A realistic Arsenal fan’s preview of the 2020/21 Season


Imagine if these were true commentary transcripts by Peter Drury and Jim Beglin as the mighty gunners won in a final: “Here come Arsenal, attacking again… Their fans are getting louder here. Everywhere is rocking… Now Xhaka has the ball, finds Ceballos, disguised turn by the Spaniard… here’s Saka along the left channel. He tries to switch play, but it’s a throw-in to the Gunners… Bellerin throws it to Aubameyang, great flick by the striker, finds Pepe in the process, brilliant nutmeg by the Ivorian… still Pepeeeeee! GOALLL! Arsenal take the lead sumptuously. Artist at work; his name is Nicolas Pepe! 113 seconds until the North Londoners win their first European silverware in the 21st century if they can hold on… YES, the final whistle! May 26th 2021-a day to remember in Arsenal’s history. Elation for Mikel Arteta as Arsenal win the…’ Will be beautiful, won’t it? And just so you know, I made that Final match’s date up!

Wait! Did you hear the commentators’ voices or see players in red and white as you read the ‘transcripts’? You’re fine, if you didn’t! But whether or not you followed with your imagination, qualifying for the champions league is likely your utmost desire for your beloved team, and a small peptalk to one of the players (maybe Pepe) about the 20/21 season could be: “Hey Nico buddy! Bonjour! It’s time to mix that finesse with even more end product this new season. Like more goals and assists! Cheers”.

Well! Well! Well! Make this an opinion post x-raying how Arsenal may realistically perform in Mikel Arteta’s first full season in charge, and the key word here is-REALISTIC. The author warns that you get ready for what’s coming cos this could be a bumpy ride.

Uhm, the 2020/21 season started this weekend with Arsenal not as ready as their head coach (no. strike that; manager) wants them to be. Doubt me? Ask him! The club have not bought all the proposed additions on the transfer list yet. Even though, the FA cup and Community shield wins seem to have unified the fanbase to some degree; make no mistake, this squad is still capable of hurting a gooner, especially those ones who think Gabriel is VVD, Ceballos is Iniesta, Lacazette is prime Ian Wright and maybe Leno is Neuer.

Think about it: the squad has 33 players instead of 25 cos there’s little interest in our transfer-listed players, only Willian and Gabriel have been added to the squad that finished 8th last season and despite all the good vibes and ITK info (like David Ornstein’s tweet), the skipper is yet to officially sign a new contract, or it’s not yet on the club’s official website.

In the midst of all these, you hope Arteta’s brilliance has not deceived the board into some unnecessary frugality with transfer funds. The board have a track record of lack of depth in thinking and planning as regards transfers, and I hope, unlike Wenger, Arteta won’t let it slide.

Of a truth, most top clubs are not spending much right now, but if we’re hoping to be where Liverpool are in 2-3 years, we need to buy what we need. You don’t have to spend £200m on Mbappe or £115m on Sancho at this time; just get the players MA wants by any and all means. If you argue about the global pandemic, this writer will cite examples like how Everton bought Doucoure, Allan and James Rodriguez all in this window (that’s a midfield overhaul; makes you wonder what Ancelotti thinks of Iwobi); Wolves broke their transfer record (£35m on that Fabio-kid from Porto); Newcastle just spent £20m on Callum Wilson and Aston Villa announced the £28m signing of Ollie Watson. Those are all ‘smaller clubs’, but then has the lack of income from matchday tickets depleted the transfer funds treasury at Ashburton Grove? Your guess is as good as mine.

In the club’s defence, the 3 signings so far make sense but do they improve the squad very much? Or does the addition of Gabriel (oh…and Saliba) improve the defence like van Dijk did to the Liverpool’s in 2018? Yes, in the long run, but in the here and now, the jury is out.

If the powers that be at Arsenal want Arteta to ‘do a Guardiola’, why not back him with necessary funds instead of penny pinching in negotiations for players like Partey and Aouar who’ll visibly improve the squad? Oh! And you’ll also hope that lessons have been learnt in the kinda contracts that Sokratis, Kolasinac, and the likes were given, cos the inability to sell them for decent money may force the club’s hands into selling more important players like Emi Martinez — a decision I hope Leno won’t make them regret. As a side note, MA, Inaki Cana and others will do well to coach the errors out of Leno and calmness into him cos “dude is like a keg of gunpowder.” Excellent shot stopper, but like Mustafi, a mistake waiting to happen. You can tell Emi is a talker and a calming influence behind the defenders.

On another note, pundits at BT Sport, Sky and especially ESPN often seem to underrate Arsenal when they make their season/match predictions, but with the aforementioned, it’s needless to argue against any unfavourable prediction here. A top four finish is the least you want, but except: Arteta works some magic, the away form improves, midfielders like Ceballos and Willian raise their game and score important goals, attackers like Pepe, Lacazette and Nketiah (and yeah, I didn’t forget that teenager too, but who’re we kidding — Martinelli is still in rehab for a surgical procedure) consistently add their goals to Auba’s, it’s hard to see Arsenal finishing above 5th in the League in the 2020/21 season.

In addition, the unravelling of Mikel Arteta’s philosophy in all its glory with certain players taking centre stage, new signings getting integrated successfully, youngsters progressing and the manager himself improving in such aspects as consistency in accuracy of substitutions, game management, and standing up for his players in the face of bad officiating in a Sir Alex-esque way is much desired.

MA isn’t messing around and the addition of Andreas Georgson, Carlos Questa and Miguel Molina makes his backroom staff even more robust. Hopeful of the whole crew getting more success in the big games, finding a solution to us taking initiative against the smaller teams and ultimately making it a Mikel Arteta era of success at Arsenal by acquiring conquest upon conquest.

Finally, a run into the latter stages in the cups culminating in at least one win will be nice. Most gooners will probably be fantasizing about the Europa League trophy here, and rightly so, cos it provides the fringe benefit of champions league qualification – the chief aim for the season.
This brings us back to where we started the article, so here are the concluding excerpts from Peter and Jim’s imaginary commentary transcripts, “…Arsenal win the Europa League. And what a goal to win it as Pepe beat the defender on the right, and released a curler to the far left corner. Excellent from Nicolas Pepe. 2-1 Arsenal… Congratulations to the Premier League club.”

Oh what glory! Oh what a story that will be! I have a dream! I see a sea of Arsenal fans after the Europa League final singing:

“We love you Arsenal, we do

We love you Arsenal, we do

We love you Arsenal, we do

Oh Arsenal we love you.”

Really appreciate you reading along,



  1. Very interesting article!

    To be fair to Arsenal, and just as you have also pointed out, we have 33 players instead of 25-adding another two will over blow away wage bill.
    So it is only reasonable for us to want to sell before we buy. I wish the club the best of luck in trying to shift the players deemed not good enough by Arteta so as to improve our squad

  2. Great dream you have there and I bet I already subscribed.

    I fear I wasn’t the only one dreaming MA has not even shown anything yet cos the Spaniard knows exactly what’s necessary for my dear club.


    Go Arteta Go Arsenal Go COYG!

  3. I think it’s easy. Get a bus, get all the deadwood and drive them to their next clubs. Free of charge. Funsho is a good writer. I actually saw Pepe curl the ball into the net. 😉

    1. I think we need a solid guy in the midfield, even if he not very technical but someone with pace, power, and height. Duocoure was taken by Everton but we needed such a player.
      I have heard a lot of about Aour but to me, he is just learning the game just like Pepe, we need someone who can fight when we are playing away in winter, head those long balls away from the box. I would prefer Partey to Aour because he is well grilled in protecting the defence.

  4. Our dream should be 3rd or 4th place.

    However am more scared of Leeds than United and Chelsea.

    If it were a big 6 club to play like that against Liverpool at Anfield, every pundits would be branding them “TITLE CONTENDERS”.

    Remember the game they had against us at the Emirates,,, they almost murdered us with fast, intricate football.

    All in all, we need to reinforce our midfield with at least 2 recruits to have any chance of dominating stronger midfields like Chelsea and Pool.

    1. Leeds were incredible, they have some real gems in that team – Ayling and Phillips to name a couple!!
      Couldn’t wait to see how they’d get on back in the big time,, and they didn’t disappoint.. they’ll be just fine…
      Be a belter when we meet them!

      1. They will get found out Sue the squad isn’t big enough and they’re defence is shockingly bad plus bamford won’t get enough goals for them as he’s bang average 😄

        1. And there I was thinking your Dad would’ve been happy with that!! 😊
          That new fella – Koch – had a debut to forget!! Did you hear how they were pronouncing his name?! I was nearly crying every time Martin Tyler said it 🤣 I agree about Bamford, he’s crap!!
          I still think they’ll spring a few surprises..

          1. Oh he would have been Sue and I would have told him listen Leeds are still bang average wait until you face us haha. Whoever scouted him should be jailed he makes Mustafi look like Franco baresi 😂 haha yeah that’s how I thought it was pronounced too 😂😂 oh I agree, I just don’t think that squad is strong enough they will get exposed eventually especially if they try go toe to toe with say man city later in the season they will get smashed 😄

              1. 2-0 up already 😳 I think Sheffield United will have second season syndrome.. I watched once we were warriors last night Sue I saw years ago first, it’s a new Zealand film it’s a brilliant show but very violent 👍

                  1. Jake the Muss Heke. Yeah Admin some powerful acting.. I’ve mentioned that film to lots of people and they’ve never seen it I’m surprised because as you say it’s a great film.

                    1. I have family in Oz, and my sister is a classic film buff. I get a new hard drive every time I go over….

                      I seem to remember something about broken hearted that was similar or same cast?

      2. And Sue, Bielsa, like Ancellotti, Guardiola, Klopp, Mourinho, Espirito Santo and the rest are no mugs. Mikel Arteta is up against elite managers/coaches and thus needs to be given the player resources to compete.
        Taking 8 weeks of a transfer window to sell on players to reduce the squad size, shows where Arsenal is at the moment. Hopefully there is a big change by the end of the transfer window in October.

  5. Lol. How I wish it was that easy to ship the deadwoods out.
    Just hope we get the transfer business done well. Offload the unwanted players and sign Partey, Aouar and a good goalkeeper.

  6. If we don’t get Thomas Partey, we’ll probably get 6th . People make it seem like we need 11 new players and all the ones we had were rubbish and that’s the only reason we finished 8th . We had 3 managers, Laca and Bellerin had fitness issues, we struggled for midfied shape and game plan, Ceballos had fitness issues. The squad in itself isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be and Arteta is proving that. Out of Laca’s entire career, are you going to paint last season as the norm and not the exception? Are we going to say Pepe can’t repeat at least half of what he did for Lille? Is he really that bad? Are you completely sure last season was the norm and not just the exception of him adapting to a new league?
    Do we all think that Dani Ceballos can’t continue with his progress from the tail end of last season? Granit Xhaka?
    I hear this idea that we need Partey and Aouar then maybe we can compete for top 4 . Partey, I agree. We can’t keep asking Ceballos to be the ball winner but Aouar, I have two questions. How many of you knew him prior to two months ago? What exactly is his style? Supposing Arsenal maintained the current tactics, how would he fit in?
    Unless we are struck with the same bad luck from last season, I see this squad finishing at worst 6th with at least one trophy, but I’d be confident of our chances in both Europe and FA.
    With Partey, I think we’d make 3rd or 4th, but I’d also be confident of the same two trophies. I however think Aouar wouldn’t add much, not because he isn’t talented,but because we either have to use him as an option, or change formation entirely just to suit him.

    1. 👍 Totally agree, Joe. We don’t want to be saying at the end of this season, as we have for so many, Arsenal were one player short and that player was Thomas Partey. I believe he is the difference between top 4 or higher, or 6th or 7th, ie two to three places in the table due to his impact on the balance of the team.

  7. I crave the Europa League so much and it is a huge possibility for us to win it.

    Arteta will write his name as the best manager in our history.

    1. HEs doing well but lets not get ahead of ourselves, Wenger was invincible, unless MA wins the UCL Wenger will still be the most successful manager in our history

    2. I have seen the same problem every year for the last ten seasons at least. We stop our transfers, two top players short. Short of being a top team. Hopefully this season we will not do that. If we get Partey and Auoar then we could shock many. If we don’t then why would we finish higher than 6th or 7th? Our midfield is one of the most uncreative in the top half of the EPL and just not good enough. We are so close but so far away. This transfer window may ending up making or breaking us. Knowing the Krankies past history we usually end up two steps behind. If by some miracle we get Aouar and Partey, we may blitzkrieg into the top four.

    3. We.finish in our worst position in 25 years and Yet arteta is a europa league win away from being our greatest manager?

  8. Nice article.

    As you have said we have 33 players currently on the books, which is far to many for any club.
    Injuries to players we could have sold and got some money from hasn’t helped and the fact that some are earning to much at Arsenal for other clubs to even consider taking them on, which the club are to blame for and are suffering because of past poor judgement.
    then there’s the massive elephant in the room that collects 18m per year for sitting in the stands of on the couch playing FIFA.
    On top of all that you have the pandemic which has probably hit us harder than alot of ”smaller” clubs due to how much we can bring in from matchday fees.
    We have a UCL wage budget while playing Europa league and have had now for years so something has to give.
    In all fairness, if we hadn’t signed Pepe last season we probably would have had enough money to back MA due to the structure of his fee payments.
    As for Martinez off to Villa, yes its a risk selling him but he done us a massive favour in reality. We tried to sell him last season for around £5m no one wanted him, he played 12 games for us ( not including Europa games which made a total of 23 apps all comps) and if you go by transfermrkt.com he is valued at around £7m which is his highest valuation in his career.
    I know what your all going to say, ” hes better than Leno ” but is he? was it form or ability? there lies the risk in the sale.
    We paid €22m for Leno and hes now worth close to £30m and has proven himself a top player season after season, not just 12 games!
    To say the club are penny pinching i think is abit off the mark, the club have to try and make amends for poor handling of contracts, purchases etc made by Gazidis and then Raul.
    Edu and co have alot of hard work to do to fix the incompetancie’s of these two and right now hes doing a decent job in these hard times.
    All i would say now is we as fans need to show some patients. If we dont sell, we wont buy. I can see more players leave now, but not as many as we would like but hopefully its enough to land one of either Partey or Aouar ( pref Partey ) but more will go in january and then the big one goes at the end of the season which frees up that massive £18m per season

    1. Val, you’re certainly right about the wage bill, paying over the odds for average players, that are proving difficult to move on.

  9. Apart from the 33 man list… Arsenal need to get rid of at least 3 non-home grown players if we’re to bring in a GK, Aouar and Partey.
    There are lots of factors delaying incoming players.
    The squad is big as hell and almost half are on ridiculous wages for f##k all.
    If we can shift them out it’ll help make our transfer dealings easier.

    And maybe one or two other players

    1. Exactly, most fans are only thinking based on emotions, arsenal wage bills are too high, we need to balance that first before announcing AUBA deal, and off course, we need to get some players out before others are let in, I wonder what is causing delay to Bellerin, sokratis, Torreira and Guendozi deals, are the board asking over the right amount?
      Has Martinez been confirmed?

      1. Bellerin was never gon be sold like that.
        Arsenal ain’t in haste to move him, Bellerin will only leave if interested teams offer 35M+. Arsenal ain’t interested in selling him for cheap. Arteta his happy with him, and the player is happy… So any loan deal or lower deal will be rejected, already rejected PSG’s offers… If Barca want him, they’ll need to pay his complete fee.

        Sokratis is being delayed because Napoli wants to Koulibaly sold first and City are yet to agree to their fee.
        Napoli might also be waiting for Arsenal to cancel Sokratis’s contract first so they can get him on free.

        Torreira is not straightforward, Fiorentina wants him on loan.
        Torina came in with a transfer bid, then they backtracked and turned the offer into a loan before buying like Fiorentina.
        Arsenal are disappointed with Torino for turning back, Fiorentina came back with improved loan fee, from 8M to 10M before buying.
        Right now it seems Torino have no choice than to pay the fee.
        I’m just reading that Torini and Arsenal have agreed a fee for him. £22M. I don’t know how true it is, because my guy hasn’t said anything bout it yet.
        It might be true, because players will leave.

        Guendouzi already rejected Villarreal and Valencia, so it’s hard to get him off. I think he wants to fight now, seeing how successful the team is.
        Though he could still leave.

        Martinez is confirmed. Just not announced yet.

        Edouard rumours is only an interest, no offer yet. As long as Lava is here, We aint getting Edouard. So ignore those rumors.
        Arteta admires him, but we have Lacazette here.

        PEA might get announced this afternoon.

        Hang in, I already said this week is for outgoing players, players will be moved before we bring others in.
        Arteta isn’t done in the market

  10. I think I subscribe to ur comm Joe,partey should be our top priority,aouer can join if we can ofload the fringe players(kola,sokra,chambers,torera) with the funds

  11. I honestly think it’s too early, what’s if we bring in Aouar and Partey or either of those before the summer transfers end? Would you have another reaccessment?, let’s wait till transfer window ends before giving realistic target for this new season

  12. This magnetic article is what true writing ability is all about. Consider the huge difference in sheer writing ability between Funsho and many of the other regular writers on here, save only Dan Smith and then weep with frustration at what we normally have to read.

    This is the quality of article which this site deserves as its usual fare and not just as a special treat.

    As to Funshu being a realist, I also concur that 5th is precisely where I also forecast us to finish, only last week. His comments were a breath of fresh air to THIS realist and I pray he becomes a far more regular writer on this site, as treats like this article are still, regrettably, rare!

    A writer of this special talent will go very far in life and I applaud his sheer talent with heartfelt thanks.

    1. I do apologise my Lord that we cannot write 20 masterpieces every day, but feel free to send me a few to up the average quality, young man

      1. Ad PAT, your own words show the problem you make for yourself. If I ran this site I would go for quality above quantity. If you are intent on 20 articles a day, no wonder you have so much dross. Quality writers do not grow on every tree. I would pen many more articles but I know from my own bitter expereince that full truth “without fear or favour” is only allowed if you Admins agree with it!

        Serious proposal and you have only to say yes if you are brave enough. I write constantly for hours each day on many other matters than sport . There is much I have never told you, but that CAN change. IF you wish it!

        1. Let him off the leash admin, even if just a trial run of a single article first to gauge how it’ll be received. Going by Jon’s comments which already hold nothing back, I’d be interested to read a full article from Jon. It’s sure ruffle a few feathers lol might even rival the traffic Ozil articles get

        2. I have emailed you Jon, but PLEASE stop calling some of our articles are dross, just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean other readers don’t enjoy them.

          As we have found out in recent months, not EVERYONE has the same opinions as you….

  13. Excellent article .It has covered all the key areas where we lack .It is obvious we need muscle in the midfield which Partey can provide and with Auor you will have more creativity ….. This needs boards backing and in span of 4-5 months – two cups FA and Community shield is no mean achievement under the stewardship of Arteta.
    To sum it with these two additions I am sure Gunners will vie nothing short of top 4 in the league… and should look forward to the Europa League crown ……….

    I expect 2020-21 will be game changing year for Arteta and Arsenal

  14. By the way, Gabriel > VVD. I am not a realist! I simply check trends, stats and give opinion. I am also an arsenal fan.

  15. OT, just read a tweet discussing
    the amount of money individual
    owners have invested in there
    respected clubs over the past five
    years and guess how much ol
    Silent Stan has ponied up for his
    beloved A.F.C.?

    Zilch, squadouche, Nada!!


    Aston Villa—£196M

    Im speechless

    1. I’m surprised to not see Chelsea, Manchester City and United with Liverpool in first five. It shows that those clubs with us make more money to be self-run. It also shows that Stan is not the only who has put a dime in his club in last five years which a total contradiction to what we constantly read here.

    2. Everton and Wolves had take overs, which could have been flushed with cash in those take overs to fund investments, plus 4 of those 5 clubs have earned alot of money getting promoted.
      Look im not defending KSE at all as i believe some investment should have been made towards the club.
      All im saying is that we have this self sustaining business model, which means minimal investment from outside sources and was based on UCL qualification, which we have not had for a while, so this system breaks down further the longer we’re not meeting the requirements on the field ( without UCL football), that and the silly wages some players are on, coupled with this pandemic will have hit us rather hard, hence the restructure and lay off of staff.
      Then there’s FFP, I’m not 100% on the laws regarding this as i think its stupid so im not sure as to how KSE can get money into the club without breaking the rules.
      Hopefully in the near future with the restructure and the superb coaching of MA and his team, the club can push forward, get UCL football for next season and really start to push for the league title within the next few seasons.
      we’re on the right track at the moment.
      The futures bright, its red and white!

      1. Yes Val, our future is indeed red and white. Which renders it even more ridiculous that we chose to play at Fulham in blue, despite no colour clash. I really dislike the nonsensical multiple kits, esp those colours that have no traditional connection at all with AFC. Marketing, UGH!

    3. ACE, what about the money spent by KS&E to buy out and consolidate Arsenal FC’s external debt? Isn’t that investing funds, which have reduced the Club’s interest payments? 🤔
      Kroenke owns Arsenal FC lock, stock and barrel to do with as he pleases, unless someone has £2 billion + to offer him for a buy out. I haven’t got access to that level of credit, how about you?

  16. I think its time to say these,
    343 should not be our long term formation.Cuz i feel that we could really struggle against teams that sit deep.And without luiz for the long balls it is frightening……MA knows best.

    GABRIEL is a fantastic defender.Marking,positioning,interceptions,clearances all superb but not very comfortable with the ball and i think that will improve with time.

    WILLIAN is a great signing but i think pepe shouod also be given chances.And lemme tell you, between both of em i cant pick one to take freekicks💯

    I have high hopes for this season and i know for a fact that MA wont let me down.


  17. “Stan Kroenke’s lack of Arsenal spending exposed by new financial analysis
    New financial reports show that Arsenal have received no funding for transfers in the last five years from majority shareholder Stan Kroenke as Mikel Arteta looks to further improve his squad”

    I know it’s just a Daily Star headline, but therein lies the truth. The multi-billion dollar LA RAM’s stadium and the low life Kroenke will not even lend his own ‘sole owner’ club money for players. He will not even lend himself money…his Arsenal. Why…because he doesn’t care one iota for Arsenal or the SUPPORTERS.

  18. Wrighty wasn’t kidding on MOTD when he said he was going to see Papa Aubameyang!! Agent Wright 😉
    Please announce it tomorrow….

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