Arteta: player of the season? No.

As things stand we don’t have a “Defensive Midfielder” that’s to say someone who by nature actually likes defending.

To help my point I regarded Gilberto as a natural defender.

Neither, Arteta, Ramsey nor Wilshere and certainly not Diaby fall into this category.

In 80% of the games we play, this lack of a defensive midfielder doesn’t matter, because the majority of teams defend against us (park the bus) and so the challenge is always to find a way of breaking them down — we need Suarez so badly it is not true.

In the other 20%, or even less, we are attacked, or the teams seriously knew how to counter attack.

We got caught out time and time again last season by the 20% and this is one of the reasons we had such a poor record against the three teams who finished above us.

It is also why I could not have voted for Arteta as player of the season, a fine player when we are playing against a Bus but his lack of pace and lack of natural defensive know how lets us down against fast attacking teams. The first game against Bayern Munich demonstrates this best for me. This also makes a player like Gustavo a must; there is no reason why he can’t play along side Arteta or give him a rest which he will inevitably need as the season progresses.

I think since Saturday most people have acknowledged that we have a good core squad, capable of beating anyone at this point in the season but injuries being what they are, I am doubtful that we can hold together for longer than — what — Tuesday week!

Written  by LB

64 Responses to Arteta: player of the season? No.

  1. Dick Swiveller says:

    Can’t agree on the specifics, Arteta is a fine tackler and his positioning is spot on, also Rambo has that tenacity that really gets at people and helps hassle them out of midfield. I agree with the generality of not possessing a ‘proper’ guy who loves to defend, Arteta and Rambo do it because it needs to be done; we need someone else in that position, regardless of what we think of them though.

  2. LB says:

    Good comment Dick

    That was a very hastily put together post.

  3. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the post LB I agree with your sentiments.

    I am in 2 minds about Gustavo. Part of me thinks if he’s not good enough for Bayern then he’s not good enough for us. On the other hand if we just want him as a utility defender and back up for Arteta then he’s more than good enough and the rumoured £14m is a high price to pay. My guess is he’d be eased in to the side as a DM and replace Arteta as first choce within the next 12 months

  4. pozmund says:

    This in this article is talking utter rubbish. Luis Gustavo is a player not even fit to clean Artetas boots. Arteta was statistically better than Gustavo in EVERY area of the field last season, check out premier league owl for the story. If Gustavo is such a hot property why is he being touted about for a measly 14 million and why is he rotting in the bayern reserves? Cos he is turd!

  5. Rob Lucci says:


    Luis Gustavo is actually is a very good defensive midfielder. It’s just that he have the Best DM in europe in front of him right now, and thats why Javi Martinez cost 40 mil.

  6. Bryan says:

    I have heard that Bayern are going to play Martinez in defence this year, which to me seems a little strange but they do have a wealth of top midfielders to pick from.
    Gustavo I think is a good option, personally Fellaini is my first choice everytime, his strength alone would help us & he is great at defending set pieces.
    But I agree with LB that Arteta has done a great job but we do need a beast of a DM in games against the top teams

  7. RockyLives says:

    Now listen here Peaches!
    There is a Post of mine in drafts (admittedly more of a place filler than a full on Post). It’s been there for a week but if you’d told me it wasn’t up to snuff I’d have written another before departing.
    Now if I get eaten by a bear my last thoughts will be that I let down AA 🙂

    Nice step-into-the-breach LB!

  8. RockyLives says:

    (I’m at the airport, since you ask 🙂 )

  9. Jamie says:

    Great post LB. Can’t argue with you on most points and I think Gustavo is only on the bench bcos of Javi Martinez.

    @Pozmund 14 million is really a lot of money for a defensive midfielder and I honestly think 40 million for Martinez was seriously overpriced.

    The real Jamie

  10. LB says:

    Who would you prefer Fellaini or Gustavo?

    One month ago I was crying out for the signature of Fellaini at all costs I thought he would be far more important than Higuain, given a choice. The principle reason being that I thought the Belgian would change the midfield beyond recognition and cared little as to what would happen to Ramsey as I couldn’t see enough upside.

    The thing is, now I can — Rambo is looking the real deal; he has all the promise back that we expected before the broken leg incident, so much so I think I would now prefer Gustavo as he is a naturally minded defender something that Fellaini is not.

  11. Norfolk Gooner says:


    Fellaini or Gustavo? I don’t think it is a matter of preference, there is no chance of us getting the Belgian, if Everton agree to sell him I think he will go to ManU.

    Gustavo could be a better option for us though, as a truly defensive midfielder and as a standby central defender he can fill two of our four perceived vacancies leaving only a ‘keeper and a striker to be signed.

  12. evonne says:

    Well done LB, I wish I could knock up great posts like yours so quickly, especially in your condition – you really need to treat the manflu seriously!

    I don’t know about Arteta or midfielders not liking to defend. How can you tell? To me Arteta does his job extremely well, but I am a fan not an expert. If you think we need to buy a defensive midfielder, I will back you up on this.

    Thanks for the post

  13. Jamie says:


    Definitely Gustavo. If anyone noticed, before last season, Fellaini was only average playing as a DM for Everton. He only started to look great last season when he was deployed in a more advanced role.

  14. LB says:


    Tony Adams loved defending, Ian Wright loved attacking.

    In the midfield there are various shades of grey. Some are more obvious that others. Vieira was more defence minded where as Cesc was more attack.

    Which brings me to the on going debate about Ramsey and Wilshere. I maintain that Ramsey is an attack minded, goal scoring midfielder and Wilshere is a battling midfielder with a greater skill for defending than attacking.

    The idea that he is destined to play number 10 still makes me chuckle.

    If you notice the positions that Gustavo has played for Bayern: CB, DM and LB it becomes clear that he is a defensive minded midfielder.

  15. Timmy says:

    Congratulations on the post LB

    Few points here

    1. Arsenal plays a game of collective zonal responsibilities, both in attack and defence. Basically, this means no single player takes on a specific responsibility but contributes in the collective responsibility of the zone he belongs. As in the case you mention, the midfield responsibility is shared between not less than three players. You can only lay blame on any player where it is obvious the player is responsible for the breakdown of cohesion in such zone (Thomas Vermalean comes to mind in the defence last season). There are two exceptions to this rule currently in the squad: The goalkeeper (which is debatable) and Santi Cazorla who is allowed a free role in the strengthening of any zone during attack (This borders on his versatility)

    2. For Arsenal’s midfield responsibility, the three players fielded at all time keeps the team fluid through constant rotation and interchange of positions, When on the back foot, they collectively swoop in on the opposition player with the ball particularly where they are responsible for the loss of possession or the current location of the ball falls within their zone. They also take up the responsibility of making up the numbers where any zone is lacking, both for attack and defense

    Summarily, you can hardly point the blame on Arteta for defensive laps. Also, don’t forget, the same Bayern munich you mentioned were defeated by Arsenal on their soil without any reply and Arteta was there doing his job.

    If Arsene buys a defensive mid-fielder, it won’t be to just to sit in front of the defence, he already has that in coquelin and frimpong, but one that can deputize for Arteta and fill in partularly when he is not available.

    All the same very nice post to arouse our interest.

    By the way, it feels good to be back after such a long long while.


  16. evonne says:

    LB – thank you for that example (PV4 and Cesc). Yes, I know exactly what you mean now.

  17. LB says:

    That is a very interesting comment Timmy and a very clear explanation as to how you see the function of our midfield.

    Firstly I agree with your zonal responsibility theory, including the exceptions that you point out: Cazorla and the goalkeeper.

    But, even taking that into consideration I still think my concern stands up.

    Taking the three midfield players, it seems to me that Wenger varies his choice depending on the opposition. On Saturday I am sure he expected City to come onto us and therefore deployed the more defensive Wilshere next to Arteta with Ramsey slightly ahead.

    For the sake of clarity, if we were playing Stoke, for example, I would expect them to defend for the majority of the game in the hope of returning home with a point.

    In this case it makes sense to deploy a more attack minded trio in the hope of breaking Stoke down so: Arteta, Ramsey and Rosicky would probably be better.

    Back to the City game and games in which teams come onto us: we were beaten last season because these kind of teams worked out that if they drew us onto them they could hit us on the break bypassing the now slowing Arteta – your trio is only as strong as the weakest link.

    Let me put it another way. Taking the back line, RB, CB, CB, LB, I agree that they have a collective responsibility but a RB is deployed on the right because he is better there than on the left. So it is a collective made up of specialists.

    Our midfield are also specialists, Arteta is placed primarily in front of the back line which Wenger must view as his specialist position, so when we are going forward all is well but although his defensive positioning has improved, he is not a defender, his tackling is ok but not great, he offers no aerial cover and is slow getting back, when teams come onto us he is the weakest defensive link.

  18. LB says:

    If I had written that in the headline post it might have made a bit more sense.

  19. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evening all, good conversation starter LB, for me Gustavo is an ideal addition to the squad. As I said yesterday there are games where we could do with him playing with Arteta, and some in place of to give him a break, or in case of injury, it’s also a role TV could perform when fit, Wenger used to like utility players (Grimandi, Garde, Flamini) maybe that’s why he is returning to it.

  20. Gooner In Exile says:

    Jamie sums up my feeling on Fellaini, he is another Song (ie would prefer to be in the hole than defensive midfielder). I do wonder when people will realise that just because Fellaini is 6ft 4 and picks up bookings doesn’t mean he is a defensive midfielder.

  21. LB says:

    Makes sense to me GIE.

  22. evonne says:

    GiE @ 8:27 – ha ha ha ha, I thought only I was so thick not to know the difference 🙂

  23. LB says:

    I would put it this way.

    Fellaini is not a DM; he is a midfielder who likes to play in the hole.

    Song is a DM who, as you put it, also likes to play in the hole.

    I could go on to say that Song only took up that role when we were playing teams that had parked the bus although against Manu etc he was very disciplined but I don’t want to re-open that can of worms

  24. Chamak gone to palace on a year loan why didn’t we sell him he never played a game last season
    Cause he’s shit

  25. Gooner In Exile says:

    Palace only have one season in PL unlikely that Cham would take pay cut if relegated.

  26. Gooner In Exile says:

    Worms all over the floor LB…..

    Actually in fairness to Song I think he was often left up shit creek without a paddle, but was also prone to trying to do too much himself. Unfortunately he never reached maturity with us if he had I think we would have found a different player, saying that I don’t think even Sobg will see the best of Song away from Arsenal.

  27. LB says:

    Slow down Poz, so he got one year deal muddled with one year loan, and a typo — really?

    It’s my post today and I am trying to avoid having the lowest amount of comments ever posted in one day on the site. lol

    BTW, have you thought about writing something that could be used as a headline post, have a look at be our guest above.

  28. LB says:

    Actually on the news of Shermack leaving, I reckon that is going to give Rasp the most enjoyment he has ever had from editing the in and out box.

  29. LB says:

    I suspect the only reason he hasn’t done it already is because he is the person driving him to Selhurst Park, do they still play there?

  30. Jamie says:

    I am quite happy for Chamakh. He was a good striker but wasn’t suited to the epl.

  31. Jamie says:

    Time to get LB to 40 comments

  32. 26may1989 says:

    Nice post, LB.

    I take it pozmund is the troll who’s latched onto AA. Certainly sounds like that sort of tit looking for ways of boosting his self-esteem.

  33. Jamie says:

    40…………ha and they said we would never make it. Congrats LB

  34. Good post LB, it looks like not too many bloggers took exception to the idea that the alternatives to Arteta aren’t really defensive by nature either.

    Just thinking about what Gilberto did for us and what we expected of Song to be able to do shows the difference between a defensive minded mid-fielder and one that is put there to do the job.

    If we do buy Gustavo lets hope he knows his job 🙂

  35. Hi 26 – Pozmund is positively articulate compared to the troll 😉

  36. pozmund – that’s awfully rude of you. Many of us have accepted that a striker and another keeper is what’s needed, LB has offered something else to talk about as it’s just so boring to go on and on about needing a striker and a keeper.

    Maybe you should keep your childish comments to yourself.

  37. OK, that’s enough ………… lets see if this works 😉

  38. Rasp says:

    LB, Chamakh has been in the ‘Out’ column of the widget for 3 days now – but you’re correct I would have driven him to Palace 😆

  39. Gooner In Exile says:

    When you were on your way to Palace you could have popped into Harris CTC to see the work of one of our Board members. 😀

    Forgot to say the other day that I have a interest in his work, I did the audit of the CTC back in the mid-late 90’s having only recently left school myself I was shocked at how forward thinking it was…..IT equipment in every class room for every subject, focussing on technology before Facebook was a pipe dream of a teenage computer whizz.

  40. Gooner In Exile says:

    26 there’s the real troll………he thinks i don’t know how to read a set of Accounts.

  41. Gooner In Exile says:

    My guess is Sniffer read the cash balances and wet himself, but ignored the bits that referred to all the things i have been saying like:

    “However, the headline figures do not tell the whole story, as much of this excellent performance has been down to profits from player sales (e.g. £65 million in 2011/12) and property development (e.g. £13 million in 2010/11). Excluding those once-off factors would mean that Arsenal actually made losses in the last two years: £4 million in 2010/11 and an apparently worrying £31 million in 2011/12.”

    “In fact, the operating profit from the football business has been steadily declining since 2009 with the club actually reporting an operating loss of £16 million last season.”

    I’m an Accountant and I have only skim read the thing because as usual it is more like a thesis for the Financial Times rather than a readable to Joe Public blog post.

    Thats not to say it is not informative or interesting, just that in order to make use of it one has to have the capability to read more than a couple of paragraphs at a time and not jkust look at the pretty pictures.

  42. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp there’s a little something in Drafts

  43. neamman says:

    I thought the Chamack deal was permanent, not a loan. If true was it a free or did we get a small fee?

  44. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, much appreciated. It appears sniffer has an equally sad friend

  45. Gooner In Exile says:

    Neamann it is permanent but no fee.

    He only signed for 1 year with Palace which is probably the confusion.

  46. Gooner In Exile says:

    “Theo Walcott’s fitness for England’s friendly against Scotland and Arsenal’s opening game of the season against Aston Villa is in doubt after the 23-year-old forward picked up an ankle injury in training with the national side.”

    What an absolutely stupid time to have an England friendly!!!!

    And is it about time we started pulling players like everyone else does?

  47. kelsey says:

    and GIE Rosicky as I mentioned 2 days ago is in Sweden seeing a specialist for what AW described as a niggle prior to our game with City.

    Sorry I couldn’t join in yesterday and as far as I am concerned Arteta is a first choice every game but he has lost a yard or so isn’t getting any younger and we need cover, in fact we need cover for him,rosicky,Diaby (if he ever plays again 😉 and I am watching the Wilshere recovery very carefully.

    If anyone has read the indepth report from The Swiss Ramble there are many interesting points any of which could be made into a is very complex and I am no accountant but we have to find 19 million pounds every year to pay off the stadiun,which I believe is in 2031.

    Its a balancing act as the CL revenue plays a big part in our profit.We have new deals as you are aware but all clubs get the extra TV money and the more I read the accounts to pay betwen 40 to 50 million for Suarez is a gamble and if it went sour AW would have egg on his face so I would be very surprised if we bought him.

  48. LB says:

    I still see Suarez as just about the best gamble Wenger could make, tried and tested goal scoring experience in the EPL counts for an awful lot.

    We should not forget that it is Liverpool who are trying to avoid selling whereas Wenger makes the clubs intentions quite clear.

    Arsenal are on standby to sign Suarez.

    In a nutshell it is not our lack of desire to buy it is their lack of desire to sell.

  49. LB says:

    Re Walcott

    If he starts on Saturday I think we should assume that he was pulled from tomorrow’s game.

  50. evonne says:

    oh no, you removed Pozmund bile but left my reply!! People might think that the poo in both hands was my idea. PLEASE remove me @10:03

  51. evonne says:

    Suarez is not saying anything, but not apologizing either. Probably under strict orders from AW to keep schtum

    The only way out of this mess, that I can see, is for Arsenal to offer crazy money for Suarez. That way Pool would keep the face by telling their fans that could not refuse such amount and Arsenal paying it over the next 5 years or until we sell the cannibal to Real

  52. evonne says:

    thanks for removing poo 🙂

  53. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the posts evonne and GiE.

    I’ll publish GiE’s today and evonne’s tomorrow if that’s OK with you both 😛

  54. kelsey says:

    I will try and write a post be it brief ,about the priorities we have this coming season and my thoughts on Wenger and Kroenke.

  55. evonne says:

    yes please Rasp, I and everybody else would much rather read GiE’s than mine 🙂 I wrote it just to stop you nagging me 🙂

  56. Rasp says:

    It’s not that evonne, I think yours is a very clever post, but I need to add a couple of polls and I’m a bit behind – it will go down a storm tomorrow 🙂

  57. Rasp says:

    Thanks Kelsey, please do, I know many of us would be interested in your insight into those matters

  58. 26may1989 says:

    I trust the tripe at 9.19 is going to be removed. Can that account just be blocked? Clearly a saddo who can’t cut it in the real world, so thinks he should make up for it by abusing people online. Just about the most boring thing around.

  59. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks rasp.

  60. Rasp says:

    Morning 26m, I’m going to create a ‘Troll’ tab at the top of the page to give guidance to proper bloggers on how to deal with the nuisances.

  61. Rasp says:

    On that note …….

    ,….. New post ………

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