by .

It does feel like a majority of Gooners are finally coming around to the idea that the weekend draw (reaction so bad I listed it as a loss yesterday by accident) wasn’t due to a shocking performance, but on the balance of play, down to two problems.

  • We made two very dim defensive errors that received the ultimate punishment
  • We didn’t perform to xG – which means the quality of our chances merited 3 goals and we only scored 2.

This tweet thread from @Bielsista summed up our first three games quite nicely.

This new unpredictable system we’re playing is delivering more possession, more xG, more shots, but less goals, and one more goal conceded compared to the opening 3 games last season.

Performance ALWAYS catches up with expected performance. Overperforming like United has been is lovely in the short term, but for me, when you’re trialing a new system, it’s great that the underlying numbers point to it working (and it failing because of a fluke) – because our players are really good and it will bang. So in short, you might hate the system, but it’s doing its job, and the solves for course correcting it are simple.

I do want to double down on some details I think are missing from the conversation.

Now, I have no clarity on the plans of Gabi M. He might be out the door by the time I wake up – but I suspect it’s too late in the window for a move like that, though I can guarantee longterm, he’ll be out.

So why is Arteta benching someone he played every game last season?

Low Blocks.

Mikel Arteta said in February that Arsenal had faced 16 blow blocks.

“We have faced 16 low blocks this season and we have won a lot of those games. Then it’s about efficiency. When they block everything and the ball doesn’t go in the net, it’s great (for them). If you win 2-0, then you attacked the low block really well. Against Aston Villa it will have to be a really high level to beat them.”

That was match day 24 – 66% of games up until that point Arteta deemed we’d faced a form of low block. To double down on that, he recently said that we actually faced more low blocks than Manchester City last season. That has been a problem for us. Clearly, we’ve mostly beaten them, but when we don’t, everyone says we’ve been sussed. This season, we’ve faced Forest who played a deep-deep block, followed by Palace and Fulham who just played normal deep blocks.

The new system we’ve been trialing has been a tactic in unleashing more ball-playing players by taking out bodies we haven’t really needed against weaker opposition.

The complicating factor has been losing Jurrien Timber – a true unlock in this system. Thomas Partey is playing right-back because he’s unreal in possession – but he’s only there because Timber is out and Tomiyasu can’t match him on the ball. Kiwior started at the weekend for two reasons – Zinchenko is making his way back to fitness, and Kiwior has been excellent in training. The reality of Zinchenko is he’s injury-prone, so giving Kiwior minutes against weak teams gives him the chance to feel out the Premier League for real – versus waiting until February when it really means something and he has to come in against City.

You can hate the system, but if you think the game was lost because Thomas Partey was getting skinned for 90, you’re wrong. If you think Kiwior was getting brutalised on the left, you’d also be wrong. Were they as good as Timber and Zini? No. But they offered more to the game than Tomi and Tierney would have. A subjective opinion, but one shared by the coaching staff.

It’s also worth noting that Saliba has played on the right and left side of defence this season. Partly, because Ben White is better with the ball at his feet than Gabriel, but I also suspect Arteta might see White as the superior and more experienced defender – he’ll want him in the middle if Saliba gets injured this season and he might even want him to start if Gabriel picks up a knock.

There are lots of scenarios Arteta has been working through – and whether people like it or not, the best place to test these things is in a live environment. It allows players to get used to the pressure in a controlled setting – versus an emergency one. Arteta did not test these scenarios last year which led him to lean on less innovative ideas during the backend of the season. Thomas Partey at right back and Ben White at centre back might have closed the gap on City – but there was no muscle memory for that type of move. We opted for Rob Holding and the rest is history.

There also needs to be some recognition of the challenge Arsenal is taking on this season. The best coach that has ever lived, with the most expensively assembled squad of all time, all peaking as I write, with a freak of a striker on 1 million euros a week. We aren’t topping them doing the same thing we did last season. The club has to invest in better ideas and we have to take the pain bedding them in. If you want a progressive coach – you have to accept that they have to experiment and occasionally get things wrong. It’s the only way to learn.

Arsenal also wants to become a sustainable club, they aren’t betting on one season of success, they want to invest in players that can dominate for 8 years when they peak. We aren’t going to peak this season, but the way we’re building the squad, it’s clear that’s not the plan (focus on young guys). The club wants to peak when City takes a shock to the system.

Does that mean we can’t win the league this season? No. But I suspect the most pressing matter is sustaining what we did last year without crashing because we can’t handle 3 games a week from September. Just read what Martinelli said about CL this season.

“I think we need to prepare ourselves for the worst, we need to prepare ourselves for the best teams and the whole team is doing that,”

“I think we are ready for a new challenge.”

“It’s so important (our squad depth) because we have too many games in the season and it’s going to be tough again,”

When you read that, you can start to understand the magnitude of the challenge, and maybe why we’re testing the squad hard early on.

All these things are painful to read – but they are based on the reality of the Premier League and what we’re up against.

Again, I’m not ruling out winning it all this year – I’m just saying a lot has to go for us for that to happen.

What I do believe is when this squad of 23.75-year-olds peaks, playing an unpredictable style no one can suss, we are going to be unstoppable. I just don’t think we’re there yet. We don’t have a Haaland, we don’t have right-wing cover, we’re not experienced enough, and I think the Timber injury has put us back a few steps.

If you don’t like the approach, tell me a better one?

Spend £900m like Chelsea – what has that got them?

Invest in a more seasoned manager – like Ten Hag? Mourinho? Conte? Carlo? Are there even any ‘we should have’ names left at this point? They’ve all come and gone, tails between their legs.

Do a Newcastle? Sure. I like what they’re doing. But is it better than what we’re offering?

Try what Klopp is doing? Do they look close to winning the league? I’m not so sure.

I like our idea the most right now. Young, technically brilliant, with a very innovative idea that will make us extremely difficult to play against, trying ready before the big changes at City. The shame is we have to wait for another club to dip before we can reach the promised land… but that dip will come one way or the other. Then we’ll be ready.

Ok, shorter one today. See you in the comments. x

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Our defensive resources could be woefully “thin” by the end of this transfer window unless we bring in one or two recruits. Timber is going to be out until at least the second half of the season. Tierney was loaned out this week and the same appears to be happening with Tavares. There appears also to be talk of Holding leaving as well.Cedric is also almost certainly leaving. So the only “prescribed defenders” left in the squad are White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Tomiyasu and Kiwior. Is six players enough? I don’t think so if you factor in that Tomiyasu and… Read more »


Havertz could be the next sergio busquets. He has the perfect game for sitting in front of the defence.. Technically good Can take the ball under pressure Likes to play 5 yard passes Plays with his head up . Doesn’t dive in، stays on his feet Intelligence. Playing Havertz deeper would take the pressure off him scoring and creating as he appears content to keep it simple and has no real intention to drive forward with the ball into the box.. Watching him، I don’t really see a player who has the hunger and desire to make the difference in… Read more »


Pierre, Martinelli is not an untouchable one. Plenty of posters/fans are ganking up on him.
Ode and Saka, yes.


People are more inclined to be patient on Saka losing a pass. He was in the just announced PFA team of the year for example and he’s our son true and true.

No right thinking Arsenal fan should accord the same leeway to Haverts after watching him play shit for 3 seasons at Chelsea, realising our club paid 65m for him, made him our top earner, has been shit for 3 matches so far and is blocking our very own uber talented son ESR except buffoon sycophants like Nigel Tufnel.


Marcus Rasford. could punish us heavily on Sunday! The defensive set up is not right at all


Lets also not get carried away with Vieira. Yes, he had a great cameo against Fulham and hopefully he will push on from here. But lets not pretend he has been anything other than very very average when he has played up until now.

Positive pete

With Havertz I’d like for Arteta to take the pressure off him by easing him in i.e substitutions & carefully picking teams wherever he’s played would thrive.Gradually raising his game & confidence.Some players adapt to be tossed on at the deep end.For me he isn’t one of them as yet.


Pierre has taken to Havertz like fish to water
It may be that he sees the Ozil in Havertz
Like Mystic just eloquently stated, Havertz came to us with excess baggage for being invincible at Chelsea, their fanbase we happy to see him leave.
The only person who can stop the boo boys is the player. He needs to step up very quickly, after all this is his 4th season in the premier league.


As much as I am clearly not a fan of Havertz at all, PP is correct, Arteta has a duty of care on how he handles him and in my opinion he has not done him any favours by putting him straight into the firing line. This is heightened by the fact that many fans now see Havertz as the reason ESR is not playing and in terms of playing style and impact, they are like chalk and cheese. Other than a very select few on here, if you asked most Arsenal fans who they would want to see starting… Read more »

Positive pete

Kenya.Manure are going to play one game & one game only.Counterattack It’s what they do.ETH ( the greatest manager ever) will have everyone behind the ball waiting for a mistake( we’re good at that)or a long ball over the top for Rashford to scurry after,?There will be lots of moaning & serial fouling from Fernandez,McTominay,Anthony etc.Depending on ref.Will get away with most of it.Goes without saying really that we need to bury our chances clinically when they come along.


Damn. Supporters of Arteta are laughable. 4 players in the team of the season is a justification now? So Messi winning world best those years was down to Tata Martino?

1970 Gooner


‘Our defensive resources could be woefully “thin” by the end of this transfer window’

Couldn’t agree more. I can’t understand why Tierney was allowed to go out on loan after the injury to Timber. Arteta seems to want his full backs to be all things to everyone, and in this he has forgotten (for me) that their primary role is to defend! I like Tierney and we may well regret not having him available.


We signed havertz because he is supposed to bring PL and European experience and top quality We paid a high fee because of the above and because PL players have a premium for not needing to adapt to a new league So I want havertz to be a roaring success and I’m behind him. But as others have said only he can make that happen. Meh performances or ‘lots of off the ball running’ needn’t cost 65m and block the route of other players to the first team Not judging him as a signing. Just saying we shouldn’t be lowering… Read more »


Man don’t mention ozil it brings back PTSD from the constantly moved goalposts by the apologists He was signed to be one of the most dominant AMs of his generation Then it became ok that he was quiet most of the time as long as he got assists Then it became ok that the assists dried up as long as he played a couple of key passes per much Then it became it’s ok that he doesn’t make many key passes because his vision to make them (even if he doesn’t) is so good It was embarrassing None of this… Read more »


And yes ES absolutely right our defensive situation has gone from excellent to very worrying in 3 short weeks and most of it has been self inflicted for reasons I can’t understand


Yeah, Havertz needs to adapt to a new league, country, city, and culture. These things take time.

It’s not as if his 65m price tag and 300k a week wages were justified because he single-handedly won a Champions League trophy.



Oh if we don’t bring in a couple of defenders we’re fucked. Or maybe Mike’s game plan is to run the likes of Saliba into the ground


Nigel Truffle, ‘the real fan”, taking cheap shot at Saka on the same day kid gets two major awards.

You might laugh at his shallowness, but it’s the clear indication of where all this is going – every non-Arteta signed player will eventually get pushed out of the club, and “enablers” will be nodding in approval, as they do now.


I’m pretty sure that we’re starting on Sunday with Jesus/Havertz combo up front.

Jonathan Rosin

Great post Pedro. A super helpful and elevated narrative that shifted my perspective.


Huge battle for Rob Holding taking place. Luton Town and Real Mallorca in a fight to the death for him. Massive transfer


Personally, I would hold off on over the top Havertz criticism until the team started playing silky football again and he was the only one slowing down the works.
As much as I agree the club paid too much for him, from where Im sitting, no one on the team has been playing up to their last seasons( first half) lofty standards just yet.


Cant wait to see the back of Holding and the nervousness he brings to the club.
Hopefully Spain would be far for his negative mojo to stop effecting players like Saka passing to opposition attackers for easy goals.


far enough


Johnny gunner
We both know he wouldn’t say that to my face. Not with his raisin sized testicles
Bit dry though. My Mrs paying the electricity bill. She don’t meant pay for anything. Trust me


She don’t meant pay for anything. Christ she’s so lucky


She doesn’t pay for anything*
Autocorrect mongo


Un’s got electricity in his dwelling?


Paying and being with Un is too much for any woman lol.


Of course she’s not paying when she doesn’t exist. Simples.


If we were to sell ESR to Chelsea after taking the stuttering Havertz off their hands, my I would be pissed with that


Gotta say, I’ve enjoyed the infighting here since our loss (oops draw) against Fulham.
Ya’ll have been punching each other in the face relentlessly and pretty viciously even by LG standards and its hilarious!

Anyway COYG for Sunday 😀


As opposed to a wet blanket cry baby like you? Women prefer men to be men. Ask Sid


Its taken Vieira over a year to show he can adapt to Arteta football, Grealish, Rodri and even David Silva took some time to adjust, let’s give Havertz some time.

He has to purge himself of his PTSD first. That’s gonna require a bit of time.


Only reason ESR barely plays for Arsenal/Arteta is because he’s extremely laid back. Very gentle and patient character whom Arteta is taking advantage of because he doesn’t talk much and he’s patient.

Hes better than Havertz now and is at least on par with Odegaard. Play the guy and stop messing about.


This guy saved Arteta’s job in 2021. And how has Arteta repaid him, by buying 4 attacking midfielders who are all now starting instead or ahead of him in Odegaard, Trossard,Vieira and Havertz.


Lolol. Who said Vieria has shown he can adapt? He’s always had end product. Right from day 1. That’s still only what he’s got. Not at all convinced by him YET.


Oh I’m sure the reason everything is slowing down is because Haverts is in the team. Pull him and put Partey in the middle, White at RB and Gabriel beside Saliba and watch fluidity come back. These 3 changes are linked to Haverts starting


Un , women might like you in 3 scenarios, online, when you pay them and possibly if you behave and are less ugly them I imagine as a shopping buddy.

Mikel Coneteta

“Only reason ESR barely plays for Arsenal/Arteta is because he’s extremely laid back. Very gentle and patient character whom Arteta is taking advantage of because he doesn’t talk much and he’s patient. Hes better than Havertz now and is at least on par with Odegaard. Play the guy and stop messing about.“

Substance abuse, no other explanation.


There are some good points in this post, especially the ones about needing to get better at breaking down low blocks. Let’s not forget that we outperformed our xG by a ridiculous margin last season and that was never going to last. My biggest issue is the lack of sequencing with the changes. I haven’t been impressed by Havertz one bit so far but he should get time to adapt. However, it makes no sense to attempt to transform a subpar forward into a productive midfielder at the same time as you’re bedding in a new #6 AND a new… Read more »


Shaw and Varane our for the weekend clash, Højlund might start.

Chavs seem to be stockpiling youngsters, trying to sign Palmer at Shitty.


Would be interested to get views on why we seem so incredibly bad at selling players….
And it’s much more than just incompetent negotiator(s)
We need to look at the calibre of Clubs looking at our available players:
“Top” players (Monaco, Leverkusen, Real Sociedad) and fringe ones (NFFC, Luton, Mallorca…)…loan sometimes…
Chelsea selling fringe to AC Milan, Saudi and others to us, United, Newcastle…


“Lolol. Who said Vieria has shown he can adapt? He’s always had end product. Right from day 1. That’s still only what he’s got. Not at all convinced by him YET.” Give me a player with “end product” all day long over anything else. A team is nothing without “end product “. A player who can play a killer inch perfect ball at the perfect weight similar to Vieira’s assist v fulham is worth their weight in gold، though he would need a striker with the anticipation، speed ، touch and desire that Eddie showed to make that killer ball… Read more »


Havertz might take more than 3 games to adapt.

Not quite sure what the issue here is other than impatience from fans.

An espn article makes the point that 10 yrs ago when ivan said we could soon compete w bayern… afc fans would have been dancing in the street had wenger spent dough like that.

My guess is he will settle. My guess is that folks comparing hin to nico pepe will change their minds before xmas

Kiril Hristov

Well Klopp did win the league while Pep was here, and they (man city) get shock , so I dont think that is a real reason not to try and win it now. I prefer winning it against the best instead, when everybody are shit… All this of hailing Pep is really annoying to me.


It is inaccurate to compare Havertz to Nick Pepe, if he improved he will be like Bendtner


I read interview with manure Rio and he mentioned Gabby sent him a dm last season because he didn’t agree with Ferdinand analysis and Ramsdale has also mentioned that players know what being said about them and I’m shocked by this. I assumed arsenal or players hired people to do their social media but apparently not and that’s crazy. Any bloke who can play in premier league without embarrassing themself are elite footballers and should entirely ignore us sports fans sitting on our couches saying players are useless.


one thing Vierra is going to have to quickly adapt to is not falling over trying to buy a foul like he did against Fulham which gave them a free kick for his handball.
An irritating habit that Portuguese players specialise in and refs are not going to fall for as much this season


Some players prolly have social media people, like I’ve been seeing Jorgi and I think Partey posting video edits before our games, obviously they aren’t making the edits.

But most Arsenal players probably post on their social medias themselves. I’ve noticed Timber, as an example, posts the number of the chapter and verse from the Bible. That must be posted by himself personally.

But yeah, it’s an interesting topic.

Red Line

Would get more for our players sending them to the glue factory! Honestly why are we so bad at this? Are they that bad? Can’t even give them away!


Wait until we try to sell Havertz in a few years, could be Pepe mark 2.


I’d drop Rice and start Partey in mid.


Has Timber had his surgery ???


raptora – I guess it comes down to what a player is like, do random out of shape cranks get into their heads or not with their inane comments.

Ramsdale’s dad sounds like typical sports fan when Aaron talks about him in interviews and listening to his dad talk shite is enough, he doesn’t need whole world weighing in as well.


Havertz might take more than 3 games to adapt. No shit Sherlock. He’s already had six by my count. As someone who’s been in PL for 3-4 years, he’s not going to be afforded the luxury of prolonged settle in period. After all, Rice is adopting as expected, and doing that while being upgraded to a much better team than West Ham. I wouldn’t rule out Arsenal PR coming with “but this is really only truly factually his first season in PL, as he hasn’t been coached properly in England so far”. I’m sure he will start alongside Jesus on… Read more »


Havertz might take more than 3 years to adapt you mean

Mr Serge

Curse you worry about what spurs are doing and stop suggesting crazy stuff for us to do


It makes sense for players from abroad taking time to adjust to English game but Havertz been here for a few seasons and shouldn’t need acclimatizing to league or our style of play. It is Arteta fault for setting him up to fail.


Some hilariously over the top angst on display here.

Guns of Hackney

Lolz. If Havertz and Jesus start up from for Arsenal against United, it’ll be the most toothless and embarrassing front line since Agincourt.


Pedro does make some good points.. but I’m not convinced any of the changes this season are due to trying to be more unpredictable or breaking down low blocks. To me every single change is due to injury and Xhaka leaving. Therefore we are learning how to play inverted from the right side with Parety instead of the left with Zinchenko as he has been injured and that’s about it. Eddie playing for Jesus after his injury And TT and Kiwior have played instead of Timber after his injury. Only reason big Gabby is not playing is because he isn’t… Read more »

Left Testicle

Balogun has Balo gone!


Not if we send them out there after a invigorating St Crispin’s Day type speech, Guns of Hackney.


EdTheRedAugust 30, 2023 17:13:27 “He’s already had six by my count.” – well it’s either 3 PL games or 9 including pre season/CC so don’t know what to tell you watson. he scored against barca. “As someone who’s been in PL for 3-4 years, he’s not going to be afforded the luxury of prolonged settle in period.” so your opinion has some sort of merit beyond mine…how exactly? as though “what luxury he’s afforded” were anything to do with you or any other fan writing here anon. funny thing is you actually believe what you’ve said, that the manager would… Read more »


Yep Balo is gone.. now maybe Nigel will stop trash talking his character endlessly.


MarkoAugust 30, 2023 17:17:07
Havertz might take more than 3 years to adapt you mean

i said quite clearly xmas

Guns of Hackney

Balogun was and is shit. We need to buy a striker and a defender within 48 hours.

Guns of Hackney


Honestly, if we roll with that frontline…Arteta is wanting to get sacked. Those two don’t have goals in them. Jesus is a prick. Horrible little player. And Havertz looks like a twat.


Your shit Guns … but we don’t replace you every season now do we? haha Anyhow he was shit enough to get us $40 mill so maybe all our players should be so shit.


LB and CB before the end of the window and we’ll have to readdress the Saka backup stuff again next season.

Again this is the third straight season where we wanted backup for Saka after the previous two where he ran out of steam. That’s crazy to me


Pool are funny.

While I agree that Cheick Doucoure is overpriced at 70 mn, they were willing to drop 110mn on Caicedo.

It’s hard to judge a player from 8 min highlights clips but he(Doucoure) does seem able to win the ball back from physically strong players like Kane, Rashford, Joelinton and Hojbjerg.

The only problem would be him being unavailable for close to a month due to AFCONS.


I agree, Guns, just couldn’t help myself.

I want havertz dropped, we have somehow managed to buy a worse version of xhaka which is pretty incredible, and Nketiah should continue to start until he underperforms for a few matches then Jesus can have his chance.


MidwestGunAugust 30, 2023 18:15:26
Yep Balo is gone.. now maybe Nigel will stop trash talking his character endlessly.

it would be a tiny bit funny if balo returned a world beater in a year or 2…

Guns of Hackney

£40m is nothing these days. That argument does not hold up. Sorry.

We need to go and buy a defender and Vlahovic and we’ll win the league.


How are Man City able to sell Cole Palmer for £40m plus add-on and our players can only leave on loan or after their contracts have been terminated


WTF are you on about?

Nothing to do with your or mine opinion, but the fact is he simply won’t be given half a season, or even a 1/4 for that matter, to settle in, not by majority of fans, nor pundits. What’s so hard to understand about it?


$40 mill is definitely not nothing.. It gets you a Timber, Macallister, Kovacic, Mahrez, Barnes, Maddison, Kudus, Neves level of player. So your talking nonsense Guns as per usual.

Shock jock posting all the time gets old, no?



The online gooner is a funny creature. Never happy. Always whining. Most probably couldn’t pass a ball 10 yards in a straight line

See besiktas are in for greenwood
Says a lot about them


Let’s start with Bukayo Saka being named PFA Young Player of the Year for the 2022-23 season. He joins former Gunners Tony Adams, Paul Merson, Nicolas Anelka, Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere as winner of the award – and who could really argue that he didn’t deserve it?

You see this
Tell me again how Jack Wilshere was shit.
I completely forgot he won young player of the year
Pogba couldn’t lace his boots 😘


youve missed the point. the fans and pundits don’t choose who plays or who is bought. And their opinions to a large degree mean nothing. What I’m saying is your understanding that havertz won’t be given time to settle is incorrect and will be proven so


5 extremely talented players and all gooner heroes in their own way


Well that’s an extra £40m in the sack

So what do we have?

£40m Balo
£18m Xakha
Nothing for Tierney
Nothing for Pepe
Nothing so far for big Bobby holding
Maybe one of Gabriel or ESR will have to go


Pretty dead in here considering the time
It’s 7:30pm on Wednesday. We just sold a player for a club record. This place should be alive with commentary.
Maybe Hackney should say something controversial to create a buzz and attract some heat


New post



Pretty gal
Wouldn’t mind handing her a winners medal


Serge, 😂 good one.


Marko goes to the counter and asks
“Sorry, love, can I have a pint of Guinness and a packet of crisps where you’re ready there’.

‘Oh. You must be Irish’, she replied. The man was evidently offended and responded, ‘The cheek, just because I order a pint of Guinness you assume I’m Irish.

If I ordered a bowl of pasta would you that make me Italian?!’

‘No’ she replied. ‘But this is a newsagents…’”


” We opted for Rob Holding and the rest is history. ” Who’s the ” We ” ? 🤔 That should read He (Arteta). There was no we in that decision. I understand you love Arteta but cmon be objective. It’s almost like you think the sky will fall in, if you say Arteta was wrong or made a mistake! You always seem to speak about questionable choices made by the manager, as somehow being part of the collective ie Arsenal decided to…. now it’s ” We decided …. Just tell it like it is. People are offering up all… Read more »