Arsenal: Four ways Mikel Arteta can boost his struggling squad

Arsenal writer and loyal Gooner Alfie Powell says losing to Burnley puts the seal on a miserable few months for the club - and him

Arsenal: Four ways Mikel Arteta can boost his struggling squad

Alfie Powell is a rising young Arsenal writer. Read his latest work at the Gooner Fanzine as he reflects on Mikel Arteta's side and shares four ways the boss can boost his struggling squad

The Gooner has always given a platform to talented Arsenal writing. 

Read the latest from the Gooner's Alfie Powell, as he reflects on another miserable night at the Emirates and offers four ways Mikel Arteta can boost his struggling team.


I didn’t sleep well last night.

I don’t want to sound melodramatic since this year has been pretty awful to most people, but having lost a girlfriend, a job and a flat in the space of three months, it seems bizarre that the reason I’m currently considering Irishing up my coffee on a Monday morning is that Arsenal lost 1-0 at home to Sean Dyche’s Burnley, who were decidedly not playing for a win.

The easy thing to do would be to say that Xhaka ruined it for all of us and he showed cowardice, a startling lack of restraint and unprofessionalism - most of which is true - but I strongly suspect we wouldn’t have scored even if he did stay on the pitch.

Maybe we wouldn’t have conceded, but such a turgid performance and a dearth of ideas simply would not beget goals against a team who play with eleven men behind the ball at all times.

There was one moment that saw a reasonably nice play result in a shot from Lacazette straight at Pope, but that was about it. There was that one moment and, much like the second half of the game at White Heart Lane, a smorgasbord of crosses. To put it simply, the game wasn’t good.

A classically Arsenal 1-0 win would have seen the Gunners move a measly two places up the table which, while a start, tells you all you need to know about the season thus far (and to be fair it was an Arsenal player who made the game 1-0) and that’s not an awful lot to ask is it?

One goal over a pretty terrible Burnley side at home, no less. In any other situation you’d be pissed off with that result. You’d think “Christ Arsenal could really do better here,” but now you’d sell your own grandmother to see Lacazette get on the end of one of Willian’s endless crosses and for Aubameyang to clear the Burnley corner, rather than accidentally convert it.

Poor Saka

Watching the game, all I could think was “Poor Saka”. Poor kid, signing a new contract with a team that looked like it might be doing something at the time, only to realise that everything that happened in the latter half of last season was more or less a false dawn. Aside from him, I enjoyed both centre-halves performances and Teirney’s and that’s about it.

I want Guendouzi back and given a second chance, I want Saliba to be allowed outside, I want Smith-Rowe and Balogun given a go and for the first time, very upsettingly, I think I’m starting to want a new manager. I really believed in Arteta. I really loved what he was doing and I liked his spiel about the non-negotiables, but apparently his non-negotiables rely exclusively on ‘don’t be *insert player name here*’.

I want Arteta to turn things around

More than anything though, I want to be wrong. I want Arteta to turn things around, become the father figure we’ve all been yearning for since Wenger moved on and I want to stop daydreaming about Julian Nagelsmann.

I realise I want quite a lot of things here, but given that I now spend all of my time either thinking about Arsenal, creating something Arsenal-related, or endlessly swiping on Tinder, it’s hardly surprising that I’m so needy.

The general lack of communication surrounding the club regarding Arteta’s apparent hatred of certain players has lead to all sorts of worrying speculation.

Currently the Saliba situation is dangerously unnerving and as for Guendouzi, it sounds like he was a bit of a twat and Arteta was unable to forgive the petulance of a 20-year-old boy who was thrust into the limelight after a career in second-division French football. That doesn’t sound all that professional to me.

Mikel previously bemoaned Matteo for his “oversized ego” and later commended Elneny for his lack of one, but the truth is, you don’t make it in professional football without some modicum of self-belief.

Athletes aren’t like normal people and like I say, if The Arsenal sign you from a relatively small French club, followed by you immediately being adored by the fans and seen as one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise quite tired-looking squad, you’re bound to be a bit proud of yourself.

So here are four reasons how Arsenal can improve: 

1) Hertha Berlin wanted Xhaka, didn’t they? Give them to him in January for a deflated price and take Guendouzi off their hands in the process.

2) Terminate Willian’s contract and accept it for what it was; i.e. a huge and costly mistake.

3) Make some more excellent Adidas retro Arsenal videos to raise the cash for Aouar in January and

4) Try not to play exclusively down the fucking flanks.

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