A Tale of Three Arsenal Teams – How we are progressing….

A TALE OF 3 TEAMS…… by Ben Westrov

There has been major surgery on the Arsenal playing squad over the last couple of years but has anyone noticed the symmetry of what has taken place ? Three very balanced teams can be constructed, segmented into ‘the departed’, ‘the constants’ and ‘the newbies’. This is how they look :

Debuchy Chambers Gabriel Gibbs
Carzola Coquelin
Walcott/Chamberlain Wilshere Sanchez
The obvious manager : Arsene Wenger

Bellerin Müstafi Koscielny Monreal
Xhaka Elneny
Iwobi Ozil Ramsey
The obvious manager : Steve Bould

Lichtsteiner Sokratis Mavropanos Kolasinac
Torreira Guendouzi
Mkhitaryan Maitland-Niles Aubameyang
The obvious manager : Unai Emery

It prompts two obvious questions; which of the three teams would be come out on top in a small tournament? Who would feature in a composite team of the three?

What it does suggest is that there has been a very orderly and carefully thought through transition over the last thirty months or so. A complete team has been moved on, a complete team has provided some stability and a complete team has been acquired. In that time, Arsenal FC have stumbled but not fallen and, who knows, they may be on the cusp of a powerful renaissance.

Ben Westrov


  1. A.ball08 says:

    As you said
    We stumbled but didn’t fall. Another season I think we would have cracked under pressure and came away with zero points.
    A few players still not worthy to wear the badge but
    The next few games will show us which player has the backbone to pick them selfs up, dust them self off, and go again.

    1. gotanidea says:

      I am excited to see the Blackpool game, because we could see the strengths of the youngsters and the squad players

      And the Liverpool game could tell us about the team’s weaknesses

  2. kev says:

    I still believe in this team.I believe they can get top four easily.If Unai wins the EPL he has overachieved .Some players are holding this team back and I hope Unai realises this get quickly.He needs time to fully assess and prune the team.Hopefully,his style of play is quickly and fully implemented so that we can be better.Its best we afford him the time to get things right but he must also br criticized and not insulted when the need be so as to bring out the best in him.

    1. A.ball08 says:


      I beleive the manager has already identified who are the weak links in the team. Problem is he needs a few windows before he can trace them
      For now he works with what he has at his disposal.
      Top four is achievable but really cannot see us finishing top of the pile come April/May but My heart still says it is still doable to win it.. head says I am a heads gone for just thinking it

      1. McLovin says:

        I also think Emery has found out who the weak links are.

        Problem his, now that Sokratis, Mavropanos and Kosc are out, he can’t replace Mustafi with anyone. Yes I said it, Mustafi is the weak link. Totally unnecessary tackle.

        Another one is Xhaka, who has done little better than before, but he still offers next to nothing to this team apart from his dead ball skills. He don’t really tackle or intercept, he’s slow, he can’t shoot from distance (with accuracy), he’s not really an aerial presence despite his height.

        Özil is the third weak link. He is way, way too inconsistent. After a great performance his fanboys will come out gloating “who said he isn’t world class”, then he disappears completely the next game.

        We can’t replace them all in January, we will be extremely lucky to replace one of them in January.

        1. McLovin says:

          Oh and we all wanted a winger in the summer but we didn’t get one. Attack is not the problem luckily as we have scored 24 goals already which is just 2 short of City’s chart leading tally.

          We have conceded 13 goals.
          Chelsea 7
          Pool 4
          City 3
          Spurs 7

          That’s twice as many as Chelsea, that is not acceptable at all.

          We simply CANNOT lose to Pool at home, nowhere around it. We have already lost to City and Chelsea, losing to Pool would be devastating. We must show we are able to take down big boys as well and Emery must show he’s not as bad at it as Wenger was. He must get his tactics spot on.

          1. Sue says:

            Double figures already… that is really poor compared to all the others. Hope the spuds get a pasting later.
            When we’re up against it like that – a must win – it doesn’t usually bode well.. we’ve seen it many times before.
            It really is doom & gloom now, I know a draw isn’t the end of the world, but we were in front & to let that lead go in the way we did, well it seems like a loss to me… plus to think that Xhaka, Mustafi & possibly Lichtsteiner will be in the line up against Liverpool…. enough said

          2. @Sue,
            I know Mustafi made a horrible mistake and conceded a penalty yesterday, but I implore you to check his stats on premierleague. I was shocked the man comes out on top of nearly every defender I’ve compared him too. I’ve compared him to Virgil Van Dyk, Aymeric Laporte, David Luiz. Interceptions, tackles won, clearances, aerial duels won, blocks..Mustafi is the deal. I know its probably only @Gotanidea around here who rates Mustafi but I think I’ve joined the Mustafi camp too. His stats are actually really good.

          3. Sue says:

            I’m speechless for once QD ??

          4. Phil says:

            QD-I too believe Emery has improved Mustafi but there is no hiding from the fact the player was at fault for the penalty with that pointless and unnecessary tackle and could/should have taken the player out for the second?Whatever the stats say he is a mistake waiting to happen and these mistakes costs us points

  3. Jah son says:

    I think our manager just over think a little like when we switch to 4-4-2 today wasn’t necessary.
    Anyhow he needs to find his best eleven and fast onwards and upwards.

    1. A.ball08 says:

      Good man

      Onwards and upwards

  4. Raja Danish says:

    I think emery is doing a fine job and tactics are there to be seen unlike wenger.. He just needs to find his best 11 that he must play to get best results.. Also in my opinion he needs some money to buy full backs, a top centre back and a proper winger that could terrorise opposition defences like guardioal who in his first season identified those problems and then bought full backs like walker and mendy winger like bernado goalkeeper like ederson that proved to be the main catalysts behind their successful and record breaking season hwere they clinced the title with record 100 points.. I think emery also needs to identify those problem areas which need to be adressed and i am pretty sure he is working on this.. COYG!!!

  5. John Ibrahim says:

    every manager is different…they have their style, choices and preferences…

    some players suit some manager and or some style of play

    just a draw and fans are complaining like we have relegated

    time for a change…we need quality fans

    1. Phil says:

      We played Crystal Palace today.
      Not Barcelona
      Palace had not scored a single goal at home this season before today
      Palace had not won a single game at home before today
      Arsenal are a bigger Club than Palace
      We have better players than Palace (Exept in Defence).
      Palace were allowed to be better than us on the day
      They had more attempts on goal (and that is despite them setting up defensively).
      Do you not feel that as supporters of the biggest Club in London we have every right to be critical?I do.And that includes me giving Emery a free pass this season.
      This is fans showing emotion.They care about the ClubTheir Club.We have every right to be critical and every right to voice our opinions.The team played poorly.Wrong line-up.Wrong tactics.Got what we deserved at the end of the day.
      But that does not mean we have to be happy with the result does it?

      1. @Phil
        I get it guys are upset over the draw but let’s just calm down a bit. The winning run had to end at some point. No way we could have kept blasting through all our games till the end of the season. In my opinion, our draw was simply down to injuries and accumulated fatigue rearing its ugly head, not Emery. From Leicester City on Mon Oct 22nd upto Sun 11th November Wolverhampton Wonders, we have been and will be playing a game after every 2 days! This is the toughest schedule for all the top 6. I know the boys are professional athletes but… they aren’t machines. A game. 95 minutes. 10 kms. Every 2 days. Performances will drop. When I saw the schedule I knew straight away points will have to be shaved. We just have to weather the physical storm and get through this fixture pile up. I agree with you the line up was bad with Xhaka playing as a left back but then, who could have played there? Injuries have decimated our fullbacks. Lichtsteiner was underwhelming when he was played on the left in the Europa league. Lichtsteiner in fact, has been a liability. Not good enough to challenge Bellerin and not even good enough to be an adequate back up. Has been whack nearly every game he has played for us. Just occupying space in the squad and giving a false illusion of cover. I also agree tactics were bad, but again taking Ozil and Auba off was a tactical decesion probably made with Wednesday’s game only 2 days later versus Blackpool in mind. Emery is nervous and wants to win everything. Balancing all competitions is proving to be a challenge for him but so far I think he has done quite acceptably well. Anyway, City will likely draw or beat Tottenham on Monday and it will be like today never happened. Champions league finish will still be on track, spuds and utd still behind. Am certainly not suggesting to you what or how you should feel, or what our targets this season should or shouldn’t be, am just saying things really aren’t that bad. Lastly, the team X has been rubbish so they are supposed to lose to team Y that has been brilliant theory doesn’t always hold water.. I’ve watched it get debunked over the years.

        1. Phil says:

          I believe you have mis-understood the point I was trying to make in reply to @john ibrahim who wrote “Time for a change – we need quality fans).
          What I was insisting is that I totally get why fans have been upset with both the performance and final result.
          Why is it when we get a bad result like yesterday and fans are voicing their thoughts and opinions they are quoted by posters like @john ibrahim as bring wrong to do so.
          I am not too sure of the numbers but both during and after the game how many posts were written about Mustafi?Het again this absolute clown of a player has cost us points.Do you not believe this player continues to prove a liability to the team?Most on this site do and are not slow in giving their thoughts.But does that allow the comment that @john ibrahim wrote saying we need “Quality Fans”?
          Not in my mind it does not.Its the same with Bellerin.This boy simply cannot defend.He continues to be found out and is targeted every game a the weak link in our defence.Zaha was ripping him to pieces in that first half.
          What I didn’t see was too many fans ripping into Emery.He had taken over a Club that was like a Holiday Camp under Wenger the last few years and inherited players that have proven to be sub standard.He needs time and the fans are giving him this.
          I suggest comments from posters like @john ibrahim are written by Supporters who need to understand how most fans feel after a performance like yesterday.That was another poor performance and we deserved exactly what we got.The Fans saw this and wrote their posts.They wrote what they saw..They do not deserve to be labelled when writing their feelings surely?

          1. ???
            Mustafi is an enigma for me though. His stats say he is a good defender but the general feeling is the man’s a clown. In fact, I thought him a clown as well till I came across his stats today. I’ll keep an open mind with Mustafi next couple of games maybe he does do a lot that goes unnoticed.

          2. jon fox says:

            Do you live your whole life by misleading stats OR do you sometimes use your eyes to see the truth?

          3. jon fox says:

            Phil, Even by your standards this was a brilliant post that DEFINITELY needed saying loud and clear. Total realism and perspective. If only some of the younger folk on here could have that too but I guess with age comes wisdom and perspective of life. It is notable that (almost) all the people I most respect on here have been around the block and back, more than once too! It is intensely heartening to see your comments on both Bellerin and Mustafi, as I simply can’t abide either of them, though Bellerin has some hope if played further forward only and NEVER at FB again. When you have seen the likes of Dixon, Winterburn, Sansom and even Cashley Hole, you realise what a top full back should be. And what they shouldn’t when you have seen Bellerin. Kids on here have never seen a top Arsenal full back and wouldn’t know how great a real tough “over my dead body” proper defender can be.

          4. Phil says:

            I agree Jon-the last good full back was Sagna and he was not even close to being in the class of Dixon Lauren etc.At Centre Back we are struggling for the absolute quality that allows teams to challenge for the top trophies.We DESPERATELY NEED TWO CENTRE BACKS AND TWO FULL BACKS.Emery is no fool and neither are Sven M and Raul.But we need the funds to buy them and that is the issue we will continue to face.
            I hear we are interested in Tierney at Celtic and he would fit straight in at LB.
            I am convinced AMN has the ability to play as a CM but I’m also convinced that this boy could come in for Bellerin at RB and immediately improve us.Sokritis is proving to be a good buy but we will not win major trophies with him.Mustafi is gone.No more chances.I will be very surprised if Emery plays him against Liverpool.It must be Holding and Sokritis at CB.Or will Emery play all three and play a 3/5 at the back?I feel for the Manager.There is only so much he can do with what he inherited.Why did we let Calum Chambers go on loan this season?With restricted funds we were never getting the quality we needed.But exactly WHO decided that Mustafi was worth keeping and Chambers was not?

          5. jon fox says:

            So true but if you point out that the fault for accumulating all these dud defenders lies with WENGER, SOME OF THE BRAINWASHED Wenger lovers still, and ludicrously, try to defend him. They also say that Emery chooses to play them . WELL HE HAS LITTLE CHOICE, STARVED OF REAL TRANSFER FUNDS. BUT THEY DON’T WANT THE TRUTH, JUST THEIR OWN Wenger fantasies. Even now!

      2. CorporateMan says:

        These guys played 3 games in 7 days including one in Portugal on Thursday. They are human, you know! Please let’s appreciate and encourage them.

  6. ozziegunner says:

    The transfer to a new manager in Unai Emery and the support structure of Sven Mislantat and Raul Sanllehi has gone better than most people have expected. Just remember how Pep Guardiola and Jurgan Klopp performed in their first seasons with the resources they had available to them. It will take a few transfer windows, plus development of Arsenal’s undet 21 and under 18 prospects to see how successful the Unai, Sven, Raul trinity can be.
    By the way can we please scrap that odious turquoise away strip and return to yellow and blue, gold or black.
    Also based on matches so far, Lacazette apparently can’t win a penalty this season for love or money.

    1. I agree. It has gone reasonably well with the Emery transition. I have no doubt we will make it into the champions league via league position. We will be back on track in no time once the regular fullbacks are ready for selection. Once we secure top 4 at the end of this season, it will be a solid foundation to launch an assault for the league title a season or 2 later..just like Liverpool have done and Spurs tried. Top 4 is the gateway to title success if the coach takes advantage of it and doesn’t relax like the previous manager.

  7. SAGooner says:

    Think about it like this: where do you think our team would be on the log now, if Wenger was still coach? IMHO we would have lost at least 3 more games and drawn a few, and we would be in the bottom half for sure. We have won scrappy games this season that we surely would have lost last season and before, because we either didn’t want to scrap or didn’t know how to. Winning even when you do not play well augers well for the team. They were really out of sorts yesterday, and the runnung off the ball to make space in the face of relentless Palace pressure was absent. They’ll come right, and we WILL end up in top 4.

    1. jon fox says:

      We would certainly have lost yesterday had WENGER STILL BEEN MANAGER. We all remember the SURRENDER and debacle at Palace last season.

  8. David Rusa says:

    I am glad today’s contributors are more rational than yesterday’s who were acting emotionally after a draw against a team they thought we should have beaten. Indeed we struggled but this could have been due to several factors: fatigue, injuries and of course the law of diminishing returns set in. However my reading is that many fans believe, like Paul merson, that Liverpool will trounce us. Hence they wanted us to beat Crystal palace so as to compensate for the Liverpool loss in advance. It is not a foregone conclusion that Liverpool will beat us. Every team will get beaten at some stage and perhaps Arsenal will be the team to beat Liverpool. History has it that until two seasons ago Arsenal always had the upper hand against Liverpool in recent memory. I remember with fond memory when Arsenal came from behind twice to beat Liverpool in 2004 to claim the invincibles crown. Who can forget the day Andrey Arshavin scored a hat trick to equalise 4-4 against Liverpool at Anfield in 2008-09 season? Who knows? The trend can be resumed. I don’t believe that Liverpool is a super team. It is very beatable given good organisation, good tactics and good team selection. Besides the Liverpool game will be just 3 points like all the others. Apart from bragging rights there is nothing extraordinary about it. All we need to do is give our team all the moral support it needs and the job will be done.

    1. Phil says:

      Arshavin scored all FOUR at Anfield that night in a 4-4 draw that typified the Wenger reign at that time and going forward until he was sacked.It was late in the 2008-09 season and did not have a GK or CB that was up to the job.Same with CDM.How is it even possible to score FOUR GOALS away from home and not win?

      1. David Rusa says:

        Thanks Phil for the correction about Arshavin’s score which has added value to my submission.

        1. Phil says:

          Apologies for coming over as an Anorak but to this day I still find it hard to work out how we score 4 goals away from home and not win.The fact that Arsharvin scored all four shows what a mad mad night it was.

  9. Rkw says:

    Emery gets more out of his players than wenger which is a positive step forward and has translated in to welcome victories against lower teams … the problem is that too many of those players even when giving more can’t deliver a route back to the top sadly so if the greedy yank doesn’t stump up the cash we will be forever dreaming of 4th place … Interesting comparison to be made between Liverpool / Red Sox owner and Arsenal/la Rams owner given next weeks game which will tell us whether or not the future really does look brighter as we judge ourselves against those teams not the palaces and watfords of this world

  10. Phil says:

    As an investment Arsenal is a far more valuable asset than Liverpool.They have spent a lot of money but that was mainly from the sales of both Suarez and Coutinho.
    The owners of both clubs are Investors.They are not going to spend any money the Club does not have.Eith the match day revenue at the Emirates dwarfing that at Anfield then it stands to reason Arsenal will continue to make more money per season than Liverpool.CL revenue is the key.We are losing this at the moment and must get back into this competition.There must not be any doubt that CL produces not only higher financial revenue but also entices better quality players to the Club.
    But the single biggest difference at this moment in time is that they have a progressive modern thinking Manager that has been at the Club for 4 seasons.We have a Manager who has had 3 months of his first season.
    They are ahead of us only because Wengervwas allowed to stay for far too long.This is being proven by Emery but we are playing catch up to these Clubs above and around us.

  11. Maks says:

    Very interesting post.
    It looks promising but one big thing strikes my eyes – I can not think of Arsene Wenger team without Ramsey… it is totally unnatural to me so I hope he will be among Departed very soon. 🙂

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