Points shared ………. nearly very good ……… will get better

So what do we know after this game?

1. Leno will make the odd mistake but will be solid throughout. Better than Scezesny? Not sure but definitely a good GK

2. Xhaka is a disaster despite his warrior attitude.

3. Pepe is great and Auba and Laca are legends. I hope Laca is not too injured

4. Guendouzi’s workrate never disappoints. I thought he was our MOTM, just based on his second half.

5. Sokratis is not very solid and Luiz is not really having a Van Dijk effect

6. Kola and AMN had a good game I thought.

7. Torreira cannot be our playmaker. He is a lot more comfortable as a BTB.

8. Ceballos has such good ball control and his passing Is good but he needs to beef up and play quicker.

9. Mkhy can be useful because he always did the right runs and good passes BUT he is slow now and cannot beat anyone one to one. He needs to play as a false nine or as an 8.

10. We only have 7 points after 4 games but we have played Liverpool away and Tottenham at home. Now the break is welcome and when we resume, we need to pick up the pace and the points

11. Emery messed up his starting line-up according to me and our players need to understand better the transition in defensive phases because we conceded well too many chances.


Leno – 5.5 – At fault for the goal but kept us in the game as well.

AMN – 6 – Did well at both ends

Sok – 4.5 – Not his best day at the office and could have conceded a PK at the end or gotten a red card.

DL – 5 – Anonymous

Xhaka – 4 – Usual Xhaka showing. Runs a lot. Tackles a lot. Fouls a lot and picks up a card. Has a decent distribution but gives away PKs for fun.

Guendouzi – 7 – Great work rate. Possibly his best showing in an Arsenal shirt. Really stepped up when others were not playing well. An assist, countless runs and ball recoveries. Well done!

Torreira – 5 – Anonymous.

Pepe – 6.5 – An Assist. Some chances. Desire to get behind the ball and have a go. What a recruit!

Laca – 6.5 – A goal and his usual fighiting spirit. Hope he s ok.

Auba – 6.5 – A difficult first half but a good second half and a good goal.

Ceballos – 6 – Instant impact.

Mkhy – 5 – Good runs and decent passes but heavy and sometimes heavy touches. Cannot dribble anyone with this type of pace. Needs to work on his pace and also needs to stop double guessing himself.



54 Responses to Points shared ………. nearly very good ……… will get better

  1. RockyLives says:

    Good analysis.

    Ceballos changed our game in a good way when he came on, but the one concern I had with him was his tendency to dwell on the ball a bit too much.

    At times it’s vital to hold up/slow down play but sometimes you just break up the attacking momentum.

    Hence I particularly liked your line to this effect.

  2. RC78 says:

    And now Mkhy is off to Roma. I liked the player and shame he s out but good for him.

  3. RockyLives says:

    If Mikhi to Roma is confirmed that’s good news.

    He has had some good games for us but has been awfully inconsistent.

    Time for Martinelli to step up as our extra wide man.

  4. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC,

    A bit harsh on Luiz and Torreira I feel. Torreira was decent enough in helping us control the midfield but the set up wasn’t quite right to get the best out of him. Luiz being anonymous could translate as he quietly and efficiently went about his business. If you don’t notice your CB’s too much that is generally a good thing.

    I think we played pretty well overall and deserved to win. I saw more positives in the side moving forwards. Spurs executed a decent counter-attacking game plan but should have still be second best by the end. Fine margins in those big games. Douzi was excellent and it was his best performance in an Arsenal shirt.

    What did we learn from this game and the Pool game though?

    Firstly it is 4-3-3 all day long for me from here on in. We have the players for that system now. We have 3 number 9 options in Laca, Auba and Martinelli. We have 3 left wing forward options in Auba, Nelson and Martinelli and we have 2 right wing forward options in Pepe and Saka. We should always look to start with a front 3 for the most part.

    What else we learnt was that we will be well covered at full back now. If those 2 yesterday were arguably our back up FB’s then we are looking strong there as they both did very well in a tough game.

    The main learning point, if we really want to achieve our full potential, is that getting the CB pairing, and the midfield 3, right is the key to us this season.

    I think against the lesser sides we can afford to be more exploratory in that midfield 3 and probably don’t always need a more dedicated holding midfield player. Conversely against the better sides I think we need that specialist player. The margins are so fine in those games that you can’t afford any chinks in the Armour or to carry any passengers.

    Remember how much we missed out by for 4th spot last year? Those points can add up by the end of the season, even this early on. I was really pleased with our overall performance and thought our play deserved the win, so we could see this potentially as 2 points dropped. That was down to those subtle chinks in the armour that probably didn’t need to be there. Just my opinion though.

    Yesterday we looked far stronger in our balance and line up than we did at pool but arguably could have still been better had we had we been a bit stronger at the base of our midfield. In those big games I feel you need a strong triangular or pyramid formation between the 2 CB’s and the holding midfielder.

    I think we would have looked slightly less exposed to the Spurs counter-attack had we made that a bit stronger. After you get that right player in at the base you can take your pick from Douzi, Willock, Torreira and Ceballos for 2 other positions. We still have ESR to come through as well. That is a lot of players to choose from and you notice I haven’t even mentioned Xhaka, Ozil and Micki on that list, who realistically are soon on their way, or at least should be.

  5. LBG says:

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Feel I would up mark’s for front three and loved the fear generated in Totnum back four when we had ball in final third. Liked especially the link between AM-N and Pepe. Although still hope for a more forward position for AM-N, feel he is growing in stature and confidence on the ball, even in his current defensive position which is manifesting positively still further when going forward.
    Inclined to disagree with your Terrier assessment. Felt myself he played a positive, combative part in much of our forward movement in middle third.
    Ouzi was a joy for me, dynamic passing, dictating forward play, AND mopping up after Xhaka on occasions, encouraging good things from team mates and greater effort when required from some. Twenty years old and a truly exciting prospect. A clear 8.5 for me, and a goal would have been the cherry on a very fuzzy head!

  6. LBG says:

    Agree, for a change!

  7. LBG says:

    Mickhy in Rome.
    Juve still keen on centre back…”.Mustafi’s free”
    Lovren, “the best centre back in Premier League”, still at Liverpool. Not just us then!!

  8. Callum McAlindon says:

    Torreira is too slow to play box to box. Great player, but slow.

  9. GoonerB says:

    Callum, I tend to disagree about Torreira. He may not have outright sprinting pace over a distance but he is one of those nippy players that covers short distances quite well, and he gets stuck in. Perfect for a player to play in between a traditional holding midfielder and attacking central midfielder.

    He also always tries to move us forward when he can and mostly looks for a forward pass or to take the ball forwards himself, and I think, given more time slightly further forwards, he will chip in with goals at key moments. Reminds me a bit of Verratti. He is at worst an excellent squad asset.

    LBG, what do you mean for a change 🙂 we normally agree most of the time, just a recent blip of seeing certain things differently. But onto AMN. If he was to move into central midfield then I am not sure he is a typical defensive midfielder or holding midfielder to sit at the base.

    He is probably more suited to playing 1 of the 2 positions in front of that midfielder. Maybe he looks more of that box to box type player, but that would put him in competition for a place with Willock, Torreira, Douzi, Ceballos (at least for this season) and ESR.

    Therein lies my dilemma with shifting him to CM rather than developing him further as an attacking FB. I fear we could lose him to over congestion whereas I feel he will always have a role at RFB in the squad. Many are craving Bellerin’s return but to be honest, a couple of errors aside, I don’t feel he has been a downgrade on our Hector and feel he can improve even further.

    Who knows how Bellerin will come back, and will his Spanish DNA start whispering in his ear over the next couple of seasons? We have a home grown lad who is good at both ends as a FB. I feel he could probably benefit from some specialist 1-1 coaching from a specialist full-back coach, but I see really high potential in him if he can tighten his game and focus up a bit. The London Cafu.

  10. VP of Oz says:

    anyone ese read Mourinho advice to Dick on how to play PAL –

    I think they are very good players and normally they should be on the pitch all three together,’ Mourinho told Sky Sports after the game. ‘I think Aubameyang probably he likes to play in the middle because he feels if he’s in the middle he can score more goals. But maybe he can score as many goals playing on the left. ‘What happens at Liverpool is [Roberto] Firmino drops back, drops in between the lines, and then he gives more space for [Mohamed] Salah and [Sadio] Mane to attack these diagonals. I would see Aubameyang playing on that left side of Liverpool and scoring a lot of goals.

    ‘At Arsenal, Lacazette doesn’t have that quality, but they have two options. One is to play, instead of like today with three midfield players almost in a straight line, to play how they played in the last 10 or 20 minutes with two [sitting midfielders] and one No.10 that can feed the three without bringing Lacazette in between the lines. ‘Another situation that is very possible is to bring Pepe from the right and in many occasions bring him to the inside. Many teams nowadays defend with a back four but build with three in the back, and by doing that they can put for example a right-back completely wide almost as a winger and bring the winger to the inside.

    ‘So if Pepe plays more on the inside, he can feed more that diagonal to Lacazette and do what Guendouzi did for the last goal [for Aubameyang], Pepe doing that from the right with his left foot finding Lacazette on the diagonal. ‘So they have lots of options. These three players are very good. They had on the bench [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Mesut] Ozil, [Dani] Ceballos who are players also who can give things. I think from the middle to the attacking areas they have a lot of solutions to develop.’

  11. JM says:

    I would hope for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to have the career that is similar to Javier Zanetti (who played at FB/WB as well as DM/CM) at Inter (playing 600+ games for them and being their club captain & legend, now also their Director of Football). Maitland-Niles could move into the center midfield roles (either at HM or B2B) in his latter career stage (possibly mid to late 20s/early 30s) and become one of our future club legends.

    J.Zanetti’s traits:
    – stamina and tireless energetic runs up and down the wings to aid both attack and defence.
    – well-respected by both fans and the opposition for his leadership
    – quick, strong and physically fit player in his prime, with outstanding physical attributes, excellent ball control, dribbling, technical ability and acceleration
    – excelled at reading the game, a good ball-winner and man-marker, also effective at distributing the ball to teammates, due to his passing range and vision
    – a two-way and two-footed player, he excelled at playing on either flank
    – tactically intelligent and versatile player, who was capable of playing anywhere in midfield or in defence

    Mattéo Guendouzi, if he keeps working on both his defensive (breaking up play, ball playing under pressure, defence shielding etc) and offensive (ball distribution, shooting, vision/spatial awareness etc) sides of things, he could be ready to supplant Xhaka and become our next and near future midfield general.

    Perhaps we have lacked an extra defensive-minded player in this match (i.e. Chambers) who should have taken Xhaka’s position in midfield alongside Torreira and Guendouzi at the start. The team could be able to rotate between 4 and 3 at the back during the match itself with Chambers on board. Both Luiz and Guendouzi would have been able to do Xhaka’s ball distribution role either from defence or centre midfield. Give the captain’s armband to Leno in this match.

  12. RC78 says:

    So it seems….Mustafi could have gone to Juve, who would have thought but they might just miss out on him…? Why oh Why cant we shift him out?

    Our weak points are still CB-DM but I think we could address this issue by playing Holding and Chambers.

    I think our front 3 needs to play together so that is sorted.

    What is the step up needed behind them? I think it ll depend a bit on the opposition but also a lot, on what we want? We actually have options now…

    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Kola – Torreira, Chambers, ? – Pepe, Laca, Auba

    Martinez – AMN, Mustafi, Sok, Tierney – Xhaka, ?, Ceballos – Ozil – RN, Saka (or Jules or Martinelli)

    We have the option to play Douzi, Willock, Ceballos, in midfield as starter. Three players for 1 spot and each bringing something different.

  13. RC78 says:

    As I said in a previous post about Douzi, I think that his future lies as DM for us but I am not sure he is there yet…

  14. fred1266 says:

    Just something of not we haven’t win a game this season xhaka had played

  15. LBG says:

    Just a wind up!
    I agree re AM-N. I think he should be in competition with Willock and ,in the future Smith-Rowe. Definitely not holding/ controlling with Ouzi, Dani,Terrier ( or Daviiid) and not a Reiss or Saka in pure attacking width. ( Agree with comments today that would be pleased if Dick played our three diamonds up front regularly ( what does Moaninho know about Lacazette- best box converter at Club), and brought in Reiss, Saka, Martinelli to frighten opposition even more on occasions. The future’s bright!

  16. RA says:


    A good write and straightforward honest opinions, thank you. Well done.

    Somehow that cheating sod Kane has got away with barely a mention about his disgusting antics in throwing himself in front of a defender and diving to try and buy a late penalty — and it did not take Ali long to join him in his usual cheating too.

  17. RA says:

    Hi Fred,

    Thanks for your comment pointing out that the player allegedly offside for the disallowed Arsenal goal was Kola, and not Soc as I said.

    There is a flaw in your contention, however, and that lies in Law 11 : Offside.

    Law 11 governs the offside ‘rules’.

    “A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched* by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play
    It goes on to explain what ‘active’ means – none of which applied to Kola.]

    Therefore as Kola was out on the wing, and nowhere near the ball, he could not possibly have been offside as he was not active.

    The VAR replay was poorly presented on TV, but it claimed to show Soc was offside before scoring.
    I did not think so, from the poor replays they put out.

    Hope that helps. 😁

  18. fred1266 says:

    Well on my TV it should that when kolasinac was receiving the ball he was offside

    Just as when monreal was given offside against Burnley

  19. Sue says:

    His abs were offside, Fred 😜
    Also, Fred didn’t Xhaka play in the win against Newcastle??

    So, Roma will pay us 2.7m for Mkhi… how much of his wages will they pay, i wonder? Still all quiet on the Mustafi front….

  20. GoonerB says:

    Interesting comparison JM on Zanetti with AMN. I would not be unhappy were it to work out this way for Ainsley.

    Not convinced on Xhaka having a “warrior attitude”. He doesn’t really shirk a tackle but I somewhat think his persistent fouling gives rise to that idea of him being a warrior. However so many of his fouls are snidey little trips from behind rather than really biting into another player and coming away with the ball as Vieira did.

    Vieira tended to use his whole body to win a physical battle rather than just running around tripping people up and pulling an angry face. Pulling an angry face doesn’t automatically qualify you to warrior status in my book. If anything I felt Douzi was more physical and warrior like than Xhaka yesterday and was trying to use his whole body to physically out muscle an opponent and come away with the ball.

    Did anyone else feel that we largely dominated the game up until they scored, creating 3-4 dangerous moments, and that their goal was somewhat against the run of play? AMN had a shot which was beating the keeper (and on target) and Pepe as well as a couple of others went close. Even between their 1st and 2nd goal I still feel we edged the play. Certainly we dominated the 2nd half.

    I ask this because those great people at the BBC responsible for MOTD2 somehow managed to make the first footage in the highlights the Spurs goal on about 10 minutes, and completely ignored all the good play from us before that. It didn’t truly represent the game at all till that point.

    The commentator on MOTD2 also seemed to suggest Kane should have had a penalty in that moment he completely took his eye of the ball, focused on Socratis exclusively, and made an unnatural movement left and backwards into our Greek mountain, not making any attempt to follow the ball. Even Jenas (there as the ex Spurs man) called Kane out on that one. Should we read anything into the Beeb with all this.

    Kane called it shielding the ball. In my book mate it was obstruction on your part.

  21. RC78 says:

    Guendouzi gets first call for France

  22. Sue says:

    Taking Pogba’s place! Well done, Matteo 👍

  23. fred1266 says:

    I hate it when u are right sue he did play

  24. RA says:

    OK, Fred, I hear you — 😁

    You are saying that your TV is so far from the Ems, that by the time the picture gets on your screen in the Windies, Kola has got the ball, is active and —— at least 3 yards offside.

    If Sue, who is an expert on offsides, agrees with you, I will accept you are right — or that you are both barmy. 😛

  25. fred1266 says:

    Am saying your wrong plan and simple

  26. Sue says:

    I’d say i was more of an expert on abs, RA 🤣🤣

  27. RA says:



  28. Aaron says:

    Fair assessment of players RC78.

    Great game to watch in 1st minute of injury time in 1st half, and 2nd half!

    Positives: Guen had a great game, AMN did what he needed to do, did anyone see how far he ran to try and cover for Sok’s error?, Ceballos to start from now on. Front 3, nothing needs to be said other than I am glad they are on our team.

    Negatives: Arsenal on pace to concede 57 goals.

    Emery got it ALL wrong again in 1st half- end of story.

    Finally, players not up to Arsenal standard are being shipped out. Still can’t figure out why Nelson was not brought on instead of Miki, way better close control, pace,and a real threat to score.

    Xhaka,straight out just needs to ride the pine from here on out, said the same thing about Mustafi.

    Ceballos, Willock, Tor and Chambers should be on the field rotating when necessary.

    Now, I am very happy that our youngsters will be coming back from serious injuries, but I really hope they can come back to close to full abilities. (Not always possible, see 49er’s running back, Jerick McKinnon with a $30 million dollar contract, is out for Another year after ACL injury, I know it is a different sport, but no guarantees. Bel’s injury concerns me more as his was a non-contact injury and sometimes those are worse).

    Yet, Kola is not a defender, and Tierney has no back up unless of course AMN switches sides for cover, which would be so Arsenal.
    Better get some youngsters ready just in case.

    Looking forward to the next game sometime down the line.

  29. LBG says:

    Somewhat confused by your offside analysis. Kola was given offside, by part of a leg, as he received the ball and before his cross.
    Absolutely, before the goal, Totnum had posed no direct danger to our goal. We had three dangerous attacks. As for papers and Poch suggesting Totnum controlled first 35mins…a fabrication of game I attended.
    Virtually all of the British papers and media here have picked up on the blatant dive from Kane.(Without all condemning it, of course) Jenas was courageous in calling a spade a dive, and as for Kane’s explanation, would have been a dive anywhere on the pitch and even in your own changing room with Sokratis nowhere near!!

  30. Aaron says:

    Want to add to my opinion of Emery got it all wrong- meant the trio of Tor, Xhaka and Guen together. The rest was of course a good game plan, except the subs which came to late and the Miki one was a blunder.

  31. As we’ve no football for days and days now, we’re going to need some posts to get us through the Interlull ………….. all donations will be gratefully accepted 😉

  32. Sue says:

    Fred.. you’re nowhere near the hurricane, right?

  33. fred1266 says:

    No sue thank goodness

    The picture I seen were horrible

  34. Sue says:

    That’s alright then, Fred… 👍

  35. RA says:


    I introduced a comment a while back regarding the poor technology that VAR uses, as current cameras have a limited 50 fps to judge whether or not a player was offside.

    Without boring the asses off everyone with the math, I was really playing devil’s advocate that Kola was either not offside by more than the 50fps video claimed, or he was yards offside — frankly no one can really know with these cameras.

    The ex-referees in charge of operating VAR know this — but there excuse/explanation for their decisions is simply that they are stuck with the equipment they have been given.

    I have a sympathy with that – but the solution is obvious, they should make an allowance for any offside where the camera shows a possible error of over 10cms (approx 4″) should not be accepted as offside, or VAR should not be used until better equipment is available.

    Otherwise using VAR in a game is akin to listening to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5, played using a Glockenspiel.

    Apologies — as it is now obvious to me that my leg pull about VAR today, was not understood as a continuation of my previous dismissal of VAR as an accurate or reliable way of allowing/disallowing an Arsenal goal. 😞

  36. GoonerB says:

    You are right RA, there should be an adjustment if the equipment is not up to standard. Anyway it must be bloody faulty as it keeps ruling in favour of the swamp dwellers, and that constitutes a national crisis to eclipse Brexit in my book.

    I think some of the basic rules are wrong anyway that negatively influence VAR. For starters offside should purely be judged on foot position and not one player just leaning forward a bit more. It should be that they have to be proven to have gained an advantage in their positioning on the ground, not just that one hand protrudes slightly further forwards.

    The other rule that is wrong is the hand-ball one. Again if it is ball to hand / arm and the player had no way of avoiding it and the arm is down by their side that should be deemed a deflection. Only if the arm is up or it is deliberate should hand-ball be ruled.

    Most importantly if those 2 rules were corrected to that effect the knuckle draggers would be 4 points worse off.

  37. fred1266 says:

  38. fred1266 says:

    He had the chance to give us a wonderful parting gift smh

    Mkhitarian u will not be missed

    Hope he and Sanchez fight when they see each other haha just kidding

    Will like to see how he does though not sure why the Premier League didn’t suit him

  39. RA says:

    Unsurprisingly, GoonerB, I am pleased you got what I have been going on about, and of course you are correct about the handball changes.

    It is an absolutely a ridiculous interpretation of what could be seen as an advantage, when if the ball is randomly kicked into a group of players and it caroms off one to another, by pure chance, how could that be seen as ‘taking an advantage’ ? It is just crazy thinking.

    And seeing defensive players trying to defend free kicks, corners and shots with their hands clutched behind their backs to avoid getting accidentally hit, and a free kick, or even a penalty being awarded against them makes football/soccer look ridiculous.

    It is young man’s game run by doddering old men who probably never even played football in their youth, and certainly not at a professional level, and cannot understand the nuances faced by the players.

    You can see that I get really peed off with the way things are going.

  40. fred1266 says:

    Rc78 msg playing on 11th December u attending and how do I go able getting tickets to attend

  41. RC78 says:

    Hi Fred – which game? Best is to buy tix from abroad. More relaxed. You can maybe try even to watch them when they come to Brugges…

    Psg team when all fit will be
    Navas – Meunier, Silva, Marquinhos, Bernat – Verratti, Gueye – Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria – Cavani

    Rico – Dagba, Kehrer, Diallo, Kurzawa- Draxler, Herrera, Paredes, Sarabia – Icardi, Moting

    Am well annoyed we sold our best young players like Zagre or Diaby. We don’t have one product of our youth set up in the teams above.

  42. Mike M says:

    Great Post RC. The fact is it was nearly very good. I have to say the only way I think it will get better is if Xhaka gets dropped. I’ve tried to put a positive spin on him maybe being a squad player but the truth is, this guy is a sham. The penalty is enough to see that. Not because it was Against Spuds and cost us a win (which it surely did) but because he’s done this stuff over and over again. He’s a mental midget (not really fair to midgets actually but I hope you get my point) and he is just bad for the team.
    I’ve seen a few comments on Sokratis and Luiz recently esp. Sokratis today. Make no mistake he was at fault with the first goal. But what was Xhaka doing? Playing a ball into the center of the field is 101 defending. Xhaka takes Kane (which it looks like he was trying to do) and Sok drops for the 2nd ball. Simple right? But Xhaka’s in no position to even challenge for that ball never mind win it, hence Sok gets caught in 2 minds and makes a bad decision – goal conceded. It’s very simple to me. We will NEVER have a decent CB while Xhaka is in the team. He causes chaos and lack of shape and we concede soft goals because of it. He would cause Van Dijk problems I guarantee it. For anyone who has read my comments and posts since pre-season you will know this isn’t just a knee jerk reaction. Unless Xhaka is out of this team, we won’t significantly improve and the improvements we make will continually be unraveled by him and will be in spite of him, not because of him.
    And as far as being a Captain??!!! What a joke. Anyone could see Kane dropping for balls played to the center circle for flick on’s were causing us problems. Did he address that? decide who was going to pick up Kane? No, just continued the haphazard lack of positional discipline he always has. I hope he’s gone before Rob Holding becomes his next victim.
    Lastly I hope Emery wises up. I know he’s the expert and I’m just some mid-50’s wanna be football guru but enough already. Another one of my pre-season takes was to be very positive about Dick and I want to support him. But this is making it difficult. I am upset because this was Spuds and 2 points wasted. Also a chance to have a little psychological advantage over them. Now we go back to having to do things the hard way. And if I could so easily see it coming, what the heck is Emery looking at?? If you doubut it, go back and look at the end of the pre match. C’mon Emery, grow some balls and play your best players. How on earth does Joe Willock not get off the bench ?????
    Rocky says we should be positive and I agree there are some good things, especially coming back from 2 down and Gwen. But that’s like stopping your car on a railway track looking at a train heading straight for you, then being happy you got out before it smashed your car into pieces. The car is still wrecked and you really should have seen it coming.

  43. fred1266 says:

    Psg galatasary , champions league

  44. fred1266 says:

    Ok that wasn’t really helpful at all

  45. fatgingergooner says:

    I seem to be in the minority again in that I’m struggling to blame Emery for the result or performance yesterday. It was 2 individual mistakes that led to their goals so is Unai supposed to foresee that? It’s easy to say Xhaka shouldn’t have started after a poor showing but it was only a week ago that people were hoping he’d be in the team for the Liverpool game because of his added experience. As for tactics, it’s very difficult to protect the back 4 adequately when you’ve gone 1 and then 2 goals behind. We were chasing the game for large parts and that has to be taken into consideration when assessing our defensive frailties. I also thought Son was very clever playing between the lines and he was exploiting the gaps we were leaving. If anything, Emery did well tactically in the second half as he saw that we were too open and struggling to maintain attacks and so he brought on Ceballos and Mkhitaryan which gave us another body in midfield and resulted in us camping in their half for much of the second period. It was only after we equalised that the players eased off a little and allowed Spurs some late glimpses of goal. I think the disallowed goal took the wind out of our sails a little and maybe we tired after trying so hard to get level.

    I’d be interested to hear what people think Emery should’ve done differently yesterday as the line up looked solid and the formation was probably the correct one, and he made some good calls during the match to help us get level. Given that we don’t have a world class CB or HM player in the squad, I don’t see much else Emery could’ve done with that starting line up.

  46. fatgingergooner says:

    I must say I’m very happy with Mkhitaryan going out on loan. I really like the age profile of this squad and the way the club are handling their business, and I don’t see the point in us wasting another 12 months on a player who has clearly lost it and is not going to improve. The ruthlessness of telling Mustafi and Elneny they can leave and allowing that to be public knowledge is exactly what is needed to keep the players on their toes. I hope Martinelli, Nelson and Saka can develop and deliver the goods as they will be needed throughout the season. It’s a great opportunity for them. We’ve already had glimpses of how Geundouzi, Willock and AMN have improved and it would be great if they can follow suit.

    I hope the club go for a mixture of expensive players mixed with youth and do away with the middle of the road signings we’ve witnessed over the last 10 years (Xhaka/Perez/Giroud/Mustafi/Debuchy/Gabriel etc). It can be a good combo but only if the experienced players are the right ones. It will fall down if they start throwing toys out of the cot so it needs to be managed well and contracts dealt with quickly. If we can develop these youngsters then it gives the club a little more opportunity to be patient in the market and not just buy anyone that comes available. Towards the end of Wengers time it all seemed a bit desperate (buying big money strikers when we needed defenders badly/playing 3 at the back out of nowhere/throwing £300k contracts at players), like he was just trying to cling to his job. Hopefully moving forward we can be a bit more studious in who we buy and if we can get CL then the opportunities will be there to get the best talent and also the best young talent. A couple more big signings (CB and HM) and this could be the making of a special group, but how many times have we said that!?

  47. Mike M says:

    @FGG. Hope you’re ok with me disagreeing fairly strongly here but if the manager picks someone that the general fanbase keeps saying isn’t good enough and he directly gives a goal away that cost 2 pts. isn’t he responsible? He’s had a year, has seen enough of Xhaka and I’m not sure about your assertion that many people wanted him to play against Liverpool but I will defer if that’s true. However Xhaka reverted to type and let his team mates and manager down. It’s noble of you to try to defend him but it’s frankly indefensible. As far as subs go. Ceballos was a no brainer at 2-1 down and Laca was injured. For me, especially in the fact that he left today, bringing on Miki ahead of Nelson or Willock was bizarre at best. Again, I don’t want to sound obtuse here but I thought it was a ridiculous substitution. He played wide left and with no assists and 1 goal in his last 16 matches (again I stand to be corrected !!) he did exactly as expected – nothing substantive. I’ll just say this. If you picked an Arsenal team solely on performances this season, Willock has to start, probably along with Guendouzi. If you say Xhaka too, I’d give you that but I think Ceballos or Torreira would have been worth a punt (as if you didn’t know how I felt !!). Sorry if it sounds a little blunt but I’m tired of the excuses for Xhaka of oh well he made a mistake. He almost always makes a mistake, luckily for him, his team mates often bail him out. It’s time to move on from him.

  48. Aaron says:

    Emery picks the team, the past is predictive of the future, especially recent times, and Xhaka needs to be benched period.

    The Arsenal are exceeding the pace of goals scored against of last year, and if Emery wants to get top 4 he has to change. Simple really, change.

    Chambers, Ceballos or Willock can do it.

    In the first half, the spuds on the counter, at times, tore our midfield apart, one of the major culprits was Xhaka. He has lead feet, no 1-2 meter lateral quickness. Just bench the guy already.

    When the substitutes came on the game changed dramatically, just one change, Ceballos for a tired Tor, Xhaka did little at that point.

    Emery is close to getting this team moved in the right direction, but close might as well be a million miles if he does not fix the hole right in front of his face.

  49. RC78 says:

    Hi Fred, try fnactickets.be
    Real – psg is available

  50. RA says:


    A very good comment @ 1 : 55 am

    I agree with you, but amazingly there are some fans, on other blogs, who still really rate Xhaka.

    I think most of us on here, faced with the fact that he is our player, and will be until next summer at least, try to see how he can be fitted into the team, and that is fair enough.

    Like you, I just do not see what he brings to the party, and I am disappointed he has missed the summer cull, and will continue to haunt us with his unsuitability for the EPL.

  51. RC78 says:

    There is a good piece from Merson on Unai Wenger, questioning whether Emery is still not addressing the middle of the park and the defense issues we have been experiencing for many years now including the latter Wenger years.

    I kindda agree with him to a certain extent.

    Xhaka basically needs to be benched for his own good and our good.

    We have three young dynamic and talented midfielders in Torreira, Guendouzi and Willock. In Chambers we gave a decent DM possibility.

    So why don’t we try smt with Chambers as DM. We have many possibilities for the next two midfield spots.

  52. fatgingergooner says:


    We haven’t really improved the defence (Luiz in for Kos) and we don’t play Liverpool away and Spurs hone every week, so it is any surprise we are on course to concede similar goals to last season? I imagine it will be similar in terms of numbers to last year until reinforcements arrive. Hopefully the improved attack and a more energetic midfield is what can push us further up the table.

    As for ‘Chambers, Willock or Ceballos can do it’ we do t actually know that yet and maybe a NLD was not the time to play someone who hasn’t played much in that position for Arsenal (Chambers), someone getting up to speed with the league and fitness (Ceballos), or someone who is still young and learning (Willock). After Xhaka’s performance I imagine all 3 will get a chance.


    A little bit strong I would suggest but I can take it. My defence wasn’t of Xhaka, it was of Emery, and the idea that his selection was ‘indefensible’ I cannot agree with. Would be indefensible if Özil played another game for Arsenal? He’s a player who’s cost us games in different ways to Xhaka and who was awful last year, yet I’m sure there would be no uproar if he started a game. The same way there was no uproar that Xhaka started at the weekend. After the game we can all see his faults, but I still don’t agree that the manager is to blame for Xhaka doing what he did. Could he have seen it coming? Possibly, but imagine with it being a new season and making him captain was a ploy to get the most out of him. Maybe now he will re-assess and it will be what Emery does from now on that should be judged. I don’t think choosing Xhaka in the first place was the huge mistake it’s been made out to be.

  53. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    I’ve stolen two excellent comments for today’s …

    … new post …

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