Arteta picking his favourites is clearly not working

Favourites in football doesn’t always work! by Shenel

In a game against a Spurs team who can break you on the counter, I feel Arteta, despite us dominating the game, got his tactics wrong as we came out of another big game with 0 points. A player of Aubameyang’s calibre should have and should always be deployed in the centre, which we are yet to see under Arteta for what reason I don’t know! It is becoming increasingly frustrating to see the build-up play we know we are capable of, with some sublime passes and chances but with inconsistent results at the end of it!

We have many experienced and talented key players who we know can play well and win games and when everyone is in tune with each other we are unbeatable. But why do tactics work in some games and not others? Despite the inevitable 4-0 demolition of Norwich – (which if it didn’t happen given Arsenal’s inconsistencies wouldn’t have been much of a shock for us fans, given how things have gone this season)- who are now relegated, every other game, before and after that, has been tough for us to get through, and if we do get through, it hasn’t been without the hard work and grit needed by the team.

Arteta seems to think the Xhaka/Ceballos partnership works well, but for me it is lacking something. There is no doubt that Xhaka has improved immensely but I don’t think he benefits much to play alongside Ceballos. He himself is a good player but again he is too inconsistent and, as we witnessed yesterday, he lost the ball quite a lot in midfield at key moments, that if it wasn’t for Martinez and some last ditch defending we would have lost by more than 2-1.

Despite our team not being the worst, we are clearly lacking some creativity in the midfield and whether Ozil or Torreira would be the players to give that to us remains to be seen, but we won’t ever find out whether their “pay packets are deserving of their performances” if they don’t get the chances they surely deserve! The longer they don’t get their chances the more it will give fans a chance to berate them for being paid and not doing “anything to deserve it.”

Arteta needs to wake up and realise that the same team selections with certain players do not work for every game. He needs to be a manager that realises he has other talented, world class players that given a chance can be the one main factor that can help win us games!

I know some managers have their favourites, but that is definitely not the way to run the team! What do you think, Gooners?

Shenel Osman


  1. Its high time for people like you to realise that Xhaka is not a good player. There’s always a problem in the midfield, but don’t ever think that Ozil can solve it. For three yrs, he’s been performing badly. Arteta needs to swallow his pride and start considering Gouendouzi and Maitland-Niles in the midfield. That’s where the problem of Arsenal starts

    1. What pride are you referring to? I guess that statement should be reserved for Guedozi who seems to think he is better than everyone else, AMN and Guendozi are not better than the 2 we currently using who have both been doing fine since the start of the pairing. The lost against spur wasn’t a fault from mf but lack of concentration from Kola, and AUBA inability to put the game to bed, don’t shift the blame on innocent to promote some players who aren’t ready.

  2. “We have many experienced and talented key players who we know can play well and win games ”

    Who knows so? Speak for yourself, the team is filled below average players, other than Aubameyang and Leno, I dare you to mention a world class player from the team.
    You keep requesting Auba plays center, yet you keep ignoring the fact that it’ll destabilize the rest of the attack, you guys keep singing this center forward thing as though Auba is good at bringing others into play, as though Emery and Freddie weren’t making use of Auba on the wings too.
    Other than his pace and goals, what else does Auba offers to the team despite being a world class goalscorer?
    Ask yourself all the games Auba played as top 9, what did he do? Seems you guys don’t know Auba disappears in games whenever he’s not on the scoresheet.
    Use him as top 9 and risk weakening the attack?

    Torreira just came back from how many months training and you’re expecting him to be rushed in?
    Don’t even get me started on Ozil.
    Sugarcoat it all you want, Torreira was never a creative midfielder or bought to be one and Ozil is a declined player who’s a shadow of his former self.
    I’d like to see what other options Arteta has that you keep requesting he makes use of.
    Willock should be starting? Ozil should be starting? Guendouzi should be starting with his form and attitude?
    You refuse to tell yourselves this season is over already. For me this season was over before Arteta got the job, I don’t care where we end up on the table, what I care about is finally fixing our shire defense and he’s already made that solid. Till next season I can start having expectations when he gets his squad.
    You lots would insult every player in the pitch, call them all sorts of names, yet you expect the coach to perform miracles and wonders with the same poor players you all know.
    For me I’m glad we’re below Europa leave spot, I hope we end the season this way, I’m not gonna delude myself like the rest of you and keep acting aa if we have a balanced squad or an OK squad for series of competitions

    1. Eddie, Sound common sense and proper perspective. Quite rare on here and so is to be applauded even more. Realists have always known that no manager can be a miracle worker and while we are stuck with so many poor to moderate players, he must use them-since there are hardly ANY top players(save the ones you mention) to replace them right now.
      In time , things will improve but time is what so many juvenile and foolishly impatient fans, mostly very young and inexperienced in life, will not grant MA.

    2. Well said Eddie, a voice of much needed
      reason on a board that has quickly become
      almost unreadable

    3. Please get started on Ozil.. We have nothing near him on this squad but he sits on the bench…. So we lose games because Ozil refused to take a pay cut. Most of the league also refused..

  3. Silly article.

    Xhaka and Ceballos have been standout performers since the restart. Ceb was contender for MOTM vs Spurs as well as the previous two games. Xhaka has done nothing (major) wrong either.

    Özil has had plenty of opportunities under Arteta (and Wenger and Emery) but has been a passenger. Torreira is difficult to fit in under the current setup; he neither has the creativity of Ceballos nor the passing prowess of Xhaka – two attributes Arteta values using the current formation.

    Nothing to do with favourites. It’s about finding a tactical balance with the players you have available.

    1. We have Xhaka who is slow, can’t pass, loses ball way too often for the position he is in playing 100% of our games… AND Ozil sitting on the bench… Think about it how many of our junior players have come out saying.. ” it’s amazing training with Xhaka…”
      We are playing pitical football with Ozil. And we are losing badly.

  4. If I have to see another arsenal fan call for auba to play down the middle one more time….auba does not have the skillset to play down the middle. He is a player that thrives on off the ball movement however one of the poorest players on the ball. Stop this stupid agenda. As for ozil if you have watched arsenal over the past three years you would know that he has been a liability all along so it’s a no…speaking of toreira it contradicts what you are trying to say because we lack the attacking prowess that you think you want but at the same time think he has the players to do so. By playing three at the back arteta sacrificed a midfielder thus taking away from our play…this article is nothing but incorrect watch football and consider the dynamics

    1. Show me one arsenal midfielder that can pass the ball in the last third ad I would happily move Ozil on.
      It is BS to criticise Ozil when we have no defensive mid for him to play off of.. And the shit calibre of midfielders on this team

  5. Here we go again with the favourites argument!Wenger had his son Ramsay,UE had Guendouzy now MA has his,in case you didn’t know every manager has his favourite players nothing new or wrong with that, it’s only logical!MA has come in mid season ,6 months 3 of which he couldn’t really work with the team the way he would have wanted, forget injured players, he inherited a squad not his squad,you would have to be blind not to see the improvements made under him and MA task was made even harder by the facts they were other problems needing to be sorted among the squad and off the pitch then covid 19…accusing him of playing his favourites is laughable,!MA is using the players at his disposition whom he thinks would do the best job, expecting miracles from MA when he has the same players as his predecessor injured important players barely no time to work with them(came in at the busiest time of the season,lowest and most difficult period of the club in decades..)is unrealistic!

  6. Not sure what you mean by selecting favorites, because Arteta definitely seems to pick based on merit and utilizing the player he feels best suits his strategy with fast wing-backs.
    Also very confused by you saying Cabellos and Xhaka don’t play well together. It’s been a long time since we have had a midfield pair that dominate the middle of the park like they have in recent games. Both are thriving next to each other. Against Tottenham, Xhaka had 99 touches and 90 passes with a of 91% and Cabellos had a whopping 117 touches with 98 passes and 92% p.s.r. No one Tottenham player even came close to that. We didn’t win but we dominated and we are clearly heading in the right direction with Arteta. How you still manage to find things to moan about is beyond me.

  7. This could be a comment for this article as well as the one on substitutions. Arteta is a good coach in my opinion but he is becoming predictable. If you gonna have a team have a plan B with your sub’s and game dynamics in mind. I love how people trash Ozil but the question is do you have a player with his vision to bring on when the game situation requires. Also what’s wrong with adapting during the game to a front 2 of Laca and Auba to change the opposition s thinking and pattern. Pepe is a player perfect for a stretched game. Torreira could help when you are being dominated in mid and a good coach could see this and possibly change up the system Dani in some instances can help you in an advance position more than deep lying midfielder. The coach has to deploy read and adapt according to the game dynamics but if he is rigid and predictable he is easily countered. Arsenal were better suited to whipping Spurs but lost because of our poor defending and mediocre tactics.

  8. As far as I am concerned, those that started spur games were the best 11 we had at the time, you might want to change kola for who? We don’t have another left footed cb, maybe Luiz in place of kola and Holding in the middle, no one can say how that works too, we don’t have better players than what the coaches uses and there is no favoritism anywhere, at least to the best of my knowledge

  9. Agree wholeheartedly Eddie.The fallacy that Auba is “wasted” wide left is nonsense.He has never been a conventional centre forward but he has always been a striker much like Teri Henry.In any event ,it’s at the other end of the pitch where we have struggled for almost a decade.We now have two very good goalkeepers and a quality left back.That apart ,our defenders are at best, mediocre and at worst, garbage.There is a complete lack of pace at CB ,hence the apparent need for Arteta to adopt a deep lying back three system.Mari and Holding are composed and good in the air but they are too slow to trust in a high line back four.Regardless of who our Manager is we will never improve unless we recruit better defenders and a top quality DM.That is our problem in a nut shell.

  10. We’re limited in options. Xhaka and Ceballos are Arteta faves? What has Torreira done to show he should start? Ozil? Doesnt even care about football anymore, cmon now. Why do we do this thing where we hype up players we already know aren’t good enough. We love to picture games going much differently, “if only we started player X”, when in reality, player X & player Y are both no good. We need to admit we have no top quality midfielders instead of accusing Arteta of playing favorites. This argument goes for most of our XI btw.

  11. Yes! Arteta is loosing it,becouse you can not have Pepe and Nelson on the bench,and you play Saka on the play luiz instead of Holding,you have mavropanos on loan, ceballos is good but not creative( why not play ozil?) martineli is better than nketia, why put him (martineli )on bench? Plse! Mr Arteta you need to change otherwise change will change you.

  12. Eddie you nailed it . How many coaches do we need to tell us the players are at best below average?
    How many of our players make it into Liverpool, Man City or Man U squad ?
    Let us just hope we can get rid of this bunch and start again

  13. This Arsenal tactics of passing the ball around near their goal has always concerned me. They have conceded twice since the restart because of this including the one against Spurs.
    Secondly, their corner kicks are terrible. Why don’t Arteta train a couple of players to become corner kick and other free kick specialists to become more effective.

  14. Arsenal was not going to finish the 19/20 season in a good position but you guys are not ready for this conversation, next season will be for rebuilding, but you guys are not ready for that as well. Arteta should be given two seasons to build the team that he wants,

  15. What about the aspect of always use David Luis despite his failings and leaving Holding on the bench? Not to talk of overcrowding the left wing with Kolasinac, Tierney and Aubamayeng and leaving the midfield empty? Arteta is not serious yet. Once you bring sentiment into team selection as a coach, you are bond to loose

  16. I would like to see this line up against Liverpool,

  17. The real problem is that Arteta is learning his trade and has the the Brazilian connection and their ‘super agent’ mate as backseat drivers. And of course and a billionaire real estate man who sees Arsenal and a kind of Tesco. Lucky to get into the top six in future years unless Stan K sells up.

  18. Two things are obvious to me. Lack of Champion League means we can’t attract quality players and secondly, the lack of funds. Yeah, the news is that Kroenke may help next season but we wait to see how that will help. It has been mentioned, we have a large squad of medium quality players. Again, MA can only use what he has plus motivation. However, any player selected must also be willing to give 120% (we don’t see that) no more no less. I however hope we qualify for Europa (fingers crossed) for developing future players, leaving the top 18 to focus on the league while the rest focus on cup games. I would love to see us win a trophy but will be happy with the team moving into the Top 4 again. Its difficult to accept that there are some teams that also have medium players but they give 120% (hoping to get noticed by the big clubs), thereby doing ok as a team and making the difference.

  19. I do think like wenger did, he picks his best players in his mind and then tries to shoehorn them into the team and change positions and formation to try and suit. Saka playing RW is a case in point, wenger used to move his favourite/ best players ie Ramsey to different places to suit. The balance of the team then becomes lopsided. He obviously likes Luiz, who has been a good boy for 4 games but like mustaffi, is error prone. He like khaka but he also likes to throw in a couple of serious blunders every game. I always thought with wenger the team in the final years was off balance, i think the same is the case very often with Arteta. We dont seem to have a reliable partnership in central defence, midfield or striker, which you need to get anywhere in football. As well as having favourites that might compromise the team, he also has a group of players he doesn’t seem to fancy/trust or like and they get ostracised a bit. But i suppose that goes for 95% of coaches.

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