Arteta Gets Response After Dismal First Half

Arsenal fortunate to progress in FA Cup v Leeds

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Mikel Arteta rested Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lucas Torreira for this game, with Sokratis moving over to right back (Rob Holding returning to central defence) and Matteo Guendouzi coming in. Other changes saw Martinez play in goal and Reiss Nelson selected ahead of a sick Aubameyang. Arsenal were weaker specifically due to the changes in the defensive personnel, and with better finishing, Leeds should have been out of sight in the first half.

It was like the bad old days of Unai Emery with shots peppering in on the Gunners’ goal. Arsenal’s pressing game seemed to have gone to pot, their ability to hold the ball non-existent. Rob Holding continuously gave the ball away or played hospital passes. As Doktor Schneide texted me, “I wonder if there’s a more inappropriately named person in the sport than Holding. Every time he was on the ball he gave it away.” About the only positive thing you could say was that tactical fouling has become a key part of Arsenal’s armoury under Arteta. Well, if everyone else is doing it.

It was a shocker, with the return of boos at half-time, so many of Arsenal’s players peripheral. From what was said post-game, it sounds like Arteta read the riot act in the dressing room. Older readers might remember the ‘Sort it out, Georgie, Georgie, sort it out’ chant from the late 80s when the crowd had seen a poor opening 45 minutes from George Graham’s teams. There are similarities with Arteta’s approach and the situation he has arrived to.

Last night, the players responded, and the second half felt like a mirror image of the first, only Arsenal actually scored. To complete the GG analogy, it ended ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’. It wasn’t only the change in personnel that could have been responsible for the very slack first half though. Was it fatigue? Was it arrogance? (Leeds are very likely to be in the Premier League next season, so I’d hope not). Was it a mentality issue? Arsenal simply failed to impose themselves, and it was a reality check that one very good performance at home to Man Utd does not mean there isn’t a hell of a lot of work to do. Arteta’s team should have been eliminated by half-time last night.

The positive was that they turned it round, and the second half certaintly represented something of a masterclass. I’m at a loss to understand how the team were so poor initially though. Some old habits die hard. It felt like the forward players stopped making runs to receive the ball, the team not compact enough to play the quick triangle football that Arteta likes to see his team move the ball forward with. Granted, the right full-back can be a component in this, and I very much doubt we will see Sokratis there again. And how Torreira was missed in terms of his ability to snuff out danger. Guendouzi just isn’t the same type of player. It’s the reason Gilberto Silva needed to come to the club in 2002. Arsenal had won the double, but not settled on a central midfield partner for Patrick Vieira after the departure of Manu Petit in 2000. So Wenger tried Grimandi, Parlour and Lauren in there (the latter could have done the job in my view but ended up replacing Lee Dixon instead). With Gilberto, the balance was just right. Torreira’s no Gilberto, but he’s the closest we have in the current squad. Guendouzi is probably more of a Ray Parlour-type, which is why the crowd have a lot of time for him, in spite of his errors.

Still, Arsenal progress to the fourth round and a visit to Bournemouth, although in theory, the away section could be bigger than normal, assuming the 15% rule when it comes to allocation. For many, it will be a unique opportunity to watch the Gunners at Dean Court (or the Vitality if you prefer). And there is plenty for Mikel Arteta to dissect ahead of the visit to Selhurst Park on Saturday lunchtime.

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  1. markymark

    Jan 11, 2020, 13:28 #116134

    Red white - the answer to that is I am far more satisfied after the departure of Wenger and Gazidis and really impressed so far with Arteta. This cancels out my realisation that we were on a diminishing curve. I no longer think that is the case so frankly in my view the previous decade joins others that were equally stagnant (60’s was worse)

  2. Redshrtswhitesleeves

    Jan 11, 2020, 11:21 #116132

    Mark- If your happy with the club after the last decade of lies, greed and supporter alienation then good luck to you..your a better man than I. I’m well aware and remember well the crowds of 25-30 thou back in the 70’s and 80’s...I was one of them at the back end of that era. My point is we didn’t move to a new 60’000 all singing and dancing stadium to play in front of crowds half that size. You are right that there’s a buzz about Arteta and it’s great to have something to get behind. But that will not last beyond the short term unless the board back him and show some proper ambition. The ceiling on what any manager can achieve under Kroenke is low. In the longer term more ‘customers’ will fall by the wayside, not prepared to keep paying the extortionate ticket prices whilst being served up third rate product on the pitch.

  3. markymark

    Jan 11, 2020, 10:23 #116131

    Bard - believe me if Kroenke went their be no tears from me. My one sense of caution is though there are very few “good” billionaires. Most are on the borderline psycho scale or indeed you now get Sportswashing with the Saudi Clan being the latest who open up tourism whilst trying to buy UTD. I think we need to somehow accommodate ourselves to the situation facing us. Kroenke does have a history of backing off from his most clumsy decisions. Protest does seem to loosen pockets. Josh did appear to sack Wenger. What we don’t have is a Bayern Munich model where really respected ex players are powerful in the club. I suspect a lot of us would be happier with that. One point I’d make again is that MA is successful then Kroenke anger tends to disappear. Arsenal go dreadful and Kroenke anger increases. At the moment I’d take Kroenke with a more successful manager. The two of course may never prove compatible

  4. Bard

    Jan 11, 2020, 10:08 #116130

    Marky I do get it mate. My point is that the essence of sport is the integrity of the contest. This is what makes it compelling. Without it there is nothing. Arsenal under Stan have lost that integrity that's why I'm pessimistic. It's a bit like those wrestling contest you see on sky box office. I also dont like being played for a sucker. Stan is trying to sell me a pup. If he wants to convince me he is serious back MA in the transfer market. Put his hand in his pocket and buy two or three worldies and start getting serious about it.

  5. markymark

    Jan 11, 2020, 08:45 #116129

    Hi CG it does look like the majority don’t feel optimistic and it does look there’s only two posters on that same page at the moment . Though in no way am I comparing us to Raab and Trump, I’m very comfortable in my mindset with Arsenal . The comparison of moaning about Wenger’s 4th and celebrating this 4th can be seen as valid but it needs context of the downward curve of Wenger who could have turned 4th to 2nd and 2nd to Title on at least 3 further occasions along with awful defeat during his downward spiral. It was that spiral that continued as the decision to grant him dictatorial powers unfolded. Emery was very much our Moyes turning 4th and relatively decent 1st season into a horrible drop off which he could never arrest. The fallout now seeing us in 10th would show a remarkable turnaround to finish between 6th and 4th but is doable. A 2-0 against UTD should always be celebrated, was entirely brushed under the carpet on this site as barely worth mentioning ( just strange ) I think some on here really need to see MA’s very short reign in the overall tidal wave of change and give themselves a season of tolerance.

  6. A Cornish Gooner

    Jan 11, 2020, 01:42 #116128

    Be careful what you wish for Ron. Relegation could have us playing Wycombe Wanderers and Rotherham next season. The away game could be a good day out for you though! Even Wenger suggested he was sacked ' the timing wasn't my choice', so I'm not sure why you're persisting with your 'soppy' suggestion. Having been regular 1st and 2nd positions to say that finishing in the top four was a trophy WAS unambitious. If you're currently sitting in tenth position or lower, it's not. Do you see the difference? Marky. Count me in for the reckless optimist group. Just two at the moment I guess.

  7. markymark

    Jan 11, 2020, 01:08 #116127

    I’ll add it’s pretty obvious that Wenger was obviously losing his powers in the last 8 years of his reign . He could not compete against Chelsea and Man City really upset the Apple cart. Prior to that he could settle for 2nd in a two horse race. The removal of his reign was a rightful decision. Probably a better decision still was to go all out for Arteta early however we had our Moyes and now MA gets his shot. Man U in comparison have really got an issue. Going to early to sack Van Gaal. Not being ballsy enough to Sack Pogba and give Mourinho proper control and now over indulging OGS. Arsenal have actually out curved UTD and are in a potentially good position for the next 2-3 years . For those who predict MA will go after 4 years , you are very likely correct. Most managers will move every 3-4 years. It’s the succession which is becoming increasingly important to all teams.

  8. markymark

    Jan 11, 2020, 00:57 #116126

    Ron - we’ve been through 3 managers in one season so 4th - 6th is perfectly reasonable particularly considering how rubbish many on the site think the players are. Some on this site have seemed to revel in Arsenal being relegated so against that background I admit to being a reckless optimist. In fact I’ll go so far as to say I hope we win a title at some point . For those who relish relegation battles and support Arsenal it’s a bit like wishing upon yourself a painful divorce and that your children suffer eating disorders and drug addiction. Can’t see why one has to have masochist relish in how bad things could be. If we win against Palace I swear some will be pissed off.

  9. itsRonagain2

    Jan 10, 2020, 23:54 #116125

    Maybe Marky. They do need to go for it in the FAC. I quite agree. That pleasantness of 4th to 6th you mention though is quaint. The whole basis of Wengers creed of 4th is a trophy , the CL qualification etc being the holy grail was exactly the acceptance of mediocrity that got right under the skin of many if not most supporters. You now seem to endorse what Wenger accepted and stood for. That s ok if you think that’s what the club should be about. Many don’t. I don’t. You may mean that you see it as Artetas start point to better things? If so, that’s ok. He ll need some decent cash and a sea change in the owners approach to better that benchmark that you mention in my view. It’s as well to remember that AW would still be there if left to Kroenke. Wenger wasn’t sacked. He was persuaded to go as a sop to fans as result of their expressions of dissatisfaction. MA will no doubt create an improved fervour as you say and he s started quite well. In the greater scheme of things though, in all honesty I do wonder what all the fuss and what all of the changes there have all been about. There’s a risk that all of the ‘be careful what you wish for’ brigade could yet be proved correct. MA has a mega massive task under that owner.

  10. itsRonagain2

    Jan 10, 2020, 23:30 #116124

    GoonwrP. So true mate. The spuds as a neighbour is always our default position isn’t it ?. They are our saving grace! Imagine having a successful main rival like say Everton have for eg. Don’t bear thinking about. The Gunners are always embedded in our psyche as you say, that’s why it’s so f——-g seeing this yank tosser belittle us. In the main , yanks taking ownership of our football clubs this last 20 odd years has been an unmitigated disaster.

  11. markymark

    Jan 10, 2020, 23:17 #116123

    Redwhitesleeves - you mean the 25-30k Arsenal used to get as an average attendance back in the 70-80’s. If Arteta plunges Arsenal into disaster just maybe but judging by even the most pessimistic supporters think we are on an upward rebound, I very much doubt your estimates. Group think , it’s always getting worse , it was far better then etc etc .. you might end up very surprised with a 4-6th position a finish above Spurs and a reasonable run in the cup. The team playing energised football will also feed into the crowd hence reports of a good atmosphere recently .

  12. Redshrtswhitesleeves

    Jan 10, 2020, 14:57 #116122

    Tony, Ron, Exiled, Gooner Pete- agree completely with all you say. Football in general has lost its soul but nowhere has that been keener felt than at the Arsenal and the Krankes will further alienate more fans over time once they realise they are being taken for a ride and ripped off. I can see 25-30 thousand crowds being the norm in the not too distantly unless some genuine appetite for success is shown by the owners

  13. 600NER PETE

    Jan 10, 2020, 14:45 #116121

    Like many posters on here ( Tony, Ron, Redshirts etc ) I find supporting Arsenal nowadays is very different to when we first went. The beginning of the end for me was when all seater stadiums were advocated and the North Bank was pulled down. We still had some good memories in Wenger's early years but there began a gradual decline in the relationship with supporters players and the club in general. Since moving from Highbury it has become a mere money making machine and as others have stated it is difficult to feel any affinity to the club. However, once you have been involved early on (from the late 60''s ) in so many brilliant memories and togetherness, Arsenal is still in our blood. I suppose that is why we still read and post on this site. We might slag them off but we can never have our memories taken away. PS imagine being a Spuds fan since 1968 and the few trophies they've won! Not many memories for them. Still I expect it will be their year next year like it has for the last 50!

  14. itsRonagain2

    Jan 10, 2020, 13:32 #116120

    Lads, i heard the song by the Specials this morning for the first time for many many years (great song and reflected perfectly the Thatcher destruction years being underway). It didnt half remind me of being at the matches at Highbury as crowds dwindled drastically everywhere late 70s, early 80s. Whan was that song ?1980? ish? The Country and most of us were nigh skint at the time but the football and Arsenal was still a great part of life wasn't it. Everything that you guys say about we have become disaffected by football now is bang on correct and its happened in a period of relative prosperity. AFC needs to have a serious look at itself and detach itself from its greed for a few moments and ask itself why. They already know the answer though dont they. I speak to quite a few supporters of other clubs and while many of the feelings we have is reflected to a certain degree, its nowhere near as deeply felt as it is with Arsenal fans in my view. As Marky says, that bowl needs a proper good side on it for the first time for a few seasons and a title win. Only then will it mean some thing there. Dont hold your breath for that to occur though. I dont think its remotely possible for Arsenal to win the title under this regime. Underlying MAs thoughts about the job, he ll want to show that he s the business at managing a decent sized club but you can be sure, he knows the barriers at rsenal and will be looking to land a big job at a powerhouse club in the next 3 years or so. A bit like Poch is doing, MA will have the same mindset.

  15. Exiled in Pt

    Jan 10, 2020, 13:28 #116119

    Redshirts and Tony both bang on for me, i would just like to add the tango man and all the other sell outs on the board to that list of c#nts to thank for destroying all that i loved about the club . As i have said before the thing i find saddest is my son has lost all interest in the club before i have . I really think Arteta can turn this lot into a top four spot team maybe not this year but for sure season after , just a shame he will not be backed by the owner to turn them into a top 2 side . Marky i dont think we will see a league winning side again certainly not under this owner . So not much hope of making the concrete bowl any more special . Who knows i could be wrong

  16. TonyEvans

    Jan 10, 2020, 12:03 #116118

    Hi Redshirts - yes us older fans have some amazing memories don't we and have seen some truly great teams and players over the years. Some poor stuff too it has to be said but it didn't seem to matter back in the day, as Ron has already alluded to.

  17. Redshrtswhitesleeves

    Jan 10, 2020, 11:44 #116117

    Hi Tony..i would have laughed if someone told me years ago that one day I’d be indifferent to the club and the results, but fans like you and I have just become apathetic after years of lies, greed and laughable mismanagement at all levels of the club haven’t we. Still at least we were around to see Arsenal at its best. My sons are both Arsenal mad but I lack both the motivation and the £150 quid per match it would cost us to go regularly....I thank Kroenke, Wenger and Gazidis very much for that, the f***ing parasites

  18. TonyEvans

    Jan 10, 2020, 10:35 #116116

    Redshirts - absolutely spot on with your comments. The day the new 'corporate Arsenal' morphed in to being, post Highbury, was the beginning of the end for a huge number of previously long term loyal supporters - me included. It didn't help either that Wenger was, at the same time, destroying our hard won reputation on the pitch as a team not to be messed with. It was strange for me watching us against Leeds as I didn't really feel any emotion at all - as you say the bond has been broken. Great shame.

  19. Redshrtswhitesleeves

    Jan 10, 2020, 09:38 #116115

    The big difference for me when I was growing up is that the connection between club, players and fans was so strong..it really felt like there was a tangible togetherness. Added to that was a feeling under GG that we were really going somewhere and there was a feeling of ambition and excitement, and a team of players on that pitch that us fans could really get behind. I used to drive my dad mad begging him to take me to matches all the time. Highbury was a huge part of that too, it was symbolic of our class and history. Everything has changed since we moved stadium, most notably the clubs attitude and disregard of supporters. They couldn’t give a f*ck about anything but money and have not tried to hide it. There has not been any motive or plan to deliver real success on the pitch, making a mockery of their lies that we were moving stadium to ensure we would compete with the best in Europe. They have destroyed the bond between a lot of long standing fans and the club, broken the unbreakable if you like. It makes me sick that they have made me feel this away about the club that was my obsession and that I loved so much. I really do hope the day comes when things move full circle and we have something like our old Arsenal back. I’d love nothing more than to feel that way about the club again. Meanwhile, positive early signs from Arteta BUT are the club going to stop pleading poverty and back him properly.....I think deep down we know the answer to that already

  20. markymark

    Jan 10, 2020, 08:50 #116114

    I think for the lot of the Highbury set ( that does include me ) the move was a massive wrench it also suffered from being one of the first big relocations and the design feels a bit off the shelf. When big changes occur sometimes it’s better to be 3rd or 4th in line to learn from previous mistakes. I’m also pretty sure that a 50,000 Highbury with redesigned north and clock end could have worked fine though of course the lack of exec boxes would have caused the accountants palpitations. For anyone post Highbury the Emirates is what it is and isn’t so much an issue. My personal feelings are that Arsenal need to win a title there to cement it in place and on a far smaller scale use the vast space to do some more offbeat supporter stuff. It’ll be quite easy to do get bars rooms for AISA and other member groups. Do things around the social media groups which are actually huge . Imagine meeting at the Emirates yikes! They could also subtly control ArsenalTV that way who have been causing under currents of problems with Aubameyang and other team members. All fairly simple to set up and all inclusive

  21. TonyEvans

    Jan 10, 2020, 07:20 #116113

    Cornish - agree that sometimes it does get a bit too negative on this site, but I can understand why many feel that way because it really feels like Arsenal have just stuck two fingers up to the fans post Highbury. Ron - agree re the cost difference you mention between previous shite shows and the current one! Also there was real supporter affinity with the players back then which made a massive difference when you were standing on the North Bank on a freezing wet day in January watching us lose 1-0 to a team of cloggers! I have no feelings at all for this current crop and wouldn’t lose any sleep if any one of them fucked off.

  22. markymark

    Jan 9, 2020, 19:09 #116112

    Ah CG you mention the ultimate Arsenal site “Untold” no1# for all UFO conspiracy / POGMO theorists. The one pleasure Untold gives me is whether the poster is Sri Lankan , North Korean , Iranian ( no one posts from the UK ) they are all hateful , spiteful , racist bastards. Makes me feel quite virtuous really !

  23. itsRonagain2

    Jan 9, 2020, 14:28 #116111

    Marky - the difference was back in the late 70s though mate was that it was still affordable shit, though i ll always argue that the late 70s to early to mid 80s dross wasnt as bad as whats we ve seen this last 10 years. A shrug of the shoulders, a laugh and a few pints with fellow match goers dealt with it back than too. To be honest, i enjoyed that period from 1978 to about 1982. We had far better underachievers back then than now for sure and who we could sort of relate to. Some good memories of games from then though save for the odd one or 2 games i cant think of many highlights in that period 2006 - 13 that was time as a regular at the bowl. It was quite good being able to some times start on the South bank and work way via East Stand to the North Bank in the space of one game too. There are no meaningful comparisons now really. Yes, we had a frustrating team back then but not a team or club that ever alienated us from being good supporters. The away days were great too|! PS i note yr point about Utd fans having more to moan about? Not sure about that. A mate of mine from Stockport and his Wife pay about £ 850 a season for both of them to have seats about 12 rows back just to the right of that tunnel thing where the players come out from at OT. Im guessing now that for a similar vantage point at Arsenal for 2 people it would cost £3000 a season.

  24. A Cornish Gooner

    Jan 9, 2020, 14:16 #116110

    Tony. I’m not suggesting anyone on here should pretend everything in the Arsenal garden is rosy. That’s for Untold Arsenal posters to do. People, like you, are on this site because of their love of Arsenal and they’re entitled to express their views. What I can’t understand is the rather excessive pessimism expressed on here by some. Some are even suggesting relegation would be a good thing for Arsenal ffs. Cyril. When you meet your mates in the pub, before a game, are they all as downbeat about Arsenal as the majority of posters on here? MM Humour is not for everyone, but as Tony mentions it would be nice to have something to lighten the mood a bit sometimes. And I’m not wishing for a return of the comedy sketch! And I forgot 8) Our sponsorship deals have been shit.

  25. John F

    Jan 9, 2020, 14:03 #116109

    Sorry I meant Cyril, that post really struck a cord with me.My family probably go back generations in London but now not one member of my family remains and is the same story for a lot of people I grew up with on our Estate.My son's all have northern accents now and the odd thing is that my middle son does attend a few games and even went to watch a friendly in Sweden but if he lived in London he probably would not be able to afford it.

  26. John F

    Jan 9, 2020, 13:29 #116108

    Superb post Cryril.

  27. Cyril

    Jan 9, 2020, 12:29 #116107

    It’s just also come to me that the DHSS building transformation acts as a perfect metaphor for the changes. In the past as a child, I only saw people who were in need and poor going into this building to get some much needed subsistence and could wait the whole day to be seen. If you walk in there now - they want to know if you have at least a million in your bank account and a cursory glance on and about how you got it! Progressive, well some may say that but it makesme feel damn sad. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency that you would need 3/4 of a million to have a bit of space and a couple of bedrooms to live in Archway.

  28. Cyril

    Jan 9, 2020, 11:31 #116106

    MM- so right about inner city change. I have lived around Archway and Highgate all of my life and even now when I am about these days, I look up around me and have that Marty Mcfly moment assessing the buildings that have changed or been knocked down . The old DHSS building looking down over London Town are now penthouse suites at over 650 a pop for your troubles. TE, I’m still holding on as a regular goer but only a matter of time before I will drop out and attend here and there. I will always support them but like you say, it’s in you and the value of that is more important than anything. I still love my boozers to have a cosy carpet in them. I see loads of people in the local pubs who have more passion in their little ‘pinkies’ then many of the fans who go. I wish I could drag them along with me and get them in. I am not patronising them, but in most cases it is a money issue. MM- and here in confirms your point- it’s now the opposite way around. I am lucky to still have some working class mates who live local who frequent the pubs. A postie, a delivery driver, council workers and see some mates off the TFL. All just about able to hang on in London but can’t do both all the time and spend a ‘ton’ on a game of footy. I just got lucky. I leave them in the pub chuckling away and walk down to the game on my own. It’s all the wrong way around but the krankies and the kronkies on all the donkeys don’t need to bother themselves with all this stuff lads!

  29. Exiled in Pt

    Jan 9, 2020, 09:49 #116105

    Recovery appears in motion ! Marky i agree that Arteta has all the makings of a great coach and will turn this club back in to a team competing for the 4th place trophy and that is as far as it will go . As that is all the owner needs we will continue to pay the most for tickets and will never see us compete with the top boys of Europe . I would also say Arteta will be coach of Barcelona within 4 years . The saddest thing in all of this is listening to so called professional players admitting on TV that they are not fit 20 games into a season irrelevant of not liking a coach or not understanding him surely personal pride should at least see you fit !! That in my eyes is a joke and there is not one player currently deserving of wearing that shirt which goes hand in hand with the rest of the club as you say CG a load of shit!!

  30. markymark

    Jan 9, 2020, 09:12 #116104

    The thing I don’t get here is it’s not like we’ve done a UTD. Totally dominated the league and lorded it over City. We haven’t had Spurs just win another title as they become very noisy in their toilet bowl. Like virtually everyone on this sight I remember 17,500 against Coventry and other such games. We have been very shit in the past and as for disorganisation I recently heard a long in the tooth journo say the end days of Bertie Mee were complete chaos. With Bertie trying to angrily send journalist away from agreed photo shoots and meet the players events ( he’d forgotten apparently). Arsenal are going through transition, loosening 20 years of dictatorship and the recovery appears in motion. Not sure why so many on here see it as a matter of “clinging on”. In my book UTD supporters and particular Leeds supporters have far more to moan about. I also fail to see how Arsenal Supporters are much different from many others. The “Prawn Sandwich Brigade “ was used to describe UTD fans. Anyone who also spends time up in Liverpool will also recognise that the hotels get choc full of families from as far as Thailand decked out in red . Most big clubs are international. The only thing you could say is due to London’s unique demographic movements and inner city gentrification that inner city support has reduced. But hey with live in a society where more middle class support labour than working class. Probably now the same for football . It really is just modern life playing out in sport .

  31. TonyEvans

    Jan 9, 2020, 08:17 #116103

    Cornish - I agree we could lighten the mood a bit sometimes, but I for one am not going to pretend everything in the Arsenal garden is rosy when clearly it isn't. You ask a good question in why do the 'less optimistic' among us on this site bother to post at all, and I ask myself the same question too. I suppose the answer is I can't quite bring myself to walk completely away from something which played such a big part in my life for more years than I care to remember. I am a long way from being what I would call a 'proper' fan now but I still can't quite shake Arsenal out of my system. I refuse to live in some sort of Arsenal Cloud Cuckoo Land anymore though and tell it as I see it - I wish I could be more upbeat and optimistic but it is not easy when you have seen a club you used to worship dragged down to the level that we are at now.

  32. markymark

    Jan 9, 2020, 07:33 #116102

    CG - where has all the humour gone as well? apart from your recent retro gooner humour post to dear old Cyril. I know “Carry On” was not to everyone’s taste but there’s definitely a “Carry on Up The Trafford” with fine supporting cast and also a sort of black humour slightly fleabag style thing going on at the Toilet Bowl with Maureen. Plenty of laughs to be had but no ones laughing

  33. itsRonagain2

    Jan 8, 2020, 23:08 #116101

    Bard - no other club has grasped the modern day corporate bias to football and adopted it into the Clubs culture quite like us. It seems common knowledge that in their naïveté back in 2005 time that they kind of shot them selves in the foot by accepting weaker sponsorship deals than they ought but in all other respects it’s a model ‘ middle class’ club now. There’s the fault line though. As rhe club has morphed, it’s kind of forgotten what it is and shut its eyes to our fine traditions and history in the pursuit of financial prestige and wealth. The football has strangely become secondary. It hasn’t happened to anything like the same extent at the real modern day financially muscular clubs and it’s ironic that we can’t compete with them and can also see a far smaller club such as Leics in the wing mirrors. Something’s amiss. I think Arteta can see this and wants to effect a re set but to what extent, only time will tell.

  34. A Cornish Gooner

    Jan 8, 2020, 19:08 #116100

    Thanks to all those regular posters for constantly reminding us that 1) Our owner is shit 2) Our ground is shit 3) Our manager is (probably going to turn out to be) shit 4) Our supporters (apart from Cyril) are shit 5) If we lose it’s because we are shit 6) If we win it’s because the opposition were ‘second rate’ 7) We’re not as good as we used to be – no shit Sherlock. Why do you lot bother? Cue: ‘I don’t. I didn’t renew my season ticket 10 years ago and I only go to the occasional away match just for the day out.

  35. Bard

    Jan 8, 2020, 16:58 #116099

    Nicky3336 I couldnt agree more. I think that much of the delusion is driven by desperation and hope. We havent properly competed for a very long time. The club under Wenger slowly but surely morphed into a plc not a sporting institution. We keep hoping this isnt true and believe that at heart we are a sleeping giant waiting to be brought to life by the right coach. I really hope Arteta does well but he sure as hell isnt going to do anything with this crop of players. We neither have the money nor the ambition to take the club to another level. I suspect that the club are hoping that Arteta will be able to coach and the fashion our youngsters into a top 4 side eventually and then they can sell then on for big money.

  36. Nicky3336

    Jan 8, 2020, 16:43 #116098

    I don’t get the obsession with Top 4 from most of our fan base. We are simply not good enough right now to be dining at the top table of footballs elite and all that’ll come of qualification is that our owners will fill their already hefty bank balances with the riches and we will see ourselves embarrassed in the group stages and drop back to the Thursday night tin pot cup. Further frustration is all that’s going to come of a fluke top 4 finish and the Krankys will be laughing all the way to the bank. Get real we are not even a top six club anymore and have the most deluded fans in the league. It pains me to write this but it’s how I feel as a 25yr long season ticket holder. Stop reminiscing and get real....

  37. Goonhogday

    Jan 8, 2020, 13:27 #116097

    Pauljames - Can’t help but think the beginning of our most recent decline happened sometime after Sven Mistlinat left the club.

  38. Pauljames

    Jan 8, 2020, 11:09 #116096

    As recently as April following our victory over Newcastle we sat 3rd in the table, and it remains a something of a mystery how things went so pear shaped so quickly, especially when you consider that Chelsea, Man Utd and Tottenham look weaker than they did last year . I don’t think it takes a huge leap of faith to see us in around the top for again next season, as for this season id be content with mid table and a crack at the EL, if we can’t win that I’d rather be out of Europe altogether next year as it will benefit our league campaign considerabley.

  39. itsRonagain2

    Jan 8, 2020, 10:13 #116095

    It would be a total shock if this team reached the top 4. In fact, getting into the CL would be a real worry for this team. They are so far outside of the standard required for that competition. implosions at Chelsea and Leics are going to be needed asap anyway. Agree that Markys optimism is a bit OTT but hats off to him for having that feeling. We hear that its loans only for January. I think that fair enough. Why buy garbage at inflated prices? This Seasons done and is another dud. The Summer is the time to re think. Personally, i feel we may as well lumber on with what we have until May rather than buy in the Boatengs of this World. Hes a past it crock basically and has been a crock for some time. The rigour of the PL has passed him by now at his age.

  40. Pauljames

    Jan 8, 2020, 09:53 #116094

    The gap between Liverpool/City and the rest is huge at the moment . Yes Leicester are second but they lost 4 nil at home to Liverpool over Christmas and were well beaten at City too. Can we compete for the top 4 any time soon, yes, but a title bid feels light years away .

  41. Bard

    Jan 8, 2020, 09:00 #116093

    Marky I dont think beating a second rate Utd at home disproves my view that this side are a s*** show. I do agree that top 6 or top 4 is possible. But so what ? We are still a country mile behind the top 2 teams, one of whom is Leicester. We are then back to the old days of Wenger when the club showed no appetite to really compete and a decent finish was the aim as long as the ground was full. I think you're missing the big picture. The club arent worried about competing, the aim is to sell season tickets at top whack by convincing fans there really is a project underway. Some of the papers suggest we aren't in the market for anyone this window other than a loan or two. So there you have it mate. I will only be too pleased to be proved wrong. Watch this space

  42. TonyEvans

    Jan 8, 2020, 08:03 #116092

    markymark Picking up on your response to Bard's pessimism, I agree that I think we will improve under Arteta (not difficult as we have been absolute shite) but the only reason we may still have a shout at a top four spot this season is the continuing failings of others. I wish I could share your optimism but I just don't see even a semblance of a decent side for Arsenal at the moment, especially (in what has been the case for ages) defence and midfield.

  43. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 8, 2020, 00:38 #116091

    @Mark I really think Pepe's ball control is world class - he's one of the best I've ever seen in that sense. The way he can spin so well and keep his bearings is phenomenal. I too think he can be a world class player overall. I don't know what his sources were, but the Gooner Youtuber MGH was saying that the expectation with Pepe's team has been that he'll be at Arsenal for 2-3 years before a move to Barcelona or Real. Liverpool were seriously looking at him too before he joined us, so this wouldn't seem far-fetched.

  44. markymark

    Jan 7, 2020, 23:36 #116090

    Looking at Pepe and admittedly other sites have commented on this . He’s got a Kanu about him. If you see YouTube collections of him he’s all arms and legs yet it often seems to work. If you see the goal against Leeds the lad seems to collapse like a baby Giraffe then miraculously reappears from the tussle and plays a killer pass. I think he could really be something

  45. markymark

    Jan 7, 2020, 22:12 #116089

    I’d add that premiership teams will be looking at Leeds and hurriedly taking notes. I’m not sure they’ll be so consumed with Arsenals first half performance, more really worried and thinking about counter tactics

  46. CORNISH GOONER

    Jan 7, 2020, 19:23 #116088

    I'm biased because Leeds was my Uni many decades ago! A washed up Revie as a player only & a young bigmouth Bremner were on the scene then. Jimmy Bloomfield was the only class player we had imo. So I am really chuffed to see them nearly back to where they belong in the big time & I don't think we should belittle their first half performance - most PL sides would have struggled to cope. But there is enough evidence that things are going to be very different now at AFC. Holding was awful for the full 90 mins but that was to be expected. Martinelli & Pepe are going to be real handfuls but, as Ron says, we need defensive additions although I disagree about Torreira & he can score goals. But that Bielsa! So impressed with his sitting on haunches position on the touchline as he is no youngster &, although I am a lot older, cramp or just falling over would do me in no time!

  47. markymark

    Jan 7, 2020, 19:19 #116087

    Bard - without being funny you got caught out against UTD. Not sure why you’ve got so much investment on us continuing to be poor. I’d say it’s perfectly possible for us to finish top 6 , outside chance top 4. The players are actually being coached into a pressing game but the remaining default is slackness. The good point with Arteta is he matching slacking with suffering, a clever physiological spin put to the players showing it’s actually easier to go for control then laying back. Leeds are a special case at the moment and could well demolish a number of premier teams particularly if they upgrade their forward line. Chelsea are really up and down , UTD can’t put any form together on the road and Mourinho is getting twitchy so it’s Liverpool’s title , City or Leicester making anything from 2-4 leaving one space. Anything in top 6 I’d say is pretty reasonable for this season considering he’s manager no. 3. Crystal Palace is huge but 3 points are perfectly possible with 1 point acceptable.

  48. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Jan 7, 2020, 17:09 #116086

    Hi Ron - I understand your point completely, if you remember when Sol Campbell first arrived his "default position" was to sit deep, very deep, protecting the space behind him and because he was not used to having a shielding midfield of the quality Arsenal had at that time, in front of him, he almost got in Seaman's way. That fault was coaxed out of him by having such a fine players like Gilberto picking up all the runners and second balls, his confidence grew and it left him to concentrate completely on the opposing main strikers. Quality captains like McLintock, Adams, Keane and Vincent Kompany after 10 minutes of last night would have pushed up the defence, compressed the space, giving the midfield players less distance to cover and the chance to get closer to the opposition and break up their pattern of play. To be fair Bob Mcnab would have pulled Frank and the rest up the pitch after a couple of minutes of last night's game, so great a reader of the game was Bob. Wenger once said that all the players should be captains - which is nonsense and much of Arsenal's problem today, they do not have a player on the pitch managing the team. Man City are not the same outfit without Kompany and the lack of a good captain at Arsenal will make MA job so much more difficult.

  49. itsRonagain2

    Jan 7, 2020, 16:46 #116085

    GR - Hi mate. Yes, see yr point. Old dogs and new tricks comes to mind though doesn't it. We have so many players who in my view arent good enough to suddenly improve 50% via coaching. Yes, as they say, its easy to make a team tight by drilling them but not so easy to do that and keep a team effective offensively. Thats where the transfer market comes in. I think Arsenal need two quality midfield players, one defensively inclined and the other offensively biased. AFC s middle is so ordinary. Ozil s making a belated effort but still needs selling and for the life of me i cant see the attraction to this Torreira. He runs a lot and is a bit of a barking dog, but doesn't score, doesn't impose him self on teams and is too little to intimidate anybody. Needs selling. Hes Everton standard. We need at least one good full back. Bellerin is iffy but is worth keeping on one side. We need a top Centre back. We also need a top forward. Auba is 31. OK for this Season but thats all. Not sure about Leno. Worth another Season to see how he d be with some protection i guess.These type of players arent going to be bought of course and thats why AFC arent going to be challenging any time soon.

  50. GoonerRon

    Jan 7, 2020, 14:17 #116084

    @ SKG1 - really interesting you used the ‘factory re-set’ analogy. I’ve mentioned something of a similar vein to mates before that something we’ve missed under latter-day Wenger and Emery is a ‘default setting’ for when we’re under the cosh in games. Assuming you can’t dominate all games for 90 minutes a team needs a shape, pattern and strategy for staying in a match when not on the front foot. Towards the end of the Wenger’s tenure we had this horrible middle ground of not pressing properly yet also not being compact and hard to score against (in games away at OT I always said SAF pinned the line up in their dressing room - usually including Park or Fletcher in midfield - and said “Arsenal 1.0 shape and performance today please”). Under Emery we retreated so deep that we invited a huge volume of shots on our goal. The first half was a bit similar in some respects so hopefully Arteta will coach (or shout) it out of them.

  51. John F

    Jan 7, 2020, 13:29 #116083

    1st half we were completely outplayed and lucky to come through unscathed.2nd half we bounce d back and played a lot better.Sound familiar ?it should as that was exactly what was happening regularly during Dicks 22 match unbeaten run last season. He was hailed for his ability to turn the game around with the way he used his substitutions,I actually thought it may have been a tactic on his part until I began to realise the players were just being complacent against teams they thought they could beat easily.I am not putting Arteta in the same category as Dick as I think he has something about him but he is working with the same group of players and talk of a top four finish is a bit too optimistic.

  52. TonyEvans

    Jan 7, 2020, 12:25 #116082

    Haven't seen Arsenal live for a while now and after the first 45 minutes wished I hadn't bothered! Credit to Arteta for turning things around second half but, as Bard says, there is a long, long way to go before we have a team that can really challenge again.

  53. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 7, 2020, 12:14 #116081

    Not wanting to sound like a broken record by citing this process, but Leeds did what we've been trying to do which is grab an early goal with an initial 30-minute intense high press. Energy levels drop after that 30 mins and the game levels out. Interestingly, I recently saw a breakdown of footballers' work rates in games, comes to about 1 hour of walking/standing still, 20 mins of jogging and 10 mins of sprinting, so you can see why many players struggle to high press longer than that. Arteta seems to have been privy to this: ""I tried to tell them exactly what they were going to face and after 32 minutes we had won one duel, I think. We changed our attitude, desire and organisation at half-time and then we were completely different." I think a range of factors shaped that poor first 30 min display from us, asides from Leeds just doing so well 1) definitely tiredness - I have to say I was against using any first-team following the busy festive period. Many of them looked exhausted from the beginning. I know they've slacked off a lot under Emery/Freddie, but playing high press is so tiring. 2) Yes they looked arrogant thinking they didn't have to try too hard. 3) I think the motivation for the FA Cup might not be there. Yes it's a trophy, and one that gets us EL football, but the other two competitions we're in give a road to the CL. Hard to know with top 4 - Chelsea are inconsistent, as are United and Spurs, so we really could make it. Last season top 4 chase saw Chelsea and Spurs shooting themselves in the feet so much. I think conditioning will take a year or two even though Arteta will demand intensity in every game. I think we'll get 5th or 6th in the League, could well win the EL, and how hard we try in the FA Cup will depend on success in the other two comps.

  54. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Jan 7, 2020, 12:10 #116080

    How the same 11 players could improve so much in the second half gives an idea of the scale of the problem. It's like we have a "factory reset" button - once pressed we default and perform like the "last days" of a Wenger/Emery team. Just highlights the job MA has taken on, someone months back someone said our problem was more midfield than defence, after that first half I understand what they meant. However all that said we won, our keeper had a very good game and should be given more 1st team outings, Pepe, in flashes was very good. Still a lot to do and for certain MA won't forget his first six months at Arsenal that is for sure.

  55. Made Up Stat

    Jan 7, 2020, 12:10 #116079

    How refreshing to hear an Arsenal player say the manager shouted at us during the break for a dismal first half. And how gratifying to hear our manager saying the team must respect him and the club. Cheers Mikel. You'll do.

  56. GoonerRon

    Jan 7, 2020, 11:24 #116078

    I’d give more credit to Bielsa for Leeds’ first half performance - it is very brave to go man for man when pressing and to be fair they did it brilliantly. Yes we were poor in the ball but they closed off the passing lanes superbly well. I think mentally the Leeds players went in at half time thinking what most of us did - they HAD to score when they were on top and probably lost some belief coming out. This, allied to our higher positioning and tempo meant we took the initiative. Key game on the weekend, Palace away is the sort of game where momentum can easily be punctured.

  57. itsRonagain2

    Jan 7, 2020, 10:53 #116077

    Once again and at risk of being accused of being Bards 'nodding dog', what he says is on the money. We ve seen good signs of course this lat couple of weeks, but its vital the club backs him in the market. Good to see the attitude of Socratis though. Hes a bit of a brawler on the pitch and its good to see after all of the seemingly endless years of tepid, feeble, Wengerist, juvenile tippy tap. So, heres to having a few more headcases in the team!!

  58. Cyril

    Jan 7, 2020, 10:38 #116076

    I have been following Bielsa and his tactics for years and you have to give him the praise for the performance in the 1st half. He was able to implement what MA wanted to do. I can honestly say that 1st half was up there as the greatest away performance I have seen at the ground. They pressed, had width and hunted the ball back throughout. The only snag is can you do that for 60 games a season. I wrote an article about MB on here a few years back. What a pleasure to see the great man. He hasn’t won much but they must be loving his stuff up there. Let’s bank that 1-0 and move on. Phew!

  59. Moscowgooner

    Jan 7, 2020, 09:59 #116075

    This was a little bit like a throwback to Arsenal/Leeds circa 1972 - minus Peter Storey (unfortunately). Never has the cliche ‘a game of two halves’ seemed more apt. A boring 4th round draw though and reference Dean Court: Bournemouth seem to have made no investment whatsoever in their stadium during their years in the Premiership. Maybe time to impose a 20,000 minimum for Premiership stadia - Dean Court is about National League standard, it was better in the ‘70s....

  60. Bard

    Jan 7, 2020, 09:56 #116074

    I hope that first half dampens the rather excessive optimism expressed on here by some. It's not that Arteta might or might not be our saviour but it's the scale of the task. This bunch are mid table at best. Thoughts of top 4 are ridiculous. They are weak mentally and woeful technically and tactically. To be competing we need world class players through the spine of the team. All great sides have that. We dont have any. This transfer window will tell us a lot about whether the club are serious about rebuilding or are content to let Arteta try and turn water into wine.