Did Arsenal lose to Brighton because of injuries or Arteta’s tactics?

The loss of Kieran Tierney just before the clash with Crystal Palace was a little unlucky, but as we had a ready made backup in Nuno Tavares, it should have been a straight swap without much disruption. Tomiyasu has also been out with a long term injury but we have managed quite well with a straight-swap Cedric once he managed to get a couple of games under his belt.

It’s a shame that Mikel’s tactics meant that Tavares, who seems to lacking in confidence right now, was brought off at half time, but that was purely for the good of the team, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it was his fault that we collapsed so quickly to the onslaught by Patrick Vieira’s men.

But then we were hit with the second blow when we lost Thomas Partey in the last 15 minutes, but rightly so he was replaced like for like by Lokonga without losing the shape of the team, although Elneny could also have been the one to replace Partey.

So, we then had a nice 5 day gap to prepare before taking on an out-of-form Brighton team at the (supposedly) Fortress Emirates, with an easy win expected to get us back on track.

With no new injuries, it was obvious that Cedric, Tavares and Lokonga would replace our injured players with minimal change to shape or formation.

But instead Arteta moved Xhaka to left-back, and left Lokonga stranded in the middle without an experienced partner to help the transition to the front me, and a highly packed attacking line up, with only Lokonga to protect the back line and provide the communication between the lines.

I made it clear yesterday that if Arteta was only going with one midfielder then why not use the vastly more experienced Elneny, or even better, put Elneny alongside Xhaka, and use Tavares again at left back to give him a bit more confidence (or even Holding if Arteta doesn’t trust Tavares).

I am sure if we had kept our formation and continuity we would have won that game!

Darren N

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Video – Mikel Arteta post-Brighton “It’s time to criticise ourselves”

Tags Mohamed Elneny Tevares Xhaka

70 Comments

  1. Aterta’s tactics was awfully wrong. He is stubborn hw can u not play tavares coz of 1 game. Hw can u not trust players u bought. Nxaa

  2. It has now been 2152 days since The Arsenal last finished above Tottenham Hotspur and that is down to AW, UE and MA…. but the last two games by both clubs shows how wide the gap is between them.
    The tactics of Conteh compared to Arteta is mind boggling, as is their man management skills.
    Do not blame injuries, blame the threadbare squad and cast your eyes over the players out on loan.
    Who is responsible for that?
    Support the club, but don’t be afraid to call out those who have let the CL spot slip away to the extent that we are relying on others…. as was the case with our two previous managers, despite both finishing higher than MA in the seasons they left the club.

    1. Excellent points Ken
      Some will never admit this situation of injuries, underperforming, and collapse is completely self-inflicted and avoidable.

      From AFCON absences, to loaning players, to giving others away for free was an amateurish mistake that Arteta and Edu should be held accountable for their decisions.

      Now we are hoping Arteta can start a resurgence against Proven managers with titles, trophies, experience, and far better tactics than Arteta.

      Gone from sitting in 4th and 2 games in hand, to hoping others do us favors. Is this progress? Is this the process that is being bragged about?

      Forget extension at this point, conversations need to be had whether Arteta is the manager to take us forward.

      Lastly, 5th and 6th with European football was a “failure” for Wenger, 1 point off 4th was a “failure” for Emery.

      So what do we call this? “Progress?” A successful “Process?”

      1. Great last paragraph Ken 👍
        And great to see a calm head back ,thought we’d lost you there for a second .

        1. After sitting through, what can only be described as boys against men regarding Brightin, I decided to break my promise of waiting to the seasons end before coming back to JA.
          The facts now being exposed, MA losing 12 of his 47 home games… The Arsenal scoring 12 goals since Aubameyang left versus the ten the player himself has scored for Barca in the same period… MA blaming the players and Lacs in particular… and now, the announcement that five, YES FIVE academy players have had to be promoted to the first team squad, while Guendouzi, Mavs, Bellerin, Saliba, AMN, Neison are out on loan and Pepe is overlooked game after game after game, along with Elneny!!!
          The only time I got up from my seat on Saturday, was when Martinelli “scored” and I left fully twenty minutes before the end of the game… that’s how dire it was and something I have never done before.
          I cannot see where we are improving in any area of the pitch,, in fact we have digressed in attack and midfield since MA took over.
          Of course I want him to succeed, he’s the manager of the team I support, but the last two performances take me back to the 50’s and reading how, if one questions him, one is not a supporter got to me again.
          Someone wrote AW didn’t win a trophy for nine years… what on earth has that got to do with MA?
          Wenger is history along with UE and its the here and now that matters.
          We can’t keep hiding behind our two ex managers when it comes to judging MA – he has transformed the players, the style of play, bought in HIS players and that’s what we should judge him on, not the failures of AW and UE!!!

          1. 👍all fairly obvious comments but as it is and we cant dress it up differently. Some may do but stick to facts to find the truth.

                1. Just read that Pablo Mari doesn’t want to return – some may say he wasn’t good enough anyway, but MA signed him… so why are players not wanting to return and play under MA?

                    1. And remember Ken Mari was kept in the squad while Saliba was once again sent out on loan .
                      Not sure but one of the players as not started a game this season while the other as played as a starter for a CL team and got his first international start ,I’m sure you can figure which one is which

                    2. Yes, I listed all the players who were, it seems, better defenders than Saliba in another post DK.

                      I don’t believe he’s a fraud, he should not have come to The Arsenal as his first managerial appointment.
                      Look at Vieira and how he earnt his breaks.

                      One of our ex managers was blamed for the fact we missed out on Klopp – seems that Conteh, Dan Haag, Tuchel and Vieira have also suffered the same fate due to Mikel Arteta…. what goes around comes around as they say

                    3. Aterta isn’t the guy. His empty arrogance is nonsensical. His decisions, tactics, selection, subs etc on Saturday were amateuristic.
                      His learning curve on the job is too long.
                      His naughtiness is a hindrance.

                    4. Yea maybe fraud was abit heavy Ken ..
                      How about “he’s a Chancer “ same goes for edu ,All talk but no trouser kinda guys .
                      Yep I’ll stick with Chancer ,cause lets be honest he’s exploiting this club to the go on somewhere better when he finally ruins our club .

          1. Joe.s thanks for the comment.
            Actually it was MA who “hounded” me out!!!
            I just couldn’t get my head around what he was doing.
            One week I would watch brilliant performances like the spuds, Chelsea, City games…. Praise him to the hilt and then watch the Burnley, Brighton, Palace games and come down on him like a ton of bricks!!!

            So I thought, wait until the end of the season and compare his results with AW and UE’s last season.

            But seeing the facts I’ve mentioned in other posts coming out from fans, that were really putting MA to the sword, I felt I couldn’t just ignore them, while others were lambasting anyone who dared criticise him.

            1. Another dishonest comment here. Please point out anyone who has said Arteta should not be criticized.
              Many of of those who have praised what he has done have also pointed out that there are weaknesses in the team and also agree that he has made mistakes.
              However, a view remains that he remains a good manager who had to overhaul the squad and as such should be given more time. He is also managing one of the youngest teams in an elite league which means that there will be fluctuations in performance.
              Many of those who take exception to comments made about Arteta feel that he (and that goes for any manager) deserves respect, not the abuse and insults that fans direct at him whenever the results are subpar.

              1. Dishonest? Do me a favour!!

                Arteta had the opportunity to buy in the last transfer window, but he didn’t.
                It was His decision to have the youngest squad in the PL.
                It was his decision to send out half a team on loan
                It was his decision to give players away, one of whom has scored nearly as many goals himself as the entire Arsenal squad since that move.
                It was his decision to play Xhaka at left back and disrupt the midfield even more.

                Now…. I understand that Mikel,, as manager, makes these decisions, because that is what he is paid to do, yes?
                So I judge him on those decisions.

                What you find dishonest about that, I fail to understand – perhaps you can explain?

                This bit about having the youngest squad was HIS decision, so why try and make it seem like an excuse?

                Finally, my fellow Gooner, I would suggest you read the comments from some on JA, with regards to Arteta and our own personal views.

                I have no doubt MA is a fine, upstanding person, who wants to succeed and I was a fan of his in his playing days.
                It is my opinion that he isn’t ready for a club the size of The Arsenal.
                You must be very select in your reading of the comments section however.
                There is no doubt that if one criticises MA, one gets pilloried on here.
                That’s fair enough, as its all about opinions, but your reply to me, saying I’m dishonest, proves my point.
                I criticise the tactics, not the man, perhaps you should have a look at doing that yourself?

                1. The dishonesty which I have quite clearly stated is claiming that you are not allowed to criticize the manager.
                  Instead of addressing this point you have gone on a tirade in order to avoid it and progress your own agenda.
                  You are evidently entitled to your comments on the performance of the manager or his team.
                  However, others may have different perspectives. This does not equate to pillorying.

                  1. There is no agenda regarding fans that don’t believe in this make believe fairytale that Arteta is the bees knees ,it’s just simple folk that want better david ,I’m not sure why you have to have such a strong opinion about fans that oppose him .

  3. Agreed.

    Also if the answer is the first question, it would mean:

    Arsenal minus Partey and Tierney = team lower quality than Palace and Brighton.

    So essentially without Partey and Tierney we are a 8-11th place team. Disturbing thought.

  4. He wanted to play one pivotal midfielder and two b2b_offensive shape_in our fortress to compensate Palace bitter defeat,but he complicated the game instead of managing the issue so simply.

  5. Our CF and CDM, the two pivots that won us many games before the two losses, didn’t play well

    Lokonga’s performance was below par, but that would likely be caused by his lack of playing time. However, Lacazette’s hold-up and link-up plays in the last two games were really bad, although he might’ve been distracted with his unclear future

    The coaches had better make Lokonga train harder and give another chance to Nketiah or another young CF

    1. I felt his destruction of the midfield made the game very difficult for the players. The set left inexperienced and rusty Lokonga by himself and isolated; Odegaard and ESR and both 10’s certainly not B2B midfielders.

      Xhaka at LB and ElNeny on the bench was a horrible mistake, and many thought so when they say the lineup card.

      For me Arteta gets the majority of the blame for that diabolical setup, but the players deserve their share of blame for not showing up to play and fight. Truly embarrassing display at home, and that mouse-like performance deserves all the criticism that comes.

      1. The 4-3-3 formation worked well before the last two games. Arteta should’ve played Tavares to keep the young man’s confidence, but maybe Arteta wanted a safer option by assigning Xhaka in the LB position

        Smith-Rowe and Odegaard had better get used to play as mezzalas/ half-wingers in the 4-3-3 formation, as Silva and De Bruyne have been doing at Man City. Many big teams like Real Madrid, Liverpool and Barcelona have been successfully using 4-3-3, so our players have to adapt to it

        Our spine, the CF and the CDM, were very shaky after the international break. The coaches and them have got to evaluate what went wrong in the last two games

        1. Hi GAI,

          I still don’t understand how Lokonga started at midfield ahead of Elneny.

          Against a very physical Brighton, both should have played in the midfield if Xhaka was to play at left back.

          That formation was strange and nonsensical.

          Also, I still don’t understand why Pepe cannot start games.

          I would rather the club sack Arteta at the end of the season than continue to loose quality players due to Arteta’s Naivety and arrogance.

          1. The 4-3-3 formation made us win six games before the international break. Going back to 4-2-3-1 with Elneny and Lokonga as the double pivot will only make us become more defensive

            Lokonga started ahead of Elneny because Elneny’s contract would likely not be extended, hence the precious game time is given to the players who still have future at the club

            Arsenal is Arteta’s first job, but I don’t think he’s arrogant. If he were, he would’ve call himself the special one or something akin to that

  6. He could play White,Holding Gabriel and Suarez as both of White and Suarez used to play right and left full back respectively,Locongo and Xhaka with our normal offensive four.Our offensive performance could’ve been better.This way he could add just one player_Loconga_and keep the harmony,fluidity and lessen the pressure on our defense.

  7. It’s down to Arteta’s tactics. When he has done well, we praise him, so l am not afraid to blame him for his poor decisions. Firstly, playing Xhaha at left back has been disastrous in the past, so what made him think it would have been different now. With the lost of Partey in the midfield, Arteta should not have compromised it further by moving Xhaha from it. That’s Xhaha most productive area for Arsenal. Instead of having one weakened position (left back), he created another (midfield). Arteta must remember that it is youngsters that have carried him through thus far and he should look to others from the academy to address the current issues faced by the team. He should have shown more confidence in Tavares despite his bad game, just like he did with White after his disastrous start. Earlier in the season , Tavares had shown glimpses of brilliance, in the absence of the injured Tierney. Arteta’s treatment of Tavares is another indication of his poor man management skills and also his vulnerability to crack under pressure and the anxiety to make poor decisions,when it matters most. His actions have surely shattered the young man’s confidence, who should consider leaving the team. It’s the role of the manager to improve the skills set of the players, who must give them opportunities to play to enhance their growth and development. Arteta has to improve on his rotation system and relationship with all players in the team. His bias and stubbornness are quite blatant. Fixing that, would make him a great coach.

  8. I believe he tried to emulate arsene Wenger on using one pivot midfield with a packed attack , the only problem with this was Wenger had Persie and/ or Adebayor with roscisky , hleb/arshavin , fabregas and Nikolaus bendtner/Eduardo.
    These guys were way better than our current attack force.
    We need at least 2 strikers ASAP or Arteta use more of Pepe .
    I feel all is still part of his learning process only hope he is learning and not adamantly rigid. We can still make Top 4 , its futbal and I’m old enough to know in this game anything can happen. COYG.

  9. Agree, I did suggested before the match that we should start the same team that started at Palace with Eleney coming in for Partey.

    Lonkango happened to be the best player on the pitch against Brighton, so it wasn’t so much a bad decision to include him in.

    But it was major error to remove our most experienced midfielder against a ball playing Brighton side,

    Our lost was due to the gaffer overthinking

  10. The injuries expose the weakness of our squad, but arteta’s reaction to those injuries only made it worse.
    Xhaka at left back made us weaker in the left back position and helped to ensure our midfield was lightweight and inexperienced. Agree with the comment that elneny might have been a good option, but really, lokonga and xhaka in midfield with either Saka or soares at LB would surely have been better in the last game

  11. I agree Mr Wayne,but for Tavares I think he is better as wing or wing back rather than full back, he still lacks the attributes of how to defend,how to centralize and how to read the distance and time.He often occurs miss position and miss passes.To treat such weaknesses,I guess Brighton game was two early for him to be picked.

  12. The injuries mean or meant you have to try and accommodate them, the fact that both our wide defenders were missing and one of our midfield, to compound it by moving our only regular midfielder to left back to conpound our problems was ludicrous. Play 3 centre backs, all who would be able to do the job as they are center backs and just play Lakonga next to xhaka would not disrupt the team too much and could probably made us better equipped to defend. The attack is and has been a constant problem under Arteta so that has nothing whatsoever to do with injuries but 100% tactics. Poor management was down to our last two defeats and the manner.

  13. I think most of the necessary points have been made already … unless we do finish 4th which would be a miracle in my books we need to ask who should be considered as a suitable replacement for arteta in the summer? I would have gone for the Ajax guy but it seems he’s heading elsewhere … so what are the options?

  14. When Spurs fans were demanding the sacking of Mourinho no one was explaining who his replacement should be. It seems to be the same here. Firing a manager is easy but that just means you don’t have a manager. Replacing him is a lot more difficult, I suppose that’s why fans tend to skip that bit.

    1. Yet spuds have Conte, who has them in 4th and strong position to finish there.

      Meanwhile Arteta lost us any European football, and what some call progress is a worse enough season to get Wenger and Emery Fired.

      That is why standards matter. Standards got Wenger and Emery sacked, but ignoring standards has us yet to finish at the heights of 5th and 6th place

    2. jod, I’ve given you a list of managers that could have taken over from MA, but we were told to trust the process

      Are you saying that, because there is no one out there, we should stick with him?

      A section of the fans were very vocal with AW when he stayed too long, the same with UE.

      So why is Arteta being treated differently?

      Supporters who are questioning him, are not idiots and do look at the broader picture…. those that think / say otherwise need to understand that simple fact.

  15. Mikel Arteta learned nothing from Pepe Gardiola. He did not recognize the talents of Bjorkman, Marcello Trotta, or Matteo Guendouzi. He has no strategy or tactics of how to set up corner kicks or free kicks or defend from them. With the talented players Arsenal have, a good manager would easily make the team a top 4 or better contender.

      1. What talented youngsters are you talking about Pat ?
        Odegaard?- mediocre
        Ben white ?- mediocre
        Lokonga ?-mediocre
        Tavares?- could be great if he wasn’t embarrassed every time he’s given a chance
        Ramsdale ?- I’ll agree been brilliant
        Tomi ?jurys still out if he can get a full season behind Him .
        Let’s not forget his 12 months before where he bought in Mari,Willian ,Ceballos.
        The only talents youngsters has you put are ESR , saka and Martinelli who were areadly performing before he got here .

          1. No need to get personal FK
            To call someone thick because of their own personal opinion of a football player shows you up as a tool buddy .
            Instead of calling me stupid why don’t you try and counter my argument .

              1. They are average players ,if they were better we wouldn’t be embarrassed by the likes of Brighton simple really

                1. Even ur world class city and spuds have been embarrassed by palace and brighton,that doesn’t make them mediocre it’s the game of football the better team of the day wins besides they are young players with huge potentials and are still in their devt stage.

        1. It is difficult to understand how you have arrived at the conclusion that all these players are merely mediocre. The top three are full internationals and two of them have been selected for two of the top national teams in world football.

      2. I believe the Hale End lads were all signed, while AW had “total control” of the club and the likes of Saka and ESR have acknowledged his (and UE’s) influence.

  16. Arsenal should replace Edu with Marina Granoskaia, she’s just what we need.

    Marina will be available in the summer.

    1. Honestly, I don’t know what Edu brings to this club.

      If we don’t make top4, Edu and Arteta should both be sacked

  17. We should not forget that we are still rebuilding this team,and the puzzle is not yet complete. Considering the start we made to the season and where we are now, we are clearly heading in the right direction. TRUST THE PROCESS!! COYG!!!

  18. Well done to Emery and Coquelin on beating Bayern and Juventus and making it to the Champions League semis

  19. Key injuries at a key time will hit most teams hard, especially the loss of Partey, given he’s our only quality midfielder.

    That said, Arteta’s decision to then play our ONLY experienced midfielder, who also has no pace and mobility at LB, and also play our main playmaker deeper, was a crazy decision!

    The Palace game was always a potential banana skin, but Arteta got the whole setup wrong against Brighton.

    1. The set up was questionable which was evident given the performance and result.
      It clearly demonstrates a major issue many of us were concerned about which is the weakness of the squad.
      In inherent problem is that some of the alternative suggested approaches such as putting Elneny in midfield would probably have made Arsenal more solid but would not improve our progressive play. Elneny is a go to player only if you are setting out to play not to lose rather than if you want to take the game to the opposition.

  20. Because of MA tactics. I believe if we don’t qualify to CL next season we should seriously look for a replacement with Viera and Henry being on my top list.

    Not only we lost because our team is young, but mainly our coach tried to be smart in the wrong time! playing Xhaka as a LB? Lokonga alone?

    He gave the opponent the chance to attack and win so he should be blamed before the players.

    1. If people were unhappy with MA’s appointment because of his lack of experience, imagine the outcry at Henry becoming manager. Henry has looked very poor during his brief stint as a manager. I don’t want him to tarnish his reputation.

      I wasn’t sure about Vieira before coming to England, but he has done a fantastic job at Palace so far. He would be decent appointment, although I would love a big name after MA.

  21. I still dont understand how Arteta could play Xhaka as LB. ASL required another midfielder for support and Xhaka could have played in the midfield. How Tavares can be dropped after only one bad performance as he is our only recognised LB is also a mystery. We have got to win all our remaining games and hope Spurs slip up to stand any chance of making top 4.

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