Arsenal’s lack of backups to face Tottenham is simply bad management

Why can’t we learn from our mistakes?

Many times over the last few years we have let players go, and some rightly so, yet instantly we have regretted it as we have fallen short with regards to injuries and being short in that position.

And I find myself seeing the same situation again!

A while after letting Ainsley Maitland-Niles go to Roma, Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard tested positive for Covid, Mo Elneny and Thomas Partey went to AFCON and Emile Smith-Rowe has an injury he can’t shake off, leaving us short in midfield.

Even without Covid we still would have been short in midfield with the way Xhaka is playing.

So the question is why can’t Arsenal have experienced backups in the squad and not have to worry about being short in positions?

Why does it always happen to us? We let players go and then we have an injury crisis!

This is frustrating especially because despite the losses to Manchester City and Nottingham Forest, we were on a good run and had a injury- and Covid-free squad.

I know it was just timing, but it seems that when it’s bad it’s bad and when it’s good it’s good, there’s never an in between with Arsenal!

And so this current crisis meant we finally had to put a request to the Premier League to postpone our game against Tottenham on Sunday due to the inability to field a full set of players. But what are the chances the Premier League will accept it?

In all honesty given how our luck is, I don’t have much hope that they will accept, and as much as I hope they do, just seeing we are in this situation again with injuries and being short of players in certain positions surely means Arsenal need to wake up and stop letting players go if they don’t have enough of a back up! Because it’s not always guaranteed they will be able to sign players when they wish!

If we finish outside the top four and end up trophy-less this season then this will be a period we will look back on and realise that’s where it possibly all went wrong!

We need to make sure we have enough experienced cover in the squad to be able to get through the season. And if this transfer policy doesn’t change then we can expect the same issues season after season no doubt!

By all means sell players and let them go on loan but by doing so you need to ensure you have enough back up of players first, in case players get injured, sent off or are needed for their countries!

Shenel Osman

Watch Mikel Arteta’s Press Conference ahead of Tottenham – “We want to play”


  1. We should’ve given more chances to our academy graduates before the player shortage happened, unfortunately we don’t have European competition to facilitate that and the manager/ the technical director are under pressure to make a big progress

    Now we need at least two senior DMs

    1. It’s actually hard to fault Edu and Arteta they are under immense pressure even from fans to perform and take the team to the next level. Actually some of the academics have trained with the senior team but I guess they are yet to measure up to standard. However, the January transfer is still open to get one or two players in.

      1. Hopefully Azeez will get a chance to play with the senior players, after being recalled from the loan. Sometimes we need to gamble on an inexperienced youngster and we could always ship him out again if he makes a fatal mistake

        1. Just like we did with Francis Coquelin with Charlton all those years ago. He couldn’t do a worse job then Xhaka defensively and is very highly rated at Arsenal. I’d give him a go just like we have the rest of the shining youngsters.

          Still need another starting CM as Lokonga isn’t ready just yet along with Azeez. We have Elneny, Matteo, Lucas, AMN & Possibly Xhaka all gone by the summer. Partly will only be avaliable again mid Feb, great player but his injury record isn’t great with Arsenal since he signed & is worrying as we need him every game.

          If we can sort the midfield out along with the striking department with Laca, Auba, Eddie and possibly Pepe all gone by the summer then we could have a team of challenging for that Top3 consistently in the next year or so.

    2. Just bad planning. Everyman and his dog knew about the AFCON and Covid before the season started.

      We had every opportunity to fill our 25 man squad with players over the age of 21. Yet still chose to loan out players like Mavropanos and Torreira who could have stayed and filled up our non-homegrown contingent. We could have also retained Nelson and Bellerin as part of our home grown contingent. Whilst Guendozi and Saliba could have remained as under 21s. Now we have reached January what do we do we deplete our squad further by sending AMN and Balogun out on loan, which could have waited another 2 weeks, we then recall a youngster who is playing superb out on loan in Scotland and instead of retaining him until the end of the window, we use through another loan deal back to a different Scottish club.

      Now we have put ourself in a position where we are praying for Elneny to come back from Cameroon and filling the match day squad with players like Kolasinac, Nketiah, Cedric, Mari, Chambers and even Lacazette who clearly have no future with the club.

      For me there are 8 layers out on loan that would improve our squad. We have loaned out the wrong players.

      Torreira > Elneny
      Bellerin > Cedric
      Mavropanos > Mari
      Guendozi > Xhaka
      Saliba > Chambers
      Nelson > Pepe
      Balogun > Nketiah
      Maitland-Niles > Kolasinac

      How much better would our squad look with those changes? Not only that it would reduce our non-homegrown number by 4 it would increase our homegrown number by 1. It would increase our under 21s by 3.

      That is not heinsight it is purely bad planning. But imagine if our 25 man squad looked like this right now? It would be far stronger, hardly any deadwood and space for up to 8 more signings. We would also have the revenue from selling 8 players who have no future out our club.

      GK Ramsdale, Leno, Okonkwo
      RB Tomiyasu, Bellerin
      CB White, Saliba, Holding
      CB Gabriel, Mavropanos
      LB Tierney, Tavares
      CM Partey, Torreira, Maitland-Niles
      CM Guendozi, Sambi
      RW Saka, Nelson
      AM Odegaard, Smith-Rowe
      LW Martinelli, Aubameyang
      F Lacazette, Balogun

      Just 11 non-homegrown, 6 homegrown and 8 under 21s so still room for up to 6 more non-homegrown signings and 2 non-homegrown.

      1. Very true though Lucas never settled, Matteo couldn’t control his ego (still really like the player), Bellerin went off the boil completely & Auba has made it clear he doesn’t give a damn. The rest of your assessment is spot on

        Dino is a hard one to take as him and Saliba are so much better at their young ages of Chambers, Holding or Mari.

  2. Yet again we batter our manager. I used to enjoy coming on here to express my views and have the odd moan, but every article lately seems to be a negative. Even the positive articles are then washed away with all the negative comments. Can’t we just support our manager and our great club? I hope the game goes ahead tomorrow and I hope we beat the spuds with woteva team we can field. AMN leaving and Granit being suspended won’t be the reason we lose, if that happens! It will be because the players out there didn’t perform well enough. Our team and our supporters were amazing on Thursday. That spirit again on Sunday will get us a result tomorrow. Cmon you Gunners!

  3. We are not asking for anything special because already the following games have been postponed.
    Brighton vs Tottenham
    Brentford vs Man Utd ,
    Burnley vs Watford
    Leicester vs Tottenham
    Man Utd’s trip to Brentford off
    Man Utd vs Brighton
    Southampton vs Brentford
    Watford vs Crystal Palace
    West Ham vs Norwich
    Aston Villa vs Burnley
    Everton vs Leicester
    Liverpool vs Leeds
    Wolves vs Watford
    Burnley vs Everton
    Leeds vs Aston Villa
    Arsenal vs Wolves
    Everton vs Newcastle
    Leicester vs Norwich
    Southampton vs Newcastle.
    So 18 PL teams have already had games posponed so whats one more?
    Liverpool got the first leg of the Carabao Cup rescheduled so they had more time to prepare. Why should we not get a similar stay to prepare?
    The NLD is a huge game. Surely having two strong sides compete is important. This is a crucial game in the fight for 4th pace. Yes we should be granted a postponement

  4. You can blame this period, you could blame the first 3 games. You could blame the Everton, Munure blip.
    The season will be decided in May, the same for all the other teams.
    Tired of this perpetual glass half empty site.

      1. I hope you don’t Grandad. We don’t want JA to be an echo chamber and I’d say the vast majority of us enjoy your posts. I know I do, even the ones I dont agree with.

  5. Nonsense, This is one of those seasons where the AFCON is active. Other than that which one soul on here could’ve predicted the Covid that’s happened to our midfielders and the injuries?
    If they were predictable, sure the club would’ve delayed AMN loan.
    Also why’s it now that Arsenal requested for a game to be postponed everyone’s suddenly horny and hard, ready to pick on Arsenal?
    Burnley and Leicester is under the carpet but as long as it’s Arsenal, everyone becomes a super journalist

  6. Not bad management, MA has only just found out the following:

    -AFCON exists
    -Elneny is an African
    -Pepe is an African
    -Partey is an African
    -Covid exists
    -Reserves need game time for experience
    -Reserves need game time for match fitness
    -Xhaka is a red card risk

    Very unfair to blame management for the above 🙂

  7. Arsenal have 1 player suffering from Covid, another couple injured, and four away at AFCON.
    What I don’t get is how the club can expect to be taken seriously by requesting a postponement under Covid protocols when only 1 player qualifies, and no training ground closure.
    This is where cases differ from other clubs, to the current situation at Arsenal, Other clubs had genuine reasons, Arsenal don’t!
    Arsenal have players at it’s disposal, just not the players they would like to have.
    Yet again, Arsenal are trying to game the system. For the sake of sporting integrity, I hope the club fails to get the game postponed.

    1. I think its more the confusion given by PL re what rules apply. They said matches can be postponed if the team dont have 13 outfield players and a goalkeepe due to COVID injuries suspension etc. They should have simply said issues relating to COVID.. even the are they taking the CLUB doctor’s word for it or independent testing

      I have no issue Arsenal using the rules to ensure we have the strongest team available for every match… any fan thinking otherwise has a different agenda.

      1. NEIL,Yes they do, esp those like Boris the Animal, otherwise know as Boris the troll! Or Boris the Spud!

  8. If Liverpool can do it then why can’t we. We have several players out due to covid in the middle and players at AFCON. Suprised at this article tbh

    More that acceptable to postpone

  9. I would be very surprised if the NLD gets postponed, our covid situation does not in any way affect us bad enough to have any case at all. As i understand, we are training, we only have a couple of infections and have no real issues with covid getting out of control quickly. When it does we should get an abandonment. If we get an abandonment tomorrow we have been very very lucky. Most of this is down too and eminates from an obligatory red card for you know who, thats not a reason to suggest we are in a bad place, so cancel!!!!!

  10. Martinelli. Lacazette. Saka.

    Tavares. White. Lokonga.

    Tierney. Gabriel. Holding. Chambers.



    This will be my preferred selection with the injuries and covid absentees.

  11. I can remember without any problem whatsoever how our previous manager (AW) was torn to shreds when he had to field weakened teams and when he left how it was all going to change.

    Of course it hasn’t, but, unlike Wenger, Arteta mustn’t be blamed, or we’re not supporting the club.

    Double standards once again, just as it will be if we are not allowed to cancel the NLD.

    1. Sorry ken1945, I’m trying to work out where Wenger fits into this topic?

      It’s a situation fairly unique to season 2021/22 for obvious reasons isn’t it?

      The Premier League will rule on our request and either agree or not, if not we play and Arteta has said that’s what he would prefer to do and I believe him, he will field a team who will do their best and we will either get a result or we won’t

      This is not a pro Arteta anti Wenger comment, loved Arsene but struggling to see what your point is on this one

      1. Yes ken, this has absolutely nothing to do with Wenger and everything to do with covid, which was not anywhere to be seen then.

        1. Read the headline:

          “Why can’t we learn from our mistakes?”

          Then read my comments, it will make sense.

          1. Done and done

            Still don’t see the relevance of Wenger ken1945, my fault I’m sure, I’m obviously missing something, no matter

  12. OT.. It’s being reported that Marseille have been banned from buying players for 2 windows… MG to leave for nowt?

  13. Only a few years back we gave the British Core long term contracts, ok they have all gone now but may be we should do the same again?


    Chambers Holding Ballard

    AMN White ESR Tierney

    Saka Nketiah Balogun

    Subs: Okonkwo, Norton-Cuffy, Monlouis, Clarke, Patino, Azeez, Nelson, TJJ, Hutchinson.

  14. This isn’t the full story tho, there are other injuries beyond our midfielders now and apparently only 12 players are fit to play. There is reasonable grounds to call the match off according to the precedent FA has set. Also, folks will say play the kids. Well they played yesterday in u-23 matches. So now we should be forced to possibly injure the kids by making them play 2 matches in two days? One, which would be an intense epl debut?

  15. I really don’t get all of the wingeing both by pundits and supporters – we meet the EPL criteria for a postponement – a criteria that all other clubs have used when it suited them. But we are supposed to be above all that? I can understand the criticism from Arsenal-haters Neville et al, but from our own fans?!!!
    What do you expect Arteta to do? Keep hold of all of our deadwood just in case a “perfect storm” decimates our squad? Play a team full of teenagers with zero experience? Be prepared to play games every 2 1/2 days throughout the season? Tell our team to throw the Liverpool game so they don’t get tired or injured? Factor in the expectation that Xhaka will be sent off in every game? Ensure we have a huge squad full of rubbish just to cover for the one month of Afcon every 2 years? And I haven’t even got started on Covid…
    Get real, people and stop calling it “bad management”. Perhaps you haven’t heard that we are in the middle of a total squad rebuild? S*** happens. Stop using everything as an excuse to badmouth Arteta.
    This is by far the most negative and self-destructive “supporter” site I have ever witnessed.

    1. Yes, Arteta should factor in Xhaka being sent off in every game.

      I jest, only slightly, but his rashness continues to be a problem. Not a question of “if” with Xhaka, but a question of “when.”

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