Arsenal’s games against smaller teams will define our season

What Will Define Arsenal’s Season? by AI

All is well that ends well, so they say. Depending on how you look at it, Arsenal had a terrible time last season – one of the worst-placed finish in decades. But if you were around in November, when Emery was still the gaffer, you could have been forgiven for thinking that an FA Cup trophy and a subsequent Community Shield was completely impossible.

But the odds are a strange thing. Football is fluid. Nothing is set in stone, and Arsenal’s next season will be defined by Champions League qualification. Failure to qualify would be terrible, for our finances and ambition. Even if we won every other trophy available, Champions League failure would spell a bad ending to the season.

Recently, we’ve picked up form against the Top 6. Under Arteta, we have beaten all of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. While this spells a good tactical backbone, it is not all rosy. We have found it very difficult to find the edge against smaller teams. Goals have been difficult to come by against teams who sit in and wait. If we had turned just 3 or 4 of our endless stalemates into wins, that would have made a huge difference.

Our season will be less defined by wins against big teams but more our ability to regularly beat the smaller teams. If we can’t continue to smack the likes of Aston Villa and Fulham 3-nil on the trot, we will most likely fail to reach European places. If performing well against the Top 6 is what it takes to reach Europe, then the likes of Wolves should have qualified for the Champions League.

Our first match against Fulham says a lot about how dominant we can be against the smaller teams. We were extremely solid and comfortable against a side we were projected to beat. Apart from a little error which was quickly atoned for by new signing Gabriel Maghalaes, we looked assured and competent. And that is with a lot of injuries and without much of our incoming reinforcements.

Going forward, then, we should be a compact and competitive side who don’t concede easily. We might possibly struggle with breaking down teams that sit in for a draw, but we should have enough to always eke out a win. We have started in the best possible way and long may it continue.

Agboola Israel


  1. It seems to me that winning Europa League is our best chance of getting CL football. EL does not get too difficult till the Semi final and finals when you have to face the big teams. That means, we will have to beat 2 big teams to win the trophy. Now my optimism stems from the fact that Mikel Arteta has shown the ability to plan and mastermind a victory over big teams. We may not hold the consistency to win a 38 games league but we surely can pull off 1 or 2 difficult results.

    1. @ClassyGunner,

      I completely agree, especially with your last paragraph- I was discussing with a colleague yesterday and I told him that my greatest joy at the moment is that ANY team that wants to beat us now will have to really work for it, gone are the days where Liverpool are sure to score more than 3 goals against us, this alone makes me happy to have Arteta.

  2. Out of point, but I watched this boy Lamptey against Chelsea yesterday and I think I love him. If MA eventually sell Hector, he should look at that boy. As for winning, we need to have the mentality of wanting to win every game not just small teams

  3. Fair comments Agboola but it ought not to be overlooked that inactuality each victory or draw is worth three andone points respectively m no matter which opponent it is against. I do agree with your comments but as a percentage man who takes key decisions on the likely percentage chance of happening or not, I know that ALL opponents provide an equal value to us, not an equal chance , please note, but an equal value for points and THAT point should not be overlooked nor given scant notice.

    1. I think he wouldn’t fit in Arteta’s team cos he does a lot of take ons which wastes time, and can kill the rhythm of out game plus if the ball is collected from him when doing his take ons, can cause a deadly counter. Yes he’s fast, but his game isn’t refined to play the Arteta way.. Cos we don’t have time for take ons or dribblings… We just want to set traps through possessive counter attacks and have ball retention through build ups plus I noticed that he doesn’t come back quickly when he goes attacking just like kolasinac and as u can see, kola is always on the bench. Our team needs players that are constantly moving on the ball

      1. He is young and teachable, so he shouldn’t have a hard time learning to fit into Arteta’s team. If we do sell Bellerin to raise funds, he’s going to need a capable replacement.

  4. 2 be sincere, I think that we can win the league and the Europa league as well. All we just need is consistency and creativity. We can defend & attack as a team which is very crucial to us winning games and we are compact and decisive abt it.. Where I worry is the part of fatigue and injuries as we should have a good squad depth 2 be able 2 support any player who can’t make it 2 the lineup due 2 injuries. I advice that we just get some quality signings quickly 2 make us true title contenders

    1. That’s a big ask but why not? As not all the teams have played their first games yet it will take a bit of time to get a feel for how the league is going for everyone. Liverpool scraped a win and Spurs lost🙂. How much money will be available for the PL clubs to spend due to the crisis? It says a lot that Arteta managed to turn around the team without breaking the bank. I wonder how many other managers could have achieved so much?
      Arsenal look like they have the drive to push for the top and that comes from the drive shown by Arteta from day 1

  5. We should go all out to win every match irrespective of the opponents. One thing is true and that is last season we dropped lot of points against the lower teams and that should not be the case this time. I still think we need someone like Aouar to break down teams which sit deep since we need creativity to break down such teams.

  6. You’re are very correct that we need to conquer smaller opponents,in order for us to be a title contender,because we can gather enough point through them aside the top six.take for example during the days of sir Alex Ferguson he is ok with a draw with told teams,but I will beat a the other teams to win the league.

  7. I hope Aouar is not being overated.
    All is tagged with him is creativity but most have barely seen him play.
    We kinda putting him under pressure even before he signs for us.
    Let get him signed though.

  8. Yep, you have hit the nail on the head. Will we beat teams like Brighton, who a couple of years ago cost us a European place? Sadly until we get midfield dominance very unlikely. Perhaps with a couple of top midfielders to join with Willian maybe. The two players are there…. Aouar and Partey…..we all know that, but the chances of the slimy Krankie financing both of them is very unlikely. So…we could, with the right midfield singnings, but probably not, due to Kroenke not giving a shite about the club or the supporters.

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