Debate – 7 Questions arising from Arsenal’s sudden change of form

We’re winning – Which statements are wrong? by Gurjit

Much like everybody else I was astounded when we beat Chelsea, and the way we did it certainly was impressive given the form we have been in. We followed this up with a win this week against Brighton, albeit a less convincing one which could easily have ended in a draw.

I have two trains of thought on our change of form – firstly why it has happened, and secondly what it means.

Many have suggested that it is down to the youth players that we have been able to play this way by not letting the old guard fill the team. I’d say this is partially correct, I say this because we saw from these games that the typical players that have fingers pointed at them played well. There certainly should not be any complaints about the performances of Xhaka/Bellerin, etc over these games. So why do I say partially correct? Because I think the difference is that we have filled a position that has been left unfilled all season – a number 10.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal is challenged by Mason Mount of Chelsea (Photo by Adrian Dennis – Pool/Getty Images)

Emile Smith-Rowe does something that no other player can do, which is to link our midfield and attack. This doesn’t necessarily mean providing assists and scoring goals, but popping into pockets of space to pull defenders out of shape and create gaps for other players to exploit. We haven’t seen anybody be able to do that this season, and watching a genuine number 10 be in our starting 11 should make it clear how desperate we are for that kind of player. It takes a huge burden from our sitting midfielders (who no longer have to risk pushing forward) and our attackers (who do not have to do their own build up play). My only worry is that ESR being injured could hugely impact the team or Arteta could drop him for other players.

So what does this mean? This is a little harder to work out and perhaps your thoughts on this may be a little different – but hear me out, I’ve tried to be logical so tell me which statements you think are wrong and give me a good reason why.

So this is what these performances say to me about the squad/management.

1. If the squad is good enough to beat Chelsea convincingly, the squad alone cannot be blamed for consistently poor results and Arteta must be criticised.

2. If a number 10 has made the difference, excluding Ozil and only playing ESR after so long suggests a stubbornness/favouritism in the starting 11 to the detriment of performances.

3. Only playing a number 10 at this stage of the season and leaving Ozil out with no inbound transfers suggests that playing ESR is a last resort or not Arteta’s chosen playing style.

4. If on the other hand we purchase a number 10 in January it suggests that Ozil was left out for more than footballing reasons and ESR never trusted (until now).

5. Auba’s performance has not improved unlike every other attacker that has played in these games, he does not lead and should be dropped from the league squad until this improves. He does not appear to be captain material.

6. Playing 5 at the back has been an intentional choice and a mistake as the team is better balanced, more attacking with 4 at the back and without significant detriment to our defence.

7. Arteta has made significant mistakes so far this season, contributed to by formation and lack of number 10. Any return to 5 at the back and no number 10 will mean that Arteta is not learning from his mistakes or trying to improve the performances of the team.

I’ve been very disappointed with Arteta so far but given that we can play the way we have, there is light at the end of the tunnel if Arteta learns from his mistakes.

Thank you

Gurjit

90 Comments

  1. Sean says:

    He has to learn somewhere and if he has then we might see a change in fortune as the start to make our way, slowly, up the table. Not going to be perfect after 1 week but we are seeing that the no10 role is needed in his system so SmithRowe keeps starting and if Mesut is staying until June then reinstate him to cover SR as its alot for someone so young every game.

    Pepe is back up to Saka,
    As is Willian to Martinelli
    & Auba to Laca.
    Ozil can be for SmithRowe

    1. Sean says:

      Come the summer we will know who’s to go and the subs on this list look like the departees in question.

      They all can be sold and replaced or in Mesut case walk away for nothing but get some use outta him even for 5-10 games as a sub to pick apart defences.

    2. zamind says:

      You are spot on Sean.

      Could we also change the captaincy. I do not see Auba pushing the team to work harder, he is a quite man. I never see him rush to the defence of his players before they are booked, or raise an issue with the ref when Arsenal players are fouled. These helps some decisions to go in your favour. no wonder some teams like ManU get more including penalties.

  2. Davi says:

    Disagree on the Ozil comments. ESR playing well in that role doesn’t show MA made a mistake in leaving our Ozil per se. ESR is so much more active in supporting different areas of the pitch than Ozil and actually fights for possession. Ozil may be better at the final pass, better than most in world football, but he surrenders possession so easily a lot of the time that I don’t believe he would be as effective overall.
    I would agree with the criticism that we started the season without another option and were only seeing results now that ESR has recovered – it was short-sighted and shows poor planning. We need another player who can do what ESR does, but it has to be someone with similar work ethic.
    Ozil is done and the sooner he moves on the better.

    1. Luiz ese says:

      I agree with you

    2. Kstix says:

      Hear hear Davi👏👏 I would like ozil to have been a bench option tho.

    3. JPS says:

      I fully agree with you.
      OZIL is done deal- all should get that simple message. And Yes- he has great final pass but
      he is lazy and not fighting for the team.
      He is History guys.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Ozil has regressed every season at Arsenal. He avoids physical contact, loses the ball and fails to attempt to recover it. He is a “revolving door” in defense. Apart from the occasional pass, Arsenal with Ozil, plays a player down.
        Emile Smith Rowe is the future, to be nurtured to reach his potential as a very good, if not great, ACM.

    4. Sole says:

      Ozil needs to go, NOW!

    5. Gurjit Dhesi says:

      Going by your comments you do agree that leaving Ozil out was a mistake. As you say it was poor planning and and left us weakened without having an option like him in midfield.

  3. Eddie says:

    Just an article meant to attack the manager again and bring up Ozil into arguments.
    You guys don’t get tired.

    1. Krish says:

      why again? a lot of critics were saying that creativity was the problem and that arteta was being too defensive (and even being that defensive we conceded and lost which is pretty bad) and that he should either use ESR or should have used özil so in that sense this article is on point as the last two games have somewhat proved that it was a mistake of arteta and not just that the squad was relegation level which some blind arteta lovers kept saying

      1. Defund The Media says:

        No he should NOT have used ozil, 4 assists and 5 big chances created in 42 appearances, ozil hasn’t been a creative force for over 2 years, coupled with him being lazy thanks, but no thanks. Arteta was spot on to leave him out.

      2. lcw says:

        Krish: Don’t pay attention to the Ozil critics and especially the Ozil haters. Listen instead to Emile Smith Rowe: “I look up to Mesut Özil a lot. I watch him in training and the movement he has and
        the little touches he does. For me to train with him every day, I can’t think of anything better.”
        Nuff said!

        1. Defund The Media says:

          So a 20 year old fan/player knows better than the manager!?

          5 big chances created in 42 games (1 big chance created per 8.4 games) spread over two years is nowhere good enough, nuff said!

          1. Defund The Media says:

            18/19 season we scored 73 league goals he assisted TWICE, big chances created 3 all season.

            19/20 season we scored 56 league goals he assisted twice again, big chances created 2 all season.

    2. weeble says:

      Agree, to many times on the site an article is written to take a shot at Arteta and pump up Mesut. I am as big a fan of Ozil as there is but he is gone at the end of the year. I would love to see him play for us again. Put decisions were taken. It’s over.

    3. Gurjit Dhesi says:

      Its an article meant to critisize the manager given that we have been short of a number 10 and a number 10 being in the side has ade a difference. Its not about Ozil for the sake of it but to objectively look at our options in thta position.

  4. Highbury Hero says:

    I don’t understand the number 10 and creativity cries maybe someone should enlighten me on what I am missing. If my memory serves me right, Mesut was dropped since the restart, upon which we had mixed results in the league but we didn’t have scoring issues (including scoring and beating the best in the league) as well as going on to win the FA Cup and CS. As a matter of fact during that time Aubameyang was the only one scoring if I remember correctly.

    We started this season winning our first two games and we still didn’t have scoring issues. How then when we dropped to the bottom of the ocean did the creativity cries arise? Was it really a problem we had?

    1. Davi says:

      I think we had a lot of success in the big games at the end of last season but did still struggle a lot against the smaller sides who are so bothered of we have possession. I think creativity was a problem in those games as we couldn’t counter attack them and didn’t have too many other ideas.

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        Thank you for your response. This might explain our inconsistent league results.

    2. Kstix says:

      Spot on HH, I’ve always said the exact same thing. People complain about Auba not getting services. He actually gets alot if you check properly, he’s just squandered most of them this season compared to how lethal he was in previous seasons. Aubameyang had just 2 chances against City in the fa Cup semis, he scored both. Aubameyang gets as much as up to 5 chances now and fails to score even 1. Our problem was relying too much on him. Soon as his form dropped, the whole team dropped. And we kept dropping down the table.

  5. Flavio Diaz del Castillo says:

    I don’t think Arteta knoes where he is standing.
    Ozil should have been played by now, it would be interesting to see if he is played in Jan if he doesn’t go. Saying this, a match fit player is easier to move on than one which has not seen the ball all year.
    4 at the back is rigid, but allows better cover, and if Tierney and Bellering overlap without forsaking defensive duties, then more attacking football is reachable.
    Laca is playing better than Auba.
    ESR just goes to show the talent we have coming through. Martinelli, Saka, Nelson, Willcox, Nketia are all fantastic

    1. Defund The Media says:

      “Ozil should have been played by now”

      No… 4 assists and 5 big chances created in 42 games spanning over TWO YEARS, ozil is done. He was right to leave him out of the squad, hindsight doesnt prove anything.

      1. Joe says:

        Do not let us continue to confuse creativity with assists. Ozil might have been dubbed an “assist king” because of his assist prowess, but his position is the creative and link manager between the midfield and the attack. That is what ESR, Bergkamp and all others who play attacking midfield role play.

        1. Defund The Media says:

          Ok joe so lets look at his link between midfield and attack

          18/19 season he only made SEVEN through balls in 24 appearances ( one through ball per 3.4 games… and 29 accurate long passes for the entire season. 2 assists

          19/20 season he only made TWO through balls and 21 accurate long passes, and had a cross accuracy of 28% for the entire season. 2 assists, so what do we need him for?

          1. Joe says:

            Why do I get the impression you have a thing against Ozil? Football is a team sport and all others need to be playing their parts to get expected results. Personally, I think Ozil has been the same. What gives him away mostly is his nonchalant body language. When our scouts scout a player for acquisition, they agree on what they need the player for based on what he does in his current team. If after acquiring him we want to ask him to do different things from what he is used to, that is where we start getting issues with the performance of these players (Pepe in mind).

          2. Defund The Media says:

            Joe “Football is a team sport and all others need to be playing their parts to get expected results.”

            Exactly and ozil no longer plays his part as the stats suggest, I dont have anything against him personally at all, he just unequivocally is not the player he once was and all statistical metrics agree with that, he got the benefit of the doubt with his nonchalant body language and lack of work rate because he was providing key passes/creating chances/providing assists, he no longer does this, two through balls for the entire of last season! he has drastically declined over the last 2 years or so. Its so obviously evident.

          3. JPS says:

            DTM , you are absolutely correct for Ozil.
            He has done NOTHING for us for 2 years.
            Basta. He is history . it’s very simple to get it.

      2. Gurjit Dhesi says:

        As per the article ive tried to put across that part of what makes a number 10 important is the movement and link up play not just the tally of assits.

    2. lcw says:

      Flavio Diaz del Castillo: You are correct. The change in style and formation is an indication that MA made a mistake first by dropping Ozil and second by adopting a play style that does not suit the players he has.

      Those who bring the argument that Ozil did not provide assists ignore that assists are counted only when they are converted. Judging from the lack of scoring lately we know why Ozil did not have assists.

      Also a player like Ozil should not be judged just by defending and scoring. He should also be judged by his movement on the field and the difficulties that creates for the defense.

      No surprise why player after player and coach after coach defend Ozil. They know football.

      1. Defund The Media says:

        “that assists are counted only when they are converted”

        He only CREATED 5 big chances in 42 games and 4 were converted to goals lol, weak argument.

        1. Ikay says:

          Ozil created 37 chances last season more than any player at arsenal the statistics are don’t why the misinformation

          1. Defund The Media says:

            “Chances” not “big chances” major difference. Hence two assists last season even though auba got the golden boot.

          2. Defund The Media says:

            As a team last season arsenal created 48 BIG chances and ozil created 1 of those for the entire season.

            18/19 season as a team arsenal created 72 chances, ozil created 3 of those for the entire season. Not what we need.

            Source : premierleague.com

          3. Defund The Media says:

            72 BIG chances**

      2. Defund The Media says:

        “Judging from the lack of scoring lately we know why Ozil did not have assists”

        Lol no… he was playing at the point were we had the top scorer in the league both of those years, completely irrelevant to us not scoring now as we WERE scoring then.

        18/19 season we scored 73 league goals he assisted TWICE.

        19/20 season we scored 56 league goals he assisted twice again lol.

        1. beast mode says:

          Defund the media: lay-it off dude. You Arteta boys get triggered every time his decision is questioned. Try to be more objective and less of a sycophancy. People are not complaining about the exclusion of Ozil, but the lack of planning knowing that he will not be playing. The lack of creativity is out there for everyone to see and Arteta’s decision will not be questioned If they had a replacement in place. Also, creativity is more than just providing goal assist.

          1. Defund The Media says:

            “You Arteta boys get triggered every time his decision is questioned.”

            Please dont wrongly dump me into a group.

            And I’d argue I’m being more objective on ozil than any pro ozil arguer, I’m literally looking at his contribution objectively, there only argument is “we have no creativity etc” when all the stats suggest he has very little creative prowess left or desire for that matter. No one on here has any kind of rebuttal to any of my points, if you can go for it, but dont come on here with “lay off it”, actually come at me with a valid point other than “we have no creativity”. I’m defending my point why are you singling me out? Because I dont agree with you?

          2. Defund The Media says:

            And I suggest you look up the word “sycophancy” again as your clearly using it wrong. Or please explain what advantage I’m trying to gain from this?

          3. JPS says:

            Defund the media:- You are absolutely right – I don’t understand guys defending Ozil- are they blind or crazy or they kids ,not understanding football game.
            Well in 6 months- this burden ozil will be out for good and no more discussions about him.

        2. Joe. S says:

          Go to the previous seasons he had ten or more assists, despite Ramsey and Giroud missing sitters.

        3. Beastmode says:

          Defund the media, so what benefits did exclusion of Ozil brought to this team? Getting rid of him is one and sensible thing, but having him collecting his high wages without a sweat is the most insane and irresponsible thing to do. You can’t tell me its for football reasons when the team is full of players worse than Ozil. It would have been none issue if the team is performing well and not struggling creativity wise.Its completely irresponsible particularly for a team that doesn’t have funds to waste in this manner. Either make him work for his money or get rid of him.

      3. Kay says:

        Why the obsession about Ozil. He was good, no arguments but football has moved on and he’s not ready to. Buendia is not as skillful but more hungry and passionate. Moreover, judging by statistics, what would he have done for the club now? Remember it was because of him we called Oliver Giroud lamppost, who now scores at will now. We said strikers where the reason we were not getting the best out of him, we got Laca and Auba, still same story. Guy wake up, Ozil is done, if not let him go and prove us wrong in another club rather than collecting huge wages.

        1. Defund The Media says:

          Exactly kay, hes done for, people just need to move on as he isn’t a part of the arsenal equation anymore 👍

  6. ken1945 says:

    If only the fan base could stop their bias for or against Mesut Ozil and really analyised the games this season, then the obvious thing that was missing was CREATIVITY.

    The only two players we currently have in the squad qho fit the bill are Ozil and ESR – forget Ceballos, he doesn’t create and we all know he wants to play for Madrid anyway, so what’s the point?!?!

    So, if it was for footballing reasons that MA took the decision to cast out Ozil, why couldn’t he see what every single fan (don’t forget to be unbiased) witnessed during every game and bring in ESR?

    Would he be playing if the corona virus hadn’t intervened and forced MA to bring in the players we saw against chelsea and BHA? I very much doubt it.

    I believe his biggest error, was not in dropping Ozil, but not replacing him…he has now done just that and I wish/hope that ESR goes from strength to strength – but we need a back up if he gets injured.
    That’s when we will see if MA has planned for the rest of this season and further down the line.

    It is brilliant to see our players now attacking with flowing football and quickly turning defense in to attack…may I suggest that it could be we have at last, got “Our Arsenal back?”
    For me, ESR will be our NO10 for many seasons and all those who said we don’t need this type of player in today’s game should watch our before and after performances with him.
    I would go as far as to say, if he keeps this up and MA sticks with him, he is as an imprtant player for the future as either Saka and Martinelli.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      In regards to creativity, you’re forgetting Saka for some reason? He’s been unbelievable since last season. I would mention Martinelli has well.

      Even if they don’t score or assist, these two cause havoc most of the time.

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        My bad, you did mention in the last line.

    2. adajim says:

      in defence of MA, his plan is so different from what most fans see.
      most fans wants attacking football but the reality is we as fans overestimates the quality of this squad,MA do not see our players qualify enough to play attacking football that we are used to, and get consistent results, this has been proven over the year, that is the reality.
      that is why he is sacrificing extra creativity for defensive formation. unfortunately our players do not know how to do that. MA needs time and i believe by the time he get it right, we will all be happy with the new arsenal HAPPY NEW YEAR in advance y’all

      1. Indeed says:

        Wonderful comment and observation!

      2. lcw says:

        adajim: Be careful what you wish for. You just hope by the time MA gets his players to execute his current style of play that his style of play is still relevant. So far it did not work for MU, MC, Leicester, and to lesser extend Liverpool. Klopp just figured out how to tweak his formation in order to get better results. However there is a small difference between Klopp and MA called experience.

      3. JPS says:

        Great! spot on Adajim, bravo.

    3. Gurjit Dhesi says:

      Pretty much what i was trying to put across!

  7. ken1945 says:

    Excellent article by the way.

    1. Gurjit Dhesi says:

      Thank you – looking at your comments youve actually read what im trying to put across!

  8. ThirdManJW says:

    It’s only two games, one we should be winning anyway, so lets not get carried away.

    Despite that, one can identify some reasons that may have helped us to back-to-back victories.

    1. The team has looked a lot more balanced with two wingers, and all other players in their normal positions.

    2. Martinelli. A bit like Sanchez, in the sense that his work ethic, pressing, determination, is infectious.

    3. Saka has been brilliant!

    3. If one looks at our recent poor form in the league, it’s only really been Villa that has torn us apart in the league. Yes, we’ve really been struggling for goals, and chances, but all the games have been tight. We have been poor, but also extremely unlucky with red cards, key injuries, and the timing of some of the goals we have conceded. I am not making excuses, because we have been poor, but a lot has gone against us as well.

    1. Krish says:

      well you are making a lot of excuses for not making excuses 😂 but i do agree that the red cards didnt help our cause

  9. Davi says:

    Don’t forget that ESR hadn’t played EPL football before, and just a couple of Europa League games, which came on the back of an injury. I was screaming for him to be tried recently, but I understand MA not wanting to throw him into a struggling side.

    1. Davi says:

      @ken1945 – sorry this was a response to your comment

      1. ken1945 says:

        Davi, I agree with what you are saying – which makes my original point that MA hadn’t made any plans for cover even more relevant, surely?
        Some may say that his resigning of Ceballos was just that, but then I have to ask why he hasn’t played him in that position?

        1. Davi says:

          You’re right there. Can’t disagree

  10. Krish says:

    I am pretty sure that if Özil had given the EXACT same performance as ESR in the last two games, özil would have been criticized but ESR is being lauded (and rightly so) and its not because ESR is younger etc. its just pure hate and ignorant subjectiveness.. i am not talking about the özil critics but the özil haters and the mikel lovers.. critics should be objective..

    brilliant article.. some people just dont like to be objective and just change the narrative all the time.. arteta has made some right choices and wrong but the blind arteta lovers should try to accept that he has faults too

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      The only person who care about the club rather than us the fans is funnily enough the owner no matter what some might argue otherwise. Mesut and Mikel don’t give a dime about our club. It’s just an employment to them and nothing other than money for the former and money and ambition for the latter.

      We should give our support to them for as long as they are with us but to out them above the club is silly.

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        *put them above the club

      2. Krish says:

        i do agree with you 100% but i dont really completely understand why you replied that, did you want to imply that i put Özil over the club or that others put mikel over the club or both of that?

        1. Highbury Hero says:

          My reply was in agreement with the point you made. I was not aiming anything at you. We are going to support Arsenal for the rest of our lives unless it cease to exist. During that time we are going to see a lot of Mesuts and Mikels coming and going.

          1. Krish says:

            Yep agree wholeheartedly i dont get why some fans seem to have blind love/hate for players/managers where they will never say something positive or negative even if its true.
            the only person connected to arsenal whom i wholeheartedly admire is Arsene Wenger, for the most other guys its like you said either money or ambition or some other things, not that wenger didnt care about that but he was something else

          2. Highbury Hero says:

            The great Arsene Wenger earned and deserve that respect and admiration. He sacrificed his ambitions, self interests and likely his peace of mind for the club he loves and calls home.

  11. Bertie Mee says:

    Aubameyang did not play against Chelsea and was notably more effective the longer the Brighton game went on – after returning from an injury. The man is one of the best strikers in the league, possibly in Europe and leaving him out with our absence of goslscorers is a stupid suggestion .
    Arteta has made mistakes but h3 has to satisfy a lot of people who have a pen but little understanding of football.

    1. Krish says:

      I dont get how benching a misfiring Auba for Laca (who is on form) is a mistake? If arteta made the change to give laca a rest then i understand the decision

  12. SA Gunner says:

    The truth is last night we again looked very poor in the 1st half and marginally better in the 2nd . We are sitting at least 10 to 12 points below we we should be aiming. Arteta is ego driven, he hasnt got humility to change his formation and tactics when its obvious it needs to be done. The 10 role is about linking midfield to attack, its a fundamental footballing principle. If ESR is showing the need, then Ozil was vital to our approach in creation opportunities and injecting counter attack opportunities. Arsenal is a massive club getting people in who are learning and at the same time driven by ego has ruined the attractive and entertaining football we are known for. If we continue to go backwards , is Arteta really our best option

    1. Krish says:

      In my opinion arteta surely isnt.. If i had a say in it i would go all out for Tuchel or Favre (i prefer Tuchel)

      1. Kay says:

        Did you just say Tuchel? A manager that couldn’t win Champions League with the crop of players in his rank. If you’ve been following him you will know that he is not different from Arteta except his experience.
        His players management is not better considering his sales of players. Let’s be patient with Arteta and support him while he still remains.

  13. Jack says:

    Hi Gurjit, thank you for your article and I would like to point out my disagreements to the.points you have penned and I am trying to be logical and respectful to your thoughts as well. Point No.1. I do believe it is easy for us to be arm chair critics and just point fingers. Being a manager of any premier league football club is not easy and we as a club and as fans knew we were recruiting an inexperienced but potentially intelligent manager who can take us forward. So expecting him to be right in every step and every decision is too much expectation and that’s our folly. Point No.2. Personally I am a big fan of Ozil. However I do recognise that the role of No. 10 has evolved. In todays game No. 10 is actually a hybrid of no.10 & no.8. Kevin D Bruyne (Man city) is a perfect example. Ozil for all his skills going forward leaves gaps when ball is with the opposition. ESR has a better work rate. Point No. 3. For any football club what all happens within the organisation and with players are normally not made public so we dont have all the details. Making blanket statements without all required information I believe is not right thing to do.

    1. lcw says:

      Jack: You are correct when you say Making blanket statements without all required information I believe is not right thing to do.

      However you say ESR has a better work rate than Ozil, however you omitted what Ozil does better than ESR like being more productive in the final 3rd and understanding the game better due to experience.

      ESR lost possession against Brighton 4 times that I counted and that’s normal for players that dribbles.

      I am a big ESR fan and would like him to be in every game, but comparing him to OZIL at this stage is unfair.

      1. Defund The Media says:

        “Making blanket statements without all required information I believe is not right thing to do.”

        Hypocrisy much? Your doing the same with your pro ozil statements and ignoring the facts I gave you above that unequivocally show ozil is done.

    2. JPS says:

      Jack,
      I fully agree with your points- very true and correct. Very mature. Thank you.

  14. Grandad says:

    Very good article Gurjit.While I do not agree with some of your assumptions I concur wholeheartedly with your views on the importance of switching to a more conventional back four from the deep lying defensive back three set up which to be fair to Arteta was used to shore up glaring defensive weaknesses.With an additional midfield cog in the shape of young ESR we offer more going forward albeit the pedestrian nature of Xhaka and Elney.Partey will hopefully return soon to provide drive and energy and in the summer I expect Arteta to bring in another athletic midfielder to support the Ghanian .As for a creative midfielder, I do not see Saka nor Martinelli in such a role as their natural instincts kick in on the flanks where they never shirk from their defensive responsibilities..They could become our Salah and Mane and can interchange to create more havoc.Apart for the need for one really quick CB, which we may already have in Saliba, my main concern surrounds finding a role for Pepe.Could be be converted into a C.F. , or a number ten?The latter I very much doubt but the former is a possibility and I hope Arteta can see his way to trying him in that role at some stage this season even as a substitute for 20 mins.He is fairly quick and he can finish, but can he hold the ball under pressure and link the play?How do we utilise the most expensive buy in the history of our Club or do we cut our losses.That question in itself is perhaps worthy of an article on JA.

    1. Davi says:

      Really interesting points – I’d also like to see Pepe tried in different positions. He’s massively talented, but it’s not working right now and maybe you’re right that a change in role could get the best out of him.

    2. jon fox says:

      GRANDAD, I AM SURPRISED THAT SOMEONE OF YOUR FOOTBALL EXPERIENCE STILL SEES ANY, EVEN POSSIBLE, REAL FUTURE FOR LAZY PEPE AT ALL. He lacks any true desire and lacks it bigtime.

      That alone makes him a big no no for me. I’d like to move him on and cut our losses. He does have talent but without desire he will end up like OZIL, with a wasted career, though at least OZIL used to achieve things, way back when.

      But Pepe will never make a top class Prem player, as it is too tough and hard working for his lack of character.

  15. adajim says:

    The author has soon forgot that when MA arrived, his first job was fixing the leaking defense, so he has to employ a defensive formation, it hasnt worked well because arsenal is used to attacking system, thats why we quickly played well in the 4231 because its a formation our players are used to. the coach is finding various formations to improve us, we cant just be rigid on a particular system, it make one predictable

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Mikel Arteta’s first job was to get the players, who had downed tools on Unai Emery, to put their dummies back in their mouths and go back to being “professional” footballers. As we have seen this is still a work in progress, given the presence still of some overpaid, self entitled, pampered, underperforming players.

  16. Sid says:

    I think MA did start with a No.10 and played MO in the opening matches. Then he experimented in the lockdown and found a shifting back 5 a good solution. This sacrificed a bit on penetration and creativity, but it was a system based on solidity and efficiency. Players need to do a lot more in MA’s systems I think and the initial run of form that led to the FA Cup showed that. This season I think we were not truly a back 5. We were trying to convert to a back4, with TP and GM as additions. But maybe that added too much tactics, work-rate, etc. in the gameplan and players were overwhelmed with the amount of information? This works well when things go right but when it goes suddenly wrong, like against Leicester or Spurs, we just seem to resort to one way of play. That’s natural in a rebuilding phase I guess. I agree that some decisions from MA have been grave mistakes, but I don’t know what goes inside the Emirates to blame him for decisions related to squad finalization at the start of the season. In some matches, his tactics have been beaten soundly, and that I think is due to our instability. This phase that we seem to be going through now is also one unstable phase. But what I have seen and what I think is that MA has adapted his approach. You can see from recent games that he is letting the players play, with minimum instructions. This I think is another part of the process to find out suitable measures to evolve our current team to a better side, whether that is by additions or by tactics. So I think that whatever mistakes that MA has made are teaching him things, and I think this has made him step back and evaluate the squad in real time in matches to see where they really can improve and simultaneously try to find tactics that can curb said deficiencies. Case in point, the new wing partnerships have helped to slightly reduce attacks from the wings. The right side also looks balanced like the left, movement in front of Xhaka has made him play better than he had been recently. I think Mo is a little left behind but he will come good or be replaced as TP arrives to full fitness. I just hope that we don’t fall into the same tendencies that were a common factor during our decline.

    1. Sid says:

      I also think that the new wing partnerships are not forced. I think MA genuinely wanted to wait for Gabi so that he can play in that inside forward role on the left side. Saka being converted to an RW is again not a forced decision as we had Pepe fit. I hope he gives chances to AMN, Willock, Nelson(if he isn’t injured) an even Nketiah. If the plan A not working then go for different positions. AMN is our most versatile player, and is improving whenever he plays, so I don’t think the position is an issue for him. Maybe try Nketiah in a conventional two-man system? This I think truly plays to his strengths. Giroud would have been his ideal partner, but I have hope in Moller and Balogun. Also, Azeez can be a good DLP if we develop him properly. He seems a more mobile Xhaka, so that could also give us some good options.

  17. Joe. S says:

    Haven’t read other commitments yet, but wholeheartedly agree with you Gurjit. There’s been some poor decision making by the manager which almost got him fired. Too early yet to say he’s turned it around but can only hope that things will continue to improve and we’ll all breath a sigh of relief putting it all down to growing pains or using a famous Australian cliche, “the recession we had to have”, for the greater good.

    1. Gurjit Dhesi says:

      There certainly has i just hope we dont revert to having a midfield without a number 10. Ideally i want to see Ozil back in the team if onlky for the option and depth in that position. Very frustrating and boring watching an arsenal side with no attacking midfielder.

  18. Wenger91 says:

    Including the three musketeers paid off well!
    ESR, Martinelli and Saka are the kind of players that well play 100% or more if you give them the chance and play someone who can move around them without the ball that’s why we saw some improvement, now it’s MA call if he wants to keep this performance or get back to his “old” players!!

    In my opinion, keep the same players and only try to use Pepe in ESR position in the future, also, get one playmaker and RB! use Chambers as a substitute for Xhaka and Elneny and wait till Partey comes back!

  19. zamind says:

    You forgot the work rate of Martineli and Saka on the wings. Pepe and Willian were making our fullbacks look worse by being poor defenders on one hand and not useful in counter attacks on the other.
    Speed and energy has come in not only by playing number 10.

  20. Sirjoe says:

    Can these Ozil lovers explain to me why the best number 10 in the world is deemed surplus at Arsenal and yet nobody is bitting off our hands to collect him? I’m sure even the wages of 500k/ week won’t deter anyclub from buying the best number 10 in the world. So please I’m waiting for the explanation.

  21. ebih chukwudi franklyn says:

    Mesut Ozil is a very intelligent midfielder, one of the best in that position. We will surely regret letting him leave on a free.

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