Arsenal’s fight for the Top Four – Let’s look at the positives and negatives

It’s not all doom and gloom for Arsenal 

by Ankoanko

While I agree with most of us that we are not at our desired position right now, but let me ask you, if at the beginning of the season someone offered us to be just 3 points off the top four in February am sure most of us would have taken it, considering we were entering an unknown territory under a new manager with zero Premier league experience.
Well for now everyone’s favorite top four candidate is Man Utd, a team on form after firing their manager a couple of months ago. I know some of us are asking why are we not like Man Utd? I will be quick to remind you that we also went through that period where we wend 22 matches unbeaten. Plus the Man Utd team has a great potential in all positions, but we will see one thing we have in common with them later in the article.
Now we all know that Arsenal was a team going in the wrong direction with our previous manager, and we can all agree with that. But with a new manager, we had a shouting chance of change, and the team is slowly, but steadily moving in the right direction now. But there are somethings that needs to be looked at right now of we are to make an even better season.
The negatives
Negative football and poor team selection
Unai has been questioned several times over his team selection in the last few weeks and rightfully so, and he needs to very quickly learn from this otherwise it may get worse than it already is. A look at how Man Utd have improved as a team in the last 6-7 weeks, there are some things we have in common, but they seem to have solved some of their issues, they couldn’t score enough goals and not stop letting in enough on the other end. But ever since they took in Ole, their attack has improved incredibly and their defense too. But what is the secret?
Man Utd didn’t need to dig deep in the transfer window, they just changed the team attitude. Mourinho and Emery had two things in common, defensive philosophy and frustrating the big name players in the process, we all know how that ended. I am not saying Ozil is Pogba, but you can’t play defensive football expecting your attacking players to shine. Put Messi in Atletico and you will not be seeing the same Messi. But a change in philosophy has actually changed man Utd fortunes in both attack and defense.
Yes Man Utd have better players compared to us in both attack and defense, but they were conceding more goals than us when they were playing defensive tactics. Emery can’t put in 5 defenders and sometimes 3 defensive midfielders and expect to trouble a Man City team with only 3 defenders and two defensive midfielders. Even teams with less quality will always feel confident attacking us knowing they have nothing much to worry about from our attacks.
Again, how do you play two of the most lethal strikers in the Premier League and deny them creativity? We need to attack more and we will actually concede less. We didn’t necessarily need to dig in to the January transfer to improve, just sort out our attitude.
 We will be facing only Tottenham and Man Utd in our last 14 games, and they actually aren’t that far away, if we sort out our away form, then we have what it takes to win up to 12-13 of our last 14 games. Yes we have tricky fixtures against Wolves, Everton and Leicester City, but with a squad full of confidence we can win these games and others. If we can beat Man Utd at home next month I am sure we will be making top four. Why? Because the rest of our top four rivals face more big teams.
Man Utd still have us, Chelsea, City, and Liverpool to contend with. Chelsea have City, Spurs, Liverpool and Utd to contend with. Are you seeing what am seeing? We only need to try to maintain our point difference between us and them this month, which has traditionally been hard for us. Speaking of traditions, we usually end up having a very strong run in, and a fixture of almost 9 teams not being in the top 6 only adds to it.
I have a strong feeling that we may actually make top four but Emery needs to sort his defensive tactics sooner rather than later.
That’s it for me today,
 Muha Ankoanko Al~wattan.


  1. Pat says:

    I hope Emery would have learned something from our previous game. Huddersfield can become a banana skin if we don’t care for our defence, or creative enough chances. I watched Man City yesterday and I saw fight and determination, more importantly I saw a balanced team. Spurs have a tendency about them. Other teams will have respect for us if we stopped playing like amateurs.

    1. gotanidea says:

      If Arsenal could steal the first goal, I’m sure it would be easier for the defense

      Therefore they need players that could break Huddersfield’s defense from the wings and the ones that could score from set-pieces

  2. gotanidea says:

    Emery usually chooses a more defensive strategy when facing a top team, but he sets the team to be more attacking when playing against a weaker team

    Maybe the team look as if they lack the creativity without Ozil currently, but actually they are doing better without him, proven by the potential of finishing in top four. Ozil has been given a lot of chances to start in big games since last season and Emery has been proving that his decision to exclude him in tough games is correct

    I agree with you that the fixtures look good for Arsenal, but they have to gain more confidence from away games

    1. d says:

      “but actually they are doing better without him, proven by the potential of finishing in top four.” Right, so a single player being on the pitch is the difference between us finishing in the top 4 or not, is it? And the only reason we are “potentially” finishing in the top 4 this season is because we’re playing Ozil less? You honestly believe that..? Even though our worst run all season coincided with Ozil being frozen out, you still claim we do better without him..

      So I guess when we were finishing in the top 4 and Ozil was playing, going by your logic, that must mean that he single handedly won us all of those games. Or does Ozil literally only affect our top 4 chances we when we are outside of them? You can’t have it both ways.

      1. Tristan says:

        For several years prior to ozil joining our team, we had rosicky and Fabregas. These players were not as good as ozil but they are very hard working. We made the top 4 every season, even with the likes of bendtner. So this team does not need a passersby like ozil.

        1. Break-on-through says:

          Auba & Laca, are the main reasons for us still being in with a shout. They’ve had less supply than any of the other top sides, actually 9 clubs are ahead of us in this field. Sokratis, Holding, Bellerin, Torriera, Guendouzi, Xhaka, have also been important this season, as too Iwobi but he has a fair bit to do get back into my good graces after his error. Leno too, not especially standing out but for an AFC GK, that is a good thing. Kolasinac going forward has been crucial at times, but his defending leaves a lot to be desired.

  3. Eddie Hoyte says:

    With Arsenal FC there’s nothing like the fixture looks good.
    This is a team that switches off and on like a light switch, Today they’re beating Manchester United, tomorrow they are losing to Burnley. You can never say we have an easier run, with our attitude and we are being handled, every game is a tough game.
    I’ve heard Lot’s of Manchester United friends telling me to forget their own tough games because they’re certain we’ll still drop points against those teams that should be mid table teams.
    Emery needs to put aside his own ego and turn this around, use the players at his disposal and finish this well.
    Next season if are still in the Europa league, people will be forced to ask why the hell did we keep playing players like Iwobi, Xhaka, Mhiki while we have players like Ramsey and Ozil on the bench.
    Ramsey might not be a Frank Lampard, neither am I a big fan of his but he’s a useful player in the final third. Hell people are already questioning his tactics already, including I myself, because so far his decisions and selections are not justifiable.
    If anyone thinks making UCL through the top four is the easier option then you’re being naive and delusional.
    Anyway I don’t believe all this stuff like Ozil has had his chances since last season, hello?? Iwobi had his chances since last season.. We all discussed every old player in the club deserves a chance under Emery at least, we’ve seen every poor player and average player get that second chance but Ozil has no right to be given the chance Under Emery?
    This isn’t an Ozil article but it’s worth pointing out, and I believe Emery has nothing to lose if he gives players like Ramsey and Ozil more game time anyway

    1. Eddie Hoyte says:

      “If anyone thinks making UCL through the Europa league is the easier option then you’re being naive and delusional.”

      That’s what I meant to type,

      1. As usual, anyone who has an opinion different to yours must have a problem. Well by all means, let your superior opinion prevail upon the others.

        1. Eddie Hoyte says:

          Quantic Dream I haven’t seen where I typed if anyone have an opinion opposite mine that it means this or that..You might as well try again, or try Harder.
          I shared my views, but if you really believe the Europa League is the easier route to the UCL then I’m sorry I don’t agree with you, neither do you have to agree with me. I don’t try to claim superiority over anyone on here, try another line mate

          1. Eddie Hoyte says:

            Believing the Europa league is the easy route might as well stay stuck with you, but anyone who believes so is naive, and I stand on that, I just don’t have a problem with you believing so

          2. McLovin says:

            I have to agree about Europa League not being “easier” route. It’s not easier for us.

            Chelsea, Inter, Lazio/Sevilla.. they are all more than capable of knocking us out. And it’s not all about the few tough oppositions in it because all of the teams involved are capable of knocking us out.

            It’s the mental frailty we show and defending meltdown we achieve almost every single match. All of the opposition forwards fancy a chance to score against us. They are given so much free space and they can count on our defenders crumbling under pressure at least once in a match. Opposition forwards are COMFORTABLE playing against our defense! That should ring the alarm bells.

          3. Break-on-through says:

            We were luckier this season with the teams dropping from the CL. There is no Atletico, that was the only fear fans had and it proved right. Emery knows Seville, and Che we have a decent record against. Inter, we should be beating them, same goes for Lazio. In football you can never count on dead certs, but in all honesty I am very happy with our competition and I reckon if we’re lucky in the draw then we might see two of those teams going out before us, maybe even Che. Injuries is my biggest concern.

    2. gotanidea says:

      I’m still thinking that Emery’s decisions are correct, but let’s see the final outcome at the end of the season

      If he can make Arsenal re-enter the top four, I consider him to be right man to continue Arsenal’s development

      1. Eddie Hoyte says:

        Gotanidea, I’ve credited him each time he made everything right, but really you don’t believe all his decisions are correct do you?
        The man has people questioning his decisions and they wouldn’t do so if it’s all perfect and smooth, and by his decisions it includes, tactics, players selections, transfer targets and other stuffs you know bro?

        1. gotanidea says:

          You mean people such as the pundits and the media? I’m glad I usually don’t have time to watch them or read their news

          So far so good for Arsenal. If Arsenal get kicked out of Europa League or if they are out of the top four race, I’m sure Arsenal would fire Emery immediately

          1. Eddie Hoyte says:

            “If Arsenal get kicked out of Europa League or if they are out of the top four race, I’m sure Arsenal would fire Emery immediately”

            Lol Bro that’s not happening with Arsenal, you really believe they would do so if he misses the UCL? I see him staying up to four years with us.
            That 3 to 4 transfer windows you guys keep insisting on, he will get it definitely

          2. gotanidea says:

            Yes, I believe so

            Because Arsenal is acting like a big club now. See how they release Wenger, Gibbs, Gabriel, Wilshere, Coquelin, etc and how they are forcing Ozil out

          3. Les Martin says:

            Have a little faith in Emery man
            Arsenal have the tightest owner ever and long term injuries to Bellerin and Holding hasn’t done us any favours.
            Essentially we are hamstrung with some injuries and a tight fisted owner
            The lack of money coupled with sick law not sorting contracts and Ivanhoe Gaz getting his paws in the till are problems they created

    3. You are correct Emery is a brainless coach, we can’t expect even the next match(HF)
      Arsen is the only manager who loves football and give chances for talents(like Ozil) that we had but Emery’s appointment shows that how we are turning back to the era where we were before Arsen’s Arsenal, was it Arsen’s fault or the board/the owners? I think it wasn’t Arsen’s, because the boar is doing the same thing now.
      “We are having a hopeless team”
      Thanks you honest guy who love Arsenal

  4. GunneRay says:

    If only Arsenal could win against the so called “easier teams” I would feel better. The fact is, we have dropped points when we should have gained them.

    Let’s not take for granted that only the top 4 or 5 teams deserve to be respected any more than the rest of the EPL. We all know what happens if you do that!!

    The EPL has a many difficult teams now. It’s not easy to go to Wolves for instance. We need to go on a good run now and try to remain unbeaten for as long as we can!


    1. Les Martin says:


  5. Roshan says:

    We cant play Ozil if we want him to leave in the summer, and tbh i dont think we need him. Play Ramsey instead.

    I hope Wenger takes the Director of Football job at PSG and brings Ozil over.

    1. Mobella says:

      We should play Ramsey who is practically Juves player and not play Ozil who is 100% ours. Where is sense in that. The other time Jon said there fools out there that will buy him if Arsenal is ready pay part of his wages I didn’t say anything then because I felt Jon is being Jon. But what Jon doesn’t know is Arsenal will be fool for subsiding his wages because Ozil is a global brand. We may not like him here but that does mean others don’t like him eg Muslim football fan (I’m one by the way) especially the Arabs. Secondly, his form could pick for the teams that buys him which might decide to sell him for higher profits.

      1. jon fox says:

        Mobella , You have your opinion . I don’t happen to share it on Ozil but do you, as it appears, believe he will definitely still be with us at start of next season? I do not think he will be here then. Even though it may well take us subsidising his new clubs salary for a while. I think he realises he will not now play much, if at all under Emery, and he is not , imo, the type to let what was, a while ago, a stellar career dwindle his reputation so much, which remaining here unused would surely do. It would be idle to deny that Emery is clearly trying to oust him from the club by not playing him. He is so doing and is correct to do so, as with Kroenke calling the shots, every bit of value for money is vital. Many disagree but to me to pay a non playing and non hard trying man around £300-£340mill weekly is plain bonkers in our situation. Emery as a smart manager knows that better than anyone. I suppose it boils down to do you trust a manager with a fine and recent pedigree to make correct decisions more than a talented but fan opinion dividing, naturally talented but non hard working player. I know which I believe and I have backed my financial judgement by putting very substantial money on him leaving, at good odds too. I disregard my small bet with Ken as small beer, though The Willow Foundation will welcome either Ken’s or my money, whichever is the bet loser. I remind people I was saying Wenger was certain to leave last April/May, long before most saw it coming and I put substantial money on that happening too.

        The reason I lose so very few bets- though I do lose some , of course I do – is because I am easily able to separate what I WANT to happen from what I think WILL happen. It may surprise some that , even despite the bets I have made to the contrary, what I WANT is for OZIL to start trying every match like Torreira does; to be reintegrated into the team and to once again become the regular world class player he was several years ago. And to do so regularly. I have never denied his great talent. As a realist it is obvious. But realists also know that unless huge talent is properly applied and regularly too, he is not value for money at all and will be moved on. OUR MANAGER HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO SQUEEZE EVERY LITTLE BIT OF VALUE FOR MONEY OUT OF THE PALTRY TUBE KROENKE ALLOWS HIM. And I at least have NO DOUBT, he will do so. I also think it is our fan duty to fully support our new manager in doing so but that is for each individual to decide or not, as the case may be.

  6. We can make top 4! Anyone from 4th-6th can it’s just too competitive to declare straight up who will get in and who will not.

    1. Sue says:

      Hell yeah we can we make it QD ?

  7. McLovin says:

    We will not win 12-14 of our remaining 14 matches. If we can win half of them, I would be surprised.

    Everton, Wolves, Leicester, Spurs all away.. No chance we will get more than 7 points from these fixtures. It’s just the way we perform.

  8. Mobella says:

    As a contribution to what Ozil brings to the table in terms of performance to our club and see if he is lazy or not I did some digging and this is stats I found on his epl stat

    Mesut Özil OverviewStats

    Appearances 156
    Goals 30
    Assists 51
    Goals 30
    Goals per match 0.19
    Headed goals 4
    Goals with right foot 4
    Goals with left foot 22
    Penalties scored 0
    Freekicks scored 1
    Shots 191
    Shots on target 86
    Shooting accuracy % 45%
    Hit woodwork 6
    Big chances missed 24
    Team Play
    Assists 51
    Passes 9,863
    Passes per match 63.22
    Big chances created 63
    Crosses 736
    Cross accuracy % 35%
    Through balls 119
    Accurate long balls 243
    Yellow cards 11
    Red cards 0
    Fouls 76
    Offsides 71
    Tackles 142
    Tackle success % 71%
    Blocked shots 53
    Interceptions 67
    Clearances 34
    Headed Clearance 12
    Recoveries 672
    Duels won 555
    Duels lost 630
    Successful 50/50s 222
    Aerial battles won 26
    Aerial battles lost 71
    Errors leading to goal

    1. Sue says:

      One of my favourite goals of his was that header against Everton ?

    2. Mobella says:

      I know this doesn’t say much but we can say a player with 672 recoveries in 156 epl matches, that is 4.3 per match is lazy. Ramsey has 4.8 in 256 matches, only 0.5 difference despite played 100 matches more. These stats are there in epl website. All we need is dug them out and do a little bit of math. There are a lot of stat there that will dispel the Ozil laziness myth

    3. Eddie Hoyte says:

      Mobella that’s a lot, but as long as his tackles ain’t up to a thousand then he’s a liability and doesn’t help the team, at least that’s what people say, he doesn’t track back, run or help the team.
      Thanks for the stats ? even though it changes nothing to some people

    4. jon fox says:

      Mobella, Far too great a reliance on mere stats, which always tell only a part of the whole story. There are so many intangibles that stats do not describe at all. EG, how slowly (ie actual speed in miles per hour) a player closes down; how close and fiercely he comes to the opponesnt ,ie skintight or a yard off , or two yards off etc; how determined he is or is not in running , how easily or hard he is to be dispossessed and many more in similar vein. All stats, always, just like ones you so diligently provided, can only ever be accurately used if you compare like with like and that is impossible, because the team mates and oppponents in each team are clearly different. Through passes depend, in part on the quality or lack of teammates finishing ability. How effective is each through ball success compared to each throughball by , say, David Silva for instance. And of course Silva has a completely different set of team mates too, as does someone at the polar opposite of the talent scale from him, say someone from Huddersfield for instance. Each stat is different from all the others and it is therefore foolish to use them so rigidly and rely on them so fully. So many fans fall into this trap. At very best they are merely a guide, though by themselves and without keen actual present at the game eyesight, then and there analysis, liable to be slavishly misused and give a false picture. More keenly used and deeper thinking minds than yours have long known this. Mertesacker was consistently in the best PREM’S percentage passing stats. But he rarely attempted anyone but a safe 5/10 yard mostly crossfield pass to Kos or his fellow CB. Of course almost ANY CB doing such a safe , non productive manner of passing constantly, would ALSO be among the “top passers”. Just one example of a totally misleading stat and there are dozens more. PLEASE DO TAKE THESE FEW THOUGHTS PROPERLY ON BOARD AND IF YOU DO YOU WILL SURELY SEE THE UNRELIABILITY OF RELYING SO RIGIDLY ON MERE STATS.

  9. Declan says:


  10. d says:

    ” Arsenal was a team going in the wrong direction with our previous manager, and we can all agree with that.” Please don’t think that you speak for every single Arsenal fan on the planet.

  11. Nonny says:

    for the same of ozil fan base let’s not talk about ozil as everyone knows the truth… Sanchez or cazorla their qualities were never over emphased on like in ozil case why because their qualities were never questionable class written all over them….qhen a player brings so much diversity then something is truly wrong…never seen anyone argue about Santi’s class put him where ever u want his Santi cazorla that is quality

  12. Gily says:

    People are too obsessed with Ozil, bashing him at every slightest chance. When we play with Ozil, win or lose, people attack him. When we don’t play him, win or lose, people can’t still let him be. Ozil is payed too much, yes, but he earns the club much more by way of merchandise sells. Even then every other player is payed too much in a manner.
    I know that Ozil is weak physically – not lazy, and he has a somewhat negative body language, but I also know we play beautiful, and are more creative and win good when he plays.
    So if Emery doesn’t like him, and decides to leave him out for reasons best known to him, let people not continue to torment the poor guy saying he receives so much each weak yet doesn’t do anything. The manager is at fault not Ozil, after all Ozil and Mikhi were playing excellently well under Wenger.

  13. nonny says:

    for the sake of ozil fan base let’s not talk about ozil as everyone knows the truth… Sanchez or cazorla Who’s  qualities were never over emphased on like in ozil case why because their qualities were never questionable class written all over them….when a player brings so much diversity then something is truly wrong…never seen anyone argue about Santi’s class put him where ever u want his Santi cazorla that is quality

    even if all stats point to ozil as a better player than cazorla..i would take an injury prone cazorla to give me 10-15 matches a season than having ozil to give me 40 games a season….to be honest the reason is well known by so many here

  14. ger burke says:

    hey guys , sorry this is off topic. i need to contact the admin, boss, sir, chief,foreman, manager, lol. can somebody please tell me how to do so , please, many thanks .

    1. Admin says:

      You know how Ger! We have spoken before. Anyway, “click on contact us” in the top menu…

      1. ger burke says:

        thank you sir boss. but when i do click on the menu nothing is happening. i am not getting the menu at all .thats the only reason i asked. anyways, now that i have you , would it be possible for you to send on kenny rolfes email address to me please. kenny has told me that you have his permission to do so. many thanks , and enjoy your holiday , ya lucky sod, lol.

        1. Admin says:

          I may be lucky mate but in the back of beyond getting internet on a laptop is impossible. I will do as you ask asap. Can I ask if you can’t get the contact menu on a phone or a laptop? And which browser?
          The contact button works for me (on laptop) when I am on line lol

          1. ger burke says:

            no rush at all sir boss. i am working on a desktop, it has my text reader on it , so this is the only machine i can use. i am on google , is that what you mean dear leader. i am not at all tech knowledgable, sorry.

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