Arteta must play his best team not his favourite players this weekend (Opinion)

Mikel Arteta made some very questionable selections against Brighton last week, but he must name the strongest Arsenal XI this time around. Guest post by Sarah Rohan

Hi everybody! I am back! I have come out alive amidst all the Arsenal bashers these past few weeks.

I must admit, the past two games have been like going back to square one. No ideas, weird tactics from Arteta and players not creating chances until it’s too late in the game. Sounds familiar right? Definitely seems like deja vu to me.

To be honest we all knew any injuries were going to disrupt our thin squad and well, unfortunately, it’s happened. It’s clear to see how much we relied on certain players to keep our team competing. You wouldn’t think so with the likes of Saka and Martinelli in the team, but a few injuries and our team look mediocre.

The losses of Tomiyasu and now Tierney are huge and with them both running down the wings crossing the ball in, taking players out of the game, which just shows how much we are missing out on, and it’s taken a huge chunk out of our play. With Tomi hopefully looking to return for either the Chelsea or Manchester Utd game, that’s a positive lift we need, and I believe his return will greatly influence us with the last few games of the season if back to full fitness. Hopefully we aren’t out of European contention by then.

We absolutely must get a result from the Southampton game this weekend. It’s time for Arteta to put his grudges aside and play the benched players to keep us in it!

I am a supporter of Arteta and do believe he has big plans for us and that in the summer if he brings the players in who he wants that he will succeed for our club.

But, right here and now he is, once again, ignoring certain players. Instead of playing players in their position, he would rather take a player out of their position and put them in other player’s places! What is going on in our manager’s head?!

He isn’t doing it because he thinks that it’s the best formation for the team or that they are his best tactics to win the game. He’s doing it because he is stubborn, he doesn’t want these players in the team. He wants them gone! You can more or less guarantee now, Pepe and Elneny will be gone, and Tavares will probably be sent out on loan somewhere never to play for us again. For now we need these disregarded players as part of our team and Arteta to suck it up and just play them, and stop messing around because he has issues with them for one reason or another.

What is the worst that can happen? The worst has already happened. We had three games in hand! Those two games we lost were meant to be the easier run of games to come.

He played an inexperienced player in Lokonga when we have an AFCON finalist and loyal player in Elneny. Strange decision!

I admit I haven’t rated Tavares so far. but how must he be feeling that he isn’t just second choice, he is third choice behind Xhaka! He’d probably be fourth behind Saka as well. He should have got another chance against Brighton to get game time and used to playing back in the squad. He will now have zero confidence going into any games with the scrutiny on his shoulders.

Pepe only getting 15 minutes as usual. It is pretty clear there’s serious issues between the player and manager, with Nicolas next in line for the future headlines of ‘I loved the club, I loved my teammates, but it wasn’t down to me why I left’…

Will Arteta see sense this weekend and play the right team to get a win, whether he likes them or not, or will he stick with his favourites?

Happy Easter to you, my fellow Gooners. Let us hope for an eggsellent result! 🐣🤣

Tags Arsenal Opinion


  1. For me, this is MA’s main flaw. He doesn’t know how to properly utilize his squad players. From the outside looking in, it seems that players not good enough to start, almost never get a chance.

    They either get shipped out asap, or left sat on the bench all the time. Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of players he inherited needed getting rid of, but there’s no harm in giving the odd one a chance when the injuries and loss of form come. E.g. we really could have done with AMN round about now.

  2. He should play the best players we can afford and it’s time to be flexible. Start Pepe at CF, who knows we can finally unless the beast (after a gazzilion years!)

  3. For me it comes down to man management yet again. Rather than utilizing players strengths to make the team stronger, he’s back to his square pegs in round holes tactics.

    His experiments tend to fail more often than succeed.

    Xhaka at LB didn’t work last year, yet he tries again. Remember ESR as a false 9 against Emery last year? Absolute disaster.

    Madness to blow up the midfield and but Xhaka at LB.

    Let’s hope he learns and plays midfielders in the midfield this time.

    1. Hello!
      The experiments is working in other clubs why can’t it work here too?
      Look at Chelsea with Lukaku and Havertz is used as 9. Mancity is still using that till date, Liverpool with Jota, Salah and Mane as the main strikers.
      Our Wingers needs to STEP UP!

      1. Chelsea, City, and Liverpool have top managers who understand tactics and utilize the strengths of the players.

        Don’t see Liverpool using Henderson as LB, Chelsea using Mount as a false 9, or City using Bernado as a holding midfielder.

        1. 👍👍 As for Arteta having future plans for Arsenal, after two eighth place finishes and a season with no European distractions and early ejection from domestic cups, one would hope to see evidence in the League by now?

  4. I’ve always felt that clubs should give managers complete control of their teams like Wenger and Alex Ferguson had. That has always been my wish for football. But seeing the way Arteta has diabolically treated some players with complete and utter disregard for their transfer values and careers, I have seen why many a club never give them such powers. Edu should not be here. He’s terrible cos he doesn’t know his job

      1. Edu role as sporting director or head of football whatever we choose to call it.

        Primary responsiblity are the control over transfer negotiations and targets and most of the football related matters to the club excluding the coaching and selection of the team.

        Now the handling of Guendouzi, Mavropanos in particular was extremely poor, others are well documented

    1. This article is a rant with a number of “solutions” to the problems Arteta has to solve in the upcoming games. Every one of the proposed options has potential risks which the author has failed to consider whilst at the same time impugning the manager’s objectivity and motives.
      The current situation where we have no dependable cover for the left back position and the loss of our most important midfielder has created a number of conundrums.
      Tavares has, so far, not proven to be consistent enough at left back. Unfortunately, any other option will result in a makeshift back four and as we have seen it may mean moving players from their best position. There is no straightforward solution to this with squad we have and accusing the manager of grudges etc. is disgraceful unless you have evidence to support this position.
      The author states that the manager is stubborn and does not want certain players in the team. This is a highly dubious proposition especially when one considers the players that are being advocated for. None of these players have consistently delivered when in the team.
      The inadequate cover had concerned some of us during the last transfer window and remains for me the main issue. Unfortunately, this is not going to be rectified until the summer.
      In the short term Arteta has to come up with an effective team formation and selection. This will be a huge challenge with the squad available. The margins for error are small and fans really should stop pretending that there are easy solutions or suggesting that the manager is simply selecting players based on favouritism.

      1. Well Said!!
        I guess was more concerned about the defence leaking. I’m not against him playing Zhaka at LB, what baffles me is why leave a hole in the Midfield? He could have easily played Elneny in the Midfield or Return Zhaka back to the Midfield and let Gabriel play LB and introduce Holding to the Defence.

      2. So Nketiah has contributed more than Pepe? Was it the goals and assists he has?
        Does Nketiah track back more than Pepe has?

        Pepe’s goals & assists were not bad last year for the limited time he got. Yet a bad appearance and he’s gone for weeks. Nketiah does nothing and gets chances.

        Laca downright pathetic last 2 games, no goals in open play for 17 games.

        Let’s see if he’s benched or walks straight in next game.

        1. 👍 Pepe’s treatment is a disgrace. Why has he not been tried at centre forward. Similarly Martinelli has been under utilized. Shoud be tried in a front three with Pepe and Saka to maximize the goal threat.

  5. On tavares: am I missing something? My recollection was that he took tierney’s place fairly early in the season and had an excellent run of games, where people were questioning whether Tierney would be able to take his place back. Then we had a game against Liverpool where he got exposed badly and subsequently lost his place to Tierney. Since that game, he’s not played much, but hasn’t looked good at all when given the chance.
    My reading of that is that he’s a young player with a lot of talent but might have some confidence or other psychological issues to get past if he’s going to be a success at this level. No big deal, he’s still young, but I’m surprised at the comments I see about him – most people seem to think he’s not good enough, and then there’s a split between people who think he should have started the last game anyway (because he’s a left back), and those who don’t.
    My view is that he’s done for the season – his confidence is shot- and should just keep training, but he was so good for a while this year I’m confident he can turn it around in time.

    1. Davi, I am fully with you on Tavares. He was so good that many people started wondering whether Tierney would ever get a chance again. Now the same Tavares is being a castigated by most fans! What happened? How can a player with great promise be condemned to the bench indefinitely. All players make mistakes but are they always condemned to the bench? How has Lacazette been more useful to the team than Tavares or Pepe?

      1. 👍👍 now apparently on the scrap heap, because Tavares is replaced by Xhaka, for the double whammy of weakening midfield.

  6. Arteta’s ego is Arsenal’s biggest problem. He doesn’t care even if Arsenal loses a match. As long as his ego is satisfied. His treatment of Ozil was a red flag. Someone please tell him he’s not Pep Guardiola yet.

  7. Lovely Article!
    Our players needs to step up their game. We are one-sided when it comes to judgement; we all focus our blame on Lacacette for not scoring and Tavares for Not good enough.
    Have you noticed our shaky defence? Ramsdale, White and Gab have been Average for some games now?
    Have you noticed Martinelli has been wasteful and Saka has been toothless for some games now?

    Liverpool, Mancity and Chelsea scored the goals with their Wingers and Not the Main striker. What is happening to our wingers? They have been purely average for about 5-6 games now.
    Martinelli drives and run purposelessly, Saka on the other hand is becoming totally toothless.
    How do you expect us to win games without scoring?

  8. Smith is very ineffective and can’t influence a game.
    When I saw the Brighton and Crystal palace Left backs, I knew from the Line up Saka will not be effective. Haven’t you noticed when a young and energetic LB is paired against Saka, he fumbles all game? That puts all our pressure to Martinelli, who runs aimlessly like a Mad Dog, he doesn’t play with his teammates.
    That’s why our Non-scoring problems comes from!

    1. @Quite, I’m sure we ain’t just fans, we need to understand football,

      No player is an island on his own, Our wingers are the best in our team,
      I’ve you noticed our midfielders don’t run into space, hence why our wingers always hold the ball longer and try to find a way out,

  9. jon, Arteta like any manager, should rise or fall on the team results based on the decisions, including selections he makes.

  10. MA should use his brain now, Xhaka is not an option for LB!

    Lokonga needs help in the middle and Pepe should start playing!

  11. Team v saints…..
    White. Holding gabby
    Cedric. Sambi. Xakai. Saka
    Martinelle. Pepe

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