Arsenal Miss Chance To Take Advantage At Old Trafford

Online Editorial: Points shared v Manchester United

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Auba nets and VAR does the rest

Man Utd and Arsenal? It had the feeling of two once great boxers coming together for a final payday, neither of them having the sharpness they once enjoyed to land the killer punch. These two clubs went head to head for the title during the Highbury years of Arsene Wenger’s tenure, and at times before enjoyed some memorable clashes, enough to ramp up the intensity to another level once it became a case of one or the other being the champions (between 1996 and 2004 no-one else got a look in).

Fast forward to 2019, and the reality is that we are looking at two average teams with coaches who can’t find a solution to bring back the glory of the days of old. Solskjaer will remember those as a player, but in spite of the riches his club has, cannot find the right blend to make them a feared side anymore. The fact is they were there for the taking, if Arsenal had any kind of bite in attack beyond the ability of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to shoot on target. Alex Lacazette cannot return to fitness soon enough. As for Pepe, I get that it is going to take him time to adapt to England and be on the same wavelength as his team-mates, but are you telling me you need a period of time before you can strike a decent shot on target?

Pepe wasn’t the only guilty party there though, plenty of his colleagues tried and failed on that score, rarely testing David De Gea in the United goal. The home side weren’t much better in truth, although credit to some of the Arsenal defending (some being the operative word here, it was poor on occasion) that prevented dangerous situations becoming more costly.

Arsenal rose from eighth to fourth thanks to the point gained, and on the upside, they are where they would settle for at season’s end having played three of the ten matches they will face against the other ‘top six’ sides, although Leicester might have something to say about that.

Unai Emery played safe with his defenders that were returning from injury. Rob Holding was on the bench, with neither of Bellerin nor Tierney in the eighteen. He gambled with a backline of Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz and Kolasinac. That they only conceded once has to be viewed as progress.

In midfield, Gunedouzi was immense, an example to many of his colleagues. For effort, the surprise selection Buyako Saka should be commended – he genuinely competed. However, it was the lack of challenge for a header on the edge of the United box from two Arsenal players (I’d have to watch it back to identify the culprits) that presented United with the break from which, ultimately McTominy scored. Too many of the away side did not look interested in really competing for the ball too much of the time, playing at less than 100%. Maybe they were wary of being reckless due to the difficult conditions. But it’s not something that is new.

VAR came good as Aubameyang was a good metre onside in the build up to his goal. And well played referee Kevin Friend for not doing what he would have done until this season and automatically blowing the whistle. The United players might have been distracted by the linesman’s flag, but they are all playing under the new rules now. It was a quality finish from Aubameyang who spent much of the game foraging on the left flank to try and get involved.

A good deal of the Arsenal crossing was suspect, so with that and shooting, there is work to be done on the training field. The attack normally get the defence out of jail, but it was more even last night in terms of performance. Good and bad moments at both ends.

However, given Arsenal have not won a league game at Old Trafford in the previous 12 attempts, the abiding feeling at the conclusion of the game was one of a missed opportunity. United really aren’t very good at present, and like Arsenal, have a good deal of rebuilding to do. Knowing this, perhaps Emery approached the game too cautiously, with the selection of his midfield trio. Perhaps starting Ceballos instead of Torreira might have paid dividends, but of course, we have to consider protection of a fragile defence. It’s all ifs and buts, the only certainty that United are not the force they once were, even at home, and that you cannot ever second guess the team Unai Emery is going to put out.

Ultimately, that probably doesn’t help. Granted, injuries are a factor, but once Alex Lacazette is fit, and the defenders are not being protected after returning from lenghty injuries, it would be a plus to see the same line up start a run of Premier League matches. That should help with understanding and a familiar tactical approach to games. Liverpool manage it, although they have been fortunate with the fitness of key players.

At the moment, it all feels like it’s a bit random, unsettled. The team cannot establish a groove with all the uncertainty. Yet, what was interesting last night was that, Chambers aside (who came on as a sub against Villa anyway), Emery began the same players in defence as he did for the last league match. So it’s not as if he drops anyone for a bad performance. Other factors seem to influence selection.

Still, in most seasons, a point at Old Trafford is regarded as a decent result. Arsenal now have a run of league matches against Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Palace and Wolves before visiting Leicester. Three of those at home. The trip to the King Power is then followed by games against Southampton, Norwich, Brighton and West Ham before Manchester City come to the Emirates. So nine matches to try and rack up the points.

It does already have a feeling of last season about it in terms of the Premier League table. Liverpool and Manchester City will decide the title between them (although Spurs and even Arsenal were involved for a while last time around), whilst the teams below them drop surprising points, stretched by European involvement and the development of clubs knocking on the door. People rate Leicester very highly this season, and they've certainly had a decent start.

Arsenal’s rebuild requires regular Champions League participation as the first step towards returning to the glory days of 1988-2005, when the club started every season with genuine hope that they could be in the mix for the title. Since then, there have certainly been opportunities to do that – 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2016 come to mind, but consistent failure has dented hope. It’s a phase United are now experiencing, so it can happen to anyone and is confirmation that football moves in cycles.

There were moments of genuine quality from Arsenal last night, but not too many, and given the opportunity, it was a shame they were not able to make more of a statement. Onto Liege and Bournemouth before the next international break then.

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40
comments

  1. Don Howe

    Oct 3, 2019, 15:18 #115056

    What are our basic requirements for the team? 1. That they try hard. That's why we love Sideshow Bob. 2. That they " want it". Ditto. 3. That they do the basics properly, Cross, Tackle, Destroy, Create, Defend and Attack. That's actually all the manager has to deliver besides the tactical questions and answers that all managers have to solve. The general consensus ( here and from Kevin) is that U.E. doesn't get that right and isn't our man in the long term. It's a bit unfair because our real discontent (and impatience) is with a man who didn't see the point in keeping Serge Gnabry at the club ! I'm looking forward to tonight's game and in great part that is because the French Fraud isn't on the touchline any more.

  2. Colonel Blimp

    Oct 3, 2019, 14:13 #115055

    Eddie Howe's your man if you want your team winning 4-0 one week and losing 1-4 at home the next.

  3. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 2, 2019, 22:24 #115054

    @Ron, you've definitely pinpointed the core issue with Arsenal. It's the essentially cosmopolitan, suave but not fierce mindset that has permeated since Wenger's imprint became deeper. The diabolical defending is ultimately a symptom of that particular strain of continental culture as packaged by Wenger. I watched some early 2000s games of United vs Arsenal on Youtube and it was such a joy to see players like Parlour, Vieira and Dixon battling against the likes of Keane and Scholes. OK the game has changed a lot since then, but some clubs, Liverpool the prime eg as you say, have players who are like WARRIORS but retain their finesse. Arsenal were always characterised as being a counterattacking team: that meant a solid defensive base, with all that entailed in terms of 'dark arts' as you say, but flair and speed on the attack as well. I think we all agree it's the blend of finesse and pragmatism that will bring us glory again. I do agree with you and Mark re: Bould btw: if he had resigned when his role was clearly demoted to putting out cones, it could have sparked a revolution. This praise was absolutely pouring in for Bould when he first joined - shows how insecure and hapless Wenger was that he preferred to lose his way than win and Bould get the credit. I'd plump for Bould for a year or two just because I think we at least know what we'd be getting in terms of the defensive side, which needs a year or two of work to develop in this squad, but also think an Eddie Howe or Rodgers type could be better bets as you both say; they'd no doubt bring more offensively. Very tough call: not easy to identify the right candidate in this culture of gung ho football generally.

  4. itsRonagain2

    Oct 2, 2019, 21:32 #115053

    Hi Marky. I s want to see Llungberg go and master and succeed in a job somewhere decent as a No 1 first. Arteta? Not for me. Seems like perma No 2 type to me. Prob a nice guy but soft personality I d venture. Maybe good on the technicalities of the game but managing men and string personalities? Hmm. Not at all sure. He s best hiding there in Peps slipstream methinks. Howe is a conundrum isn’t he. Seems to have so much to offer and a lot going for him yet it always seems like a little underdog backwater club job is perhaps his best scene. Certainly very astute lad though. Favours a bit too much gung ho perhaps for me, tho his style of gung ho does seem to at least attempt to incorporate decent defending but he lacks the quality of player. Wonderful job at Bournemouth tho and their a credit to the PL aren’t they. Somebody will have to give him a chance one day at a bigger club though I m sure. Be a very brave choice and I d certainly hope he does well. Unless he was at Tottenham but I sleep easy every night knowing no Coach will ever attain much there despite the odd mirage of success occurring every 20 or 30 years!!

  5. markymark

    Oct 2, 2019, 20:51 #115052

    Jumping into a bit of a two way conversation but I wouldn’t let Bould anywhere near running the team. He’s been ruined by Wenger’s omnipotence and will never get the respect back. Plus I think his drive is actually working with the youth. Freddie swap was done for a reason and if Unai really can’t be bothered to develop his English skills one can only shake their heads at his nativity. Really Unai has totally undermined himself I feel. I’m coming round to Rodgers. He sounds a bit of a prat in real life but as a manager he’s done ok. Big decision I think coming up do they risk a Freddie or an Arteta or go for a Rogers / Howe.

  6. itsRonagain2

    Oct 2, 2019, 19:37 #115051

    AM. I hear you well mate. All good stuff and great points you make. We re both talking about culture in clubs really and I think coaches and owners forget how vital it is to try and retain clubs cultures that have been grown and hewn over many decades Arsenal certainly has ours and it’s only when we rely on it that we dominate. GG knew it and ynderstood it. AW knew it at first and then departed from it in his hubris and arrogantly took us downhill. At our best we re tough and know the Black arts. All of our very best sides have had it. Klopp has found Liverpools culture again. Hard runners. Intense. Tribal. They’re benefitting now. We ve got to do that. I suspect Rodgers as a Brit would be studious enough to learn Arsenal and bring it back. I think he has a grasp of the modern games technical requirements to harness to it. I do see yr point about Bouldy. I always liked him as a player. I think he s harmed himself by sitting there as Wengos apparent lackey though. Taking the money and just gritting his teeth while almost certainly grimacing at what he saw. For that I lost some respect for him and he lost a lot of credibility. That’s not to say that yr wrong though. It’s all about perceptions. I think now though if SB git the job it would be seen as regressive by the modern fan base and He d have a big uphill battle to win hearts and minds. Take yr point about great players sometimes not needing good coaches. Real Madrid in Zidans first spell could be an eg. Not too convincing this time is he now he’s got old men and medium level players to rely on.

  7. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 2, 2019, 16:56 #115050

    *Can be a hugely tough thing to gauge

  8. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 2, 2019, 16:53 #115049

    @Ron, I should have clarified, I think that in Rodger's case as Liverpool that 'SAS' attack masked Rodger's true ability, and that in that case those three were just so world class that it didn't require much skill to 'optimise' them. By way of comparison, you can see that Pep at Barca really did get the best out of Messi and co as their efficiency quickly dropped when they moved away from his methods. Wenger plummeted once Graham's defensive/counterattack legacy diminished. Another eg is Simeone who loses a big player every year but he has a smart philosophy so it matters little. It's a hugely tough thing to gauge in terms of managerial ability - some really do get the best out of star players and others don't need to do anything, which is just as well for said managers! You could be right on Rodger's as he'd probably bring intensity into our play and would give a lot of chances to the youth players coming through, but I'd still give Bould an interim position. The players know all the attacking plays now, they just need a couple of years to learn to defend properly, and he did that perfectly before. Don't forget, during his brief period of influence we got three clean sheets in a row for the first time in 88 years! After that I think you're right about needing an English manager - someone who'll instill some grit in the team, just not sure if any fully understand finesse given this country's footballing culture.

  9. markymark

    Oct 2, 2019, 16:16 #115048

    Well Eriksen has denied Vertogen has been boffing his girlfriend and so happily has Jan. however it doesn’t explain why Jan was recently sporting a black eye and Potch has been moaning about splits. Something ain’t right at the Spuds. Pull up a sofa open up the popcorn and sit back and laugh I reckon!

  10. itsRonagain2

    Oct 2, 2019, 15:01 #115047

    AM - I think you could day that about any clubs best teams. Its like saying Barca were only successful under PG due to Messi and Co. Uts because of Yorke Cole and Co. Arsenal due to Henry and Bergy. Madrid due to Ronaldo et al. Great players might be there but they still have to be managed and deployed properly. I admit i used to say Liverpool under Rodgers was all Suarez etc etc but ive revised my view as it was narrow minded to think it. Bould? Tainted by Wenger and failure. I think the modern game has passed him by as have the chances of a good job. He ll turn up at Port Vale though or some where i guess.

  11. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 2, 2019, 13:55 #115046

    Not sure re: Rodgers to be honest. Think his greatness at Liverpool was due to the 'SAS' attack more than him. Once Suarez left and Sturridge got crocked they looked dire. As for Leicester, they could still be booming from his arrival as do most teams under any new manager. I've become less certain of Mourinho now though: I think he plays defensively even when it's not needed, his squad rotation is poor, he plays his first team in meaningless League Cup and EL games and he doesn't trust young players. I've said it before but the best football we played since 2006 was when Steve Bould first joined and we saw the Graham defensive tactics blended with the Wenger attacking ones. I'd give Steve Bould the post for the next couple of years as all the attacking know-how is already embedded enough.

  12. itsRonagain2

    Oct 2, 2019, 13:49 #115045

    PS - Should have mentioned Utd as well. Poor right now, but always the jewel in crown job here.

  13. itsRonagain2

    Oct 2, 2019, 13:42 #115044

    Hi John. A very good question. I d suggest that if Leics reached top 4 and we didnt, he would stay at Leics. If both did, i think h ed still stay at Leics for 2 reasons. 1. His track record is one of some loyalty to his clubs and 2. He has a really good owner at Leics who would invest if they reach top 4 to try and make a real go of it. Im a bit biased i accept as im close to Leics City FC having been at Uni there for 4 great years and then lived in Loughboro and Warwick for so many years too so ive seen quite a bit of them in different seasons when work life has permitted by not sending me here, there and all over the place, but they are a superb, atmospheric club. Smashing, very well grounded fans and in a lovely County. I would say too that with his present trajectory, if he stayed at Leics and declined AFC if offered he could afford to do so as far bigger clubs than AFC might well follow him anyway. I think AFC is a fabulous pull for such as him or in fact any Coach if offered, but there are many better attractions in football now, especially abroad. Theres also the blight of the rubbish owner at AFC. The situ at all of the top clubs here is very much in flux now. Pep wont stay too long now esp if they cant win the CL or even if they do, neither will Klopp and Chelsea are very much in a type of mid stream situ and Rodgers has a past there. He ll have options for sure if he continues as he is doing.

  14. John F

    Oct 2, 2019, 12:33 #115043

    I would not mind Rodgers too he has done very little wrong.I was talking to a Leicester fan and he is very happy with him..People concentrate on his time at Liverpool but forget just what a good manager he was for Swansea too getting them into the UEFA league and playing some good football.Would he leave Leicester for us if they get into the top four?.

  15. itsRonagain2

    Oct 2, 2019, 11:45 #115042

    I think we need Dick to get us in the CL before we can attract a top Coach now. If he fails this time and hes dispensed with, its hard to say who would want the job of any note. Its a chicken and egg situ really. As time passes, im becoming much more convinced that Brendan Rodgers is a very likely prospect now for Arsenal. Hes only had a short time back in PL but already hes showing that the swashbuckling style he had at Liverpool a few years back is being repeated. He has much to prove and seems a very driven man. Hes well regarded in football too. I d like a British Coach now as i think such a coach would give AFC its identity back of yesteryear. The cosmopolitanism that Arsenal has adopted since AWs appointment is in my view a reason why the club has lost its energy, itd sting and collective mental fortitude. We have gained so much from it of course but i think now that a balance is needed as a vital ingredient to our recovery. Arsenal are very much a quintessentially English club and we need to foster that again. So, at the moment Rodgers for me.

  16. TonyEvans

    Oct 2, 2019, 11:40 #115041

    In full agreement with the sentiment that Emery is virtually Wenger mark 2. Incredibly disappointing that we still have a manager we can't trust to put the right team out and it's still hide behind the sofa time when it comes to our defending! Bard - I thought the same re Gnabry; always thought he had the potential to develop into a decent player, but we let him go and kept a waste of space like Walcott. Says it all really!

  17. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 2, 2019, 10:45 #115040

    MNF ran stats comparing Wenger's last 44 games to Emery's first 44: Points 78 vs 81, points vs Big Six 9 vs 13, Wins 24 vs 24, Goals 87 vs 84, Goals Conceded 55 vs 61, Clean sheets 16 vs 9, so overall that confirms Emery is just Wenger mark II. So sad that after years of Wenger madness we're in the same situation again: do you want us to get CL football if it means more abysmal defending? Or do we miss out, he leaves, and we get a proper coach in. As I said, I think we may only have a year or two to really re-cement ourselves as a top club. No CL football next season or the one after could mean losing Laca and Auba; short of funds thereafter, with no CL football, could mean years of mid-table mediocrity.

  18. itsRonagain2

    Oct 2, 2019, 10:23 #115039

    I think Dick seems a really nice man and a gent too. However, whether he reaches the top 4 promised land or not i would let him go and thank him for his efforts. Hes not a man whos going to take AFC to any great heights in the PL or Europe. The club simply has to invest in a top marque Coach and back him sensibly with the finance to get in a couple at least of top quality players in prime positions. If they dont, we ve just got a re run of Wengers last few years to cope with that would be purgatory. Its pretty obvious UE is cut from the same cloth.

  19. Pauljames

    Oct 2, 2019, 10:02 #115038

    I agree on Dick Bard, trouble is if we get back in the CL he stays, if not he will go I feel, even so I still wants us back in to the elite competition.....as long as we don’t draw Bayern Munich !

  20. Bard

    Oct 2, 2019, 07:04 #115037

    A poor performance. Its hard to see what Dick has improved or what his plan is. I cant help feeling that we should be a lot better than we are. Pepe looks a waste of money, another Gervinio ? I would imagine Dick has this season or he's out. If we dont start playing better than could be a lot sooner. Making Xhaka Capt is ridiculous. They all say he is great behind the scenes. I thought footballers had to turn up on the pitch not be stars in the changing room. To rub salt into the Arsenal wound how good was Gnarby last night.

  21. itsRonagain2

    Oct 1, 2019, 22:26 #115036

    CG. Gunners away support has always been good. The one consistency in this less than consistent, skewed and fragmented last decade and some has been the away following. Like many groups of away fans they ve trodden a dodgy line such as Stoke match 3 yrs back but the drive and desire never lacks. The last 3 or 4 yrs of my match going days were away games only and such was the day out, the scores to a degree became secondary. Just as well given some of the dire performances we had to endure ha ha! In fairness away fans all thro the PL are better than the homers now. Been that way for at least 20 yrs and possibly more in my experience bar the odd raucous stadium.

  22. RobG

    Oct 1, 2019, 22:14 #115035

    So 1 - 5 is preferable to 2 - 7 ? Or is it.....?

  23. Dick Dastardly

    Oct 1, 2019, 21:06 #115034

    We certainly did better than our esteemed neighbours did tonight. How me and Muttley were laughing as goal after goal when in up at their shiny new stadium. And on Sunday they'll have 80 hairy arsed American football players tramping all over it too. Things are definately looking up.

  24. markymark

    Oct 1, 2019, 19:13 #115033

    Not sure if anybody listened to Radio 5’s commentary but having 2 ex UTD players as pundits was poor . Basically anytime an Arsenal player was kicked up in the air it was fair game. Anytime an Arsenal player complained apparently it was a sign of weakness. Radio 5 could and should have done better . A point was made about VAR earlier and I agree but the retirement of Howard Webb really put the spanner into UTD!

  25. CORNISH GOONER

    Oct 1, 2019, 18:44 #115032

    We seem to be following the Sky pundits assessment of the game on here which is a bit unusual. For me it wasn't a bad game &, minus Ozil of course, there was no lack of effort. Even on TV you could tell how amazing our away support was as well. But no-one has commented on how foul the weather was & how disrupted our travel arrangements had been because the Club's travel admin hadn't reckoned on all the hotels having been previously booked to accommodate Boris, his staff & his women etc. etc. Can't really blame Dick for that can we? Thought Gendouzi was overpraised by the pundits, as usual, & I just don't get the criticisms of Chambers who, imo, is big enough, fast enough & versatile enough to do a decent job for us - his attitude is great. Pepe will come good but I did wonder what he made of his first rainy Monday evening in the PL!! With Tierney, Holding, Bellerin & Lacca to return we should do pretty well I think - I just wish we could enjoy weeks with a settled team & with zero disruptive injuries. Just like Liverpool really!

  26. GoonerRon

    Oct 1, 2019, 16:19 #115031

    I like Chambers. He’s seems to have the heart for it and to be fair when he’s had a chance this season he’s contributed with clean sheets, a goal and some assists - he deserves credit for playing himself into contention. He may not be the fastest full back ever but has that buccaneering style about him - a bit like Ivanovic had at Chelsea. As for not being strong enough for a CB, that doesn’t bother me too much. It’s not like he’s up against Drogba or Diego Costa every week, and what he lacks in strength he makes up for in composure and technical ability. I’d give him a prolonged shot at CB over Luiz or Sokratis.

  27. itsRonagain2

    Oct 1, 2019, 14:57 #115030

    The lad Saka looks strong as well doesn't he. Looks a genuine prospect and i hope hes managed properly as i reckon we lost a few young prospects in the yrs since the stadium move because of poor coaching and management rather than the players not being up to it. Vela was one. Gnabry another. Yes, James looks a real player too. He looks like what you would expect as a player for United. Hes got the swagger and the confidence to go for it, which is what we expect from Utd players down the years. The Scot McTominey is a grafter too. Lacks the technical ability a bit but a good lad i think. The type every team needs. A spadeworker type player.

  28. John F

    Oct 1, 2019, 14:32 #115029

    No one has mentioned Var ,has it put an end to the Old Trafford bias by officials.Should cost them a few points this season.I like Chambers and would put him ahead of Luiz and Socratis in the centre of the defence and even Xhaka in midfield.Poor game but a least Arsenal didn't fold when they went behind and had a good 15 min spell at the start of the second.Saka looked good and so did James for Utd.I must be getting old as some of those players looked like they were still at school.

  29. markymark

    Oct 1, 2019, 12:55 #115028

    Well we didn’t give the greatest player who’s ever lived Mason Greenwood a present or fo that matter last years greatest player Rashy a goal either. So that’s good. Arsenal have now had a reasonable drawer away to UTD and a good win away against Eintracht who drew the following week against Dortmund. This will help build confidence. What we need under Emery is a big symbolic win. I wonder if he’ll ever get one before he’s fired

  30. itsRonagain2

    Oct 1, 2019, 12:31 #115027

    AM - I hear you and see your point. He does do good things in games some times and hes got a good heart to battle in matches. Im just of the view though that he really is Fulham Championship level and is struggling to play PL level consistently. You may well be right though. Torriera s early drive seems to have receded to be honest. Auba is the only player we have that any top club might want i think and hes no spring chicken whos powers will wane this next 18 months.. Arguably Lacca too (at times). The lad Pepe? What to make of him ive no idea. Looks disinterested but he may just have that Ozil/ Berbatov type gait for all i know. Seems to lack a lot of belief in himself. Body language is poor isnt it. Last night, i would have pulled Pepe and given the kid Martinelli a go for half hour and given him some licence to try to have won it..

  31. RobG

    Oct 1, 2019, 12:29 #115026

    Alright - the first half was dross from both sides, the goal apart. But I enjoyed the second half and we could have nicked it. I'd like to see that Sako shot again, that was deflected. Was it going in ? I thought Sako was really good. Quite fearless and his willing ness to get at the Utd defence was heartening. The fact that they were shirt pulling him, shows they knew what they were up against. Having said that, Pepe was really weak. Not involved and very tentative. On that display, it was Sako and not Pepe that looked the big money signing. I just hope he - Pepe - gets a couple of goals soon and his confidence rises, with it. Guendouzi was also immense. Reading some of the comments elsewhere you would have thought we were Newcastle. Some of our fans need to follow the away support, which was excellent - again. Right behind the team and making all the noise. With the three defenders we have coming back, things are looking up. Third is not beyond us, even if second or first clearly are. The keyboard complainers need to give it more time.

  32. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 1, 2019, 11:23 #115025

    @Ron agreed Chambers is not ever going to set the world alight, but does that matter in such a weak league? We need a blend of sensible, pragmatic players with the flair and finesse of Laca and Auba etc. I'd honestly take him as a (for now...) physically weak CB over Socratis and Luiz who are so error-prone due to their erratic play. Also, he'd be much better than Torreira at DM - head and shoulders above him in fact (pun intended)!

  33. itsRonagain2

    Oct 1, 2019, 10:57 #115024

    re Chambers - i think Neville weighed it up about him. Hes a tryer and wont ever become a specialist in any position in my view. Hes a poor mans Milner. Having to persist with players of his calibre sums us up. Its why Arsenal are far from being a top team now. Hes not alone in fairness to the lad. There are 4 or 5 who can be bracketed similarly. Save for Auba, we re a team of journeymen. Lacca has his moments of course. Its a team that could get 4th though but only because its a poor league and as has been said, because Chelsea and Tottenham have regressed a lot.

  34. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 1, 2019, 10:34 #115023

    Re: individuals, Pepe's dribbling looks almost world class - I've rarely seen a winger spin so well and keep his bearings, and he can really drive the ball forward. As for his final ball, that's Heskey level right now. It might be because he looks like a very chilled player, and you can play that way in Ligue 1 and it's fine, whereas you have to be fast and precise in the EPL which he hasn't grasped yet. As for Chambers, Neville comments last night: lacks agility to be a RB, not good enough on the ball to be a DM and too weak physically to be a CB: true on the first, but he's pretty good on the ball and did well for Fulham at DM (their player of the year) and he could bulk up in the gym to play CB. If our first-choice XI was Leno, Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Tierney, Luiz (DM), Guendouzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Laca, Auba, and if we just played balanced football, third place would be EASY to attain this year.

  35. Sarflunden

    Oct 1, 2019, 10:12 #115022

    Can't see Emery getting his contract extension. Yes, the defense will improve with Tierney, Holding, and Bellerin coming back. Yes, we'll be sharper up top with Lacazette back in the team. Yes, the kids are playing well and will improve with more game time. But as a team, we're still making to many unforced errors. That's down to management and coaching. And he can do something about that.

  36. ArsenalMagna

    Oct 1, 2019, 10:03 #115021

    Last night showed that bar Liverpool and City, we actually could, potentially, defend well enough overall, if we're happy with draws. United's only chances came on the counter really and their goal was a flukey deflection. Yes our defending was bad at points, but that could have been corrected and we still created a good few chances. With all that in mind, consider that Auba got his customary goal. It shows we really don't need to play gung ho as he only needs a few chances. Madness we don't play like that more often. Anyway, it's a funny old time in the world of football. I remember arguing on this site years ago with Wenger's biggest fanboy about the Premier League having weakened and money not being the sinew of success anymore. After Leicester won the league he stopped contributing to this site... Now that City and Liverpool are so strong, and with Bayern, Barca and Real all struggling, it's clear there's a relative lack of top quality players available world wide. United's wealth counts for nothing with their mostly awful team. Spurs are looking dire with Eriksen uncommitted and when he and their CBs leave they'll suffer even more. Chelsea will be inconsistent with so many youth players. I would love it if we got CL football along with Leicester, and built from there, but playing gung ho is generally a bad idea that Emery seems determined to stick to.

  37. Colonel Blimp

    Oct 1, 2019, 09:49 #115020

    Pepe is looking more and more like a colossal waste of money with every passing week.

  38. GoonerRon

    Oct 1, 2019, 09:30 #115019

    Thought we were relatively disciplined in our positioning and had decent shape. Probably edged it on good chances too. We’re 4th having played Spuds and Liverpool/Man U away. We’ve won our most difficult game in the EL and are into the next round of the league cup. All the while giving minutes to some genuinely exciting prospects. So some reasons to be cheerful, although we still haven’t played very well in about 6 and a half of our 7 league games. It’s all a bit bizarre.

  39. Pauljames

    Oct 1, 2019, 09:20 #115018

    A decent result , United have already beaten Chelsea and Leicester at O. T this season and I don’t really buy that we were favourites to win the game. The bottom line is the top two are over the hill and far away whilst there is very little between the chasing pack, as the current table illustrates perfectly.We just have to hope our squad is stronger than last year, whilst Chelsea, Utd and Tottenhams problems allow us to sneak back into the CL.

  40. Paulo75

    Oct 1, 2019, 08:59 #115017

    Despite the pre match hype this was a poor game of football between two pretty average teams. If Arsenal had put in a strong performance last night they would have taken all three points - they didn't, simple as that. The return of Bellerin, Tierney, Holding and Lacazette will undoubtedly make us stronger but Sokratis, Xhaka, Torreira Kolasinac and Pepe need to up their game in a big, big way.