Arsenal scraped the win but the defence was atrocious

Arsenal squeeze past West Ham to prove lots of work lies ahead. by Konstantin Mitov

Happy Sunday, lovely Arsenal people. Wow, West Ham were a lot more difficult than I expected. I was really confident we’d have a happy hammer time, but instead we barely scraped with 3 points.

We never really had control of the game. We struggled to break their line and create chances. Luckily we scored 2 and that got us the win, but we desperately need more creativity in midfield.

For all the attacking talents up front, I can easily see how Auoar is our primary summer target. A little toast message showed up during the second half, and highlighted West Ham had 8 chances to 1 only in that half!

We not only need midfielders that can create chances, but also add goals to the team. We again required our strikers to do the job and it looks like they’ll have to do it for the whole season.

It was great to see Lacazette score again, and if he can raise to the 20 goal mark, that would be great. Eddie also put pressure on him with a vital goal which is great for the confidence of our strike force.

At the back though, things didn’t look great. For all the defenders we have, the 3 we put out yesterday hardly helped their cause. I must say Kolasinac was atrocious. I’m surprised Arteta even picked him. Perhaps he wanted a left footed defender on the left in the back 3, but Sead’s performance was summed up when he was released down the left and he tried to cross the ball and it went out for a goal kick. The guy can’t defend, can’t attack and he is full of mistakes. I’d be surprised if he is here at the end of the window.

The other 2 didn’t shower themselves in glory either. For me there seems to be a communication problem with Gabriel, due to his English or maybe the synergy is still missing at the back. On West Ham’s goal, we had Holding who was trying to tell Gabriel to mark Antonio, but instead he was running towards the man with the ball.

Then Holding himself realised too late that he has to mark him and a brilliant cross cut us open, because we allowed it. Rob is another Arsenal player who is too inconsistent. What closed the door on his Newcastle loan was our injury problems.

This back 3 is hardly our best and we really missed a leader like Luiz. We also missed Tierney and AMN who are vital for creating space in our play. Truthfully, I think we missed Elneny too as Ceballos despite his assist offered little to our play overall.

Nevertheless the 3 points are what matters at the end and we somehow got there. Beating these kinds of opposition will be vital as United, for example, were picked off by Palace and the race for the top 4 will be probably the most difficult it ever has been. I think these sort of performances should be used to keep a level head and realise that we need to spend more and work more on the training ground.

Liverpool added Jota and Thiago, two solid signings. And just like last season where we started with an away win followed by a difficult home one, we’ll be heading to Anfield next in the league and this will be a good reality check of where we are.

Inbetween that we go to Leicester. Not the easiest of places. It’s only the EFL cup and changes will be made, but last season we struggled with them and it’s important to show that we can overtake them and also keep the winning flow going.

In the end it was important 3 points and let’s see where that takes us.

Konstantin

60 Comments

  1. Sean Williams says:

    Xhaka often cannot concentrate. In the long term of matches he is a liability.. We are in danger of still finishing 5th or 6th. We must get at least one of Partey and Aouar but both is best. Really the chancer ‘Kroenke’ should put the money upfront…..before sales. That would show he cares. If we have too many players then some must be told they will not make the cut. Arteta will have to be ruthless. Some ‘WILL’ leave.

    1. Lenohappy says:

      Sean Williams Am sorry sir but did we watched the same game, Xhaka was easily our best player last night, I really don’t get all this negative comments about Xhaka, he made some great passes yesterday that Kolasinac keeps wasting. We all know we need a creative midfielder but not at the expense of Xhaka. A midfield of Xhaka Partey Aouar will easily destroy any team.

      1. Sean Williams says:

        Lenohappy

        For the first 30 mins he was really poor, poor poor….he couldn’t even pass in front of his own players. Watch the 30 min again. It’s just fact. Watch it again.

        1. Elkaissi says:

          Don’t say trash about xhaka. Nobody is taking his place in that team. He was our best player yesterday. So keep all the negative energy you got for him.

          1. Reggie says:

            Xhaka is the biggest problem we always get overrun in midfield. He is slow, cant read danger, cant tackle and has never been good enough. He is our problem in midfield and while he is there will always be outclassed.

    2. Unge says:

      Another day,another game and another person comes out to trash Xhaka.But the manager will continue to pick him!And among those transfer listed,he is not.Which means the manager sees in him what many people dont.He is not world class,but he is a very good player

  2. Declan says:

    Spot on regarding Kolasinac, he was atrocious and it’s pointless him going forward as all he does is pass backwards . AMN would have been my choice to replace the injured Tierney. Anyway, Leicester next in the cup and then to Anfield. Both games will show where we are presently but I’m sure we will raise our game against Liverpool.

    1. Kenya 001 says:

      Definitely our anfield game will be different. Our youngsters will play the Leicester game I expect the likes of saliba, balagon,Smith to come up with the goods

  3. Sean M says:

    It was really an overall poor performance. That first half, especially the first 20, were really hard to watch. Every player would give away possession so cheaply and we couldn’t get anything built. It brought confidence crashing down and energy levels were rock bottom pretty much all 90 mins. These are the moments when you need leaders to rally the troops and your best players to lead by example.

    We live and learn COYG

  4. JOEL says:

    I have absolutely no idea how Kolasinac gets anywhere near the team. Obviously there were communication issues throughout between Holding and Gabriel and as soon as Tierney was injured Luiz should have been brought in to play alongside Gabriel and AMN on the left side of defence. Cebellos looked extremely rusty to say the least and given Elneny’s performances in the previous two games he should have kept his place.
    Arteta has the Leicester Cup game to experiment and ease players back and that should have been the target for Cebellos’s return.Now Arteta has a dilemna…and get it wrong and Liverpool will put Arsenal to the sword.Souness was “bang on” with his assessment last night…With the exception of a few moments of class from our forwards Arsenal were “bang average” .A mediocre West Ham were able to dictate play for periods of the second half and Arsenal’s uninspired sideways and backwards passing illustrated perfectly the need for new additions to our central midfield.

    1. Sue says:

      After that performance, it’s safe to say Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke and the other teams interested in Kolasinac will have a rethink!!!

      1. Goonster says:

        @Sue.
        Are you finally giving up on your beautiful Kolasinac now?
        😊

        1. Sue says:

          Goonster…what can I say, he’s been awful…I only ever really loved his looks, not his displays, but his hair is too bloody short and I think he needs to visit Weight Watchers with Jon Moss and Troy Deeney 🙊
          West Ham were also rumoured to be interested in him – they’ve scrapped that after last night 😂😂

          1. lcw says:

            That was below the belt, Exactly where it belongs.👍
            MA really confuses me.

          2. Sue says:

            Why does he confuse you??!

          3. lcw says:

            He confuses me with his selection process. Yesterday he could have played Saka or AMN at that position instead. To be fair I don’t know his reasoning but it does not take a genius to see that KOLASNIAK is a liability.

          4. Sue says:

            I was surprised we didn’t see Ainsley.
            MA must see something completely different to the rest of us… Kolasinac isn’t the same player that first joined us! He makes me anxious!!
            Last night wasn’t pretty, especially with all the backwards/sideways passing, but I’d rather be feeling like this – unhappy at having an off day and winning – than my nephew, who is devastated at playing well and losing!! Looking forward to our next game now….
            And I’m sorry you found my comment below the belt, but I always like to have a dig at Moss/Deeney at any given opportunity 😝

          5. lcw says:

            Below the belt is warranted some times.👍
            Winning beats loosing no matter how and when.

  5. Sue says:

    A very below average performance! But the main thing is we bagged all 3 points…
    How bloody quick was Jota to Liverpool?!! Quicker than Usain Bolt!! whilst we wait……..and wait………mand wait……..probably until the last hour of the window!!

    1. towny254 says:

      We always wait till the last moment to buy someone everybody has done their business and we are still window shopping Sue

      1. Sue says:

        If only our business was done that fast, towny!!

  6. SM says:

    That’s where I disagree with summer recruitment. Creativity comes from having a solid base, West Ham were picking us off on the break and countering taking the likes of Xhaka and Ceballos out of the game. Then when second phase possession was contested we were way out of shape. It’s crying for a solid CDM to steady the ship and really put his foot in periods of the game when playing football is a secondary priority. Patrick Vieira used to single handedly turn games like last nights with his sheer persistence power and pace. For me we need Partey to give us that fulcrum to allow our talented attacking players do their thing. Auoar would have remained upfield and left us exposed yesterday.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      👍 Very hard to attack if you are on the back foot as soon, as Arsenal loses the ball and the ball was for too often. That’s why Arsenal needs a player like Thomas Partey to break up play, win the ball back and drive forward.

  7. Herbz says:

    Major player analysis.
    1. Leno’s commedy has been there for all to see so expect more of the same.

    2. I have always said Holding best position is central of a back 3. Because he’s a good header of the ball and he’s simply not mobile enough to play on the right side like say Mustafi.

    3. Gabriel has been infected by indecision from arsenal. From Ligue 1, he had the best stats for forward passes but every time he has the ball, he wants to either pass it to the keeper or give responsibility of forward passing to another defender.

    4. Xhaka – the ultimate master of indecision. Overall, Arsenal these days is not adventurous enough in their passing. We seem to want to be over careful.

    5. Lacazette has to work on his positioning (spacing himself well). Every time he seems to have a defender close to him. That’s why he’s fouled or loses the ball often.

    1. Eddie says:

      Don’t know what game you saw but Xhaka was the only midfielder taking risks with his passes yesterday and pushing us forward right from the deep.
      You guys need to drop your agenda against some of the players, every player struggled yesterday during the first half including Xhaka, but during the whole second half he was our best midfielder and creator yesterday, a lot of his passes we put to wasted yesterday. So you can’t tell me Xhaka was indecisive and went adventurous.
      Ceballos had a poor game and was rusty, but because he got an assist he had a banger.
      Saka other than the 2 pre assists was wasteful and poor yesterday but he’s MOTM for some of you.
      For some of you though, regardless the performance of certain players, agenda against them must agend and go on

      1. Herbz says:

        There are certain fouls he got because of his indecision wherehence had it been another referee, it would be a free kick in a dangerous position.

        1. Hez says:

          Major mistake by Arteta letting Emi go.
          Goalkeeping is not all about shot stopping, if you can organise your defence and control your area the chances you need it are minimal. Keep fluffing crosses, spilling and passing to deffenders under pressure and they become nervous, things get worse. Whole team gets worse and your shot stopping stats go up…

          1. Pattyx says:

            Spot on mate, Emi is a very good GK who can play intricate passes from the back & can control the flow of the defense. We need ball playing center backs as Gabriel isn’t really good at that aspect 2 me especially when he was under pressure. Looking at the midfield, I wasn’t impressed with xhaka and ceballos cos they made a lot of mistakes & they put themselves under pressure. Kolasinac needs 2 leave the team or lose his weight cos he’s so heavy on the ground as needs more Agility… His lack of Agility couldn’t let him play 1-2 passes with saka, limiting the attack and putting a lot of pressure on Auba 2 fall in 2 do kolasinac’s job & that’s y saka was easily closed down 2 many times, cos he wasn’t controlling the game just as AMN and Tierney would. This is a big reality check, but still there are positives 2 this game that proves that Arsenal can still play ugly and still win cos that’s the stuff of champions.
            From my observations

            1. we really need an attacking midfielder so that we can change d game play 2 a back 4 easily and balance play as kola is better as a traditional left back and Rob and Gabriel can play 2 Cbs, with bellerin or Cedric at the side.

            2. We need a Dm as it could be that Xhaka playing every time could take a toll on him as I suspect cos Arteta said they trained very hard this week. As having an extra very good mobile Dm will bring freshness and competition 2 Xhaka.

            3. Since we build from the back, my suggestion is that both Rob holding and especially Gabriel should be trained on playing passes { both long and short like David Luiz} from tight positions especially when under pressure.

            4. Either Arteta start training Leno on how to play from the back or we get a ball playing GK that’s also a very good shot stopper as well.

            5. Since Xhaka is playing week in week out, at least give Torriera a run till you get another Dm…

            6. I don’t know whats happening with Sokratis, Guendouzi, Ozil.. Don’t u wanna sell them??

            7. What of Willock and Reiss Nelson…??

      2. SM says:

        Eddie, no one is talking about Xhaka’s passing we are talking about his ability to shield the defence which is non-existant. He has no pace so when other teams counter quickly he is taken out of the game. No agenda’s here, he always has and always will be suited to slower leagues like the Bundesliga. Get Partey in!

    2. Lenohappy says:

      Herbz Each time a cross comes in I always feel like am having an attack, I don’t know who is more poor in dealing with crosses between Leno and Kepa, and he’s passes is just way too poor, Leno will wait and wait till the opposition close us down before passing the ball, see that poor ball he passed in the second half, that could have easily resulted in a goal. Have been saying this from day one that Lacazette is just too average, I mean what do you call a striker bought for 50million and can’t score 15goals a season, am really missing Martinelli. But like Sue said the most important thing is the 3 points.

  8. Eddie says:

    Poor performance and good result, matter of fact I’d say good game because these sort of games and performance allows us to learn more about ourselves as a team.
    Even Arteta said it yesterday, games like these would help us learn and fix our weaknesses a lot.
    That man fills m with confidence, listening to him admit we were bad was relieving, he was glad we got the points but would hide and deny the fact we were bad and need to improve… The last 3-4 years ago, we’d have lost this game or just drew it.
    Let me not even bring up how a certain coach of ours after a terrible performance against Watford told the media that we had a great game and we definitely improved.
    All in all, I don’t want to complain, there’ll be more days like these where we get to win ugly, the only solution that’ll fill fans with confidence is if it doesn’t happen often.
    Niles & Tierney would probably play against Liverpool.
    This week we really need to try and move players on. I fear Napoli might back out of taking Sokratis because Man City are getting another CB

  9. Goonster says:

    After watching the first 7 minutes in the first half I knew we were in for a slog.
    It was uncomfortable to watch.
    But I hope Arteta and the players also acknowledged that they were poor and lucky to come away with all 3 points.

    Man that was the old heart in your mouth Arsenal that gives you nightmares.

    Sort it out. And lets move on to the next match.

    1. towny254 says:

      Arteta needs to sort out the defence they were all over the place and keep giving the ball away who told Holding he could hit a 30 yard pass he is not Luis and probley never will be in them sort of passes

  10. vz says:

    Being same old Arsenal. Even Emery had some good moments n we said We got our Arsenal back. Is this Arsenal any better than that of Emery!! Conceding 16-17shots on target n then getting lucky win was hallmark of Emery that’s what we r getting now also. Arsenal also doesn’t seem to learn from past mistake. We don’t extent Laca contract now. He will score 20+goal this season then we r going to give him big fat contract n after getting that contract then he will sit, relax n run down contract n leave for free. It seems comitting mistake is Arsenal habit which one can’t get rid off.

  11. Goonster says:

    We have saying for a long time that we need a dynamic midfielder. Someone that can hold on to that ball and traval with it.
    The likes of Xhaka, Ceballos, Elneny etc are just sweaty, safe, nothing extra special. Good squad players.

  12. Sean Williams says:

    We are useless at dealing with teams who sit back….but brilliant at countering teams. We need to develop a dominating, confident, aggressive midfield. We do not have one midfield player who fully fits that description. Partey and Aouar do.

  13. Aussie Jack says:

    I watched a pathetic exhibition by a group of highly paid non starters kick a ball (mostly to the opposition) for 45 minutes, then I`d had enough’
    The season is only two matches old but it`s doubtful I`ll be getting out of bed to watch more of this crap. We still don`t have an Arsenal.

    1. jon fox says:

      AJ, Not the comments of a true diehard fan, though I recognise that fairweather fans, as you appear to be, also have a right to post on here. I am a democrat and BELIEVE all have their right to post but sometimes when I read some comments, I rather regret being a democrat.

  14. Grandad says:

    There is a lack of genuine pace in the back three and central midfield which is a real concern for the future and clearly Holding and Gabriel were having ” communication” problems which could be eased by switching to a conventional back four.Holding is clearly uncomfortable being drawn out on the right flank on a regular basis with Bellerin being caught up the park.West Ham played on this by crossing from the left whenever possible, and with Holding lured out and Kolasinac noticeable by his absence, this piled pressure on Gabriel who found the going tough.We were indeed very fortunate to escape with a win, but I am sure our Manager will have learned a lot from this poor all round performance and I suspect Kolasinac might not feature in another game in the Premier League.

  15. Gallagher says:

    For all the hate that Mustafi and Luiz get on here it’s clear they are miles ahead of our other defenders apart from Gabriel. Yesterday’s game was tough to watch but it’s clearly not our strongest 11. Mustafi and Luiz are much more mobile and are miles ahead in terms of passing ability. When the back 3 is Mustafi Luiz Gabriel we will be much more solid and with Tierney and AMN as the wing backs we will be much more aggressive going forward. Finally if we can only afford one of Partey and Aourar we must go with Aourar as we need that extra 2/3 good chances he will provide to our forwards to see out games like yesterday.

  16. Innit says:

    Some problems seem to stay the same year after year, manager after manager 😭😭😭

  17. Davi says:

    Basically we couldn’t keep up the intensity we showed recently against the bigger teams (and Fulham). Partly this is because of personnel changes but it could show a bit of a mentality issue that Arteta will need to deal with. It’s not enough to have given us the confidence to face the top sides, we won’t get to where we need to be unless we can keep the same levels against the WHUs.
    Also
    – Kola shouldn’t have come in but I don’t know that we had another option for LCB if luiz wasn’t fit enough (did he play LCB or LB, though?)
    – we kept the wrong keeper; teams will target us with crosses and EM was excellent with those
    – Saka is getting even better but we need to be careful not to put on too much pressure imo.
    – Gabriel had a couple of moments but looks a great signing still

    1. Davi says:

      Also also, Eddie deserves more recognition – I’m not alone in questioning how good he will be long term (of course while wishing him the best), but you can’t question his attitude; he came on ready to make a difference and he did.

  18. Darthballz says:

    We won’t always get the perfect game . I love to see the players work hard for it . We are still in the process and this reminded all of us

  19. Val says:

    Personally i think MA has his eye on the next 2 games.
    It wasn’t ideal KT getting injured in the warm up.

    Before everyone rants about how poor we was last night, just remember, it’s our 3rd game back from no pre-season, Saka, Kola, Ceballos had not played a full 90 yet.

    I said months ago Holding isnt as good as people think he is and is only still here because we have no cover as most are injured.

    We had a bad night but still came away with the 3 points, its better to get these poor performances out the way against lesser teams than go to Liverpool and have it there, where we will get punished.

  20. Hez says:

    Major mistake by Arteta letting Emi go.
    Goalkeeping is not all about shot stopping, if you can organise your defence and control your area the chances you need it are minimal. Keep fluffing crosses, spilling and passing to deffenders under pressure and they become nervous, things get worse. Whole team gets worse and your shot stopping stats go up…

    1. Khadii says:

      Arteta’s hands were tied regarding Emi..
      Emi requested to leave.. Arteta wanted to keep him to fight for his place..
      You can’t force a loyal player to stay and risk having an unhappy player in the squad.
      Hopefully we get a better competition for Leno cos he just doesn’t inspire the backline with confidence

  21. Jo-Gunz says:

    2 games 6 points.
    Arsenal would have lost or drawn this kind of game a year ago.
    Every team in the EPL will meet its fair share of difficult games and average display as the season progresses.
    Your character and ability to grind out winning results would be the key factor.
    Vision in progress and forward we look.

    1. Khadii says:

      Thank you.
      Man utd supposedly has a better team according to some of our fans.. But got beaten at home to Palace.
      Thats the Epl for you.
      Hope Arsenal complete deals for Partey and Auouar immediately

      1. Herbz says:

        Khadi, let’s focus on ourselves….

        Any sane person except the pundits (who want cheap popularity) would clearly see that Man Utd are just overhyped.

        Any team without a striker is just as useless.

        However their play is quite more progressive than ours… which is very annoying.

        1. Pattyx says:

          Yet they say Martial is better than Auba!!.. What in the hell are united fans smoking… This is reality check in the premier league, no more big boys and small teams. Anybody can beat anyone on their day even as good as Liverpool were, they still hit smashed by a relegated Watford and Man city got demolished by Crystal Palace…. The premier league gets hotter by the season as every one is on his toes. Imagine a league that has coaches like Mourinho, Ancelloti, Nuno Espirito Sanchez, Guardiola, Klopp, Ole & still got experienced Old hands like Marcelo Bielsa, Slaven Bilic, Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson, David Moyes, Pellegrini with even adding new talented coaches like Mikel Arteta, and Frank Bastard… Sorry Frank Lampard in just one league with 20 teams and wait I ohh I 4got, only one team can win the league!!!… With every team now having dangerous financial prowess in the transfer market like imagine Everton buying James Rodriguez, Allan and Docoure… We really are in 4 a hell of a league with a hot season… So why can’t Crystal palace make a fool of united in their home cos as it stands now, there’s nothing like a home ground in the Epl.. It’s just the better team on that day that wins. God help us all, God help Arsenal

        2. Rory johnson says:

          @herbz no, I got absolutely BLASTED on here for saying we had as good a team as UTD. Like proper blasted lol.

  22. Longbenark says:

    Quite a boring game last night, I felt I was gonna faint , the pressure was bad, well 3 points we have,
    MA should pressure the owners to fund, we need aggression in the midfield, Gabriel seems to be a great buy, but for Kolasinac and Ceballos, who constantly allowed pressure on the defense,

    If Arsenal isn’t getting any new signings, I guess it would be good to integrate AMN into the midfield, as he’s aggressive, my opinion though.

    Please Lacazette is doing great, he often has to sacrifice by going so deep, sometimes I feel MA should field him a little deep, he’s strong and good at passing,

    Our major issue now is the midfield, we need power and creativity,

    I hope Arsenal gets players in and out this week.

    Sometimes I wonder if Aouar and Partey are the only options, there are far cheaper and better options out there,

    There’s Geoffrey Kondogbia, Kalvin Phillips.

  23. Th14 says:

    Bukayo Saka with 3 pre assists… 🥳

    Naija boy going far….

    1. Th14 says:

      2 pre assists I mean

      1. Sue says:

        Ooh there’s a blast from the past!! Hope you’re ok, TH14 🙂

        1. Dan kit says:

          My man
          TH14 👍👍

  24. Gold says:

    Xhaka wasn’t up to scratch yesterday so was all our midfielders, don’t let the long balls fool you. He could do that yesterday because the had time and space, even at that he gave at ball away numerous time. We need a CM that’s comfortable playing balls between the line, Saka was stationed there all game but no body located him in the pocket of space. The only time he got the in BTL we scored our first goals.
    We can’t play risky passes because we don’t have a shield like Partey in front of our defence, Elneny is still the best DM we have now and he’s average
    We need a Partey and Aouar type of player ASAP

  25. jon fox says:

    Post after constant post of negative comments on here. True of course that we had an off day. BUT did no one notice, since no one has commented, on how hard working the team still was!

    Closing down across the whole team has become so recent and previously non existent(before MA ) that I am still in raptures at actually seeing it become the norm. Ozils welcome regular absence massively helps this to happen.

    There were still many plusses among the many minuses. Kolas was SO awful that the plus will surely be that he will never start a Prem game again and will almost certainly be mercifully gone by next month.

    Another plus is that the manager will learn more from this below par team show than we would if we had won handsomely. A further plus is that MA IS the sort of manager who WILL learn from a poor perf and not constantly make the same mistakes game after game, as a certain famous French manager did for year after year.

    Our defence and midfield both need much work but at least THIS manager knows it and is clearly working hard with a willing squad to improve that. All depends on how you see that proverbial glass; half full OR half empty!

  26. RD says:

    The midfield was atrocious, not the defense. That said, both need to be sorted, which is why I am surprised at all the talk of Aouar. If Arsenal has +90m to spend, go back in for Upamecano and get Partey.

    Also, if there is a part-exchange deal on the table involving PSG and Guendouzi, get Isrissa Gueye, not Draxler.

    Finally, go in for Marco Roca BEFORE seeing about Partey. That buys an alternative to both Xhaka and Partey, plus it gives leverage with Atletico for ANY part-exchange deal involving Torreira or Partey. I hear that Roca is available for less than 20m.

    Sort DM and CB positions as we are already good at attacking and box-to-box positions. Bear with Ozil and Emile Smith-Rowe for creativity for the time-being.

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