I Think We All Needed That

Online Editorial: Mikel Arteta chalks up first win as Arsenal head coach in spirited display against Manchester United

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I often pondered at times over the last decade about Arsenal’s underachievement - what could a better coach get out of the same group of players. Because it so often felt like the sum of their parts was far lesser than it could have been. I was removing some posters from my son’s bedroom last weekend, and there was one of the 2013-14 squad. Let's take an 18 man selection from that group. Starting eleven: Szczensy – Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal – Rosicky, Arteta, Cazorla, Ozil – Giroud, Podolski. Subs: Fabianski, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry. Those who couldn’t get in included Bendthner, Diaby, Flamini, and dear old Theo. They won the FA Cup, but they failed to make a challenge for the league title. Sure, injuries played a part, but under a different regime, surely this group of players could have achieved more.

Things progressively got worse, and I admit, that I never thought I would see the quality we witnessed yesterday evening from the likes of Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac and Xhaka. Others obviously had the talent, but weren’t producing it. The post-match interviews were telling, as David Luiz spoke with intelligence and humility, admitting that the team now had belief, although acknowledged that they were basically not fit enough. The club may have taken a gamble on Arteta, but to see a performance with the sheer commitment and desire witnessed against Manchester United gives huge encouragement. It was three months since the last Premier League home win. Six games since then witnessed three points picked up from 18, the dismissal of Unai Emery and the decision not to prolong Freddie Ljungberg’s spell as caretaker boss. The players had downed tools.

Arteta has come in and got a response. We saw signs of a change at Bournemouth, and a definite improvement against Chelsea, where ultimately the team were undone by a mixture of fatigue and individual errors. But fortunately, fans have been patient and willing to give the changes more time to bear fruit, symbolized by the positive response from the crowd after the defeat last Sunday. Last night, they got their reward, and the atmosphere at the stadium was something we have seen all too rarely in recent times.

It’s certainly early days, but we at least saw what this group of players are capable of, given some shape, motivation and tactical instruction they can buy into. The win will help not only the psychological status of the team, but means they will buy in more willingly to what Mikel Arteta is trying to do. We are talking bodies on the line here, and in that, I even include Mesut Ozil, who at least put some commitment into his challeges for the ball. Most surprisingly of all, David Luiz and Sokratis looked like a competent pair of central defenders.

It was a surprise to see Sokratis and Kolasinac start the gam, given the injury reports in the build-up, but how the team benefitted by not having to field Mustafi and the forays forward of the Bosnian left back that put United on the back foot. It spared Bukayo Saka starting another game – not that the youngster has played badly, just that he could do with a game off. As it turned out, he had to enter the field after Kolasinac was injured and will most likely be required on Monday evening against Leeds, but at least he only played less than half an hour.

Arsenal’s football in the first half was fast and incisive, and unlike against Chelsea, they scored the critical second goal. The first came from a Kolasinac overlap, converted by Pepe. The latter took the corner that led to the second goal, as Lacazette’s flicked header was parried by De Gea only for Sokratis to volley home from close range. And there could have been more.

It was predictable that the second half would be an entirely different game as there was no way Arteta’s team could keep the intensity up. At times, their hunting in packs was reminiscent of Guardiola’s Barcelona at their peak. Once their heads hit the pillow, the players will all sleep well tonight, such was their exertion.

It was the first time that Lacazette, Aubameyang, Pepe and Ozil had all started in the same team, and Ozil was pulling a lot of the strings. Critically, the players were finding space and working for each other. Their pressing forced United into mistakes, and behind them, Torreira and Xhaka both had excellent games. Xhaka actually looked like he could make a tackle, which was revelatory.

The tenacity of the tackling had the home crowd cheering and even if they had to cede territory after the interval, through sheer exhaustion, they kept going to snuff out United’s attempted renaissance. There was some welcome tactical fouling and the occasional prolonged interruption to try and prevent momentum. Intelligent football, even if we’d prefer not to need the dark side, sadly, that kind of idealism cost Arsenal in the not so distant past.

Physically, Arteta will need to rotate players if they are to maintain this level, especially if they enjoy runs in the FA Cup and the Europa League, and hope that the injury situation improves. Although we can’t know how serious the injury to Kolasinac is, at least Ceballos and Holding were on the bench, which will give the head coach some welcome options if they can remain fit.

In summary, a series of immense performances, including some by players I’d given up on. Hope, and a sense of belief, returns. The team had won one of their last 15 matches in all competitions. A shocking run. Let’s see if a corner has been turned, it is only one result, but optimism abounds for now, and that can only be a good thing.


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  1. A Cornish Gooner

    Jan 6, 2020, 16:00 #116069

    Me? Cyril? The 13th Duke of Wybourne? Here? In a sixth form girl's dormitory? At three o'clock in the morning? With my reputation? What were they thinking of?

  2. itsRonagain2

    Jan 6, 2020, 09:41 #116065

    I think that so far as the dull atmosphere applies at the bowl, the major cause of it was tippy tappy football (Wengos Art or his philosophy ffs, call it what you will) for all of those years. It was frankly boring. Its up to a team to get the fans going isnt it and those teams for years rarely did. I had the main part of one season towards the end of my time going up there in the club level and i recall one awful match in the mid April sunshine v Blackburn (i think) where i was actually asleep for a good half hour in it. In many other games, i took work reports to read through. Relaxing days ! Great seat though.

  3. markymark

    Jan 6, 2020, 08:24 #116064

    Hi Cyril - picked up on your valid point about measuring improvement in a crowd total quackery lol. What I was trying to get at is that Wengo thought we were unappreciative of his “Art” the crowd was always painted as quiet, sullen and divided. Yet two games under Arteta and a loss is being applauded off the pitch and the Man U was described as raucous. Perhaps atmosphere should have been hi lighted by me as this is what I was getting at. Anyway it appears the little changes are bringing people on board which has got to be good. Really feel already that this is the most joined up family for A large number of years perhaps a decade. MA might fade ( I hope not ) but either way it does show the power of what’s possible

  4. Cyril

    Jan 6, 2020, 00:29 #116063

    MM- all great thoughts. I have a ST and have been going for so many years on and off. It does upset that you point to observing whether a crowd’s reputation will improve. Reputation old boy. Are we at 1st years Rugby school. Shall we be monitored for improvement by Headmaster and take a few licks along the way and then when it’s finally worked out - expel Flashman to the detriment of the club financially. I’d rather be Tom Brown any day railing against this fuc**d up system that I pay handsomely into each year to be patronised and emotionally abused. Reputation indeed!!!

  5. markymark

    Jan 5, 2020, 17:43 #116062

    Whether we call it a bounce or incremental improvement. MA is dropping the 5 captain Bullshit . The players are spending time after the match if only for 30 seconds more to applaud the crowd. The supporters in turn often castigated by people ( some of whom never go ) are creating a good atmosphere. Wenger found the supporters unappreciative , some fool in the Exec level said they were just noise , Emery couldn’t make head nor tail of it and went to see his quack phycologist , hence the 5 captains. Whereas MA just makes little improvements here , there and everywhere. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, if he is able to maintain his vision, that the Arsenal crowds reputation improves as much as the previously much maligned players. If he can really do his stuff I think we might be very pleasantly surprised with what is possible. One point I’d make is really tactical leaders will let those under them make their mistakes and then push them out. So Arteta is setting everybody off again from point zero . It’s very exciting to see the possibilities emerge from this particularly if we get a final year of really good performance from Ozil .

  6. markymark

    Jan 5, 2020, 16:42 #116061

    Bard - I’d say the reason top 4 is still being talked about is despite our god awful recent run we are only 3 points behind the Spuds who’s own “bounce” appears to be flatlining , Chelsea who still remain very flaky and Man U who can be powder puff at times. When apart from maybe in 1975 did we consider Wolves besting Man U in the cup at Old Trafford? A solid run over the next 10 games could well result in a top 4 tilt. Whether we will of course is a different matter.

  7. Bard

    Jan 5, 2020, 09:13 #116060

    I'm not sure where all this optimism is coming from. We have won one game, surely it's too early to make a judgement. What it's fair to say is that MA looks promising and if we continue to play with that level of commitment we will avoid the relegation battle but that is a country mile away from being a top 4 club. We need to see how it looks next season when he has had a couple of transfer windows. How many false dawn's have we endured this last decade.

  8. itsRonagain2

    Jan 5, 2020, 00:43 #116059

    I might be wrong but in business a bounce as seems to be admired is exactly that, a bounce that means the staff start doing what they shd have done and we’re capable of doing all along to a greater or lesser extent. In other words nothing new is added by the new executives or boss. A gradual improvement implies new ideas, new rigour and new demands that are asked to be met for fear of those who can’t meet them being sacked. Result is , people are jettisoned and the organisation enters a real upward spiral as opposed to a false one which is what a bounce is in reality. A bounce isn’t to be admired in other words, it’s to be looked at sceptically and feared. The thing with a bounce is that the entity and those temporarily acting out the bounce inevitably end up back where they were. The net effect is usually that the entity is in a worse state when the bounce recedes than it was when it started. Same as going into a footie club , those who are recruited to rescue a business as the better levels don’t want bounce, they loathe it. I see MA as having produced no bounce thankfully for us and I’m pleased that they’re the signs we re now seeing. That’s my point. A bounce in football club terms should be renamed as an illusion.

  9. A Cornish Gooner

    Jan 4, 2020, 18:36 #116058

    Ron I'm not sure what your point is. A gradual improvement and 'new manager bounce' aren't mutually exclusive and the 'stupid' phrase is commonly used and does happen.

  10. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 4, 2020, 15:38 #116057

    I don't see how a 'new coach bounce' is a stupid phrase, seeing as it encapsulates a very common process where a team's form booms with the appointment of a new manager. SAF even said relegation sides seem to get new managers in during the run in just to produce as little as a three game winning run. For the reasons I listed below I think Arteta's impact is due to other causes, and that his influence will stand the test of time. The ideal this year would be to get 4th place and Leicester come third. I could really see Spurs and United, maybe even Chelsea, continuing to struggle for years whereas we could cement being a CL team again.

  11. itsRonagain2

    Jan 4, 2020, 15:25 #116056

    The signs are good Marky as you rightly say. A nice gradual improvement in all facets of the game leading to a more robust and gutsy team is far better I think than the oft seen ‘new Coach bounce ‘ (what a stupid phrase that is !) Alas, any new Coach has a intractable glass ceiling under wig wam Stan.

  12. markymark

    Jan 4, 2020, 14:40 #116055

    Not that I’m saying he’s suddenly become wonderful but......... I’ve not seen one Stan Kroenke bashing post on any forum since the Chelsea match. As soon as a coach appears to turn things around the pressure is off the owner. If Arteta does do the business don’t expect Kroenke to sell soon. Let’s hope the faith with Arteta is well founded as initial indications suggest he’s got something about him

  13. Don Howe

    Jan 4, 2020, 11:55 #116054

    Well I suppose that we can look back on it now and laugh (a bit) but there were times, especially in the early days when it felt like the invasion of the bodysnatchers. If defensive priorities have returned, and it looks like they may have, then balance may have returned to the force. The French Fraud's tenure was a net value disaster and his devotees are thankfully now silent. I must be candid and say that I should have preferred an assassination, at the very least in critical print. My son has been permanently turned off going and that is something I can't forgive or forget. The Fraud is however part of a wider culture of financially rewarded and cynical incompetence that hurts our national life. Nice to beat United and their thousand year reich fans.

  14. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 4, 2020, 10:58 #116053

    On the issue of Arteta's impact by the way, I know we had false dawns under Emery, but I think Arteta is different to Emery in several major ways: 1) he has got us playing with commitment for three games in a row rather than here or there, 2) he knows how to communicate/inspire, 3) he's been public in saying high work rate is 'non-negotiable'. 4) He's tailored the system so all the players do what they want to do, the only sacrifice they make is to defend more. Vs United we had Luiz as a CB-playmaker (more completed passes into the final third than any other player!); the CBs had good protection which means more than anything else for a CB; Kolasinac got to be an attacking FB, which also meant Auba could cut inside; Xhaka could be the 'false 10' - deep lying and making key passes; Torreira was a DM; Maitland-Niles got to play in the middle as an 'inverted fullback' and Ozil had the system built around him. There is a fear that we're just seeing a new manager bounce, but based on everything I've mentioned, as well as some other factors, I think we really could have the coach we've been crying out for for years.

  15. Cyril

    Jan 4, 2020, 02:29 #116052

    I’d say it wasn’t an act of sabotage but an an early attempt of new libertarianism. Get you involved, be Uber trendy cool then stick you in the ditch. I see it regularly now down Holloway Rd. Odd people, but I come across many as I like drinking beer in pubs. ‘Camberwell carrot man’ etc... bunch of ultra left wing extremists that can forego the gulag and get the hump when most of us just want to pay our mortgage off. Of course , I could be wrong - you know!

  16. markymark

    Jan 3, 2020, 20:51 #116051

    CG - probably would have caught me out as well I reckon . Hilarious stuff. Funnily enough in my other life spent on watch enthusiast sites the sheer anger and eruptions that occur on those forums can be unbelievable. Even had individuals turn up on people’s door steps. You wouldn’t believe it. There’s a lot of very angry obsessive oddballs for sure. But then that might be half the fun of forums Anyway it’ll be very interesting how Arsenal forums in general deal with a “Successful Arsenal” if I need we ever get to that glorious day . I wonder if the bickering will be about pragmatism and caution against flair? We can’t do both

  17. Bard

    Jan 3, 2020, 20:11 #116050

    Hilarious days winding some of them up. I guess most are in mourning since the messiah got the sack. It was never about the division that was promoted but about Club v manager. Some got the 2 confused. A manager serves the club he isnt the club. Anyway looks good with MA at the moment. He must have something about him.

  18. A Cornish Gooner

    Jan 3, 2020, 19:40 #116049

    marky I have to admit to using an alias for a few days back in the Gooner 'troubles' period. In what I thought was a pretty obvious reference to Baddie I posted as 'M Alan US' (malanus) and referred to him as Baldarse. In his next post he politely corrected me and asked me where I came from in America.

  19. markymark

    Jan 3, 2020, 19:21 #116048

    Cyril the imposting the poster was another major banter weapon. I had it done to me a few times. I tended to laugh it off along as it wasn’t too insulting or potentially dodgy. In return The power to make TOOAW suddenly admit his love of Spurs or Coleseyboy to reveal his very camp behaviour hidden behind his Yer F’ing Mug hard man image. I admit to falling for that temptation .

  20. markymark

    Jan 3, 2020, 19:13 #116047

    Definitely the weirdest posting was when Jameson who by this time had revealed himself to be a religious maniac decided to have a two way conversation with himself debating Catholicism against his nuts brand of Calvinism. I think even the editor was compelled to call it the most bizarre posting he’d ever seen. Jameson shortly afterwards announced he’d retired from Arsenal. My thoughts were they basically got his pill dosage under control and he left the site and us having become relatively normal again. It’d be good to get access to the archives again. I know it was one of the main weapons in the banter years often sending Baddie into frothing rages. I remember sending him nuts over some minor point about whether his family read his postings. (Who cares ) I do miss it sometimes. Anyone remember the Ford Capri melt down that went on for weeks? Good times indeed.

  21. John F

    Jan 3, 2020, 17:38 #116046

    It did turn a bit strange when one of them pretended to be Bad Arse for a few weeks.

  22. itsRonagain2

    Jan 3, 2020, 17:20 #116045

    Hi Bard - ha ha , yes, some of the old verbal jousts were funny weren't they with Baddie and Co who could be really funny at times in fairness. Admirably, you always managed to retain a neutral line and humour some of them and never lose yr poise. I couldn't my claim to say the same on my part!! There was never a dull moment though, even with the worst of them.

  23. Cyril

    Jan 3, 2020, 16:32 #116044

    The problem was that some posters were acting as imposters. I had one imposed on and I think Ron too and that is very naughty for obvious reasons.

  24. Bard

    Jan 3, 2020, 15:37 #116043

    Great result. It does seem as though he has the players attention. Interesting that dear old Mesut is now putting in a shift. Let's hope the board back him in this transfer window. We desperately need a quality defender and a midfield player The squad looks threadbare due to lack of quality and injuries. I must admit I miss a few of the head bangers that used to frequent this site.


    Jan 3, 2020, 15:28 #116042

    ACG, good to hear from you again. This site is now one of only 2 Arsenal blogs that doesn't go in for dodgy language & indulging the mentally challenged. The other site is UNTOLD which is now completely unreadable, a total mess & which should be allowed a dignified burial. My wife, however, just cannot understand why grown blokes get so wound up about footie - she doesn't appreciate that issues like the impending Climate disaster, re-uniting a divided post Brexit country (good luck with that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson) etc. etc. etc. just don't cut the mustard with us true fans?

  26. A Cornish Gooner

    Jan 3, 2020, 15:12 #116041

    markymark Ah, the good old days. When we were subjected to eggs, marmalade, spiteful nicknames, awards and 'comedy' sketches on a daily basis. Now, just like Wenger, much unlamented. It's possible that some of the regular posters you mention (Exeter, jj) were banned. I must admit I did enjoy the spats with a certain poster, but the site is definitely better now. I know we've only won one game under MA, but I'm impressed with him and the effect that he's had so far. But I was impressed with Emery for the way he got us playing against the Spuds in the 4-2 home win. And that was as good as it got. So, the Chelsea defeat didn't show that he's going to be a complete failure, as the win against Man U didn't show that he's going to be a huge success. Hope we stuff Palace on 11th. Divers and VAR permitting. Undefeated in 2020 though. Happy New Year.

  27. Goonhogday

    Jan 3, 2020, 13:17 #116040

    Many more tests to come for Arteta and the team but I’m liking what I hear and see at the moment. On AW, I still can’t help thinking if Kroenke hadn’t bottled it around the time of our Hull FA cup win/scrape through, would we be in our current predicament and would we have gone for Klopp at that time?

  28. John F

    Jan 3, 2020, 11:53 #116039

    I like what I have seen in Arteta so far and it was great to see the sheer hard work the team put in but going back to last seasons 2-0 win over Utd there was a lot of good comments on the attitude of the team and Dick that day. My point is when there is a great atmosphere at the bowl for a big game these players have proved they can raise their game, the problem has been for the unfashionable matches when the crowd are quieter and the players lapse into complacency. The Sheff Utd game will show how much these players have improved under Arteta.

  29. markymark

    Jan 3, 2020, 09:53 #116038

    GoonerRon - nail on head! definitely saw a whole group of individuals leave the site post Wenger. My personal favourites were posters who continually said they would abandon the site due to aggressive ongoing spats. When they got their wish after the day of the “bans” and we were left with a very worthy non banter site . They all cleared off. Some of these posters were secret banter lovers I reckon!

  30. TonyEvans

    Jan 3, 2020, 09:13 #116037

    Really pleasing to see a clean sheet - it's been a while!

  31. Cyril

    Jan 3, 2020, 08:11 #116036

    I did offer seasonal warm wishes for 2-0 2-0 to my many close United chums. Seasonal greetings to one and all or two and nil, I joyously proffered. They must of had hangovers and it wasn’t well received. Nevermind!

  32. Gaz

    Jan 3, 2020, 08:10 #116035

    I thought there was actually a little less effort and intensity versus Utd than there was against Chelsea but it was far more organised making it far more effective. No doubting Arteta is making these players think and work real hard and it'll be interesting to see which players carry on the journey with him over the next few years. Certainly he's brought back very quickly the feel good factor and it's making me really look forward to games again.

  33. GoonerRon

    Jan 2, 2020, 20:53 #116034

    @ Marky - funny isn’t it that most of the characters on the extremes of the AKB/AMG debate on here no longer actively participate?

  34. itsRonagain2

    Jan 2, 2020, 20:47 #116033

    We ve not seen guys and lung bursting effort from the boys in red shirts like that for a good 10 years. Well done guys and MA too. Keep it up fellas. A brilliant and very , very much needed result. Just ascan aside, back in the day it was often the case that the club who won the FAC would be a club who s league form was iffy all season. Perhaps MA might bear it in mind and govdor that? If so, it could be a Cup win in a context that would be far more enjoyable than any of those recent 3 that werecall tarnished by the undertone that they kept Wengo in a job. Not getting ahead of myself but was just a thought guys. Bloody hell , optimism ? .......... whatever next !!?

  35. markymark

    Jan 2, 2020, 19:45 #116032

    There’s been a few mentions of Wenger Boys in this forum. Made me wonder what became of the 5 or so rabid Wengo cultists who used to inhabit this site . One of them attempted to post on another site and then appears to have given up. I’m unsure if one of this group may currently appear on Le Grove, certainly the super aggressive style appears similar. Seems odd for individuals who often claimed to be the very best Arsenal supporters and would post up to 10 times a day just disappear?

  36. Sarflunden

    Jan 2, 2020, 18:30 #116031

    At the start I was feeling sorry for myself, coughing, thinking "I could be watching this at home". By the end I was feeling sorry for everyone who'd made that choice. Not one bad performance from every player in a red shirt. Thank you Freddie for holding Arsenal together after the Emery fiasco that started late last season. Thank you Mikel for bringing a sense of belonging back to the fan base and making the players believe in themselves and the club.

  37. Newpark

    Jan 2, 2020, 16:21 #116030

    We should be pleased with the start under Mikel Arteta. A disappointing point against Bournemouth but considering where we have been, it was a much stronger all round performance. A poor and cruel result against Chelsea but it gave us a taster of what we might see in the future and that taster was turned into a top result last night. A dominant display for an hour, no mistakes in the final 30 to gift United a way back and a thoroughly deserved victory in the end. It's the hope that kills you but I hope this is the start of something real with Arsenal, real effort and application, fans fully behind the team and the players performing to the best of their abilities under Mikel Arteta. COYG

  38. 600NER PETE

    Jan 2, 2020, 15:31 #116029

    Its still very early days but it feels as though we are at last getting our Arsenal back. Watching the Chelsea game and particularly the Utd one was the first time I could actually relate to the team for over ten years and could see the players working hard and having some pride in wearing the shirt We have a manager who is clear in his interviews and is obviously getting his message across to the players. Long may it continue. COYG

  39. Cyril

    Jan 2, 2020, 15:12 #116028

    What a great game to be at. Atmosphere was thunderous at times. I certainly advocate scoring early- the place came alive. And we have a song for Pepe, which is the litmus test that he has arrived; to the sound of our very own 1 nil to the Arsenal. I was singing that all night. I just hope he becomes a legend and we sing this one for years. Fingers crossed.

  40. Goonhogday

    Jan 2, 2020, 13:23 #116027

    Really encouraged by what I’ve seen from Arteta so far. Chelsea result aside, I was impressed with work rate up until Leno’s howler! More of the same please!

  41. Redshrtswhitesleeves

    Jan 2, 2020, 12:31 #116026

    Be careful what you wish for was the soundbite for years from Wengers stooges...Well this was what any Arsenal fan with any sense had been wanting for over 10 years. A team showing the fight and aggression associated with all our best teams over the years. Win, lose or draw you can’t complain when the team have played with the spirit shown against chelski and man ure over the last few days. Been impressed with Arteta so far and he comes across very impressively compared to the insane ramblings of Wenger and the incomprehensible emery. Early days but good signs and if the team are going to show that kind of determination week in week out I will be right behind them. On another note can anyone explain why our players get booked for f*ck all yet our opponents can foul repeatedly all game long with impunity?

  42. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Jan 2, 2020, 11:42 #116025

    ArsenalMagna, snap, I played CB for a few years, (under duress I might add) but our coach always said a centre half can win every header and every tackle but if the second ball goes to an opposition player he can look the biggest mug on the pitch. Yesterday we did win a lot of second ball, we outnumbered United rather than win the SB but it was such an improvement - Palace will be another tough game but a good yardstick for the continuation of the MA early influence on the squad.

  43. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 2, 2020, 11:14 #116024

    @SKG - Great point about the madness of the Wenger years dragging on. I think the reason it dragged on was for the following reasons: 1) many 'fans' don't realise that supporting a team means backing the institution, not blindly supporting the manager - they'd get behind Mike Basset and call dissenters 'traitors'. 2) The fanboyism for Wenger was insane - I pointed out to a couple of AKBs in debates on here years back that it was obvious they were just fanboys of him as they always took a totally pro-Wenger stance on all issues, whether new or old. 3) This site's posters are a bastion of the best thought on matters Arsenal. If you look at the BBC and many other sites, the vast majority think even now that Wenger was overachieving, which is just crazy! AMG posters on this site kept me sane re: matters Arsenal since 2011, and I've also enjoyed posters like Gooner Ron's posts, whose eternal optimism produced (and still produces) genuinely legit and interesting points across a range of issues over the years. 4) Wenger's initial achievements prevented taking him on in later years. So many people that wanted him to leave in later years respected his first 12 years of work so much they couldn't bring themselves to protest openly - hence we saw the 'Black Scarf' movement which targeted Kroenke rather than the main problem of the manager, and actual Wenger Out protests took far too long to develop.

  44. RobG

    Jan 2, 2020, 11:12 #116023

    For the first time in a long while, I was really worried about last night. Another defeat and we'd be right on there fringe of the relegation zone. Something we'd all regard as horrific and unthinkable. But it's so congested in that middle of the table that we are now within striking distance of the top six. Clearly, neither Wenger nor Emery were getting their full worth out of the players. So we will have to see if the players and Arteta can keep this up ? Given the injury situation a swift FA Cup exit might be no bad thing. I know we've had enough defeats to sink a battle ship already but given we have to finish as high as possible in the League while giving our all in the EL, an early exit in FA Cup might be a price worth paying ?

  45. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 2, 2020, 10:57 #116022

    Last night backed up what I've been saying for years, namely that it's unfair to negatively judge any player till they've had a proper coach work with them. The system and motivation are the most important things and Arteta has got these ticking. Having played CB, I knew it was harsh to judge any CB in particular badly since 2008, because I know playing that position without protection is the stuff of nightmares. Obviously there's still work to do - I predicted a loss last night with Pogba pinging long balls forward, and both BT and MOTD highlighted the significance of his absence of Pogba, but even if he'd been in the team, I think in hindsight we'd still have won.

  46. blair207

    Jan 2, 2020, 10:52 #116021

    A great performance and result. Man Utd are a very inconsistent team but have had a habit of raising their game for this fixture so all credit to MA for getting the tactics, personnel and performance from the players. It was as convincing a win as anyone could ask for. The way other results went yesterday has transformed the dynamic for the upcoming games. Good to see goals and good attempts from a variety of players, There may be a chance to make changes during the window. Ozil seems motivated at the moment so he needs forget his customary winter holiday and get his sleeves rolled up and earn his huge wages in this important time for the club. Let’s hope this is an important moment in the season not a false dawn.

  47. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Jan 2, 2020, 10:36 #116020

    Good piece Kev - as you said we got the second goal. The players effort is all most of us ever wanted, it lifts other players, it lifts the crowd and it then improves the team. The effort has to be planned, structured and with a purpose and that is the job of the coach/manager but you could see a plan and strategy throughout the game last night. I know this is boring but how come so many of us over the past years could see the decline in fitness, mental strength and how the team looked so under prepared and frightened, yet others could not and the nonsense was allowed to continue unchallenged. This decline occurred all because a very stubborn man wanted to introduce an unsuitable type of football to our club. Arsenal have been playing a version of a non contact football for the last 10 years and the question is how did we, the fans, allow it happen? Last night just proved how right so many of us had been and yet we all had to suffer the AKB and AMG nonsense due mainly to a board and owner sticking their heads in the sand.

  48. Reddragon

    Jan 2, 2020, 10:24 #116019

    As you say Kevin, boy did we need that!! Really pleased for Arteta that the players are showing a response to his coaching and that some of the players we had given up on are also responding to the positive coaching that has obviously been lacking for far too long. With the injury list we have I was fearing the worst but credit to the team for putting in a shift. Over the two performance at home I really feel cautiously optimistic going forward, but will not get too carried away until we are safely further up the table to relax and enjoy watching the games again. It feels such a long time since we have felt so positive, let's hope it continues. Also great to see the ground buzzing again with a positive response to the players efforts.

  49. GoonerRon

    Jan 2, 2020, 10:17 #116018

    I absolutely loved that performance - aggression, vigour, intensity and quality in the first half and sheer effort and concentration in the second - none of which we’ve demonstrated too often in the recent past. The performances since Arteta came in have shown shades of his work and have got progressively better - I sincerely hope we can continue in the same vein. Torreira was my MOTM - tigerish, well positioned and loved that he wanted to stay on and fight when he was out on his feet. Lastly, the smiles and togetherness after the final whistle felt quite special - Arteta seems to be a personality the players and supporters can really get to like. COYG.