Arsenal have two points more than last season – Is that progress?

The league table makes it hard to support the process. by Konstantin Mitov

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so happy I didn’t watch that Liverpool game, because I would’ve lost it. I’d like to not spend too much time on analysing another game we just slept through, and focus on another matter, are we making progress? And how are we measuring it?
Stats can be funny sometimes, as after 30 games last season we were again 10th and again had a goal difference of +5 and a total point tally of 40, two less than the 42 we have today. But if we go back to the 18/19 season after 30 games we were 4th with a point tally of 60 and a goal difference of +24. Such stats would see us 3rd, level on points with United with a very good chance of a top 4 finish.
We eventually finished 5th that year, last year we were 8th and so far we are 10th. There are a lot of stats that people can throw out like number of crosses, corners, possession percentages and so on, but in the end of the season, which does draw near, it’s the number of trophies and the league position that really count for me.
The Europa league is our last chance to salvage something from a pretty forgettable season, and I don’t think displays like Saturday will get us anywhere near there. We were hit by some injuries, but were they the real issue? No, and we just can’t go with that card. In fact, we’ve got a big squad and I would say one of the better injury records in recent years, so what is it then? Why haven’t we moved upwards of where we were a year ago?
We got rid of Ozil, who was a problem, Mustafi is out, yet our defence isn’t that great anyway. Arteta was given money to buy Thomas Partey and Gabriel, it’s not like seasons where we’ve only signed a keeper. Is it time to accept that criticism should go towards the manager, or does that make us negative and not fans of the club?
The truth is Mikel Arteta has made a number of mistakes and continues to repeat some of them. His biggest downfall is playing his favourite players. Aubameyang has been awful since signing a new deal. We stick with him though, which costs us now 2 games in a row again and that is after Arteta himself declared publicly that he had discipline issues, by not arriving on time.
We dropped him for the NLD and won the game, because we had players who care. The ridiculous deal we gave him makes him impossible to move on, and that should’ve been taken into account for a player above 30 when giving him a massive 3 year deal. Same goes with another Arteta favourite – Willian. He played far too long, and the moment he was dropped the squad actually improved. Then we have Martinelli who barely plays and in the rare minutes he gets, he looks miles better.
Another critical mistake is trying to play a style of football our players aren’t capable of. The amount of mistakes we’ve made ourselves that have led to goals in our net are ridiculous and Arteta has acknowledged that we must clear them out, but that hasn’t really happened. We continue to try playing out the back and we constantly suffer when put under pressure, because we can’t do it. We are not Man City and we can’t solve all our problems by throwing money, we need to be smart.
I must say Arteta’s man management has been mostly poor. Certain players are held to incredibly high standards while others get a free pass no matter how they perform. Laca was dropped after scoring in each of our opening 3 games, because he missed the chance to equalise for us at Liverpool, and I already made a point about Martinellli, Willian and Auba.
His half time talks hardly make an impact on the game. It’s easy to forget it was 0-0 at half time against Liverpool, yet we continued to play poorly, despite being dominated in the first half. We are also generally late with the subs. Too often we wait till minute 80 to give a player the chance to impact the game. Ten minutes are hardly enough to judge a player coming from the bench, but that’s what some of our players get.
There’s the argument that Arteta has given us some wins against the big 6 and while that is true, it’s used completely out of context. We won at Old Trafford 1-0 thanks to a penalty and that was the first time since 2006 and that was great. Afterwards though it took us I think 8 or 9 games before we won a league game again. That set the tone for our entire season. We won at Leicester 3:1, which was again great and failed to follow it up with a win at Burnley which left us too far behind again. We beat Tottenham and then went down 3-0 to West Ham  in half an hour and played some of the worst football I’ve seen in a while. In the end we drew 3:3, but if we were focused we could’ve won and pushed our momentum on.
Point is one good sprint isn’t enough to win a marathon and that’s what the league is. In the cups though, those one offs that have won Arteta an FA cup, which was great, but we fell into the short-sightedness pitfall again. We ignored the fact that we finished 8th and were inconsistent in the league and that hasn’t changed.
I fully support my thesis that the players we have aren’t good enough, but they are better than 10th for sure. I just don’t think this manager can take the best out of them, and we don’t have the funds to make wholesale changes. Even if we did, I don’t trust Arteta with the decisions.
Willian was a mistake, so was Aubameyang’s contract and who let Martinez leave again? Leno has been poor this season, yet we let go a keeper who did great for us. Since the squad needs too much to be fixed we are hardly buying a new keeper, though we should. Arteta decided to extend the loan of Ceballos who’s been dreadful as well and he continues to support Xhaka in our midfield.
If I’m the manager he’d be the first name on the transfer sheet. If we want to improve and cut out the mistakes, we must start by shipping out the players who do it the most and I can’t think of any other than Xhaka that’s cost us so much.
In the end we are 2 points better than where we were last year at 30 games, in the same 10th place with the same GD of +5, and we are one round further in the EL. To me, relying on a cup competition to determine your entire season isn’t the way to go. I’d be extremely happy if we win it, but I fear that we’ve won 4 FA cups in recent times and not once has that moved us forwards towards a real push for something big like the League or the CL, and I think it will only paper over the cracks.

For me, in the best interest of this football club we need to reevaluate Arteta’s contract in the end of the season and give him a chance only, and I really mean only, if the Europa League trophy sits in the Emirates trophy cabinet or else we are risking having the exact same conversation this time next year.



Tags Arteta Emery


  1. Fully support your views Konstantin.

    This is what we get, people cried Wenger out and now have got what they wanted.

    Reap what you sow.

  2. Really you’ve hit the nail on the head! I doubt if we can really make progress with Arteta as the Manager!

  3. This squad is good enough to be fighting for top 4 ,I don’t care what anybody says .
    He has been unlucky with injuries and the pathetic VAR calls but he can’t hide behind them excuses for the rest of the games where we have failed miserably to even look like we wanted to be out there playing ,the Liverpool match was pathetic to say the least and Artetas tactics was kindergarten stuff

    1. Dan kit, yet Emery wasn’t unlucky with the injuries the squad incurred? At one stage he had so many defenders injured, Xhaka played in the back four.

      1. But this Article is about Arteta buddy not Emery and if you read my full post you will see I didn’t use the Injures as an excuse for this disappointing season .
        As for Emery he couldn’t organise a p1ss up in a brewery let alone a football team .

        1. Dan kit, there are a lot of eminent football professionals and experts, who disagree with your assessment of Emery. It will be interesting to see who progresses further in the Europa League, Arteta or Emery.

          1. I’m not interested in Emery mate ,its fine if that floats your boat but he’s history here and good riddance I say ,so I’m not interested one bit what he does at other clubs as I support Arsenal and he failed here big time .

    2. Dan Kit , could be buying you an Arsenal shirt soon so you no I got a lot of time for you lol but what do you base your opinion on that this squad is good enough to be in top 4 ?
      Keeper – makes too many mistakes
      Defense – average
      Midfield – zero creativity
      how many of our players would get in say a Man United or Chelsea 11

      1. I would say Saka ,Martinelli ,partney ,Auba ,TIerney ,Leno ESR would easily get into them 2 sides. .
        Your question should have been how many would get into West Ham’s side seeing they are in 4 th

        1. Yeah but it not just West Ham we have to be better then to finish 4th , for example Liverpool
          Out of interest then give me a combined Arsenal /Chelsea 11 then Manu
          Interested who you would leave out
          Then we can compare
          I’ll start working on mine now

  4. Two points better off at this point of the season is progress of a sort. The fact we are lower down the table, out of both domestic cups, not playing any better, still woth massive problems, still looking a mess and not at the end of the season to judge our position. I dont think the owner is that ambitious or he would have sacked Aren’t for doing so poor.

  5. It’s not, but let’s hold all judgement until we get kicked out of EL. Unless you don’t care if your articles/ comments demoralize the team, as long as Arteta gets fired immediately

  6. For Konstantin
    Normally I called you a pessimist. But on this occasion I agree with everything you say except for 2 points:
    a) I believe the players we have are good enough following the clearout. There are some very good loan players who need to be brought back such as Saliba, Mavropanos and controversially Guendouzi (the boy/man has fight in him which is lacking in other midfielders except for Xhaka even though Xhaka is not good enough).
    b) Arteta should stay till Dec as stated by GAI in earlier posts for 3 reasons:-
    i) Trophies or league position is not a measure of progress. Has he changed the rotten culture in our club? In my view yes to a small extent.
    ii) If we change the manager, the new manager will want his own set of players which means further investment when we have already invested enough as stated correctly in your article.
    iii) If we wait till Dec it is more economical to sack him if he does not produce next season (and I do not mean results: a clear fusion of defence, midfield and forwards PLUS a brand of football that is worth watching and not the drab negative rubbish that we have had to put with UE and MA.).

  7. I think you missed one point. Last year, the dressing room was already a lost cause. This year, the spirits are high…………for mid table mediocrity.

    Now that the media is scoping on us again, Arteta will need to pull a worldie to save his job.

    1. The spirit is high?!?!?!?
      Where exactly was that spirit against Liverpool then?
      The team got crucified for showing lack of spirit after the Chelsea humiliation in the Europa league final and yet we saw a player, after yet another home humiliation, laughing and joking with the opposing manager.
      If spirits are “high” after the defeats we have suffered so far, the players will be jumping over the moon if we manage a draw on Thursday.

      1. hey Ken, i was being sarcastic on that end. It was meant to mimic what Arteta said on the morale of the squad in the locker room.

  8. That was as poor a performance as i have seen in my lifetime as a gooner, there is something amiss here, I want to stand by Mikel but the senior players in that team on saturday did not look as if they wanted to play for him,and whatever happens now and if that is the case he may as well resign now because that is the beginning of the end,if he has lost that dressing room get used to these performances. Auba looks like he wants to be somewhere else,Pepe is not good enough for the demands of the prem,Ceballos makes more passes to the opposition than Arsenal players and looks like a sunday league player,I could go on, just before half time I said to the wife there is only one team going to score in this game and we will fold sooner or later you could see it happening before your very eyes, that was a disgrace and Liverpool didn’t even have to play that well to beat them,I don’t know what will happen next but and I am not sure that Arteta has got the personality to lift these players and get them playing for him again.

    1. You should read what Gary Neville had to say after the match which pretty much backs up what you have just written Tommo.
      He said the front 6 looked like a mafia .
      The problem is has Arteta brought this on himself ..I think he’s part of the problem but half that team at the weekend do not deserve to wear our shirt .spineless springs to mind
      This could and probably should be the end of Artetas reign

      1. Too many highly paid, so called “professional” footballers at Arsenal FC, have no understanding of what being “professional” truly means.

  9. For me it’s simple, if we win EL this season than Arteta should be kept but if we don’t then it should be seen as failure and we need to move on. The club as big as Arsenal should hold high standards and they need to win something every year. If the club does not demand success from manager and players than there won’t be any reason for both to push on. Some ppl are driven by personal motivation but some have to be informed now or than what we need from them.

  10. I believe the oposite would be smarter.

    If we secure any form of European football, we have a chance to attract a decent manager (perhaps) to replace Arteta.

    If we fail to secure European football we would not ba able to attract a decent manager because he would have no funds to speak of to rebuild a weak squad. In which case we might as well hope Arteta comes good.

    Although I am hugly dissapointed with our results, I see a much clearer identity than under Emery. We are generaly well organized. However, the players that we have are not much above midtable level so it will be hard to lift us above midtable for any manager.

    I would give Arteta an other season simply because I am not convinced he has failed given the sterength of or squad. He might very well be a good manager. He might very well fail. I was sure Emery was not going to be a very good manager for us toward the end of his spell. With Arteta, for me the jury is still out and I will give him time.

    A number of the problem players are not of his making and our lack of finacial power is also not of his making.

    He is forced to keep players he proably doesn’t rate too high and he is prevented from buying the players he knows he needs (Aour). This process takes time.

    Anyone who thought we would easily walk into the top 4 was not being realistic IMO about the quality of our squad.

    So if you want to replace Arteta do it when you have serious reason to believe the new manager is better. Not with an other long shot manager. If you get Brendan Rodgers maybe, but don’t go for a manager who has never managed a big club or has never managed in the PL.
    Managers who have managed a big club will demand a rebuilding budget and will want to play European football. If we fail to qualify for European football we will have no budget.

    If we win the EL we will have a (modest) budget on account of CL football, this would be the time to change manager.

    I have faith in Arteta but I don’t expect a miracle. next season top 6 finish would be a success in my book.

    1. Sarri Mauricio is still jobless.

      Premier league experience √
      General football experience √
      Attractive possession football √
      Can work with low budget √

  11. PS: When we play out from the back we get flack, against Liverpool we didn’t play out from the back and Leno would routinely hoof the ball forwards with no effect, inviting more pressure on us.

    I think Arteta’s half time adjustments often are great. This time we lost. Were we not down a couple of goals against West Ham?

    I think to Arteta, and to me, it was clear that no substitution was going to save this game against Liverpool.

    We can fault him for sticking with Auba but is it so crazy to hope that a guy scoring for fun last season, earning a fortune, comes good?

    Would we not have looked forward to a front line of Auba-Laca-Pepe not too long ago? Would we not have vilified him if he had never started these guys in the same line-up?

    I don’t mind criticizing Arteta but I think normally his half time talks seem to have a positive impact and many times he has been proven right in substitutions.

    His player management has also shown me signs of hope, he took no bs from Goundouzie and was willing to bench Auba, he also recognized that despite the fans op[inion to thwe contrary this team still needs Xhaka in absence of a better option. I am not a Xhaka fan but have ot admit he brings a little more than Ceballos or Elneny. When Arteta played Wilock most said willock is not ready for the PL. So what are the options?

    The club is in much worse shape than many seem willing to realize. There was a time duing the final Wenger years during which the squad might have been good enough to win the PL with a better manager or at least re-enter in the top 4. If Klopp had joined us instead of Liverpool or if Pep had come to us things might have been different. But neither Klopp nor Pep would have won the PL or finished in the top 4 with the squad we have.

    We are in along term rebuilding project and might not see the top 4 for a long time.

    I back Arteta and pray he is the man. Give him time.

    1. but we didn’t beat West Ham
      we won 2 League games in 10 so where are these great half time changes ?

      1. Being down 2 goals at half time and coming back to draw doesn’t support that you are no good at half time talks.

        More often than not slow starts were our problem not the second half of games.

  12. MA has taken us further away from Arsenal as we knew it. Can any one explain exactly what his strategy and football style is. Can anyone explain who his best 11 is and why he has lost faith in Martineli. What his Saliba decision was about. His fanclub are just desperate to not admit that the manager they backed to the hilt is not good enough for AFC

    1. You have nailed it. Arteta is out of his depth. Only his fan boys believe otherwise. In reality they are in denial.

  13. Just food for thought;

    Some want players sold because their performances are terrible; fair enough but who’s orders are they following?

    Are they doing what they please or following orders on the pitch?

    So sell off the players but give more time to the manager who gives the orders?

    Take the Liverpool game for example.

    1. Laca, Auba, Pepe were terrible, no arguement from me.

    Was it because we played 10 men behind the ball? How often were we on the front foot and playing attacking football?

    So we bin the players yet excuse the manager & plead for time?

    We face their gegenpress for 90 minutes and play in our final third as instructed by Arteta.

    You expect mistake free football? Expect an ever changing backline to have chemistry?

    Arteta doesn’t play to win, he tries not to lose. Subs on Elneny, gameplan is to save a point. Klopp subs Jota wants to win away match.

    Manager gave up on 3 points, and we bash players for lacking intensity and enthusiasm?

    Did Elneny sub inspire you as a fan? Did Arteta’s tactics excite & inspire you from the 1st whistle?

    18 months nearly, same negative football, embarrassing. It’s the way we lose that’s unacceptable.

    We’re not trading punches and losing, we’re playing rope a dope; retreating to our final third like turtle in a shell & waiting for opponents to make a mistake.

  14. I find it quite incredible that anyone thinks we should be challenging for a top four position with our current pool of players. By my calculations, only 5 of the 25 are of the quality needed to interest the likes of Man City ,Liverpool and Man Utd .Our current mid table status ,is, I’m afraid to say a true reflection of the calibre of our players.

    1. By this logic firing UE was a tupid mistake than? Because he did better than Arteta in job and was much more of a proven, experienced q and decorated manager. His squad was worse than Arteta because after him we brough in Partey and Gabriel not to mention Tierney hardly played under Emery as he was mostly injured. Why do we have double standards as a club? Rules should be same for all. If you have to cut some slack then it should be for some one who has a proven track record like Wenger or Emery not new manager like Arteta.

        1. We are in 8th position and Tottenham in 10th, yet Tottenham finished above us.
          Everton was worst than Arsenal last season, yet better than us this season even though we have the better players.

          So tell me your point exactly.

  15. Gabriel, Saliba, Tierney, ESR, Saka, Martinelli, Leno, Mavs, Balogun, Bellerin… then Holding, Suares, AMN, Guendozi, Mari, Willock, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Nelson depending on one’s views.

    That is not a list of dross players, it is a list of players who, if managed, coached and selected properly, should be fighting for a top four position.

    1. disagree Ken
      would most of those players get in Chelsea, Liverpool , man City or Man Uniteds first 11 ?
      we havn’t seen enough of Balogun for you to list him and Wilcok and Reiss Nelson ?
      Wilock can’t get in Newcastles midfield and Neslon ? Name me 5 great games Reiss Nelson has had

      1. and AMN ? hes about to get relegated !
        Leno is poor
        Mavs – have you honestly watched him play
        Gabriel started well but poor
        Mari – hasnt played enough to make that call
        Auba – terrible this season
        Suarez – Saints were said to be amazed we wanted him

        tell you what , lets go through Liverpool , Chelsea and the Manchester clubs first 11 and see how many Arsenal players make it

        1. Some people have simply decided to have nothing positive to say about Arteta. This squad is quite limited; though there are some talented players

        2. Why are you comparing our players with two clubs who can buy anyone they want?
          Are you seriously trying to say that since the oil and roubles entered the Premier league, we had any chance of winning it?
          What I’m saying is that this group of players should be performing better than they are.
          If we put up any of the first set of players I listed up for transfer, clubs around Europe would be interested.

          Do you not watch our other teams then?
          Why is Balogun not signing a new contract – he knows other clubs are willing to sign him.
          Can’t be bothered to go into details with regards the other players BUT…..
          You should ask yourself WHY the players aren’t performing to their known level and THEN ask yourself this:
          Would City United, Chelsea, Leicester, WHU, Everton or spuds want Mikel Arteta as their manager, or kronkie as their owner… therein lies the real problem.

  16. Worse – table doesn’t lie
    Hence Wenger never finished 9th and lost this many games period and home games in a season

    1. The chicken ALWAYS comes home to roost Dan – some fans got what they wished for and look where we are now.

    2. Neither did Emery and he was only head coach. Wenger finished 6th and Terry Neil lost 10 games and was sacked.

      1. Yeah but Emery contributed to our worst season in 25 years
        Look at our position when Arteta arrived

        1. Have you heard of anything named turn around?

          I believe if Emery finished that season, we will surely finish in Europa spoil instead of going down 2 position more.

          He was so good in Europa and I know you don’t believe he will lose against Olympiakos.

          Emery was a Coach
          Arteta is a Manager
          That’s the different between both of them.

          If Emery was allowed to bring in his own players, I know we would have a better squad by now.
          And credit to him for promoting Saka and ESR before Arteta came, if not maybe we might have lose Saka now and ESR still playing on loan.

  17. No excuses for any of the past three managers. They have all contributed to the current rot. But seriously, Maurinhio, Benitez? Losersville Central.

    1. I am commenting here for the first time ,we need to ask our self this question, that of all the clubs ahead of us in the table this season aside man city ,man u, Chelsea and Liverpool which clubs which clubs ahead us have better squad than what we currently have, now, so are we moving forward or backward ,something is missing somewhere I hope our story we not be like those clubs now dwelling and romancing in championship as well as in 2nd and 3rs divisions league.

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