Arsenal have the talent, but where is the character and the bravery?

Arsenal Not Brave Enough At The Etihad by Dan Smith

Arteta has openly admitted the size of the gap between us and Man City, but has also stressed the standards of the club. As a former Arsenal captain himself, he will know that losing at the Etihad only by a small deficit can’t ever be seen as a positive.

To be a big club you have to think like a big club, and a big club simply don’t tolerate defeats.
Why though in the summer I tried to play down ridiculous talk of a title challenge and what can only be called arrogant predictions of us lifting the Champions League inside three years, is because I want our manager to be given the time to take little steps. Irrational expectations won’t allow him that time. This will be a gradual progress with little steps at a time.

Mistakes will happen. You have to go through some lows to get to an eventual high. We have a coach still in his rookie year so he’s learning all the time himself.

The next target for the Gunners has to be having the bravery to throw the kitchen sink when required, something that never happened this weekend or at Anfield.

Any new manager at a club often prioritises organising things defensively as that lets him build a foundation.

We saw in the FA Cup Semi Final and Final this group of players defend in a manner many thought they were incapable of.

That’s become our blue print away at the ‘big 6’; let them have the possession and hit them on the break. Yet it needs adapting.

That tactic works fine if you score first, but that’s obviously not always going to happen when you go to the big grounds. We have shown bravery in terms of being able to dig in, but bravery isn’t just measured in tackling or heading a ball away. Who’s brave enough to demand the ball? To try something different? To take on their man.

I don’t doubt our attacking talent, but I do in terms of their personality.

One of the biggest over-reaction I saw since winning the cup was the current crop compared to members of the Invincibles. How Auba is the 2020 version of Henry, Pepe the equivalent of Pires, Laca was somehow Bergkamp.

I assumed this fan maybe was too young to remember, but what makes a Henry, Viera, Ljungberg, etc, legends wasn’t just their skill.

You can take any individual and point to some great moments they have. The truly special players rarely go missing. If they need to show up and fight, they fight.

That remains my argument when we need a goal and I see the likes of Eddie, Willock or Reiss Nelson come on. I just look at their body language and am not convinced they believe they have the X Factor.

I still maintain that with 10 minutes to go, Ozil remains our most likely option in terms of creating that one big opportunity.

Even at our lowest you would always associate Arsenal with, if nothing else, is being able to make chances.

I would say Luiz was the only one in the end demanding the ball and trying to force something. He’s our centerback!

Worse, every encouragement was there that we could make chances. If Leeds and Leicester can make chances against Pep’s men then so should we, especially in a season where the art of defending seems to have died.

No KDB, Aguero not 100 percent fit, Sterling not 100 percent fit! Yet we didn’t have the character to take advantage.

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith


  1. I feel like we made the chances, but the problem was in efficiency. You can’t expect to get more than 3 big chances versus Man City. It is even irresponsible to ask for more than 3, because even they used the little they created.

    1. Dan, agree with you totally; however the players you are comparing are not in the same league. Viera, Gilberto Silva, Pires and Ljungberg went toe to toe with great Manchester United midfields under Alex Ferguson. As for Bergkamp and Henry we are talking about the two greatest players to possibly wear the shirt. These players could play you off the park, or if they were forced to get down and play hard.
      Can you imagine what Roy Keane and his United team would do to this lot?
      Hopefully Arteta is explaining how the football world works and get them to toughen up, fight hard for every ball and be clinical with every scoring chance they get. Mental and physical toughness must be combined with footballing talent.

  2. I think the character is there but the bravery is hindered by the manager.

    I want to take you back to when brendan Rodgers was the manager at Liverpool. Liverpool was not the best team but that front 3 was feared. They played fearless football. You knew when liverpool come to town they were there to score goals and often had ridiculous score lines like 4,-3, 3-3. With arsenal now we are not feared. Especially in this new negative system. I was to see a change and see arsenal make and take more chances and win some games with high score lines. J think this would change the way teams see us and teams approach us l. Also playing from the back is crap

  3. Considering where we are as a team, how far we fell from, challenging for the title, top 4 and then 8th. Our decline means, from a realistic view is that we cannot go to places ( top6 ) and expect a win.

    what he said was right, if we go back pre MA, we would have got slaughtered.
    We now go to these places with optimism, both fans and the team that we can get a result.
    We are still short in terms of being able to match these teams, but going there and losing 1-0 and the fact we were always in the game ( my opinion )is positive and we can build on that, TP got just over 5 mins, so we have him to come in and some of our CB’s are coming back from injury so now that the season is really getting underway with UCL and UEL starting soon, we should see some more improvements on what we already have achieved, I just call patients!

    1. Yes we are more better but more boring against big teams.. We always defend against top sides.. When will we match them like leeds and Aston villa did?

  4. Willian should not of played through the middle. Lacazette scored in his last 3 league games. 2 strikers on the bench, kinda hints at negativity,or fear. Last 20 should of gone for it more. But………they have to visit us so let’s see.

  5. Arteta is the problem,,, it’s time we do away with this negative football of his,,,, people complain of Pepe or any other players, are saying Leeds United have better player than us… Is time to change tactics ,,,,we have players with good pace but no midfield to release them while most teams are making good use of their players with good pace…. Arsenal were know for good football and creating chances but these days nothing like that….

  6. Agreed I think Aubameyang on the wing right now is a complete waste of his talents! I love Arteta but he has got to start let us play with more attacking confidence. We HAVE good attacking players just need to fit them in better positions maybe drop William into midfield he’s tidy in tight spaces and has an eye for a pass. But leave Aubameyang up top! HE IS A GOALSCORER!

  7. Arteta want to play safe, he doesn’t believe he has the capability to beat big teams.

    As someone rightly said, ozil remains our best creative midfielder. Arteta should swallow his pride and find a way to reunite him to the team since he could not find a creative player in the transfer window.

    His 3 @ the back tactics means we are sort by one player either in the attack or @ the middle.

    A midfield of ozil, partey and ceballos will balance the team and our attack will get more passes.

    Xhaka and elneny are specialist in backward and side passes. Such players cannot help the attack, they only put more pressure on the defence.

  8. The only reason Arsenal did not get at least a point in the Liverpool and City matches is because of Mike Ateta’s predictability. Pep and Klop already know how arsenal was going to line up,and as such came up with ideal strategy which countered Arsenal’s system perfectly well. Other smaller teams will soon find a way to crack up Arsenal’s pattern of play if nothing is changed. We have got a bit of reinforcement in the defence and also a bit of steel in the midfield: so,it is expected that we should tweak the pattern of play sometimes depending on the opponent.

    EPL is endowed with many talented and smart managers,and as such,you cannot rely on only one system of play without being cracked up with time,unless you have a heavily talented and world class squad like Liverpool of last season.

    Nonetheless, Mikel is a young,smart,and intelligent manager who has done very well with the little under his disposal: he is still learning and for sure will learn and adjust with time.

  9. Completely agree. The number of attempts on goal for Arsenal compare with those ranked 14-20th in the table last year.

    We also go with a defensive mindset to the big teams, not believing that we can force a result. Leicester 5-2 vs. MCI and Aston Villa 7-2 vs. LIV, all Leeds games, you get to see fearless football. Won’t be surprised if these 3 do well beyond expectations this year.

    Arsenal have a very long way to go.

  10. Your analysis is on point! I think Arteta needs to chin up now. He has the personnel to do so. The negativity of playing not to lose and “maybe win” is not good from Arteta. Leno’s ball distribution needs to change. I keep saying the Martinez style is the best. I agree with you that Ozil should always come in, but to me, as a 30 minutes sub to create chances for the forwards. Arteta should not over-dramatize his shortcomings. Since we could not bring in Oauar, I feel strongly that Ozil should be given chances. We have a better defensive setting now so bringing in Ozil is very necessary.

  11. Stop deceiving yourselves, we were Never in the game against City. Arteta is Negative, our midfield can’t give passed that our forwards can ran unto, did you see the passed Fernandez was spraying around left, right and centre? Wenger’s first 10 years was great because he was fearless and it was infectious to the players. Be brave and attack. I don’t see us winning a game like the 7-2 villa beat Liverpool. Not even the so called lesser teams, talk less of the big teams.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs