Arsenal on the slow road to nowhere

Towards the end of last season I came to the realisation that Arsenal had to make the leap and replace Mikel Arteta before the money was blown again. I really wanted Arteta to succeed. I still do want him to succeed as that means Arsenal would be doing well. Pre-season and Friday has me frightened, quite honestly.

With Arteta staying I was convinced we were at least going to see wholesale change to the squad, the system we play on the pitch, and the style of play. I was certain we’d get back to playing with more than one player up front, we’d move the ball quickly with attacking intent, and that numerous players would be bombed out while players we actually need would come in. How wrong can you be?

In many ways it shouldn’t come as a surprise that what we are seeing is the same turgid, boring, slow, negative football which is totally reliant on any attacking threat coming from two kids and a left-back. The failure to move on the dead wood, and thus free up space in the squad, is not necessarily the fault of Arteta and Arsenal. If people don’t want to sign the likes of Kolasinac, Willian, Elneny, Bellerin, Soares, Nketiah etc that makes life difficult – the fact Arsenal have some of these players on stupid wages in the first place is another story. The signing of a centre-back who we all knew wasn’t the kind of defender we needed, and for an utterly ridiculous transfer fee, is most definitely on Arteta, Edu and co. And the style of play and choice of formation is without doubt the fault of Arteta.

The style of play, if you can call it that, is actually the method employed in the latter years of Wenger when we no longer had a lot of top class footballers. The emphasis was placed upon possession football in the hope that Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla or Mesut Ozil might create something out of nothing. Invariably one of them did for a while. Or at least they did it often enough to keep Arsenal vaguely competitive in terms of competing for a qualifying place for the Champions League. Who was one of Wenger’s key midfield players in the dross years but none other than Mikel Arteta. I actually liked Arteta as a player at Arsenal and he was far better than many will now give him credit for. But he clearly was more than content at times with receiving the ball from Mertesacker and giving it straight back to him or to Koscielny. It all sounds vaguely familiar doesn’t it?

It amazes me that, after what happened in the semi-final at home to Villarreal last year, the Manager has changed nothing. How can he come out after the game last night and lament the lack of players getting in the box when he’s taken off the only two strikers in the side? He also chose to use that soundbite on the day Arsenal sold a goal scoring midfielder to Newcastle. He sounded to me like he was blaming Balogun and Martinelli for the fact Arsenal didn’t get a result last night. His substitutions were as Wenger-like as the football Arsenal played with two junior players taken off even though they were the only ones likely to be able to actually get on the end of something. As per usual the system never did change. The desire to play a forward pass was exclusive to Smith Rowe, Saka and Tierney. And that’s before we get to the comedy defending and goalkeeping that has become a hallmark of Arsenal over the last 15 years or so.

The club just seems to be drifting now. We have one goalkeeper in the squad, and he’s third rate at the very best. We have players stinking the squad out, not the least of which is our official Captain. Arteta flexed his muscles with Ozil, Guendouzi and Saliba, but seems powerless of show genuine leadership and strip Aubameyang of the armband and boot the lazy sod into touch. If him and Lacazette are “ill” then tell us what’s wrong with them rather than “they say they feel unwell” being the quote. I’m a Granit Xhaka advocate, but making him skipper ahead of Tierney, for example, given what has gone on previously and the fact that we spent all Summer waiting for Roma to sign him can only leave everyone confused. Bellerin and Soares are still here. We’ve signed Ben White, the wrong centre-back from Brighton. Lokonga I hope will be a real prospect but largely looked out of it last night – he gets a free pass from me though, but wouldn’t it be nice if we signed a player for once who could hit the ground running? 

I wasn’t looking forward to Friday night after the awful pre-season where it had become apparent that nothing had changed about our approach to the game. My fears were sadly well founded. We stand a very real chance of taking no more than 3 points from the first 18 and being out of the League Cup. By then Arteta will have been sacked, but we’ll have spent all our money. It will all be too late. Again. The only thing saving Arsenal from a place in the most dangerous of the lower reaches of the Premier League, as things stand this evening, is the fact the league is full of dross even worse than ours.

Next week a half-empty stadium will greet The Arsenal after more than a year where almost nobody has been to a game. How embarrassing is that going to be. It underlines what some of us have always known about the genuine core Arsenal support, but a 60,000 seat monolith with 40,000 people (maximum) inside it for a big London derby will speak volumes about where the club is. The people from Amazon Prime must be pissing themselves silly that they’ve bought access all areas to this shower and it’s us fans who are going to suffer.

Dover Marksman

15 thoughts on “Arsenal on the slow road to nowhere

  1. P. Burgess

    Absolutely down to Arteta, if he has an issue with a player he acts as if that player does not exist. Bellerin is still the best right back at the club. So he is left on the bench. Mari is in my opinion the worst CH at the club. Saliba,Holding and Chambers are better. The game against Brentford needed a change in tactics once the strikers were ill. 3 at the back, Bellerin and Saka as wing backs, the 3 minfieders who played in the centre and Pepe and Martinelli up front with a license to roam and play tight on Brentford’s defenders.

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    1. Havyn

      Have you seen Saliba play in the EPL for you to be able to assess him? No one has seen Saliba play in the EPL and yet fans talk are convinced that a 19yr old who plays in the French league is better than what we have.

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  2. Nazir Moola

    Arteta you can’t play peps style of football with bargain basement players. I don’t see a player that can make a solid tackle. You guys are not ballerinas. Football is a contact sport.

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  3. Havyn

    Bellerin was going to PSG for 30m and Arteta convinced him to stay
    Now Willian and Soares aren’t good but he bought them anyway. And for Soares don’t know even why. The guy was 29 and given 4yrs contract, shows how inept Edu is.

    Well, Edu bought them because their the players of Kia Joorabchan who happens to be Edu’s agent.

    Edu holidays with Kia. Luiz, Willian, Mari, Soares and Gabriel are all Kia players.
    Conflict of interest. Edu’s corruption is beyond believe. All these players they bought from Kia after destroying the scouting system put in place by AW are not good enough and they are on high wages because there may be under hands deals to them.

    Recently, you were even suggesting that we sell ESR. If it had happened, they would have gone to purchase another crap Kia player.

    Arsenal has lost its identity. We’re in trouble.

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    1. Havyn

      Have you seen Saliba play in the EPL for you to be able to assess him? No one has seen Saliba play in the EPL and yet fans talk are convinced that a 19yr old who plays in the French league is better than what we have.

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  4. Ben

    Arteta might be a fantastic individual coach but he has to be one of the worst managers in the Premier League. His football is turgid, predictable and lacks any form of fight. Losing 1-0 at Half Time? Arteta can’t turn it around (2 draws, 12 losses). This team can’t even score with a £170m front 3. They can get rolled over by a basic Championship standard team.

    His decision to make Arsenal a non-tackling team (and solely defend space) instead of actually coaching players to tackle, playing the tacklers he has (Torreira) or signing one (Bissouma) was a bad decision last year and looks like with a change to refs’ instructions, a relegation-worthy one this season. They needed fight instilled in them. He’s sucked it all out.

    I’ve been an Arsenal supporter for 25 years. and fortunate enough to be a season ticket holder for 11 years but this is too painful to watch and I refuse to support the Kroenkes. I hope that Arsenal aren’t relegated this season but besides that, the best hope I can have for them is that Kroenke sells to someone who both cares and has the basic intelligence to appoint leaders that are competent.

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  5. Johnno

    Our core support has all been priced out and replaced with upper middle-class wankers but I`d like to have a bet with you that there`ll be more than 40,000 there next week. I`ll be very surprised if it isn`t a full house. As for the rest of the article, we`ve always had fans like you, one defeat is the end of the world and you want to throw the towel in. We are in a massive rebuilding stage, we put out one of the youngest PL teams ever the other night and this season might be a struggle but lets see where we are at Xmas before you get yourself all frightened.

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  6. Mac

    It all started with the sale of Emmi Martinez, when it was obvious how much better he was than Leno. It’s been downhill ever since.

    The treatment of Rob Holding and AMN has need staggering . Holding is easily the best Centre Back at the club, and has been for two years now. Given a new contract and dropped .

    Willock sold on and Xhacka , El Nehni and the wretched Leno kept.
    No pattern of play, very little flair.

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  7. Umar

    I just quit watching arsenal football club after more than half my life supporting the club. I supported the club through the worst of the Wenger years but still endured it because I love the style of play. There I nothing to love about this arsenal team and coach. They keep making ads instead of focusing on their football. It’s no wonder Martinez said Villa are a better team and we all can see why. They knew what they needed and they’ve solved there issues. If you guys want to wait until December to make a decision on whether to push the club into making moves or not then you lots are exactly the same as the management of the team. You want to wait until the other teams get worse because you won’t do a thing. Well carry on, I see you when at Blackburn next season for the opening match of the season or not because i wouldn’t care to watch the team unless things change. The kreonkes listened to you with Wenger and with Emery. The bloody money suckers would listen to you when you say arteta out or tell them to leave your club to better owners when you choose to harm thier coppers. Otherwise lads i wish you the season you get.

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  8. Seroti

    We have spend a whole season with Arteta and over 50games watching him send his team out to play even dou we dnt have managerial or coaching badges we can see clearly he has nothing to push this team forward, he has brought 10players of his asking and yet nothing has changed, every attack goes to tinnery to cross while non of our attacker’s are good with their heads, side ways passes all in the name of keeping possessions, choosing chambers to play right back when it’s clear he lacks spend to cover when he attacks,. My love for Arsenal is far more bigger than Arteta and once I sees that’s he is not taken us anywhere he MUST GO, can’t bear watching Arsenal play this languishing, riggid, sluggish and bore to death football for the next 4mnts waiting for him to be sacked by December. But should things changed I WILL PERSONALLY APOLOGIZE AND NEVER DOUBT HIM AGAIN

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  9. robert

    why was laca and abu all of sudden not fit there as a week to tell us the fans dont give a fig bout the other team knowing,fridays game shows us where we are not easy watch, give credit to saka or thou sub smith rowe tierney lakonga forwards learning their trade but promising leno bye partey seems a sicknote whos the leader in this team

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  10. Robert Kelman

    arteta’s only qualifications were having played for arsenal and sat next to pep for a few seasons. insufficient. shame for him really becuase he will go; he should have coached a couple of champion division teams before taking on a big club.

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