Arsenal Opinion – Arteta should not be judged simply on the League table

Fourth place or genuine progress come May 2022? What exactly should our focus be? By Fire

Arsenal’s fourth-place position in the Premier League at Christmas is a surprise to everyone, including fans and commentators on both sides of the Arteta divide. The question now is where will they be at the conclusion of the league season in May 2022, when the final decision will be made. This is a legitimate question that, for the time being, appears to have muted the “Arteta out or in!!!” chant, or, to put it another way, appears to have just delayed the chant until May 2022.

Many people would assess Arteta’s performance and Arsenal’s advancement based on the league table, which is said to never lie. While this is accurate in a mechanical sense (by which I mean interpreting like a machine rather than a human being), there are other nuances to consider, which this article seeks to explore.

If we keep looking only at the league table, we limit our analytical abilities to the level of a machine learning algorithm, that only looks at how teams have done in the past to try to predict how they will do now or in the future. We can never expect Arsenal to come fourth if we adopt this strategy, which will only just serve to substantiate the current “negative-feeling” still entertained by a division of the fan base.

Instead of relying simply on the league table, may we take some time to consider other aspects of football’s fundamentals that often influence how well a team performs in relation to the league table? These considerations include, but are not limited to, the following: passing, positional knowledge (keeper beginning positions, defense lines, and sustaining formations), shutting down opponents/aggression (pressing, pouncing), fitness levels (running capacity, sustaining pressure), and attitude are all important components of soccer (dedication to work, discipline, commitment, belief, confidence). While I do not claim to have mentioned them all, the question is whether we can begin to evaluate the Arsenal team on the basis of these characteristics instead. Most likely, these characteristics will allow us to better estimate the direction in which the team is travelling and where they may finish by May 2022.

While I do not wish to impose my opinions on you; rather, I aim only to establish a narrative or dimension upon which we may begin to base our talks, in order to fairly evaluate and support our cherished team.

In my opinion, the Arsenal team has significantly improved in their ability to control the ball and pass accurately, which has translated into our ability to resist the press and play out more confidently from the back in recent weeks. Because our opponents are aware of this, many of them refrain from pressing us and instead retreat to low blocks. However, with significant gains in positioning knowledge, fitness levels, and attitude, we are now able to crush the low block with greater accuracy and timing, leading to an achievement of even more goals in this area.

When we lose the ball, our fitness levels come into play, as it allows us to press aggressively, hunt in packs, and retrieve the ball as quickly as possible once we lose it. Finally, these tangible outcomes (i.e. winning ratios) have influenced their mentality, resulting in a stronger belief in their own abilities as well as a developing sense of confidence and discipline as a result of their efforts. These factors merely explain what the best teams in the world possess, and there is no doubt that the Arsenal team is amassing these factors, which is resulting in a better position in the league table.

Can they maintain their current position in the league standings and finish fourth or higher at the end of the current season? The answer is yes, simply because it is no longer just knowledge of what to do, but also an understanding of how to do it, which lasts longer and only serves to instill confidence and more competence in the individual/team.

Has Arteta performed adequately? Yes! And should the fans extend him even more time and patience than they already have? Yes! Why? We do this because, while some of these factors can be taught, others are not and, notably in the case of attitude, cannot. People with the incorrect mentality can only be replaced, as he has done so in the last two years, despite it being an extremely tough process to carry out in the first place. Will there be a need for personnel replacement in the future? Yes! As a result, patience and perseverance are required.

Will the journey be fraught with hiccups? Yes! How do we use our time then? It’s as simple as figuring out whether or not the fundamentals were flawed and whether or not the team’s attitude was problematic, and if so, demand improvement; if not, we simply continue to support our beloved team. In the end, whether or not we come in fourth should not be the basis for our criticism; rather, how well we are progressing in terms of these other, more fundamental criteria should be the focus of our attention. And if we are making genuine strides forward, then fourth place or above is simply a byproduct!

Consequently, I hope that this piece contributes to the development of a new strategy to analyzing, debating, and anticipating where and how Arsenal will end this season, as well as whether additional time should be given to the coach and team.

Remain blessed and positive always!



THE JUST ARSENAL SHOW – Dan Smith has a rant over Arteta and ‘Players Welfare”

Tags Arteta


  1. If u can get a few cup wins by all means I am happy. Top 6 I would also be happy. Top 4 and he has earned my full respect. Top 6 and I think we still have to question if he is the man for the job

    I have been wondering if arteta has landed on a good set of youngsters in saka ESR and martinelli etc. He never played martinelli, ESR and even didn’t drop auba until forced to. What does this say about him?

    Equally it’s his philosophy and his style that is making us win. I really am not sure only time will yell

    1. I totally agree Shortboygooner! Only time will tell! However, certain factors are good pointers as to the trajectory of the team, allowing us to be encouraged regarding the future!

    2. Well said, my friend.

      MA got lucky with our youngsters and Auba’s/Ozil behaviour!

      I will judge him based on our position + not winning anything this year. We are not in Europe anymore, and if we don’t get back soon then how can we be happy with his work?!

      Overall, MA lacks consistency and critical judgement, in many scenarios the answer was simple and he could make a difference ahead of time but kept making the same mistakes.

      I will always support this team and any coach over here, but at the same time, we have to judge the coach as well!

  2. NO, I am sorry! If we evaluate anything other than the league table Arsene Wenger should have stayed here until he was physically and mentally unable to do the job.

    The league table comes first and then the rest can be evaluated.

    Why do teams spend obscene amount on players? Why are managers replaced left, right and centre? To win trophies or finish higher on the table.

    This is football it is not WWE. To disregard the table take out the competitive nature of it and makes it absolutely meaningless.

    All the aspects of football fundamentals are there to finish as high as possible on the table. No table no football fundamentals. It is that simple.

    1. HH…

      I do understand your position, however, what comes first football or the league table? Answering that question allows us to know where focus should be placed…

      Probably, if we improve our football then the league table aligns. When Wenger won the league, it was based on all the fundamental he instilled in his players. However, he may have dropped down to lower positions for reasons that such fundamentals were being comprised, and maybe, just maybe his team would only have plunged further down the table!

      Nevertheless, notable point HH!


      1. You are a good writer Fire and a respectable regular.

        This is the premier League my friend not a Sunday league so the table comes first.

        By disregarding the table are you suggesting that relegation is acceptable under Arteta?

        1. True HH! I do understand your point since the league table is the output measure in the end…. I only seek to explore those input factors that in the end, control the output (i.e. The league table).

          Nevertheless, your comments are truly noteworthy! Thanks alot!

          Please stay safe!


    2. To actually suggesting the table should be disregarded just to defend Arteta has put me into the crisis of existence. I cannot believe this!

      1. Oh not to disregard the league table HH! But to understand that certain u derlting factors dictate where you finish along the table… If such factors are improved, my point is, the league position improved,… I hope you understand my position!

        1. I have re read your article. What I get this time is this, that we should not judge the table position this season but we should judge other aspects of our football which when they are properly instilled to the squad they are going to make Arsenal a mainstay in the top 4 for years to come.

          Is that the point you are making?

          1. The nature and purpose of sport is competition, and success in counted by table placement. The points made by Fire are secondary aspects, by products if you will, of competition.

            For example, “winning the right way” as opposed to “winning at all costs.”

            I think the last 2 years has clearly shown that Arteta hasn’t been judged on his final table position.

            The club has considered other factors in their assessment; rebuilding squad, selling off “deadwood,” changing the “culture,” and instilling his philosophy.

            I admit to seeing “growth” in our young players, but it remains to be seen if this translates to “progress.”

            The ideals Fire spoke of have value and do matter, but in an ideological sense.

              1. ken1945 We are doing alright against mediocre teams as soon as we meet the big boys we are Beaten we will see how well we are after Man/City on Saturday

            1. Durand!

              It’s been a while since we’ve exchanged ideas and opinions! You are absolutely correct when you speak of “an ideological sense”! But don’t you believe these ideologies have an impact on the outcomes?

              I’ve pondered why Manchester City is at the top of the Premier League. Why has Liverpool recently won both the league and other trophies? Did they just appear in the standings?

              Isn’t it because certain beliefs and ideologies were instilled behind the scenes?

              As a result, the question becomes, what does it take to be a champion? Pursuing those factors, I believe, should be the priority, and if one perseveres, one will undoubtedly become a champion!

              As a result, I try to see if such principles are shared by the Arsenal team, and recently, yes! If this trend continues, we may have future champions on our hands.

              Will they keep it up? Yes, I believe so, because the right attitude is in place, and with confidence, things will only get better…

              On a more personal note, how are you doing? I trust fine!

              Thank you very much!


              1. Fire
                Excellent points and I don’t disagree with your comments.

                I only mention what sport is built on and what drives sport. I agree with you on underlying principles and “HOW” it is played.

                My point is merely “WHY” sport is played; for the competition.

                Victory is determined by points, and this determines standings. These standings determine further competition and the level of the additional competition.

                We mock Spuds for that which they lack, trophies, records, titles, etc….

                I do not discount the points you suggest, but rather agree with them. Unfortunately competition rules, so the table has the ultimate say, right or wrong due to the nature of competitive sports.

                1. Durand…
                  As usual, you’ve made an excellent point! And I can only agree, because, in the end, the league table is the output measure that determines winners, losers, and other offshoots… As a result, all eyes are fixed on the league table!

                  Maybe after just watching ManCity vs. Brentford, I am further able to understand why they’re top of the league! Only time will tell if we can match such massive inputs (fundamentals) into the game come Saturday!

                  It’s always a pleasure to share ideas with you!


                1. Sir Michael…

                  But why do you think so? I would really love to know your thoughts and reason.

                  On my part, I really don’t have any much concern as long as they perform!

                  Nevertheless, please share your opinions in this regard. I look forward to it!


          2. Exactly HH! That’s truly my main point and thank you so much for taking time to reread the article.. I must apologize for any clumsiness on my part.. I sure hope to improve my writing skills next time! *smiles*

            Once again, it was truly wonderful sharing your viewpoints too!

            Stay Safe!


            1. I think it’s an interesting view. I have never thought about that. You have certainly given me something to think about.

              You have written a very good article it is I who saw the headline, skimmed the article and went full throttle to the comments.

              Stay safe too and happy new year!

              1. HH!

                Oh yes! I truly feared the worst when the title surfaced! But so glad we found a common ground! We all have our opinions, and rubbing minds with an open mind is for me, the holy grail of progress!

                Your opinions are truly well appreciated and I sure hope the league table continues to reflect the efforts invested in the basics! Next against ManCity, confidence may be the deciding factor there!

                Really wishing you great blessings in the new year!

                Stay Safe!


    3. Objective and means are two different things, and not to be confused. The league position is the most important objective. To achieve the objective, we use a long list of means; tactics, physical and mental training etc. etc.
      You can also put it another way. The league position is actually the goal, whereas the rest is process towards that goal.
      And in the end, if the goal ins’t reached it matters very little, you can point to different process elements and say they are working very well.

  3. If we win a European competition, the league position won’t really matter. This is because we have never won UCL or EL, since Wenger’s time

    Unfortunately, we just have EPL and some small domestic competitions this season, so a top six finish should be the barometer of the progress

        1. I thought the booster vaccines and the recovered people’s immunities are enough to fight against the new variant. This means the vaccines are kinda useless

          1. The vaccine does not mean you cannot contract the virus, it simply builds your immunity so should you contract the virus your symptoms will be less mild.

            Much like the flu shot.

            1. I could understand that if the person only got one vaccination. But as far as I know, all medical workers in England have got their third vaccinations

              1. Yes GAI but even after 3 jabs you can still get it again but it will be very mild though still transmissible to others, albeit less likely.

              2. gai, I am just recovering from Covid, which my wife caught a day or so before me. We are both double vacced and had our boosters around a month ago. Neither of us were extremely unwell, though I was in bed for four days last week with what felt like a mild flu and cold symptoms.

                It would be sensible to educate yourself on this latest strain Omicron, which is very different from Delta and according to scientists also much milder. It is perfectly possible, even though unlikely, as Sue and I HAVE PROVED TO OURSELVES, TO CATCH IT EVEN WHEN TRIPLE JABBED.

                For what its worth, I strongly support the English Parliaments decision not to close society, as the other devolved UK countries are doing to a degree, IMO wrongly!

                  1. gai Some people will not get jabbed so we are hitting our heads against a brick wall they should be made to be jabbed

                1. So glad you have recovered Jon. Yep vaccines and the booster help ameliorate the severe illness covid can cause. May you be well and be blessed in this life.

                  1. Thanks a lot for your kind wishes MATTHEW.It is apprreciated, believe me.

                    My name though is just Jon, no “h” and no “athan” added, either. Generally, people who dont know me add the “h”, making it John.
                    TBH, I aways try to use EXACT names, as names are peoples personal identity and therefore sacred to them. It is simply common decency IMO.

          1. @gotanidea. It’s like wearing a bullet proof on war front. One might still get shot eventhough he/she is wearing a bullet proof. Just an analogy concerning vaccinations and covid-19.

          2. GAI
            We are all dodging bullets. Nobody knows what types of variants await us. Omicron is relatively benign, but we are on a knives edge regarding the future as more variants are certain.
            May you always be well

  4. We all see life through our own frame of reference which is unique. So we all have our own take on where Arsenal is at, where we should go and how we should get there.
    This summer I decided to forget everything Arsenal before June 2021 and totally bought into the new process of getting rid of under achievers and building a team around young, diciplined, high resale value players.
    I predicted 6/7 by Xmas and 5/6 by May. Next summer more players would leave and be replaced by more young “profile” players. Next season top 4 would be the goal. So right now at what I “believe” to be the 25% mark in the 2 year transition transition Arsenal is in 4th place having made all 6 of the new recruits regulars in the PL and having seen Saka ESR and Martinelli flourish with solid shifts by Tierney Gabriel Partey and Xhaka. Aubameyang Lacazette and Pepe have flopped so far and is a concern. Luckily because we have no European games we have fielded just 14 regulars. So from my “perspective” Arteta and Arsenal have over achieved in the first 6 months of the 24 month process. For me 6th place is the minimum requirement and if achieved will see Arteta retained to complete this two year transition by May 2023.

    1. True! I agree with you Fairfan!

      Just as I said earlier, the league table only reflects the state of these underlying factors. If players can’t control and pass the ball properly, if one lacks fitness to run 90mins,and if attitude is poor, then the team simply goes down the league table. So my point is, if the fundentals are improved, the league table will align with time…

      Please do stay safe!


      1. Excellent article for debating purposes Fire!!

        I understand everything you are saying and agree with the fundamentals, but I need to ask you this.

        If the squad that comprised of both AW and gazidis players finished 6th, 5th, won the fa cup and competed in a european final…. that then saw MA take that same squad to another fa cup and CS win, before dismantling it, which has resulted in one 8th position, out of the fa cup in round four, numerous negative “records” being achieved and a style of football that, until recently, was not recognisable, wasn’t it inevitable that there would be questions asked?

        I agree that we have seen progress in the last few weeks, especially playing out from the back, as you rightly point out, but at the end of the day (I hate that expression) every manager / coach has to be judged on results and the PL table.

        As I always judged AW on this infinite test, that is why I personally, feel MA needs also to be judged by the same criteria and, with players deemed not worthy leaving and his choice of players being brought in (17 I believe) this is his squad and his alone.

        He hadn’t inherited a squad of “dross” players as is claimed and he went on to prove that in just ten games, by winning the fa cup!!!

        1. Hiya Ken – this is a “yes but” reply lol:
          1 Of course league position is important, partly because it decides prize money and future entry into Europe and partly because it is the most tangible yardstick to compare teams and progress. But as with school exams the fact that it’s easiest to measure does not necessarily mean it gives an accurate indication of talent, because many other factors of excellence and potential are necessarily excluded.
          2 Although domestic cups are fun they are also a lottery – you only need to look at past winners to see that, so MA winning the FA Cup was totally irrelevant as an indicator of how good that squad was (or wasn’t!) in many people’s eyes.
          3 Too often ignored is that players get older, their skills at any age can actually decline – it’s not always an upward curve until their early 30’s. So the oft used comments that “you inherited good players that cost £Xm 2-4 years ago now look at them” is unfair on any manager.
          Not excusing Arteta btw – he was really really bad until quite recently, but he somehow survived and we are starting to look like a mini-Man City clone. Imagine if Arteta was previously a coach at Burnley…!!!

          1. Guy – how I’m enjoying these sensible debates!!!!

            Point 1: Agreed, but no matter who many other factors come in to the equation, any football club is measured by the number of trophies it has won surely?
            For example, the spuds have been very good at transfer dealings, finding talent, but haven’t won anything in years and never the PL.
            That is what we always say to them and that is what they desire…trophies.
            Point 2: The squad that won the fa cup under MA, beat City, runners up in the semi final and Chelsea, the champions, in the final.
            If the squad was full of deadbeat, dross, underachieving players, that would have been impossible, so, in my opinion, it was totally relevant and we have not, to date, come anywhere near the results against those two sides since then.
            Point 3: Agree 100% and, under AW, UE and MA, we haven’t learned that lesson.
            I also agree that MA has, seemingly, turned a corner and our upcoming fixture against city will be a real indicator.

            As I previously stated, my belief is that he will become a top manager and the points raised in Fire’s article are all relevant, but at the season’s end, it’s the results that count – just ask Abramovitch!!!

        2. Were these players bought by Arteta? Elnany, Xaka, Lino, Pepe.
          The players bought by Arteta have dramatically improved our team plus our academy players in Saka ESR. Believe me next season we will see back of more dead wood and arrival more young quality players.

          1. Did MA obtain Willian, Mari, Cedric, the Icelandic goalkeeper?
            Did he give Aubameyang that three year deal, get AMN to change his mind and then not play him?
            We can keep throwing examples back and forth till the cows come home…. at the end of the season we will see what progress has been made and I hope it will be enough to forget what went on before.

        3. Thank you so much, Ken, for your kind words! I really appreciate it, especially since this is my first attempt at writing such an article *smiles*.

          Again, I agree with you that Arteta should be evaluated using the same criteria as AW and UE. However, it will never be conducted fairly because the context will always differ.

          I had my doubts about Arteta, especially during the down periods, but he has proven that given time to assemble his own players, he can steady the ship and, most likely, now take us to the promised land.

          Ken, those players under AW, UE, and the early reign of Arteta’s regime may have had talent, but they lacked attitude and fitness and maybe more, resulting in 5th and 6th place finishes. Because changing attitudes was difficult, the players had to be replaced. I believe the replacement process was delicate, and Arteta should be credited…

          Now, as you stated in your article, we must wait and see how everything plays out in May 2022…

          1. Fire, I have to ask you this – if said players lacked what you say, how can you explain the incredible results achieved by MA in winning the fa cup.

            Playing the two top teams in the semi and final to secure that win could not possibly have been achieved if they lacked attitude and fitness – something both City and Chelsea had in abundance.

            Attitude? I guess your thinking of Ozil?
            Yet until the corona virus hit, he was MA’s automatic choice during the unbeaten twelve game run.

            I have no problem with MA’s decision to let Ozil go (just the way it was done) and likewise all the other disciplinary actions he has taken…. he is, after all, the manager.

            So, in my opinion, we can’t just pass off his actions / decisions as needing to correct his predecessors faults…as some are still doing three years after AW left and eighteen months after UE departed.

            However, that is the past and MA is starting to become a real manager, but your views on the above would be appreciated.

            1. Ken!

              As always, I appreciate your points of view as well as your brilliant ideas!

              In attempting to respond to your question, I am forced to reconsider how such success was achieved. I’m sure you’ll agree that the team never used an attacking style; instead, Arteta had to play to the team’s strengths at the time. Of course, such an approach would not be able to propel us to the next level. As a result of attempting to demand the new level, the team’s frailties began to emerge, leading to a total collapse. Many of the fundamentals required for advancement were discovered to be lacking, necessitating the need for personnel replacement, which is a daunting task in and of itself.

              Nature, according to my training and experience, presents us with two states: transient and steady state. Many outliers and abnormalities can occur in the transient state, such as winning the FA Cup against such opponents… However, the truth is revealed in the steady state…

              Ken, I’m not sure if I answered your question. If not, I can always try again! *smiling*

              Nonetheless, I understand how difficult Ozil’s departure and the departure of other personnel must have been. I am convinced Arteta is not perfect and is riddled with flaws, just like Alex Fergusson, but only time will tell, as you and I have always agreed!

              Ken, it’s always a pleasure sparring with you!

              Continue to be blessed!


  5. Good article. Ultimately, over the long run you have to judge by league table. Although the obsession with the minutae of league table so early on in the calendar seems a bit pointless to me.

    But for this season, developing young, likeable, hard working superstars and establishing a clear patter of play is more important to me.

    Put another way (and at the considerable risk of being labelled as having no ambition) I’d be more excited THIS SEASON with a fifth or sixth place finish with the likes of ESR, Saka, Ramsdale and Martinelli leading the line then with a fourth place finish on the backs of Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Ozil and Aubamayang.

  6. A lot goes into judging the manager.
    One, the players he hires – Mikel passes this one (Willian was an Edu signing)
    Two, the players he has/had at his disposal vis a vis results- give him a pass as he inherited a bag of rotten apples
    Three – tactics & team selection. This is a manager’s delema. Bench the fans’ favourite player/expensive player for sporting reasons and feel the backlash. So far, he has done well by stamping his authority on wayward players.
    From what we were, what he inherited and where we are poised for the longterm, I would rate Mikel a robust 8.5 on 10.
    And finally we have a very competetive league, the top 3 are in a world of their own (and yet only 6 points seperates us from them!), Last year the gap between fourth to tenth was just 6 points, so now the league just got tougher from being a two horse race (and yet we won it thrice in twenty two attempts under Wenger)

    1. The only thing he has won, was achieved with your bag of “rotten apples”, he signed Willian (read what MA said) Soares, Mari and the Icelandic keeper, the league is now only a three horse race???
      Give me strength LC, wasn’t Chelsea and City being bankrolled when AW was in charge?

      1. @Ken
        You keep going on about how Arteta won the FA cup with the playees he inherited, so this means they were not deadwood players?
        Many people have tried to their best to rationally and logically explain how the FA CUP win could also be interpreted. But you just gloss over it and then keep using the same weak argument.

        Winning a FA cup final or other cuo finals can be like a a lottery. That’s why Birmingham, Portsmouth, Wigan, Swansea etc won these cup finals but ended up being relegated that same season or finished below 8th place? So how do you explain;

        Portmouth winning the FA cup final but get relegated?

        Birmingham beat us in the Carling cup final and got related.

        Wigan won a cup final and got relegated.

        Swansea won the league cup and finished 9th.

        Thise players must have not been dross or deadwood for winning those cup finals but getting relegated or finishing 9ths.


        1. What a weird way of looking at it!!
          Did we get relegated, or finish below 6th with this squad of players?
          Have we won anything since disbanding this group of players?
          Have we finished higher than 6th since disbanding this group of players?
          Have we progressed further than the 4th round of the fa cup since disbanding this group of players?

          And, of course, you gloss over the fact that the “lottery” saw us having to beat city and chelsea, both bankrolled for success, with this squad of players.

          I take on the fact that these players were not the best to ever wear the shirt, but to dismiss them as “a bag of rotton apples” and not recognise what they achieved or dismissing it and preaching that MA inherited “dross” is complete nonsense… right??

          1. @Ken
            You might look at my interpretation as weird just because it goes against your own slanted view that is so surface level.
            As always. Interpretating the whole thing to suit your preferred narrative.
            You did not address my Portsmouth, Wigan, Swansea, Birmingham points. Like always you just glossed over them and went back straight to your desired narrative.
            We beat Liverpool, City, Chelsea etc due to many aspects. On another day day we would never have beaten them with the way we played. We parked the bus and hardly had more than 35% of the possession against those teams. They dominated us all over the field but as we know if it’s your time it’s your time in these lottery Cup finals.

            I was one of the people that was not impressed with the style of play. I kept highlighting it, i said that I will accept that defensive / small club football style Arteta adapted when he first got here as we needed to stop the massive slide at the time. Any thing to steady our relegation fears back then was welcome.

            But what happened the next season against the same teams in the league? He tried the same tactics with the same players but it did not work. You can’t think that your lucky run of mostly defensive park the bus style can be sustainable in a 38 game league. You have to start playing football at some time. In a one off cup run anyone is capable of luck.

            Again, did you watch the way we played when Arteta first got in? Some of us even the commentators after the FA cup final highlighted that Arteta has to start playing football at some point instead of just setting his team up so defensive with less than 40% possession, they said that during a honeymoon FA CUP period the fans will be okay with it, but that will wear off so quickly if he deployed the same park the bus tactics against the other top clubs in the league etc..

            One more time, can you address my Portsmouth, Birmingham, Swansea, Wigan points?

            And address why we went on to lose big against the likes of Liverpool, City, Chelsea etc a few months after our Fa cup run exploits? The defensive luck could not save us the next season.

            And the same players that had won 3 more FA cups previously under wenger had started dropping from the top 4. Remember? We kept winning these FA CUP finals but at the same time sliding out of the Top 4. The same team started off in the Top 4, then into 5th place, then into 6th place, then 8th place. This absolutely shows that your “But that team won the FA cup, this means they were a very good team” argument is very half baked.
            That same team was on a very clear downward trajectory that saw Wenger fired. It clearly shows that winning a domestic cup final is not rational / logical way to gauge how good a team is.

            Go back and rewatch that way we played against the likes of City, Liverpool and Chelsea when Arteta first got in, then tell me that that set up and style of play showed strength and quality. To me it showed how far we had slide for us to just play like a league 1 team up against a Top EPL team. It highlights that Arteta was not comfortable or confident that that team was good enough to go toe to toe with the likes of Liverpool, City, Chelsea at that time, hence why he went full league one backs to the wall and hope to nick it on the counter, freekick, corner, penalty, extra time or penalty shootout.

            1. So let’s take your cup final analysis and take it further.
              You gave me four examples of clubs, three of whom were relegated.
              Of course, all four clubs were in the top division at the time, but let’s just see how your examples stack up when reviewing the results from, let’s take Birmingham in the 2010/11 season, as that’s the oldest.

              Since then, the fa cup has seen the following winners :
              Arsenal = four times
              Chelsea = twice
              City = twice
              Wigan = once… when they beat City.

              League Cup :
              City = 5 times
              Chelsea = once
              United = once
              Liverpool = once
              Swansea = once
              Birmingham = once

              So it is obvious that in the fa cup, the lottery always ends up with one of the “big six” featuring in the final and, only once failing to win it.
              Of course, Wigan at that time, were also a PL club.

              The league Cup, well known for featuring “fringe” players, sees the “big clubs” once again winning, although two other PL clubs did actually feature.

              So the lottery, once again, weeded out all the smaller clubs in both competitions and, funnily enough, apart from Leicester, the PL has been won by one of the teams mentioned above during the time span mentioned.

              So, in my opinion, your assumption that the cups do not mirror the strength of the competitions, is wrong.

              At some time, the big clubs face each other and what is bigger than facing the two clubs that are bankrolled in such a way, that they buy success at every opportunity?

              That is what MA faced, with his squad of “bag of rotten apples” left by AW and UE.

              Not Birmingham., Wigan, Swansea or Portsmouth, but the creme da la creme.. Champions and runner up of the PL.

              So the story goes, this bag of spuds, unfit, lazy, money grabbing, dross players, then went out and…. beat them both.
              But, because they played to their abilities, managed by a rookie manager in only his tenth game in charge, you think the fact that we were on the defensive in both games merits criticism?

              The fact that MA then went on to replace some of these players and, to date, has achieved nothing like those two performances, speaks for itself.

              It’s funny that fans always bring George Graham’s wonderful defensive team up as a mark of respect, but because this squad of players produced a defensive display against all the odds, it’s seen as a negative.

              The”bag of rotten apples” that had finished 5th the season before and reached a European cup final, 6th the season before that and a cup final win to boot took MA to his first ever trophy and since then, 8th and no European football has been the result.

              Of course they weren’t the best squad ever to wear the shirt, but they produced one of the finest cup results, gave MA his only trophy to date and eighteen months later, after 17 new players, a spend of over £250,000,000, we still await something better.

              If that hasn’t answered your “Birmingham” question then we see football in a completely different way.

              1. I should have added something about your “slide to relegation” comment.

                4th – steady
                3rd – improvement
                2nd – improvement
                5th – missed CL spot by 1 pt.
                6th – relegation beckons
                5th – improvement
                8th – sliding down
                8th – no European football for the first time in over two decades.

                Tell me where the slide into relegation started and what squad of players were responsible versus the squad that finished second.

              2. ken1954 UE had no say in the players bought or sold so please get your facts right. UE did not want to sign Pepe but the board did then the players downed tools as they say the rest is history

                1. Where did I say that UE bought any players?
                  What I said was that UE and AW left a squad of players.
                  In fact, it was Gazidis who bought players once he took control of players contracts and buying/selling of said players and Aubameyang was one of his first signings, as was the final decision to offer MO that ridiculous contract – MA, of course, offered Aubameyang his ridiculous contract.

                  So can I suggest you get your facts right, by reading and digesting what I have said, before you say I have said something that I haven’t?

  7. What sheer joy to read a stunning piece from a highly educated real thinker. Fire , I am in your debt for trying to educate so many.

    Frustatingly though, I see that some, such as HH, will never accept such well laid out and compelling reasons for changing their intransigent positions.

    On the other hand , I have to accept that some simply can never be persuaded to think deeper than first base, so to speak.

    Fire, you are also a rare human being, as a football fan who is SO tolerant of certain opinions which must surely make you want to weep, albeit privately. If they do not, then you must be even more all embracing in your humanity than I had given you credit for being.

    I can never share your tolerance and reasoned debate with people who will not think deeper than they ever intend to, even though many of them do have the capacity, just not the desire.

    On a pedantic point and as far as I can recall, myself apart, your piece was the first on JA where I have ever see a semi colon. Correctly used of course, together with correct punctuation throughout. Such joy for this language pedant to read, though I suspect that to almost all others it will not even have been noticed. Sigh!

    As to the thrust of your piece, I could not agree more. I am a tad envious of your ability to spell out your many valid points so clearly and humbly. Humility does not come easily to me, at least not on social media and in particular not on this site.

    It vwould be such a rare treat if you are able to find time to write articles occasionally(five a day would be great!!).

    In the meanwhile, thanks for making this old git realise the Arsenal fan world is a healthier place than I sometimes think it to be. God bless you dear man!

    1. Jon, can I suggest that the word “tolerance” becomes part of your vocabulary, along with the understanding of the word “opinion”?

      I understand your point regarding punctuation, but this is a football site and many contributers use English as their second language.

      I would also point out the absence of capital letters in both the article and your reply – everyone seems to understand what you are both saying.

      Finally, my friend, you do yourself an injustice when criticising yourself.
      Your opinions are always worth reading, as are your articles… it’s the intolerance and name calling of others that set you apart from Fire… and that’s just my opinion!!

      1. KEN you make some valid points and on tolerance I have never even tried to deny that I do not suffer unthinking fans lightly.


        Fire does it so skilfully and he must have surely spent a career in the diplomatic service. But I have not that skill, nor TBH, the inclination to do likewise.

        I am as I am and we are all as we are. That is life in REALITY old chum.

        The punctuation comment was intended, as far as possible in a public domain, to be a private compliment. I do not generally criticise anyones English, whether as first language or not, for poor punctuation.
        Sloppy language, from English first language users only, with imprecise or ambiguous meanings however, are my bette noire, as you know. THE REASON? To avoid misunderstandings which lead to needless arguments and crossed wire type debate.

        On capitals, I have cut down their use in general but will explain, for the umpteenth time, that they represent no more than simple EMPHASIS, words/ phrases/ sentences.

        Some, despite this regular explanation, persist in thinking I am shouting at them. I can do nothing about those who refuse to take my explanation as true, sadly.

        You may have noted that Sue and I have both recovered these last few days from Omicron. I’d appreciate your opinion on the different way thee Scottish and English Parliaments are handling society, in its wake.

        I do hope all in your family are and remain safe and wish you and us all a very happy, fulfilling and in particular a SAFE NEW YEAR.

        PS: I really dislike like falling out with you but tbh , I guess that neither of us can guarantee it won’t happen again. I HOPE it will not and will try to prevent it.

        1. Jon, really pleased to hear you have both recovered – my eldest daughter has long term coronavirus and she is struggling.
          It can be a really bad condition and, like you, I despair at those who decide not to vaccinate.

          Such a good article by Fire and he has given me food for thought, along with others.

          As you say, changing one’s long held views needs some really good points of views and we have had some excellent ones over the last 24 hours.

          Will we fall out again? As sure as eggs are eggs but if / when MA takes us back to the pinnacle, who cares???

          1. I much like the if/ when Ken! I do believe it will be when, not if! But as to WHEN when becomes when , God alone knows.

            And if you can understand what all those “whens” mean, do tell me, as I have not a clue!

            For a so called self professed “realist”, the more absurd my comments become, the better I like them. I have always been a great fan of the Goons, almost as much as the Gooners, which perhaps explains why!

            Sincerely hope your dear daughter will soon feel better. We all have so much more to learn about this awful Covid.

        2. Jon!


          In a world like ours, the diplomatic service is a must if you want to stay above the noise and clutter levels! A skill that everyone, to varying degrees, requires!

          Once again Jon, your sense of humor is superb!

          Continue to be happy and blessed!


    2. Wow! Jon, I truly don’t have the words to express my gratitude for such a long string of kind and beautiful words! It’s truly humbling, and I’m grateful!

      As I don’t know much about writing, I’ll make an effort to improve knowing that I’m learning from great writers like you, Ken, Dan, Sue, and so many other brilliant minds on JA!

      Jon, your sense of humour is remarkable; you have kept me laughing and, as a result, lifted my spirits! You are truly one-of-a-kind in your own way, and having such dimensions creates a sense of balance in life!

      I’m also relieved to hear you and your wife are feeling better! I pray for your healing and the healing of the entire world!

      I look forward to engaging you on additional thought-provoking topics!

      Please stay safe!


  8. Superb article Fire! As you know, we share similar philosophies on the game, but you write much more lucidly than I do.

    As expected, some are deliberately misreading Fire’s article to quote counter arguments – such as “by that yardstick Arteta could be retained even if we are relegated” despite you clearly stating league position remains one of the arbiters of progress, but not the sole one, so he is not saying ignore it altogether.
    I will therefore offer another extreme scenario, actually with some similarities to where we are now, with the sole criteria being 4th at season end or sacked. We don’t win any of our first 12 games, but then remain unbeaten for our next 26, playing excellent football, to finish a point off 4th place. Arteta is then sacked. That is the reverse side of the coin. Sensible?

    By improving all of the peripheral areas mentioned by Fire, the league position will improve automatically – it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The building blocks create the results, but there is a time lag depending upon how much of an improvement is required.
    Unfortunately success does not happen by us merely jumping up and down and demanding it.

    As Arsenal fans we all want success AND beautiful football. There is perhaps an even more entrenched divide here than between Arteta supporters and critics, because this question will arise regardless of who is manager: if we must choose, which is more important to a fan – league position or watching great football? To me I want to be entertained beyond all else, while also believing that by playing this way we will have our fair share of successes. More than winning the EPL at any cost, I want us to be known as the most entertaining football team ever – The Netherlands rather than Germany, Barca rather than Real. Both can happen fleetingly, but if I must choose…

    1. guy Yes, you say it so clearly. “Building blocks” is the phrase that most succinctly sums up Fires excellent piece.

      That so many either deliberately chose not to see his points OR had not the inate intelligence to see them is of course entirely predictable.
      To my mind those who are simply unable to see the truth in his points are sadly lacking in intelligence and though some may say I am “abusing” them by writing this, to my mind it is simply the truth and therefore needs to be said!

      1. No it doesn’t Jon – that’s their opinions and Fire has been explaining why he thinks the way he does, without abusing others… try it sometime.

        1. So anyone who doesn’t agree with you jon “are Thick ?
          Anyone who brown noses you or you agree with “are super intelligent “
          “Now where’s my dunce hat “
          I’ve got a corner to find !

  9. An interesting take, Fire.

    Thinking only of this season, then top6 is the minimum and achievable. The table isn’t lying so much as it was before the Tuesday fixtures. 4th being very welcome wasn’t fully representative. It looks now that only Spurs can usurp us in relation to the 19 games we have finished up until now. That is indeed progress and means to me that we deserve to be where we are.

    I haven’t bought into the theory that Arteta has got the team to their current position by luck, rather that the learning process that he is undergoing is beginning to pay off and prudent purchases are likewise, responding. The demands of top6 being a failure as we are currently top4 fails to take into consideration lots of unknowns between now and May. It’s only a failure if Arteta can’t motivate or make the correct decisions. Covid can still cause more mayhem.

    So yes, the league table is very important but not the only consideration. Come next season – that is an entirely different matter! Our patience should be rewarded with better everything.

    1. SueP – I love the theory of a bumbling Arteta leading Arsenal a la Mr Bean into the top four by sheer luck.

      The Amazon Prime documentary might be more like one of my favourite movies – Being There – starring Peter Sellers as the hapless Chauncey Gardener.

      Somehow I doubt it…

      1. Voyageur, My favourite quote from the unforgettable Being There is this: CG: “I never(or seldom) read”. TV interviewer “Well yes, no one reads any more.”

        1. I’m partial to this one Jon (for obvious reasons):

          In a garden, things grow…but first they must wither. Trees have to lose their leaves in order to put forth new leaves, and to grow thicker and stronger and taller. Some trees die, but fresh saplings replace them. If you don’t mind waiting, then in the proper season you will see it flourish”

          Appropriate for where Arsenal are at right at this moment, n’est pas?

      2. That’s creepy Voyageur – after many years I thought earlier today how I’d love to watch “Being There” again and downloaded it before seeing your post. I’ll let you know how Chauncey has stood the test of time…

        1. Looking forward to the review Guy!! Try not to think of Arsenal and Arteta when Peter Sellers is describing gardening…

          1. It’s now 2.24 am and it’s your fault, Voyageur! Just watched “Being There” again and loved it! Makes me feel old though – I saw it in the cinema over 40 years ago…
            I’d forgotten most of it – the fascination with tv, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” which I bought immediately after, that Peter Sellers could play a serious role (great in The Goon Show, I’m Alright Jack & The Smallest Show on Earth though) and I recall having a major crush on Shirley Maclaine!
            All your fault!

    2. SueP, I completely agree with you!

      Excellently stated! As we all know, “time will tell.” But I’m glad we’re in this position, and all we’re trying to do is forecast the future… That, I suppose, is what science, in its various forms, aspires to. I believe the team’s know-how is now being established, which will be more long-lasting than immediate success with a proper foundation being laid.

      I agree that Arteta is a lucky man, especially to be given the opportunity to learn on the job! Finally, if he succeeds, we will all forget about his teething problems!

      I hope you’re safe!


  10. My congratulations to Fire on his excellent article and to a number of JA respondents who have displayed a knowledge of the game and it’s important constituents which reassures me that this site is not only the domain of the blinkered and the narrow minded.I have little to add to the many wise words I have read today other than to highlight the importance of examining closely what Arteta inherited on and off the playing field.In a relatively short period of time in a business sense, he has made decent progress and is not far from clearing the decks of the costly debris which has weighed heavily against us.He has of course made errors of judgement during his spell in charge but name me one Manager who has not?It’s part of the learning curve in Management whether it related to Football or business in general.With the exception of one of two overpaid, aging players, we have a squad of talented young players who are beginning to make people sit up and take notice.There are still hurdles to overcome before we can seriously challenge for the Premier League title, but I am personally more optimistic regarding our future prospects than I have been for some considerable time.

    1. Hi Grandad, I think this is the best entire page, for telling posters to read through, if they can’t see progress and only judge 8th as a failure on the manager. I think Jon Fox said that you can change your mind if the facts change. So hopefully they will acknowledge these post to answer their questions. Also I’m sure the last league potion(8th) was better points total than the season before that? Is that progression? If we continue with the same points increase, we will probably be champions in 4/5 years? So that must be improvements by the current manager. Also this season after 19 games the points are much higher than the season before, I will probably be told I will judge at the end of the season, but they are judging now!! But we have more points now also!! 🤔

    2. *smiling*

      Grandad, you’re the best!

      I fully expected a baptism of fire as an introduction to writing such an article, but I am humbled to see so many well-crafted responses!

      Your words were and continue to be wise! Being a product of history, and knowing how poorly Arsenal has performed in recent years, I don’t blame many who have reservations… Currently, I do not rely solely on results, but also on more fundamental factors, and it is on the basis of these factors that I am confident about the future, even if we miss the mark, which I doubt if these factors are truly upheld!

      I hope everything is going well for you!

      Sincere greetings!


  11. I think HH was right when he said where we finish in the table should be the yardstick on how the manager should be judged come the end of the of play or whatever other factors may be matters but a little…trophies&league position are the reasons i get excited about watching football.

  12. Yes!!! I am also optimistic of the future of our beloved club. In 1 or 2 years, the team will be at the level of man city, liverpool and Chelsea or even pass them. An optimistic gooner

  13. The league is the main thing to judge any football team on, NOTHING ELSE. Everything else is incidental. Where we finish in the league tells us how good we are. Winning cups including the CL are kudos and financial bonuses after the league. You only have to be good for a few games to win a cup, the league tells you how well you have played for a whole season. Teams are never judged by cup success but they are by the league. Cups are the let your hair down trophies!!!!!!!

  14. We all see it coming. Loss to Manchester City. Loss to Liverpool, and going out of the cup. Back to square one minus one…

  15. I usually mostly agree with all your opinion @ken1945,but your take on how ozil was frozen out,is what i don’t agree with you on.i’m not an Arteta fan,but the way he froze out Ozil because of laziness&berating the club on social media,Guendouzi for ill-discipline&belatedly dropping Aubameyang for poor performance&ill-discipline is what has been endearing him to me,the one thing remaining for him to do is to find a way to tame Xhaka’s temperament…my good wishes to your daughter sir’

    1. Thank you for your remarks regarding my daughter Matthew.
      The disciplinary issue :
      I have no problem or issue with the way he conducted the issue regarding Guendouzi and Aubemeyang, but I do with Ozil…. not because I view him differently to you, but because of what unfolded.

      He was part of squad up and until the coronavirus – then it was leaked that three players refused to take a pay cut until they knew more about where the money was going.
      Only Ozil was identified by the club – then he was left out of the squad – then he was left out of the cup final squad, while MA named three goalkeepers and a youth player who was then sent out on loan to Swindon Town for more experience, after receiving a winners medal, having never played in the competition.
      Now, if you think that is the way to treat ANY senior player at our club, then you are perfectly entitled to think that way.

      Believe this, The Arsenal Football Club have never treated any other player this way and I cannot think of any other PL club that has, so publicly, tried to humiliate a player – Ozil acted with dignity and has continued to do so, compare his attitude to that of Guendouzi and how the latter has questioned the club and the fans.

      Sorry for the long post, but it still stinks in my opinion.

        1. All seems a bit “conspiracy theory”, surely it was easier to say “you are not pulling your weight son” so your dropped!! 🤔

          1. Indeed, but that didn’t happen did it GoalDan?
            Instead we got a steady drip of leaks and mixed messages from MA.
            Still, he’s gone now and we will probably never know the truth – let’s see if the Aubameyang situation becomes transparent!!

            1. My thinking would be, The manager gave Ozil a run of games to see if he fits in. Decided not, let’s move on. And maybe he see Auba the same way now, after 18 months or so….These things happen all the time in professional football, yapp Stam comes to mind at utd. And he was their best defender!!….

              Also Arteta may also see Ozil differently to most managers, in the sense they only recently set up teams(Mancity) to play Arsenal and their players, Pep and Arteta would of discussed and known the weaknesses of their opponents??

              As you say we will probably never know the truth…👍

  16. Much like our present squad, this article is a 6 dressed up as a 9…it’s clear that underneath it all lies a profoundly pro-Arteta agenda, which in and of itself matters not, except for the fact that the author in question has packaged it in just such a way that it actual infers that there’s a factual basis to the notion that MA has not only succeeded when it comes to the author-supplied “metrics” for systemic improvement, he’s in fact exceeded expectations…of course, this is a fallacious presumption, which is quickly revealed once you start to peel back the proverbial onion

    for example, in regards to the “passing”, until our most recent affair, against a bang average Norwich squad, our passing has been exceedingly static and pedestrian, even in those matches where we won handily…of course, I was pleasantly surprised by both the pace and the directional intent of our passing on the aforementioned evening, as I made note of in my post-game analysis, and was likewise thrilled by our movement off the ball and the overabundance of multi-zonal passes, which included several effective dummies along the way, but this certainly hasn’t been the case for the vast majority of MA’s tenure…so for anyone to draw any definitive conclusions in this regards would be ridiculously premature

    of course, I could provide a similarly constructed critique of the other variables identified by the author, but I didn’t feel it was necessary to get too carried away with my response…btw, anytime you receive an overly flattering response by Jon, take it with a huge grain of salt, as it simply means that you have agreed in principle with everything HE believes to be true, so when you think he’s patting you firmly on the back for a job well done, he’s really just patting himself

    1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever

      I read your response with great interest, especially your acknowledgement that such metrics should be analysed! And I’m glad for it, because the article’s main point has been met.

      I really value your assessment of the metrics of concern. But, contrary to your belief, I will not conclude that you are “Anti Arteta” on the basis of your analysis, as you have done to mine.

      I want Arteta to succeed, but I will not do so blindly. For example, if it is clear to me that no progress is being made following these metrics by the end of the season, I will trust any decision to change the coach.

      I wrote this article solely to draw our attention to these more fundamental factors, which you incorrectly labeled “author-supplied metrics.” I didn’t make them up; they’ve always been there; instead, I just wanted us to analyze better along these lines.

      Once again, you are correct that such metrics have been low for a long time, which has resulted in poor league table finishes. However, you have also agreed that it has recently been on the rise. Your assertion that my conclusions are premature will be vindicated by the end of the season. However, if my predictions are correct, it may serve as a convincing basis for future analysis! I’ve put my neck on the line, and it’s sometimes worth it if it means introducing a new and more appropriate paradigm shift.

      I truly appreciate your response once more! Perhaps we could examine other factors together without regard for bias in either direction!

      Continue to be blessed!


      1. I think above all else it’s imperative that anyone who’s attempting to analyze our current manager’s tenure not cherry-pick only those “facts” that best reflect one’s particular narrative, while largely ignoring the plethora of “red flags” that have been raised along the way…far too often, articles will emerge during a purple patch or following a “significant” victory in which common sense tends to take a backseat to the inevitable trappings of recency bias…of course, some will suggest, and sometimes rightly so, that those with a contrarian view will do likewise during a extended dip in form or following an extremely poor performance, but it’s important to make note of one key distinction, the latter isn’t solely borne out of a “what have you done for me lately” mindset, in that MA’s time here has been largely underwhelming…that said, I would acknowledge that our recent performances against lesser opponents have been far better than the more “scrappy” victories against the same or similar opponents last season or earlier this year, but we’ve failed miserably against those teams who matter most when it comes to evaluating one’s real progression…as such, I will continue to stay the course, remain ever skeptical until we pass the all important “eye test” on a consistent basis, never lower my high standards and call a spade a spade when I see fit…Cheers

        1. I am just grateful that people like you that can articulate what some of us feel. We have been labelled Anti Arteta because we don’t succumb to recency bias . The idea that we don’t want Arteta to succeed makes little sense, he is the manager of our club so of course we want him to succeed. I don’t think majority of Arsenal are deluded. All we are asking for is be competitive against the better side and be consistent. Do we want to see beautiful football? sure but I would take competitive football with some sort of plan and players passing a football from A to B without you wondering if the lads have ever played football before.

  17. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever

    True! That is very true! I truly understand your point of view, and your responses, once again, contain valuable points that should not be overlooked.

    More than anything, two years of underwhelming performance is sufficient evidence for anyone to assume your current position about the coach/team. Don’t get me wrong: if the decision to fire Arteta is made, no one will object.

    Sir Alex Fergusson had no right to remain as Manchester United’s manager after his first two seasons in charge, but that’s history now! We only collect evidence in order to use it to build a better future and make more informed decisions. Sometimes we get them wrong, sometimes we get them right; that’s life, and we learn regardless.

    Finally, it is truly easier to remain skeptical because it provides the safest position against both internal and external disappointments. However, I do not believe that being optimistic should be condemned either. We simply must respect all points of view based on the reasons provided, and where a compromise cannot be reached, respect continues to prevail!

    I really do respect and appreciate the opportunity to share in your thoughts and opinion; I learned a lot!

    Please do stay safe!


    1. obviously I understand why you’ve specifically chosen Sir Alex for comparison purposes, which goes directly to my aforementioned concerns about cherry-picking, considering the magnitude of the leap one must make in order to accept such a nonsensical analogy….nothing at this point suggests that Arteta will reach such incredible heights, especially not at a singular club, as such lengthy tenures are undoubtedly a thing of the past

      as to your comments regarding the notion of me opting for a more skeptical position simply to ease my pain, from a disappointment standpoint, nothing could be further from the truth…it would have been far easier for me to put on those rose-coloured glasses from yesteryears, as many appear to have done, and simply hoped for the best

      please keep in mind, Arteta had my support from the get-go, albeit I was naturally concerned that the organizational structures and mentoring safeguards weren’t in place to support just such an experimental managerial approach, but when he intentionally chose to deviate from the “rebuild”, following our rather fortuitous FA victory, and opted for a “retooling” with more senior players leading the way, I lost faith in his ability to lead us back to a position of some relevance

      remember, this wasn’t a minor tweak, this was a full-on flipping of the script, which cost us a full season and potentially much more…now this might not seem like much in retrospect, but when there’s a wheel reinvention in the cards, you simply can’t afford to make such fundamentally disconcerting mistakes…somehow, he not only survived this period of self-infliction, he was actual given the largest transfer windfall ever, which clearly wasn’t justified

      now in more recent times, things appear to be trending upwards, but considering the largely disjointed journey thus far, this will need to continue for a considerable period before he earns my trust back…not to mention, the all important “eye test” narrative, which hasn’t passed muster so far, minus less than a handful of performances…take care and be safe

      1. You are such a joy. I am so happy to read someone that transmits what I can’t eloquently put into words.

      2. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever

        You continue to make some very valid points! I can’t help but admire your deep thoughts!

        Alex Fergusson is a truly unique case, and his choice of my example only goes to show how much of an optimist I always try to be, especially when it comes to the future! Knowing when to be a realist, optimist, or pessimist is always necessary in life. The person who has mastered the art of balance is truly blessed! Maybe when it comes to the future, especially something as superficial as football in comparison to other more important aspects of life, I should be optimistic!

        Regarding your reasons for losing faith in Arteta, I must agree with you. Indeed, he must consider himself fortunate to still be in the job after such a poor run of form and games. Again, if the decision is made to fire him because of such poor recurrence, I will support the decision. However, I don’t believe you and I are discussing such a topic presently because of the fortunate role of the “recency bias”, as you call it.

        The most difficult task is not to describe the past, but to accurately predict the future. Because we use the past in the hope that the future will follow the same pattern, I don’t blame you or anyone else who is skeptical. However, I have only attempted to investigate another approach to predicting the future, using such fundamental factors as those mentioned in the article, in the hope that the future will be better. I suppose we can respect both points of view!

        Again, your final paragraph is completely understandable! I completely agree with you! And I hope we can both meet for a chat in the future. Hopefully then, we may come to the conclusion that meaningful progress has been made by the Arsenal team, and if not, it’s could be time to change coaching personnel. 

        Thank you, The-Real-Vieira-Lynn! It’s been a pleasure exchanging ideas with you!


        1. Likewise Fire…although it might appear to the outside observer as if we’re on opposing ends of the spectrum, I don’t believe that to be the case…it’s clear that we both want what’s best for our beloved club, we simply have differing opinions about how this might be best achieved…hopefully both of our ultimate club-related desires will come to fruition, regardless of the means, as I would have no problem whatsoever admitting that I was wrong should MA lead us to the promised land…have a good one

  18. I just wish to say how uniquely and intellectually stimulating this truly special writer Fire is. It has been a joy to behold to read, not only his many comments and superbly diplomatic skills when replying to posts, but also the noticeably raised level of debate in general across this whole thread.
    His example to many, myself much included, of how to debate constructively and positively without rising to heated exchange is a rare and timely lesson. Esp at the dawn of what we all surely pray will be a better, safer and far less fraught year for our entire race.

    Can I please encourage the impossible to dislike Fire to write more often! How joyous it would be for us all on this site.

    1. *laughing*

      How can I fault your fantastic sense of humour, Jon? It’s first-rate! Your generous choice of words can only humble me!

      Your closing remarks encapsulate such a wonderful sense of humour, which keeps me laughing even now. Laughter, as we say in my part of the world, is a necessary tonic, especially in a world that works hard to keep us sad. And anyone who can make people laugh is blessed!

      Although it is difficult, I hope to try again at writing, which makes me admire those who produce at such a high quality and rate.

      Jon, may you continue to be blessed! And here’s to a prosperous 2022!


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