Exclusive – Michael Thomas talks about Arsenal’s window plus Brentford and Chelsea

The Michael Thomas Column

Good Morning Gooners

Let us start by talking about last week’s defeat on the opening day of the League. Brentford’s team (that started against us) cost £53.51m to buy, and not one of them had ever played in the Premier League before. Our Arsenal team cost £238.23m (and that was without expensive buys like Auba and Laca) but still lost to the Bees.

Our team performance has to come under scrutiny. Brentford were bang on it, winning second balls and really fighting for their cause as we knew they would. Arteta wouldn’t have anticipated the drop outs of two of his main players, but the team on the field had more than enough to get a good result from the game. For me the manner in the way we lost was the downside. 22 shots- and I don’t recall any of them being clear cut opportunities. Arsenal have to find a way to create good chances and very fast.

Many rumours are saying that either Aubameyang or Lacazette could be sold. Arsenal need goal scorers and yes Auba didn’t have his most productive spell in front of goal last season, but we know he is a goal threat. I am not a fan of Auba coming in off the left wing so I would say it’s 1 of the 2 rather than both, unless a 4-4-2 system is used. Arsenal ‘sell unless we are buying a proven replacement.

As for the new contract given to Granit Xhaka, I’ve said it before regarding the Swiss captain; He is a player that divides opinions massively with the Arsenal fans but he has a performance in him, and it’s whether Mikel can get the consistency of that out and have him playing to his strengths. Xhaka playing facing our goal is never a good situation because his awareness and ability to turn are not the best. If you can get him the ball on the half turn or facing the opposition then we have a player. The player clearly looked like he was leaving but like in every business, you have to pay the price! If that price is not met, you keep your asset and ideally don’t let the value diminish.

The sale of Joe Willock was one I really didn’t want to see happen. I think his qualities are something Arsenal haven’t had since Ramsey and with some fine tuning he could have become an important part of the squad. He is Arsenal through and through. I wish Joe all the best and maybe one day we will be in a position to lure him back!

It is a tough start for the season for Arsenal which is why the result against Brentford was a kick in the teeth. We have Chelsea and Manchester City to come and this could be a disastrous start. A result and performance against Chelsea will be massive, but again you will look at why they couldn’t have the same level against Brentford. The club needs to cut this group down massively and invest in another 3 starting 11 players minimum.

We have Chelsea up next, and after watching Toney against our cb’s it is very worrying having Lukaku as the next man up. The game was going to be a tough one regardless and the players know they have to play out of their skin to get a result. The fans hopefully will be energising the team and hopefully the team go out and put on a performance that is required of an Arsenal squad. I think Saka will come in which may push Martinelli up front depending on Auba and Laca. AMN or Cedric should come in at RB for me also but I’d understand if we kept Chambers in especially to defend set pieces.

It’s good news that Arsenal have signed another keeper. not just as back up, but to challenge Leno for that number 1 jersey. I am extremely happy to have young keepers like Okonkwo and Hein coming out of Hale End, but they must have experienced pros like Leno and Ramsdale to learn from.

The Willian situation is a terrible one to be in for Arteta and the player himself. He is a high earner and a massive under-performer. Something needs to change and fast. It’s hard to see who would want to take a hit on him given his wages.

The summer signing I am most happy to see is Martin Odegaard. He is a brilliant young player. Intelligent with the ball, his work ethic is enormous and he just looks like he loves the game. I think he will be a hit but the club needs more to supplement his qualities and help him create.

Kind regards

Michael Thomas

Tags Michael Thomas


  1. We have to have a proper game plan against Chelsea and play with a positive mindset irrespective of the Brenford result. This would be my line up:
    Chambers White Holding
    Cedric ASL Xhaka Tierney
    Saka Martinelli Pepe
    Assuming both Laca and Auba are not available. With a 3-4-3 formation, it gives us defensive stability and allows Cedric and Tierney to make forward runs. Of course ESR would be missing but he can slot in one of the midfield or winger positions if and when required.

    1. A very impressive line-up based on the players available for selection. But, our (micro)manager will insist on having a left-footed player in the back line and persist with Mari, until Gabriel becomes available. Or Tierney / Xhaka will be deployed as a make-shift LCB.

  2. On the nail, Michael Thomas! All points are spot on but I wonder how you feel about Mikel Arteta’s tactical play and his ability to to get the squad motivated for every game? They seem to be on a rollercoaster ride as far as week to week performances go.

  3. Man United’s spending under Solskjaer is around 421.3 M, whereas Arsenal’s spending under Arteta is just around 180 M. Let that sink in

    1. So spending massively guarantees results? I’ll be sure to pass that on to clubs like Leicester City.

      Emery owned Arteta in Europa semis, so he must have spent massively at his new club right?

      Let’s ignore tactics, identifying players, and setting up the team.

      How about Tuchel turning around Chelsea’s season after sacking Lampard?

      He did it with Tactics, not spending in January. Granted Chelsea has more talent, but his tactics succeeded where Lampard’s failed.

      Money isn’t why Arteta is failing.

      1. Having a 500+ M team doesn’t guarantee top four. But it definitely helps a lot, since the players are the ones who decide what to do in the field

        We don’t know what will happen if Arteta was given 500 M to spend. I reckon his tactical knowledge to be better than both Solskjaer and Lampard though

        Tuchel is an exceptional manager. But as long as Arteta is our manager, we must support him until he gets the boot

        1. GAI
          You also said he was tactical better than Wenger ,which for me is absolute nonsense going last year and our first game of the season .
          If playing 8players behind the ball and hoping for the best then big Sam would also be better tactically than Wenger .

          1. Wenger was lucky to have Giroud, so just wait until Arteta gets his own CF

            About eight men behind the ball, Man City also did that when they didn’t have the ball

          2. @Dan Kit

            I agreed with Gai he said

            ” I reckon his tactical knowledge to be better than both Solskjaer and Lampard though” not Wenger.

            Soskjaaer and Lampard teams perfomed based on the quality of their players. Yet Arteta beat Lampard to win FA cup.

          3. @Sylva
            I was talking about his comment saying he was better tactically than Wenger .
            Why have you bought up Giroud I’m talking about as a whole as a manager
            You said he was better tactically than Wenger and Emery .
            A manAger who was here for for 20 years and produced the best side ever seen on these shores against a manager who won an fa cup playing the most drab football a lot of Arsenal fans have ever seen .
            Please enlighten me about Artetas tactically genius ,I just want to learn about what makes him so good .

        2. @Gai

          I agree with you absolutely 👌 let’s support Arteta or otherwise Arsena as long as the manager is yet to get the boot Negativity won’t

        3. Why can’t the tactical genius get more than one league goal from the player he hand picked to suit his tactics last season?

          If his tactics is spot-on, yet the player is dud, which management with a sane mind will trust him with 500 mils on transfer???

  4. If Arsenal had beaten Villa, Wolves and Burnley at home instead of losing all three we would have finished 3rd.
    Improve the defense, the midfield and the
    offence by just 5% will be enough to get third.
    The new players we have signed Ramsdale White Tavarez Lokonga Odegaard are not superstars
    but rather players we believe will contribute to the overall 5% improvement.
    These players have good technique are team players and will need to have the ability to suffer for long periods without making mistakes then snatch two opportunities to win the game.
    Rogers at Leicester plays the same way and Nuno at Wolves but now at Spurs also plays the same way.
    The sneaky revolution is the solution.

    1. or the Nonsensical Revolution, as VasC so astutely addresses in the post below

  5. Oh Mr MT, you forgot to praise the effective work of our management. Wanna know what that is?

    “Let’s buy a handful of players first and then put a scouting team in place to identify the players the club really need.” What a smart and effective way to have a scouting team after making almost all the signings!!! 👏👏👏👏👏

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