Criticising Arsenal players is not just a right it is our duty

The season is just one game old and players being criticised has already started and that includes players that have not even kicked a ball yet.

So far, the main ire of the fans has been aimed at Henrikh Mkhitaryan following his display against Newcastle United on Sunday.

But Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka and David Luiz have also been the subject of online criticism and I have absolutely no issue with that.

I do not go along with booing or any form of abuse, that is wrong but I also do not go in for the concept of blind loyalty either.

Mkhitaryan was useless against Newcastle and should be called out for that, he is paid a huge fortune to give his best for Arsenal and he did not, it is as simple as that.

To some, Xhaka had a poor game as well, I personally thought he did ok but that is beside the point, fans have a right to criticise a player if they feel he could have done better than what he did.

Mustafi continues to be targetted and rightfully so, his performances over the long term have not been good enough and calling for him to be sold is justified.

Those calling Luiz a poor buy, which I believe he is, also have the right to say so.

Of course, when any of them pull the shirt on and walk on to the field of play they deserve full support, they are representing Arsenal but come the end of the game they should and must be judged.

I have zero sympathy for players that live a privileged lifestyle off the back of fans, they enjoy the worship when it comes their way and they have to take it on the chin when fans call them out.

For me, it is the right and duty of fans to pass judgement when any player represents Arsenal and does not live up to expectations.

A right and duty I will continue to exercise.

Updated: August 13, 2019 — 8:30 am

29 Comments

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  1. If the players watched a rerun of the game v Newcastle I think they would be horrified at how awful Mika was. One decent pass over the top to PEA but the amount of times he gave the ball away…….. It really was The Mika Horror Show.
    I think if MIka watched the game he would be thoroughly embarrassed with his performance.
    All players can have an odd bad game but this guy has the odd good game.
    As a club it looks like we are on the rise again and I believe we will soon be without Mika, Xhaka, Mustafi, Elneny and Ozil.

    1. I don’t know why I steal believe Ozil still has something in him.
      The only problem with him is that he doesn’t thrive when under pressure. He also takes time to adopt as we can see with Emery tatics

      1. Do do I but he won’t flourish under Emery style of play, Hazard had the same problem at Chelsea with mourhino,you can’t ask these kind of players to waste energy tracking back,they are at their best when they license to roam free,sarri said that at Juventus Ronaldo is the only player who can freely play where he wants!

  2. Fans pay a lot of money to support their team and have a right to criticise players who they feel are not pulling their weight.That said,criticism should be constructive,in that the fan should be pointing out the areas where the player is falling short,and who would be an improvement on that player and why.In the case of Mik on Sunday, with respect Martin he was not “useless”.He was poor in that for a spell he kept giving the ball away by trying the killer pass when the simple one was needed to keep pressure on Newcastle.He improved in the second half and worked hard to make space off the ball.Unfortunately he failed to make a really positive contribution and was correctly subbed.He had a poor game but to my mind so had our captain for the day who seems to be getting slower and less mobile with every season.The best midfield combination is something Emery needs to work out and no doubt be will do so over the course of the next 4/6 weeks by which time hopefully most of the players will be “match fit”.Rome wasn’t built in a day and after only one match criticism should surely be tempered?.

    1. Grandad, I could not say it better. What I want as a supporter is for every player to give of their best, are professional in their approach and are proud to play for Arsenal FC.
      Every player has a bad day; however criticism, as you state, should be constructive and not be personal abuse.
      Unfortunately too many of the “keyboard warriors” show their complete ignorance of football, sport in general and their obvious lack of experience playing competitive sport at any level. They never have a positive thing to say, everything is cloaked in negativity and pessimism. Rather than keeping silent and being thought a fool, they open their mouths (or post on here) and confirm the fact.

    2. I was going to also point out Mhikt was Not useless. He set up an excellent chance in the first half which Auba volleyed at goal..

      I think constructive criticism is absolutely spot on. But even then, how can we judge what is constructive from one fan to another.

      For me, when I think of Mhikt – he has had a period since being in the UK (starting with his time at Man U) of injuries. The type that kept him out for a few weeks to several weeks to months. He has not reached the level where he is 100% sure of his body.

      He is at that critical age where players go from being able to recover quickly to his body taking longer.
      For me he needs to adjust to what his body is saying and what he wants to do with the ball.

      But this is just my observation which doesnt just think of his last 90mins…which someones is all us fans do.

  3. Agree that criticizing our players is our duty, to make them train harder and work their socks off in the field

    However, I don’t agree that our usual suspects haven’t given their best yet. I saw that Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Xhaka have tried their best, but they simply don’t have the abilities to do better than that

    These superstars are decorated with high distance-covered and passing stats, yet they are usually overpowered and dictated by the top four clubs’ midfielders. Because our senior playmakers’ skills are very limited, I’d prefer Arsenal to gamble on the younger ones like Willock and Ceballos

    1. Mkhi has proven year-in-year-out that he is a very talented player.

      Why Emery is not able to get more out of him is a mystery. Not saying he was great under Wenger or Mourinho, but he was at least decent much of the time. It’s not necessarily Unai’s fault, but for those of us who have followed Mkhi’s career for a while, it’s unbelievable how far he’s fallen since Emery became his coach. This is a guy who while playing for Dortmund was of almost similar quality to Auba, remember!

      I like that he tried at least this last game. If he continues, he will anyhow improve again by some 10 percent and we need that because his salary means no one is buying him, and his alternatives are mostly unpromising, too.

      1. Mkhitaryan’s downfall might be caused by his aging process

        Not all players can stay fit and quick in their 30s like Ronaldo and Aubameyang

        But I have yet seen him play as a no 10 in five consecutive matches. Perhaps he could perform better in his natural position, unfortunately that position seems to be meant for Ozil, Ceballos. Willock and Smith-Rowe

    2. we did that with iwobi, look how the fans responded.

      A balanced introduction is a far better approach and if then after a few seasons they are still not nailing down a start, then a decent fee like the one we got for iwobi is achievable.

  4. Everybody has a right to their opinions but the way you express it is crucial.
    Any constructive criticism, especially against a player who seems disinterested and isn’t trying hard enough, is good and understandable.
    Any pointless booing like the toxic muppets who have been booing Mustafi in pre-season are evidently part of the problem.
    All players are people and no amount of millions in wages change that.
    Many see their level drop alongside their confidence, that’s not a new thing. If you’re going to bring players, and consequently the team down, then you should either keep your opinion to yourself or find a way to vent that won’t impact the team (an online rant probably is OK as the player can choose to ignore it).

    1. So I find it interesting that you call fans voicing their anger at Mustafi as “toxic muppets”.I take it you have never been to a game.Especially an away game.Seen the same player perform like an absolute clown time and time again.The atmosphere takes control and anyone with an opinion has the right to vent that anger.Does it do any good?Probably not.But if you travel half the length of the country to follow your team and witness what most fans have for the last few seasons from this player who are you to decide that they are not within their rights to call the player out?
      Remember-Mustafi plays for our team.We pay his wages.Therefore we have the right to voice an opinion whether you agree or not.

      1. I think the point Tom is making, Phil, is that there is a line between constructive criticism and booing, the latter of which is not remotely constructive. Booing Mustafi because he’s not good enough is like booing your kid because he gets an F. Utterly pointless.

        1. Well said Sean!

      2. I never get the chance to go to away games but envy those who do. 🙂
        The main point here is still that, unless as I said a player is taking the piss and being unprofessional, booing him NEVER is an option if you’re a true fan since you’re making it harder for the player and the team to perform. In essence, you’re helping Arsenal’s opponents, which is counterproductive, wouldn’t you say? 🙂
        I can totally understand the frustration and anger but given such emotions are often irrational, expressing them in such toxic way is often misplaced.
        Am I happy with Mustafi? Nope, I’d rather see him go so we can free wages and give them to a more promising CB. Would I ever boo him? Nope, because a player with his confidence shot will inevitably perform worse, which also has the double-whammy that his market value and appeal goes down so you’re stuck with a player who’s getting worse.
        Mustafi is far from the worst defender we’ve had and people only remember the comical slips, disregarding the fact that he was our BEST defender last season in terms of aerial duels wins, interceptions or clearances, all key fields for a defender.
        AND they forget how much our defensive issues last season was due to the team’s organisation with the wingbacks bombing forward and leaving acres of space being them and immediately putting our CBs in unmanageable levels of pressure hence the mistakes.
        But they just see some guy slipping and boo without actually thinking things through. Toxic and counterproductive.

        1. Not in my mind.And certainly not in the case of Mustafi.Take the criminal defending against Palace at home when he allowed Zaha to run through unchallenged.You tell me any fan in the ground that day who did not show their anger and frustration at a player who continues to make mistakes that cost us points.He might well have statistically been our best defender last season but the facts prove otherwise.
          The headline topic asks if it’s wrong to voice abuse at players and after 3 seasons of Mustafi it is only now that he is being made aware that the fans don’t rate him.The Manager was left with little option but to continue playing him last season due to having Chambers on loan and injuries to Holding Kos and Mavo.This season he is now reduced to a back up at best.The sooner he is sold the better

  5. Agree that we can all criticise but it’s the manner and language it’s done in that annoys me sometimes. Not only that, if you disagree with the critique you get labelled stupid or even someone of lesser education. Anyway let’s praise a few, Balogun scored a nice hat trick for the U23 team last night and more good news is that Smith-Rowe and Holding played.

  6. This dude is terrible and useless, first of all IAm the type that always try to see the positive in players and hope they get better. But I watched this guy last season been terrible and I was making excuses for him. But watching him against Newcastle am done with this guy. This supposed experience guy got disposed so much more than teenager’s in the field with him. He make wrong passes and sometimes to our opponent. If he was young I will be making excuses for him like I do to our young lads. This is just unacceptable.

  7. It’s no duty, supporting the team is a duty, sometimes it’s hard but you’ve got to do it. Criticizing is never hard, but when it’s constructive it is good banter and fun for the supporters.

  8. Because Miki was world class once, I’m also inclined to believe he can do it again. On Saturday, he was involved in 2 of our most lethal attacks, but also he was involved in our most dismal passages of play. I’m actually hoping he can somehow regain his form and recreate his former bond with Auba. Even in his bad performance on Saturday, the one thing I noticed is he knew where Auba was at all times and having a partnership like that can come in handy.

    Xhaka to me played really well. What made the midfield blunt was the lack of a ball progressor Guendouzi didn’t progress well and it’s risky to have your DM progress the ball. That’s why no big team plays with their number 6 as the ball progressor. Maybe we should have started willock in the place of Guendouzi just for his ball carrying ability.

    Watching Ceballos, he’s also a number 8. More of a ball progressor than a natural 10. In short comparison The only player who showed the instinct of a number 10 was Miki with his line breaking passes. Which makes me think that the only players we have who are natural 10s are Miki and Ozil. Here’s to hoping they can get back to their best.

    BTW even with his careless passing (and I’m being optimistic here) if Miki can make a habit of always playing Auba in behind,a system can be built around just that strength. When we had Sanchez, we could withstand his consistent loss of possession because of the end product. Call it high risk high reward.

  9. whatever criticism should be constructive…..

    1. Yeah right-1-0 up at Wembley against the Spuds last season and a typical Mustafi brain fart shove on Kane resulting in an unnecessary penalty and equaliser.As I’m sure you can imagine the words aimed at him were not “Unlucky Musty old chap” it could happen to anyone.If it was his first ever mistake it would have been overlooked.But it wasn’t.It was yet another in a long line of calamities from a player who never fails to disappoint.

  10. You’re right players can be criticised but it has to be done fairly, how can you criticise new players who have been with us for 2 weeks coming from a new league,new language,needing time to settle on & off the pitch ,new teammates, tactics,how can you fairly criticise them on their first game,coming on as subs for about 30 minutes in bad weather conditions?people already saying ceballos is slow he will get used to the physicality,speed of the PL, people calling Pepe a flop already is non sense,how can you say Luiz is a Bad but when he hasn’t kick a ball yet when last year over 37 appearances for Chelsea he was their best and most consistent defender, do you call it FAIR? apart Mkhitarian no other players should have been criticized especially the new players and the ones just coming back into the team,young ones after the first game, it’s like you being criticized, slammed,mocked on your first day at work in a new company,the least they deserve is to be given some time and support and then after 10 games or so they can be judge fairly without bias and data to back it up,is it too much to ask?

  11. The headline is correct and it is a very serious and valid point. On the other hand, it is that way only when you are honest and supportive of the players, honest enough to applaud them when they do play well and gain targets – supportive because that is the foremost responsibility you have. Criticism is fair and is needed from time, everyone of us will have criticized a fair share. These same fans ironically enough are the worst people at taking criticism (myself included), I try to respond to people who I know can take it because I’ve seen people acting badly to what I deemed just fair criticism/or just a disagreement really. I think others have probably noticed the same because many back and forths these days are uber similar in thoughts and correspondents. In the beginning the arguments were better and there seemed to be many more positive fans, I know we’ve been grinded down a bit but the change came about that people wanted and Emery is even selling players that fans wanted gone. The AKB fans must have been the positive influence that balanced it all out.

  12. I don’t dispute the fact that fans have a right to express dissatisfaction with some players who are performing below part. However I completely disagree with those who express dissatisfaction with David Luiz even before he kicks a ball for Arsenal! On what do they base their disapproval? Is it because he was at Chelsea and denied us the Europa league trophy or his anti-Arsenal comments before he joined us. If it is neither of these then it is sheer lunacy to say the least.
    I have no problem with people who dislike Granit Xhaka. However I feel it is very wrong to sow hatred for him unless he has done something very grave. Each of us has likes and dislikes but it is unfair to try and impose our feelings on others.
    I am in complete agreement with those who say that we should as much as possible support our players because if we don’t they may lose focus and perform poorly. What does it cost anyone to desist from hateful sentiments? Criticism should be constructive but not destructive.

  13. Another problem with the criticism is that people just make stuff up. Someone said that Xhaka gave the ball away in areas that another team definitely would’ve got at least two goals from it. I didn’t see those areas, we were set up well every-time the ball was misplaced. I seen Xhaka misplace a couple of passes, I also seen Guendouzi, Willock, Nelson, Niles, Mornreal, Auba, all misplace passes. No player gets 100 percent accuracy, the keyboard warriors will always win with these conditions. Guendouzi and Xhaka play more passes than all the others, so are more likely, on top of the likelihood that not one player will reach full accuracy. You can’t argue with these people. It’s like with the backpass, if you are opening yourself up for a slight with every sidepass and backpass made, then there is no avoiding the slight, players have to position and maneuver the ball around for better passing ahead. The type of performance we gave was gritty, that is why our players were getting credit, for giving a gritty display in not great conditions away from home. So you have people trying to talk like why didn’t we play like city, so our players were crap in this part of their game. It was a gritty away win and we got a clean sheet, how many did we get last season, how many gritty wins away with a clean sheet did we manage. You can’t argue with these people.

  14. All people bashing Mkhi, he was the most one having leadership to ask for the ball and drive towards the Newcastle defense. He made a great effort to pull Arsenal forward and played direct football while the rest if the team mostly kept playing safe passes sideways and back. His problem was the final pass but his overall game was okay. The whole team lacked chemistry, precision and creativity in the final third.

    1. Exactly what I noticed….
      He was the only one trying to make something happen, why that overhyped Nelson was just passing backwards….

      taking a risk all involves Win or loose…

      You guys should just stop bashing Miki

  15. I thought Mustafi was hopeless on Sunday, Joelinton ran him so ragged it was like he wasn`t even on the pitch !



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