Exclusive – Michael Thomas talks about our bad start and Arsenal’s transfer window

The Michael Thomas Column
Mikel has definitely had an unfortunate start to the season with injuries, Covid, etc. Given the run of games he had for the start of the season I am sure he would have wanted to get off to a better start against Brentford, whilst anticipating 2 tough games against Chelsea and Manchester City.
Losing against the latter 2 is not the most surprising thing in the world but the manner in which they lost to Manchester City will be the biggest problem to the club and the fans. They effectively rolled over and Xhaka did not help at all. Hopefully after this international break Arteta has his spine back with Gabriel & White at the heart of the defense and Partey back in front of them. This should see Arsenal putting a better run of results together, but the team must work for each other and quickly.
After watching the City game it was evident that the players don’t have enough trust in each other to play. Keep the ball and make progressive passes. If you watch all the best teams they are happy to receive the ball in tight situations and a teammate always offers a way out. I would like to see the players trusting each other more and making progressive passes to push the ball through the lines.
I think the game was over at 2-0 but what Xhaka did was not give his team mates a chance at fighting back as a unit. This kind of behaviour needs to stop at the club and everyone must pull their weight in order to progress.
Although Xhaka can be exasperating sometimes, the new contract extension makes sense as a business plan as it protects the value of their asset. However, on the other hand, Xhaka has yet to give Arsenal the performances the club deserves and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved on either in January or at the end of the season.
Although Ramsdale has arrived as competition, Bernd Leno makes good stops but sometimes it looks like the defenders don’t have total confidence in him – and vice versa. Give him time (and White and Gabriel in front of him) and the next 3 games will be vital for the club.
The club clearly have a vision and are backing Mikel. He will need to deliver results regardless, but I think they will at least give him until October and see what position the club are in then.
So at last Arsenal have an easier game coming up against Norwich. A good performance and a win is needed all around, for the players & fans. The players need to show that they’re capable of winning games and scoring goals. I think that you will see a much better performance in that game, although no games are ever an easy one in this League.
It is interesting that all of Arsenal’s incoming transfers are 23 or under. Whether Mikel gets the opportunity to mould them into a winning unit or another manager later down the line has to continue with them, the club are obviously working on a model that involves young players. Hopefully he is given the time and the players start stepping up, because the blame is a lot on them to produce and we as fans miss that sometimes. When you step over that line as a player, a manager can’t fight for you. You must have the mentality and the willingness to do that.
I don’t think it’s a thing of “should we trust the process” but more so we have to trust the process, as that’s what’s happening at the club right now. As fans if we don’t back our club and players, even in these extremely difficult moments – then who will? No matter where you would like to see the club, and believe me I am number one for wanting to see them at the top, this is where we are and we must come together and support one another.
The Willian signing was definitely a failed experiment and it is best for all parties that we have parted ways this summer. I wouldn’t say it was honourable as at any job you’re working and your contract is your contract. However he has done the club a massive favour and hopefully we can invest that in January and beyond.
All in all I think that Arteta and Edu have done very well in the transfer market. They now have a decent squad, a young squad and a squad that has a lot of quality in it. They need to really create a family unit and fight for each other going forward.
This will most definitely see the club’s fortunes change and Arsenal will climb up the table.
Michael Thomas

Watch – Michael Thomas wins Arsenal the title in the last minute at Anfield!

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  1. Great article, Michael!

    Your assessment about our low interpersonal trust is spot on. Their rondo sessions are supposed to improve that, yet we keep watching excessive backpasses that pressurize our defense

    In my opinion, the low trust stemmed from our attackers’ inabilities to hold the ball in the opposition’s area, where they keep getting robbed easily. If our CF can’t do it, our CAM should be able to do hold-up play for the team

    1. What a blind comment. Our attackers are simply not given enough quality ball by the so called mid field maestros.

        1. GAI, but Thomas specifically identifies the problem with Arsenal’s midfield; “players trusting each other more and making progressive passes to push the ball through the lines.” The midfield does not provide a goal threat, contribute goals nor provide opportunities for the forward line. It is the midfield, not the forward line that is mainly responsible for only 55 goals last season.

          1. Xhaka, Partey and Smith-Rowe made a lot of forward passes last season, yet they didn’t trust our attackers enough to make the riskier ones

            Look at how the opposition’s CBs easily harassed and robbed Balogun/ Martinelli from the CF position this season

      1. spot on once again Joe S….you’ve had some good ideas lately, unlike someone else I know…how ironic

    2. All you do gotanidea is put all the blame of our failure on strikers, I mean do you really thing the whole transfer policy, back wards passing, no quality in middle, poor team selection and tactics from manager are all CFs fault…😂🤣😂😂. So by your assessment if we would have bought Lukaku we would have been fighting for title. 😂🤣😂😂

      1. I believe we would’ve done better if we had Lukaku, because our senior midfielders are key players in highly competitive national football teams

        1. I would hardly call Ghana, Switzerland and Eygpt as highly competitive national football teams lol!. I agree we would have been better with Lukaku but not title challengers like you think we would have been.

  2. Who says ex players know what they are talking about. Still he’s entitled to his opinion and that’s all it is.

  3. Funny thing is how we fans run back to thinking about old glorious days to find relief but we don’t learn and analyze from them. If we would have you won’t see such statements from club and some fans alike which we are seeing now. Now that every excuse as failed with time and facts are Infront of everyone, we have come up with a new excuse that we have young players and it will take time. So first you buy young players and then you yourself use it as an excuse for not delivering for some time. What a future proof plan. Well atleast now we can say to every other club fans we come across as our team is young wait 5-7 years and then we will show you. Although we all know deep down not all young players turn out to be good specailly without playing with experienced world class players and the one who do will jump ship because they want to be playing in Europe top competetion and winning stuff. We are banking on loyality of players big time when we know it’s is very rare now a days and players also known how loyal this club can be to its own players when they look at past cases of club pushing players out just because they were not to Arteta’s taste. This whole project was ment to floop from start who in world would start such a big project with inexperienced new management and inexperienced new staff (players).

  4. Arsenal fans, please, please be patient. I’m an amateur coach, and know the frustration of having players that don’t understand the pattern that the coach wants. Arteta went for youngsters so it is a little more easier to got them to understand and then to perform. We’ll see the outcome. Pls be patient.

    1. He went for youngsters yet saliba,guendouzi,mavrapanos and other so called young players not good enough yet they are bossing it away from us. I really dont get it. Arteta just not good enough. he just want some lacky that carry out his basic school boy drills and football that dont work on match day. whether we trust the process or not we just have to put up with it or find another club to support which 99.99 of us wont do.

  5. An interesting and balanced opinion on where the club is going and the path it is on
    Xhaka chose a great moment to score another red card🙄 and I agreed on the importance of playing as a ‘family unit’and on what GAI said in terms of low interpersonal trust

  6. Lots of senswible comments from MT.

    But he failed to say what our main problem is and will be while Xhaka remains!

    I DO largely agree that the summer window was as good as we could realistically expect, given the practical impossibility of getting such dross as Elneny, Bellerin, Kolas and co sold.

    But why on EARTH did MA not grab Romas offer of £13 mill for useless and harmful Xhaka? I can never forgive or forget the stupidity of choosing to keep that useless twerp!

    1. Exactly the point, again what proof can Arteta present why Elneny is better than Toreira and Guendouzi. Why is he still not recalling Saliba, why is he seing his personal ego as being more important than the club’s progress?

  7. Nice article, well said on Xhaka, on the our season’s start, I think covid and injures are just mere excuses for failure,

    The so called “process” should affect the whole team and not the injured,
    It’s a method not handwriting, so the whole team should have an idea,

    I see no reason why Brentford should beat us, why we should loose so bad to man city,

    Kinda means the “process” isn’t that good, then try something else,

    Play Pepe behind the striker with Smith-Rowe and saka on both wings,

    One reason why man city score more goals, is because of the “off the ball runs” they make,

    This is one of the issues Arsenal Fc has, we are too static, we only run within the first 10/15mins of the game and then become static,

    We also play better when led by Lacazette, I wonder 🤔 why he isn’t the vice captain,

    I would love to see our players play hard, we play too soft, especially from “set piece”,

    1. Arteta should stop playing Xhaka if he wants to change the midfield dynamic. A revolution is needed in that central midfield.
      I craved Bissouma for that central midfield position, but Arteta was seeing differently from me. He got Lokonga instead, so he should play the young lad instead of playing Xhaka.

      I am praying Partey stays injury free after his return soon. A partnership of Lokonga and Partey is the best internal solution now.

      Lacazette seems to be combining well with the young lads behind him in midfield so I will like to see him play more often.
      Aubameyang can lead the line for the two cup competitions until he gets his scoring boots back.

      I believe our starting 11 picks itself already. Only just a few positions are still debatable.

      Now it is left to Arteta to pick up his best 11 players. Because that is the only answer to the current problem we are facing.

    2. Yes, a lack of mobility and running all round. Hardy surprising, when our team REGULARLY includes that abysmal statue, Xhaka!

  8. ‘At last we have an easier game in Norwich’…

    Mmmm with current confidence levels and our position as a fellow relegation battling side I don’t think you can call this an easy game at all;)

    Norwich (Like most teams nowadays) won’t fear us and know our Achilles heel so expect a game and a half! MA’s ideas and ‘tactics’ are well known and easily counted considering the personal he is trying to get to play like City.

    Edu signed some ‘promising’ young players for the future (in his own words) but how that helps the first team who finished 8th two years on the trot and who have started their worst season ever, I don’t know!

    1. AOT
      since being called.out by you a few articles ago as a black shirt gooner which I have know idea what you were on about
      I am not a person and nor is a alot of people on here who you presume have buried there head in the sand and dismissed what has being going on at our club for near on 15 years but you seem to have a notion this only happened in the last few years and MA amd edu are the core source of this problem
      They are a small cog playing a part of our demise. The owners are the big cogs who have and are still pulling the strings. They are no different then major corporate companies. They call the shoots.
      MA has not done him self any favours in his approach to a lot.of games
      Ot has been dross at times and at some point he will get the sack but as I said before I support the team through thick and thin which you seem you dont and wish the worse for the manager which means the worse for the TEAM
      MA Is just part of the rot that has taken hold of us but each game I still want us to win and not see us lose as you seem too
      Not sure how old you and how.many seasons you have under your belt but believe me we have had worse and we have played worse under those managers
      You seem an intelligent person and I presume you call out because you are frustrated with the whole process just like most of us but please review before you post again if you are going to be proactive and try to be slightly witty offensive.
      It’s all about opinons and a well structured one is worth a read or two
      We all believe and want the same thing on here for the club. Success

      Onwards and upwards

      1. Hey Alan,
        Not sure what your point is regarding my post/opinion?

        I as you obviously don’t k ow have posted my dislike for the establishment at AFC since kroenkes ownership began for many years in JustArsenal and most of my posts refer to this. I can’t however state this in every post.

        MA is responsible though as he is the designated manger of AFC so I will continue to call him out as I see fit whilst our performance and results are so amateur .

        I don’t apologise or temper my posts to be deemed more digestible /likeable by others.

        I’m far too long in the tooth to care about such nonsense;)

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