Blame game inertia – Arsenal fans should blame the real culprits for Spurs defeat

Blame Game Inertia.

Hey. It was a very painful Sunday here. I don’t know about yours. I’m not even going to try and act like I have any more to add about the loss to Tottenham. Awful display, that’s all.

Onto my topic, let me start by defining what I mean by ‘blame game inertia’. I don’t read a lot of stuff on other teams’ forums, so I don’t know how exactly they behave. I do spend a lot of time on Arsenal fora and I have noticed one thing. We play the blame game a little too much. It’s sort of becomes a failsafe switch. We all know who to blame; Xhaka, Mustafi, Luiz, Laca, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Willock. If any of the ones “we like” screws up, we still blame the other guys for the screw up. It’s as though they somehow have to score every game to prove themselves.

I am not saying all the players above deserve to be starting in the Arsenal team. Far from that actually. Nevertheless, if they could play better, I’d be more than happy to support them.

I hope that paints enough of the picture.

Let’s start with yesterday’s game. Most of the comments in the match reactions post pointed fingers at everybody else, except those who might have actually done badly.

Let’s start with Hector Bellerin. To be honest, some of our best attacking play yesterday came from him. From his variation of play and unpredictability, he caused two big chances. Unfortunately, they were not scored. Somehow, he was at blame for the loss yesterday in the eyes of some. Take into account, most of his attacking contributions came from him actually displaying some skill to beat a man on the dribble and get himself into attacking positions. He’s innocent but since he’s always been blamed, he still has to stay blamed.

Let’s look on the opposite flank. In my view, Tierney had a really bad game. He didn’t have much to do defensively, Mourinho didn’t even try to attack on that side. Right from the first minute. He didn’t even play an attacking player on that side. That’s how much he didn’t bother, and yet, I can’t seem to remember KT create a single attacking moment. Even as he was getting really good service from Xhaka. I was pulling my hair out at a particular point where Xhaka played a pass to Tierney way behind Aurier. It had enough pace that he didn’t even need a guiding touch. You could clearly see that Xhaka was setting him up to cross, because at the moment Xhaka plays the pass, Laca is making a run into the box, Auba is arriving near post and Pepe is arriving back post. What does KT do? He controls that ball, for some reason spins around, tries to accelerate, and ends up running the ball out for a throw into Spurs. If you watched the match, you’ll notice that Xhaka repeatedly set up Tierney to cross, but Tierney ended up doing something I can’t define. Now let’s compare. Bellerin actually had to contend with Moura and created more attacking action than KT. End of the game, Bellerin gets more blame than KT. Blame game inertia.

Moving inwards, Granit Xhaka. I saw an argument from someone on a previous article, that started by blaming him and a few others for failing to control the midfield. Let’s realistically look at the game though. Spurs were playing with long balls. How exactly is a midfielder who was instructed to press high up responsible for losing a long ball battle? It was his pressing that gave us the lead – but no. We lost, so he’s somehow to blame. How about the number of times he kept splitting Spurs with passes to find strikers, but they couldn’t control or make use of them? The strikers get no blame for that. “Most of his passes are sideways and backwards” Most of his passes were through passes that were wasted by KT, but people are used to that blame line they saw on Sky Sports at some time, that they actually have to keep carrying it, even when it’s not relevant. Someone used the line “he’s always giving our opponents chances to score” the last time he did that was on 01/09/2019. Think about that.

David Luiz. Let’s start by ascertaining my general position on him. He should be on the bench. Nothing more. However, what did he do wrong yesterday? He was put in a bad place by two passes, one of them from Martinez in the box. But we still blame Luiz somehow. Blame game inertia.

Auba. This is one of those we like. Rewind the clock to the Leicester City game. Laca missed some really difficult chances and was roasted on here. Forward to today, Auba misses two more clear cut chances. Nah. We just gloss over that like it didn’t happen.

The point of this article is to show Arsenal fans that we need to apportion blame based on performance, not based on emotion. The entire left side of our pitch didn’t even operate yet Spurs were not attacking through there. And yet most of the blame fell on the right side of the pitch where Spurs had attacking players.

Joe Allysons


  1. So who was to blame for the defeat ?Does the buck stop with the Manager?Can anyone with an ounce of football intelligence deny that our ” back three” is a collection of mediocre players who would never make the first eleven at Leeds Utd .No disrespect to Leeds who I am sure will stay up in the APP next season..Despite your over the top criticism of Tierney ,can you name a better defender on our books?.No, Arteta has inherited an abject bunch of defenders, and is charged by some as lacking the experience to get a tune from them.Well there is not a Manager who has lived who can turn water into wine and the quicker we flush out our stagnant pool the better for our frustrated fans.We are going nowhere with this group which includes Sokratis, Soares and Mari.How on Earth can we regain our top four status with such mediocrity in the red shirts.

    1. Grandad exactly! It was depressing to read all the negative things and all the crap about Arteta.. One even went ahead writing Arteta out.
      The general consensus is that we have a terrible team, we all know other than PEA and Leno, we have no world class players other than the young guns coming and Tierney, they keep pointing out how terrible our players are, yet they expect Arteta to perform miracles with them.
      Something he’s already done, I can’t recall when last we were ever solid and when last we kept the amount of clean sheets we’ve done under Arteta in so far.
      They complain the team and defense is crap, yet they blame the coach when we lose or drop points.
      You win some, you lose some, but nope with Arsenal fans, they never want to lose some or any. Bunch of moaning kids

    2. Grandad, I totally agree with you I say we need to sell 8to10 Arsenal players and forget next season The only problem is who would buy them it’s deadwood

  2. To my mind, the Tott/Ars match was lost by the Chief Coach,simple.
    KT, for one had a TERRIBLE day; always playing the balls backwards or at best sidewards. Indeed at a point I thought that he must have been on Tott. “payroll”
    I also observed that Pepe was match rusty.
    In both cases, Arteta DID NOT deem it fit to change them until it was TOO LATE. I wonder if I can forgive Arteta for this.
    Lastly, I observe that there is a tendency for the new boys in the team to hang on to the ball for longer than necessary- Saka epitomises this!

  3. I think that the transfer rumours around Hector are not helping the situation, a lot of fans are trying to justify why he should be sold and the best way is to blame him whenever possible, probably the same fans who wanted to keep him at all costs when Barca came calling only a few seasons ago,how ironic,by the way loyalty is a 2 ways street,people are quick to mention loyalty when it comes to Auba but can’t wait to see the back of Hector who’s been with us for 9 years and back from injury, I am pretty sure that is the definition of hypocrisy!but then again I could be wrong!

  4. This article defines so well what Arsenal problem is; blame the usual culprits even if they played well. i have started to understand why every manager stuck with Xhaka. Wenger did, Unai did and now Arteta. People dont see important Xhaka is to Arsenal mid. Auba, he is good no doubt, but how many chances has he wasted? if he is that good, then based on the good chances he has wasted he should be talking of 30 goals now and maybe Arsenal would be vying for ucl position.
    In my opinion, Arsenal forward play is the problem, not mid not defence(some part).

    1. I disagree. Auba is not a winger and why play him as a winger. Auba is the only natural finisher in our squad take it or leave it. He manage to score 20 goals from the wing this season. How many did Mo Salah, Sterling, Mane score? Auba is our savior, we should play him as a striker. He still score even when we lack creativity at our midfield. The problem we are having is general.

      1. By using Mo Salah, Sterling and Mane you did really well in destroying your own argument!!??
        All 3 like to come into the box from outside it, just like Auba, rather than being in the box and heavily marked.
        Auba is the captain and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s asked Arteta to play him on the left wing. It’s certainly working well, as it is for the 3 you mentioned.

    2. Yes every manager stuck with xhaka, and what did they win with him?! Maybe it would be better to exchange our midfield instead of the coach. The absolute weak point in the team is midfield. No dynamics, no speed and no goals. Xhaka would go very well with Westham, Watford or Aston Villa, but not with a club that has claims to the Champions League like Arsenal. He wouldn’t have a place in any top team in Europe. With Xhaka, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Luiz, Sokratis in the team, we will not come back to the CL. Arsenal please wake up and rebuild your entire central midfield. We should either accept that, or that we are the new Westham or Newcastle.

      I’m sorry, but my english is not very good, so I wrote this text with a translator.

      1. These are my thoughts too. But if the coach sees Luiz, Mustafi and Xhaka as the future and wants to cling to them and expect a top four finish, then the coach is deluded and needs to be booted out from the front door along with the baggage he carries.

  5. Arsenal players feared Mourinho too much and respected his players. When we had the game on our head, we failed to attack (KT epitomizes this and Arteta tactics as well). We clearly lacked Keller instinct.
    When last did we score from corner kicks?
    The blame yesterday was was on KT, MA8, Luiz.
    Clearly, we missed SAKA and *Ramsey.
    The defenders tried but buttled it by not preventing the 2 goals and not scoring from many corners of our own.
    We missed out on champions league last season to Aubameyang penalty miss against TT and Europa league this season by his missed chances.

    1. Should we Sell him because he failed to score at a match?
      The truth is that we rely too much on Auba for goals.

  6. Generally, the whole squad is poor. The defencers can’t defend properly that is why Arteta switched to a back three. Also, the midfield is clueless. They can’t create chances. How many of our Midfielder has score 3 – 5 goal this season in the EPL. We rely too much on the strikers for goals. And lastly, the strikers are also weak. And I still don’t get why Mister Arteta keeps playing our only scorer at the flank. And what has Eddie done to deserve the start over Lacazette.

    We need to play Auba up front so that we can outscore our opponent. Dude is not comfortable shooting from the wing, that is why he couldn’t finish that goal against spur. We can’t score only a goal and except us to defend for the whole 90mins without the opponent scoring. Do u even notice that Chelshit has conceded more goals than us this season and they are way up ahead of us in the table. That is because they outscore their opponents.

    1. Okay coach, let’s pretend Auba is Lacazette or Firmino that can make use of the ball up front.
      Let’s all pretend right from last season if Auba is not scoring he’s disappearing.
      You’d be forced to question if fans really watch football and know about it when you listen to what they say.
      We don’t have functioning wingers, the only one still trying there is Saka.
      Pepe has been struggling, so let’s play Auba as top 9 so we can struggle up front.
      Thank the heavens you guys ain’t coaches, even Emery made use of Auba on the wings, Freddie did, with Lacazette as the top 9 who can do every other thing. I bet you think football is all about nothing happening on the pitch and just popping up with goals.. Funny enough most of Auba’s most beautiful goals all came from playing at the left wing, but okay coach. You know best

  7. Diz is my point of view from dat match. Alot of attention is being paid to d arsenal defense, ya, Dy commit Alot of blunders but arsenal midfield n attack is also bad.
    Talking abt KT, whenever he was given the ball to cross n he looks into the box, his attackers are no where to be found. I always say diz, in d final third laca has bad positioning.As a striker u should be at d last line of defense, ready to create chance 4 through pass from ur midfielder. God bless van persie 4 dat,great positioning n he gives his midfielders d move 4 a great pass, so I don’t blame KT.Common! he gives great crosses but d attackers……😏
    The midfielders..It funny dat a club dat was known to have a enough creative n scoring midfielders don’t have any again…. Arsenal had more possession but less Dan 2 defense splitting pass,dre were more side pass n mehn..Dy are slow…u get a small opening to push d ball forward or pass, u do dat but nah….Dre was no creativity n drive to push forward from d midfielders……Ceballos really tried, not forgetting is ever growing interceptions n tackle. He just needs a better 4 (not xhaka) n a creative 8. Xhaka! I call him a rigid player,once he has his eyes on a particular player to pass to even if dat player is pressurized he passes Dre.He hardly changes d game…as a midfielder, u reduce d pressure by doing dat,u get d ball ur head is up to see openings n immediately release d ball or push forward but no.He goes backwards or side ways… Funny enough his a good passer of long balls but unfortunately, his to slow to see Dem not even talking about releasing Dem.
    The attackers, laca,Aub n Pepe😏😏…….Immediately I saw d starting attackers I told my friend diz attackers won’t perform…Now diz is d reason, diz arsenal team is a team dat solely depends on d attackers 4 goals, as in when on d offensive u hardly see four players in d opposition box,d midfielders hardly move forward to create other options for attack(Ramsey😭), so d attackers are meant to create Dre chances demselves ( only wen crosses come from d fullbacks or d midfielders “mistakenly” make a through pass wc we hardly see in diz Arsenal team), d pressure on Dem is too much n diz guys (Pepe,aub n laca) are not players dat create doz chances demselves (Sanchez😭)..Dy need support but wen Dy have d ball n raise Dre head, drez nobody n to add to their misery, Dre positioning or should I say movement to create opportunity for d passes in d final 3rd….God is bad….
    So for me,yes d defense had Dre isshhh….but the attackers n midfielders didn’t do it 4 me coz Dy had d possession to create whatever Dy wanted but couldn’t… Tottenham didn’t have d possession but wen Dy hold d ball,Drez diz drive to push forward n Dy hard better opportunities to score Dan arsenal who had d possession.

  8. Joe I thought I was gonna disagree with you when I started reading the article but I searched inward and admitted that all of what you said is nothing but the complete truth of how the game went, Auba, Tierney, pepe and kolasinac where the main culprits from the loss to spurs. As much as I like the first two and the jury is still out on the third (for me at least), I have to admit they played really poorly. Aubameyang has been poor for 2 games now. I don’t know if it’s because of the contract talks and I want to think that Tierney was probably exhausted and this is where I blame Arteta. It’s not compulsory to start the same players every game as we play every 3 days. I would have expected a AMN, holding and cedric soares involvement from the start. I guess Arteta didn’t want to take chances because he dreaded losing this NLD and the backlash he would face from the fans if he didn’t start the senior players. This thought process has failed him again and again and again. He needs to start learning from making that mistake. 3 times I’ve noticed it now, in the europa league home game against olympiacos, where Emery would have relied on his blend of youth and senior players in form to get him a result, Arteta panicked and excluded the one star that has been the star of the europa league for Arsenal in Martinelli. For 70mins, the senior players could not produce a shot on target. Martinelli was still sitting on the bench doing nothing and Arteta didn’t think to bring him in sooner. His senior team let him down, fast forward to the man City game, Again senior players because it’s man City, we all know how that turned out. And now the Derby, we all saw how tired some of these players were against Leicester, and we had good talented players very well rested for the game that didn’t feature so much against Leicester. Players like torreira (who was immense in the NLD under emery), AMN who is one of the few who understands what the NLD means, and cedric who is far better than bellerin both offensively and defensively. I admit bellerin has buckled his belt since cedric’s first game for Arsenal. But I saw there were many times he didn’t want to risk losing the ball even when pepe had run in front expecting the ball. Aurier did that very well on KT’s wing. Cedric would have done that too. He didn’t start against Leicester, I expected him to start this game and rest bellerin for maybe Liverpool. But I think bellerin was good too. Pepe is becoming too predictable, he needs to learn new tricks and Aubameyang is losing the work rate we knew him for. In his defence, I will say he was tired having started in almost all games since the restart same as KT, and this is where I expected Arteta to be smarter with his line ups and substitution, he’s becoming very predictable like wenger was. Kolasinac on the other hand is nothing to write home about, how he gets paid to play football is beyond me. Mustafi I must admit was solid in the first half, he dropped massively in the second and as for Luiz, I admit I would be more confident with holding in place of him (again what is Arteta doing), but Luiz didn’t have a generally bad game yesterday.

  9. The Buck stops with the manager he picks the bloody team stop picking on the player’s MA play the youngsters who have fire in their bellies for Gawd’s sake

  10. all I can let them sale xaka and we get partey coz at his age he is supposed deliver plus LT at least the juniors we can wait end see apart from being stubborn, but let them sale GX en LT to get purposed players, a defensive and creative midfielder at least those to can help model our juniors. The xakas can’t act as models for our juniors.
    someone talked abt the Europa league 4 I think laca was always at fault coz pepe could come en dribble only to see there is no sign of laca in the box, and even MA was also at fault coz extreme possession cld win it for us idk why Matteo was benched on that day.

  11. I think the problem is with the instructors in training, same mistakes avail match in match out, and I think we need to reshuffle the core to get the best of our team, we need to sell the mature defense, midfield and bring some few quality and purposed players, combine them with the juniors trust me it will work out, coz the juniors can adapt to any implementation availed to them.
    sell the defense SM, Luiz, Sokratis, Hector, Mid GX, LT, Niles, all those and we move for the best.

  12. This game was so important to us and I hoped Arsenal would beat the Mourinho lead rivals. Let me start by saying some good things that I feel have been working out: I think Arsenal is more comfortable at playing from the back now than we were under Emery except the occasional mishaps but that is due to the individual errors and Arteta cannot be blamed for that. Secondly, I think our midfield is finally able to do what it is supposed to do, Xhaka-Dani combination works well and Arteta has finally players he can work with. I still feel that the midfield is a bit slow but addition of Partey could fix that. Martinez has stepped up and made some amazing saves in the game and I am delighted with his progress. Now for the bad things, the conversion rate in this game and the one against Leicester has been far from okay. With such amazing talent in front, you would expect them to convert those easy chances. A good attack doesn’t matter until it ends up at the back of the goal. And every missed opportunity is a blow for the players involved in that particular attack. I think Aubameyang and Pepe need to step up big time because we know they have what is required. I think it goes without saying that our whole defense is replaceable. We cannot expect top 4 with this defense. I am hoping to see Mari-Saliba combination at the back with Holding, Luiz and Mustafi for the depth. I know it is not ideal but is the best we could do.
    I will end this rant by saying that Arteta cannot be blamed for these losses. We need to support the manager and believe in his decisions. We could see his tactics working and it is clear how he wants the team to play! COYG!!!!

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