Arsenal can’t win if we can’t get the team sheet right

Is Arteta repeating his predecessor’s mistakes? by ThirdmanJW

For as many years as I care to remember, one of the most frustrating things about being an Arsenal fan is seeing the team sheet pre-kickoff. It’s such a deflating experience, and especially when you’ve been waiting over 3 months to see one!

Ask any fan, the team sheet is always the first port of call. It gives us a chance to debate, assess, and more often than not for Arsenal fans, complain about our prospects. It’s a real mood changer, and all before a ball has even been kicked.

It’s quite amazing how often our already slim chances of success suddenly plummet once the team sheet is released. As if the white flag is being raised! Time and time again, our team sheets consist of: Players in the wrong positions; players in shocking form, players that aren’t even suited to the system and/or the opponent, and players that have little or no ability.

Wenger was obviously the main culprit, but it’s been so annoying that the mistakes he made were then repeated by Emery, and now Arteta. I don’t want to be too hard on Emery, given what he inherited, and even less so with Arteta, as he hasn’t been here long and hasn’t made a single permanent signing yet. That said, it’s still very concerning.

Arteta clearly hasn’t got a lot to work with, so why make it harder for yourself? Auba is arguably the deadliest striker in the league, and yet he still cannot get a game up front in a rubbish team! Saka has been in unbelievable form, and I get the decision to bring Tierney in, but why put Saka on the right? Has he even played there before? Despite Pepe’s form slowly improving, he is once again an unused sub…why? Martinelli wasn’t used either! What did Arteta expect, when his two best outfield players (and by some distance), are out of position, and you have the likes of Mustafi, Bellerin, Xhaka, Guendouzi, and Willock all starting? Not to mention, the clown Luiz coming in from the bench.

I can only hope that Arteta already knew City away was a lost cause, and he’s saving everyone for the Brighton game. Although there will be serious questions if it’s another bizarre team sheet for that game as well. At least we already know that Luiz definitely will not play in that game. So that’s one positive already!



  1. A fee things stood out for me in that city game.

    1. Poor team selection
    2. Lack of ruthlessness from the manager
    3. Poor fitness
    4.lack of strategy

    No.1 this speaks for its self

    No.2 as this article talks about. Why is auba not upfront. Why are poor players or players who are making mistakes getting chances. You don’t see this kind of thing from managers like mourinho and I firmly beleive if this continues in such a manner fingers will be pointed at arteta but the end if the season.

    3. City looked alot sharper than we did. I would like to see arsenal go back to basics. Get fit so our players do not get injured and play some route 1 football. Auba is lightning quick and deadly play him up front and defend with 9 guys and let him run on to some balls. Maybe get the wingers involved a like but against teams like city let’s get a nice big red bus. If we can start picking up a point or so in games like this perfect. I saw some stats saying he have lost more games against the top 6 than any other team since 2016 I think it was.

    4. See above. It’s all well and good learning new things after arteta. But mate. The basics are just not there. God knows what our teams game plan is. I just gave up like so many other arsenal games. We are crap.

    Back to basics please arteta.

  2. Unless there are reasons like injuries,fitness….we don’t know about I didn’t get the selection,I thought that with Tierney back Saka would play as left winger and Auba as a center forward?

  3. It hasn’t taken long for Arsenal fans to slag off Arteta for his team selection but of course we know better than our professional Manager who works closely with these players on a daily basis.Apart from playing Sak a on the right wing, I would not criticise Arteta.Who can legislate for injuries for example to Xhaka and more importantly Mari.For the first 30 mins we did pretty well and had it not been for the interventions of Luis, who was the only fit centre back available on the bench we just might have escaped with a point from City.The absence of top quality at DM and CB is a heavy burden for a team Manager to bear.Fitness issues deprived us of Torreria and even Chambers for a DM who could have been allocated to shackle KDB and with Sokratis and Holding not available Arteta had limited resources available.As to the clamour to play Auba at CF, like Henry, he scores a lot of his goals through the lines on the left.He is not capable when it comes to holding the ball and linking up play for others and never will be.First game back after lockdown was always going to be difficult but as fans we should not overreact to a defeat from a top class side, a defeat which was always likely.

    1. AS ever sound perspective and sensible comments from GRANDAD. Some on here seem to imagine that Arteta has many world class players in the squad just waiting not to be picked, so that he can choose to pick so many of our distinctly moderate to poor players in their place. Guess what guys; we don’t have them! Wake up and smell the coffee please!
      To my mind Arsenals most important asset of ALL just now is the fact that we have a real proper and totally professional manager. With just a few player exceptions you could well argue he is our only TRUE professional in EVERY sense of that word.

    2. Honestly I liked artetas choice. Young , no Luiz (at first), saka on, Tierney on, willock on. Willock was scoring for fun in the friendlies as was Nketiah. It was high risk but in the context of Covid, when all the old players would likely be less fit, I thought it made a lot of sense.

  4. A lot to complain about, but may I remind you all that you guys are not in position to comment on team selection and tactics. The gaffer and his team has analyze, strategized, train and plan on different methods before each match day, it’s football and could go either way, the fact that things went south in some games doesn’t mean there the plan was wrong or give us liberty to put down those prematch effort.
    I understand MA want a combative striker, that can break opposition attack from the front, disturb defense and hold up, lacca would have been the perfect guy for the job but unfortunately he already lost his confidence b4 MA arrived. AUBA is too lazy for that system.
    As for Saka, I saw what the manager wanted him to do, he only did it once and can improve on it, (cutting in and making those across) .
    I was only skeptical about Willock and I don’t seem to understand what all those manager see in him, I can only guess he is the next creative mf we have apart from Ozil. Probably the reason why everyone is frustrated at Ozil performance, as we don’t have any other, Pls tell d guy to step up or go so we can use his 18m get a better creative guy who will do the job

    1. Willock fared pretty well in the friendlies and with Ozil out, I guess he was the next option…. he is hit and miss, but who else is there? We all know we ain’t challenging with certain individuals in the team… not being horrible, just honest!!

      1. For me, the line up simply had too many youngsters to stand a chance. Nketiah, Willock, Saka, Guendouzi…all those 4 cannot start together unless its a Europa game.

        I’d have tried:
        LW Saka CF Auba RW Martinelli
        LM Xhaka CAM Pepè RM Ceballos

        1. I understand QD how you feel and a balance of youth and experience is vital. The trouble is that our experienced players haven’t exactly set the world on fire. Xhaka-not everyone’s cup of tea, nor Mustafi or Sokratis. Lacazette hasn’t had the best of seasons and Luiz with all his experience had a howler and Ozil wasn’t even fit enough to play.
          This paints a dreadful picture of what Arteta has to deal with and I don’t envy him with the choices available.

          1. @SueP
            True, it was a difficult choice. I just hope MA can steer us out of midtable mediocrity and land us a top 6 finish. Upamecano+Saliba and a midfield overhaul will go a long way next season.

        2. I have to say I was a little surprised, QD…..we’re stuck in a rut though, with these injuries, fitness issues, MA may have no option but to play some of them…. and we can all watch from behind our sofas!!! And bloody hope the TW hurries up and opens 😆

          1. Am also waiting for the TW so that we can overhaul the team especially the midfield. Too many passengers.

          2. About time we had a bit of good luck on our side, QD… we’ve had so much crap to contend with over the last year or so (or maybe more!!) Getting fed up with it!!
            Will you be watching the Mancs later? I bet you’ve missed The Stand!!! Surely they should beat the spuds!

          3. @Sue
            I don’t think I’ll watch the Tottenham V Man Utd game. Probably will just watch the highlights.

  5. Not everyone was happy with the starting 11, but you’ve got to feel for Arteta… there’s only so much he can do… we’re not City! We don’t have world class players in every position, as well as a world class bench!! Bar 1 or 2, we’re pretty average!

    Against Brighton, I hope we see Martinelli… one thing though, I don’t like Auba out wide….

    1. Sue, we do not have world class players, but we do have players drawing world class wages!
      Our seniors combined – Laca, Ozil, Pepe, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Mustafi, Socrates, Bellerin have been utterly useless this season, all on mega wages.
      Arteta throws in the kids in a big away match, against some of the finest footballers in Europe, we lost 3-0. And all the three goals were mistakes of the “seniors” – Mustafi and Luiz. That put pressure on the kids, but they did not collapse, playing with 10 men, common give the lads the credit!
      I find it rather strange that there are so many fans slating the coach and junior players while accepting the rubbish performances from the seniors. Are not the seniors responsible for this mess?Are they not the ones paid to give us UCL football, what for and why are they complaining? The kids did not have a great game, understand, but how many great games have the seniors had this year? Next to zero! Yet the kids get slated every time.
      I think Arteta was bold to drop Ozil and hope he stays away from the Brighton pitch.
      I want to see Arteta more vocal, intimidating and strict with these erring millionaires and show them the door.I’d rather be happy in 10th spot with the juniors gelling together this season with the new coach rather than being 9th making a privileged few millionaires. Get rid of the dross and trash accumulated over the years.

      1. Yes and that is what is killing us! Didn’t Josh say we’re paying Champions league wages on a Europa league budget!! There is the problem.. we should never have given Ozil that wage… that is why all the oldies want to come to us – the wonga!!
        I am not slating Arteta, I’m behind him, he has a hell of a job on his hands to get us back to where we should be. A job that I certainly wouldn’t want!
        We, once again, need a bloody good clear out…. as we’re going nowhere fast…. and that is not down to Arteta!

        1. Also, Igot, the usual suspects (certain seniors) costing us and being pretty hopeless goes without saying!!

      2. WELL SAID AND HOW REFRESHING TO HEAR THIS PLAIN TRUTH WRIT LARGE AND CLEAR. We badly need almost all the older and long standing demotivated slackers and clowns out the door today. Years ago would have been far better still for the longer staying ones, like fraud Ozil, weed Bellerin and statue Xhaka, not to even mention the three infamous clowns playing as so called CB’s. Future hopes lie with our numerous talented youngsters.
        Of the older late twenties and early thirties players I would keep ONLY Leno and Auba, even if it meant playing as yet untried kids in their place.

  6. I think next season, we need to switch to a 4-3-3 formation. Do away with a CAM completely. It’s working for City and Liverpool and I think it can work for us too.

  7. I would have loved to see the line up the writer of this article would’ve picked. How many games did we win with this senior player you would have wanted to see on the field? Except playing Auba wide and Saka on the right, I was happy when I saw the line up, for ones, MA was bold enough to give the young and hungry some time to prove themselves which they did pretty well until the injury to Xhaka and of course the introduction of the calamity defender who has caused us more points than anyone this season. You and I know that if Ozil was fit enough to play, he was always missing in such game, Laca has been a player I personally want out of the club and Pepe? A waste of money. Who would you have played and in what position?

    1. Do you not think it’s absolutely ridiculous that our best player, and one of the best strikers in all of Europe cannot even get a game upfront in our rubbish team? What other big club would do that? Spend a huge amount of money on a world class player, and not even play them in their best position. It’s farcical! Even Nketiah is ahead of Auba in the pecking order.

      That is the first, and most obvious change I would have made. Auba upfront!

  8. “ Wenger was the main culprit “
    Absolutely laughable .
    And in the same paragraph you once again back up Emery ,who let’s be honest was a absolute joke of a manager .
    1 game back and you have the knives out already .
    “Although there will be serious questions if it’s another bizarre team sheet for that game as well”-as quoted by you .
    Just Another fan telling us that he thinks he knows more than our manager .

    1. The joke is Arsene Charles Ernest Wenger. 8-2; 6-0, 6-3, 15-0 and what not.Paid Ozil for 350K – joke no.1 ; letting go core players – joke no 2 ; hiring Xhaka instead of Kante joke no 3; Many more jokes which are too painful to type.Although I despised Unai for his continued selection of Xhaka, one penalty goal by Xhaka and one miss by Auba ruined his chances of giving us UCL after 2 rubbish seasons of Wenger. Unai stood up to Ozil, and nobody supported him and he lost the dressing room due to the ugly player power. Ask Freddie a question or two about his time as caretaker. Now Arteta has found out the truth about that Ozil fella.
      Arteta set his team for a point, but sending Luiz or Socrates would have resulted in goals.
      Arteta needs to go if cannot get results, plain and simple. We do have better reserve players than Wolves and Sheff Utd, pick the right players and right strategy.Who cares if they are demigods to some or youngsters. We need three points end of the match and that is what he is paid to do.If it is too hard a task, WALK!

      1. Wenger -3 premiership titles
        -7 fa cups
        -1 invincibles
        Emery-misses out on UCL because Xhaka misses penalty
        I know which I would prefer 🤔

      2. Loose Cannon,
        I was with you until the last paragraph.
        You are being excessively hasty on Arteta after the first game back after a long lay off. Let us all wait and see what happens when all the other games kick off and see how rusty etc the other teams are.
        Suggesting that having presided over a handful of games with a very mediocre team he should be given the Order of the Boot if he doesn’t have immediate results would be counterproductive. I cannot understand why so soon into his tenure that you are virtually wishing for his head

        1. Because he is ruining talents like Gabriel, AMN by benching them, Saka playing him out of position. Selecting Xhaka, (even a cruise liner can do a U turn seamlessly).And the list goes on.
          Hope he redeems himself with the right selection and brutally finish off Brighton with a thumping win.
          Bench : Laca, Willock, Kolasinac, Cabellos, Eddie, Mustafi

    2. @Dan kit

      Wenger WAS the main culprit, because of how long he was at the club, and the fact that every player was one of his.

      According to you though, Emery inherited a fantastic squad of players, both in ability and mentality, and with the knowledge of defending. Hahaha!

      What planet are you on?

      1. According to you though Emery was an exceptionally coach .
        Emery -12 players signed in 18 months ,but yea let’s still blame Wenger.
        Try supporting the club rather than trying to put it down every opportunity you get.
        So much negativity .

        1. Lets put this to bed once and for all Dan kit. You seem to have this confused obsession about me loving Emery. Clearly made up by you, if you had been reading my comments during his time here.

          I defended Emery’s first and only full season, and I still do. He slightly overachieved. I heavily criticized his second season, and wanted him gone before he went, so I am not sure what you’re on about. As per usual with you, it’s lies!

          You also seemed to be under this deluded impression, that the very second Wenger left, suddenly none of our problems had nothing to do with him. There were major consequences to Wenger’s actions, that have and will last for years!

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