Arsenal big names need a BIG performance at Old Trafford

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It’s the BIG ONE.

Arsenal vs Manchester United. Away from home. The reignition of a classic? Maybe.

Both sides head into this game out of form in the league. United haven’t won at home for three games. We haven’t won away against a top 6 side in 359 years. We are both not where we should be in the league.

It is a must win for both sides. Both sets of fans will be immensely frustrated with a sharing of the spoils

Arteta needs to win because though we’ve been tough to beat, we’re not racking up points in these big games.

Ole G needs to win because he’s spent a lot of cash for not a lot of output so far.

Arsenal fans are looking for a performance. I don’t buy that we have to have 62 shots on target to make a performance count, I think we just need to do better than we have been. Averaging 8 attempts at goal a game isn’t good for the soul. We need a bit more today. I don’t want to be celebrating a glorious loss again. We need to move beyond being competitive at this stage.

I think Arteta plays a fine margins game, but we’re not quite a fine margins team yet. To get a performance, he needs more than 6 of his players at the top of their game. I’m not sure we’ve seen a game like that so far this season.

These are the moments that are built for big players. Backs against the wall, low expectations, a grim record to surmount.

I want to see a ferocious Arsenal today. I want to see players like Willian show why we invested so much money in them. I want to see what Thomas Partey is all about. I want to see captain Auba impose himself.

Aside from that, I want to see some purpose and intent behind our attack. I think Arteta has cut out a lot of the nonsense we’ve seen from this squad in big games, but that’s led us to become a very low-risk side. When the objective is not to make a mistake, you improve defensively, but you also reduce the taste for risk. I want to see big players gamble. I want to see us take chances. If things don’t work out, I don’t want to see players hide… we need to keep plugging away until something good happens.

This is a huge game. It feels special. I am very excited.

You should feel the same. Let’s enjoy the game and see where we land. Catch you in the comments!

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Check out my podcast with Elite Football Show on iTunes and Spotify… or watch the video.


Arteta looks to kickstart phase 2 of the process.

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I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this weekend is a HUGE moment for the Arsenal project this season. Win, and we’ve taken down a strong United side in a low moment for Arsenal. Lose, and everyone will throw a shit fit on the internet and life will be sad for a while.

So far this season, the fine margins approach of this new Arsenal squad has not worked well for us. We should have done better against Liverpool, we should have taken points at City, and we really shouldn’t have been beaten by Leicester last weekend.

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Reframing expectations.

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‘United will get run ragged by the German boys’

The coolest take of mine this week.

Getting smashed by OGS 5-0 is embarrassing. But look, that’s the reality of United, they have a lot of good players that on their night, can be absolutely devastating.

… poor Nagelsmann. That’s a real spanking. Another one of my hipster fantasies running into problems.

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Can Arteta defy the typical Arsenal narrative?

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Well good morning to you all!

Lots going on in the world of Arsenal, my overall take from a fan perspective is that everyone is just a little bit miserable. Look, I understand you, because I look at your Facebook data for a living. You are sad that you stopped reading, there’s no more power-yoga session on that ‘really great app’ you don’t use, your closest relationship is with a bag of Haribo that you can’t stop topping up…. and the football, well, it’s starting to smell like a bag of rotting Emery.

Fear not… this is not how it ends my friends. So stop sad-eating Hagen Dasz, because today, the only dessert breakfast we’re treating ourselves to is a bowl of Cheeri-positivos.

I spoke to some United fans for The Elite Football Show yesterday and they seemed to think that we’re in a similar position to the one United were in before the last January transfer window… namely, lacking creativity.

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THINGS I’D LIKE TO SEE ARTETA ADDRESS

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Well here we are. The day after. I’ve been doing some thinking. Ignoring the ‘haters’ as American’s would say, and I have some thoughts. Some people say ‘the best thoughts.’

Enjoy.

FRESH IDEAS FOR AN OLD PROBLEM

I bought into a hipster vision of a manager that would play exciting football that was so expressive, they’d put it in the Louvre. We haven’t seen that yet. There have been improvements, we’ve been more effective, and we’re solid… but, the football has paid the price.

We’re now into the Emeryzone when it comes to tipping points. We’ve lost 50% of our Premier League games, we’re averaging the lowest number of shots per game in about 50 years, and the football looks badly lacking in sauce.

Arteta needs to find a solve. If you’re going to bin of Mest Ozil, you have to have something up your sleeve that is more interesting than David Luiz playing Hollywood passes from deep. We need better ideas and we need them fast. Lose against United, and things are going to look very dire.

GIVE THE KIDS A SHOT

Arsenal Wenger is on a press tour, have you noticed? Of course you have. Well, one thing I liked that he said was about giving kids a chance, even if they cost you some points. Wenger gave Cesc a chance and he thrived. He overplayed Jack Wilshere when he was 18, giving him 56 appearances. Now, I’m not asking for that, but if we have kids that can break the lines with a pass, is there not a squad we could line up with that could protect the player? Is some creativity better than 8 attempts at goal for the rest of the season? ESR, where are you? Willock? Saka? Patino? THERE MUST BE ONE KID THAT CAN CREATE. We are not City where it takes 10 years to break as a youth players. We’re Arsenal. We could be Dortmund. Is there REALLY a difference between watching kids with high ceilings make mistakes… versus watching senior players make mistakes?

MOVE ON FROM THE SPINE OF DOOM

I know it was one bad game, but let’s be honest, it’s been coming for a while. Mustafi always has a switch-off moment, we know what he’s about, why is he being offered a new deal? Granit Xhaka can do many things well, but we are now at a stage where the experiment can end. Thomas Partey can do all the things he can +++. It’s time to move on from player that have failed us for years. It’s time to give our new players a chance. It’s time to make Arsenal better again.

GET GABI MARTINELLI FIT

Look, I know we over-rank players that are broken… but imagine Gabriel as a focal point in attack? Powerful, aggressive, great in the air, and HUNGRY. Surely he’ll at the very least get into that front 3? I really cannot wait to get him back in the squad. Anything is more interesting than having to watch Nicolas Pepe fall over himself.

SIGN JACK WILSHERE

Ok, I’m sorry, but he’s on a free. Would a pay as you play be so bad? He’s 28, not 39. Am I dreaming? Could he help out? Just for one game? Give him a shot? Ok… maybe I took this blog down an incorrect path.

That’s me done, listen to the podcast, it perks up after we get over our depression.

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FEAR IS NOT A STRATEGY

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The big debate before the game was whether the sacrifice we’ve been making on style could be countered with the gains we’ve made on points. Win 2-0 last night, we’re a point from the top and clear in the top 4. Sadly, the argument was momentarily settled at home to a weak Leicester because Arteta bottled our first-half dominance and lost to the most obvious of strategies > let Jamie Vardy win the game late on.

Fear is not a strategy. Mikel Arteta has moved mountains when it comes to our defensive output, structure, and fight. We can all salute that. His coaching moves were made during the worst moment we’d faced as a club in 38 years. However, let’s be honest, those players he’s working with are not the 8th worst group of players in the league, they are better than that. He was supposed to breathe life into them this season, so far, he hasn’t.

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