A Ray of Hope on a gloomy horizon

So the result and the way we played were hugely disappointing! We conceded two cheap goals on set pieces where our defending was suspicious.

Leno was again guilty in the build up and in conceding goals and Bellerin was just horrible the whole game. Luiz had a tough night as well. Xhaka went back to his old slow habits and Ozil was also unseen for large parts of the game. Pepe was rather unsuccessful in creating danger and Laca was also not too good but he hardly got any service.

So out of the competition, probably no European cup for us next year and we will also now lose Aubameyang this summer.

But there is a slight Ray of hope:-

Auba is still with us and we better enjoy his goal scoring while we can.

Saka can be considered a starter now for us.

In a sudden twist of fate, Mustafi is now actually our most solid defender.

As we look to next season already, we know that we need new players and maybe a new GK as well.

Bellerin needs to be challenged big time at RB, Kola will need to go and a better LB option is also needed and we still need two CBs as it is time to get rid of our Greeks and maybe send Holding on loan.

At DM, we still need a player and if we don’t keep Ceballos, we need a player there too. We’ll need to replace Aubameyang as well.

But we have Saka and we have Martinelli and Arteta and this gives me hope.




24 Responses to A Ray of Hope on a gloomy horizon

  1. Morning all

    Thank you RC78 for the post. What a disappointment!!!! I feel so sorry for Arteta, I’m sure that wasn’t his game plan. Why were we playing so slowly??????

    Copying this over from Gooner in Exile

    Gööner In Exile says:
    February 28, 2020 at 6:58 am (Edit)
    I found that a very frustrating watch last night for the whole game. The result and the defending are obvious issues. But for me the biggest concern was the delay on decisions to play forward.

    Prime example Xhaka to Saka, that pass was on earlier Xhaka took another touch before deciding it was on Saka was then offside and what should have been a 1-0 lead was chalked off.

    Pepe was also guilty repeatedly tonight of taking too long on the ball when a simple pass was on or a more attacking pass was on.

    You can see others get frustrated with the slow delivery and then runs stop being made, and then we are trying to breakdown a packed defence with a static front line.

  2. fatgingergooner says:

    Only positive about Mustafi playing well is it might mean someone will buy him. We need to get rid of these players. The likes of Bellerin, Xhaka, Mustafi, Sokratis, Lacazette and dare I say Özil are once again shown to be below where we should aspire to be and the majority are at the wrong age or have shown an inability to improve from where they are right now. Let’s move on and build a fresh squad with a fresh manager and some really promising young players.

  3. Sue says:

    I feel so down today….twitter is a horrible place, just saw this :-
    What do Arsenal and a 3 pin plug have in common? They’re both useless in Europe!!
    To top that, we have a spud patient right now… he’s gonna love seeing me this morning 🙄
    That really was a performance to forget…
    I feel so sorry for Auba.. he looked distraught.. he’s carried us on so many occasions… he can’t do it all! We’re just not meant to do well in Europe… so Fratton Park on Monday night – I’m bricking it!!!

  4. Sheila says:

    Hi Fatginger gooner all I know about Mustafi at the moment he is our best defender , & when he went off injured I was hoping that is wasn’t serious as we NEED him at the moment( never thought I would ever say that about Mustafi) & I am not so sure I want him sold now, Luiz was responsible for both our goals conceded , with the help of Leno for the 2nd one. Mustafi seems to get every ball that comes into the box, he made some great clearances & his passes forward have been good too. What a difference a good coach has made to Mustafi. The problem is we started too slowly , our passing was awful, it was an awful first half. The second half was a bit better & we should have won the game, all we had to do was keep the ball for 5 minutes ( preferably down our end, Then they could not have got that corner .
    We are all very down & disappointed, but we now have to concentrate on getting a CL place in the league or at the very least a EL place . Pick ourselves up & go again

    We are down but NOT OUT ….yet

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    That was an atrocious performance last night. The team played like they were already through.

    I watched Lacazette for a while in the 2nd half. He was just walking around. He didn’t look for space or even try to run. I was amazed that he wasn’t subbed off earlier. He looked like he had downed tools. I used to be a fan. He will be gone in the summer.

    Arteta must be really concerned about the attitude of some of these players.

  6. fatgingergooner says:


    I agree he’s been our best defender recently, but that doesn’t make him a good defender. We need a total revamp in that area and we need defenders who have an ounce of intelligence in how they read danger and read the game. They should give confidence to their teammates and the fans but ours certainly don’t do that, even on a good day. Merts and Kos were probably our last half decent pairing and had a good 18 months together, but they had issues too with Merts lack of speed and Kos lack of power. It’s not just the CB’s though. Our full backs have lacked defensive qualities for years with an over reliance on speed and attacking quality. We all love a marauding full back but it would be nice if they could do the other side too. There’s still time for Tierney to prove a good buy but it does feel that Bellerin has lost a yard, and lets be honest, without his pace he looks quite basic.

  7. LB says:

    As I made my way home last night I thought to myself: if I were writing the report what would I say and all I had was “Bum”. You managed to put some objectivity to the whole sorry affair RC, so thanks for that.

  8. Rasp says:

    Oh dear, it’s like the team forgot everything Mikel had taught them. We were way to slow to get the ball forward, taking too many touches and the passing was very sloppy.

    We all knew how important the game was to Mikel, he must have driven that message into the players …. and yet they couldn’t deliver. It wasn’t as if a couple let us /themselves down … apart from Mustafi and Auba, the rest all played well below an acceptable level.

    I feel sorry for Arteta, but I suppose this was a wake up call for him along with the rest of us. I’m pretty sure we’ve got the right manager, but the fact that he can’t change the default culture of the team suggests we may need further changes in personnel;.

  9. fatgingergooner says:


    It certainly feels as though there is a limit to the amount this bunch can be coached. Arteta has done good job so far but I don’t see how he can teach experienced players how to do basic things. They just don’t have the correct mentality to take us back into the CL. The board has been refreshed, the management team has been refreshed, and now some tough recruitment decisions need to be made in terms of the playing staff.

  10. Rasp says:

    Hi FGG, that seems like the only logical conclusion … but we’ve been wrong before.

    Last night was reminiscent of the end to last season when we threw away our chance for CL football when we apparently had an ‘easy run-in’ to the end of the season. It’s inexplicable.

  11. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Rasp a definite wake up call for Arteta.

    He has done well to get performances out of these players, but we all know that there are huge question marks over a number of them. Here we go:

    Ozil: I’ve thought for a long time that the team won’t improve while he’s at the Club. Apart from a few flicks here and there he has done very little since he signed that crazy contract.

    Xhaka: He’s slow and gives the ball away regularly. Get’s silly cards and doesn’t track opposition players.

    Luiz: Not a defender. A horrendous signing.

    Mustafi: One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

    Laca: Offski

    There are others that I could add, but these are all senior pros and should be the spine of the team. Instead they all need replacing. This is mighty task for Arteta to carry out.

    Sorry if this upsets the fanboys and fangirls. Feel free to defend the indefensible…

  12. Sheila says:

    Yes I agree with your last post FatGingergooner

    Ah well, we still have a CL or EL place to play for & an FA cuo. Monday we go again

    One bad thing crossed my mind this morning. Kane said he will be back in April…..just in time for our game !! ah well

  13. Sue says:

    Olympiacos drew Wolves……

  14. Sheila says:

    I bet Wolves get through

  15. It’s ironic that BT Sport chose this seriously dull game as a showcase for their first 8K TV transmission.

  16. GoonerB says:

    Afternoon guys. Not been about for a few days but have read back on all the fine posts and most of the comments, so thanks to those that have put them up.

    Thanks RC, a ray of hope? I think you are right in that our quality youngsters represent our hope for the future. I was actually sitting watching the game with a few people including a spud who actually said that we have some great youngsters right now. He isn’t normally one to be so generous in his appraisal of arsenal but it probably meant more than if an Arsenal fan had said it, all things considered.

    The other ray of hope for me is in Arteta. He looks exactly the right man to coach all our promising youngsters into polished diamonds, and I don’t think I would want any other manager anywhere in charge of their development ahead of him.

    I feel I could question some of Arteta’s decisions yesterday in both the starting line up and timing of subs, but it would be a bit nit-picky and in the arena of “hindsight being a wonderful thing”.

    The reality, as others have pointed out, is that some of our senior players are too far gone down a pathway to be permanently reclaimed as top world class players on a consistent basis. Arteta has shown a real skill in getting them back to something far better than what they were when he took over and to create a happier environment, but there are just too many with ingrained bad habits that will always let him down at some point no matter what he does.

    The main finger for what has happened at our club has to be pointed firmly at Kroenke. Yesterday was an individual disappointment but it is the culmination of years of decline, and under his tenure we have gone significantly backwards. It is all very well talking about the new structure and new manager but I don’t want to be clutching at vague hopes that something better is beginning anymore, I actually want to see it happen.

    The opportunity is there but we can’t faff around anymore with one foot in and one foot out. Total commitment from the top down needs to happen. It has gone wrong under his watch so he needs to be stepping up and putting it right, and that means backing the new manager and team with serious investment in the team. I feel we need one huge transfer window this summer in one hit rather than trying to spread it over the next 3.

    They delayed far too long with Emery, rather than getting Arteta in sooner so that he would have had a longer run with the team. This might have made all the difference this season.

    The reality is that the problems under Kroenke didn’t start with Emery though, they have been slowly seeping in for many years now and, although I know many don’t like it being stated, the problems we see in some of those senior pro’s were started under Wenger in his final few years, so are many years in the making. As well as Emery the Kroenke regime kept the Wenger era going for far too long and we lost ground as a top team in the more modern style of play.

    The spine of the team needs properly addressing from back to front, and not in a cheap way either. Up top this will likely be forced on us anyway with our 2 senior strikers very likely to depart. I am happy to start factoring in some of our youngsters as number 9 options, (like Martinelli, Nketieh, John Jules, Balogun), but they will need at least one more ready made senior striker to come in, possibly 2.

    As I said before I would be looking towards Dembele of Lyon as a big purchase, and maybe after that we can seek back up from a player in their twilight. I don’t see any problem with bringing Ollie back for a couple of seasons as long as he accepted he was now more a back up player and wasn’t a long term first choice player. He would still get far more playing time with us in these circumstances than he does with Chelsea now.

    I am still happy with our goal-keepers and feel Leno should be given some leeway yesterday. It was an idiotic mistake at that time in the game and smacked of poor decision making for the stage the game was at, but he has also saved our bacon on many occasions this season. If those types of mistakes continue then certainly we can rethink it but I still feel we’ve got a good un in Leno, with good back up in Martinez, so wouldn’t be making a rash decision just yet.

    At left full back Tierney should be the priority and we need back up there with Kola likely going. Saka can cover there but should be moved upfield once we are covered there again.

    At right full-back I am not certain about Bellerin and still don’t know why we haven’t tried to properly develop AMN in the role. I think I would spend the rest of the season looking at him and Soares and then see where it leaves us by the end of the summer.

    At centre back we can probably factor in 2 to 3 from our current CD’s to remain out of Luiz, Mustaffi, Socratis, Holding, Chambers, so at least 2 of those from that list should be going. Saliba is arriving and we should be going for another big purchase at CD in the quality bracket of Koulibally or Upemecano.

    Old feelings resurfaced in me with Luiz yesterday, in wishing he was playing at holding midfield in front of 2 other CD’s rather than him being one of the 2 CD’s. Firstly I think that would have made the back 2 better, with him not being one of the two, but also I think Luiz would have made the base of our midfield far more solid.

    Hypothetically if we had been playing with Luiz in front of Van Dijk and Gomez could we really see us being troubled like we were yesterday? We need to find our own Van Dijk / Gomez solutions with Saliba coming in and another significant transfer as well.

    Luiz is a keeper for me though because he has ability and can cover CD and the base of midfield, but I would potentially look for younger and better solutions than him as first choice in both positions, so as well as another CD we need a new quality holding midfield enforcer. Could we possibly get Ndidi?

    I keep trying to convince myself about Ceballos but I am not sold on him and he is not even our player, and is unlikely to be, so what are we investing in him for. It is not as if he is a loan player that is tearing it up so is undroppable. I would rather see us play with Willock, Douzi and Torreira as priority players in midfield.

    We probably need another quality creative CM though who is at, or approaching their peak. I can’t think of anyone better than Grealish right now and feel we should go big on him.

    If we targeted, for instance, Koulibally, Ndidi, Grealish and Dembele (+Ollie) that is not at all cheap but it addresses the team right down its spine with quality. I am sure we can reduce some of the net outlay with the following out goings; Bellerin, Kolasinac, Socratis, Mustaffi, Xhaka, Ozil, Mikitaryan, Elneny, Aubamayeng (unfortunately), Lacazette.

    Our squad could look so much stronger and balanced next year if it looked something like this:

    Leno, Martinez, AMN, Soares, Tierney, ???another LFB ??, Saliba, Koulibally, Luiz, Chambers, Holding, Ndidi, Torreira, Grealish, Willock, Douzi, Emile Smith-Rowe, Pepe, Saka, Nelson, Martinelli, Nketieh, dembele, Giroud.

    Imagine lining up like this next year in a 4-1-2-3 type formation

    Soares, Saliba, Koulibally, Tierney
    Grealish, Saka
    Pepe, Dembele, Martinelli

    When you can boast a bench that can include the likes of Martinez AMN, Luiz, Chambers, Douzi, Willock, ESR, Nelson, Giroud, Nketieh we would be a pretty strong outfit.

  17. Aaron says:


    Thanks for carrying the torch today, a tough day to write anything positive.

    Two steps forward, one giant step backward.
    Round of 16 is the harsh reality of where the Arsenal are at.

    Agree with the points made by fgg, GoonerB and Pete- all the way.

    Said it before when the Arsenal purchased Luiz we were getting a marginal defefender, Bel is done, along with Mesut, Xhaka, Ceballos, Sok,Kola and Laca.

    The malaise starts at the top with staN the man.

    Arteta needs support for player development and the purchasing of players that can work in a system that he wants to build. Do not know if he will actually get this support though.

    Total rebuild from the spine up!

    Half full, now the Arsenal can get enough rest to complete this season, (no worries of player fatigue and fitness) and if the team does not get it’s S together quickly they will have the luxury of not playing Thursdays next year so they can actually compete for 6th place. The year end schedule is a real “group of death.”

  18. RA says:

    Good Afternoon, People, 😁

    Having read all the heartfelt comments today, I both understand the frustration with the standard of last night’s game, and more importantly – the result.

    Believe me, I feel as disillusioned as you all do, and last night I was so angry that I could not think of anything civil to say about the performances.

    Today, I have been able to rationalise my feelings and realise that there is another side to castigating the players individually, and as a team.

    You see, I would hate to think of myself as some bastard who, in another age, would whip a knackered horse for being unable to stand up, or a shitty mill owner who would throw people out of work, and likely condemn them to starve to death, because the poor quality of cloth supplied to them made equally poor quality clothes that was returned to the mill, at considerable cost.

    What the heck has that to do with the Arsenal players, you may ask?

    With the exception of two or three players, I have known for ages (truly, we have all known for ages) that many of the current squad are not capable of performing adequately at a club with long suffering fans whose aspirations have been crushed time after time, and showing no likely hope of improvement in the near future.

    Some comments have already listed the poor qualities of our clueless defenders, the unreliable goal keeper, the errant midfielders, and the want-away forwards distracted by the seeming lure of other clubs, so I don’t need to repeat them.

    Many of the roster are just not ‘right’ for Arsenal. Too many of them have been bought on the cheap, nearing the end of their playing careers, or who were never as good as it said on the tin, and who will never be able to live up to our still modest expectations.

    We would be naive to think we will win the Premier League, or the Champions League over the next number of years, so picking on the players who are unable to respond to our needs – like the knackered horse, or the downtrodden mill workers unable to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

    Let’s try to bide our desire to ridicule or insult or pillory these players, and wait and see what the summer transfer window brings us, and keep our fingers crossed that we get a TALL centre back to deal with all the crosses and corner kicks that have plagued us for years, and a more consistent goal keeper.

    Or so I tell myself.🙄

  19. fred1266 says:

    AMN starts for under 23

  20. LBG says:

    Forthright and brave post, RC. ( I certainly couldnt have written coherently after the footie and the ridiculous journey home following the extra time!)
    My thoughts coincide closest with GiE and Fgg.
    I will stand alone and defend Mesut last night!! Not only was the lack of speed/dynamic passing frustrating to the point of hair pulling out from such as X., and the depressing Hector, but almost because of it, when Mesut got the ball he not only had 11 to bypass, but NONE of the forwards were moving. Pepe was a joke! Wait until two players are back in front of you then either try to beat them four times each before….passing back to Hector…..and back to Mustafi ( my MOM, by the way!)
    We all know Mustafi is not a top class CB. Neither is Sokratis or Luiz. Where is Holding…not even on the bench? Let’s have a look at Mair, Mikel. What about our injured fullbacks. Can they play part games?
    All in all, 24hours on, turn a new page, and get stuck into Portsmouth. COYG

  21. VP says:

    Unbeaten until the 119th minute of the 14th game in a row.
    Hardly disastrous.
    I thought the real test came in the 13th game against Everton. Had we got it right in going with Arteta instead of the more experienced and successful Ancelotti. The win proved to me that we got the right manager going forward and things were definitely on the up and up.
    The very next game in the 119th minute, the result finally went against us.
    I am still quite positive with what Arteta is building towards this season and I do not recommend throwing the baby out with the bath water. Looking forward to the next game, onwards and upwards. COYG!

    Off for a bike ride to explore some new interconnecting trails. I’m expecting a 80km loop if I can get the trails to join up.
    Have a great day everyone.

  22. omgarsenal says:

    What a load of bullshite RC78! Auba is staying, one game doesn’t make a season and as man y on here have pointed out, we have a young but talented squad…..RC78….you see the glass totally empty….wake up and smell the roses.

  23. RC78 says:

    Auba has no reason to stay with us. He gave it a shot with 2 and half season. We re not sure to play Europe next season and he is a top 12 striker in the world, he needs trophy and Europe. If he doesn’t move now, he won’t ever move to a bigger club so if Barcelona or Juve or Real come knocking, he will go. He d do well in Real example with Hazard – Benzema, Auba

  24. RockyLives says:

    New Post…

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