Giving the stick to be beaten…

Leno – 6, a good outing today to be honest.
Bellerin – 5, his usual average self.
Holding – 6, solid at the back and interesting up front.
Gabriel – 6, solid.
Cedric – 4, a poor outing.
Xhaka – 6, solid.
Partey – 4, disappoing.
Saka – 6, a good showing but clearly needs more time.
ESR – 5, looking for rhythm but industrious.
Willian – 3, his usual poor self.
Laca – 5, interesting link-up, a great but missed opportunity.

Pepe – 6, decisive.
Auba – 6, decisive.
Martinelli – 5, clearly hungry.
El Neny – 5, more impact than Partey somehow.

Should have been a victory, ends in a draw…Lack of cutting edge up front and some nervy moments at the back especially with Cedric. Nothing won but nothing lost either. Disappointing. Slavia has not lost at home in a long long time. It is going to be an interesting game in Prague.


42 Responses to Giving the stick to be beaten…

  1. LB says:

    Good little write up and bang on player comments.

  2. RC78 says:

    GiE comment from previous post: “Have to agree with Rasp Cedric and Gabriel to blame there with the larger responsibility on Gabriel, you have to be aware of what foot people like to play with when passing in that situation, admittedly if we had a left footer at left back it was not a bad initial pass by Gab to Cedric, but he couldn’t swing a right leg to move it up field so took the right option to play it back. Why Gab took a touch only he will know, but it played them in. Tired legs make sloppy mistakes we used to do first touch drills at ends of heavy sessions for that reason alone.

    Think Leno should have done better with first effort, weak hands should never have hit post. Would still have been a corner, then on the goal he is just too low. He has become very athletic recently, think he should sit and watch David Seamsn videos and learn a bit about footwork, safe hands only had to dive for truly exceptional shots.”

    I also think Gabs could have done better, hence a 5 for me instead of 6 after reflection

  3. RC78 says:

    Arteta must be furious to be honest

  4. Aaron says:

    0 for the Entire team, including coach on how to see out a game, Slavia could have scored 2 in final minute.

    Coaching 101, and down to the players who can’t execute for their lives to close out games…
    Tired, rest, blah blah blah….

    Mikel has the grave dug, and the opposition just needs to put him and this squad in it to finish the job.

    Mikel will not last the next 6 more months on the job if he does not find a way to change things up, and the money at this point is NOT on him.

  5. RockyLives says:

    RC’s comment “you just can’t trust this team” sums it up for me.

  6. RC78 says:

    You can’t Rocky…

    At the back, someone will make a costly mistake:
    If it s not Leno, it s Luiz. If it s not Luiz, it s Xhaka. If it s not Xhaka, it s Cedric….If it s not Cedric, it is Ceballos

    At the front, someone will fluff the line:
    If it s not Auba, it’s Laca. If it s not Laca, it is Willian. If it s not Willian, it is Pepe. If it s not Pepe, it’s Saka…

    Today we wasted good chances in the first half (Saka), second half (Laca) and in the last 2 minutes, we played like 12 years old kids

  7. RC78 says:

    It comes back to our discussions on leaders, people able to calm, guide and galvanize the team…

  8. Rasp says:

    I agree RC. I’d hoped Partey would be the one to galvanise and drive our play but he seems way off the pace, he gives the ball away cheaply in midfield. It’s as if he still has no understanding with the other players yet.

  9. RC78 says:

    Partey seems like a different player than the Atletico player. The guy was a proper midfielder then…I am at loss…

    Same with Pepe, the guy in his last season in Lille was just unbelievable…At least Pepe is doing OK in the Europa League when given a chance to play – 4 goals, 3 assists

  10. fatgingergooner says:

    Long time, no speak! Hope everyone is keeping safe. Anyone else bored of football yet?

    Team wins > best in the world > brilliant manager > great tactics

    Team doesn’t win > worst team ever > crisis > which managers are available? > terrible tactics

    Rinse and repeat. 20 pundits telling you the same thing about 1 incident. It’s killed the game for me.

    Was just looking at Wenger’s first season in charge and if he had the fans we have now he wouldn’t have lasted the season. He would’ve been sacked in March when we dropped to 4th with the fans happy to see him gone.

    Some fans go their whole life without seeing trophies and finals. I’m pretty lucky that I got to see some amazing Arsenal sides before I completely fell out of love with the game. The team will no doubt come good at some point in the future, but wether I’ll be around to witness it I’ve no idea. It could be decades away….or it could be next week if we get through and Arteta becomes a tactical genius again…..🙄

  11. allezkev says:

    I’m not 100% sure but I can’t remember Soares playing a forward pass in the entire game, I know that he is right footed but everything was inside or backwards. Gabriel is looking really shaky and lacking confidence, maybe time to give Mari a run in the side?

  12. RC78 says:

    I d be happy to see Mari in the team to be honest, Allezkev.

  13. RC78 says:

    Next week, I think that we could start the game with Mari in lieu of Gabs and Martinelli in lieu of Willian, El Neny in lieu of Partey and we could go and win there.

    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Cedric – Xhaka, El Neny – Saka, ESR, Martinelli – Laca

    Auba, Pepe, Partey, Willian could come in to make the difference.

  14. RC78 says:

    Bellerin’s post-match interview is like “We played well. Should have scored more. Shouldn’t have conceded. I think we can win next game. I am not worried”…I wished he d be a bit more sad and upset…

  15. VP says:

    Sorry to hear that FGG.
    Personally I think Arteta is doing really well until he is not.
    And the team is playing really well untill they F it up.
    I’m not bored at all. Football is like life and life is not boring even though every day we wake up, shit, shower and eat then back to sleep. Nothing boring here.

    I do agree some fans have little to no patience and behave like trump and follow the religion of Qanon, much more now than in years gone by.

    Thats why we need AA, to maintain the sanity of the majority who I respect their views, including yours FGG.

    Not against what you said, I actually agree but I also don’t. Thats my paradox.

    I am confident that we will get past Slavia next week. COYG!

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’s a fair summary RC, it’s very unfair to be looking at Saka and ESR to carry us forward but when not firing we continue to look average.

    Both were not as good as we know they can be.

    Both Pepe and Auba came on with some fire which was good to see, Martinelli also injected some much needed pace.

    But otherwise it was dreadful.

  17. LBG says:

    Dreadful, usual average, poor, disappointing.
    No longer can Mikel keep repeating the same mistakes. Mistakes in selection, mistakes in motivation, mistakes in comments afterwards.
    Don ‘t pick your favourite deadwood. Make it clear average/poor is not Arsenal, and it means players will be leaving in Summer, whatever their contracts.
    I would prefer the U23 team to play next week rather than that unmotivated shambles.
    Sorry VP, happy to admit drained of patience. Trump analogy very harsh.
    Anger comes from the belief that some of the short term solutions are fairly obvious!!

  18. Rasp says:

    Thanks RC, my mind is a blur after that game so I have no idea how apt your ratings are.
    We have problems in all 3 key areas.
    The defence: Leno has to go, he has created uncertainty and fear amongst our defenders and that has made the back line liable to costly mistakes.
    Midfield: Partey has not brought the control and drive to the midfield that he was brilliant at Atletico, so in some ways looking for his ideal partner is academic. I still have hope he will become that player. If he does, we do not have a suitable partner for him in the squad (unless Azeez is given a chance)
    Attack: on paper we have an incredible choice of talent with strikers, wingers and AMs. In reality only Saka and ESR are playing close to their potential. Auba and Pepe both looked to have the desire and urgency last night that they’d been lacking recently.
    All in all we are underperforming to quite an exceptional level. The positive thing MA could do in the short term would be to drop Leno, but beyond that I can’t see any obvious solutions until we can bring in new personnel in the summer.

  19. LBG says:

    Why would you not give Martinelli, Balogun and Saka a start up front? Emile the No 10 role behind them. Sit Partey in front centrally and give Azeez, in a first attacking 45 mins, the free rein his skill demands.
    Gabriel looked a little in shock from the Liverpool game and I would play Mari alongside Holding with Chambers at right back and Soares at left. GK should be changed for weekend and maintained if no obvious problem.
    The question is WHAT DO WE HAVE TO LOSE?
    Of course the Sunday game will probably throw up different problems. Straw clutching…sure!

  20. allezkev says:

    Before Leno got injured at Brighton last season, I seem to recall that he was one of our best and key players and most of the comments I saw on line immediately after his injury seemed to think that our season was finished. Of course Emi came in and played magnificently and probably should have started this season as our No.1.

    All the same I’ve noticed since Arsenal employed the goalkeeping coach from Brentford that the standard of our goalkeeping has deteriorated and is there a connection, as it seems, between Martinez leaving, Runarsson arriving and Leno losing form?

  21. RA says:

    Morning folks, hope everyone is happy 🙄 anyway, last night has gone, it’s a new day, and I’m sure we will all find something else to bug make us happy — or not.

  22. Rasp says:

    I’d be up for all those ‘experiments’ LBG. I’m just dealing with what we know, those are all unknowns but certainly worth a try. I doubt very much Ode will sign in the summer, he has very effectively put himself in the shop window

  23. Rasp says:

    Hi allezkev, you have to ask yourself why we identified Runarsson as a potential number two in the first place. Our recruitment in the last 5 years has had a success rate of about 20%

  24. Pete the Thirst says:

    The whole tempo last night was slow. Almost like the players expected to win the game without making the effort.

    Lacazette’s miss was epic. A howler. Of course he made the chance himself.

    Corners are a part of the game. Defending them should be simple. The positioning for the corner that led to their goal was abysmal.

    That was just the first leg. 90 minutes to go. Plenty of time to get a goal or two. We will need to be motivated though.

  25. RA says:

    Hi Kev @9:29,

    You have mentioned something new to me regarding the GK problems.

    I do not know the ex-Brentford GK coach, but that is the sort of influencething that could influence players for the best or the worst.

    I think you will find the GK coach has moved on, and will become/has become the manager of a south coast team.

    [I do not know his name so cannot check]

  26. LBG says:

    RA has raised in my mind some questions about goalkeeping coaches, so I’ve looked it up.
    Apparently Spanish coach Inaki Pavou, at one time from Barca, is Mikel’s choice currently. Andy Woodman was the previous incumbent and, interestingly, Leno asked to work with him rather than Pavou, “who he did not rate”. Mikel disagreed and the Club let Woodman go.
    Pavou brought Runaarson to Arsenal and ever since he seems out of his depth.
    If Leno is not convinced, Mikel need a goalkeeper who can play out from the back the way he wants! ( He might also need the Shitty back line, as well however!!!!)

  27. LBG says:

    The plot thickens even more!
    Jerry Peyton was Arsenal goalkeeper coach for 15 years under Wenger and was “universally hated”.
    Some blame him for demise of Fabianski and Schlzney and even for “sudden” deterioration in Cech.
    Repeat if Mikel believes in his current Spaniard he needs an English speaking, loud and sparky, goalkeeper with the skills to play from the floor…..NOW.

  28. Rasp says:

    Like Martinez 🙄

  29. LBG says:

    Best news of the morning, Balogun close to signing a new long term contract. Make it be true.

  30. Rasp says:

    R.I.P. Prince Philip

  31. allezkev says:

    Rasp, I’m sure you can recall the surprise from commentators when we signed Runarsson, not least from Icelandic sources. The club selling him, whose name escapes me, couldn’t wait to snap our hand, holding the cheque, off. It was all very odd.

    Ryan looks ok, I wonder who scouted him?

    Then there was that story from a few weeks backs when it was rumoured that Leno wanted to be coached by Woodman another gk coach at Arsenal and not the Spanish guy.

    It doesn’t fill me with a lot of encouragement mate.

  32. allezkev says:

    Yes Rasp, RIP indeed, end of an era.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    Can someone explain to m why Leno would worry about his goalkeeping coach?

    I am sure they do somethings in training that you don’t agree with, but as a goalkeeper it is a fairly solo profession, I had coaches who talked shit, especially outfield coaches, so I ignored them and did what I felt was best on match days etc.

    I just can’t see how the coach can have that big an effect on a professional football who should be something akin to the finished article by the time we have spent big money on them.

  34. LBG says:

    He might be something akin to a finished product, but not perhaps in the style that Mikel and the goalkeeping coach might want. Did you play everything out from the back, across your area to you centre backs?

  35. RA says:

    Difficult to argue with you on goal keeping and coaching matters, GIE, so I won’t, of course.

    My only question, from what you wrote is, why do clubs employ goal keeper coaches if the GKs ignore them?

    Bit like the riddle, ‘how many goals would a goal keeper keep, if a goal keeper could keep goal?’ 😜

  36. Aaron says:

    Still pissed, but should not be considering who we are owned by and how that permeates all the way down.

    Mikel needs to coach during the week, then sit the F down and shut up on the sidelines during the game. What is this guy, coaching the under 6’s and telling the kiddos not to chase the honey? His nervousness must go directly through to Leno.

    Pick your best cb pairing, considering who is playing on the right back and left back, hint the Gabriel/Cedric pairing does not work.
    Believe it is Holding/Mari combination that was most effective. Someone on here knows, tried looking it up but could not find it.

    Leno needs to work with his defense and build up a communication style with his players, there is not one at the moment, they are all scared to death of making a mistake, and who could blame them. Whatever it is with our goalkeeping coach needs to be ignored. Have a team meeting for goodness sake and work out some grief.
    If not, bench him and bring in Mat.

    Mikel and co f’d it up BIG time.

    It started two weeks ago when Ode and Tierney were played in all of their worthless internationals. (3 games) They were in the RED zone.

    Yet, somehow our brilliant medical staff said it was okay for them to play against pool. Both should have been rested.
    If one is betting their season on two games one of them is not the pool game.

    Then, what does Mikel do, starts willian up top on the left when Martinelli needed to be let loose, and Laca started centrally with Slavia’s defensemen begging to be run at.

    70+ minutes later Mikel finally makes a move when the first half showed him what was clear as day. The subs worked, yet he brings on Dani instead of Mari to finish things up. When does bringing on Dani or El Neny to shore up the defense ever work? Everrrrr.
    Oh, Mikel, the Pepe and Bel combo is $h*tE too.

    Bring on some speed, give Balo, Azeez and company a runout. It can’t be any worse than our capitulations the last 4-6 years. We are a running joke in the futbol world. Everyone knows it except who is running the club on down.

    stan the maN’s family run a gd slave business, they could care less about whether we compete for the top places, just the balance sheet and asset appreciation. Stuck in the worst holding pattern and no way out temporarily. Maybe in my lifetime, if they hold onto the club for that long.

    The team needs a W next Thursday- no excuses.

  37. LBG says:

    One of Leno’s complaints seemed to be the very large majority of their work was on fitness.
    I would have youth players “pressing” the GK and back four in practice, expecting the first team to break the press. And again, and again! Bit like GG approach. But I suppose that’s abuse of modern day players rights!

  38. LBG says:

    Must admit, to reinforce my comment immediately after Thursday, I think I agree with Martin Keown ” Its now all about ‘managing’ this squad”. Mikel is ( probably) a good coach. Can he manage this group of players, and make it clear every single players’ position is ‘up for grabs now’.

  39. Gööner In Exile says:

    Sorry for my post and run about Leno/Gk Coaches.

    So for me there are basics:

    Footwork, shot stopping, catching, handling, angles etc.

    They should be ingrained by the time a keeper is getting a pro contract.

    Then there are other areas like decision making, when to come for crosses, when to stick, when to rush an attacker, whether to catch, parry, fist.

    Martinez worked under the same coach. But his decision making seemed far better.

    Coaches will go through various basic routines day in day out no doubt to help with all these areas, but where Leno is poor at present is decision making, he gets caught in two minds and suffers from rushes of blood. The problem is we all know there is not a capable replacement to give him time out of the firing line.

    I’ve always rated him as a shot stopper, but have had concerns over other areas of his game.

  40. LBG says:

    Why are you apologising?
    It is a fair discussion topic and we acknowledge your experience.
    I agree totally with your “decision making” comment about Leno. As I said before, I think it is partly about character. Does he really believe in himself with regards to all areas of goalkeeping. I think he ( and consequently his defence) has reservations with regard to decision making AND his work with the ball at his feet under pressure.
    On another topic, also understand some of Mikel’s comments on Martinelli. But only some!
    You wont ruin him at this stage of the season MA, and his youthful enthusiasm might (will) lift the team out of the doldrums. The next two games are pivotal. Lose them with a whimper,
    and we will all be simply waiting for the Summer…….and worse, you might lose some of our young talent. Please try it!

  41. RockyLives says:

    New Post

  42. RA says:

    Hi GIE,

    As I said in my earlier response to your GK comment, it would take a fool to argue with your knowledge and GK experience.

    I have also said, previously, that Leno is an impressive shot stopper.

    I have sometimes been critical about other aspects of his game, but I have become somewhat more sympathetic to his habit of double thinking, because (and I know I am ploughing a lonely furrow here – even tho I am right 😜) that the ridiculous tactic of ‘playing out from the back’ with this squad of players has cost us game after game.

    Defenders keep making short and stupid passes to others in the penalty area simply to get rid of the ball, and their passes are often to team mates in even worse positions – including the GK.

    It is no coincidence that every team we play press very hard knowing there is a high percentage of fluffed passes from which they can capitalise.

    GKs always stand out in these circumstances, so Leno tends to take the blame, so changing that tactic by inserting in the manager’s instruction “play out from the back – when appropriate” — and all our players, including the GK will benefit.

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