Conspiracy Theory: Forwards turned against Arteta?

Arsenal pair Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe are slammed by Rio  Ferdinand | Daily Mail Online

“We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes at Arsenal, but I have to say there’s a few of those players in the front part of the pitch who looked like a little mafia against Liverpool. It looked like a group of players who weren’t comfortable, like there was a disconnect between them and the manager. The manager looked like he’d had enough of them. He had that glazed-eye look. It’s instinct, but we’ve been around football for long enough to know when a group of players are disinterested.” Gary Neville. “Neville suspects the perceived disconnect may be related to Arteta’s decision to drop Aubameyang for the north London derby last month after the Arsenal captain reported late on the morning of the game” (

So do you believe that Auba and his acolytes (Pepe, Laca primarily) actually tried to basically show Arteta that they are not happy with him and his tactics? I think that Neville may be reading too far into the abysmal display against LFC. That said, you can’t totally discard his reading of the game as he has been in the game for so long and knows about player-managers’ dynamics…

If Neville were right, we would have another “Ozil saga” in our hand with Auba as the key actor and the Board would have to make some tough choices in terms of moving Auba, Pepe, Laca to back Arteta or to back the players against Arteta. I think Arteta will be backed by the board but let us see…

Anyways – do you think that the situation is as bad as Neville thinks it is? Is there a real disconnect between the forward players and the coach?


24 Responses to Conspiracy Theory: Forwards turned against Arteta?

  1. Child of God says:

    Yea..i noticed it even before this game that some players are sabotaging Arteta

  2. Howard says:

    When all the components of a team, defense, midfield and attack, play like they did vs Liverpool, the blame must surely be with the manager. This has been developing for a while and I’m starting to have serious doubts about Arteta.

  3. Gööner In Exile says:

    Howard, I think it’s very hard to judge the defence of the midfield and attack are not doing their job.

    For my money Ceballos is out of sorts and form, but also doesn’t have the necessary attributes to fulfil Artetas desire of the second man in the midfield 2. Elneny is better suited and that is probably a damning indictment of Ceballos in itself.

    Odegaard and Laca I felt were chasing about and trying to press, but they were doing it without any assistance from PEA and Pepe.

    Laca is the one of the three who I don’t think is against the manager, if he was and Arteta didn’t fancy him he surely wouldn’t be getting a shirt at no 9 ahead of PEA, Arteta must know that Aubameyang at left wing is hampering his ideal system.

    I go back to comments by ESR and Saka earlier in the season about both Laca and Arteta, on Laca he was helping them, on Arteta he was encouraging them to play their game play the passes they see and not worry about the occasional interception. That doesn’t sound like a coach over coaching, ok he has a set pattern of play to get the ball up there and that may change depending on opposition or players available, for example PEA at left wing the ball over the top is really the only option or expecting Tierney to play the left wing role as well as left back and remarkably he managed it some times, ESR on left wing and suddenly we have ball on floor more and play prettier patterns around the box leading to chances. I expect Arteta expected Willian to be able to play a similar role but I don’t think anyone expected him to be so poor and suffering in form.

  4. allezkev says:

    I’m not sure that I’d lump Pepe and Lacazette into some kind of a conspiracy myself even if Aubameyang was pitiful, maybe it’s just how I saw the game but I couldn’t fault Pepe and Laca for effort, quality and end result yes, but effort no.

  5. C3 says:

    Never before find myself agreeing with Neville. Long suspected that those who ganged together to get rid of Emery are at it again. Management have made some howlers: contract to PEA; signing, Luiz, William and Cabellos. Game time given to some of those could have gone to other Academy graduates. Made some good decisions too: got rid of Ozil, Mustafi and Kola. Radical surgery needed and better management of the available resources. Look what Ten Hag does at Ajax. We can’t spend our way out of this. Kronke won’t.

  6. LBG says:

    Agree sir! Laca has not changed in his commitment, IMO, but a full press does not work unless four players up front are committed to it. BOdeguard worked hard on Saturday without support.
    Where I disagree, is with Pepe. He is not up to either what is required of him positionally when we are out of possession OR , more importantly intelligent/skillful use of the ball in attack. He seems “scared” to me.
    The problem is Aubang who, for whatever reason, is “not committed”. If he is upset at being dropped through lateness, s** him, he is not bigger than the team. If the system no longer provides him with balls to run on to in one against one, perhaps he is obliged to “create” something himself! Is he capable/motivated to/of that?
    Neville was right about the chaotic embarrassment evident on Saturday in front of the defence. I pinned my colours to the wall a long time ago. Journeymen without much talent OR commitment need to be shipped out.Give Saka, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Odeegard, and for that matter Balogun and Azeez a free rein. Build on the improvement in solidity at the back ( is Leno going to be the future?), and start the blueprint again in the Summer.

  7. Jimmy B says:

    I’ve long felt that the ‘captain’ has been sulking. I think Neville’s right and that we need a massive clear-out in the summer. Maybe a few of them know they’re on the way out? Hopefully.

  8. RA says:

    Interesting Post, RC,

    But a three man cabal united in order to get rid of Mikel? Utter nonsense.

    Don’t forget, Neville has no love of Arsenal, and the opportunity to stir things up would suit him down to the ground.
    In addition as he works for Sky, it also suits him, and them, to be seen as diagnosing problems at Arsenal, even if they are non-existent, so that fans can get stuck into each other.

    Look, we have enough problems sitting at 10th in the league without imagining other problems such as this.

    If there were any truth in the Neville-conspiracy, then the suggested three are on sticky grounds – Auba, Pepe and to a certain extent Laca are not playing too well anyway, and if it turns out they are being treacherous and trying to make us lose (given we are crap that cannot be too difficult) – then each of them should be dropped from the squad (like Özil) and left to rot until their contracts are finished.

    Apparently Tierney will be out for up to 6 weeks, Luiz is possibly out for the rest of the season, and Saka and ESR are wilting under their various injuries, so we do not want conspiracies, imagined or not.

    Get behind the team — that’s what fans do — and stop being wound up by Neville.

  9. allezkev says:

    Yeah LBG, I get that about Pepe, he has a unique football brain for sure but he did get back and attempt to defend, he does attempt to tackle and challenge for headers and get into dangerous areas of the opponents box, or course his execution isn’t really good enough but I honestly think he tries whereas I don’t think Auba does.

    Totally agree on the press it’s where again we missed Saka and Smith Rowe, Liverpool were brilliant in that dept forcing us to increasingly go long.

  10. RockyLives says:

    Auba is clearly out of form and seems unhappy, but there’s a big leap from there to imagining a conspiracy against Arteta.

    Laca has generally played well (and with no lack of effort) when he’s been called on.

    Pepe is just a flaky player and a flaky character. His real value is probably in the £15-18m range. The shenanigans behind the £72m deal will perhaps never be fully known.

    Redders is right – TV pundits say things to get themselves noticed and written about.

    We were piss poor against Liverpool but it still surprises me how quickly people forget the manner of our play in the fightback against West Ham, the wins over the Spuds, Leicester and Leeds (where, again, we played good football).

    A decent performance against Prague will steady the ship – I hope ESR and Saka are fit.

    As for Auba… he probably needs a spell out of the side.

  11. allezkev says:

    LBG it really is very worrying that after all the angst we suffered getting shot of Ozil that we may have done it again with Aubameyang.

    And Willian…

  12. RC78 says:

    I think Arteta has to be consistent and basically play the most cohesive team, irrespective of status…Auba is his captain but a captain needs to lead and perform and we have not seen that from Auba this season yet…

    Arteta wants hungry players and so he should play his available hungry players.

    As for Laca, I agree that his level of efforts is always good and I would say that Pepe’s level of efforts was not poor vs Liverpool unlike Ceba’s and Auba’s…

    Are players turning vs Arteta? Not sure but I don’t believe it is the case, just yet. In 2006, the French squad turned against Domenech and told him that they will set themselves up on the pitch and direct the plays as they see fit – got to the final and infamously lost to Italy in the PK session but in 2010, the squad decided to strike against Domenech and then we didn’t make it out of the Group Stage so…when players turn against their coaches, it can go either way but there is a difference between a squad with Zidane as the leader and one without him…Anyways…

    Let us win the Europa League and let Xhaka, Willian, Pepe and Auba be the heroes of that win.

    I don’t care if the team is against Arteta as long as we play well and get a trophy in the end, to be honest…

  13. RA says:

    OK, let’s try to be positive, guys.

    We have possibly the best youth programme in the Premier league and we should make better use of it.

    We have already identified Saka and Tierney as our best players, and if we are wanting to build a worthy team, we start with them !!!

    Saka — Tierney — Emille — Odegaard — Gabriel — Martinelli — Partey — Nketiah — Nelson — Balonun — Azeez — Okonkwo (GK) — Bola — Swanson — Medley — McGuinness — John-Jules

    A great base to build on.

    Then we can look at other players who have possibly got something to contribute:

    Leno – Holding — ElNeney – Laca – Willock – Sheaf – Pepe

    Then there are Players who have got question marks against them:

    Auba – Xhaka — Luiz – Bellerin —- Keep them – Ship them out??

    They should be compared against possible new signings and either judged to be better than other available transferees, so keep them? or are shipped out.

    Just look at the talent we have there, and frankly there are more talented players in the Academy who are also going to become very good players.

    Use them properly and we should be back in the top 4 in the near future.

  14. RC78 says:

    1. Leno needs out to be honest

    2. Bellerin, Luiz, Torreira, Ceballos need out too

    3. I am unsure about Chambers, Guendouzi, Willock, Nketiah
    4. Saliba, Mavro may stay out on loan
    5. Question mark on AMN too

    6. Odegaard we may not be able to keep…

    I am sure we need a GK, RB, CM and FWL and I like Emerson (RB – Betis/Barcelona), Ward-Prowse (CM – Southampton), Kostic (LM Frankfurt).

    We may need another CB too but depends on what happens with Chambs, Luiz, Mavro and Saliba I suppose

  15. RA says:

    Hi, Kev,

    Good to see you, and you are making good points as usual.

    I have been getting a bit antsy with Mikel after we lose badly, but I am also really pleased with him when we win — an AC/DC type of reaction. 😁

    What the Board (i.e. Kronke) cannot do is lose him when we just need a little inspiration to ignite the team by putting yet more youth in the squad.
    After all, if Ferguson could do it with about 6 youth team players all those years ago, there is no reason with the squad we could put together, that we cannot do it.

    I think Pepe is a bundle of talent, and as you said, he does try to tackle back, take shots at goal etc, but he drives me bonkers when he screws things up because he is forgetting to taken the ball with him, or hits Row Z. [I would still keep him – as he matures and plays with better team mates he will improve.]

  16. Pete the Thirst says:

    Unfortunately I think Neville (can’t stand him btw) isn’t too far away from the issue here.

    I’ve had my doubts about PEA & Lacazette a number of times this season. The lack of effort at various points is obvious.

    I will excuse Pepe from the conspiracy. I just think he’s not that good. The reality is we overpaid by £50 million at least. Ouch.

  17. RA says:


    You are right about the sometimes brilliant football we have played this season, which is so much better than being existentially and continuously useless.

    Oddly enough that makes it so much the worse when we inexplicably and abjectly lose.

    Football is always very unpredictable, and for example teams like Villa and Wham who are normally mid-table fodder, or skirting relegation can suddenly become really good and in the latter’s case pop up into 4th place.

    In both cases they have two or three players who have reignited them and changed them out of all recognition.

    With our resources, we should be more than capable of doing that too.

    It is that annoying inability to garner our hungry youth and experience older players together to make us top table fighters that has bugged me with Mikel on occasion.

  18. LBG says:

    Sorry, if you think we can win the Europa Cup with Xhaka, Willian, Luiz and Aubang, I want some of what you are smoking.

  19. RockyLives says:

    I certainly can’t say we WILL win the EL, but there is no reason why this team could not have a good shot at winning it:

    Cedric – Holding – Gabriel – Tierney
    Xhaka – Partey
    Saka – Odegaard – Smith Rowe

    Auba, Pepe and Martinelli on the bench if we urgently need a goal.

    My worry would be defence. Luiz is probably out for the rest of the campaign, so Holding/Gabriel, Holding/Mari and Mari/Gabriel are all OK but not 100% reassuring.

    Maybe there’s a role for Chamber at CB.

    Anyway, as I say, that team is well capable of beating all the remaining teams in the EL.

    Unfortunately, being Arsenal, it is also well capable of losing to them all.

  20. allezkev says:

    Hi Red, how’s things with you?

    Yeah I get what you mean and it’s been said before many times but we are the classic cup team, a bit like the Terry Neill years or latter George Graham. Capable of great performances and equally dreadful ones, never a dull moment eh?

    Hopefully 13 more games to go but where we end up is anybody’s guess.

  21. RA says:

    Hi again, Kev,

    Just started to read your 3:38 and my broadband was cut off.

    Just got it back — and you seem to have an encyclopaedic memory about all things Arsenal, and I recall telling you that ages ago. 😁

    I never knew the Terry Neil teams, and I have heard more about naughty Georgie boy than how he managed the team — but I think he made the Gunners pretty successful and had the ‘song’ 1 : 0 (One Nil) to the Arsenal because when we scored we won, because his teams were bloody good in defense.

    (I probably got that wrong !! )

  22. jjgsol says:

    Can someone please list for me the games this season that we have played “brilliant football”, excluding the 6 group matches in the Europa league which were against teams that would struggle in the National League?

    Please also remember that we have won only 12 games, lost or drawn 18 and hardly lit up the world in either of the 2 domestic cups.

    I fear that the wishful thinking disease has taken such a strong hold on sensible people that they simply cannot see the wood for the trees

    Oh yes, and how many times has our potential saviour Partey been man of the match or anywhere near it?

    Dream on.

    I fear that a dreadful awakening is more likely than anything else.

  23. allezkev says:

    Yeah Red, I do vaguely remember you saying that about my Arsenal memory, thanks again, but GN5 is better than me on that score.

    Terry Neill had a really good first team which pushed a world class Liverpool team in cup ties but couldn’t sustain it over a league campaign because the depth of our squad was lacking.

    Sounds familiar eh?

  24. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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