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If you’ve been following the site and the podcast this summer, you’ll know I’ve spoken of the pain I think we’ll feel this season as Arteta transitions his team from a predictable 13 to a formationally fluid 18. The draw against Fulham is a sharp example of that pain.

Arteta rolled with a very odd starting 11. He dropped Eddie, who has been on fire, Gabriel stayed on the bench with White lining up with Saliba, and both our full backs were not full-backs.

The football was not champagne; we conceded in under a minute, and the whole plan that was built on newness was blown instantly. Everything felt 5% off. Not shocking, but far from characteristic.

That said, we dominated. Some fixes were implemented at halftime. The team clawed the game back to 2-1. Then we blew it when Zinchenko brainfarted in open play and let Fulham get into our 3rd. We fluffed the corner – no big man on the front post, a great shot, a disappointing draw.

It felt like the easiest place to lay blame was Arteta.


19 shots.

11 shots on target.

4 big chances

xG of 3

71% possession

We lost to a team that…

Hit the target 3 times

Scored 2 goals

Recorded a 0.43 xG

Only made 26 passes in the final third

Could the starting 11 have been better? Of course. But you have to be able to hold a long-term thought in your mind when you have a pop about that.

Arteta vision: Having 18 players that can play any formation, against any team, to create unpredictability for the opposition.

To get there, you need to try new things. New things come with pain. But do you take some of that pain early so you can be ready for the business end of the season?

Arteta has gambled on a yes here.

There are some worries from the game. Kai Havertz looked very Chelsea out there. He did good work off the ball, found some good positions, kept control of the ball well. But we didn’t sign him to be good at running around and I don’t think fans are going to show much patience for him this season. He has to be better, fast. I’m sure he will. Dennis, Thierry,  Pires, and Freddie all started slow. Give the man more than 3 games.

Trossard – more like Drossard. Where did his game go? He was outstanding during preseason, great touch, impact every time he played, and output. He was WAY off the pace and deservedly took an early shower.

I don’t like playing Partey and Kiwior as full-backs. One, sure. Both? Seemed like a big risk. I know Kiwior has impressed in training and they wanted to give him minutes, but please, not when Partey is the other side.

Our finishing wasn’t up to speed. Saka, Martinelli, and Havertz need to better off 11 shots on target and some great openings. I’m not concerned though – we know this team has goals and they scored two today.

The subs were largely decent. Eddie was a difference maker. He occupied Fulham defenders, he was very direct, he forced a red card, and he was in the right position to finish. Same for Fabio Vieira. I got pelters for saying he’d be one to watch last year, fairly as well. But this year? Maybe we need to reassess. Let him seduce us into loving him. He was pivotal. He won the penalty, set up Eddie, and nearly scored a screamer late on. Let’s see where his game goes this season.

Unforced errors were the main concern of the day. It’s hard to shout “WE GOTTA STOP CONCEDING AFTER A MINUTE” because I’m sure the players know that. What might be a bigger catch-all is that individual errors have been costing us for the last month and our players are too good for that. Zinchenko had errors in him last season, Saka almost never does… correcting those is easier than correcting meek talent or a bad system.

Sadly, there are some times in football where you have to say… shit happens. Shit happened, we didn’t deserve a point, but we got one. We still have a chance to exit phase one of the season with 10 points which will be a good haul. United are a mess, they got VERY lucky against Forest, and Onana looks a total mess at the moment.

Arteta took a chance on Fulham. He thought rotating against them at home was a good bet. We can’t go too hard at him addressing an issue that blew up our season last year. Rotation is necessary, especially with Champions League. That said, I want to see a more serious 11 against United. That’s a blockbuster game and there’s no need to do anything mental.

So let’s see what we have. Big week ahead on the training pitch. Don’t get too down in the dumps over a point against Fulham. Plenty of time to catch up.

Right, see you in the comments. Check out the pod if you haven’t.

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Belfast Gooner

NIgel Tufnel “Otherwise he’s done plenty of good things, with good effort,, except score, same as the rest of our midfielders so far.”

Please detail these “plenty of good things”. I’d be interested to know what you think they are.


“I have no respect for your opinion.”

Nobody asked.

Nigel Tufnel

I know yesterday felt like a loss,, but I think Eddie deserves more humble apologies because he’s been a model player for us since last season. So many here shat on him about an average 100k salary for a striker who’s always ready to come on and throw himself completely into our games, regardless of the situation. Nobody ever answers the question about who’s got a better 2nd choice striker than we do. Man City? Alvarez? Not a backup anymore. Today all the Darwin cucks will come out of the closet…. but whether he’s first choice or not, Gakpo is… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

Belfast sadly you only watch goal highlights, don’t burden people with trying to explain the whole 90 to you.

You ignored the part about our other midfielders not having scored a goal yet either. But all the hate goes on Havertz.


Say no more……hate it is.

It’s almost like you hitch your wagon to shit players Pierre. Not as smart as you think

Nigel Tufnel

So Eddie is a shit player Marko?

Ok, brilliant evaluator of talent. A simple instance of Pierre (and me) being right, and the cynics embarrassed again as our players come good beyond the point of your denial…. just like Ben White.

Being miserable and negative about our players only ends up making you look bad. Havertz will do it to you soon enough.

Belfast Gooner

Nigel, I’m sure that was an answer to some question. But it wasn’t an answer to mine. I wasn’t rude. I wasn’t attacking you. I simply asked a question out of interest. I assume from your very tetchy response, which is inaccurate by the way as I’ve watched every minute of our matches this season, that you don’t actually have any specific details that back up your argument? But of course, you may have simply misread my question, which had nothing to do with our other midfielders. So let me ask it again, politely as I did before, and see… Read more »


To the havertz haters I ask what position was he playing yesterday?
His timing was a bit off, he does have great positioning and with a bit more confidence I think he’ll do great
Remember y’all wrote off Fabio last season


I was thinking more Ozil and Havertz


Havertz will do it to you soon enough.

Can’t come soon enough


Marko “It’s almost like you hitch your wagon to shit players Pierre not as smart as you think” In all honesty، It doesn’t take a lot to be smarter than you does it. I’ve said all along it would be Maddison all day long for me ، that doesn’t make Havertz a bad player ، I just don’t think he will give you goals and assists، as I said play him in centre mid and it would be perfect for him، he could play the role with his eyes closed. I blame Arteta not Havertz for the abuse that is… Read more »


True it is Arteta’s fault.

Bertie Mee

Please Pedro – comparing Kai Havertz with Henry, Pires and Bergkamp ? Really
He is way , way, way behind them. We’ve set this side up to accommodate him and he’s utterly failed to do anything. I understand not writing him,off too early but has he got the quality to improve substantially,? He has no personality on the field .. We paid £65 million for him and are rumoured to be paying north of £300 k per week. Meanwhile ESR doesn’t get a look in .
It’s a huge call by Arteta and it could really damage him


What is going on with Smith Rowe? His last start was the season before last. He was on about 160 mins last season with 11 unused substitutions. So even after he came back after all that groin stuff he was barely played. And he’s on zero minutes this season. I mean why aren’t we selling him?

The Brady bunch

Tierney ran out of town,Esr disappeared, Gabriel M disappeared, someone thinks they’re pep/god, incredibly Pedro sees no problem just like with Ramsdale


“What is going on with Smith Rowe?”

Hate to say it marko but over 12 months ago I said “In fact I would go as far to say that off the ball I’m not sure smith rowe is an Arteta type player, as he will never be a player that will press with intensity, so don’t be surprised to see him moved on within the next year or so,”

I doubt he will make it until the end of this transfer window.


“Arteta is now in an awakward position as he will be perceived as weak if he drops Havertz due to outside pressure from fans and media ، so he may dig his heels in….. we shall see، all I know is that the pressure will be mounting on Havertz which will make it very difficult to play his best football.” Pierre, He can easily drop him for a game or two, claim rotation, and no one is going to make a big stink over it. The fan and media pressure over anything Havertz isn’t even close to the fever pitch… Read more »


Correct me if I’m wrong but what did Kiwior do yesterday that Tierney couldn’t do if he was in his place? KT literally plays CB for Scotland and plays LB for the different clubs he’s been at. The role Kiwior performed yesterday on paper sounds so ideal for Tierney. Except that Tierney at LB was a beloved player for us for years, also demonstrated today in the social media and the announcement he’s loaned to Sociedad. No clue what the logic behind is. But if we are planning to invert on the right again, Tierney would have fit like a… Read more »


Arteta for whatever reason seems to really dislike ESR and I agree that his days at the club look numbered.

Sad really as he was my favourite to watch before his injury.


So sell ESR then. If he’s not being used or if he’s not capable of doing the things that the manager wants or if he’s disliked in some way then sell him. Cause what’s happening with him now isn’t helping anyone

The Brady bunch

Havertz is the rock that the great one will perish on, stupid enough to buy, stubborn enough to persist with


We gon watch Kiwior, Fabio and Havertz when we had Tierney and ESR loved by everyone and already here. We also paid £120m in the process. Good shit.

Danny S

How the hell we have gone from last season and needing to fine tune and add to the squad, to this season and a total reboot and Partey playing right back, Gab M dropped and another expensive chelsea reject I really don’t know.


Tinkering and meddling with something that was never broken Danny, simple as.

As you say we were damn close and only needed a subtle tweaking as opposed to a complete re-boot.


Arteta is someone who needs to play to the teams strengths and keep things simple. Especially if the previous system was effective.

As said, KT could have played yesterday. Havertz is presently a burden to us and has shown nothing to merit being shoehorned in at every one elses expense. ESR has done more for us, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be getting more games.


Fans can be so fickle.

There was so much weeping and gnashing of teeth since the Community Shield because Leandro Trossard wasn’t starting at center forward.

He was given a chance yesterday [the one decision Arteta made I disagreed with], and what happened? Crickets. And crickets from said fans.


Most, if not all of our players are having teething issues with this new system, I wouldn’t be that hard on them. This new system is stifling our best players.


I dunno about the subtle tweaking WE I don’t personally mind the signings we made persay in fact I think we honestly needed one or two more it’s just the balance of it all right now is off from the very start. Sure Havertz isn’t an 8 and that’s an unnecessary project to create but the real issues right now are the backline and midfield base is completely off trying to fit in everyone and not your best back 4. The back three roaming Partey shite isn’t it


Danny S This is my current thinking. I just don’t get why he is trying to make such a drastic change to the team line-up this season when all it needed was a slight tweak and we would have been rolling and have won.9/9 guaranteed. Had Arteta just left the set up as : Martinelli, Eddie, Saka Rice, Øde, Partey Zinky/ Tomi, Gabriel M, Saliba, Benny Blanco Ramsdale We literally had a winning team that would have powered through our 3 opening teams with ease. As I mentioned a while back, squeezing in Havertz is destabilising the entire squad. It’s… Read more »


I think problem for Arteta if he drops Havertz, starts esr or Vieira, and our overall play is significantly better then what? Arteta has to stick with Havertz or it might be obvious he made expensive mistake when we had other priorities.


His needs, ego or whatever shouldn’t come before the team though JWL


No nothing’s as usual are the loudest to spell doom. Used to be trossard was getting unfair treatment blah blah now he dropped a disaster class they’ll mention another one. Captain Hindsight merchant


Arsenal created the most xG this weekend of any team in the Premier League. But apparently it was such a poor performance, and the tactics was so poor🤣🤣


Raul: “Arsenal created the most xG this weekend of any team in the Premier League.”

Dunno where you saw that but the site I’m using says Chavs 3.41 and Man City 3.85 had more than our 3.23 xG. We were behind for 69 mins, at home, to Fulham. Imagine we had a decent xG. Proves nothing as everyone says we didn’t play well. Apparently you think we played great.


You know the xG vs Forest in round 1?

Arsenal 0.84
Forest 0.97

We won by 2-1, I’m sure you didn’t post the xG stats to say that we’re struggling now did you?!


Pedro could perish on the Havertz hill along
With Arteta.
I wouldn’t risk it myself.
Just saw the match highlights. Saka very poor
For both Sheffield goals,


If were into a new found ruthlessness where ESR isn’t on the level and he’s getting shipped i’m all for sos long as we replace with better.

That will not be an easy task considering the potential, huge ceiling imo and many others on here.

Given our needs, Gravenberch adds precisely where we are lacking. If we’re not going to play him lets replace him,


Arsenal first 3 games of last season vs first 3 games of this season (on next tweet)

22/23 vs 23/24
5.28xG vs 6.11xG
50.7% average possession vs 67.3%
43 shots vs 48
22 shots against vs 28
9 goals vs 5 goals
2 goals against vs 3 goals

But but but


You know the xG vs Forest in round 1?Arsenal 0.84
Forest 0.97We won by 2-1, I’m sure you didn’t post the xG stats to say that we’re struggling now did you?!

The notion we were horrible at the weekend is a blatant lie and hysteria at it’s absolute but that’s legrove in a nutshell so….


Raul why do you get so defensive whenever folk have criticism of the club?


That doesn’t constitute to you being more of a fan


Raul why do you get so defensive whenever folk have criticism of the club?

How can you be so critical after 3 games of the season when things aren’t even bad and we’re unbeaten? There’s no logic just stupid agendas and emotional hysterias. Ben white couldn’t head a ball but I’m suppose to take same people’s opinion as constructive criticism? Lol


Opta had us as creating 5 big chances over the weekend but people here act like the new system is a total disaster. Like I said it is clueless criticism



I’m not sure what your referring to but I haven’t said anything you just mentioned. Running the risk of sounding like Bob here (sorry Bob) but people will see things differently. It makes the world tick and keeps things interesting.

Where it gets ridiculous is folk saying the title has gone after we have achieved 7/9 points. That is laughable.


I do think there are a lot of commenters.. who are underestimating how talented some of our team is. .. We have at least 2 or 3 World Class players and 2 or 3 more who are right on the edge of it. And when I say World Class I mean considered top 5 at their position in the whole world. Clearly, Saka and Saliba. Perhaps Rice and Partey… and Odegaard, Martinelli are right on the edge of it. So we will win a lot of games just based on talent and individual brilliance regardless of managerial tactics. And their… Read more »


The other point is also laughable, that there are no problems at all. That everything is perfect, smells of roses and it just cannot get any better than it is. Imagine being on a blog that talks about the problems that are obvious to everyone, Arteta sees them the best btw. But imagine it’s forbidden to talk about the problems. Cause everything is perfect, right?! Mainstream media is talking about it, social media is talking about it, our famous fans and ex players are talking about it, but god forbid to talk about it in an Arsenal football blog after… Read more »


In a perfect world we’d be bringing in a LB a CB and a forward or CM before the end of the window but the likelihood is nothing and more galaxy brain till the end of the season


‘ So we will win a lot of games just based on talent and individual brilliance regardless of managerial tactics’

I put our first win at home against Forest to that phenomenon
Martinelli’s assist for Eddie to score the first goal and Saka’s second goal were individual acts of genius that doesn’t happen another day we’re middling.


We have this thing at Arsenal where we fall in love with our managers
The manager who’ is transactional in everything can’t be assessed on the same transactional basis ?
Why is that qualified criticism of Arteta invites a 911 response, people came out with muskets to win personal duels


I hope for the sake of Havertz that he scores a double deflected goal of the ball bounces off his arse or something.
His confidence is in the gutter.

Arteta needs to learn from how Pep handled Grealish. He benched him after poor performances in the first season and made him earn his spot over time.


It’s true people have let the emotion of a crap result inflate how bad they think the performance was The overall performance was quite good. We dominated. We drew based on 2 moments of defensive fuck ups from saka and sue to a couple of missed chances at the other end. Those were isolated mistakes as opposed to reflective of how we played in general which was basically dominant for 90% of the match If we repeated the exact same performance but saka screws his head on we win the game very easily and probably no one is on here… Read more »


Iam wright has talked about the situation with Gabriel. So it is concerning then. Wonder are we getting into another Auba situation here. Do we need to have discord right at the begining of what would/could be a brilliant one? Isn’t it self.defeating to get into such a position. We really are in the dark regarding Gaby M. May be the match against Man U will provide more indication of what’s going on. Clearly our defence has not been the same. Let’s see


Dissenter, The problem is Arteta’s ego is more fragile than peps, so he will put it before the club. He will continue with Havertz 😞 Trossard didn’t have a great 🎮, but that’s common when you’re left out for a while and you’re desperate to impress and get back in. He’s probably wondering what do I need to do, to get a game. I believe Arteta only played him on Saturday cos fans had been calling out for it. However he should have benched Havertz for Trouble and played Eddie. That was the simple solution. Tryna be too clever and… Read more »


So we will win a lot of games just based on talent and individual brilliance regardless of managerial tactics. And their are some commenters who are gonna look a bit foolish when they predict abject horror and doom and it doesn’t happen. The players will have something to say about our results. That for me is why it is a bit frustrating when the manager gets in the way unnecessarily, imo. With the latest gadget setup. This might be like been defensive of arteta but he is the one that has got those players into an environment and set up… Read more »


We have this thing at Arsenal where we fall in love with our managers The manager who’ is transactional in everything can’t be assessed on the same transactional basis ? Why is that qualified criticism of Arteta invites a 911 response, people came out with muskets to win personal duels. Arteta has copped the most criticism in his time at arsenal so stop acting like you don’t know how it works. Even you have your agenda to perform. Isn’t that why you can’t be objective about havertz (,imagine been so defensive of xhaka but wants to dissimise havertz who has… Read more »


Trossard didn’t have a great 🎮, but that’s common when you’re left out for a while and you’re desperate to impress and get back in. He’s probably wondering what do I need to do, to get a game. I believe Arteta only played him on Saturday cos fans had been calling out for it.

Such bile shit. Lol


Newcastle just pulled an Arsenal. Do people actually watch the games instead of spewing stats only?? What kind of possession do we have? The entire left side yesterday was unbalanced with Kiwior, back passes were the name of the game which left Martin alone and isolated up front. Partey anywhere near rb is a waste of space for him and would generally prefer to see him as dm with ESR/Tross/Rice in the Xhaka’s place. I do not see where Havertz fits in this equation without the use of 1-2 true inverted lb/rb’s, which we only have 1, Zinc, who can’t… Read more »


Yeah, we should have started the season all guns blazing, showing our appetite and aspirations to contest the incredible team of City are for real and not some fake hype. We haven’t done that. We’ve been anything but convincing. We look like a team that wasted all the preseason to try new stuff now. Whatever we say about Timber LB, my boy was helping Marti a lot, he was making runs down the side line, he was combining with Marti, playing triangles etc. He wasn’t going in like a midfielder all the time like Zinchenko inverts 95% of the game.… Read more »


So when can we get the arteta out chants back? Apart from the FA cup, guys done fk all in 4 seasons.

Don’t have much faith in the CL, seeing how we never made it to a final of the EL under arteta


EL final under Wenger and emery with a worse worse team than what arteta had. Arteta has led us to the round of 16 and failed (or was it the quarters). I guess we are just making up the numbers in the CL


Watching weekend highlughts and Diaby at villa would hsve been the perfect attacking addition for us, was very excited when we were linked.

I didnt understand the Havertz signing, seems the fears when it was anmounced were justified at least so far so hopefully for all our sakes he starts to perform in some way


God bless you sir. Idiots need to know they don’t have monopoly of insults. How can someone just insult people for having a different opinion. Some people’s life must be so boring.

I doff my hat sir RSPC. Bully the fucking keyboard warrior sir


Such millennial knee jerk instant gratification here Fucking reeks of entitlement. No wonder the world is going the way it is Laughable Havertz has played 3 games. 3 games. And he’s being written off. He hasn’t even been bad. He’s been pretty good. He’s working hard and finding his way. 20 years ago Bobby pires was given over a year to settle. Havertz gets 3 games. Whatever happened to patience? You’re all throwing in the towel on a 24 year old who had 3 years at club with 5 managers, no settled style. Moved around dropped, reinstated. You can literally… Read more »


No one here is responsible for Havertz poor form or all his travails at Chelsea whilst he was making top wages.
Havertz is the only who can reverse whatever is going on. Us pretending that what we are seeing ain’t true won’t change anything.

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