away or paid to leave.

    The attack has been the exact same garbage it’s been for the last 3 seasons and we’re miles behind the top 4 in that regard. We’ve seen some cute goals here and there but all in all we’ve not been nearly as dangerous as we should be and the big chances created, where we are placed 17th, clearly shows that.

  19. Un


    We have improved on the attacking front with no goal scorer
    I agree that it’s not good enough but it’s definitely an improvement

  20. AFC Forever

    Ian Wright.
    “He’s beautiful on the ball, he’s so efficient. People like Odegaard, he brings people into the game, he gives you touches he’s one of those. I remember when I played with Gazza he was amazing for that. He gives you touches of the ball, I remember when I played for England first time and he said: ‘Wrighty, just make sure when I get it, be behind me, let me know where you are I’ll turn it around the corner to you, give it me back and I’ll pass it out. Get yourself some touches early doors to get your confidence in the game’. That’s what he’s like, a generous player. Somebody with that composure in that part of the field is going to give you that kind of quality. He takes care of the ball. Everything is so efficient. He doesn’t give it away in traffic. He’s got the skill, the capability to take people on, create chances.”
    Paul Merson
    “Martin Odegaard has proved me wrong and is becoming the leader Arsenal need. He is the main man there now and the first name on the team sheet for me. He has really improved and is doing the business. I think the players respect him because they can see he’s a real player. I didn’t see it at first, I have to admit. He’s Arsenal’s go-to man and he makes them tick. He isn’t a leader in terms of running around and kicking people or barking out orders. But in terms of the way he’s playing he is. The way he’s turned it around people are looking at him now and fair play, he has done very, very well. He always wants the ball and knows how to use it. That’s leadership too. I take my hat off to him because he’s top, top drawer. One of the best in the Premier League in my opinion.”

    Danny Murphy:
    “He’s got a brilliant football brain. He’s very good at finding space, technically very gifted with either foot, keeps the ball very well, always plays on the front foot and he defends better than Ozil ever did. He knows his job in the team, he drops into positions and presses really well. His fitness levels are superb by the way. He is capable of becoming a superstar for Arsenal, he really is.”

    Micah Richards:
    “He is an excellent player. What I like about him so much is that he gets into areas where people struggle to make an impact. When you are in tight areas where you have to manipulate the ball, he is so composed. Honestly, you know what’s so good, and what I like the most about him is his character. We’ve all been there where you have been the talk of the town. You go to Madrid at 16 and everyone was talking about him like he was going to the team and light it up and then he goes on loan to Hereveen and Vitesse, and Real Sociedad and a lot of people had written him off. And then he comes on loan to Arsenal and he only scored one goal in that period of time but you could just see his confidence building and not only him, but I’ve got to give special mentions to Arteta for giving him the confidence, the belief. Odegaard has been outstanding, he’s the one who glues it all together. His vision, awareness, all parts of his game.”

  21. raptora

    Same Charlie guy that put all the blame for Leicester missing out on UCL places because of playing Fofana? According to him, the bump in 41 to 50 goals conceded could be accredited to playing the young CB and the price they paid for playing him was that they missed UCL football.

    Well Fofana only played around month and a half football this season, and Leicester conceded 59 goals, or 9 goals more than with him in the team in 20/21.

    Another solid take by CC.

  22. Nelson


    I don’t think you understand Arteta yet. His process/system is team chemistry and team spirit. Auba and Pepe both have good individual quality but don’t fit in Arteta’s system. I am interested to see which player he’ll sign this Summer. Ode is a player in Arteta’s system, end of.

  23. raptora

    And about fixing our defence?

    We’ve registered more than the current 48 goals, 3 times in the last 27 years.
    2x under Wenger, 1x under Emery. And at least we scored a shit ton 74 under Wenger, 73 under Emery.

    We’ve scored less than the 61 goals just 3 times in the last 27 years.
    1x under Wenger (1998/99 when we conceded 17 goals), 1x under Emery/Arteta, 1x under Arteta.

    Arteta’s numbers are historically bad but supposedly he’s fixed the defence and our attack has looked better. Okay.

  24. AFC Forever

    There is room for improvement and that comes with team and individual development.

    This current team have been together for just one season, so in terms of building patterns of play, partnerships and understanding we are behind all other teams. As players train and play together, the ‘team’ improves and players do too. They will also have a season of PL experience, which is invaluable. We were naive at times.

    For me the future is really bright with the talent we have.

    The squad is too light and missing in key areas, but we knew that going into the season. Auba was a pain in the arse but it is what it is. Adding players is necessary but Partey and Tierney are concerns. You need your best players to be reliable and guarantee to play 30-plus Premier League games. Partey has managed just 26 in both of his seasons with us. If you look at Spurs, Hojbjerg played 38 and 36 games, that’s a huge difference. Tiierney again has played 27 and 22 games and that simply is not good enough if you want to be consistent. This affects team rhythm and points. We need to ensure we bring in players who are robust because we have more games next season which will make it more demanding on bodies. If we do that properly and get better game time from Partey we could bang next season.

  25. raptora

    We were used to scoring for fun with players in the team like Chamakh and Bendtner and in defence we had the likes of Almunia, Senderos and Djorou. Even in recent years we played with the likes of Mustafi, Kolasinac Andre Santos, Lichtsteiner. And we were still pulling good numbers in attack and in defence.

    Now, we’re supposedly building an all-star team with players worth so much money and 3rd year in a row our numbers are absolutely tragic.

    Who’s responsible?!

  26. Valentin


    Xhaka is a player crucial to Arteta system. That does not stop me from thinking that
    1) the system is flawed and not designed to be on the front foot. We are mediocre defensively and poor attacking wise. Xe rely too much on individual talent to compensate the system’s flaws.

    2) Xhaka should not be at the club. No other serious top 4 contenders will have him on their squad never mind as their captain. He is not suited for a fast, pressuring league.

  27. Un


    Yes. The defence was awful this year. I don’t rate Gabriel and I don’t rate Cedric or Tavares. We had a defence of Cedric Holding Gabriel Tavares for a large spell and it cost us dearly
    Holding is the only one of those 4 that I consider a consistently good defender

  28. Un

    This season with Saliba Tierney White and Tomyasu hopefully able to play regularly I’d say we will almost certainly improve that

  29. andy1886

    Absolutely correct Nelson. Auba has scored for every single manager with the exception of Arteta because he doesn’t fit Arteta’s system Odegaard does, unfortunately Arteta is the Gareth Southgate of league managers so don’t expect entertaining attacking football anytime soon.

  30. Mr Serge

    Now that Partey has changed his name to yakubu is he going to pay for fans that bought his shirt to change it on them ?

  31. RP7

    As per

    “Yves Bissouma is destined for Arsenal this summer, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.
    The Brighton man has attracted a host of suitors following a superb seasn with the Seagulls.
    But it seems that there will be only one destination – and it will be the Gunners.”

    Let’s pray it happens.
    No evidence that there’s a serious threat of being imprisoned for assault so not a major gamble.
    I like Youri, but this guy seems what we need.
    Can he play alongside Partey or is he a rival to Partey, with Xhaka guaranteed a starting spot?

  32. Nelson


    But you have to admit that Xhaka was so shit under Emery, but played much better under Arteta. That’s why he belongs to the Arteta’s system.

  33. Un

    Defensively, Arsenal suffer massively without Thomas Partey. In the Premier League games he appeared in this season, Arsenal conceded an average of 0.96 goals per game. Without him, the number jumps to an average of 1.64 goals per game. Partey averages 1.8 tackles won per game, the highest by some way in the Arsenal squad this season. He averages highly on pressure success rate (35.4) and interceptions too (1.5). He is, by some way, Arsenal’s best defensive midfielder and vital to Arsenal’s midfield and defence.

  34. raptora

    How many transfer windows and money does Arteta’s system need to get going and for us to sign the right players that belong to the system?

    We’re in the 6th transfer window and £240m in. Probably another over a £100m expected this Summer.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Pedro said that the Arsenal hierachy chose Arteta because he can save them a dime by being one of the best coaches in the world. How he’ll improve our current players at the time. Seems like he just wants more and more money to not come even close to fluid attacking play or capable defending.

  35. Nelson


    Another example is Mohamed Elneny. He was written off by most of the fans. Players like Guen, AMN are better individually. But he can still fit into Arteta’s system.

  36. AFC Forever


    You defend and attack as a team. Partnerships and understanding are key and we have been building that. The back four has to be a unit, the centre-half pairing a partnerhsip. This is worked on relentlessly. Unfortunately, we lost both Tomi and Tierney which caused us an imbalance with and without the ball. We should also acknowledge that this was their first season together as a unit, which means a lot. Our set-piece defending is the best it has ever been. We used to be as soft as butter at corners. As soon as we lost White we conceded our first set-piece goal. Never gets a mention, nothing is good everything is bad.

    I go back to my earlier point about team development and robustness. You need to keep your partnerships together and that means recognising the fitness and reliability of players. It concerns me that Tierney and Partey are missing too many games because that weakens us considerably. We can’t have important players only able to play 26 PL games, it’s just not going to get you the points you need disturbing the balance of the team.

    Arsenal are progressing well, despite whatever the returning doomsters from last pre-season say. Peddling a narrative that everything is a disaster acknowledges closed mind thinking, which stifles any sensible debate. It’s just narrative.

    This team has a season behind them now and that means we will start the season much better prepared. It took us a while to get fluidity from the back, understandably so with so many new players. In the first part of the season, our transition play was less penetrative and the tempo too slow. It improved as the season progressed but we missed that finisher other teams have, which should be resolved this summer. Players will be more familiar with their roles and the players around them plus some of the naivety will fade away. There are holes that need to be fixed and if we get that right by adding good acquisitions, we will see substantial improvement. I hope our fitness team can find out what the hell is wrong with Partey & Tierney because that’s a problem. It means we need adequate cover, that left sided position especially.

  37. Un


    Martin Keown has eboue senderos toure and flamini coached into the meanest defence in Europe in just a few months. Still holds the record. It can be done

  38. AFC Forever


    Thanks, exactly my point about Partey. Massive loss to the team and had he managed 36 or 38 games, like Hojbjerg has for Spurs, we would have been comfortably 4th. It wouldn’t be such a problem if we had someone similar in the squad but that means spending money. I would do it because he’s crucial and I don’t trust him. As for Tierney, he only played 22 games and that’s just not good enough for the team dynamic. I would break the bank for a left sided athletic player, it’s crucial to the balance of the team in and out of possession.

  39. RP7

    Siddeeq, it’s happens all the time in general society.
    Most of the time towards Islam because Islam does not allow Muslims to marry non-Muslims.
    Ribery has done it, but I think Van Persie merely gave his kids Muslim names without converting himself.
    Maybe Partey thought an ugly guy like him would not find another girl like that. LOL

  40. raptora

    Elneny was always a solid player, same as Holding.
    The type of players that are good enough to get 5-8 games per season.
    If you play them for extended period of time you will start noticing their deficiencies.

    Holding was tragic in the game vs Leeds then completely collapsed vs Spuds.
    Elneny was tragic against both Spuds and Newcastle.

    Elneny had good games for us under Wenger.

    As for Xhaka – he had the 2nd most games behind Aubameyang in Emery’s full season and the highest scoring Arsenal campaign to date in addition to 4 MotM awards. Substantially higher rated on whoscored than this season as well – 7.03 to 6.67.

    Xhaka also reached his absolute peak market value under Emery that goes like this – £36m in May 2018, to £45m in Dec 2018.

    Xhaka’s influence in the current team is incredibly overstated. We’re only in a position to rely on him because the one above him refuses to bring any competition so his favorite can play week in, week out.

  41. Samesong

    Most of the time towards Islam because Islam does not allow Muslims to marry non-Muslims.

    RP7 where did you get that understanding from?

  42. Davey

    I would take Bissouma, we have struggled for donkeys years with a lack of legs all over the pitch especially in Midfield. We should have signed him up last summer with the 50m we done on White IMO. The guy covers the ground and is what we need.

  43. Siddeeq

    “””Maybe Partey thought an ugly guy like him would not find another girl like that. LOL””””

    Ribery too is vertically and facial aesthetically challenged. 😁

  44. raptora

    We either need 2 enforcers like it would be with Partey and Bissouma.

    Or 1 enforcer Partey + 1 pure CM/playmaker like Cesc, Cazorla, Ramsey for Arsenal and Bernardo and Gundogan for City.

    Bissouma and my boy Anguissa that was available for mere 15m last season fit the 1st category.
    Zinchenko, Gundogan and Tielemans are that 2nd type of midfielder.

    If Arteta is Pep’s apprentice he will go for the playmaker midfielder and we’ve seen some tests he already made this season when he moved Xhaka to play a more advanced role with Partey sitting deeper.

    The good thing about bringing in Bissouma though, is that we get to have a solid replacement for the games that Partey misses.

    I, personally, believe that we need to bring in BOTH an enforcer and a playmaker and get rid of Xhaka.

    I would have been very happy with Anguissa + Zinchenko for incredible value transfers.

    Now Bissouma + Tielemans sounds alright but for a lot money.

  45. Un

    raptoraJune 8, 2022 14:13:07
    Just found out about his previous girlfriend – the Ghanaian model Gifty Boakye. Not too shabby tbh.

    Low standards there Raptora
    I’m not rich but I do way better than that

  46. benkind

    Xhaka has a court case for literally breaking the law.

    Guendouzi defended teammates from rival players

    One was called a trouble maker and kicked out. The other is someone fans want to be captain.

    This was a quote from twitter. I will say no more. Xhaka threw the hand band and told the fans to fuck off and he was integrated but Guendozi was too problematic. Since Guendozi left to Hertha and Marseille he played alot.

    No one is saying Odegaard is shit however, you need your attacking players to be ones that can cause major havoc. If Odegaard got injured for 2 months last season I don’t think we would have felt his absence has much as Partey missing alot of game. Look at the attacking midfielders of all the top 6 teams which one of them would swap their player for Odegaard?

  47. Valentin


    Arteta wants to play a 4-2-3-1, but bought or extended two midfielders who can’t do that in any attacking sense: Xhaka
    and Partey.

    Partey has simply not the physic to be able to handle a full premiership season and international football without breaking down. Even if he changes dieticians and starts to do yoga, he has a fragile hamstring and the way he plays put it under stress.

    Xhaka is just a question of ability.
    In order to be successful 4-2-3-1 system requires midfielders who fizz the ball to the excentred CAM. Somebody who has the pace and the spacial awareness to smell danger combined with the technical ability to tackle cleanly. Xhaka can smell danger, but he is too slow and he can’t tackle.

    The system also requires such players to be able to handle being hunted and still release teammates forward in space via a reverse ball. Again Xhaka can’t do that. In the last few games, Arteta put Elneny to act as progressive pivot when restarting from the back. He did made some mistakes but nowhere as much as Xhaka.

    That results in that slow predictable lateral attack. That system combined with the players stunt our attack. But the worse is that overall it does not help our defense either. In order to compensate that static positioning, Arteta asks one of our fullbacks to be more adventurous. That then exposes our CBs to 1v1 situation which lead to penalty, red cards and goals opportunities for the opposition.

  48. Un


    We literally beat United and chelsea with Xakha’s playing very very well with 2 really progressive attacking performances. They were hunting him
    What we don’t have is someone who can unlock the lock of low bloc teams. That’s where xakha falls short. So does Elneny, so does partey
    This team needs that wizard/technical leader. Prime cesc or Santi.
    Savic, de Jong or Bellingham are the only players I can think of who really can do what’s needed

  49. CG


    “””Partey has simply not the physic to be able to handle a full premiership season and international football without breaking down.”””

    And he has another distraction to contend with

    Ramadan 2023 dates.

    March 22nd to April 23rd

    ps. She must be a beauty.

  50. CG

    Raptora ( thanks)

    I think, you can safely say, she definitely ‘ wears the trousers ‘

    Lets hope, he keeps his mind on the day job and he does not get too distracted.

  51. andy1886

    Scamacca links raised again. Nothing against the player but word is he wants to stay in Italy which sounds familiar (see last transfer window).

  52. salparadisenyc

    Testimonial time jesus maybe its time to hang up the LG boots.

    If we had to lay some predictions out for this window what we thinking?

  53. CG


    “””””March 22nd to April 23rd Didn’t affect the Benz””‘

    He has many Ramadans under his belt.( like CL medals)

    It will be Partey’s first.

    Onerous to be an athlete during this month.

  54. Samesong

    Onerous to be an athlete during this month.

    The day’s are not that long so pretty easy to do. Lots of player do intermittent fasting anyway.

  55. AFC Forever


    “Partey has simply not the physic to be able to handle a full premiership season and international football without breaking down”

    Well he’s clearly as soft as butter. Just like Princess Harry & Willemina Smith he’s chosen to be a sub to a woman. That blokes in for a fun marriage, just hope he remembers which way the goal is. Why doesn’t he be smart and just ‘identify’ as a Muslim? I mean, in the modern world you can self identify as anything you like.and if anyone doesn’t like it you just get them cancelled. He’s really not thought this through.

  56. Tom

    “Islam allows Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women but prohibits Muslim women to marry non-Muslims”

    I’m sure this one came down straight from the all mighty Allah himself.
    Ah, religions lol.

    Partey getting married is a good thing though.
    He’ll soon stop having sex and will stay fit longer throughout the season.

    As an Arabic non speaker I hope his new name , Jakubu , means the one who shoots straight.

  57. Foxy

    Pierre made a good post re the issue of having inverted wingers on both sides restricting our attacking options due to lack of cut backs for our strikers to feed on.
    I am undecided on Oordegard in part how he seems to drift in the same space as Saka on the left slowing down play. Perhaps with a true right winger to go outside, Eddie’s pace though the middle and an attacking MF like Tielmans in support we could see much improved output from Oordegard.

  58. Tom

    Also, there are no ugly men who make the type of money Partey and Ribery make.
    As a matter of fact when Bayern offered Ribery €10m per year in 2015 he immediately started getting women votes for the sexiest man alive.

  59. AFC Forever


    “Partey getting married is a good thing though. He’ll soon stop having sex and will stay fit longer throughout the season.As an Arabic non speaker I hope his new name , Jakubu , means the one who shoots straight.”

    Ha ha. Very good.

  60. raulishuss

    Value the resident know it all who doesn’t actually know a thing……… have you ever had anything positive to say about arsenal val in all your years on legrove. CUNT

  61. Valentin


    you must have seen different games than me. I am pretty sure that in both of those game we did not play 4-2-3-1 but a 3-4-3.
    Against Chelsea, I am sure that we had White-Holding-Gabriel in defense.
    Tavares and Saka as winback. Whaka and Elneny in midfield and Nkethia, ESR and Ødegaard upfront.
    Nkethia gave us the lead with his incessant pressing. He also scored a second goal aftzr more abject defending from Chelsea.
    Arsenal fourth goal was a penalty thay Saka created by trapping Azpicueta’s hand under his armpit and falling over pretending to be pulled down. I have never laugh so much at a message from one of my Chelsea supporter former colleagues. Minutes before the penalty he had messaged me minutes to gloat that Chelsea were going to win because they knew the dark arts.

  62. The Real Vieira Lynn


    kudos for kicking butt and taking numbers, once again


    A quote from Englandsworst to the delicate flower, Dame Nigel

    “Nigel, like you I am one of those who doesn’t know (or pretend to know) a lot about the technicalities or stratagems of pro football”

    perfectly encapsulates Pedro’s peeps

  63. TR7

    Romano : “Gabriel Jesus and Youri Tielemans are still top of the list for Arsenal this summer. Expectation on GJ is for him to join a Premier League club, as reported today morning.

    Tielemans is priority signing and new contacts with Leicester will take place soon. ”

    No mention of Bisoumma

  64. Un

    We changed formations
    Started off against Chelsea with wing backs but switched 3 times
    Tuchel himself said so and how Chelsea couldn’t deal with the changes

  65. salparadisenyc

    Scamacca isn’t a goer imo. Seems very out of the wheelhouse, hoping some clever strategy to trigger the Jesus deal.

    Imagine having Jesus in house and being able to weaponise the Big Lebowski.

  66. Mb

    As an Arabic non speaker I hope his new name , Jakubu , means the one who shoots straight.

    Lol.. shoot straight to row Z is not what we need there mate 😅

  67. Un

    Please tell me the lukaku rumours aren’t true
    Had Arteta watched him? He’s a donkey. I’d take a 36 year old Giroud all day before him