Post match thoughts ………………

Well, that didn’t go well did it ……..but there were some positives, we created some clear cut chances and kept a clean sheet.

Here’s a small report from RC78

Just saw the game now (delayed 😦 ) and I think that it’s just down to Laca and Auba appalling misses in the first half that we did not win this game.

I am a big fan of both so I would not drop them even if Laca’s form is becoming a worry. I would, however, not hesitate to drop Ozil to make place for Martinelli and Pepe. I think Ozil is a wonderful player but he has not been able to make things happen for us despite all his talent and good intentions.

Guendouzi had a good game overall but can indeed simplify his game. Mustafi had a decent game too but I thought that Luiz kindda went missing in the second half.

Leno needs to improve both in the air and in his distribution.

As some of you have mentioned, we would have lost this game with Emery in charge but would we have won it if Mourinho or Ancellotti had come instead of Arteta?

Arteta is bringing more shape and intensity to our team but the results are still not there. If Tottenham finishes in the top 4, I don’t know what I will do…but for sure, I will be annoyed for a long time.

So I will look at the glass half-full based on the fact that we did not concede a goal, that we had a good first 20 mins and that we did create some clear cut chances. Also, Torreira played a bit so let us continue to be positive and let us hope that victories will bless our team soon.


And some Player Ratings from RockyLives

Leno 6….. Distribution could be better.

Bellerin 6….. Should have passed instead of shooting late on.

Luiz 6 ….. Not as dominant as he has been.

Mustafi 7 ….. Mystifyingly solid.

Xhaka 7 ….. Did well until switched to LB and did OK after.

Guendouzi 5 ….. Dwelt on the ball too long and seemed less focused than his last outing.

Ozil 4 ….. Needs to bring more.

Aubameyang 5 ….. Got into some good goal scoring positions but we need him to finish.

Martinelli 6 ….. Plenty of effort but not able to impact the game as much as we’d have liked.

Lacazette 5 ….. Still struggling.


Torreira 7 ….. Did fine.

Willock 6 ….. An improvement on Ozil.

Nketieh N/A ….. Not long enough to make a difference.

Arteta 6 ….. Clean sheet but his team selection can be questioned.


19 Responses to Post match thoughts ………………

  1. Lots of days to fill with posts in the coming two weeks so don’t be shy, if you’ve got something to say, email it to us at and we’ll try to include it.


  2. RockyLives says:

    Thanks RC

    I missed the first 15 minutes, which was apparently our best period of the whole game 😦

    From what I saw thereafter we seemed more disjointed and less functional than we have been in recent games.

    There were bigger gaps between our lines (MF and defence) and we never seemed able to take control of the centre of the park. Some credit for that goes to Burnley for their committed performance. They had beaten Leicester and Man Utd in their previous two EPL games so a draw at their place is not a terrible result.

    We made several good chances and couldn’t put them away. Goal scoring is becoming a problem with this team.

    More worryingly, Burnley had numerous clear chances to score. There must have been 5 or 6 headers they should have scored from, and there was also the effort that bounced off the crossbar onto the goal line.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that we were lucky – very lucky – not to lose. This was not a clean sheet earned by our stout defending – it was a clean sheet earned by Burnley’s profligacy in front of goal.

    At the other end, I thought our best chance was in the dying minutes when Hector cut into the box, bamboozled the defender and – thinking of his recent heroics – went for goal instead of passing to either of our two unmarked strikers in the middle of the box.

    Aspect’s of Arteta’s starting line-up were odd, to say the least. Maybe I’ve missed news of knocks/injuries but…

    Why Mustafi instead of Sok (even thought it worked out OK)?
    Why no Torreira, whose presence has significantly improved the balance of our team?
    Why Ozil in a tough away game at a tough ground when we know that (a) he’s out of form and (b) he seldom thrives in those circumstances?

    Having said all that, I think it was just an indifferent day at the office and it hasn’t dented my overall feeling of optimism. We’re on an upward curve and that will continue. I fully believe it’s going to all click very soon and we’ll go on a run of wins.

    Sorry for the long ramble.

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Arteta has improved our defence no end. At the tail end of the Emery period they looked like headless chickens.

    The consequence is that the attack has suffered. I’m sure Mik is working hard to get the attack clicking, but he hasn’t been helped by Laca’s poor form and Ozil being his general ineffectual self.

    Either he changes formation and drops Laca & Ozil or persists and hopes they come good. I think they both need a session on the bench, add a player to midfield and forget about 3 forwards.

    Top 6 looking a long shot now. Europa League is becoming more important by the week.

  4. RockyLives says:

    I agree with the overall thrust of what you say, but I was worried by how many easy chances we gave Burnley yesterday.

    A better team would have netted 2 or 3.

  5. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC

    Firstly Burnley away = not an easy game by any stretch. They are a side that need to be viewed differently than we would have done 6-7 years ago, and seem to be one of the sides that are altering the older natural order of things.

    There is a top 6 now, and although we are not in it right now we are still in reality part of that top 6. After that there have recently been traditional next tier biggish clubs that have occupied the spots just below this to mid table.

    These clubs would still represent a tougher game, but those clubs have been replaced at the moment by others like Wolves, Sheffield Utd, Burnley. Other Burnley results prove they are no fluke so we need to view a game at their place in a different light.

    A second consideration is in asking ourselves how quickly did we anticipate Arteta changing our fortunes? Have we set certain goals or targets that should have been achieved by a certain time? If so what are those targets, and are we failing to meet them?

    What we hope for and what we expect could be two very different things. Personally I think Arteta inherited a situation far worse than any of us would like to admit, and one that had been many years in its decline, not just since April/ May 2019 under Emery.

    Arteta walked in with a difficult run of fixtures ahead of him, with a team suffering many injuries and with many senior players wanting out and with a loss of belief and faith. A team that was tactically inept, mentally fragile, playing a poor style of football that had become ingrained in them.

    Nothing is perfect right now but I still maintain that the foundations being laid now will see us spring forward at some point. Our extra resilience is a massive bonus, and I have no doubts that we will add a formidable attacking element to this resilient platform under Arteta as we develop.

    I have said it before, but Klopp and Liverpool should be used as an example of what it takes to redevelop a whole club to something better. His first season he and Liverpool achieved 60 points, and that is with him having the entire season with them and not walking into an absolute mess mid way through the season like Arteta has.

    All things considered I think Mikel is starting to shape the team nicely. Results will come, but what he does now is about the bigger prize, just like it was with klopp.

  6. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky and RC.

    There is very little to add to the assessments already expressed.

    Note … maybe the dogs and owners analogy applies to players and managers. It is no coincidence that Mustafi is a better player under Mikel.

    I guess the real leap we want to see is when reverting to type for the team when under pressure does not mean backing off, leaving large gaps for the opposition to pass through, and forgetting how to keep possession and pass to a teammate.

    The culture needs to change. We can see Mikel is beginning to make that happen.

    As GB has said, that sort of transition doesn’t happen over night. When we play well we are doing something new and different – that needs to become our new norm and the old inconsistent, complacency and fragile confidence banished for ever.

  7. GoonerB says:

    On the game, we did indeed suffer from our key front 2 missing golden chances. That can happen though at times. Aubamayeng has been in good form this season so would be less of a worry than Lacazette.

    Does Mikel have to make a tough decision with laca in the next couple of games? On one hand you don’t want to destroy his already fragile confidence, but on the other we need to find our most prolific front line.

    One of the things that I think we need is a better goal-threat from the CM areas. The problem with Ozil is that this has never been a prolific aspect of his game, and if you field a midfield 3 of him, Torreira and Xhaka then we don’t pose enough of a goal-threat from these areas.

    Goal-scoring CM’s arriving in the box to support the attack not only increases goal-threat across the team but also takes attention away from the number 9 likely giving him more freedom to find space in dangerous areas.

    LBG mentioned about getting 2 good goal-scorers nearer each other and I just wonder whether the line-up at the weekend didn’t provide this and left Laca a bit too isolated too often making the Burnley defenders lives a bit easier.

    Although it should work on paper I wonder whether the line up of our 3 senior experienced attackers, in laca at 9, Auba wide left and ozil at 10, isn’t complimentary. Ozil lacks a goal threat and the instinct to get closer to the number 9, and auba is not an out and out wing forward, so is maybe wasting his talents there.

    Arteta has potential solutions he could try. He could of course drop Laca and put Auba up top with 3 playing off of him. If he doesn’t want to drop Laca he could try something else.

    Ozil is a supreme controller in a game but lacks that instinct to get into the box and close to the number 9. Would we be better off in certain games losing a bit of sublime passing for a greater goal-threat in the number 10/ACM position?

    Laca started as a number 10 earlier in his career, so rather than pushing Auba wide left why not play Laca behind Auba centrally, instead of ozil, and get them feeding off each other more.

    He could also drop both Laca and Ozil to the bench and move one of Pepe or Martinelli just behind the number 9 in Ozil’s role. Both these players look like they could play both the wide attacking roles and a central attacking role, and they both come with more goal-threat than Ozil. We also have cover for them in wide areas if they move centrally with Nelson and Saka.

    I think my choice would be to accept that Ozil, in his time remaining with us, has certain games that suit him more. I wonder if Ozil will be more a key player in the EL but be more selectively effective in the EPL?

    We should still use him and his talents as much as we can but it should be in games that suit him, and I feel that we should be moving towards a different and new set up in our attacking line up as we develop from here. Ozil is still with us but has one foot in being the past, a bygone different way of playing, so something different is potentially on the horizon anyway

    My preferred strongest attacking line up would be to try Laca at number 10 behind Auba, so that they can rekindle a proper close partnership. It gets Laca on the ball more in slightly more withdrawn attacking central areas, so will improve his sharpness, touch, and confidence on the ball, and it will only be a matter of time before he gets that needed goal playing close to Auba. We can play Pepe and Martinelli to the right and left respectively.

    We go with 4 good goal-scorers all in positions that suit them and that are complimentary to each other, and that gives us great pace and work-rate. You can play any 2 from Torreira, Xhaka, Douzi and Willock as a 2 man CM behind that 4.

  8. goonerB says:

    Although we brought in both Mari and Soares has anyone actually considered who is dropped as players return from injury. I am not even talking about who is dropped to the bench but which players don’t even make the bench never mind the starting 11.

    I am not sure what is going on with Holding. He doesn’t seem to be listed as injured but wasn’t even on the bench at the weekend. Soares arrived with a minor injury but is listed, alongside Kolasinac and Nelson as being ok after this 2 week break….. and what about AMN?

    If you looked at the starting 11 and the 7 on the bench at the weekend then started to consider how you factor in Soares, Mari, AMN, Holding, Kolasinac and Nelson, then it means six players from those that have either just arrived or have been regulars for us in recent times will not even make the bench. How do we make that work?

  9. RC78 says:

    Hi goonerB – good point. I think that Soares and Mari should be available for the Europa league so we have some options now to rotate our team between domestic and European jouts.

    I think our strongest 11 (leaving long time injured players out) is more or less known by now and for me it is:

    Leno – Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac – Torreira, Xhaka – Pepe, Laca, Martinelli – Auba

    Only doubt is for the CB partnering Luiz and for 1 spot in the front line on whether we should keep Ozil, Laca or Saka in the line-up.

    In the Europea league, we ll pbbly play a mix of strong team and squad players:
    Martinez – AMN, Mari, Mustafi, Soares – Guendouzi, Xhaka, Willock – Ozil – Pepe, Nketiah, Saka

  10. Pete the Thirst says:

    @GoonerB I totally agree. I remember Laca at Lyon playing a lot deeper than he does now. He can definitely play behind PEA and provide more threat than Ozil does.

    With Ozil I think we’re going to have to accept that he’s not going to change until his contract ends next season. The decision by Wenger & Ivan the Terrible to hand him that deal was criminal and will haunt us until he leaves.

    GoonerB says:
    February 3, 2020 at 12:30 pm
    Laca started as a number 10 earlier in his career, so rather than pushing Auba wide left why not play Laca behind Auba centrally, instead of ozil, and get them feeding off each other more.

  11. RockyLives says:


    The idea of playing Laca behind Auba is an interesting one – I wouldn’t mind seeing that tried.

    I think Laca needs to be cut some slack because of how difficult it is for him playing, often with back to goal, with minimal close support.

    Your point that the fact that teams know we offer little goal threat from central midfield allows them to focus extra attention on Laca is well made.

  12. Pete the Thirst says:

    @peaches if you want some nostalgic stories of games I’ve been to in better Arsenal times I can drop some into your mailbox?

    The good: Anfield ’89; Copenhagen ’94; Wembley; Cardiff, North Bank; Clock End

    The Bad: Paris; Copenhagen 2000; Wembley; Cardiff; Old Trafford

    And the ugly: Chelsea; Leeds; Spurs; Millwall

    peachesgÖÖner says:
    February 3, 2020 at 8:55 am
    Lots of days to fill with posts in the coming two weeks so don’t be shy, if you’ve got something to say, email it to us at and we’ll try to include it.

  13. RockyLives says:

    I’ve got Old Trafford on my ‘good’ list – was lucky enough to be there in 2002 when Wiltord scored the only goal to win us the title.

    Didn’t get to Paris, but was in Copenhagen for the “bad” there.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I’d love to hear some of your adventures…

  14. GoonerB says:

    Well I’m thirsty for a thirst story or two.

    RC, I kind of see the PL and EL the other way round now, and feel they have swapped positions in terms of importance. Play a full strength side in the EL and rotate out and experiment more in the PL I say.

  15. GoonerB says:

    I really am not sure how Dermot Gallagher was once a supposed top referee and I don’t have any clue why VAR is so inconsistent. I just watched Gallagher state that the 2nd penalty call in the City vs spuds game wasn’t a penalty as Lloris was clearly trying to get his arm out of the way and there was no contact.

    There was one angle though that showed quite clearly that Lloris’ left Hand had clearly caught the front of Sterlings leg with no contact on the ball after Sterling had got to the ball first. There was no attempted pulling away of his arm, so Gallagher has just made that up quite frankly.

    In fact if anything there was more clear contact than in the first penalty call on Aguero. If Gallagher (and the VAR official) cannot see that clearly on the replay then we are in the shite.

    Now whether sterling goes down too easily is another matter that relies on a completely subjective opinion about how much contact is required. Two things with that though. Firstly it would rely on a complete guess as to whether the contact was heavy enough.

    Anyone who has played football and / or Rugby can tell you how sometimes you can ride a heavy contact or tackle and stay on your feet while at other times the tiniest contact can unbalance you if it catches at the right point at the right time. In rugby the “ankle tap” can be effective in bringing someone down at speed.

    This is why most of the time the ref just goes with whether there was contact or not, and not try and guess whether it was enough contact. Lloris clearly made contact with the front of Sterlings leg without getting the ball. The ref didn’t make a clear and obvious mistake here so why was it over-ruled?

  16. Pete the Thirst …… it would be great to hear your stories …… if you’d like to get writing and send them to

    We can add pictures and a snappy title ……. look forward to reading them. Thanks a lot.

  17. GB – I’m with you on the VAR frustration. In isolation, if Lloris had brought Sterling down in that way, (without the earlier penalty save) would there have been as much discussion about whether it was a penalty

  18. LBG says:

    VAR is sh***! Ruining our national game by the day. Dermot Gallagher and Dean have always sh***! (with due apologies to good, honest, clean shite!)

  19. Morning all

    We have a New Post …………..

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