Mikel’s Arsenal Career on the line?

Mikel really is at a massive crossroads in his Arsenal career and more importantly to us of course as Arsenal supporters.

Aubamayang, Lacazette, Nketiah, Pepe and Willian are not working.

There are too many players there with too much talent for all the blame to placed solely at their door — meaning the lion’s share must lay with the manager.

When Arteta arrived he built from the back with 3 defenders and five in front — it worked; we won the FA cup, he has tried to change into a more attacking formation and it is failing badly.

Arteta’s tactics are fairly straight forward, when there is a position that is not working as well as it should he will alternate between the contenders in the hope that one of them gels, the obvious example is the left wing back. Kolasinac and Tierney vied for that position until it became clear that Tierney was the best player for the role.

Arteta is also doing the same with Lacazette and Nkatiah for the number 9 role, the difference here is that neither of them is firmly staking their claim; neither of them has very good close control, neither of them has the ability to hold the ball and neither of them can run with it: can you imagine either scoring the goal that Martinelli did against Chelsea from his own half. Ok, I accept I just put my red and white tinted glasses on and sure Arteta would have almost certainly played the Brazilian were he available.

Arteta needs to go further and be brave enough to play Balogun ahead of Nketiah; there should not be a pecking order, decisions should be made on the basis that the best player gets the job; further, it should make no difference to the club which one of them succeeds so long as one of them succeeds. Same applies to Nelson and Pepe, it should make no difference that Pepe cost more than Nelson and Pepe should not be given priority because of it. Arsene Wenger on Bergkamp: What makes Bergkamp such a good player is his ability to do the simple things really well. I paraphrase. Bergkamp didn’t need to show off, if you think about it he just did all the simple things really, really well. Pepe — take note, a simple pass is more effective than yet another flashy step over, just pass it man aahhhhhhhhh.

I actually have a bit of sympathy for Willian, he came from a team that if he passed to a player and then moved he would more than likely get the ball back — our forward line has the close control and the ability to return a pass of that of hoofed animals. I am clinging to the hope that he and Martinelli, his fellow Brazilian, will form a good understanding.

Aubamayang’s close control on the move is atrocious, his inter-play with his team mates is worse and his ability to run with the ball on a break is laughable — he should be benched until a formula can be found in which he can be reintroduced not the other way round which is happening and failing now. Put simply I think Balogun would do a better job.

Saka does not get a pass here either, he has stagnated in the last few games and should be given a break for either Nelson or Smith-Rowe, it was interesting that Arteta moved ESR out to the left side for the second half against Dundalk he may have ideas of playing him there in the EPL. Again it should make no difference which of the 2 makes it to greatness so long as at least one of them does.

The midfield, don’t get me started…………..

You need to show some strength Mikel, I do not want Fat Sam anywhere near our club after Christmas.

Ok, happy note to end on, did you notice how Balogun runs? He has a long torso and short legs so it looks like they move really quickly when he moves at pace; I mean that is, opposed to the giant strides of Vieira for example; anyway, I was trying to cast my mind back to who had a similar running style and then it hit me.


Something to think about, chuckles to himself and finishes the post.



91 Responses to Mikel’s Arsenal Career on the line?

  1. LB says:

    Early start for me so won’t be around in the morning.

  2. omgarsenal says:

    Weak and incomplete analysis of the issues and the players concerned. Take a few minutes and watch Adrian Clarke’s game analyses both for our wins and our defeats.

  3. JDASH says:

    Nice analysis, although only God can save us. Also, I think you’re a very big fan of Balogun. Lastly, the captain’s name is AUBAMEYANG NOT AUBAMAYANG. Thank you.

  4. VP says:

    Tao Geoghegan Hart – the eldest of five children – is the son of a builder father and architect mother with no cycling background. His inspiration was found not in the high mountains but at Highbury – the then home of Arsenal football club.

    “I was lucky that I grew up in the most inspiring and defining era of Arsenal,” he says. “When I was a football-mad seven or eight year old we were winning the double. I was at the open top bus parade for the 2004 Invincibles season. What kid could want any more incredible imagery than that, especially in your neck of the woods?”

  5. LB says:

    Hi VP, good to hear from you, just off out on a ride.
    Interesting thing, why are all British grand tour winners Arsenal supporters: Geogenhart, as you say but also Thomas and Wiggins, Froome gets to the games when he can lol

  6. LB says:

    2 in the net, good start to the morning lol

  7. RC78 says:

    Mikel made us harder to beat last year by making sure we were tough to break defensively – he achieved that by playing a back 3 and did not mind sitting back and counter-attacking. This year, he tried to bring in a new philosophy that was more possession-based and required more players up front. It worked well in some games but it did rock the boat and our defensive shape suffered a bit and our attacking game did not reap the benefits and actually, our main attacking threat (Auba) looks lost.

    So what do we do now? We have some good players in our squad and Arteta should be able to find the right formula by now. Management came out supporting him and Edu today so I don’t his job is on the line but I also think that if our form does not improve by the end of the year, he might be given a good-bye shake comes May.

    So what is our best formula? I think it can be a 352 or a 442 and in any case, we have to play 2 up front. I also think that AMN should start for us either at the back or in midfield.

  8. Sue says:

    Guendouzi scored a top bin screamer for Hertha earlier 👌 Floodgates now, I hope!

  9. Aaron says:

    Sue, guy is slower than Xhaka, not making it in EPL.

    $h*tTy should have nicked that drap affair, and chavs should be up 3-1…draws for everyone and spuds would be optimal.

    Goes back the saying we just need to win ours and who cares about everyone else.\

    Really hope Mikel sneaks s a few youngsters in on Sunday.

  10. Aaron says:

    Man, when I type without my reading glasses it makes for horrible reading. I apologize…..

  11. jjgsol says:

    Sorry, is it 6 losses out of 11 this season so far, so where is this wonderful defence that Arteta has developed.

    Let us be honest, we won the cup because we parked the bus and beat opponents who were unable to get through our massed defence, despite having 70% possession and many more shots.

    I am becoming more and more convinced that people are talking up Arteta and his “achievements” and abilities as a way of trying convince themselves that he is doing the right thing.

    Let us be frank. We have a poor goalie and an even worse deputy, a pathetic defence, no midfield and an attack who barely get the ball and still cannot hit a barn door if they were standing 3 feet in front of it.

    We are 15th because we deserve to be there or lower.

    Our manager is proud of the achievement of sending over 44 crosses, despite the fact that we have no one capable of doing anything with them.

    One can only hope that Arteta gets the message soon, and makes some changes in his own methods or we will really be in trouble

  12. LB says:

    It certainly is not looking good right now jj

  13. LB says:

    Can’t really blame people for hoping that Arteta comes good though.
    Bit odd not to really.

  14. jjgsol says:

    Hoping is one thing, but deluding oneself that he has actually achieved something and may achieve something better, in the face of evidence to the contrary, is something completely different.

    I see on various blogs comments saying that Arteta is a great coach, indeed, to some, one of the best young coaches around.

    In truth, have any of us seen any evidence of that in over 40 matches in charge.

    Let us ignore the EL games because the opposition has been feeble at best.

    In the EPL, it is we who have been the feeble ones.

    So, all those people who repeatedly say how great a coach he is, please let us have some evidence.

    When Emery was appointed, I felt from the start it was going to be a disaster and I was, unfortunately, wrong.

    I was delighted when Arteta then got the job and anticipated a bright future.

    Indeed, he started well, until the covid break, and I think it is from then onwards it started going wrong.

    Starting with the Ozil nonsense and then his seeming need to control what everyone was doing on the pitch the whole time started to affect the players.

    Their fear at doing what they are told not to do seems to mean that they are all playing with the handbrake on so that now no one plays with confidence and everyone would rather pass backwards than forwards.

    We are seeing players hating to be there and under constant pressure to do what they are told.

    It is horrible to watch and must be even worse to play in.

    If he is such a great coach then he is needed now to change things in order to stop the rot. Otherwise, things are likely to get much worse,

  15. LB says:

    Thanks for the response jj. This confuses me.

    “When Emery was appointed, I felt from the start it was going to be a disaster and I was, unfortunately, wrong.”

    Surely this is a typo, you must have meant “fortunately” rather than “Unfortunately”

    It makes no sense for an Arsenal supporter to want a new manager to fail from the outset.

    Or, have I simply misunderstood?

  16. GoonerB says:

    Hi LB, sorry I am so late to your post but it has been a very trying week.

    Anyhow, excellent analysis LB and I totally concur with the concept if the best man getting the job regardless of age, price tag, e.t.c.

    I didn’t see the game on Thursday so your feedback on Balogun was interesting. I also agree with your assessment of our 2 main number 9 options right now. Each lacks something in their game.

    In fact my 2 areas where I think we may need to upgrade in quality are at number 9 and at right back.

    I have had a preference for some time that Aubamayeng is most effective on the attacking left, receiving the ball facing goal a d cutting in from there.

    One thing that is important to maximise his threat us having the right number 9 for him to feed off. Ideally someone who has the control and hold up play while still posing a goal threat themselves. If Balogun fits the description then play him.

    My one area where I think differently is in comparing say Nelson and Pepe on the right side and Saka and ESR on the left purely because I think it is impossible to compare left footers and right footers performances on the same flank as the role alters massively.

    I always remember Bobby Pires starting on the right side and being a bit so so to start with. Once Arsene moved him to the opposite flank he became one of the best attacking left sided players out there. Arsene even admitted as much, that the right side was all wrong for Bobby.

    If Saka has stagnated it is because playing him from the attacking left is all wrong for him, like it was with Bobby. He is still ok at it but is a bit so so on the attacking left.

    To be fair he kind if did what is expected iff a left footer on the attacking left in putting in dangerous balls. It is not his fault that the team is not set up or has the kind of players that thrive on a multitude of deliveries from the flank.

    There is talk about Arteta having tried to move to a more attacking formation but it not working. Many media outlets excuse him from this by stating that he doesn’t have the players and will need to move to a back 3 again.

    I disagree because I dont think Mikel totally committed to this so called move to a more attacking formation. It was a half hearted change that ended up looking like a more old school 4-4-2 with lots of wide deliveries that a Shearer and Sherringham combo would lap up.

    We dont have that a d should have been looking more for a 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-1-3 whichever way you look at it. The key being that the front 4 are all set up to maximise their goal scoring potential. To be incredibly boring (again) that can only happen with the inverted wing forwards.

    Move Saka to the right and let him have his Bobby Pires moment.

  17. GoonerB says:

    Sodsing typos on the phone. Hope it was still legible.

    I think in our squad we have certain players that are really only good for one position in 1 type of formation, while others can adapt to a couple of positions.

    For instance I think Saka could operate as a 10 or the attacking right side (not the left though for me, as already stated). Nelson could be a 10 or the left side attacker (again not the right), and ESR is likely best as a 10 but could be used from the left.

    It seems by and large the younger players have the greater adaptability for a couple if roles. Conversely I think Aubamayeng is only for the left attacking role in a properly set up front 3, but with a number 10 in a 3 man midfield to find his runs.

    Willian looks only like a number 10 player now and looks lost and wasted out wide on our squad. Pepe only looks like a right side attacker.

    I think with those available to us right now, and not rushing back ESR and Martinelli too quickly, my favoured line up for today would be a 4-2-1-3 as follows:

    ——————- Leno
    Soares —- Luiz —- Gabriel —–Tierney
    ———— AMN ———– Elneny
    ——————– Willian
    —– Saka —— Balogun —- Aubamayeng

    I am happy to give Willian a go in this position as I feel he will become far more influential and effective operating centrally in a free role with a front 3 ahead of him. If he is not performing then I would be looking at Nelson and ESR in the bench to replace him.

  18. GoonerB says:

    Haha, can’t even write “sodding” correctly to lament my typos.

  19. LB says:

    Couple of really good points there GB that hadn’t crossed my mind: certain players do really only look good in one position and I really like your team — a lot.

  20. jjgsol says:


    You are correct. There was an error.

    I meant to say “unfortunately, right”,

    Unfortunate, in that it would have been nicer had I been wrong.

    The whole way Emery was appointed reeked of something very wrong.

    The premature and disrespectful dismissal of Wenger and the appointment of an unsuitable replacement in Emery, was not the fans fault, but to suggest that the fans should wish for an unsuitable person to continue making a mess of the job of management solely because it is not nice to remove a manager, sounds quite ridiculous.

    Frankly, had he been removed earlier, perhaps we might not be in the parlous situation we are now in.

    I do not advocate Arteta’s removal as I did with Emery, but I might feel forced to do so in the event that Arteta does not do something to arrest the speedy decline we are in.

    That means changing his approach, not simply buying in more and more new players.

    I fear that Arteta and his approach may be the main reason for the decline which, if I am correct, means that it is to him we must look to change things, failing which how can he continue?

  21. LB says:

    Hmmm, interesting view. All eyes on today’s game, the knives will really be out if we lose this one.

  22. RC78 says:

    We can’t afford to lose or draw this one. I have a weird premonition that Lacazette will score…Let us see.

  23. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for a cheery Post LB 😀

    Hard to feel confident the way we’ve been playing but you never know.

    If we carry on with the same approach we have taken to recent games it probably won’t go well.

    But you’ve got to figure that Arteta must know that too, and will have made changes accordingly.

    A team without Xhaka and Willian would bring an immediate smile to my face.

  24. LB says:

    Rocky I was trying to revive the Friday Rant started by Rasp some time back 🙂

    Couldn’t agree more that Arteta must know that his approach has not been working in recent games; the big question, hence the title, is has he got what is takes to change it; leaving Xhaka and Willian out would be a good place to start.

  25. LB says:

    With the average age of the contributors of this site being 120 I am surprised that I didn’t get one view on the idea that Balogun’s running style is the same as Super Mac………….

  26. LB says:

    Hmmmm, spuds drop points, that’s a bit of a shame.

  27. RockyLives says:

    I hadn’t noticed the Supermac comparison but I’ll look out for it today if Balogunner gets a run out.

    Long body, short legs… or as they used to say in the Westerns: “You low down bum…”

  28. Gööner In Exile says:

    Spuds drop points, fully expect to see Liverpool go top and they are losing 1-0 to Fulham!

    Starts to feel like a Leicester season. Especially when you see Saints in 3rd Leicester with the opportunity to leapfrog them or even go 2nd with a 3 goal win. Whilst City languish in 9th having seen out a bore draw with United in 8th whilst we sit 15th.

    The rot has to stop today.

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    Phew lucky Liverpool penalty

  30. Gööner In Exile says:

    Ohh lucky Liverpool pen.

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    I just hope Arteta’s team selection isn’t just blind faith. I’m shocked that he hasn’t swapped a couple of players around. I guess if we weren’t playing midweek games at the moment then we would’ve seen far more changes in personnel over the last month. I suppose if you look at the other European contenders though, they have all struggled this weekend and dropped points, so going with a fit 11 might not be such a bad idea. Shame they are all in wretched form…

  32. Aaron says:

    stale as you know what line up!

    Come on Mikel, put some spice into our club, this same ole same old is going to get him canned!

  33. RockyLives says:

    Well that’s a line up that inspires precisely zero confidence. I hope Arteta has a plan that I don’t understand…

  34. GoonerB says:

    Interesting with the line up. If he sets up as he has been with Saka on the left and Willian on the right we will be playing a kind of old fashioned 4-4-2 with Willian and Saka tasked with being deliverers of the ball from the flanks to a front 2 hardly prolific in the air. I will worry for Mikel in that case.

    However Mikel could make a massive difference if he lines them up differently. The key 2 players to look at are Saka and Willian and where they play. Mikel has the opportunity to play Saka on the right if Lacazette and bring Willian into the free creative role as follows:

    ———————— Leno
    Bellerin —- Holding — Gabriel —- Tierney
    ————— Xhaka ———– Elneny
    ————————– Willian
    ——— Saka ——– Lacazette —- Aubamayeng

  35. Gööner In Exile says:

    GB there is a lot of sense of dropping William in there.

  36. A says:

    If we do not press, and Saka does not create Mikel will start to hear it, lucky only 2000 fans curbside.

  37. LB says:

    Mikel doubles down with his formation.

  38. Aaron says:

    Fascinating stuff here, Auba 40 yards deep to get ball, Willian dribbling backwards, and team crosses into the box….

  39. GoonerB says:

    Even Burnley are playing Brady as an inverted wide man to be a goal threat from the right and provide pacey inswingers

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    We look lost when we get over halfway. The lack of movement is really poor.

  41. Aaron says:

    Where is our rhombus?

  42. Rasp says:

    Evening all … if I had my way we’d play Azeez, ESR, Balogun and M-N in place of Xhaka, William, Laca and Bellerin …. at least those youngsters know how to play together and all are good at close control

  43. LBG says:

    What is the point of Hector Bellerin?

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    Apparently we are now a team that loads the penalty area and we play the ball wide and cross. If the cross doesn’t come in then the players just trudge back having a whinge. Wouldn’t it be better if the players came out and helped work better positions!? It’s so basic.

  45. Rasp says:

    Looking at this game so far, only Tierney, Saka and Gabriel are showing the necessary quality

  46. Aaron says:

    All day Rasp…

  47. RC78 says:

    Rasp – again our left side, the much better side.

    Laca, with a golden opportunity to score but still not scoring 😦
    Xhaka, played well so far – surprisingly.

    Big question marks over Bellerin, Willian and Auba in this half.

    Burnley could have scored early on but overall, another toothless performance with sterile possession, set-pieces and crosses.

    I think the game needs AMN in for El Neny. I think he d add that extra pace and trickery in the middle. We can then take out either Willian or Bellerin and bring in either Ceba or Nelson. I d stick with Laca up front for now

  48. Rasp says:

    Quite rightly everyone was gushing over Balogun last week … but it was Azeez who really impressed me. He slipped straight in, showed confidence, pace, strength, movement, trickery and something Xhaka completely lacks … spatial awareness.

  49. RC78 says:

    Bellerin – Willian have been a waste of space in this half.

  50. LB says:

    Pedestrian dross.

  51. Rasp says:

    I think we need to be quicker and more crisp in our passing. We need to get the ball forward more quickly, stop passing it to someone with his back to goal and defenders too close. Laca tries really hard but he doesn’t have the strength or close control to play in that position. I’d be happy to see him move on in January when hopefully Martinelli is fully fit … with Balogun on the bench

  52. LBG says:

    Still amazes me that anyone could describe X as performing well.

  53. RC78 says:

    Hi LBG – I am not a fan of Xhaka but his passing has been good today, much better than El Neny, Willian, Bellerin, Laca…Although he is also not a great player, he was in the top 5 performers for us in the first half.

  54. Rasp says:

    I’ll give you that RC … but he is well short of the quality we expect from an Arsenal player. Mikel can only play the cards he has in his hand, but he could do worse than emulate Frank Lampard and put his faith in some of our young talent. They are better footballers, they only lack experience

  55. Aaron says:

    Sub him off, NOW!

  56. RC78 says:

    Well there we go…Xhaka can’t help himself…I think he ll get a red card!

  57. LBG says:

    Waste of space from the moment he was signed.

  58. RC78 says:

    Rasp / LBG – Eating my words now…He is such an idiot

  59. LB says:

    We were completely dominating. What a wanker.

  60. RC78 says:

    I think we can still win this game BUT it will be tough. If we win this game, it will be our foundation game

  61. Aaron says:

    Well, well, well, could not see one our seniors making a horrendous mistake costing the team-whether it be a red, own goal or whatever.

  62. RC78 says:

    Ceba on…I want AMN instead of Willian or Bellerin too.

  63. fatgingergooner says:

    Terrible discipline. Been the same since Arteta took over which makes you wonder if he’s actually strong enough to manage this group. Are they taking the piss out of him!?

    Do 30+ year olds collecting £200k a week really have the desire to help the young players and lead from the front. Not seeing it so far.

    Get the youngsters in.

  64. Rasp says:

    Our three best players so far have been the three youngest in the team … let’s hope Xhaka missing 3 games means one of the Thursday team will get a chance to show us what we’ve been missing

  65. RC78 says:

    Is this the end of Arteta?

  66. Aaron says:


  67. Rasp says:

    Simeone anyone?

  68. Aaron says:

    AFC breaking all kinds of records this year-the wrong type sadly….

  69. Aaron says:


  70. fatgingergooner says:

    Where do you start with this. Awful from minute one. Look lovely for 5 minutes after the break and then our midfielders decide they’d rather be sat in the stands. One went and the other was fortunate to stay on.

    A new manager will be the request no doubt but watching the likes of Willian, Xhaka, Auba and Laca makes me think we’ll be no better off.

    Play the fucking kids!

  71. RC78 says:

    I feel like the team is letting Arteta down…What was El Neny thinking?

  72. Aaron says:

    Last time Burnley won at Arsenal and last time lost 4 straight at home.

  73. RC78 says:

    This game just confirms that Willian, Bellerin and sadly Auba are not on form so far this season and must be given some time on the bench. We have Nelson, AMN, Nketiah, Balogun, ESR…

  74. fatgingergooner says:

    Is that 4/4 we’ve lost on a Sunday 7.15pm kick off?

  75. Rasp says:

    Does anyone link this run of bad form to when we switched from a back 3 to a back 4?

  76. RC78 says:

    Well Rasp – it is not a coincidence…playing on Sunday evenings sucks too…

  77. fatgingergooner says:

    Think Arteta will be going tbh. Don’t think it’s right but the club will hit the panic button soon. Can’t see where a goal or a result is coming from. We don’t create anything, we just cross and cross and cross, and I don’t believe it’s the game plan, I think it’s just very difficult to do anything other than get down the sides when your creativity is Xhaka and Elneny. It’s a vicious cycle because the attackers stop making the runs knowing they won’t get it, so we just end up side to side and then crossing in desperation.

  78. LB says:

    Yes Rasp, exactly, at least go back to what was working and build again from there.

  79. RC78 says:

    Arteta does not seem to find an answer – it s upsetting. It is becoming cringe worthy.

  80. jjgsol says:

    You can see the frustration building up in the players.

    Xhaka was 100% wrong in reacting, but the frustration is making them react quickly and stupidly to any provocation.

    Elneny should have gone as well, also for nothing that was necessary.

    I thought the first-half display, whilst nothing marvellous was an improvement, but once again you could see that the absence of a player that can play the defence-splitting pass was crucial.

    The 2nd half was back to the usual.

    We are now, officially, in trouble.

  81. Gööner In Exile says:

    The instant difference of youth is they have courage (upbringing) to play what they see and make decisions quickly, it might not always be for the best but as soon as Saka was in Front of AMN it was better on that side.

    I rarely say this, but Xhaka should never wear the shirt again. Disgusting unnecessary and idiotic. Absolutely no need and no doubt Burnley were waiting for an opportunity to antagonise him, he bit over nothing and they got what they wanted.

    As Rasp said earlier wmd many of us have called for its kids now, they can’t do any worse!

  82. LB says:


    You might be able to do some kind of write up but I can’t.

  83. 1979Gunner says:

    A few points;

    1 – 4th home defeat in a row for 1st time since 1959
    2 – How long have I been saying Xhaca not good enough.
    3 – Bellerin, we should taken the £m somebody offered
    4 – Arteta only can use what’s at his disposal, which isnt top 4 quality. That’s the boards fault.
    5 – They wont sack Arteta unless the natives are calling for their heads.
    6 – hopefully Martinelli will bring some hope. Give the young players a run, until the seniors get their form/appetite back.

    They cant be any worse.

  84. 1979Gunner says:

    Oh, and;
    7 – Arteta has created a precedent with his handling of Guendouzi, what’s he gonna do with Xhacka?

  85. RockyLives says:

    Didn’t see the game, thank goodness.

    I’m sorry, but this is on Arteta now. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and keep expecting a different result.

    If Arteta had played the kids and lost the fans would be more patient. Playing the same failing players in the same system just makes him look stupid.

    The clock is fast running down on the Arteta reign.

  86. RockyLives says:

    LB’s Post is starting to look like prophecy.

  87. fatgingergooner says:

    Arteta’s PL record so far is P33 W13 D8 L12

    I wonder how much time the FA Cup win is going to buy him because that record isn’t very good. It’s mid-table at best. People say we are harder to beat but we’ve just lost our last 4 home games and are currently losing a third of our PL games under Arteta.

    I really want it to work with him but if we can’t score goals he will be gone by January. I wonder how much of a lift it would be if he could get someone like Bergkamp alongside him. Something needs to change and quickly.

  88. RC78 says:

    New post

  89. GoonerB says:

    I think it was always recognisable that we would need a few transfer windows to really get this club back up there but there is a difference between that and not getting anywhere near the best out of the squad at the current disposal.

    That is what is happening right now and I really can’t buy into the argument that this is just a reflection of a poor quality squad and Artetas hands are tied. Its not right up there but it’s pretty decent.

    I have touted Arteta for ages now. My argument was that his history coming through the La Masia academy, his history as a player in the EPL under different styles of managers and his experience alongside Guardiola and being part of overseeing title winning teams, would all give him the perfect blend of experiences to drive us on.

    He was also credited with the development of the City wide players like Sterling and Sane. You all know my thoughts on a modern top level wide player and how this should be set up in a modern top side.

    It is almost as if Arteta has gone the complete opposite way from what he was a part of at City. It is as if City have actually kept that real Arteta somewhere hidden away with them in the background and sent us over some doppelganger with an inferior insight.

    Did anyone actually notice how much more dangerous we looked, even with 10 men, when Saka moved to the right? On 86 mins he unleashed a shot that wasnt far away from being a top corner goal. His inswinging balls cutting in from the right also were far more troublesome to Burnley than all the outswingers from the left in the 1st half.

    Arteta cant be blamed for Xhaka being a complete twat, but he is responsible for picking him. He made him the favoured option over AMN or Ceballos. When you have no option its forgivable but when you have 3?

    Early on after his arrival even Wenger admitted that Xhaka couldn’t tackle. What? Really? The guy we have brought in as our defensive midfielder?

    It doesn’t matter how good he pings a ball with his left leg. This is the premier league a d it is fast paced and if you cant win the ball back cleanly a d have the ability to burst forward then Hollywood balls and shit tackling dont make up for it. This is a known factor yet Xhaka was still the preferred option.

    Arteta has just about lost me even at this early stage purely by just doing the same shit that’s not working. I could be utterly wrong in how I feel we should be lining up. I’m not a pro. However Mikel is getting something very wrong whether it’s how I see it or another factor and it’s not all down to poor personnel at his disposal.

    Even now I desperately want to see Arteta be a massive success but the penny needs to drop with him after this game. If he keeps with the same mantra with the same results then January is not too soon to pull the plug if there are good options out there. It is almost imperative because we have a history of delaying too long.

    An upturn from now on in our EPL form and results is a must. We need to be one of the top 4-5 teams in the remaining games this season, even if that doesn’t get us quite to top 4. The EL is our most important thing to throw everything at because a win in that and being one of the top 5 EPL teams from now would represent a good season + silverware + ECL football next season.

    This season isn’t lost but Arteta needs to make the big change now, as in the next game coming up this week.

  90. Sue says:

    1979Gunner… Surely Xhaka will be shipped off to Hertha Berlin!

  91. GoonerB says:

    A word on the back 3, and I’m not picking a fight with the many bloggers I respect on this site that want a return to this.

    The back 3 is a decent option but only that. Very few top teams have been successful with it. Doesn’t mean it cant be done but ultimately I feel it feels like settling for 2nd best.

    Also it proved effective at the end of last season because it made a team with no defensive acumen harder to beat. It also works very well against a superior side that you are going to allow the lions share of possesion to, allow to push onto to you with a high defensive line, and try and hit on the break.

    It served us well at a specific time at the end of last season with the specific games coming at us with those teams like Chelsea, City a d Liverpool that would push on to us.

    Even among those successful games last season the back 3 system looked ineffective against lesser teams. Go back and check the results. That ineffectiveness has carried over to this season with those sides even with a back 3 so its return is not the ultimate answer and makes us go backwards.

    It is not the back 3 / back 4 argument that solves our immediate issues anyway. It is about how we deploy in front of that defence.

    The switch to a back 4 is the right thing to do but if you get it wrong in front of that then it will still go wrong. It doesn’t mean that we cant have a really potent side with a back 4 a d that a back 3 suddenly becomes our salvation.

    As I say, the back 3 works well with a specific game normally against a top side but struggles against the less all out attack minded sides, as was evidenced last season (even while it triumphed against City, Pool and Chelsea), it proved ineffective against deeper sitting sides that wanted to hit us on the break.

    Mikel has so many options to deploy a more effective team with a back 4 but, as Rocky says, he is just pushing the same system that is showing to be ineffective. That is a job losing trait.

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