An alternative view on Mikel Arteta and his current performance – Opinion

This may seem an overreaction but an adverse reaction at least was deserved. I’m probably one of the few on JustArsenal (no change there then!) that doesn’t think Arteta is doing all that well.

For a start, he’s had three freakin’ months to sort out the defence. Yet instead of closing down the City attackers and ‘getting stuck in’ as we used to say they still maintained a nice, respectful distance (social distancing?) from them, giving them all the time in the world to make their runs and shoot. It was pathetic. Their attack down their left/our right had acres of room even in the first 10 minutes and I feared the worst.

Auba made some decent runs yet nobody found him with the ball. What’s the point of having a good, speedy striker if our players don’t give him the freakin’ ball? Why hasn’t Arteta drilled it into the rest of them to look out for runs from our strikers and wingers and release a good accurate ball to them? I wouldn’t blame Auba for moving to a team with INTELLIGENT players behind him. Sometimes our players seem to be as thick as bricks.

From left back to right-wing – Bukayo Saka must be wondering where he’ll be playing next. Auba can play on the right and Saka has shown he’s best on the left so what was Arteta thinking? Another experiment?

A midfield of Xhaka (flat out useless), Willock (also useless but might get there in years to come) and Guendouzi (still getting caught on the ball as he strolls round midfield) was asking for trouble.

Where was Martinelli? I think he’s good enough to play in ALL forward positions. If he’s not going to be a striker (lots of competition now) then he’ll make an excellent attacking midfielder, especially if Ozil is out of the picture. How Willock could be chosen instead of Martinelli makes me wonder about Arteta’s sanity.

At the very least the team should have been fit but weren’t. Hopefully they will be on Saturday having had to run around a bit more when we went down to 10 men. Poor little darlings – bet they were on oxygen in the dressing room later. Somehow, I don’t think it will get any better on Saturday as Brighton are not going to roll over and say ‘tickle my belly.’ Hope some of our better players are chosen this time.

All in all it was a pathetic display and thank goodness Leno was his usual excellent self – at last a bit of positivity there.

An article from GunnerJack

Tags mikel arteta


  1. Its like each time we get to the opposition box its by chance not by any planned game plan. No direct game plan to get there just passing, passing sideways and long balls with none of the players having the ability and technique to hold the ball without being dispossessed. No pace in midfield, no dribblers in midfield, no skill in midfield, and no creativity in midfield.We should go for players in the mold of Said Benrahma (Check his Youtube videos). We know how many times we begged the architect of all our current problems in the person of Arsene Wenger to sign Mahrez and Kante but he blatantly refused and went for cheap and weak players like El neny instead. We will win some games no doubt but we will be doing so as a team battling for top 10 spot…no more, no less.

  2. With respect GJ ,there is not a Manager on the planet who could sort out our defence with our present group of mediocre centre backs and in the absence of a quality DM. Arteta has inherited a very average set of defenders and midfielders, and until the dross is cleared out and 2/3 quality upgrades recruited, we are unlikely to be other than a mid table side.As for your take on the Man City match, in the game I saw we did fairly well until the first Luis mistake and the game effectively ended after his second aberration.In my opinion Auba was one of our poorer performers but I agree with you concerning the surprising decision to use Sak a on the right wing.

    1. Sorry Grandad but I beg to disagree .
      Arteta had the January window to improve the defensive personnel. But what did his do? Bring in Mari any Soares!
      Mari, in my opinion, got saved by his early injury against City. He looked completely out of sorts in the game. I had never been convinced of his quality in the few games he has played
      Soares? Well, the less said about that one, the better!
      And to say that we were doing well in the first 30 minutes of the game makes me wonder if you really watched the game.
      Yes we didn’t concede within that period. But that was solely due to the heroics of one keeper. I shudder to think what would be if Leno were at the same performance levels as his outfield mates.
      Arteta got virtually everything wrong on the day. And I wish, for his own sake, that he buckled really up before the massive goodwill had inherited begins to erode.
      Arsenal fans are, to a man, on tenterhooks as it is.

      1. I saw the same game as Grandad. We were bright and it took 30 minutes or so for ManC to begin to impose themselves on the match. Two injuries and Luiz having a nightmare gave Arteta very little to work with.

        To mention the signings in January, Arteta had been in the job 5 minutes and at the time we were all acutely aware that big transfers were a non starter due to lack of money. He can hardly be held responsible for 2 loan signings on little outlay when Pepe cost £72m in instalments the season before. Covid struck before Soares had a chance
        To give Arteta such a hard time when he has such a mixed bag to choose from is premature I believe. He chose the team on the basis of who had impressed him in training I presume.

    2. Hi Grandad – I think that even dross defenders and midfielders could at least close down the opposition and put a tackle in instead of standing off them and giving them all the time in the world – especially with the calibre of players Man City have.
      We’ve done it for years but I was hoping with the enforced break they would have worked on it, hard and often. But no – it’s just the boring, useless, sickening same.
      Perhaps they should give man to man marking a go. That way each player would have a definite responsibility (how that word makes them shudder!).
      According to Gary Neville, Fergie kept it simple and just gave his players the admonition: “He’s your man – go and win the ball!” It didn’t work out too badly for Man Utd did it? Unfortunately.

  3. Man you are reaching with this article of yours. No disrespect but the fact that arteta inherited a below per defense is not his fault. And the fact that Luiz single handedly cost us the game is not the managers fault. One more thing you dont judge a manager who hasn’t had the chance to actually instill his ideas in 3 months,it took pep a whole season to do it,it took klopp a few seasons to get the correct formula…you need to stop with this negativity mate. Poor article

    1. Omari – the point is that Arteta has had 3 months of no games, so no recovery times, no after match sprains and niggles to contend with and so basically he’s had nothing else to do but training!
      So what improved? I saw absolutely nothing – just the same old, same old. I appreciate that Luiz screwed up but the whole team seemed half awake, unfit and played at half speed. They reminded me of a bunch of piccadilly tarts tottering about in high heels and scared to smear their lipstick.
      For me, if it wasn’t for Leno, it would have been yet another drubbing. Remember, he saved us many times BEFORE Luiz produced his comedy show.

  4. I thought we started quite well and I could see a plan ,get the ball to eddie he could hold it up whilst saka or auba run on , also the closing down was going well I feel injuries really screwed us .

  5. This is a very poor article I’ve read in a while. He’s been in the club for a few months not even up to a season and you’re here judging him. It took klopp few seasons to put the winning Liverpool team together but no Arteta must turn to a magician and start winning games against established side as City with Luiz and mustaphi at the back. Disappointing Article I must say.

    1. Michael, my reply to Omari above covers your points – please take a look if you have time.
      I look forward to an article from you. I promise to judge it fairly.

  6. What’s disappointing was the team selection. If he wanted hold up then Laca is miles better than Edie. Willock has shown nothing about being suited to big games, yet he was selected. Better off with 3 man midfield and Ceballos than an invisible Willock.
    As for defense, Luiz cost us again and it seems only his agent, Luiz, and Arteta are surprised.
    Granted we don’t have a lot of talent to choose, but could Auba centrally, Saka on left and Martinelli on RW or Pepe been worse?
    Hopefully Arteta learned something from that match, and makes differnt midfield and attacking selections on Sat. I don’t have much faith if he starts Edie and Willock again to be honest.

    1. Agreed Durand. I cringed when I saw the team selection but then had the thought “Maybe they’ve improved with 3 months doing nothing else but training – even if it is video training and exercising at home.”
      After all, Arteta is with them all the time and should know who’s playing well.
      Well that thought was quickly dispelled in the first 10 minutes and didn’t change anytime later. For me, none of those who played has improved since our last game. So what the hell were they doing all that time?
      Even early on when they had to stay at home they could have been doing vigorous exercises each and every day to improve their fitness and strength. A dedicated player would have taken advantage of the layoff and done that. Not this lazy bunch.

  7. Corporate Man ,Mari was recruited by Edu and Soares is only ever going to be back up at best.Neither is good enough for Arsenal.In the first 20 mins of the match we enjoyed 50% possession which is in itself quite an achievement.In practical terms, Arteta had no alternative but to bring on Luis after the injury to Mari .The game was effectively finished when Luis was sent off.Playing Sak a on the right wing was a mistake but that apart I do not share your criticism of Arteta.

    1. Grandad – It’s worrying that Arteta has so much faith in Mari. I’ve no idea where he gets it from. He looked slow and out of touch from the first whistle to me.
      Now I read that Arteta still wants to sign him on a permanent basis even though he’s got an injury to his ankle – again!
      Can’t see that working out too well in the future.

  8. We always start well and then capitulate and collapse later. Its called ‘flatter to deceive’ and we will be seeing more this unless Arteta sorts things out. What did he actually learn from Pep Guardiola anyways?

  9. Contrary to the popular opinion of Saka selection on the right, I do not think it was a mistake. Can Saka outrun mc rb? The answer is no, can Martinelli outrun him, not certain, but definitely AUBA can. So the plan was, play Saka on the right, let him cut in and make accros or shoot. Though I feel Pepe may do a better job but am not sure about his fitness.
    I do not support Willock selection but I guess we are stuck with him since Ozil isnt stepping up. And on Nketia, I guess lacazet loss of form is the reason why the boy is starting ahead of him.
    I think the author is too emotional in his summation

    1. But throughout the game there was never a time AUBA and Walker competed in 100 metre race. And as such, the game plan was poor….very poor.

      1. Our gameplay took a hit with those two injuries and Luiz being Luiz. There were a few occasions (I think two) where Saka could have released the ball sooner to prompt a foot race between Aubameyang and his marker, but he missed his cue on both occasions.
        Like I’ve said in an earlier comment, other than starting Willock and Guendouzi, the lineup seemed okay

    2. I agree Adajim – I do tend to get emotional. Then again, isn’t that what football is all about? I take it you don’t go to the pub after a game? If you did you’d definitely see emotion portrayed in the many arguments which spring up, including arguments between supporters of the same team. Who did well? Who didn’t? Why was the ref so biased against us? Why are we standing off their players instead of tackling them?
      When the crowd is cheering their team on they are showing emotion. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why I write like I do.
      Should a football match be treated as a visit to the library?

  10. To be honest i think our starting defence was almost as good as citys,its not like City played some world class defenders (laporte is overrated to me)

    But the midfield is tge area which cost us many things apart from luiz

  11. I will not join the “he inherited mediocre defence” “weak midfield” bandwagon. Same was said about Emery – “give him time, he got us to the final, we missed top 4 by a point, bla bla bla”. Look where he left us.
    Arteta is beginning to manifest Emery signs. How can Martinelli who was our best young player before Arteta arrived not get selected before Willock, Nketia and Nelson? As frustrating as Pepe can be, he still has that moment of magic in him. How is Guendouzi and Willock starting ahead of Ceballos? Why has Arteta failed to get Holding back to the level he was before his injury? Why did he drop AMN for Bellerin when he was beginning to own that position? As frustrating as Laca can be, is Nketia better than him? Why hasn’t he tried Auba in the middle to allow Martinelli and Saka fight for the left flank? If you want hold-up you play Laca, if not Auba should be in the middle, not Nketia.
    The signs are not encouraging. We shouldn’t have more than 1 youngster in attack and in midfield at a time. These are very clear to see.

    1. Blimey
      It was the first game back after:-
      a 3 month lay off
      Questionable fitness
      Inferior team to our opponents
      Injuries sustained during the game
      The hapless Luiz having a game to forget
      And now Arteta is beginning to manifest Emery signs
      How can we possibly know after one game?
      If Arteta isn’t up to the mark, I’d like to think he was given more than half a season to get it right

      1. Sometimes the team you put out and how they play can sum up who you are as a manager. The signs are showing that Arteta will not do well if he doesn’t field the players that are likely to score goals every match and stick with them. Arteta is tweaking the squad one time too many like Emery does and its not healthy for the team. The weakest link is always the central defense.






        1. I accept your comments but his first five months in charge have been virtually impossible with an inherited bunch of players heading for the Championship under Emery. I do not get the same feeling as you that Arteta is not up to the mark. I don’t want to be proved wrong but Arsenal was in a mess and an about turn will take time. But yes, it looks as though his honeymoon period is almost over for you. I will judge him a bit more after today’s game to see who he plays and how. In your line up I think it’s possible that Sokratis and Soares are both injured. Not sure about Torreira either. This is a conundrum for Arteta

    2. Gunner Jack and splendid you guys took the article and comments right out of my mind. Brilliant analysis. I hope Arteta lovers would be brought back to earth pretty soon. Even an Emery wouldn’t lose to olympiacos with the same squad as bad as emery was.

  12. I agree with the article. Arteta needs to stop with the terrible selections. We have a weak centre midfield defensively and offensively surely there’s a way to set up to take that into account. I understand he has to try and find a system that works with these players, but he hasn’t even got close.
    Aubameyang sand lacazette are our 2 best players. I don’t want to see aubameyang frustrated running back all game defending. I don’t want to hear lacazette is out of form. It’s the managers job to get the best out of the talent we have.
    Aubameyang, lacazette, Pepe, martinelli, Saka – all classy players. I want to see 3 out of the 5 starting same the other 2 coming on after 60 minutes or so.

    1. You want them play regardless of form and performance? You don’t want AUBA track back? May I remind you that all players mentioned had been the ones playing since MA arrived.lacca played 6consecutive games without a goal. I would have complained had it been the opponent were man u or spur, but this city that has d likes of Aguero on the sub bench? We had no chance

  13. I have to agree with you there. I really can’t understand what Arteta has against Martnelli. Maybe he realised we’ll nevery beat or even draw Manchester City and playing his cards close to his chest for the next game. There is also a lot of games to be played and you will need your full squad. The fact that all those senior players were left out, could surely have a negative effect on the squad, I can imagine.

    1. Dave. I agree with what you said about Arteta probably just writing off the City game and giving some of his mediocre players a run out. Well I hope that’s the case – heaven help us if he thought that was our best team.
      Hopefully he was saving his better players from the chance of injury so they can take part in the Brighton game. Maybe we have a slightly better chance of winning this one.
      Hope so but I won’t be putting the mortgage on it. After all, Brighton’s record against us is pretty good and they have no reported injury problems.

      1. 👍 Gunner Jack, the selections for Brighton will show if this supposition is correct.

  14. I would like to see Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Saka, Ceballos, Torreira, Willock, Martinelli, Aubameyang, Pepe, with Lacazette, Nelson, Maitland – Niles, Nketia and Guendozi as impact subs.

    1. Yes – no Xhaka or Sokratis available! A great boos to our chances!
      That alone boosts my hopes that Arteta should be able to put a decent team together from the players you have mentioned.

  15. Do not forget the kind of rebuilding journey Liverpool took to get to where they are now. That is what Arteta is trying to do for us with all the youth you see us looking into. If that is the case, this half season was about him knowing who he’ll be selling and where we need transfers most urgently. Next season will probably be about getting a solid first 11 going and building a chemistry in the team. The transfer window after that Arteta will be about filling in the holes in that first 11. Kind of like what Lampard is doing right now. Then the next season we can probably talk about being serious title contenders with a solid first 11 that can go away to a top six side and be confident of getting 3 points. Before all that happens, we just need to calm down and give Arteta the time to mould this club into what he needs to get us lifting cups again.

      1. But he wants to keep Luiz and xhaka. That says it all about Arteta as a coach. As good as sane is, guardiola is letting him go because he considers him one of the weakest. Which of our wingers is as good as sane? Yet Arteta wants to keep Luiz even after that shit show he pulled. Arteta is not convincing me in any way at all

          1. Kstix
            I found your last comment very funny. We all need a laugh during what is a very difficult time for Arsenal.

            I doubt for one second that Arteta would consider keeping Xhaka or Luiz out of choice, and as for Ozil on £18m a year when the club desperately needs the money, that is when I knew you were joking

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