At last Arsenal have brought some leaders into the squad

They say you notice things when you’re at a game that you might not night see when watching Arsenal on TV.

My biggest takeaway from my first ever NLD I attended; was we might have more leaders than I gave the squad credit for.

Even when we have had decent squads the accusation has been that Arsenal lacked the mentality to cope with the crucial moments in games and seasons.

Like Man United, it seemed this summer there had been an effort to consider the type of characters we were bringing into our dressing room. That’s what our recruitment team had been criticised for, not taking into account the personalities we were adding to the group.

There were hints on Sunday that we have talent with the right mindset. Most of those hints were actually when we didn’t have the ball.

Odegaard before most set pieces took the opportunity to encourage the crowd to be louder.

Ramsdale couldn’t have done more to endear himself with Gooners.

He celebrated a Harry Kane miss like he had just scored himself.

He couldn’t take a sip out of his water bottle without interacting with those in the stands.

At full time he went on his own personal lap of honour, applauding each corner of the ground.

Not bad for a keeper who some were not sure was worth the price tag or should be picked ahead of Leno.

While a Saka and Smith-Rowe have an obvious connection with the club, a Ramsdale and Ben White are British, meaning they have grown up with the Gunners as one of the biggest sides in the country. So, for them to play for the Arsenal is a big deal, the biggest level they will play at and most likely they won’t have a desire to move on.

Tommiyasu has become a fan favourite purely for his work-rate, something the scout team would have identified.

Forget what Odegaard did on the ball, his work-rate off it was that of a leader.

It’s rare that a player so new at the club would take the responsibility he did to press.

The Norwegian was a small shark in an ocean at Real Madrid but now can be a huge Fish in the smaller pond that is Arsenal.

The midfielder has lived with expectation since a teenager that he would be the next big thing in the sport, so has an appetite to prove himself. That’s something we can use to our advantage.

It’s too early to say that we now have cured our problems and have a mentally strong team. The true test of that is when things are going wrong.

This is still the same group who were bullied by Brentford and Chelsea and folded like a deck of cards at the Etihad.

Our manager might argue that after that it was only after the international break where he could play his best team.

I’m though the first to point out when Arsenal look mentally weak so it’s only correct when it’s the other way around.

Dan Smith

Tags Aaron Ramsdale odegaard tottenham


  1. I am all for having a captian from the backline
    If Ramsdale keeps up with the performance, showing of leadership and vocal then he is a perfect fit in the future..
    Fingers crossed everyone is waiting to see what happens in next 3 games to know if the piece is finally coming together for arteta and his boys…
    Key result area( arteta should focus and consolidate on the things that helped him get results and performances)
    Everyone wants to see us rubbing shoulders with the big boys regardless of the fans views of the regime that is what we derive pride from
    Up gunners
    Up we move

  2. Football opinion is almost always results driven.
    When our team loses the fans say that the players were useless, lacking direction and passion while the manager, his team selections, formation and tactics were just so wrong.
    Then this same team has a run of wins.
    Suddenly the fans say the team is brilliant the selections formation and tactics are on point showing passion, urgency and great leadership.
    To me teams actually play the same every week. What changes is the quality of the opposition and good old fashioned luck.

    1. Arsenal have put in string of wins before now just like they did at season end
      The problem is not putting in string of wins
      The performance, character and performances of the wins and losses that the fans are more concerned about

    2. fairfan I am much disappointed to read – from a fan whom I have always thought bright and sensible – the risible comment that “teams actually play the same every week”!

      Such a huge let down in my previous opinion of you to read such utter nonsense! Opposition and luck do indeed change but so does any given team from one week to the next.
      And especially a team that is still subject to constant personnel changes each week.

  3. Ramsdale seems to be a great motivator, which is needed to maintain our defenders’ concentrations. If he can keep catching the opposition’s long ball, he could play ahead of Pickford and Pope in World Cup

    Odegaard’s relentless high pressing forces the opponents to make long passes, whereas Aubameyang’s jumps reduce the pressure off our midfielders

    We’re just still too cautious/ nervous in the first ten minutes of the games and our high pressing is reduced significantly in the second halves, but maybe these problems will gradually disappear as we rebuild our confidence

    1. Gai
      I hope so. But we can all see glimpse of improvement. What we want is that Arteta and his team should make a culture out of the way they press and play. Auba and Odegaard must keep pressing and others. I believe if the drilling in training is top notch they can improve their drop of aggressions in second half.

  4. Was watching the highlights and analysis on YouTube last night and one thing nobody noticed, which was pointed out by the guys in the studio was Ødegaard for the second goal.
    After Ramsdale made that pass to Xhaka, Ødegaard was completely free in the midfield and had a lot of space.
    It was Auba and Saka upfront vs Dier, Ndombele and Reguilon.
    Just before Xhaka gave the pass to Tierney, Saka on the right wing started jogging back to cover the space left and assist the defense in case anything happens, but immediately he started doing so, Ødegaard spoke to him and directed him to go back up front, probably because he can cover all on his own and he needed Reguilon to be after Saka instead of himself in that midfield.

    Saka went back up, and Reguilon had to make sure he followed him.

    Point is, Ødegaard is one of the smartest player in that team. Him alongside Xhaka we’re actually giving instructions a lot. It’s no wonder he’s the captain of his country at his age.
    Those of us who knew what he’s capable of and kept the faith in bringing him back know that this isn’t even half the best of Ødegaard yet and that we have a great young player with us.

  5. Good to get rid of Guendozi
    His attitude stinks
    He can’t get anywhere with that attitude
    Arteta was right in throwing him away with his friend Ozil
    In Lokongo, we’ve got a a better substitute

    1. What does Douzi have to do with this article?

      I know there are new reports about his teammates having issues with his attitude and how he’s always blaming someone and always overreacting, but Dan Smith didn’t even mention Douzi in his article. Did he?

    2. Hmmm, are you sure you are discussing this article in itself? About Guendo, well anyway the loan includes an obligation to buy or so I have heard. No point in discussing him because he may not ever return to the Emirates. As for his attitude, well I wonder why only now you are mentioning it when it is being published everywhere after their loss to RC lens and not when he was getting into the team of the week at Ligue1 and was getting very positive reviews? Confirming evidence bias?

  6. Nice observations Dan about the leaders. I can see Aaron, Gabriel, KT, Granit, and as pointed out by Eddie above, Ode being the ones on the pitch who might lead the team interms of crisis. Among all the potential of Ode as a future captain seems the best as he is also Norway captain at his age and is very intelligent. I cant help but compare his style to our ex midfield maestro, who also bore the initials MO. If he gets to his numbers in an Arsenal shirt I guess we will have a legend and world football another midfield gem. Along with that flair he has leadership traits as well. The others also have potential to be good leaders and in this way a 5 captain theory might work well. Not literally as in 5 players to pass the armband around but about 5 leaders on the pitch who are tasked with setting the direction, managing the game and motivating the players on the pitch.
    But as you also said, lets exercise caution and wait to see how our potential leaders react in terms of a downturn. But here also I was impressed by MO’s courage to face the away crowd at the Etihad after the loss. Shows about his sense of responsibility and accountability. Hope it continues and we move ahead.
    Onwards and upwards.

  7. Very early doors, but there has been a definite change in the “vibe “character” and “feel” around the squad, and an increasing amount of supporters.

    We now actually read / hear terms such as “Green shoots”, light at the end of the tunnel” “nudging forward”.

    Anyone who expected fast tracking at the outset regarding the “process” was sadly barking up the wrong tree.

    Shortly after Arteta’s arrival I found and posted on here a detailed plan what I saw as very much the model which the club would follow.

    It was a plan to gradually get a failing “business” back on track. I was ask by an eminent poster on here to put said plan in footballing terms, this I tried to do.

    Each step has since been followed and executed.

    Did I (and many others) ever waver – yes.

    The Villarreal debacle got me sitting firmly on the fence re’ the “process” & M A.

    But it was plain as day that the current regime were going to hand the execution of the “process” over to Mikel – and many of us stuck with it.

    Here we are today.

    Personally I believe each step has been conducted as best possible, given other contributing factors during the period in question.

    Perhaps we can now actually “like & feel pride” in our players once again, and feel we are building something that may elevate the Arsenal to being (first step) competitive.

    Let’s just take the most recent window, and a feel of the type of comment made at the time.

    Ramsdale – paying what ? Personal abuse followed.

    Ben White – overpriced and unproven was the cry.

    Tomi – we should have got Emerson Royal (are you kidding me ?)

    Sambi- who ?

    Ode – big deal, he’s been here already.

    Nuno – cheap option cover only.

    Now let’s go through the list again.

    Ramsdale – Our No 1, * and firm fans favourite already. A breath of fresh air in more ways than one.

    Tomi – * Ditto.

    Sambi – * Ditto.

    Ben White – Now folk are perhaps realising why we purchased this player. An excellent foil to line up alongside Gabby. A real PARTNERSHIP developing here, with plenty more to come (as with each of these players).

    Ode – bedding in nicely again, will make us tick aligned whilst working hard also (but must not stunt ESR’ progress in any way)

    Nuno – Cover for Tesco only. Fair comment, but the kid will put in a shift when called upon – and can be played wide left in front of Tesco if the game in question calls for this.

    Let’s look at M A’s first line up upon arrival ;

    Leno, Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Papastathopoulos, Saka, Xhaka, Torreira, Nelson, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

    Subs: Pepe, Mustafi, Martinez, Mavropanos, Willock, Guendouzi, Smith-Rowe

    Bournemouth away – I was there.

    4-2-3-1 as I recall – but apparently M A doesn’t know how he wants to set up to this day ?

    Funny that, how does he mainly set up now
    4-2-3-1 !

    In goal for Bournemouth that day – a certain A Ramsdale.

    Surely it is quite clear that a plan was embarked upon to: 1) weed out certain individuals for reasons other than playing ability & 2) “freshen / improve glaring positional deficiencies.

    All of the above within strict budgetary constraints.

    A PLAN was / is certainly well under way.

    False dawn or new dawn – time will tell and still a way to go, but doesn’t the “air smell fresher ” ?

    And we ain’t finished yet.

    The bar has now been set as first half against Spuds.

    Will will hit that performance level each week – no.

    Will there be further disappointments ahead – yes.

    But the team has shown us what they are capable of – so there’s the target.

    Next step – we need to go to Brighton, and perform ……. one game at a time.

  8. Ramsdale along with Ode are the best leaders, one for his vocal directions and organisation of the defence and one for his game intelligence, management and smartness. Great future for both of them with Arsenal. Both future Captain material.

  9. Hope this (the article) is right and I certainly see something in ramsdale, but it must be said that it’s easy to stand up when things are going your way, leadership will be far more important, and hopefully evident, when we next face a real challenge – say if we concede first against a side like Brighton, then we would see the leaders.
    It’s always been my criticism when people say Xhaka is a leader – let’s see it when things are going against us.

  10. Guys. It’s just been one good performances so far.
    Lets wait and see if this was not just a typical one off.

    Breath in, Breath out.

  11. For us that watch on TV, the issues has never been with MA but rather the media that will go the extra to castigate Arsenal..
    Take for example, when a certain Man. City assistant manager came in and we started improving the defense.. We were still been judged..
    Then we have the low scoring input..
    Tell me how you get to learn from AW, Pep and then play defense football..

    The play pattern has always been the same just better management from the players and like MA cried “we are 5-6 players from what we want to achieve”..

    1. We are beginning to see the rewards of waiting for Odegaard to be bought. I am very much happy because Arteta and Edu were patient enough to make we didn’t just buy anyone to fill in that position but the right individual.
      When Tomiyasu’s name appeared towards the tail end of the previous transfer window, I quickly checked up his performances on YouTube against the very best players in Seria, and I quickly said to my friend that arsenal have got a defender who has knowledge of the game and also takes it as a job he loves to do.

      If any of you looked at the game against the Spuds properly, you would discover how much of a problem, a block and a destroyer he was to Nuno’s plan on that day.
      From Nuno’s set up that day, it was crystal clear that most of the long balls from Spuds defence, were targeted towards Son; and Nuno was so insistent on scoring against us through Son’s position that he had that side of the field overloaded by bringing in boy they recently got from Sevilla. And even though they finally got their goal through Son, it wasn’t as Nuno had hoped or planned, because it was only when Zhaka had been injured were they able to find the number advantage against us to overload that position and get in the cross for Son’s goal.
      My point from the above paragraph is that Tomiyasu was a very good buy and I am very happy about that because those who laughed at me because of him even before he has kicked a ball in Arsenal jersey are now eating humble pie.
      If it were Cedric or the recent time Bellerin against Son, one smart move from him would have led to a goal against us.

      Sambi will become good, but the coaching team will have to help him by encouraging him and Odegaard to work on their strength. Odegaard is good, but when we played against the Spuds, even he wast smart on many occasions, he was still muscled of the ball by his opponents which English refferrees will blow for his favour.
      As for Ramsdale, I think we have a good goal keeper now who knows his job as well as the traits of his defenders. He comes out to claim corner kicks. But one cannot say that about Leno. Leno might have good reflex but that alone does not make a good goal keeper. I was furious with his goal-keeping against Brentford. How he allowed a player to be in charge of his box was beyond me. I thought he had polished that area of his game from the little competition he had with Martinez, not knowing that old habits don’t die away easily.

      Sorry for the long write up, I am just happy about how Arteta is finally playing those who understand the game and ready to execute it as planned.

  12. way too early to properly assess anything, leadership questions or otherwise…after all, we’ve only played one half-game of real quality in the first 6 matches of this season!!!

      1. considering their -6 goal differential and the fact that only Leeds had failed to score more than 1 goal against them, it was disappointing to see our offensive output…both teams had very similar stats, 3 shots each on goal and possession was 55 to 45%, in our favour, which certainly couldn’t be considered a overly flattering performance, especially since we had only scored once, in a League affair, prior to that match…I get that people want to overhype the difficulty of facing a “physical” team like Burnley, at their place, almost like they’re the new Stoke or something, but that’s simply a misnomer, as they’re not nearly as physically imposing/”dirty” as Pulis’s former club…of course, getting a result is better than not, but from an overall performance standpoint it was rather underwhelming

        1. Again we disagree.

          A well managed performance, from which taking 3 points was paramount.

          The anchoring of Partey as a shield in front of our back 4 (at times literally aligning with White & and Gabriel) to help nullify Burnley multi angle crossing was key.

          Why specifically highlight this aspect only ?

          It totally serves to indicate what the game plan was, and how we approached this particular game.

          As for “entertainment “ , the last thing on Arteta‘s mind – and the travelling support 100% bought into this.

          The teams efforts were very well received shall we say.

          If some watching on T V cannot buy into this type of performance applied to this type of game … “tough” quite frankly.

          I tend not to worry too much about stats regarding what other teams have done etc against the opposition of the day, tending more to go by the adage “ you worry about your own performances , and what YOU have to do”.

          I would wager a very hefty bet, that the Burnley win was seen as vital however achieved – an excellent 3 points.

          This is professional football probably the most cutthroat industry there is.

          In my adult years I was brought up in the game with the mantra- results count.

          Make no mistake, Burnley was a very well managed and executed performance.

          We now wait and see how the manager is to set up for the Brighton match – no two games are the same.

          We obviously see professional football in a very different light.

          1. it’s clear that you’re a Kool-Aid drinking, card-carrying member of the Arteta fan club and as such your blinders are so squarely affixed that you lack the ability to separate fact from fiction…I can’t even be bothered to specifically address all the examples of my aforementioned claim, as evidenced by your response, as it wouldn’t be worth the time required…it’s likewise quite obvious that you don’t actually watch a variety of sports or even other footballing squads besides our own, so engaging in a highly nuanced conversation about x’s and o’s would be a rather fruitless undertaking…with that said, I will make one concluding remark, then I won’t respond again to your passive aggressive baiting tactics…of course, the 3 points were vitally crucial for a manager swimming in it and facing a considerable amount of justifiable criticism, but it’s imperative to note that this was a largely self-inflicted construct based on his tactical inflexibility/naivety, his failure to fully engage in the “process” from the get-go so that the fanbase clearly understood that the objectives were long-term not short and his ill-advised micro-managing, which came from a place of desperation not strength

  13. I expected that Ramsdale would become #1 as you don’t pay £20m+ for backup… He had a great performance against Spuds & Arteta should let him play, Arsenal desperately need a leaders to stand up when times become tough & Ramsdale & the new lads have picked up the squad😹👍

  14. But DAN it was NOT the same group who lost at Brentford though. Was it!

    MANY DIFFERENT PLAYERS THEN TO THOSE WHO PLAYED SPURS. Inaccurate so called “facts” are not helpful when writing articles.

  15. I’m positive..since Wenger to emery then arteta..there is doubt but most of the time I’m positive…no need to tell our feeling in arsene and emery time.they both is very good manager and person.

  16. Sambi should be given some matches first to play consecutively before Maitland Niles. He understands the game much better and his passes are way better and cripse than that of Niles who for no fault of his is relearning that position.

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