Frustration building up…

Another loss at the Emirates and another really tasteless and toothless performance except for the first 10 minutes of the second half…Not many positives to take on tonight.

The numbers in the EPL are damning:

  • 15th in the EPL, with only 13 points in 12 games and with a -5 goal difference (10 for, 15 against)
  • 4th home defeat in a row for 1st time since 1959
  • 1st defeat to Burnley in the EPL
  • 1st goal conceded on a set piece
  • 0 goal score in open play,,,

But tonight was worrying on many levels:

  • Xhaka’s red card showed that he was still not learning anything but it also showed frustration
  • Few minutes later El Neny could and should have been sent off
  • Bellerin also getting carded
  • Willian is still not hitting the next gear
  • Auba is really looking like a lost puppy on the field;
  • Creativity still a major issue, ineffective set-pieces and crosses still a trademark this season
  • Laca missing a golden opportunity that could have paved the way for a victory
  • Arteta unable to find a solution, which is the worse.

So where do we go from here? Well, if Arteta does not finally accept that he needs to do something different in terms of team set-up and squad selection, then I think we will be going straight to relegation battle because there is no reason why we would improve in this set-up although Martinelli and Partey will make a difference for sure but 2 players can’t solve everything.

If Arteta has some clue, he may at least start to:

  • Go back to a system with 3 central defenders
  • Rely more on youth and hungry players such as AMN and ESR for example
  • Give a rest to Auba.

My problem was that the players really seemed to get frustrated on the pitch and that does not bode well because it shows lack of communication, lack of trust in each other, lack of trust in the manager’s instructions…If some are looking to replace Arteta already, Favre is now available.

Ratings:

Leno – 4

Bellerin – 3; Holding – 4; Gabriel – 4; Tierney – 5

El Neny – 4; Xhaka – 2

Willian – 3; Laca – 4 – Saka – 5

Auba – 3

Arteta – 2

70 Responses to Frustration building up…

  1. 1979Gunner says:

    I wouldn’t disagree with anything in your post.

    The problem is the attitude within the club – almost arrogance in my eyes at times.

    Arsene Wenger brought the club into the 21st Century, both on and off the pitch. A consistent ‘top 4 club’s. There was faith.

    Then there was a capitulation to the calls for change. The time was right.

    However, Arsenal rested on their laurels, comfortable in the (fading fact) we were a top club.

    As other clubs spent their money, aiming for where Arsenal where, Arsenal were caught dreaming and living on memories, and a reluctance to be ruthlessly efficient to push on from being a top 4 club to being ‘the’ top club again.

    In a flash, a few years, a couple of Managers and a couple of Technical Directors later, we’ve been overtaken by the Clubs we often regarded as mid table fodder.

    We’ve been caught sleeping, dreaming and unfortunately this nightmare is real.

  2. RockyLives says:

    Well, I’ll be the one to say it: Pochettino is available…

  3. RC78 says:

    Fully agree with you. The decline started in 2006 for me but then we had a surge in 2008 and since then, it s been a slow but steady decline. Wenger managed to keep us competitive but we were still losing ground. Emery’s tenure has been a disaster and while Arteta gave us hope last season, this season is looking like it is already finished. Our only hope of redemption being the Europa League and FA Cup…

    Not sure if we should sack Arteta (he won’t be before May anyways) but I am not so sure anymore if we should keep him either…

  4. RockyLives says:

    I’m afraid to say it seems obvious to me that it’s not going to work out with Arteta.

    We all hoped he was the one, but he’s not.

    The worst thing now would be to stagger on for months and months – we may even find ourselves in the Championship.

    Pull the ripcord now. Let Mikel go and get a proven manager in.

    I would give Pochettino whatever he asks for.

  5. Adebayo Malik Adejinmi says:

    I think Arteta is not the coach to lead arsenal to where they belong if not can’t he rest aubameyang and lacazette and give martineli a no 9 role first team start while he plays Willian at 7 and saka at 11? What is wrong with Arteta for goodness sake 😠 can’t he use exactly d team he used in europa league and see the performance of those guys in the EPL as well?
    To me I see aubameyang and lacazette doing big boy on the pitch of play and thats not what arsenal need at all 😠😠😠😠😠 so furious with those players
    Can’t the coach start a player like elneny n cebalous ? Y is he starting xhaka that we all know is so pour when it comes to tackles and anger issues ? Am done watching arsenal games if arteta is not sacked

  6. 1979Gunner says:

    We should have gone for Pochettino from the outset.

    However, I wouldn’t want to go down the road of sacking someone after 12 games.

    He’ll get time, and maybe money, but who wants to come in these kind of circumstances?

    Players need to start earning their box.

  7. jjgsol says:

    Excuse me, it is not 12 games, it is nearly 50 games.

    The awful standard of play started a long time ago and has been getting steadily worse.

    Perhaps the problem is the fact that the players have to do what they are told by Arteta. The regimented style that he has introduced is failing, although it was never anything more than a glorified bus parking that gained success, but few friends.

    Perhaps he must allow the players to express themselves and remove them from the straight jacket that he has tied them into.

    Towards the end of the 2nd half, we saw Saka actually dribbling and doing something unpredictable.

    We did not see that in the first half, only backward passes or crosses. Nothing else.

    We are in the same position now as we were towards the end of Emery’s reign, with many commentators saying that we could not dismiss him in the middle of the season, the same as we are hearing now.

    It is clear that Arteta and his style is not working and will not work.

    We are in trouble and without a complete reversal, there seems to be no way up.

    If he has to go then do it now before things get even worse.

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    Why do Holding and Gabriel get 4? Nothing they could do for the goal apart from tell PEA to duck, other than that they limited Burnley to 2 shots on target. Why such bad ratings?

    I ask in seriousness because I think that is the problem, too many players are not doing their job and at the same time we are writing down others. Did Tierney, Saka deserve more than 5 probably is it their fault that the middle of the park is devoid of players to link up with or help them?

    As I said earlier that has to be Xhaka’s last game in the shirt, it also has to be the last chance for so many others. Time to upset them, if they won’t or can’t play the way Arteta wants them to then it’s time to take them out of the equation they have let you down on too many occasions.

    There was a post match last season where Arteta said something along the lines of “they think they’ve cracked it, this proves there is more work to be done and I have to keep on them”. Can’t remember whether it was a win, draw or defeat but there was a sense that he had control and they were listening. He doesn’t strike me as the type to lose it and I doubt that has any effect on a modern player.

    The only option is to play without them, give the kids a chance Mikel, they’ve done the job in the Europa, they will be well rested come Wednesday. Play them.

  9. jjgsol says:

    GIE What a shame you cannot see where the problem is.

    You indicate that it is the players who cannot do what they are told and that they should be replaced by the younger players who can.

    Have you considered that the problem is simply that that the plates are only allowed to do what they are told?

    The creativity has been stifled out of this team and we are left with automatons who cannot win games because they are not allowed to do their jobs properly.

    It is not the senior players who are at fault here, in my view, but the straight jacket that they are forced to wear.

  10. fred1266 says:

    Yea I agree go back to the back 3, I think he probably thought it Burnley so he tried to attack

    Seriously how can lacazette be missing such glorious chance

  11. Gööner In Exile says:

    Jigsol, I appreciate you think Arteta should go. But tell me this why do some players have the ball and do good things with it while others are passed by.

    The amount of times players took two to three touches before playing a pass that was on earlier is a sign of a player being out of form. Do you see Saka pass and stand still? Rarely, but you see Willian do it. AMN came on and was doing things in two touches, often one, Nketiah came on and you saw him on the pitch in places where he could receive the ball.

    That is why I think it is the players who are mostly to blame and Arteta must share some of that blame for picking them. If he persists with them on Wednesday then he has to go. I’ve given him some leeway while trying to play Europa mid week and Sundays, as FGG said yesterday seeing the troubles of others maybe going out with a rested team is better than a stretched team. And in that sequence of matches it was harder to chop and change.

    As I said some players are playing to the standard expected, Saka, Tierney, Gabriel, Holding, but we are carrying 3/4/5 out of form players who are struggling.

  12. Sue says:

    Just when you think it can’t get any worse….
    Last week against the spuds was so hard to take, and I’m still devastated by it, but last night, omg!!! That’s the last straw for me…I honestly have had enough, I’m tired…
    All these records we’re breaking.. another 90 minutes without a goal… Auba ends his drought, pity it was for the opposition – you couldn’t make it up!!
    And as for Xhaka, well, look at what happened to Guendouzi… I wonder if history will repeat itself?! It ought to!!!
    Our confidence is rock bottom, nothing is going our way.. Saints up next, Theo to rub salt in the wound… I’ll be amazed if we pick up anymore points this year…better start checking out the Championship, as we appear to be heading that way…so cheesed off….

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    The worry for me is that this has been the form now for 12 months. The FA Cup win was the blip. 2/3 managers but the same stale performances from the senior players. It’s easy to say it’s the manager, but how many managers should we have to go through to get some performances from these guys. Laca has been terrible all year, Xhaka too. Willian has been awful. Özil doesn’t play I guess due to attitude. They’ve only played once a week ffs, so it’s not exactly fatigue that’s setting in. Just rinsing the club and the fans.

  14. Gööner In Exile says:

    “We are not showing the manager what we can do and how much we believe in him,”

    “Every game there are signs we are doing a bit better but it is still not good enough.”

    “Hard work is the only thing [that can fix this], nothing else for it. There are no excuses. There is nothing I can say that will make people believe a positive thing is going to come out of this.” Said Scotland international Tierney.

    Interesting words from Tierney, he is a young lad appears one of the most professional players on the pitch, and relatively new to the club.

    Last week Holding was in front of the cameras, or at least most quoted. Where are the senior players in the post match? Hiding like they have been doing on the pitch?

    I don’t stick around for the post match interviews even when we win, but I’ve seen enough clips of PEA, Laca all being smiley and happy after wins, why are the likes of Tierney and Holding being put in front of the cameras?

    This is where the club needs it senior pros, we need Laca and PEA up there explaining it is the players or questioning those around them or stating that they need to find a new way. At least then we may have some inkling of where the club is at and whether they are working together.

  15. fatgingergooner says:

    Has anyone seen Auba running back with the opposition right winger and blocking crosses this season? Not to pick on him, but the effort being put in is nowhere where it was at the end of last season when funnily enough he was in the last few months of his contract. He isn’t the first to look good during the end of a contract year, and he won’t be the last, but I do wonder when the club decided to start handing out these huge deals to 30+ players. Under Wenger it was 1 year deals, but recently we are shelling out fortunes on older players who tbh, don’t pull their weight. Luiz, Willian, Özil, Auba….all on big bucks at the end of their careers. When did that become a plan!?

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    The result is disappointing but I don’t subscribe to those player ratings and am a bit surprised that so many long term AAers have not challenged them more. It was of course not vintage Arsenal, but we created chances and worked hard for each other. Xhaka saw red and then we scored a very unfortunate own goal, and that is what often happens when the chips are down. 18 shots, six on target but no goal. Opponent two shots on target no goal, but an own goal. It could easily have gone the other way and then the ratings would probably have been 50% higher. It did not and the players and managers deserve criticism but let’s stay behind them. Arteta will get it right with the players, just wait, support and see.

  17. Gööner In Exile says:

    FGG sadly it became a plan under our Directors of Football, whoever they are now.

    The day Gazidis finally wrested total control of players arriving was considered by many to be the defining moment for him and the club. Finally there would be others that Wenger was answerable to, or at least Wenger would not be sole arbiter. Those appointments were made at the end of the 2015-16 season. By then arguably we were a cup side however we could and probably should have won the league that season and maybe with Leicester’s colours draped over the silverware and our collapse towards the end of that season gave Gazidis his opportunity.

    In came Sanhelli Director of Football, Mislintat (autumn 2017) Receuitment, and Fahmy for contracts.

    Player arrivals after 2016 season…..Xhaka, Mustafi, Holding, Perez, Asano, £100m spent on Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez.

    Out ….. Wilshere, Gnabry.

    2017

    In …. Laca, PEA (winter), Mikhi, Kola, Mavraponos £138m spent

    Out …. Giroud, Sanchez, Ox, Theo, Szcesny

    Mislintat left in 2018 citing disagreements with others, one over bringing in loan signing Suarez over the talented youth prospects at the club. It should be said he brought in several youngsters like Torreira, Guendouzzi, Leno and obviously was key to us getting PEA. Would things have worked differently if he was allowed to continue his work on recruitment? And not get overridden by the management.

    Look at what he is achieving at Stuttgart bringing in youngsters from UK and Europe.

    Can any manager be expected to function well if his squad is picked for him? For that to work you need coaches prepared to drill the players they have and to conform to a set style of play set out by the clubs hierarchy, it’s what Watford did, and Southampton are doing. Others go the other way and the manager is the key to the players arriving.

    But when I look at our squad the phrase too many cooks comes to mind. And also you have to believe hands are tied somewhere.

    The fact that we arrived in a situation where players had to be left out of a 25 man squad as someone had got the maths wrong with regard to homegrown players is shocking heads should be rolling. We then spent on Gabriel (not saying it’s a bad signing) but when that means you have a senior pro being paid wages like Sokratis with no match day involvement, the same with Xhaka vs Ozil or Willian vs Ozil. I don’t hide from the fact that I thought Willian may be a good signing how wrong am I but then I didn’t anticipate him playing in a side so devoid of creativity I was looking forward to seeing his shots from distance, his crossing and good wing play, being orchestrated by the likes of Ozil who may finally have some players who can work with him.

    The Ozil ship has sailed but if that truly was Artetas decision then Arteta should be gone, I have to accept that I don’t know what goes on on the training ground, and maybe Ozil is a work shy layabout but he is one of the most talented layabouts the game has ever produced. Would we not have been better buying out his contract? If he is a bad Apple we are paying his wages for him to do that, having him round the training ground, why? The money is sunk already it’s going to cost us whether he is at training or not. So buy him out and wave goodbye.

    None of those three appointments remain at the club the point being this ship has been left without a rudder for too long. Or more importantly it’s been steered by too many captains.

    Something needs to change and it is for that reason that I don’t lay all blame at Artetas door lots of crap has been going on above what goes on on the pitch and it seems to me they get away with it as they are out of the spotlight. There was a reason Wenger asked what a Director of Football does, for him the manager was the focus point and should be allowed to make day to day decisions and longer term decisions he was and still is the focus of the celebration and criticism. Emery only ever focussed on the pitch, transfers etc that was not his cause for concern. Arteta well he has apparently shown a willingness to be more like Arsene in terms of the back room stuff and getting involved with off field operations around the club. But until there is more solid direction above him and a bit of a clue shown by Edu and whoever works alongside him now then the shit show will continue.

  18. Pete the Thirst says:

    The only positive I can take from last night was that I didn’t get a ticket through the ballot and could watch from the comfort of my sofa.

    What more can be said about Xhaka? And what the hell was Elneny up to? It was almost as if it was a planned evacuation of the ship.

    A number of the players have downed tools, clearly. The ones putting the effort in are the youngsters and newer recruits.

    Arteta has to carry the can for a number of things:

    Formation: why did he persist with the back 4? He tried the 3 at Dundalk for what reason? Bellerin was playing centre forward at one point when he was right back.

    Team selection: Bellerin, Xhaka, Willian, Laca, even PEA. How are these guys getting picked every week when they are stinking the place out.

    Tactics: Mix it up. Cross after cross to nobody. Why not a few long shots to pull the defence out? Short corners that come to nothing…playing across the back line under pressure..crazy

    Changing the manager doesn’t get rid of the toxic player problem. Freddy and Emery got the same treatment.

  19. Pete the Thirst says:

    @TA the player ratings are harsh.

    I saw a lot of effort from Tierney & Saka. Leno didn’t have much to do and had little chance with the goal (oh for the player on the back post). Gabriel & Holding were solid. They can’t be below 6.

    The rest…

    Xhaka is gone for 3 games, and Bellerin for 1. AMN must take one of those positions and Willock? Nelson can’t do worse than Willian?

  20. RockyLives says:

    Pete
    “Changing the manager doesn’t get rid of the toxic player problem”

    Well, I think it could do depending on the manager. A Ferguson, a Simeone, a George Graham would sort them out.

    Some would shape up, some would be shipped out.

  21. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE,

    It astounds me how many failed transfers we still have loitering around the place. The amount of money they are eating up is ridiculous. Even more scary is that some of them still get games over the youngsters…

    Mustafi
    Sokratis
    Kolasinac
    Xhaka
    Elneny
    Lacazette
    Özil

    Then we’ve added

    Luiz
    Willian
    Aubameyang
    Saliba???

    Torreira loaned out
    Geundouzi loaned out

    It’s just terrible decision after terrible decision.

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    You have to start wondering if there is a bad group within the squad that are making it difficult for the managers. Let’s be honest, Emery, Ljungberg and Arteta don’t appear to be the most forceful of managers and you could easily see an experienced group of players taking the piss. Maybe it’s not as obvious as that and maybe it’s just a group with too many individuals that don’t quite have the stomach for the grind of the PL season. Who knows.

    As far as solutions go though, I really do think Arteta needs to change up personnel over the Xmas period. We desperately need Partey fully fit too. We just look different with him in the team. Arteta has been unfortunate on that front.

  23. RockyLives says:

    I really want Arteta to work out.

    I was expecting stumbles along the way, but what has unnerved me is his insistence on sticking with exactly the same approach that even a blind man can see isn’t working.

    If you hit your thumb with a hammer and go “Ow!” then proceed to hit the same thumb another six times, it’s not the hammer that’s at fault…

  24. fatgingergooner says:

    Rocky,

    That’s my issue too. I can only think that the EL games have hindered his ability to switch the team around, in that he likes the fittest players to play in order to implement his ‘game plan’ (whatever that is!)….or there is something behind the scenes which is causing an issue with team selection ie what’s written in contracts, not wanting to lose the faith of the big players in the dressing room….

    If he is selecting the side without any of those influences, then we should be very worried. I can’t see us just playing through this bad patch. He needs to make the changes.

  25. Sue says:

    The Europa draw is at 12 😬

  26. Sue says:

    Ooh RC – Barca v PSG… 👌

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky, I guess for Arteta that particular nail really matters and he will take the pain that comes with nailing it. It is a typical change management phenomena: you are hired to significantly improve things and for your vision; initially, progress is made through renewed energy and focus and then comes the difficult time, when the chips are down, and the employees don’t seem to agree with you or just don’t think they can do what you are asking for. So what to do? Go back to square one or push through your vision and say it will be all worth it?

    I think he will have to find the middle way between his ideal and where he is now somehow.

  28. Gööner In Exile says:

    FGG agree with the Europa League conundrum, also how are the players when he isn’t there and instead travelling with the second XI?

    It’s like teacher being away, are the methods still being applied, are the players still applying themselves?

    But no excuses for Wednesday he can either field the same or he can put the youngsters in.

    Do I prefer a front three of Saka, Nelson and Nketiah right now, absolutely they know each other for a start, do I prefer a midfield of AMN and ESR, and Willock again same thing they know each other will fight for each other and have been on this journey together, back four of Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel and Tierney and Leno in goal.

    On Leno what was the big strapping around the arm? Didn’t seem to affect him but surely someone should have told him to put long sleeves on, he was lucky Burnley didn’t target him see a keeper or any player sporting a brace or strapping and you instinctively think to target him to see if he fancies it.

  29. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Rocky. The 3 you name are exceptional examples. Fergie almost got the bullet before it clicked.

    I recall George got rid of a few straight away like Mariner & Woodcock, but then took another season or so to get rid of others: Viv Anderson, Kenny Sansom, Steve Williams, Graeme Rix and the biggy Charlie Nicholas. All internationals.

    Nicholas was George’s Ozil. The most expensive player. Didn’t train well, was a problem to discipline. Highly talented but made little effort and above all a big fan favourite.

    Once he was gone the team never looked back.

    I chuckle when I hear Nicholas criticising players for lack of effort on Sky sports. He was one of laziest players himself. I heard a story where he would stand by the goalpost in training knocking the ball in if it was going wide, but doing nothing else. Terry Neill wouldn’t stop him because his job was on the line.

    RockyLives says:
    December 14, 2020 at 10:58 am
    Pete“Changing the manager doesn’t get rid of the toxic player problem”
    Well, I think it could do depending on the manager. A Ferguson, a Simeone, a George Graham would sort them out.
    Some would shape up, some would be shipped out.

  30. Sue says:

    We’ve drawn Benfica

  31. LB says:

    Is that good, I have no idea, RC tends to know these things?

  32. Gööner In Exile says:

    “LB says
    Is that good, I have no idea, RC tends to know these things?”

    Let’s be honest unless they are worse than Burnley it can’t be good can it?

  33. LB says:

    Hahahaha

  34. RA says:

    There have been some excellent comments on here today, and of course the usual one or two “know-it-alls” virtue signallers from other blogs. ‘Hooray’ to the former — ‘p*** off’ to the latter.

    A strong showing, in particular, from GIE, FGG, Pete and the Rock, in addition to a welcome Post from RC [tho I think the best and most professional player on the pitch was Tierney (8)] — so thank you all for that.

    It is easy to overlook some aspects of a difficult game because disappointment can make us all pretty despondent and downright angry.

    But …. if we had scored even one of the 4 or 5 easy chances we had to score in the first half we would all be singing a different tune.

    Arteta was correct in saying we bossed the first half, and he appreciated the players efforts during that time, but the players did not score, and he could not do it for them. (a rough translation, admittedly).

    Arteta still gets my vote, altho his insistence on continually playing certain players who are poor quality does rankle me. They have been named above — but in addition he must brave it out and remove those forward players with good reputations but impoverished performances, at least for a time, and let the likes of Balogun and Nketiah have a more extended run in the team.

    What stands out a mile is the total lack of creativity in the team now that Mesut has been shafted, so give Emile a run in the team too.

    Arteta has been stuck with some poor players — we always seem to be scraping around (unsuccessfully) for transfer money, so any possible incoming manager would be in a similar position — so give him at least until the summer, so he can buy well, and sell/give away the crud in two transfer markets and then we can make up the club’s mind.

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    RA,

    I must say I was sat watching yesterday, thinking, if we get one, we will suddenly play like Barcelona! I do think there is a real element of total misfortune and lack of confidence right now which is having a huge impact. We could be looking at the same players in 2 months and wondering what all the fuss was about. If that is to happen though, the results need to improve immediately.

  36. LB says:

    Seems to me that Nkatiah has had an extended run, a very extended run and should not get a pass because of his age — he like the rest of the forward line have been completely ineffectual.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    “I must say I was sat watching yesterday, thinking, if we get one, we will suddenly play like Barcelona! I do think there is a real element of total misfortune and lack of confidence right now which is having a huge impact. We could be looking at the same players in 2 months and wondering what all the fuss was about. If that is to happen though, the results need to improve immediately.”

    Amen to that, FGG. 🙂

  38. Gööner In Exile says:

    RA I think that is very sensible, two Arteta signings have been very good, Gabriel and Partey it is a pity the latter has suffered the London Colney injury curse that still pervades.

    But if we are to applaud them we also have to question Willian. However I’ll say again I don’t think I ever expected him to look as lost as he does.

    I was genuinely excited at the prospect of him supporting Pepe, Laca and PEA and taking some pressure of Saka.

    And that maybe the biggest problem with this season, eventually Saka and Tierney will suffer in amongst this team. They shouldn’t be stand out players, neither should Holding be our best centre back pairing with Gabriel, so if they are getting no support from those surely the only option is to put youngsters around them and let them find a way together.

    I’ve often said I’ll accept backward steps if there is a clear rebuilding going on, but much like United now and Liverpool of the 90’s there is a desire to think we can still compete by adding big names to a roster. But we really need to go back to the drawing board and start anew.

    My starting line up for Southampton

    Leno
    Soares Holding Gabriel Tierney

    AMN Willock
    ESR
    Saka NKetiah Nelson

    That’s a side I will give time. To both players and manager.

  39. RA says:

    Well said, both FGG and GIE. 👍

    The team you propose GIE is a move in the right direction, and with an adjustment for the Partey man, and the Archangel Gabriel when they return, that could become a good platform that could be added to in the next Transfer Window.

    There are also a lot more youngsters in the U23s who could be brought on off the bench.

  40. RA says:

    LB,

    As regards your point about Eddie, I agree with you that he has had playing time,

    I did not make myself clear, that I think he is trying too hard and not being as effective as he could be, because he is looking over his shoulder worrying that a mistake on his part would bring Auba or Laca back early, as he must understand his inclusion at the moment is subject to how they are playing in training.

    If he and the other youngsters were told they would be included in the team for 4 or 5 games, they could relax and properly strut their stuff.

    I might also like to see your man Ceb come on as a sub, if necessary, as I suspect he will replace “X” while he is serving his sentence. 🤪

  41. LB says:

    Not convinced by that one RA, I think Nketiah has had his chance has has not shinned because of a lack of talent and therefore the way should immediately be made for Balogun. This requires a big decision and Arteta is not showing that he is capable of making them.

    To be clear on Ceballos, I am not that big of a fan and I do not expect him to be with us next season, he probably will start on Wednesday but he should’t. AMN should be playing while Xhaka is out.

  42. RC78 says:

    Heya everyone – just a quick word about the grading. Please feel free to disagree. I agree that Holding, Gabriel, Saka and Tierney could all have gotten a point more but again, after a disappointing result, the grading was impacted by my mood then…

    First action points for me are:
    – to bench Bellerin, Willian and Auba
    – to revert to a back 3 if possible (apparently there is a bust-up between Arteta and Luiz…)
    – to play AMN, Ceba, Balogun
    –> Why AMN? Because he deserves it
    –> Why Ceba? Because he has the best eye for a good pass amongst the team since we are not using Ozil
    –> Why Balogun? Because he has a point to prove and we need that hunger up front. I think he is more gifted than Nketiah so I d bet on Balogun despite his lack of experience
    –> Give the armband to someone like AMN or Saka. A youth product.

    If Arteta does not shake things up now, I think that he will lose part of the team’s respect and will lose credibility. We are in an emergency situation – it requires an emergency and disaster recovery plan.

    Let us try something else:

    Leno – Holding, Luiz, Gabriel – AMN, Ceba, El Neny, Saka, Tierney – Pepe/Nelson/ESR/Willock?, Balogun

    If Luiz can’t play, then put in Mari in the mix and play Gabriel as the defender at the center of the back 3.

  43. RC78 says:

    @Sue – Not happy with the draw but I am hoping we can put that remontada story to bed by beating them convincingly.

    At all – PSG is also not giving me much to smile about this year. I am rather disappointed…

  44. Pete the Thirst says:

    Agree with RA, some really decent posts on here today.

    The story about Luiz not speaking to Arteta is amazing. How old are these players. The story also suggests that the agents of some of the players are directly briefing the Press about dust ups on the training ground. The rumour goes further to say Ozil & Sokratis are also undermining training.

    A few times yesterday I was thinking ‘are the players doing this on purpose’? Lacazette & PEA with profligate finishing and Xhaka & Elneny trying to get sent off. I think the ref caught on and gave Elneny a yellow.

    This is a total Sh!t sandwich. Get the trouble makers out and bring in the kids. If he doesn’t Arteta is toast.

  45. Pete the Thirst says:

    A trip to Lisbon in winter/spring would have been lovely…

  46. Sue says:

    Back to no fans on the stadium then… Tier 3 comes in just after midnight on Wednesday

  47. RC78 says:

    Tier 3 😦

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Red Arse wrote: “There have been some excellent comments on here today, and of course the usual one or two “know-it-alls” virtue signallers from other blogs. ‘Hooray’ to the former — ‘p*** off’ to the latter.”

    Tolerance has never been your strong point, has it? And are you the blog administrator now?

  49. LB says:

    Total, relax, its great that you visit the site and I for one really appreciate your comments, we are going through a rough time, give him a break.

  50. LB says:

    Tier 3

    Is that Arsenal you are referring to RC.

    Actually, the more I think about it the funnier it gets.

    Matt Hancock has announced that Arsenal have entered Tier 3.

  51. RC78 says:

    LB – that is funny.

    Also, RIP to two people today:
    1. A former colleague of mine has lost his battle to cancer yesterday. He was a real joy to be around. He will be sorely missed. Gone too soon really…

    2. Gerard Houiller who led PSG to its first ever title and Liverpool back to winning ways.

  52. Pete the Thirst says:

    I missed out on the ballot tickets for Wednesday night (Soton). The one’s who got them may feel fortunate or unfortunate that Tier 3 has been implemented by Matt Halfc0ck and chums.

  53. Pete the Thirst says:

    Quite liked Houlier. He seemed like a nice gent.

    Apart from that bl00dy FA Cup final in 2001 in Cardiff. We were robbed blind that day by the ref then that little git Owen.

  54. fatgingergooner says:

    Pete,

    Exactly the reason why I wanted Özil gone at the end of last season, even if just on loan. No matter what Arteta does in training, there are always going to be WhatsApp groups and banter behind the scenes that he can’t control, and if there are cliques with certain players feeding negativity, then it’s going to impact the team. There were stories of players taking the piss out of Emery’s accent, and you can imagine it to be true. I just feel that some of the older players could disregard Arteta as he played with one or two of them and he doesn’t have the history in management to gain authority and respect.

    Of course, none of this is fact, but when you watch the squad, you could easily see it being true. I hope Arteta can rid the squad of anyone who doesn’t want to be there, but I worry the damage may be done and he could be out before them.

  55. Rasp says:

    Evening all. I’m with LB in wanting to see Balogun in for Eddie, but out of my own on a limb wanting to see more of Azeez (not surprising due to his lack of experience). M-N for either Xhaka or Elneny all day, and Nelsson for Pepe. We may lose on the deal if we sell some of the established stars but we will make money if we promote one of the youngsters in their place as well as significantly reduce the wage bill. As others have observed, these youngsters have played with one another before and their movement and understanding of each other’s game is a plus.

  56. Mike M says:

    Congrats to all for the comments on this. I see some are angry and frustrated but to be fair, it’s understandable. I’m in my 50th year of being a fan (I remember the 2001 cup final – Sammy the keeper !!- well).In those days we often played teams off the pitch, sometimes we lost. I didn’t even see the first half yesterday but the start of the second was good and we could and probably should have scored. But it’s just different – everything seems so different to the days of 2008 and before.
    I don;’t have much to say, I often come on here and read comments and posts because they’re generally good. I haven’t commented for a long time because I just don’t know what’s REALLY going on. I think it can be fixed but it’s gonna take people a lot smarter than me to figure it out.
    Keep the debate going, it’s well worth reading.

  57. Rasp says:

    This lad is destined for greatness … and he loves The Arsenal

  58. Rasp says:

    Hi Mike, great to see your name in comments. I feel the same regarding what’s been happening. I haven’t had anything to say because I couldn’t understand what was going on. Auba’s demeanour suggest he’s not happy … but that could just be because he’s not scoring. It all changed last night when I realised that several players just weren’t up to the job – either because they lacked the basic ability, or because they were choosing not to lay it all on the line.

  59. fatgingergooner says:

    My personal feeling is that it’s so easy at the moment to list the problems, but very difficult to offer up some kind of solution. I’ve no idea where the club or Arteta go from here. I’d like to see the youngsters play just to mix it up a bit, but if they were to lose against an in-form Southampton side and at the weekend against a better Everton side, then suddenly their confidence is shot aswell and we are in a relegation fight! It wouldn’t actually surprise me if Arteta carried on playing the same side in the sheer hope that they score first and suddenly confidence comes rushing back. Dare I say that Pepe could be the answer if he comes back for Willian and gives us something a bit more off the cuff in attacking positions. At least he can go past players.

  60. Mike M says:

    Thanks Rasp. Found this one very enlightening. My comments in the last couple of years on Xhaka have been very similar to Henry’s comments. In the last 6 months I’ve been much less critical of him. Yesterday was hard to take – or understand.
    The link if it doesn’t work is from ESPN FC regarding Henry’s take on Xhaka captaining Arsenal quote from Evra.

  61. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rc78 – sorry to hear your news it is horrible when a friend is taken by cancer. And we should all mark Houllier’s passing. A decent football man.

    FGG you make a good point about WhatsApp groups and clique, I remember when Arteta and Mertesacker arrived at Arsenal they were surprised by the lack of togetherness in the squad, they set about changing that from within as experienced heads and brought together the different cliques.

    I wonder if the same is true now with the young pretenders not being fully accepted by senior pros or being looked down on.

    Rasp finally you are correct players not ready or prepared to lay it all on the line.

    Many have asked why we go to the bye line and cross to our centre forwards in the air we all know they are not going to get on the end of crosses. I ask another question, why are our centre forwards running there? Just watch a ten minute highlight reel of someone like Lineker you will see it is often not the first run that got him a goal but the second or third as he would constantly be moving, how many times have we seen Laca or PEA score from cut backs in the past? Why are they suddenly rushing to the goal into a crowd of defenders rather than giving a variety of options. My answer they are hiding in plain sight, the blame gets passed to the crosser for putting it in there or Arteta for tactics but surely once they are at the bye line they will pick the best cross, surely our centre forwards have played enough games to make intelligent runs or to hold their run and give a second option. Why aren’t they?

    It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation, is it Arteta’s tactics is it the players hiding, are the players trying to exert power and get rid of Arteta.

    I found some solace in Tierney’s words he seems to be behind the manager but as I said earlier why is it he and Holding going out to face the media where are the senior pros, answer hiding!

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE,

    I saw the same thing during the game yday. At one point 3 players stood in a line in the box bemoaning the fact the cross hadn’t come in. Wenger would’ve blown his top if his players played like that. Most of the time we didn’t have anyone in the box when he had his better teams and crossing wasn’t part of the plan. They would all be outside looking to feet or making third man runs to get in behind. The movement then to what we see now is chalk and cheese. Our players are like statues at times, and always in the same areas. Rare that anyone pops up in a different position. It used to be our trademark and opposition managers would always comment about how difficult it was to deal with our attacking movement.

  63. Gööner In Exile says:

    Just re read my comment and can see this could be taken out of context….

    “Rasp finally you are correct”

    The “finally” is referring to the last of the comments I was responding to rather than you “at last you are correct” 🙂

    FGG I remember Jamie Carragher having just faced our young guns, bemoaning the fact they just kept coming forward and moving the ball and moving themselves.

  64. Rasp says:

    No worries GiE … I find myself in agreement with pretty much everything you’ve said on this matter. I can’t help being optimistic so I’m keeping faith in Mikel, and I’m very excited about some of our young talent … but if Mikel doesn’t shake things up and we keep playing like this into the new year then I’ll have to think again.

  65. Mike M says:

    Rasp, I’m not sure who you’re specifically referring to when saying the penny dropped on certain players, mostly because I truly haven’t been able to stomach watching some of our games this season, so I’ll defer to you. However in Xhaka’s case, I’d say he took the coward’s way out and AGAIN showed he doesn’t have the character to help us turn things around. I say again because he hasn’t always got sent off when he’s done this, but he’s done it numerous times.
    I’m not picking on Xhaka (I have in the past). I’m saying he illustrates a deeper problem that almost everyone on here is trying to illustrate without using the same words or examples to do it.
    There’s a serious mentality problem in the club. Xhaka epitomises it and is the only solid example I can give because I heven’t seen enough to give any others – I’d nominate Bellerin, Pepe and possibly Lacazette, but I’m not certain.
    What’s most worrying is that Xhaka has shown a vast improvement since the beginning of Arteta’s tenure, yet I KNOW he’s not going to help us improve our mentality.
    The closest I’ve seen to this in my time as a fan is the pre-George period which has already been referenced and it took a very strong willed character to fix it. I hope Arteta is the one.
    That’s why I haven’t had much to say !!!

  66. Gööner In Exile says:

    Safehands agrees with us

  67. Gööner In Exile says:

    Edu giving Arteta and Willian a vote of confidence.

    Post in drafts, if anyone wants to post.

  68. Rasp says:

    New post ….

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