Did our miracle comeback against Benfica save Arteta?

Suicidal football almost ended our season by Konstantin Mitov

Welcome back lovely Arsenal people. We somehow managed to make life extremely difficult again. When Ceballos gave away the free kick, I put my laptop aside and I was sure it was flying in. It just wouldn’t make sense to throw away games like we did at Wolves for example, and so many others where one simple mistake cost us everything and in it went.

The second half, we continued to lack ideas and another horror show from Ceballos meant we were 2:1 down. To be honest I felt bad for a second and then relieved. I thought this might trigger an end to our misery under Arteta. I didn’t think we could turn it around and then fortune struck us.

Neither did I really celebrate it when it happened. Moments of individual brilliance gave us the 3 goals that got us over the line, but with that kind of football, I have little hope for the future. Our defense was atrocious. We’re back to having no good center back pair. Gabriel and Luiz were shocking and Holding can’t be trusted every game.

Up front we were back to having an F in chemistry, because our attack was so slow, it was painful to watch us with all that meaningless possession. When City play, there are runners, the ball moves quick, passes have ideas and danger in them. We just go sideways and two walls of 4 players and we have no clue what to do.

I don’t know why we persist with Odegaard. The guy’s had one good game for us and suddenly we moved Smith-Rowe on the right, where he looks lost. At the back it wasn’t great either. What is our best CB pairing out of Mari, Holding, Luiz and Gabriel? I trust none of them enough together and it showed today. We were atrocious in defense, especially Gabriel. Then again Saliba is out there on loan in France rocking solid performances.

Our defensive abyss didn’t pass without the lovely help of Ceballos, who cemented his place on the bench. With a performance like that I’d buy him a one way ticket to Madrid. I feel sorry for Partey. The guy could’ve been bossing La Liga with Atletico, yet now he’s stuck trying to compensate for the lack of presence, power and pace of Xhaka, and he also has to come on early after injury, because we don’t have anyone else good enough.

To be fair to the other sub who made some impact, Willian was involved in our second goal and was lively for the first 5 minutes after coming on, but again, up front we were saved by the one true shining light in this side – Saka. Imagine if he played in a proper team? I wonder how long he’ll put up with this misery.

You probably think I sound like we’ve lost the game, when in fact, we’ve given ourselves two more meaningful games at least for this season, but honestly, with this football, there’s nothing to look forward to. I will keep reiterating my point, that results are the most important, and it’s good to win ugly sometimes, but if you aren’t playing well, results will very quickly catch up to the performances.

The fact that since mid-February we’ve all known that our entire seasons hangs on a cup competition is worrying. So is the fact that we’ve lost 11 games, repeat that in your head again – ELEVEN and bar a miracle, it’ll be 12 this weekend as I don’t see us playing like that and winning at the King Power.

Emery got sacked for results not worse than these. What’s so special about Arteta? Let’s not leave one FA cup win to destroy the next 2 seasons like we did before with Wenger. If Mikel doesn’t deliver the Europa League trophy, he should be packing his bags, but sadly I don’t think we have the guts, nor desire, nor ambition. Hopefully I’m wrong, and just like tha game today, we’ll miraculously turn it around.



  1. Reggie says:

    100% Artetas job was on the line last night and 5 minutes from total failure. If Arteta didn’t realise last night that this style of football is not going to het us anywhere but nowhere he is thick. The negative going nowhere, trying to force nothing is taking us to a standard of low grade football that we haven’t seen at this club for decades. For me the only thing that can save Arteta is to prove the likes of me wrong and win this thing but unless he changes his thoughts on playing football we wont win anything but maybe the Championship in two or three years. Its Dire football and doesnt work.

    1. Eddie says:

      Unfortunately he’s got nothing to prove to you and your likes. His job was on the line yesterday? Lol, someone whose job is among one of the most secured in the league.
      He doesn’t have to prove anything to you and others.
      Everyone usually talk about giving a coach time and support to rebuild the team until it gets to to the phase we struggle

      1. Dan kit says:

        I’ve supported Arteta all season and still do and Unlike his predecessor as actually won something here so for me had to be given time ,which he now as .
        But if we would have gone out last night I believe he would have gone and probably deserved to go ,11th in the league out of EL (against an awful Benfica )just isn’t good enough ,so yea I think Saka and Auba saved his Arse last night .
        He needs to up his game because come end of season and we haven’t improved he could be looking for another job .

        1. Reggie says:

          Agree Dan again! Failure in this comp and a poor league campaign, is the end for Arteta. His philosophy on the way we should play is baffling and we are playing substandard football because of it. I do think he is like a dead man walking at the moment. There is nothing except winning this thing that is going for him, thats plainly obvious.

      2. jon fox says:

        EDDIE A rare sensible post on this thread, full of YOUR usual realistic perspective Others on here do not even know the meaning of the word perspective. Any fan who honestly thinks MA job is on the line either had we lost last night or at end of this season is just not in touch with the reality of the situation.

        MA will be here for many years ahead, in my considered, sober minded and mature opinion.

        1. Dan kit says:

          Ah yes the great manager endorsement from Jonny boy
          How did the last one go buddy ?

          1. jon fox says:

            The usual bitter jealousy from you Danny boy with, as usual, no actual input of your own . You never get past jealousy and bitterness at me If only you ever could do so, I might take you more seriously.

        2. Reggie says:

          Jon, you are just resentful and rude to people with different opinions to you. I used to like and respect your views but you are not respectful of others opinions if they are different to yours. You are a bitter person Jon and i would like to think a lot better than that. Get back to replying to posts and not bitching.

          1. Dan kit says:

            My input was up top Jon Jon boy .

    2. lcw says:

      They saved his job? Well the opposite is true. Winning the game in dramatic fashion shows that MA has the players in place to win and win consistently. Yet he keeps loosing.

      Saka, ESR, Partey Tierney and Auba can start for any team in the EPL.

      Don’t tell me WHU, Leicester, Everton and Aston Villa have a better squad. What they have are better coaches.

  2. Eddie says:

    “If Mikel doesn’t deliver the Europa League trophy, he should be packing his bags”

    Thank God you and your likes don’t run the club.
    The expectations of trophies and European glory placed on this team and coach is ridiculous.
    Just like Wenger, his early success is what’s haunting him now. You guys sound as though you’re entitled to winning trophies or we’re meant to walk to glory.
    Everyone kept talking about how we needed a rebuild, and here is a manager clearing out the dross and leaving space for the rebuild and yet a whole lot of you expect glory as though it comes easily.
    Even though we’ve been solid defensively as a team and we all know individual errors had caused us the most this season, yet we throw blame at Arteta every time like he’s such a clueless manager.
    Whatever happens, he’s got my support till Dec of this year

    1. gotanidea says:

      There are many glory hunters, instead of the real fans

      I’d be okay if we got kicked out from EL, because we need to focus on EPL first next season. But the team must show some progress by the end of this season, at least finish in the sixth position

      1. Mobella says:

        Glory hunters!! Isn’t that what you were under Wenger.

        1. gotanidea says:

          I’m not

    2. Dan Smith says:

      Eddie i back Arteta
      And I agree we don’t have a define right to win anything
      What I will say is 11th isn’t good enough and I don’t think that’s unfair for fans to point that out ?

      1. Eddie says:

        Dan do you think I’m happy seeing us stay 11th? No I’m not. I don’t think any of us fans are. Also if we’re being honest and since you make use of eyes a lot, you can’t deny the fact the coach can’t be blamed entirely. He’s had his bad decisions and mistakes, but are we ignoring the individual errors that keeps killing the team despite being Solid as a unit?
        Dan my point is both the coach and the players are to be blamed for where we are. just tired of everyone blaming the coach when he releases a line up, blaming the coach everytime player cóck up happens, every time we win and say it’s individual brilliance.
        When they make errors the blame is the coach not individual brilliance to pull errors.

    3. Mobella says:

      Eddie, you ain’t this patient and supportive of Emery. I don’t see anything -in the right direction -in terms of the football we play Arteta that is doing. Maybe you can show me. The head-back Cebellos did yesterday was an indication of how Arteta programs them to play. The safe, coward and regressive football. He had a player beside him and in front of him to head the ball towards and under no pressure but he chooses backward route. Like I said yesterday, I have never seen oedegaard makes so much backward pass when I watched him playing sociedad but he is doing that under Arteta. I choose before Emery, I was jumping for joy when we finally hired him because I thought he so far better than Emery and will implement the kind of football we want but he turned out worse and shows he learned nothing under Pep. We were lucky yesterday. We would have been out has Benfica any good and glad we go to the next round but for how long we have to wait for Arteta to get it right.

      1. Eddie says:

        Mobella I was an Emery supportter until after four months when I was still yet to figure out if we were a defensive team or an attacking one.
        Emery was too careless, having slow players at the back and insisting on playing the high line. I don’t know if you’ll recall, I wrote two articles about playing that high line and how it was costing us in games.
        We kept making errors as a team and individually it was worse, with Xhaka and Co bearing the brunt of it.
        You can’t clearly tell me there’s no different between how we play now and we played under Emery can you?
        We were conceding ridiculous goals and shots every game.
        I know and I recognize the fact thongs need to be better under Arteta. For what I’ve seen, I’ll give him the time and support he needs.
        The way the team play now and the way they did under Emery are nothing alike.
        Individual errors and a dead attack is why we’re in this position today.

        1. Sir Michael says:

          Eddie It was not Emery it was the players who did not want him they keep saying give Arteta time. Patience I would have been a Feckin doctor if I had patience. He has to go before the Titanic hits the Iceberg

          1. ozziegunner says:

            The players pure and simple downed tools on Unai Emery. Unfortunately, player power is such that clubs find it easier to replace managers, rather than wholesale replacement of players.

  3. Ron says:

    Seriously is the best effort you could write up?

    You want Arteta to turn around a decade plus of under whelming performances in a couple years.

    Clearly you lack any insight to the game at hand.

    If you have nothing constructive to write, you are best to take the night off.

    1. jon fox says:

      WELL SAID RON. I have the wisdom expected of a man of 70 years old and do not remotely agree with these silly juveniles who want him gone simply because he has not yet given them a team to rival Man City.

      They do not live in the real world, as their constant silly posts show so clearly!

  4. gotanidea says:

    Arteta survives for now, but he’d put his job in jeopardy again if he keeps sacrificing the previous winning team hardworkers like Smith-Rowe and Lacazette. The only explanation of Odegaard’s starts is either there’s a minimum amount of starts/ minutes in his loan contract, or maybe Arteta has been informed by the club that his job is safe no matter what the results are

    This is why I’d prefer Arsenal got a more impactful wide player or a target man in January, rather than getting another ball retention creator like a CAM. Having said that, managers make weird decision sometimes, as what Simeone did against Tuchel

  5. AndersS says:

    “Moments of individual brilliance gave us 3 goals”.
    I believe several players were involved in creating the goals.
    In fact, it can be said, it was moments of individual mistakes by one single player, that gave Benfica 2 goals.
    Sorry for your point of view, but I am happy, we beat one of Europes tradition clubs to advance, and we showed great resillience in our figthback.
    Whether MA’s job was on the line is pure speculation, and only the management and the owner will know the answer to this.

  6. Val says:

    His Job is and never was on the line
    The club are going to stick with him regardless

    I said when we were going through that really bad spell i would see how it went till January, he pulled through that and turned things around.

    If at anytime he was going to be sacked it was then, if we got knocked out last night he wasnt going to get the boot.

    Stupid article imo

  7. Gunner89 says:

    I agree with you Eddie, we should look to give him time but I fear for him TBH.
    If we finish where we are now that will be 2 seasons in the mid table and the worst thing is that, yes, he looks to be clearing the decks but he would be cheap to pay off (unlike Jose at Spurs) and depending which managers might be available in the summer I fear the board might just go for someone more established (Max Allegri, Benitez or even Brendan Rodgers).
    We look like a mid table side and I would not be surprised but ,again, I want Arteta to succeed. End of December might not be the best time to give until as you ,really, would not have as much choice to hire someone so if anything happens it will be before the season starts.
    Clubs around Europe and in the PL have got their managers out for a lot less (like Dortmund who sacked their manager whilst within few points off top, Chelsea with Lampard and TBF Jose would have gone if he was not so expensive to get rid of).

    1. Eddie says:

      Yeah I understand you, he hasn’t helped himself either with his decisions sometimes but clearly he needs time to sort it out as he’s handled too many stuff in a short period.
      The way he’s handled the club and the dressing room, plus power player under two years makes it impressive and makes me believe this is someone who knows what he’s doing and what he wants.
      I said till Dec because, after the transfer window, I’ll expect a change and growth, but I’ll give up on him if by DEC there’s no growth or change.. I agree with everything you said

  8. Wyoming says:

    A 2nd exit at the round of 32 and an 8th place finish in the league may well have seen MA on his way.
    The FA Cup win may have saved him
    last season and that win was down to the Covid break more than anything.
    Lose in the next round especially if it is against a weak team and his job may be in doubt.
    Luckily many of the good teams have been eliminated like Napoli Lille Sociedad Leverkusen+ Leicester.
    Others will win their domestic leagues like Ajax,Rangers and Shakhtar while Man U, Roma + AC Milan may get top 4 and qualify CL so may not need to win the EL. So of the teams who need to win and are decent I’d say Arsenal Villareal and Spurs are the favourites.
    The round of 16 draw and subsequent draws will be crucial…

    1. Sean says:

      Not a bad way to look at it. I’d still say Utd are the Favourites as Ole will want to win that even being in the Top4, it’s a trophy he hasnt won as a manager or as a player also i think?

      We wont make it past the next round on this form.

    2. Nickerless Bender says:

      Fair point but can I just add that Chel$ki was in the champions league when they beat us in the EL final under Dick.

  9. Grandad says:

    One of the poorest articles I have read for some time on JA.Totally biased ,negative and irrational and worst of all penned by a so called Arsenal supporter who indicates some pleasure at the prospect of us losing it only to pave the way for the sacking of our Manager.What a disgraceful attitude.

    1. Sean says:

      Agreed. I am not confident in Arteta anymore but dont want us to lose one bloody game whoever is in charge or on the pitch.

      I may not like the players or rate some of them and rightly so but Arsenal is the main objective here and winning is the only way not losing to get a manager or player the boot.

      1. ozziegunner says:


    2. Kaycy says:

      I have no choice to support you totally. We have a lot of biased supporters here.

      1. Sir Michael says:

        Kaycy It not the supporters it is his style of play that is upsetting the supporters he is not moving forward this pissing about at the back sideways passing and backwards passing NEGATIVE

        1. Nickerless Bender says:

          Totally agree Sir Michael.

          The football we play is soul destroying.

          I hoped we would have a ‘Arteta’ way of playing by now, something to identify with… but we seem to be more concerned on how to nullify the opposition than play to the little strengths we have.

          No wonder the players look completely confused, bereft of ideas and confidence when they step onto the pitch as it changes week in week out.

          But I suppose we must ‘trust the process’ whatever that may be?🤔

    3. jon fox says:

      HEAR HEAR, GRANDAD! Thank goodness there are still SOME wise and mature thinking fans on here, albeit we are surrounded by unthinking hasty juveniles who react but do not, or even cannot, think properly!

      I too thought this article was a sham where the writer seems never to have heard of the word “context”

  10. Sean Williams says:

    I do think Arsernal saved Arteta’s bacon last night. My approach to this is…who is more important, a million world wide Arsenal supporters or Miguel Arteta. Who deserves our compassion, kindness, joy, and equanimity. Arteta has failed in his job. It’s real and it has happened….it would be better that he left. We are the poorest we have been for so long.
    Regarding the game, knife’s edge stuff, heart attack bringer, but happiness making in those last minutes. Saka is a little star, I like the look of Odegaard…potential. Ceballos…..WTF!!! These games bring heart trouble, can we survive them? Well done boys.

  11. Goonerboy says:

    “Moments of individual brilliance gave us the 3 goals”

    That is not true Konstantin. We scored our first from a defense -splitting through ball from Saka and the third from a delicious cross to Aubameyang, as far as I a know, those are regular ways of scoring goals. Benfica on the other hand scored a free kick (a brilliant moment) a penalty and a goal from an error, make of that what you will.

    “We’re back to having no good center back pair. Gabriel and Luiz were shocking and Holding can’t be trusted every game”
    “What is our best CB pairing out of Mari, Holding, Luiz and Gabriel? I trust none of them enough together and it showed today. We were atrocious in defense, especially Gabriel. Then again Saliba is out there on loan in France rocking solid performances”

    Mari and Holding in my opinion is our best pair. How were we atrocious in defense? How many clear cut chances did Benfica create? Saliba is solid in France does not mean much, Gabriel was good there too and was wanted by a lot of big teams but at the moment, he is looking more like a Mustafi than Koscielny to me.
    Luiz is our best defender, but I agree with Gabriel. From the first game, I never liked his style, he rushes into challenges, overly aggressive and lacks discipline. Why can’t Holding be trusted in every game?

    “I don’t know why we persist with Odegaard. The guy’s had one good game for us”

    Odegaard has barely played for 6 months when we signed him, he is adapting to a new league, new team, new tactical set-up and city. He showed the kind of creativity we have been lacking at times which I am yet to see in ESR, I think we should cut him some slack.

    “I feel sorry for Partey. The guy could’ve been bossing La Liga with Atletico”

    Really? Partey has tripled his wages and yet you pity him. Athletico has not won the league, Madrid are now just 3 points away. Partey has spent more injured than on the pitch so he is also part of why we are where we are, we signed him to improve us.

    To be honest, we are terrible at the moment and Arteta continues to make questionable decisions but I think he still needs our support. Our team is not as good as we think it is neither is it as bad as the table suggests but we have had so much ill luck from officiating, individual errors, we are a victim of “fine margins”

    For example, Cebs and Elneny combined are not half as good as Partey. Both are average players that makes Xhaka undroppable. Get rid of these two alone and replace them with efficient midfielders and see the difference that would make.

    Arteta needs to improve quickly too, but most of the things we blame him for (and even managers in general) is not down to him, there is no magic formation/tactics, QUALITY PLAYERS is the secret!

  12. Iykmatt says:

    The pairing of holding&pablo mari produced the highest amount of wins&clean sheet this season but i wonder why the manager is so blind to notice it among his numerous bad decisions like martinelli being frozen out&the constant use of an underperforming willian.if arteta needs the fans support,he needs to start making the right calls

    1. Mark says:

      “The pairing of holding&pablo mari produced the highest amount of wins&clean sheet this season but i wonder why the manager is so blind to notice it ”
      So play them week in week out even though Mari is just returning from injury and Holding has been playing almost nonstop for months now?

      Logic defies some here at times..

  13. Reggie says:

    How much have we improved since last season?

    1. Nickerless Bender says:

      I think you meant

      “How much have we regressed from last season?”


  14. Grandad says:

    Well said Goonerboy .

  15. Ba Elkhirsawy says:

    You said all I had in mind, thanks.
    Glad to see someone share thoughts.

    Everytime, I say, I have got used to it, and I watch while we hold the ball and keep passing the very same passes hoping for a miracle and then something like this Ceballos back header happens, and all I think is “here we go again, they have done an Arsenal mistake 🙄”.

    Arteta and some players are depressing to watch to be honest.

  16. The Real Vieira Lynn says:

    Remember two important aspects of Arteta’s tenure so far:

    (1) following our FA Cup victory, with the knowledge that there would be a quick turnaround, Arteta/Edu had to make a pivotal decision regarding how to best proceed…if they had the necessary backing, which they appeared to have, and a rebuild of sorts was in the offing, they should have got to work immediately and got rid of the deadwood in the summer, either through cut-rate deals or buyouts, then promoted academy players to fill the gaps and targeted only those players who were deemed necessary from a “needs” based perspective, like Partey…instead they chose to double-down and pursue half-measures and luxury buys, like Willian…so you reap what you sow…this was exactly the same approach that was mistakenly employed by Wenger at 3 different points since the time we arrived at the Emirates, which is why we were in such dire straits when he left the building

    (2) without Champions League and no real prospects to compete for League titles our brand has clearly lost some of it’s lustre, in fact this had occurred even before that which is why we had to offer considerably higher wages to our players, and as such when we find ourselves negotiating with players like Willian, and more recently Ode, we can’t use the badge as a way to entice their respective signings…nowadays they want to know what you can provide for them as an individual, not necessarily from a team goals perspective, so this requires us to offer them playing time guarantees, which I find very problematic and not in the best interest of the team as a whole…of course, I don’t blame the player, or his agent, for making such demands, I blame management for pursuing this course of action knowing full-well that this could have a devastating impact on the development of those players who now find themselves on the bench or being shoehorned into the lineup in non-preferred positions, which is what has happened here with ESR, Pepe, Marts etc…

  17. S says:

    Olympiakos next.
    They’d love to knock us out in extra time just like last time.

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