“All that does is build confidence, build momentum.” Wright says Arteta should have played this trio

Ian Wright has faulted Mikel Arteta’s decision to play Nicolas Pepe in the Manchester City game instead of the trio of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard.

The youngsters had been in impressive form in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leeds United, yet the Spaniard changed things around for the City game.

It backfired with his Arsenal team lacking the needed cutting edge to get something against the league leaders.

Wright admitted that Arsenal struggled in the game but claimed that had they been more intense, they would have gotten something from City.

He also said Arteta decision to play Pepe instead of Smith Rowe wasn’t a good one as the Ivorian was anonymous and Odegaard didn’t deliver either.

‘Arsenal had three shots and one on target and didn’t look too threatening but for me it was a little bit of an opportunity missed in respects of Arsenal having a go at them,’ he told Premier League Productions as quoted by Metro

‘There were certain opportunities where Arsenal did win the ball back but they didn’t get into them quick enough, it wasn’t intense enough.
‘Mixing up that three of Odegaard, Saka and Smith Rowe… I think they had something going.

‘It would have been brilliant to play them in a game like that to see how they get on against that kind of City side. All that does is build confidence, build momentum. 

‘In the end, he went with Pepe and it didn’t work out, for me, today for Pepe and I don’t think it worked for Odegaard in there either, to be honest. 

‘But in the end, City were too good, closing down spaces and Arsenal couldn’t break them down.’

City is in the form of their lives and has crushed the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham in recent games. Arteta will now turn his attention to the crunch Europa League game against Benfica.

Tags Ian Wright


  1. Arteta puts chains on this team, Lacca plays great and gets dropped for Auba, Pepe plays great on the left twice, gets dropped and comes back on the right, ESR, Saka and Odegaard play well together and he splits them. Luiz and Gabriel play well together and he brings in Holding after dropping him playing well and puts him with Mari against top of the league and he hasn’t played for 2 months, DOH! Martinelli plays well then gets dropped. Willian plays crap and he sticksxwith him too long. I dont get it at all and they are a minute example of his lack of abilities.

    1. Reggie, you are spot on with the observations. Arteta is naive, and shows his lack of experience. All the scenarios you mention have actually disrupted any momentum for the individuals or the team. Arteta is a problem, because he favours the pensioners, Auba, Willian and Luiz.

    2. The commenting people here are not able to see past their nose. Of course Arteta knows and sees who performs better but he can’t play them every 3 days, hence the rotation of players. After Benfica 1-1 he had to prioritize and he logically chose to play the reserves against Man City. Now he is going for win against Benfica. And hey it is not his fault that Auba decides to miss from 10 yards.

  2. Our midfield is the weakest, playing safe passing, backwards and slowing the game, unless we change that and how can we do it if we have xhaka, we may blame our attackers but do they get enough service, look holding and mari they were trying to go forward because our midfielders can pass forward, we can defend xhaka but he is our biggest problem…… How was laca playing?????????

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