Arsenal are missing one key ingredient that will make a massive difference

Pundits have a job to do and some of them are insightful and entertaining but most are not, they come out with so much waffle that the only conclusion you can draw is that they are saying certain things just to keep themselves in a job and not necessarily because they actually believe what they are spouting.

You see, there are so many pundits fighting to get their voices heard that they make controversial statements just so they can be heard above the crowd and I have found that former Gunner Paul Merson is one of those types of pundits.

However, he does occasionally come out with interesting comments that are worthy of debate and he has done just that with his latest column on Sky Sports.

He wrote this

In Xhaka, Guendouzi and Torreira, Arsenal have three players who are not creative. They are three holding players, but every time Tottenham broke, they had the freedom of the Emirates. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It was reminiscent of when Arsene Wenger was managing.

Arsenal’s front three are as good as any in the Premier League, on a par with Manchester City and Liverpool without a doubt, but great attackers rely on service. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not getting the ball you’re not going to score. It’s a simple as that.

Now, I have no interest in his Wenger comments, there was no need for that and it is irrelevant but he does make a solid point about the sort of midfielders that Arsenal currently has, there is a huge lack of creative players.

Ceballos may be the answer but playing him just behind the front three is very risky, same with Ozil, it leaves the two central midfielders truly exposed to the counter-attack but they remain an option to be considered.

Arsenal is lacking a holding player with vision and Guendouzi, Torreira and Xhaka do not have that attribute within their game, they rarely take advantage of the supply lines, their passing ability is not the best.

That is why playing all three at the same time when you have Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette up front was never going to work.

Basically, the maximum holding players that Arsenal should be fielding at any one time is two, they have to have another central midfielder that can open up a defence like a can of beans.

Playing that sort of player too far forward is playing with fire, it has to be a central midfielder and not an attacking one.

Until that particular player is identified then Arsenal will struggle, and I for one am not sure we do in fact have that sort of player in the squad.


  1. If pundits were intelligent in the football coaching domain, they would make more money coaching/managing teams than working in the media.
    How many of them in fact hold the relevant FA coaching badges?
    That’s not to say individual pundits aren’t right some of the time.

  2. “Arsenal’s front three are as good as any in the Premier League, on a par with Manchester City and Liverpool without a doubt, but great attackers rely on service.
    “It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not getting the ball you’re not going to score. It’s a simple as that.”

    “A large portion of Raheem Sterling’s goals are close-range tap-ins because of Manchester City’s ability and vision to find him in good positions.
    “You can’t imagine that happening at Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe have to do everything themselves.”

    “With a lack of service Arsenal are reliant on their strikers scoring brilliant goals week in, week out, but that’s not going to happen all the time.
    “That’s going to be the problem.

    “Unai Emery has missed a trick with a midfield player.
    “The only solution I see would be to play the front three with Mesut Ozil in the hole behind them and have two holding in front of the back four.
    “The four attackers can get on with scoring goals and then the rest can try and keep them out at the other end.”

    That’s the whole stuffs he had to say about getting our attack right, why didn’t you post the complete statement and trying to make it sound as though he doesn’t know what he’s saying?
    What’s with the pundits talk this n that and don’t know stuff talk?
    He made the biggest point.
    Best thing to do is to play pair of Guendouzi/Torreria and David Luis/Willock with Ceballos or Ozil as the Cam in front of them just behind our attack and we’ll be good.
    Xhaka shouldn’t have a place in this team.
    Sentiments aside, Merson made a whole lot of sense in everything he said

  3. Unai Emery must be more attacking against the top six teams. We can’t play with 3dm ever again. There must be a creative midfielder to feed our strikers. The strength of this team is in it’s attack. Therefore, we must strategize and play to our strength always.It about time Ozil feature when fully fit behind a front three of Auba,Laca and Pepe,he has the skills and experience. Forget his defensive weakness and look at the creativity he brings to the attack. In the other 2 midfielders Guendozi b2b and Toriera dm sitting in front of the back 4.Ceballos should also be used more frequently, in the same role as Ozil.Come on gunners.

  4. Guendouzi is a talented midfielder but neither he or torriera are solid enough to protect the defense .
    A midfield pair of guendouzi and torriera will easy get bullied against a physical team..
    The truth is that our strength lies in our attack , trying to defend when we can’t is very suicidal. Its best Emery plays to the teams strength and try to fix our underlying problems over the next couple of transfer windows

  5. I have believed for years that
    30% of goals come from luck
    30% are scored from basic errors by the defense.
    20 % are scored by moments of individual brilliance.
    20% are from creativity and team understanding.
    Also where do we value goals scored by teams much
    better than their opponent from the outset?

    1. Merson does talk rubbish and in this case to call Guendouzi a “holding” player is nonsense .He is a talented creative box to box player with energy to burn who creates space for his team mates when he drives forward with the ball.Liverpool, who are the best side I have seen this season,play a defensive midfield anchor,Fabinho, who is flanked by two industrious box to box midfielders.Their “creativity ” comes from their attacking full backs and their deep lying centre forward.They are doing well with this system because they have high quality centre backs who rarely make schoolboy mistakes like Messrs,Sokratis and Luiz.We lose games because of the poor quality of our defenders aided by Dhaka who is neither one thing or another.I rarely listen to Pundits but I do like Andy Townsend who usually speaks a lot of sense.

      1. XHAKA should not be in the first team squad he is the biggest liability we have had giving penalties away on a regular basis we cannot afford him in the team

  6. Why is emery not playing chambers in dm? He did really well last season at Fulham playing at dm position. This manager is an idiot sometimes.

    Beat lineup for me when all fit is;

    Bellerin holding luiz tierney
    Chambers toreira

    No team is gonna bully chambers and toreira easily. He’s fast strong and has good ball control. Not great but much better than Xhaka.

    1. Luiz is error prone and should not be there, pairing Chambers with toreira is not the best because there won’t be drive from the midfield but pairing chambers and Guendouzi will be good, the rest of your collection are nice

  7. Its pretty obvious to me that : play more creative players / less defensive when up against games we are expected to win and more defensive players aginst better teams until when we need to attack , need a goal.

  8. Yes Merson is usually derogatory towards Arsenal but it may be that he feels that because he was a player for us and doesn’t want to show preference towards us,personally i would rather listen to Andy Townsend who always gives a clear and honest view on all things football,I find Gary Neville is quite entertaining although i do not always agree with him,but pundits are much the same as us who write on these websites, they are just giving an opinion.

    1. Perhaps admin should start paying us as well Toomogun58!!!

      Totally agree, it,s all opinions and one can take it or leave it.

  9. Yes Ken,the difference is that they get paid,we do not,easy money really, i doubt Merson cares what we think,he was a great player though.

    1. He was a very good player. He was never a great player. So many merely good or even very good players are misguidedly hyped into being “great” players. MERSE WAS NOT GREAT. And you should know that! Bergkamp and Henry were great. Merse was way below their level, if you care about truth!

  10. I understand Arsen has said he will be back in the dugout soon and one fan tweeted that the bronze statue is a long time coming,I must agree,the latter part of his time here was sad really and I was at times very critical of his obstinance in not changing the way his teams played,but he was the manager that gave me the best years of watching this great club from whence he came up until the invincibles,we will never see the likes again,I hope the Kroenke’s do not stand in the way of this,he was the greatest manager I have ever seen in club football for a time even eclipsing sir Alex and he should be honoured as such with that statue.

  11. Depending on the team we want to play should also determine the players to select, eg playing man city with their formation is different from playing Watford .

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