Arteta caves in to fan demands – and Arsenal still can’t win

Arteta Pays For Giving In To Fans by Dan Smith

So I hinted before the match that Arteta had to stick to his ethos and not be pressured into making changes. I even wrote that if our manager did that and we still got three points, it would leave a question mark about his ability long term.

But worse happened, he caved in and still didn’t win.

A Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Kopp (and that’s the level we should be striving for) no matter what adversity would not let outside pressure make them question their convictions. Of course I can’t prove that’s what happened, but I don’t believe in coincidences.

Sunday was the first time in the League Arteta started Aubameyang through the middle. It just so happens that’s what some gooners have spent the last two weeks crying out for.

They have also campaigned for Pepe to start and Willock and Reiss Nelson to get more minutes in the Prem.

Of course those fans were wrong – in terms of none of those changes made us more entertaining to watch or made us more creative.

If fans were correct anyone could apply for a coaching job.

Those on YouTube have let a number of views go to their head.

Anyone who’s made a living that way, good for you, but your subscribers are based on your personality, character and rants more than your knowledge. Same with me, some rate my articles but that doesn’t mean I should be a pundit on Sky Sports.

There’s a reason Arteta never started a game with Auba in the middle. It’s because he has countless proof that his captain is comfortable on the left, planning when to move inside. That then allows us to include the work rate of Lacazette.
While our skipper has the ability of taking the few chances he gets, you can’t rely on him to work as hard as Laca.

So at Elland Road we sacrificed work rate just to take Auba’s lack of effort on the left, just to have him do the same in a different position.

At least Laca can’t be blamed at least for one weekend.

Ex-coaches have said when your under pressure you start making bizarre decisions.

There’s a reason that Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock have only been trusted to play in cup ties during this campaign. They have had enough chances to show if they have the personality to handle being at a club our size. That was a massive hour in the career of Willock but again he went through the motions.

Nelson came on for Willian, I suppose, because moving Auba to the wing so Laca could come on wouldn’t have been popular? Compare Nelson’s impact to Saka’s and which one wanted the ball?
Don’t let Pepe’s sending off cover the cracks.

Yes, we should be proud we battled for the point but make no mistake, a newly promoted team shouldn’t be dominating us.

Even if you use the red card as an excuse, it was still 55 minutes of a team, who this time last year were in the Championship, battering us.

Post-match was the angriest I have seen Arteta. I like that.

I like Tierney’s reaction as well.

Deep down they both know that wasn’t close to the standards of the badge.

Yet maybe Mr Arteta was angry with himself? He hasn’t been playing Auba in the middle or Willock, Nelson at all in the League for a reason. He probably wishes he listened to his initial thought and trusted his gut?

Be Kind In The Comments


Tags Auba Leeds United Nelson Willock


  1. You cannot conclude after 1 game that the fans were necessarily wrong or right. Especially when we have many injuries. Very impatient to judge so early.

    You also cannot say that this change was down to fan pressure, how do you know that?

    Auba needs to be benched and used as a super sub for a few games, IMO this may help him get his mojo back. Auba has always scored goals, so the fact that he contributed little else didn’t matter. Now that he’s going through a dip in form, he is a passenger for 90 mins.

    No I’m not turning on Auba, I just think he may benefit from coming off the bench for a game or two.

    1. Well I can conclude it didn’t work yesterday because we didn’t win lol
      I also said in third paragraph I can’t prove this

    2. Don’t think Arteta really knows what’s the flavour of the week on fan forums. He seems like a man who has a lot on his plate and is focused on getting the job done.

      If he’s spending time reading the often unsound discussions that we have on here, then he’s got too much free time on his hands for a Premier League manager

            1. Well that’s more motivation for fans to comment then, since managers read fan forums.

              Wonder if Arteta comments here occasionally?

              1. When son was racially abused on AFTV Arsenal released a statement – how would Arsenal know ?
                Bellerain admits that players watch it
                The likes of the Ox would like posts on Twitter

                Mr Wenger referenced fans forgetting the values he had set in response to criticism on the internet

                You don’t think managers go on social media ? Listen to a radio ?

                Clubs themselves have own social media

                So yes,in 2020 I think it would be impossible to escape knowing what fans things

                As for motivation. Why would fans feel motivated to say which which are wrong?

                1. Seems rather dubious to infer that the manager definitely knows what goes on on fan forums because the club’s PR department and some players are highly attuned to social media.

                  I supposed if fans feel that their comments on forums are actively being read by the managers, that would give them added motivation to communicate their views to the managers through comments on forums

                  1. Seems rather dubious to think a man in his thirties , has a wife in her thirties
                    And works with players ranging from 16-35 approx wouldn’t know what is being said on social media
                    Arsene Wenger did and he’s like 70

                  2. So because Wenger once mentioned something related to social media, it’s then certain that anyone younger than Wenger would surely know what’s being said on social media? Profiling by age group often leads to dubious assumptions

                  3. Profiling by age group lol
                    It’s 2020
                    Trust me majority of arsenal dressing room read things on social media
                    I can prove that by giving you countless examples

                  4. Okay
                    He’s got a Twitter account
                    And there’s him saying he appreciates Ozil congratulating team
                    I wonder how he would know that if he doesn’t read social media ?

                  5. Does being on Twitter and being aware of a tweet from a colleague necessarily mean he’s attuned to fan comments too?

                    There’s so much on social media. A Premier League manager with such a time consuming job would probably be extremely selective on what he reads

                  6. Your asking my opinion mate but not liking the answer
                    Your either too old or very young
                    But in 2020 there is a high chance that a manager in charge of age group.16-35 would be aware of what is being said
                    If not , then that’s terrible
                    I question your age as by your answer. How Twitter works is fans can comment
                    So unless he never reads tweets and arsenal pr team Don’t read arsenals Twitter , the idea he won’t know what fans think is improbable lol
                    Arsenal by the way released statement about racial abuse Pepes getting
                    Going by your logic you don’t think Arteta will be made aware of that
                    Again apologise if your a young or old school fan but in 2020 majority use social media yes high chance arsenal.use it

                  7. I merely have a different opinion which happens to affect the premise of what this article is based on. In order for Arteta to cave in to fans demands, he has to first be fully aware of what those demands were.

                    As to your point on my age, I don’t see how my age plays a part in the reasoning that regardless of age, some people are more active than others on Twitter. Some people are also more selective than others on what they bother to follow and read on Twitter.

                    We can be from the same age group, but still have a difference in opinion. Just because we don’t share the same opinion doesn’t mean we are far apart in terms of age

                  8. Just your understanding of Twitter and social media seems a bit naive
                    Say it outloud
                    An arsenal manager is on Twitter but your saying it’s possible that he’s never read an opinion ?
                    Good debate mate but going to stop now as like I said think we have different understanding of social media

                  9. Well my understanding of social media is that different people use it in different ways and to different extents.

                    Not everyone with a Twitter account uses it regularly and not everyone with ties to Arsenal are into reading replies to Arsenal tweets sufficiently to have a good feel of what fan demands are.

                    Agree that we have reached an impasse on this topic. Let’s agree to disagree. Appreciate the good debate. Cheers Dan

      1. Arsenal fan from South Africa

        Dan, your articles are sensible, I thoroughly enjoy reading and noting the different points you make, factual stuff. Dan, the line up on Sunday was drastically different from what Arteta has said, implemented, backed and and defended since he arrived. Do you think that he could now even relook the Ozil situation too probably, to create some scoring clear opportunities for Auba/Laca? We’re not capable of consistently scoring goals to win games of football in the league, based on the previous few games. How’s he going to fix that already 9 games into the season, we’re losing valuable points against teams we should be dispatching with our playing style? It’s so hard to find solutions to why we’re not scoring goals, think we’re all scratching our heads as to how to solve this, not just Arteta.

  2. Well, we didn’t lose despite playing with 10 men for 40 minutes..

    Major issues with creating and scoring, still.

    Defense looks better though.

    Get Szoboszlai and Eriksen (on loan) in January. Both very much affordable. Inter wants to sell Eriksen and get more than they paid for but no way anyone’s gonna pay over £25m for him, after the year he’s had. So I think he will be available for loan.

    Get rid Kolasinac, Sokratis, Mustafi. Free up wages and squad places.

    1. The defence only looks better because Leeds were so useless in front of goal. If the three shots that hit the post and crossbar had gone in and if not for Leno making some super saves, we could have lost 6 nil. The defence would have been slaughtered on here.

    2. Eriksen? Another underperforming player to come and retire here. No way!
      Go for some young emerging talents. Szoboszlai anytime!

  3. In response to the headline here, let’s be sensible here – MA is not going to shape a side based upon clamouring fans demands.
    He’d have us believe he has an idea of how he wants to play and I’m sure he believes that. The defence is more organised than it was and GM & KT are going well.
    However, IMO, MA wants to play with a strategy and tactics suitable for a team full of, say, ‘even’ numbers and we currently have too many ‘odd’ numbers in the squad.
    In the short term, I think he should consider more the strengths of what he has got to play with and work a strategy out around that. Otherwise, soon, too many players will stop running and working and won’t really be worried about being left out either. Make the best of what we’ve got; otherwise, it’s a case of polishing a turd..

  4. Dan you are quick to judge was Arteta winning before he played Subs upfront,which fan said willock and willian should play.So what we have for a coach is a gamble.Arsenal cannot afford an incompetent manager who can’t pick a team that is aggreable to the majority of fans.Many keep saying buy this buy that how much have the spuds spent and they top the table.First things first consider getting a new manager in the coming season aArteta is a bad experiment

  5. The dead ball situations are horrendous. I was working with under 12’s and they take free kicks and corner kicks so well and all planned to perfection. This is Arsenal from morning to evening they practise football. They get paid millions. Is there no planning done for the free kicks and corners? 5 Arsenal players stand with the opposing goalie at corner kicks. To scare him? Is Xhaka going to scare anyone, they look like small girls. So funny. The person in charge of coaching corners and free kicks should be fired immediately.

    1. Yes. Not being able to take a corner is genuinely sub pub team.
      No arguments. Doing that repeatedly is not good enough.

    2. Yeah, our set plays are dreadful, especially when you consider that we have brought in a specialist coach (Andreas Georgeson), who also should by now have taught Bellerin how to perform a legal throw in.

      1. Seriously though
        I am sad with the performance and this guy makes a foul throw😒

        And iys not the first time he has done it this season😔

        But he produced a classy through ball for saka which i think the youngster should have converted…but cant blame saka either because he made a massive difference,the left flank is his kingdom….💯

        Atm i just keep chilling joping MA will sort something out….

  6. The corner kicks taken by Nelson do not even pass the first defender. So easy.
    He takes the corner kicks with a smug on his face as if he is the next Messi.
    Auba as captain should have kicked Nelson up his a.. Bring him back to his senses!

      1. You are spot on Sue. It’s like its the under elevens and the big defender has to take goal kicks for the keeper who really didn’t want to be in the team but he’s the tallest so the teacher makes him play.
        Corner kicks, throw in’s… they are basics.
        At Premiership level so is don’t “headbutt” opponents because you’re on camera!

        1. Sorry I didn’t see any headbutting. All I saw was a coming together of two players after one was incited, and then the other falling like a paper – typical punishment when it’s against Arsenal, the same with the penalty denial.

          1. You’re right, it wasn’t a head butt, but putting his head into an opponents face is still a red card, and Alioski should have got a yellow for simulation.

            1. It may not have been a head butt but it was what everyone knows you will very likely get sent off for so don’t do it if you think your team will have a better chance of winning with all 11 players!

  7. Dan, you may well be right.
    But when/if we can get over the disappointment of our performance against Leeds what do we do to improve?
    Somehow from kick-off Leeds were on top of us. Is our plan to hit teams on the counter but then somehow we haven’t got the creative midfield or a clinical enough goal threat.
    Down to ten men makes yesterday harder to judge and therefore harder see how best to improve. Our manager, staff and so many of our players seem to have so much potential but together we just don’t make a top team.
    I keep reading and reading opinions on sites like this. Someone proposes a solution and it seems to make sense. Then the team try it and…. same old same old!
    And it’s lockdown and my bike is broken and spurs are top!

    1. Not sure what’s worse – no bike or the spuds!!
      Funny isn’t it, how we all holler for different players to come in, who have an average game and we’re then screaming for who they replaced to come back!! 😂🤪 Baffling!!!

  8. Dan…

    I am always attracted to your articles because they are few of the many that ooze quality, deep thinking, and the desire to be intellectual. Again, I say keep up the great job!

    Your initial article before the game on Arteta bulging into fan pressure was spot on, and I was certain that a follow up would come after the game, and sure it came.

    However, I stand to applaud the humility of Arteta for changing the formation and personnel in the Leeds game because it has revealed a lot. For Arteta, he has at least been able to demonstrate to the fans that it’s easier said than done, particularly from the outside, with limited observational power. He sees these guys daily and thus has greater observational and analytical power to make better judgement than the fans. Now, the fan base are at a point where they acknowledge that only Arteta can solve his problems, and I think I like that! That’s an achievement from an Arteta point-of-view considering the fact that he is operating in an oft toxic atmosphere with our all-knowing, instant-desiring Arsenal fan base.

    Nevertheless, I also think Arteta will learn a lot. For example, I feel he will be convinced that a back four is the solution to a strong defence (my opinion). I also think Nelson showed signs of a ball-holder and the desire to carry the ball forward, which is good! Finally, I still believe yesterday’s formation may strive with a Partey and Elneny marshaling the core of the midfield. In the end, Xhaka didn’t do too badly in his defensive duties, though he lacks going forward. I saw him play his heart out for the team to survive the onslaught.

    In conclusion, I honestly do not doubt Arteta’s ability to build a great team. Contrary to popular opinion, I feel the Leeds game will be the catalyst to greater confidence and a better performance going forward…


  9. Disagree with the criticism of Nelson who never had the chance to show his attacking skills whenever we went down to ten men.He deserves another chance as does AMN who at least has the athleticism and pace to match the energy of teams like Leeds. On a positive note Leno and our back four, particularly Tierney did well yesterday but ,as a unit the midfield three did not function and were over run even before the sending off.Hopefully Partey will be fit to face Spurs and should be backed up by Elneny and AMN to combat the physical power of their midfield three.As for Auba , William and Pepe, the less said about them the better.Overpriced and overpaid are words which readily come to mind ,and it is fair to say Saka achieved more in his cameo than the combined efforts of the starting front three.I only hope the injury to Saka is not serious as he and Tierney have a telepathy which wingers well for the future.

  10. I’ll take some positives from yesterday, especially when Saka came in:
    – Auba can do the link up play upfront. He justs needs time to get back to his preffered position
    – Saka should be our winger
    – Pepe was getting better before the sent off

    OK it was not our best performance, but Arteta needs to stick to this formation with Saka on the left wing instead of Willian. Give it time guys it’s not a FIFA game

    1. Can you show me how it’s his preferred position
      So in fa cup final , semi final ,etc , he was out of position ?
      Seemed to cope okay then

      1. Yes, Dan. He just seems to have lost something at the moment.
        Don’t they say form is temporary class is permanent?

  11. I will judge after we have Partey, Luiz and Elneny back and also finish with eleven men. Thanks for your contribution..

  12. Arteta did not cave in to fans’ demands. He gave everyone a rest from Lacazette who has been not only useless but a major problem for some time. Another expensive, sulking Frenchman … starring in a Mickey Mouse league.

  13. Auba must be benched for at least THREE games and he must not even included a sub because while he is not scoring he is totally not in the game. Usually he plays with gusto now he jogs a little and then just stands . There was an international break more than once but since he signed ‘da ting’ he is just not giving enough and G-d knows we need more from him.

  14. DAN an interesting article as so often with you. Several points pertain though. Firstly your TALKSPORT pundid comment, where IMO you underestimate yourself.

    Compared to the know nothing Jamie O’Hara on the breakfast show you are an intellectual giant, so to use TALKSPORT as a vehicle for pundits being bright is very wide of the mark.

    Far more important though is your claim that MA changed team shape in order to please social media fans. That is so ludicrous as to be a risible view, frankly, and I am really surprised that someone of your undoubted intellect could think that to be true, even for a moment.

    It has been obvious to all for some time that things needed changing and it cannot therfore be a surprise, to thinking folk, that both MA AND fans knew that needed to happen.

    What did happen did not work well for a variety of intermingled reasons. The absence of PARTEY, ELNENY and the forced inclusion of the ponderous XHAKA (the original slow motion footballer himself), all hampered the necessary fast moving style that success depends upon and which we showed at Old Trafford.

    I have consistently been saying on here ever since XHAKA first arrived that he is a huge handicap and needs to be got rid of ASAP. I refuse to believe that MA does not see this too but he is severely limited in who he can choose, thanks to the desperately poor recruitment policy going back many years now and which is wreaking so much damage on the squad MA had to inherit.

    For the first time in about a decade our defence looks secure, even though a number of sub par defenders like BELLERIN, HOLDING, KOLAS and the three clown CB’s are still here and unsaleable. Most reactionary and hot headed fans refuse to allow for the huge damage to our squad done by the incompetence of AW, Gazidis and even Emery . But thinkers see this only too clearly and do NOT blame MA, unfairly, for something that is NOT his fault.

    I remain totally convinced by everything I see in MA, his instant and strong condemnation of Pepe in public yesterday contrasting so well with the weak lies that AW used to say in “I did not see it” , instead of him being truthful and setting standards that all know they must not shrink from.

    MA has transfomed attitudes within the club and is setting high standards. BUT the many sub par players he inherited and who he cannot shift continue to hamper him. Only time and fan patience can end this situation.

    Time is what so many silly fans will not grant him. I will fight to defend and keep this outstanding manager at our club and if it means taking on these self entitled fans who have no patience, then I will do so. I hope I do not have to take YOU on too, I really do, bit if needed I will do so!

  15. Interesting theory.
    Wonder which fans Arteta gave in to.
    On different sites you can probably find at least 20-25 different suggested team selections, 10-12 different suggested positions for players and maybe 3-4 four suggested sytems. And that is all in one day!
    So maybe something like at least 1.000 different variations to look into.
    Next step will be online voting for fans on all of it 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Yeah your correct
      Go on different sites and your see a range of opinions
      Here I was thinking we picked on the same players

  16. I doubt Arteta gave into fans because i didn’t want Auba central along with many many others. He made the decision and he has to try different things to sort our goalscoring problems. He is his own man and he will live and die by that. Im not saying it didn’t work yesterday but im saying that playing Auba in the middle is not the answer or the cure. Getting more energy into the team and a better system in attack is more important. We looked more like scoring with 10 than we did with 11 and that was because we sat behind the ball and broke in behind with auba and sakas pace. It wasn’t planned and it isnt the way we want to play but it gave auba and saka the space they need to do their ting. Our system and attitude is all wrong. Arteta, not the fans has to cure that, if he can.

    1. Bet I can direct you to more articles / videos saying Auba should play in the middle then you can saying keep him on the left within the last 2 weeks

  17. Arteta is not the right coach for Arsenal..He should have started at League Two..He really can’t make things work for Arsenal..

  18. I hope it is the last time we see Pepe, the boy is lazy, does not defend, loses the ball all the time, and does not show any commitment or try to improve his attitude. I am enough of hoping that he will improve. Let’s sell him.

  19. Y’all must be forgetting that this is the same old Arsenal team from two seasons ago bar a subpar returning Loanee, an Overpriced Overrated winger, & a retiring former blues player & not going to say much about the Ghanaian as his just got here & has already earned himself an injur……what were we truly expecting to happen at the emirates this season? Wake up & smell the toffee here at least Usmanov did

  20. Adam, the above post is what would have been a good old fashioned AKB reaction five years ago. The fans haven’t worked one day in football and only he knows etc. etc. No manager listens to the fans when picking his starting 11, so even a stubborn Spaniard would be aware that something isn’t working and that things need to change. I think that without any fans in the stadium the pressure’s been off and Arteta has been getting away with a lot treating every game as a training session. There’s nothing like the howl of dismay from a crowd to pick up that sense of urgency and let the manager know that 11 – 12 sideways passes only for the ball to have to be booted up the middle by the goal keeper is not good enough.

  21. In my years as an Arsenal, nothing has done me more service than putting my money where my mouth (albeit virtually) so I have at least a better reference point when analyzing and discussing the team.

    I think fans get too caught in the present moment forgetting that it takes time and copious amounts of cash to build a solid, title-winning squad. Arteta is still only completing his first full season and if we mark a draw in which our young guns were given a rare chance in the league as a failure, how do we expect the team to grow into the giants we want to be?

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