Arsenal Playing the Fool …. Out from the Back

Where do we go from here?

This is not so much a match report as a scream of frustration, but I’ll try to articulate something about the game.

It’s safe to say that the first half yesterday was not enjoyable to watch. We were getting outplayed all over the pitch. However we got to half time 2 nil up through two moments of classy goal scoring from Aubameyang.

One of the shocking things about the first half was Leno playing us into trouble with short passes out from the back. Since the rule change of being able to have players in the box from the restart our play out has been appalling.

Guendouzi had already been given the ball under pressure, in the box, a couple of times in the first half and we’d just managed to clear our lines. Watford were now fully aware that they could gain an advantage and were camped close to our area at each restart.

And so it came to pass …………. we conceded probably the most ridiculously easy goal that any team can score!!!!! Not through a freaky accident, not through a one in a million chance but through suicidal play that those watching could see was an accident waiting to happen.

So several people could have changed the play. Emery? Leno himself? Xhaka, our captain? If Emery isn’t going to give an instruction during play then surely, if something isn’t working, then someone on that pitch has to take on the responsibility. Personally I think Leno has to take the initiative and switch play but I don’t know if those kind of instructions have to come from Emery.

All in all the disaster was completed when with ten minutes to go we gave away a penalty. 2-2 was a lucky result for us.

We had allowed 31 shots on our goal – Watford, bottom of the league, had strolled through our midfield time and time and time again. They were unlucky not to win this game.

We are in a complete mess. Xhaka’s comments after the game that the team were ‘scared’ are shameful. Emery’s comment about taking Ceballos off because it was hot is ridiculous. Watford had 31 shots to our 7. We weren’t even playing that game, we were just making up the numbers.

Where do we go from here?



46 Responses to Arsenal Playing the Fool …. Out from the Back

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks peaches, this may be an over-reaction, but like you I am incandescent over the sheer stupidity of our tactics yesterday.

    I managed to get to see the start of the second half and witnessed us get ourselves into trouble by playing short passes out from the back and subsequently putting Guendouzi or some other poor sod into trouble receiving the ball on the edge of his own box with 2 or 3 Watford players bearing down on him and no clear passing opportunity.

    I thought, well anyone can see this is suicidal, we need to change tactic or … and then of course the old school defender Sokratis got it wrong and we were mugged .. deservedly.

    Emery it seems is like the later Arsene …his vision of how we should play is more important than the three points … tell that to the thousands of away fans who had the life sucked out of them at that moment.

    It was abundantly clear that our players had no faith in their ability to play out from the back .. you could feel the nerves.

    Any decent, pragmatic manager would have sent out the instruction (probably at half time) that it wasn’t working therefore the keeper would kick the ball out to the flanks and our midfield should get tight on their players to gain first or second ball … but no, we gave the game away shamelessly.

  2. Sue says:

    Nice one, Peaches 👍
    Feels even worse this morning.. outplayed by bottom of the league!! Even the newly promoted teams play better…
    What a mess! What an embarrassment!
    I really feel for Auba, i mean how much longer will he put up with this for? All his hard work undone time & time again.. he’ll be booking a flight to Madrid with Ceballos next summer!
    We are gifting goals like there’s no tomorrow.. you could say against the spuds it was a one off.. but the exact same thing happened yesterday!! I mean come on!! Awful.. then having to listen to the excuses…
    I have really lost patience with Unai, i didn’t get the substitutions.. Torreira benched again… and having to keep playing out from the back.. I’m a nervous wreck every time the ball is at Leno’s feet….
    One thing’s for sure – I’ll never be able to laugh & take the mickey out of another team, ever again!! 😔

  3. This from LB that ended up on the old post …………….

    LB says:
    September 16, 2019 at 8:39 am (Edit)
    I think the most disappointing thing about yesterday was that we didn’t make the step forward that I think we were all expecting.

    Pepe personified this; perhaps I am expecting too much too soon but he pretty much left Auba to do all the attacking himself. The AMN – Pepe combo is poor, perhaps the return of Bellerin will be the catalyst that brings Pepe out of his shell — a goal would probably go a long way to improving his confidence as well as other things and boy do all those other things need to improve.

    There was talk of Manu making an offer for Auba during the transfer window, I remember feeling a bit worried, I realise now that I should have been a lot more worried than I was; the man is world class and it is more of a surprise that manu didn’t start negotiations at 100 mil than the fact that they seem not to have. The spin and strike for the first goal was something very, very special.

    Ozil did perfectly OK, his pass to AMN for the second goal is the reason why Emery started with him rather than Willock although with hindsight he should have come off earlier.

    The Ozil–Ceballos combo didn’t set the sky alight as people like me hoped would be the case. While Ozil had a free rein Ceballos was set a more disciplined task of being responsible for the left midfield area; not ideal really, as he is so right footed which forced him to move sideways rather than forward more than I would like. I don’t know what the answer is here?

    As to the rest of the midfield; I have read several times now how Xhaka is the only one who walks straight back into the team after injury, the implication is that Emery has a soft spot for him or something like that; I don’t believe that to be the case at all. In my opinion, Xhaka goes straight back as he is the only player who has no competition for his place, the idea that Chambers or Luiz can play there are folly, and it is becoming more and more obvious that Torriera is not the man for that job as many have suggested.

    However, that is not to put doubt as to my respect for the Uruguayan; he would be in that team every week if I had my choice. I think Guendouzi showed us that he has reached the end of this season’s growing spurt and I now expect the Torriera to be more of the first team starter out of the two.

    I have no problem with Leno; he was under orders to play the ball out the way he did that lead to Watford’s first goal; he could do nothing about the penalty; and further, he saved our bacon with a superb save that stopped Watford taking all three points two minutes from time. I think it wrong to tar him with the same brush as Dumb and Dumber playing just in front of him.

    Do you think Luiz is part of a cunning Chelsea plan, Arsenal could improve and take fourth spot, I know, lets sell the David Luiz, that will mess them up. We have Holding coming back but I fear that we are building our expectations a bit too high there but hey surely it can’t get worse.

    Having proper wing backs is going to help; we should see both Bellerin and Tierney against Forest which will be exciting.

    Mah, it could be worse, we could have lost to Norwich.

  4. LB 😁 I knew you’d be looking for positives and well done for finding some.

    I don’t want to paint Leno in the same light as ‘dumb and dumber’ and I agree that he was following instructions but surely when he can see the opposition closing in he must be able to take a view and switch play?

    I’m just so sad that the things that went wrong yesterday could have been avoided. It’s one thing to be beaten by a better team and quite another to drop points by being so badly set up. Aubameyang trapping a long ball from Leno and having Pepe close by to play off would have been much more fun to watch 😉

  5. Apologies LB, I was looking on my phone and saw your comment came up twice and removed one of them – but didn’t realise why it came up twice until I replied to you and my comment appeared on the old post too …………..

  6. Alex Mwendwa says:

    am dissapointed by these arsenal men playing like kids & emery making silly substutes…shorking results

  7. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Peaches

    As Rasp points out there are hallmarks of the latter AW with Emery. On top of what Rasp mentions there seems to be that trait of repeating the same things that are getting us into trouble. Bad formations with players out of position and not complimenting each other and then substitutions that dont alter the imbalance.

    Arsene we can let it go with because he once was the prince amongst princes and the best of the best but simply the game moved on from him and he wasnt able to see it and react to it.

    The board basically held out too long and we regressed as a club. Emery is younger and supposed to be that dynamic modern coach but I have reached the conclusion that he is not right for us.

    It is important that he and the team are supported by the fans but it is also important that the board learn from the lesson of hanging on too long and make a quicker decision.

    There is a lot riding on it in convincing players like Aubanayeng and Lacazette that we have an exciting plan and this is the place to be. We dont want to have to press a complete reset in key positions again just as we are looking strong in the squad. It will set us back another 3 years.

    If Emery stabilised the team and we go on a strong run then leave it till the summer but make that change. If it is going very badly then make it in January and give the new chap half a season to shape the team before the summer

  8. GoonerB says:

    Bloody predictive text.

    Fine points from LB. The only area I disagree with is in not using Luiz in front of the back 4. He played an entire season there for Chelsea when they won the league and has all the attributes for the role. Way more than any other player in the squad.

    At CD he does have errors in his game but always has had. The problem for me is that we haven’t had a CD for the last 8-9 years where we haven’t talked about their errors and replacing them with player x and player z so Luiz doesnt stand out at Arsenal.

    This is where you look at why this is the common theme with us. I agree with many others that our CD has been exposed way too much from poor protection in front and just wishing for different personnel will not solve it. It is unbelievable that a club like ours has just let this ride for years and not addressed it.

    I was pulling my hair out during the AW latter era when it was obviously deemed that this position was not important, but to enter our new dawn and find that it is still not being addressed is too much to cope with.

    Xhaka wasnt a holding midfielder when he came to us but was chosen by someone who didnt think it was that important. For him to still seemingly be considered our best option under the new regime, well…………

    Luiz should be a no brainer to try out there because what have we got to lose? We have had no protection for years from the current crop and I can’t see that suddenly improving now so try something different for Dennis’ sake.

    The guy won an EPL title playing that position so why are we prioritising a player who arrived not being that player and has had a multitude of games to prove he will never be that player over someone who has historically proven themselves in that role.

    If it doesnt work that well then we haven’t lost anything because sticking with what we have been doing hasn’t and won’t work either.

  9. LBG says:

    Where do we go from here?
    Down the League fast if we are not careful!
    “We may be expecting too much”, but I cant see Bellerin, Chambers, Holding and Tierney being less efficient!
    Shape held, discipline when out of possession in midfield. Kick Xhaka into the long grass. Play two up front and close together, esp until Laca is fit again, then him and Aubang. Pepe needs time and should be used as a substitute when needed for first half of season ( much as happened with Pires).
    Dick the insistence on ALWAYS playing out from the back does not work with these players, and even Man City dont do that. Adapt to the “quality” of your players. Stop making politician type comments and excuses. Percentage football is required at present and ANYONE who is scared should be thrashed until they develop a backbone.

  10. LB says:


    That is very interesting, I didn’t realise that Luiz had actually played in front of a back line, I thought it was our collective wishful thinking.

    I am really lifted by that, with the return of Holding and he taking one of the back line berths that really will change the view that I stated above that Xhaka only plays because he has no competition.

    Hmm, I like this idea…….

  11. fatgingergooner says:

    If you watch the game again you will actually see Xhaka telling the defenders to push up out of the box shortly after the goal was conceded, when we had another goal kick. So, whilst it didn’t stop us conceding, he did actually try to stop it happening again.

    The other thing you will notice is that once we started hoofing the ball from goal kicks, we barely had possession for about 10 minutes which allowed Watford to step up and put us under loads of pressure. Of course it’s easy to scrap the whole idea and start pumping it up to halfway after what happened yesterday, but the fault isn’t with the tactic itself, it’s with the quality of the players and how they implement it. A brave coach will continue to work on it and continue to use it, as Pep did at City.

    Two stats were mentioned yesterday during the game which are very worrying. 10 penalties conceded this year and 14 goals given away by individual mistakes in the last year (I think that was it!). Until we cut those out we will continue to suffer and the only way to cut those out is to get rid of the repeat offenders who seem to be Xhaka, Sokratis, Mustafi and Luiz. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do all of that in the summer, so we must put up with this crap for at least 12 more months. There is no short term fix to this problem other than removing these players from the side, and given the size of our squad, that isn’t going to happen.

  12. LB says:

    The other thing I disagree with is the idea that Xhaka is an Emery favourite. I think Emery has done pretty much everything he can to move the furniture belonging to Wenger out of the way. There really are no sacred cows, just look at how Ozil was dealt with.

    That being the case the only reason that Xhaka continues to play is that as I said no one else can play where he does, this should change with the return of Holding and the possible nudge forward of Luiz.

  13. LB says:

    I am glad you pointed out Xhaka waving his arm expressively to indicate that we should stop playing out slowly from the back Slim.

    I do agree with you that it is something that should be persevered with and it will be — but that was not the time to start refining it and I thought Xhaka was right to override Emery and stop the tactic for that time being.

  14. Rasp says:

    Hi FGG, hopefully no one is advocating ‘hoofing it’ as you describe, but an alternative strategy that keeps the opposition guessing and delivering the ball to areas where we have a good chance of retaining possession – especially when it is clear that playing out from the back has stopped working for the time being.

    We should be competing in midfield especially for second ball.

    The place to work on this is the training ground, not in a game when we have somehow got ourselves 2 goals in front against the run of play.

    If you are saying we should keep only playing it out from the back with this current crop of players and be prepared to lose games as a result then I can’t agree.

    Emery’s only got a short contract (3 years I think) and he’s ‘just a coach’ … he can’t afford to throw away games. He probably has to get us into the top 4 this season to keep his job. I think the management team above him will be ruthless .. and that’s no bad thing.

  15. kelsey says:

    So far this season – in just five games – we’ve allowed 96 shots on goal, more than any other team in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga, or Ligue 1 (via @ollysailor). That is shockingly bad, and when you throw in the fact that since Unai Emery took over we’ve conceded 10 penalties, more than any other team, there are alarm bells going off all over the place for me.(from arseblog)

    Those stats are absolutely shocking and Emery must take a proportion of the blame.This is at best mid table form despite spending a shedload of money

    I am lost for words as that was a humiliating performance from all bar Auba and Leno.Too many terrible performances and we held on somehow though to be honest we didn’t deserve even a point.It was like The Alamo.
    Emery hasn’t a clue how to set up a defence and now we have conceded 3 penalties in our opening 5 games.
    I am gutted absolutely gutted.
    I will let you guys list all the players performances individually.

  16. Rasp says:

    …as well as Xhaka urging the players forward, I remember Guendouzi receiving the ball under pressure one time too many before the first goal and ‘hoofing’ the ball up field out of frustration.

  17. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t really care about the results at the moment. It’s the lack of playing style, constant fiddling of the team, and lack of defensive improvement that are really worrying. We couldn’t buy an away result last season so 4 points from Liverpool, Newcastle and Watford isn’t a tragedy by any stretch, but we have to start seeing something from Emery soon in terms of him putting his stamp on the side. I’m still not sure exactly what he’s wanting us to be and after a year in charge that’s not right. I can understand the poor defensive stuff as we’ve had loads of injuries in that department and certainly haven’t improved the quality of players in this positions, but you’d like to think our midfield and attacking play would be better than it is with the introduction of Ceballos, Geundouzi, Pepe, Torreira, Willock, Nelson etc but they all looked a bit lost yesterday. Other than 2 great goals, it was a terrible team performance in all aspects, not just the defending. I’m really not sure what we are supposed to be!!!

  18. Rasp says:

    I agree about the lack of style of play FGG. We just seem to be playing generic modern football … but not very well and not consistently for 90 minutes. But I am concerned about results … football is the ultimate results driven business. We risk losing the belief of the players who are delivering if we keep capitulating so easily and so completely. Leno and Auba were the stars yesterday, we need to keep their spirits up. There is nothing more soul destroying than resignation to a bad outcome.

  19. fatgingergooner says:


    I’m not sure what the answer is tbh. Playing out with Sokratis in the side is not it though. Hopefully Holding can bring some sense to it all, but it’s a worrying state of affairs when we are looking at a lad we got for £2m from Bolton to be our saviour!!! The fact is we need better defenders which we already knew. That won’t happen until the summer so we will have to put up with more of these mis-haps unfortunately. There are too many weak links in this side and mistakes will continue to happen, wether from goal kicks or other areas. Emery can train all he wants, but some of the players are just not good enough and their back ups aren’t much better! I don’t see a good CB in our entire squad tbh. Let’s just pray that someone steps up and our full backs hit the ground running when fit and somehow transform a really shoddy back line.

  20. Rasp says:

    Agree with that FGG, although I do think Holding can be the real deal irrespective of where he came from and what he cost.

  21. fatgingergooner says:

    Even though I’ve done this above in previous comments, part of me does wonder if it’s a little unfair to question what Emery’s style is when at the same time we are asking him to forget his style because the players are not good enough to implement it. If Emery is only the coach, as seems to be the case, then is it fair for us to chastise him for playing out from the back? Should he just forget his whole ethos of possession football and control because the club haven’t given him good enough players? Im not convinced the blame lies solely at his feet. It’s not as if Pep took over City and transformed their existing CB’s into world class, ball playing defenders. He got rid of any players who couldn’t do it and bought ones who could. Surely it’s too much to ask Emery to come in and transform 30 year old defenders. They are what they are. I think it’s up to the club to provide him with the correct tools that allow him to get the best results. I’m not convinced that’s the case at the moment, so I will still give him a bit of slack on that front.

    However, there are equally worrying issues elsewhere on the pitch in terms of our passing, pressing and shape, and Emery should certainly be doing a lot better than he currently is in those departments.

  22. GoonerB says:

    LB, you are right about persevering with playing out from the back. We have to retain the ambition to play like a top team. I have a couple of thoughts on it.

    Firstly Socratis is not technically efficient enough at passing for this modern style at the highest level so is a back up CD at best. Holding offers an excellent upgrade while still retraining the physicality. His partner should be Chambers because you cannot surely play a whole season on loan at holding midfield and be named club player of the year without being able to pass the ball.

    Then it us about who is next to receive the ball. Xhaka is not comfortable enough receiving the ball facing his own goal in deeper areas of the pitch, for a number of reasons, and is often dispossessed with a quick press.

    Unfortunately Douzi also often reacts too slowly with the ball into him and gets dispossessed too much. He has the attributes to improve this but for now is not quite starting strongest 11.

    David Luiz sometimes has an error in him in one sense but when he has the ball at his feet he looks incredibly hard to disposes. He is big, strong and quick and can move with the ball if no pass is on. He also has great distribution.

    After him I feel that Ceballos and Torreira are our best at retaining ball possession. If you have that 2 mirror image triangles I have mentioned before with Luiz as the apex of each triangle we should have all the ability and angles to play out effectively.

  23. GoonerB says:

    I think I would persevere with Pepe in the starting line up. Yesterday Emery liberally set up as a 4-2-2-2 and I think it wasnt clear whether Pepe should ba a wide attacking right sided player or tuck in centrally behind Auba

    The set up was confused and disjointed from the start and I find it hard to judge a new player based on this. Let him have a run of games on the right side of a front 3 then see how it shapes up. Once he has had a couple of starts in a balanced system he may start to produce the magic.

  24. fatgingergooner says:

    I know Pepe wasn’t great yesterday but surely we are not questioning him already are we!!!??? You’ve got to give players time to settle to the pace of the game, and in fairness, we hardly got the ball to him second half. I thought he looked dangerous at times and had Özil played a better ball first half he would’ve been clean through. I like the look of him and I think he will be a star once the team starts performing a bit better.

  25. fatgingergooner says:

    With the passing from the back I actually think our full backs need to drop further back towards the corner flags. The opposition tend to leave 2 on the edge of the box centrally to close down, but if we have our full backs deeper then they would have to commit 4 players forward to cover the spaces. If they are stupid enough to do that then surely we could find a lofted pass into central midfield or wider that would then allow us straight onto their defence. If they chose not to commit 4 then we’d have space to play out and be able to outnumber them. Like Rasp said, I think it’s just about being smarter with it and keeping them guessing. If we mix it up then at least it might make them rethink, but yesterday we just kept doing the same thing which allowed them the confidence to step right onto us as they knew what we were going to do.

  26. Pat7 says:

    A weird, depressing match for me! I caught it by chance expecting to see it today….and joined around 17’ gone – we looked as if we were training, all smiles from Mesut and the lads as Aruba scored shortly afterward. We scored a second, still in 2nd gear it seemed then it seemed to turn…..
    We scraped in at half time and I let out a breath of relief. I cannot explain the rest as we deteriorated from there, taking off our creative players, retreating into our box continuing the stupidity of repeating moves that had almost hit disaster previously until hey, third time lucky we gave them a goal, then a penalty it seemed! Yes said VAR to my surprise. I saw Luiz’ leg go out and get withdrawn. If there was contact it was a brush, nowhere near any real contact though Arseblog has it nailed on. From there, worse was to come, as the shots rained in but thankfully Leno and their shooting boots salvaged us a point.
    Bar Auba, we had no attack. The midfield was missing and defence a mess crammed into a box.
    What happened to our pressing, our passing; we allowed them time on the ball even in our own third…..unbelievable. There’d better be a response or UE will be on his way, or his players will lose their self belief let alone any they have in him!
    That was tragic! 😦

  27. RockyLives says:

    We’re not as bad as we looked yesterday (other performances this season have been better) but that’s not to diminish the concerns.

    My thoughts on a few issues:

    GoonerB is right – we should be playing Luiz in front of the back four. He has shown at the Chavs that he can be outstanding there.

    Chambers should be a starting CB. He must be really regretting returning to Arsenal after his loan spell: last year he was Player of the Season at a Premier League club – now he can’t even get a look-in in a defence that has conceded more attempts on goal than any team in the universe and gives away penalties for fun.

    Playing out from the back is a TERRIBLE tactic if you do it all the time. Even Man City don’t do it all the time. If the opposition know you’re going to attempt it every single time then they can put men on all the defenders and make it virtually impossible to play out. Even a defensive line-up consisting of Messi, Messi, Messi and Messi would not be able to guarantee playing their way out all the time. If we’re prepared to kick long or throw long some of the time then our opponents can’t commit as many of their players so far up the pitch on spec. But if they know we’re going to be tw*tting about with it around our own penalty area EVERY SINGLE TIME it is so, so easy for them to get in and disrupt us, knick the ball and punish us. Our current approach is idiotic.

    I’m not ready to write off UE yet, but in addition to the ‘playing out from the back’ problem, his substitutions yesterday were mystifying and only made us worse.

    Willock and Nelson are not yet ready for intense first team football such as yesterday’s – they need to be eased in as late subs and in Europa League/Caribou Cup games etc.

    Pepe – I can’t understand why some people are questioning him. Dennis Bergkamp didn’t score for us until 10 (or was it 12?) games into his Arsenal career. Thierry Henry was similar. Even in yesterday’s game where we were terrible throughout (Abua excepted) there were moments when Pepe ghosted through opponents as if they were made of mist. He’s a good ‘un and he’s going to shine for us – but the last thing he needs is fans getting on his back this early in his Arsenal story.

  28. LB says:

    I think we should sell Pepe,

    Just kidding Slim, but I think it is fair to say that he didn’t make the step forward yesterday against lowly Watford that everyone was hoping for. Perhaps, play him against Forest and hope he gets a hat full that should do his confidence the world of good.

  29. fred1266 says:

    Rasp u know what pisses me off it a whole year playing this system and they still look so horrible doing it, I can on remember one occasion when it actually work was at the burnely game and we didn’t even score

    If we perfect it then teams will not press us cause they know we would be able to carve them open but seems we never will

  30. RC78 says:

    You can’t win games if you concede so many goals and so many stupid goals. Pks, foolish errors… It s ridiculous. We have to first be solid at the back and given our players and when playing away, am now convinced we d be better off playing in a 352 system:

    Leno – Chambers, Sok, Luiz – AMN, Torreira, Guendouzi, Willock (or Ceba or Ozil) , Kola – Pepe , Auba

    When Bellerin, Holding, Tierney, Laca come back, we ll see what to do but until then, let s be safe. We will create chances because we have decent movement going forward but we need to protect our goal better and control the midfield more.

    That game was embarrassing

  31. Mike M says:

    Morning all. That was crap. There’s something wrong. I don’t know what it is. I have a suspicion. It’s up to the manager to sort it out. If he can’t, he’s the wrong man for the job. We’ve seen this before, for about 10 years and counting. He are my takes (some of them based on reading the comments above:
    1) Xhaka and Ozil do not have the mentality to play for a top 3 team.
    2) Luiz needs a break.
    3) Leno played very well
    4) Ceballos was our best player other than Auba at the time he was taken off.
    5) Pepe was crap, so was Ozil. At 2-0. put on an extra midfielder and take Ozil off. Pepe is the future – Ozil the past. Pepe needs game time and a goal. It’s ok to persist with him. Ozil did his job for the 2nd goal but nothing else.
    6) Nelson is not ready. Willock is. With good players behind him, what he did when he came on was fine. He did struggle somewhat physically but he needs opportunities. Putting them both on in a game where we were blowing a 2 goal lead isn’t fair to them.
    I am biased towards certain players and against certain others, of that I’m sure. However yesterday’s “performance” by Emery convinces me that there is something to my biases.
    I’ll state again (and if he continues to play him, hope I’m wrong) that we cannot win with Xhaka in the team. I’m starting to wonder if we can win with Emery as a manager but I’m still open to persuasion on that one.
    Rant over – until the next time. And there will be a next time.

  32. I know you’re all going to be thrilled to learn that we’re gonna need some posts this week to while away the days ………… just tomorrow and Wednesday for the moment as we have a game on Thursday 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Any volunteers?

  33. GoonerB says:

    Mike, why does Luiz need a break? For me he is in the 1st 11 currently even with the error. Either we move him forwards as I and others would prefer or we somehow miraculously improve the protection in front of our defence so they are not so exposed.

    That though I dont think can happen until another TW comes so we work with what we have and try and get the best out of it which is not currently happening.

    I actually dont think that Luiz has done anything more wrong than countless Arsenal defenders before him when opposition attackers are allowed to just waltz straight through us straight onto a back tracking defence.

  34. …….. and anyone fancy writing the Frankfurt pre-match?

  35. Mike M says:

    Gooner B. Maybe not. I just thought it was a mentally tired error and if your observation that it’s no more than many others before him because of our lack of central midfield protection then I’d agree. But also does it raise the question of how bad Mustafi is? or any of those before him? Can Holding stem the tide or will he be victim to it too? Is Luiz the right player? I’m not sure and I guess I’d agree with your ‘how much worse can it get?” implication. The problem is I’m certain Emery doesn’t see it that way and I’d be amazed if he plays Luiz there. I just don’t know if he’s the same player of 4 or 5 years ago. I still think Torreira is the best suited to the position but again, it looks like Emery doesn’t.

  36. Mike M says:

    Peaches – nice post btw – well balanced at a time when it’s easy to lsoe our collective minds. I’ll do Frankfurt pre-match if no-one else wants it.

  37. Thank you Mike for the offer, that would be grand.

    I was still so angry about the game when I woke up that I had to write something about it …… not a match report more of a rant 😁

  38. Sue says:

    At.least the women know how to win… an 89th minute winner from van de Donk to beat the Mancs 👍

  39. Sue says:

    Eddie scored a brace tonight, for Leeds U23’s.. winning 6-0 🔥 he just can’t stop scoring!!

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    I can’t deal with Özil’s miserable face anymore. Everything he does just seems shrouded in misery. If he makes a poor pass or someone makes a poor pass towards him he sulks and his head goes down. I’m sick of it tbh. Sure, he can pick a great pass, but what else does he do other than jog around for 90 minutes? How he stayed on and Ceballos came off is beyond me. At least Ceballos shows some urgency and looks like he enjoys playing. Özil plays like he’s been called in to do an extra shift on Christmas morning.

    The club need to move on for the benefit of everyone. He just brings the mood down.

  41. fgg – have you just watched the game again? 😉

  42. fatgingergooner says:

    😂 😂 I couldn’t think of anything worse than watching that second half again!!! 😂 Özil’s pathetic wave to the away fans was probably the highlight.

  43. Aaron says:


    Arsenal are on pace to concede 60.8 goals this year.

    Have played 13% of their games.

    Conceded more shots than any team in the top leagues of Europe.

    Know this, we are playing the worst defense I have seen the Arsenal play in a very long time. Emery has been in charge for 16 months and is continuing the run of play that the Arsenal exhibited during the season’s final games.

    The question has been asked to death: what is Emery’s plan with no defense?

    Holding, Tierney and Bellerin will take time to get back up to speed, my guess 5-10 games. That means anywhere from 26% – 39% of the season’s games will have already been played, assuming no more injuries to our defenders.

    Luiz played well in a back 3, will Emery go that way? Will he continue to play Xhaka in front of them? Pepe needs more time, and with Laca out we have no cf who can hold the ball up. His constant tinkering has not let the players come to know how to play together, and I don’t even know if the players themselves know what the hell to do.

    Will watch the next few games closely. We will all know by then if he will make it to January. But, he is not the guy to take us to the next level.

  44. Sue says:

    Aaron.. i saw an article earlier, about Unai’s time at Valencia (super cup v Real Madrid 2008/9 2nd leg)
    Valencia were 1-0 up, Real were then down to 10.. but levelled. They then saw red again, so down to 9 men.. yet the score went from 1-1 to 1-4!!!! They ended up losing 4-2 (& losing overall) and that was with David Silva, David Villa & Juan Mata!! You couldn’t make it up!!!!
    Not a great article & it didn’t fill me with confidence!! Also, it was on about him parking the bus from the 50th minute, with a slender 1-0 lead and pretty much always surrendering leads…. 😬

  45. GoonerB says:

    Wow Sue, so worrying trends are in plenty of evidence even before Unai arrived. It does make you wonder if they truly thought he was “the one” or whether they saw him as a stop gap option. Maybe behind the scenes they couldn’t get who they really wanted.

    Anyway we have all loved his passion from the sidelines and we need (as fans) to be careful not to start too much negativity, but I would hope that things are happening quietly in the background.

    “So Mikel, what are you up to after the new year?”

  46. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post ..

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