Napoleon was a Gooner.

“Don’t bring me good managers; bring me lucky managers” (Napoleon 1808). A very prophetic statement from the Frenchman. Arteta does seem to be lucky, his beaming smile at the end of the game said it all: we got away with that one and he knew it. A very scrappy win but hey ho, give me a scrappy wins over a well fought draws any day.

The general tone after the game seemed to be one of frustration as to how poorly we played, not without foundation, but I can’t help but feel really up about how things are going.

Arteta added rightly that we are going to get many more games like that and so we have to be prepared for them. The many more games like that I took to mean that West Ham had worked out how to nullify our style that had been so effective recently against City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Fulham last week, all of those teams came onto us allowing us to play out from the back and then play long passes for Aubamayang to run onto towards goal with great effect.

West Ham had clearly worked this out and deployed a plan to neutralise it; they simply sat back and crowded out our attack – and it worked. Willian was almost non-existent as were Aubamayang and Lacazette for pretty much most of the game.

The only way we were going to get something out of the game was if someone was able to thread an inch perfect pass to open up West Ham’s tightly packed defence and the only player we have capable of that is Ceballos; I am not trying to big him up as something really, really special, he’s not but he is the only player who has that talent to do what was needed, hence the reason you could hear Arteta shouting instructions to the defence to play the ball to Ceballos. (The only player that is, apart from one sitting on a beach somewhere being paid 300,000 a week, but hey ho that’s another story).

One thing is for sure; Elneny could not have done that — and a word on the Egyption. He played a good game against Fulham and understandably some made him motm, the bar was very low, is he the long-term future, of course not. Someone pointed out that Ceballos and Elneny are different types of players and could be deployed as and when needed depending on the opposition; I am going to be polite – the thought had crossed my mind.

Someone else may put forward the idea of: why did we play so well against Fulham, we looked so much more balanced — because they pushed up allowing Tierney to play Auba through with his telling passes that worked so well in the cup final etc. We had acres of space and Willian was running riot. This had little to nothing to do with Elneny.

The comparison that was running through my mind as I watched the game yesterday was liking the team with that of a tug of war team, with Tierney and Luiz out we lost so much of our strength, without those two and their long range ability, we were totally dependant on Ceballos.

Considering all this I find it hard to imagine that Arteta is not only on the same page but way ahead in the book and as such I equally find it hard to imagine that we will not add to the creativity of the midfield before the close of the transfer window.


46 Responses to Napoleon was a Gooner.

  1. LB says:

    We needed a change.

  2. LB says:

    I just realised the a title of:

    Arsenal sign Napoleon

    Would have been a much better.

  3. LBG says:

    Interesting assessment LB, with which I agree significantly. I believe myself, you have made a good case for the man with too many vowels, who, I think RC will confirm, is (perhaps) another creative answer.
    I am less critical of the height of the bar regarding Elneny, and certainly believe he is a better player since his time away. Despite this Dani is probably the only one in midfield able to paint the pictures we need. I have been happy with three examples from Gabriel of directly forward passes to the frontline, splitting the press, yesterday.(And two against Fulham). Although perhaps too early to expect, Saliba is capable of this type of pass too.
    Hope the next two weeks will see the two additions and/or Mikel will solve tactically breaking down such irritating teams as the Happy Hammers.

  4. Aaron says:


    This much is true, but Aouar will not be enough. He is not physical enough to do it himself. Who is he going to play with: Elneny, Xhaka or Dani?

    I posit that AMN can play where Tierney plays as he showed he can play in somewhat of a midfield position tucking in, and play as a lb.

    Leno made me nervous as hell, and it showed, but I understand the value added AFC got from a guy who was worth $1 mill and turned it into $20 mil. The two keepers we are in for are a huge step down.

    We sorely missed Luiz and Tierney, players who can actually pass the ball. The first twenty minutes I could not believe my eyes, way overcomplicating passes and trying to thread the needle. Those turnovers put the team under serious pressure, and Moyes had them ready to go with more than a few capable players, rice and antonio gave us serious problems.

    Think the team just needs more patience when teams sit deep or crowd the midfield, felt many times the players were sitting on the same line, making it impossible to pass to an outlet player and the triangle passing was invisible at times. Do not understand that AFC always has to push forward when teams sit back. Pass the ball back to the keeper for an hour if need be.

    Mikel and the team have a week to get back in a groove.

  5. RA says:


    Credit for writing a Post, thank you.

    My problem is that I cannot agree with you when you say — “The only way we were going to get something out of the game was if someone was able to thread an inch perfect pass to open up West Ham’s tightly packed defence and the only player we have capable of that is Ceballos”

    There was a player on the pitch yesterday able to make defence splitting passes enabling us to win, and it was not Ceballos.

    The player who wielded his magic boot for the first goal, with a clever defence splitting pass through the Wham defence to Auba was …… yes that’s right – it was our highly skilled and creative player – Saka.

    That pass thru to Auba enabled him to run to the byline and exquisitely lob the ball onto the head of Lacazette to open the score. Easy peasy.

    It was a very clever and Mikel inspired move, so,
    well done to Auba – and well done to Laca, and, of course, it was especially well done to ……. Saka.

    There was no sign of Ceballos being involved.

    And then, blow me down, with time running out, in the 85th minute, Saka received the ball out wide, with plenty of defenders all around him — but turning on the afterburners, Saka darted through the defence, and created a killer pass to Ceballos, who simply turned and tapped a 3 metre pass to Eddie for the winner.

    Again, well done to Eddie for making another defence splitting pass for our winner.

    You can see why I cannot agree with your contention above — it was not Ceballos we were dependent on, yesterday, but a wonderful Home Grown, Arsenal academy youngster called Saka.

  6. Aaron says:

    A solid observation!
    Maybe we have our guy right here..

  7. Akinzo says:

    Great pieceLB.
    For long periods yesterday, we looked as if we were back to those Inglourious days under UE. We were disjointed, outplayed and outfoxed by the Hammers.
    It was so apparent that creativity remains alien to this squad. And like you observed, me sorely missed David Luiz and Tierney.
    Kola showed once again why he is a misfit in the squad. Well, he never set the EPL on fire hen he arrived but his confidence has dipped massively over the years and if possible any packing as soon as possible. Despite criticisms Luiz has been one of the most important rock in this squad and it could be a great weekend while before we find a reliable replacement. Those who ho felt Saliba and Gabriel will simply walk into the side should by now be realising the folly of such thought.
    On Sour, yes it’s true we need creativity urgently but I still have my doubts if he would meet our expectations immediately after joining up with the squad if we manage to sign him. A lot of us tend to underestimate the mazy pace of the EPL. He doesn’t look like he has the physicality to fit in within a few weeks. But no doubt on long term he is a player the squad needs.
    My guts also tells me we only be seing too many of such disjointed performance like yesterday in subsequent games.

  8. LB says:


    Good comment but sadly you miss the point — the ball has to get to Saka in the first place.

    My comment up there is trying to address why we played so poorly and add to the debate as to why Ceballos is a better choice than Elneny.

    With West Ham sitting back the long range passes that Gabriel was making against Fulham were impossible.

    The only way the ball was going to get to your man was via Ceballos because remember our game now is playing out from the back.

    Think of Saka in the first half — largely ineffectual, worse the whole left flak was ineffectual, obviously during 90 minutes his superb talent inevitably shone, hence his contribution in the 2 goals.

    Ceballos is far from perfect but he is the best we have.

  9. LB says:


    I am more optimistic, I think Arteta will sit that team down and show them exactly what is was that went wrong and as such expect them to come back and produce far better performances.

  10. LB says:


    Saka may be the man for the future but there is no way that he is ready to play the quarter back role, as Ceballos does, in front of the defence.

  11. Aaron says:

    LB and RA,

    These are both really good talking points.
    Are we talking about the same thing or mutually exclusive events?

    Saka a creator in the final third and or Ceballos the carrier to create a moment in the final third?

    My point is our midfield is so limited to get the ball out of the back on the left with kola out there that we might as well be playing one person down. He offers nothing on the ball from a penetrative aspect with the ball at his feet, think dribble drive nor offer combinations with the lb,lm, and left winger. Xhaka can’t explode or turn out by people either that is not in his locker.

    Does not matter if Thiago is in our lineup or Debruyne, they both need someone to work with!

    Mikel playing chess with checkers pieces.

  12. Agree on Tierney and Luis they both are not shy of going long. What Cebalios can do well is break the lines, with Laca off and Saka and Pepe occupying full backs he eventually got his chance.

    The first goal had a lot to do with Saka, PEA and Laca, but it also featured Willian’s highlight, the run he made to near post took two if not three defenders with him leaving Laca open wide.

  13. LB on cycling I have become addicted since taking it up more myself. (Did my first century this year having failed last year at 88 miles on that ridiculously hot bank holiday in August).

    I am not built for hills which means Norfolk is great for me, and I own an adventure/gravel bike rather than a carbon skinny wheel racing machine so average speeds of around 20-23km/h but keeps me active which otherwise would not happen as knees and ankles barely hold up to a half hour kick about with the kids.

  14. LB says:


    An average of 20-23km/h on a gravel bike is impressive in my book. I love those bikes I went to Brighton yesterday on mine, there is a gravel route all the way, fantastic day out, which frame and groupset do you have?

  15. VP says:

    hey GIE and LB, I too have a gravel bike and am riding most days now within our lockdown restrictions. As I am now much older, it is much easier on the joints with 30mm suspension and safer on gravel trails than on the road.
    We should start an AA club on strava:-)

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    Haha you start it I’ll join may only be three of us.

    I ride an Orbea Terra (2019) 105 groupset hydraulic discs.

    I’m lucky enough to live on the Marriotts Way long flat gravel track but love mixing up road and gravel.

  17. VP says:

    Wow GIE, thats a very nice looking bike. Looks fast.
    I have the old Cannondale Slate, running tubeless gravelking SK tyres.

  18. Gööner In Exile says:

    VP it’s the Aluminium version I have.

  19. VP says:

    GIE, yes I am on aluminium as well with the ultegra groupset & discs

    So much fun riding fast down gravel paths. However with strict lockdowns here in melbourne we are only allowed to go no further than 5km from home and only for 2hrs (up from 1hr).
    Need to get outside often just to keep sane

  20. LB says:

    You live in Melbourne VP! I hear there is some good riding over there.

    I have a carbon bike from a British company called Dolan, based near Liverpool, I liked the idea of just being able to just buy the frame and build it up myself. I put a Shimano GRX 810 group on with Hunt carbon wheels and Panaracer gravel king SK tyres, not a bad price for the quality of kit on it.

    I signed up for Strava, as GIE said I am sure there will only be 3 of us.

    I am very interested in Marriots way, I am going to look into that.

  21. VP says:

    LB, Dolan bikes look great. I checked out their website. Reminds me of Curve cycling around the corner from me.They are the also the home of the Walmer handlebars

    I’ve become a bit obsessed with gravel riding since the COVID-19 outbreak. With no football or any sports to follow, I had to connect with something else and it’s much easier than running.
    I like the Hunt wheels along with the Zipp firecrest. Those carbon wheel sets are very expensive Are you on 700’s or 650B’s. I ride 650B and am considering moving from the GravelKing SK Tyres to GravelKing SS for extra speed.

  22. VP says:

    Probably best to get back on topic. Apologies to everyone from steering off course

  23. Pete The Thirst says:

    I’m with RA. Saka is a huge chance creator and showed it for the winning goal. As I’ve said before this lad is very talented and will end up playing at 10. He is better than being stuck on the wing.

    Ceballos is a decent player and can move the ball forward well. His partnership with Xhaka looks very awkward. If Arteta had one player that could do both Xhaka & Ceballos’ job he would lose Xhaka very quickly.

  24. LB Not sure Marriotts Way is worth a planned trip but if you were up here taking in the area would definitely be worth while doing. It is a shame the more interesting and varied Peddars Way is more full suspension MTB than skinny Gravel as that is a much more interesting route.

    I am blessed that Marriotts Way is literally on my doorstep

  25. LB says:

    We better get back on topic.

  26. LB says:

    I obviously have to take the lions share of the blame for not making the premiss of the post above more clear.

    The purpose was to address why we played so poorly against West Ham in view of how well we had played against Fulham.

    Further I wanted to add a bit more information as why I think Ceballos is a better choice to start than Elneny. Yes, in every single game. Please note the use of the word “start”.

    I added my view of how I thought West Ham had nullified our usual game plan by simply sitting back and avoiding the usual high press.

    This made it impossible to play long balls for Auba to run onto.

    The only solution was to play it out from the back and the only player capable of linking the defence with the attack is Ceballos.

    He was our quarter back on the day, only he was capable of threading a pass to the attack OF WHICH SAKA WAS PART OF.

    It had nothing to do with comparing Saka with Ceballos; they do not play in the same position and they have totally different roles to play.

    LB why don’t you write more posts?

  27. LBG says:

    It’s all your fault LB!
    Who would take advice from a losing, short arsed, Frenchman, anyway?

    Some good performances over the weekend from loanees. Shame that Mavrapanos seems to be injured again. Hope it doesnt turn out to be a “big” Jack W!

  28. LB says:

    Does anyone know if we are going to be able to watch the game on Wednesday?

  29. LB says:

    OK, I’ve got it, you go to and pay £10 for the match, good idea really.

  30. fred1266 says:

    10 pounds for 1 match, pricy, if you don’t mind streaming from an external site I could hock you up

  31. Sue says:

    I’ll watch on Hesgoal

  32. Sue says:

    Welcome to the Arsenal, Runarsson 👍

  33. fred1266 says:

    Martinez so calm on the ball

  34. LB says:

    Thanks for the offer Fred but I think I will pay the money which should guarantee me a good picture.

  35. LBG says:

    Congrats to Emi on a fine penalty save. All true Gooners wish you well for the future. You will always be welcome at The Home of Football… long as we beat you, of course!!!

  36. LBG says:

    A new lease of life for Ramsey in the “trequartista” role, but steady on Aaron, every good wish for success in the future and all that, but Sampdoria are not the team they were when Seaman was in his pomp!!

  37. Gööner In Exile says:

    So do we think we will be able to play tomorrow night?

    Moyes and two others have tested positive and now self isolating if it were you or I having had close contact with Moyes we’d be self isolating after a call from track and trace for 10 days if tested negative and 14 of positive.

  38. Gööner In Exile says:

    LBG you’ve just reminded me of that penalty save.

  39. LB says:

    Poking my nose in here, I would imagine that the whole squad would have been tested after Saturday, surely that must happen shortly after every match.

    Apart from Arteta, the club have been very secretive about who has and who hasn’t had the virus, I would imagine that policy will continue.

  40. Sue says:

    Arsenal say the news from West Ham tonight won’t change anything in terms of how they are operating. The bubble in place around the squad is designed to protect as best as it can from this type of situation. So everything carries on as normal for now.

    Arsenal were among the Premier League clubs who underwent routine #COVID19 testing on Monday and despite coming into contact on Saturday with West Ham (who have since returned 3 positives), all #AFC results came back today as negative

  41. Not that we are likely to play strongest squad tonight should be good to watch may have to part with a tenner.

  42. LB says:

    New post of a sort.

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