Arsenal v Brighton – Our lack of leadership has come back to haunt us

Lack of leadership has cost us by Dan Smith

So, Arsenal look set to miss out on the top 4, after predictably they showed weak mentality just as the pressure became too real.

Only a lack of leadership can be the reason why, for the second game running, we showed a lack of appetite even though so much was at stake.

I was one of many gooners who forecasted this months ago.

I was told I had an agenda, was called negative and even more personal abuse was thrown my way for foreseeing what was obvious.

Evidence was there in December and January that this squad is capable of not showing up for the fight. Think back to Goodison Park and the City Ground.

Despite knowing this, the priority in January was to slash the wage bill.

That’s why you won’t hear me blame Lacazette or Eddie Nketiah for our lack of firepower because they had shown in the first half of the season, they were not prolific enough (they have scored one penalty between them in the League this year).

The club’s answer to that was to give Aubameyang away without bringing in anyone better, as saving 300 000 pound a week was more important than giving our team the best possible chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

I always said I would hold my hands up and say Arteta had done an incredible job if he were able to get us back into UEFA’s elite competition while saving money.

I was impressed how our manager had been able to make us weaker in the New Year and yet have so many fans thinking it was a good idea, even when Auba started scoring for Barcelona.

That’s why we had the ridiculous over the top celebrations when beating Wolves and Aston Villa because the Spaniard was starting to think the Gunners actually got away with their lack of ambition. That somehow, we might finish above the likes of Spurs and Man United without a prolific forward.

In the end it caught up with us. There’s no way anyone can tell me you wouldn’t at least have wanted Auba as an option on the bench this weekend?

It’s not just Auba though.

Clearly Pepe is another talent who, instead of being trained and coached to be better, has just been discarded.

He’s got two attackers who will be free agents this summer ahead of him in the pecking order and no matter how long their goal droughts, he can’t get a start.

If I was the Kroenke Family, I would want to know why they invested 70 million on a player who can’t start even when we struggle for goals.

Yet they created an environment where a rookie boss believes it’s okay just to wash hands of talent and not get the best out of the resources he has.

Win our game in hand and we are joint points with Spurs who we still have to play so our destiny is still in our own hands.

Yet 4 out of our last 8 fixtures are against those in the top 7, 3 of which are away.

There is nothing to suggest we have the mentality or leadership to win at the Bridge and the Lane, both of which we may now have to do.


Video – Mikel Arteta post-Brighton “It’s time to criticise ourselves”

Tags Arsenal v Brighton


  1. I think our CF and CDM were the main culprits for the our last two losses, because they didn’t play like that before the international break

    I’m afraid the key players got too complacent, after spending more than two weeks break to enjoy the jet-set lifestyles in London with their huge salaries

    One way to fix this is making the young CFs and Lokonga train harder. We need to bench the ones who don’t have future at the club

    1. Our CF were poor before the international break.
      We need a manager that can adapt not some one trick pony that struggles when two first team players are missing with injury.
      And not investing in January when it was clear we were in the mix for the top four positions yet had a threadbare squad is worth his job should we fail to achieve our targets.
      He has had nearly three seasons now…

      1. Lacazette made seven assists in nine games before the international break

        As for the transfer decision in January, the manager wouldn’t be able to do anything if the club didn’t want to spend a dime. I think Kroenke felt he’d spent a lot for the current regime and would like to see what they could achieve first

  2. The same hoary old chestnuts are wheeled out when the team suffers a couple of losses. Bad leadership, coaching, tactics, owners, transfers, referees, VAR, injuries, player attitude, luck and passive crowd support. Yet when the team goes on a winning run everyone just changes the first word fron Bad to Good in front of the list above. 🙂

    1. Its just as predictable as your very predicable comment.
      Go on a run of narrow wins and all of a sudden, according to folk like you we are back and will be playing Bayern and PSG next season.
      If most are honest with themselves whilst they were pleased with our run in form that got us here they were expecting this. What is most disappointing is instead of strengthening our position in January Arteta clearly believed his own press and did nothing.
      As a consequence of this our squad is pitifully short – not that he was expected to solve the issues in one short winter window but he could have at least bothered to try.
      No team expecting to challenge for top four would miss one left back and one central midfielder as much as Arsenal have.
      Arteta is to blame for this…

    2. No , to be fair my stance has been clear for months that we would bottle top 4 and that you very rarely succeed without a striker who can score goals

  3. So you would be happy having a player on the bench that was constantly breaking the club rules and missing sitters when playing ? Think back to earlier this season when he was in the squad and the results. Performances and results improved after he was left out of the squad.

    Would I have liked to see a replacement bought in, yes, but tell me which top striker we could have signed in the January transfer window?

    1. Did they ?
      His last start was Man United
      So we lost at Everton , Forest , home to City twice to Liverpool , Palace and Brighton

      1. Beat Southampton, West Ham, Leeds, Norwich, Wolves twice, Brentford, Watford, Leicester and Villa. He was in the squad at Everton, came on and missed a chance to equalise.

        Any chance you could answer the question I asked you ?

        1. Yeah I would have preferred Aubameyang on the bench instead of Eddie Nketiah
          I have long said I exspect our manager to get the best out of resources he has
          Ozil , Pepe , Aubameang , guendozi, saliba , other players he released , that’s allot of players he gives up on with out replacing

          1. So you would have been quite happy with a player on the bench resorting to his old ways in getting a move ? Gotcha.

            Ozil, another player with attitude problems, hence his dropping from the Schalke squad at the start of his career and more recently at Fenerbache.

            Guendouzi only seems happy in France, as he was also dropped from the Hertha Berlin squad last season due to attitude problems.

            Salina, while playing well in domestic games hasn’t been getting good reviews in the French press for his performances in the EL.

            Yet again you’ve swerved my question on which top striker we could have signed in January.

            1. Yes caus hes better then Eddie Nketiah
              Not swerving question
              I simply wouldnt have left our only strikers Lacca and Eddie and to be fair said that at the time

              1. The argument that Arteta has let too many players go is debatable in that most of those players were not playing well for the team or there were attitude issues.
                The Aubameyang issue is also problematic in several ways. Sure he is better than Nketiah but consider the squad dynamics when a senior player like him would be coming on only for cameos in a game.
                As for replacements, yes, this would have made us more competitive. However, we do not know what funds were available.

                1. There is no debate david ,unless you have not seen our thin squad which in the last week lost 2 first teamers probably for the season which coincides with 2 successive defeats.
                  The attitude excuse is just that ,he can not manage players that have abit of ego .

                2. @David, spot on about players with attitude problems. You can’t keep a player at a club that is consistently breaking the club rules. If you do keep them it ends up with other players doing it as well.

                  1. It begs the question, why did Barca take him and why is another manager getting the goals out of him. Was it him or was it the way we play. This attitude lemon is a non starter with me, it is thrown around too much to try and explain why we move on good players that play better for another manager. Some Players need managing more than others, that is a skill.

                    1. Quite simple really, free transfer, always scores goals at the start of his career at a new club. When he first signed for Dortmund he was playing in the same position, out wide, as Lewendoski was the main striker, and he was still banging in the goals from out wide. He was turning up late for training, turned up late for the NLD derby last season and then returned back to London late after visiting his mum in France, meaning he had to miss a game. Now compare that to Xhaka, who played last Monday night at Palace, his grandmother died on the Wednesday, he flew to Kosovo for her funeral on the Thursday and was back training on Friday.

  4. Problem is artera dont know how to rotate he left players on the bench for so long they lost their ability to kick a ball when those players are nuno and lukonga you can’t expect world class performance if they never involved in playing he don’t trust players until he is forced to.

  5. Great article, the truth the whole truth and nothing but. I think one of the biggest questions that needs answering is.
    Why has our manager let go or not been able to get a tune out of some very talented individuals who play far far better for other coaches?
    It has cost us very very dearly!!!!!!!!

        1. Nope Reggie
          They are now your opinions as I don’t see his truth or yours
          Likewise my truths are just my opinions

  6. Win our game in hand and we will be level on points with spurs, yes but spurs will still be above us with there now far superior goal difference. It would not surprise me at all if we don’t win another game this season.

  7. another game and another terrible ref and VAR decision against Arsenal… Same old same old every game the same thing happens but with a different set on VAR and a different REF !! every game Arsenal play is rigged against the Team and Manager !! every single game !! its beyond a joke now !! when ex pros from different clubs not Arsenal are seeing the same things as i do every week !! then something has to change !! or at least an independent investigation into the decisions by refs and VAR !! if you cannot do it for Arsenal which i expect not to happen because the FA and REFs are and have always been against the club !! at least have an independent panel on VAR not refs !!

    1. Rediculous!!!!!!! Tell me who is paying them to go against Arsenal? Why is everyone who Refs or is on VAR is against Arsenal? What is the gain for them? What is the main reason to be biased against Arsenal? Who tells or teaches these Refs to give Arsenal nothing? What happens too them when we do get a decision on VAR or by an onfield referee? Are there any benefits for them to be biased towards Arsenal?

  8. What we really need is a captain who is prepared to kick backsides like a Tony Adams or a Patrick Viera. Lacazette is not a leader. You need few leaders who are able to take charge on the field and in the change room. I dont think we currently have one !!

  9. DAN and anyone else who has read my regular posts, know that I TOTALLY DISAGREE with DANS VIEWPOINT.
    Dan has always had and still has a complete anti MA AGENDA though he is at least consistent in that. My view is that those who choose to call themselves suppporters , rather than simply fans, have a duty to acually SUPPORT the club they CLAIM TO SUPPORT.

    You see, my friends, there is a world of difference between having diverse opinions on team matters on the one hand but on the other , conducting a relentless personal attack against the man chosen to run our club and team. Some will disagree with me and take DANS view.


    1. This I agree with.
      Unfortunately, many fans on this site seem to equate insults and criticism. It is instructive that when called out for their personal attacks they immediately claim this as evidence that they aren’t allowed to criticize the manager.
      Also many fans seem to have thrown in the towel despite the fact that we still have our fate in our hands. This kind of negative attitude does the club no favours. This is a young team going through a difficult period and it is at times like this that fans support is most needed.

    2. You do remember you’re relentless personal attacks of Wenger ?
      Even wishing he became Ill so he would leave ,now forgive me if I’m wrong but I’ve never seen any fan stoop as low as that .

    3. Jon…

      I’ve read your response several times, and I’m always glad to come across people like you who are willing to stand up for a belief even when it is unpopular.

      Personally, I believe that everyone has the right to an opinion, as we all view things differently. Thus, my mantra is that if a viable process is followed correctly, the desired positive outcome will almost always occur despite spikes and outliers that may rid the process.

      When an old and dilapidated building is to be rebuilt, it may need to be demolished since applying a patch may only be superficial… In such a case, the process of deconstruction is never pleasant for those who continue to recall the building’s glorious past. They may even inquire as to why certain portions of the structure are being demolished. However, if the rebuilders remain focused and adhere to a clear plan for reconstruction, a new structure will surely suffice in time, and the naysayers will change their minds.

      As a result, we hope that the rebuilders of the Arsenal project have a clear plan and that, despite the project’s current poor state, they will remain focused and committed to the plan. If they do, I have no reservations about the future.

      My prayer to all is that we should temper our expectations to the extent possible and instead commit to supporting the rebuilding idea. The rot took years, and as a result, the rebuild will undoubtedly take time.

      Without a doubt, progress is being made on the rebuild… Let us encourage this progress and avoid suffocating the spirit, and we will surely reap the benefits soon.

      The road to success is not linear…

      Continue to be blessed!


      1. Fire a very nice reply, the only problem comes when the process is being conducted by someone NOBODY has any idea if he is actually up to it. Us thinking (not slagging) posters put our views down as to why we think he isnt cutting it but some people are not articulate enough to just plain and simply tell us all why they think he can handle the process. What is he actually doing to prove he is capable? He has no history of running a team and watching the football we play and the way he has handled situations badly,gives no hope that he is doing a good job. What is he doing differently to Wenger or Emery? The Only thing i keep hearing is he has got rid of the bad attitudes and replaced them with player who have better ones. I dont agree with it but that is unimportant, the important thing is ARE WE A BETTER TEAM BECAUSE OF? At this moment in time i would say no.

        1. Hi, Reggie…

          I really appreciate your truly remarkable response! And I really do understand the pain, because we all feel it as true fans must do…

          Indeed, Arteta lacked full managerial experience prior to joining Arsenal, and thus the issue of his experience is significant.

          However, I am aware that resolving a problem, rot, or decline that has developed over years of neglect is not a simple task for the best, let alone a man of little to no experience. Additionally, I am aware that attitude and commitment are critical components of resurrecting a fallen system, qualities that were long forgotten at the Arsenal. As a result, I believed that the first step to be embarked upon by any leader should be to hire the appropriate personnel. Furthermore, I knew that a surgical procedure that would also be extensive, and painful, was necessary. When I saw that Arteta prioritized that, I knew we were on the right track. Any other coach who did not act in this manner may have been doomed to failure.

          Additionally, I am aware that certain players have a ceiling above which they cannot ascend. No coach, not even Guordiola, can help some players (and this can be debated for so long, albeit with no conclusion). As a result, recruiting the appropriate personnel requires time, money, and support. As a result, I have had to evaluate the quality of players Arteta was gradually bringing in, and I believed they possessed tremendous potential. Thus, I believe(d) we are on the right track.

          Finally, I am aware that adaptability is a highly significant and defining characteristic of any champion (see Mohammed Ali, Bobby Fisher, Tiger Woods, and many of the best in all dimensions), however, that is the final quality I am yet seeking in both our players and coach. For this reason, I am willing to wait until the season’s conclusion before passing judgment.

          Reggie, I may not have persuaded you otherwise, but all I can say is that the elements and foundation are gradually being laid. Perhaps another coach may be required, but the foundations Arteta has laid will undoubtedly contribute significantly to our future success.

          Again, if we do not finish in the top four at the end of the season and Arteta is fired (which is probable, no one knows), we will support the next coach.

          Meanwhile, we will continue to support the team! And we do hope they turn the corner and surf the tides!

          Please be encouraged! The earth is in desperate need of restoration! Some do not even have the luxury of watching these games that we are desperately attached to! Therefore, we have reasons to be thankful!

          Hope to discuss more with you!

          Remain blessed!

          Cheers, sir!

  10. I think your point is about our current League position Dan?, 5th in the table with 8 games to go

    A couple of things if I may please:

    Eddie missed the start of the season because of injury, didn’t get on the bench until November and has only had 15 or 20 minutes at the end of some games when either we have already got the result or are desperately chasing the game, on the basis of the latter he got a bit longer in the last two games and hit the bar in both but a bit unfair to say he “hasn’t been prolific enough in the first half of the season” based on those facts

    At the time of leaving Auba had scored 4 League goals, the same as Laca has now, both ESR and Saka have 9

    We lost the last game that Auba started against ManU and he didn’t score, he came on as sub in the next game 4 days later and missed a fairly straight forward opportunity to nick us a point

    In the next games after that when he didn’t play we won 3-0, 2-0, 4-1 and 5-0 up until the game we lost to City where I think most fans thought we played well and deserved a draw

    We drew the next game after that and then won the next 5 before losing to Liverpool, winning the next one prior to the last two poor performances

    The other game you mention was Forest, that was in the Cup and doubtful that Auba would have played but it obviously wouldn’t have had an affect on our current League position anyway, as is the case with the goals Auba has scored for Barca

    Pepe hasn’t had starts this season because he plays in Saka’s position and Saka has had a great season so far

    You appear to think he should be tried in Laca’s position?, who knows he might do a good job there but I don’t think we have too many historic references to support that to be honest

    1. Simple since January have Eddie and Lacca scored enough goals ?
      Think it’s 1 penalty
      Arsenal used to be known if nothing else as being able to create chances
      I would go as far as saying we rarely have a season like this where we have scored less
      I think yesterday a Pepe should be coming on before an Eddie Nketiah

      1. No Dan, you were correct in saying “this year” in brackets after saying that they had not been prolific enough in the first half of the season, you put Eddie in that when he hasn’t started a League game all season (inc January, February, March and April so far)

        We still create chances but not enough are taken but you didn’t mention chances at all in your piece

        You may well be right that we rarely have a season like this where we have scored less, not mentioned in your article

        Pepe not coming on instead of Eddie yesterday wasn’t what you said in your piece, you said he had been discarded and couldn’t get a start ahead of two summer free agents

        Pepe came on 12 minutes after Eddie yesterday, unfortunately neither were able to have the impact I’m sure we both wanted

        1. If Auba has been scoring since and Eddie and Lacca have contributed one pen ….I struggle to see how that decision can be defended

  11. Was the point of your article that Auba shouldn’t have been allowed to go in January Dan?, sorry I missed that and therefore wasn’t trying to “defend” it if that’s what you meant, I just thought that you misused some information to make whatever point was being made, I guess it explains why you said that Laca & Eddie weren’t prolific enough in the first half of the season rather than Laca & Auba, which would have been more accurate because Auba actually played in games when Eddie didn’t

    As I said Auba had only scored 4 League goals before his departure

    I know about as much as you as to what went on to lead to that mutual agreement in January, which is very little, but up until the last two games the team were getting League results without him, as I also detailed in my first post

    However, you could be right, if Auba was still at Arsenal he could have come back into the team now and “saved” the season for us!

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