Five glaring negatives in win over Aston Villa that Arsenal must address

A win is a win as they say and there were definitely some positives that one can take from the comeback win over Aston Villa at the Emirates yesterday but we cannot ignore the negatives and there are many.

The win looks good because it was with ten men and on two occasions Arsenal had to come back from a goal deficit but questions have to be asked why it was necessary to have to make a comeback in the first place.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

I did an article here and basically said that the 22-year-old is not good enough for Arsenal and should be sold next summer, a minority on this site took that opinion very personally and became very hostile with some very unpleasant comments, well, as I write this, I feel 100% vindicated. I accept he is out of position but it does not matter where you are being played you do not do reckless yellow card challenges and put your team in a precarious situation. His lack of judgement and poor tackling is on him and him alone.

Granit Xhaka

It is just bewildering why Unai Emery keeps on picking the 26-year-old, he genuinely is not fit for purpose, he rarely has a good game and it was very noticeable how the game changed once he was substituted. The fans should not be jeering him when he is subbed but that is down to Emery, he keeps persisting with a player that is simply not good enough for Arsenal, he was a huge negative yesterday.

Sokratis

Not only did he have a woeful game, but he also embarrassed himself and Arsenal with his appalling play-acting clutching his face when he was not even touched. Arsenal fans castigate the likes of Harry Kane when he dives and we have to be honest and call out our own players when they let the side down with cheating and I hate to say that but that is exactly what it is. And yeah, he had a terrible game as usual.

Nicolas Pepe

There was a huge positive for the 24-year old and that is that he scored his first Arsenal goal and so it is a bit of a contradiction to call his performance both a negative and positive but unfortunately that is exactly what it was. It was negative because outside the penlty he was basically anonymous again. He is said to be learning English, maybe he has yet to get to the words tracking back because he does none of that. For the most part, he looked disinterested and one-off bits of skill is simply not good enough. If he kicks on from the goal then the game for him yesterday will be a huge positive but if we get another lacklustre performance from him next time out then it is time to start worrying.

Unai Emery

Another one in both lists of positives and negatives and the reason is simple, he was positive with his subs and tactics in the second half but he was negative with his team selection in the first place that put Arsenal in trouble. Remember, before the red card Villa were dangerous and running the Arsenal defence ragged at times, why was that? Because Emery had his tactics and line up wrong from the get-go, he was lucky it was Villa and not Man City on Sunday.

45 Comments

  1. Okiror says:

    EMERY HAS ACTUALLY STARTED TO MAKE ME MISS WATCHING ARSENAL MATCHES

    WHICH NEVER HAPPENED SINCE 2005

  2. anti-kev says:

    Jose Mourinho: “Granit Xhaka is the main man in the entire Arsenal midfield, you can’t see it unless I lend you one of my eye. Without him, Arsenal is lost. He is a leader. Remember, mistakes are made by humans.”

    Do you agree with Mourinho?

    1. Joe says:

      Defensive midfielders are boring and only one who truly appreciates the game would appreciate them. I’ve seen many suggest Mourinho to replace emery .I guess they’d be asking for his head on a platter 3 games in simply because of selecting Xhaka.

      Compare footage of Granit Xhaka to footage of Gilberto Silva . Tell me silva offered more that accurate passes every game .The same thing we slate Xhaka for.

      1. Declan says:

        No we slat Xhaka for being a useless footballer, he can’t tackle, he gets turned far too easily, doesn’t try to get back when dispossessed and makes stupid petulant fouls. Yes he can hit a 65yard crossfield pass and hit a long distance shot, but comparisons with the great Siva are mind boggling. Silva could do all the things that Xhaka can’t.

        1. Joe says:

          Like?
          All Silva did was recycle possession.

          1. Declan says:

            Like? I’ll repeat it for you, Silva could tackle, didn’t get turned, got back quickly, didn’t foul (unless necessary), was athletic, hit long or short passes etc. If you need anymore, check YouTube. I saw week in week out, you obviously didn’t.

          2. Henry says:

            With all due respect,Joe there’s no basis comparing Xhaka with Silva.
            Xhaka is a failed project, he cannot tackle and win possession. He cannot organise his midfield. He’s big but can’t protect the back four. He’s prone to late tackles and get booked stupidly.
            He cannot launch a genuine attack from the middle. He cannot possess and the ball.Hes not a 4, he’s not a 10. As a coach you struggle to find his most effective position. It’s a shame on Emery for not getting a midfield and let this guy go.

          3. ozziegunner says:

            Joe, I agree with Declan and Henry; we mustn’t be talking about the same Gilbert Silva who allowed Patrick Viera to be the player he was, by doing the hard “dirty work”.

  3. RSH says:

    Unai is the underlying negative for all the other reasons. Sokratis was just okay. I don’t think he was horrible. Both of our CB’s essentially were left on their own to defend against any Villa attacks because every single team just runs through out midfield or flys by our fullbacks, mainly AMN who has also never gotten any help from Pepe. It’s reported that Arsenal players watch at least 2 hrs of footage of their previous games sometimes, and I find it hard to believe that a single one of them are actually paying attention because every week they look beyond disorganized and always ready to concede a goal.

  4. Sue says:

    Jon Moss couldn’t wait to get that red card out.. christ he’d booked half of the bloody team!!
    Was stupid of Ainsley though & injured himself in the process!!
    There was a time when Sokratis was pretty good.. where did he go?? Jeez I’m on tenterhooks when he has the ball or the opposition have a corner.. just imagine if that penalty had been given…
    It must the PL that Xhaka doesn’t like.. we knew he’d play and we knew he’d be back to normal!! I honestly nearly passed out, when Unai subbed him!!
    I hope the floodgates will open for Pepe now….he needs to start scoring!
    If we lose to Forest tomorrow, then the ice Unai is walking on, will be just about ready to crack….

    1. A.ball08 says:

      Sue
      I actually think Sokratis plays better with a younger member next to him such as holding. Alongside luiz or back in the day may I mention the former captain he looks awful. A headless chicken running around not knowing what to do and that’s doing a disservice to the headless chicken.
      As for Ainsley, I still think it a harsh decision. I have seen it a few times and maybe I am biased but he looks like he actually won the ball and the ball looks like it changed direction. Was it for a dangerous tackle? If it was then there was a coming together and Ainsley won the tackle.both players were not in control of there actions.
      I thought the ref didnt have a good game.

      1. Sue says:

        It’s a tough one as from the replay i saw on MOTD last night, he got the ball.. but being on a yellow, you really don’t want to go sliding in like that & give the ref the chance to brandish the red, which he clearly loved doing (idiot!!) The ref had a terrible game, absolutely shocking…they get worse!! He makes my blood boil..

        1. Declan says:

          Sokratis is a disgrace in my book Sue.

          1. Sue says:

            He’s been so poor of late, Declan

    2. A.ball08 says:

      I forgot to mention
      As for Xhaka. I have like many others on here been saying for a long time that he is not good enough for us.
      An old saying
      One swallow doesnt make a summer
      So for all who think he might have turned the corner and come good for us…
      No chance.

      1. Sue says:

        ? i was done with him after the Brighton game last season!

        1. A.ball08 says:

          I think I could go one better…
          I was done with him at the beginning of last season

  5. Joe says:

    I will ask again , how do arsenal fans think the Niles red card was justfied? he got the ball . clean .
    A similar challenge was made on torreira in the box . I didn’t even see a card to the aston villa player.

    we need to support arsenal. we should be seeing the injustice done to us before we see the errors of our players.

    I agree some players were appalaing ,but the bias in the fan base won’t allow people to see the players that actually under performed.

    Beyond a free kick that was planned for him by Pepe and Luiz , what did Auba do?

    Apart from 100% pass completion ,most of which were low value passes , what did Ceballos do ?

    To clarify , I am not asking people to find new scapegoats . I am just saying the entire team is in a rut and everyone is playing pretty badly .

    Yesterday , the arsenal attack I saw in the last 20 minutes is what I want to see every game. I’m hoping that game can kickstart a series of better games.

    1. Dory says:

      I agree on the AMN red card. He got the ball clean and the follow through got him clipped. He barely touched the AV player.

    2. Dan kit says:

      I agree aswell
      Took the ball so it was a clean tackle ,does not matter if he took half the crowd out after he took the bloody ball .
      To many soft tackles these days
      Mrs moss couldn’t wait to get his card out ,he stood there 2 mins playing with his todger knowing he was going to get another Arsenal scalp .

      1. Viju Jacob says:

        He got the ball clean, but got docked for the studs-up clanger in the follow through. Unfortunate for the lad, but rules were applied correctly, while things are going from bad to worse for a lad that is obviously talented.

    3. Declan says:

      It doesn’t matter that he got the ball, he went to ground in a dangerous fashion and got the man too.

      1. RSH says:

        Agree, it warranted a yellow. (Not straight red, which he did not even receive). He won the ball but it was a dangerous challenge and he got some of the man. Not much to debate here.

  6. Geo_Gooner says:

    I wonder if I am the one who writes this article because it explains exactly my taught.
    Xhaka and his father (Spanish Tony pulis) are actually our main problems now. without Xhaka in the team both our attack and defence will improve as he does none of the 2, he neither protect the defence no dictates the play. to make it worse he is wearing the armband.
    as for UE the sooner he leave the better, he is no Wenger so we don’t have to wait for 10 seasons anymore.

    1. Francis says:

      Maybe Xhaka has a clause in his contract to start every PL match if he is fit…

    2. Abu adil says:

      Geo_gooner??? I like that about the bald idiot pullis

  7. Truth says:

    Sorry, but to me, it is very unfair to judge a talented guy like AMN for being played out of position. This young man, when given a chance would prove pivotal in midfield.

    He has done the best he can at RB and has been more solid there for many games in comparison to far more experienced defenders like Luiz and Sokratis and even Kol, yet he has to be sold because he is not a great RB.

    To me, that would be akin to asking for Monreal to be sold 4 seasons ago when he had to fill in as CD and sucked at it.

    Let’s give AMN a chance in the position he was educated in before we write him of for failing in a position that was never his.

    1. Geo_Gooner says:

      @Truth, the issue with AMN is not ability it is his attitude, he is behaving like he’s prime Ronaldinho.
      if he keep it simple he is good player but he complicates things. so he deserves his criticism whether he is playing out of position or not.

      1. Truth says:

        There is a big difference between criticizing his performances and lobbying to get him sold before he ever was played in his natural position.

  8. Obiora says:

    Calum Chambers has shown why he should not be on the bench while a calamity like Niles play on the right back.Niles is not a defender and he has said so.With Chambers, Bellarin, Holding and Tierney fit now,I don’t see why the defense should not be water might.Arsenal don’t have defense problem but DEFENDING problem and the coach should take the blame.

  9. Grandad says:

    Well said Truth.Individually and collectively we are not playing well.There appears to be a lack of energy in the team and we are simply not working hard enough off the ball to close down players and regain possession.Compare us to Man City and Liverpool where every player busts a gut to win the ball and get back into shape when the opposition are in possession.These are basic fundamentals in professional football but it seems Emery is not getting the message across or that certain players are just not up to it.It could well be a combination of both as there are certain players such as Sokratis,Luiz and Xhaka who are clearly not good enough for Arsenal.

    1. RSH says:

      Luiz was good enough for Chelsea last season, but now isn’t good enough for Aresnal a few months later. I never rated Luiz highly but the fact he’s making glaring errors every single match has me thinking that our main problem is the way we are collectively playing. It just seems like every defender that comes here magically becomes 10x worse.

    2. Viju Jacob says:

      Let’s see how we can convert the 5 negatives into positives:

      1. AMN has done his time doing defensive duties, while he is a natural midfielder, so it is prudent to make him the defensive midfielder, who will compete with Xhaka, Guendozi & Torreira.
      2. Xhaka needs time off from the first team and play himself into form in smaller competitions. That he was booed is a shame, but Emery played him till the fans lost it, a la Mustafi, and that won’t be doing his confidence any good. He can use his lack of pace better & he is no captain material.
      3. Sokratis should play only in smaller competitions and honestly someone should stop him from his wrestling and WWE playacting.
      4. Pepe needs service and if you aren’t giving him that, let’s forget goals from him. Give him that service.
      5. Emery should be asked to go, so we can salvage this season. That’s the only positive about this man because he seems to be on an ego trip and his stubbornness isn’t doing us any good.

      Finally, us fans should stop abusing and booing – we can express our opinions/displeasure without resorting to being nasty.

  10. Francis says:

    I think Xhaka has a clause in his contract to start every PL match when he is fit…

  11. Viju Jacob says:

    Let’s see how we can convert the 5 negatives into positives:

    1. AMN has done his time doing defensive duties, while he is a natural midfielder, so it is prudent to make him the defensive midfielder, who will compete with Xhaka, Guendozi & Torreira.
    2. Xhaka needs time off from the first team and play himself into form in smaller competitions. That he was booed is a shame, but Emery played him till the fans lost it, a la Mustafi, and that won’t be doing his confidence any good. He can use his lack of pace better & he is no captain material.
    3. Sokratis should play only in smaller competitions and honestly someone should stop him from his wrestling and WWE playacting.
    4. Pepe needs service and if you aren’t giving him that, let’s forget goals from him. Give him that service.
    5. Emery should be asked to go, so we can salvage this season. That’s the only positive about this man because he seems to be on an ego trip and his stubbornness isn’t doing us any good.

    Finally, us fans should stop abusing and booing – we can express our opinions/displeasure without resorting to being nasty.

  12. Innit says:

    I agree with most of the points including Emery’s poor lineup choices and picking Xhaka.

    Play Chambers as RB until Bellerin is ready. Play Holding and Luiz as CB and continue Kolsanic until Tierney is ready.

    Hopefully in a few weeks we can see this defensive line :
    Bellerin RB
    Holding CB
    Luiz/Chambers CB
    Tierney/Kols LB

    I’m hoping Holding will bench Sokratis

    Niles was put in this position by Emery not getting a backup RB this summer. I think he’s done the best he can do considering he’s a midfielder not a defender.
    Play Chambers at RB. He played there for Southampton and several times for us. At least he’s a genuine defender who can play midfield also.

  13. ThirdManJW says:

    1 – AMN’s poor decision making, and passing ability, have absolutely nothing to do with playing out of position. ALL outfield players will find themselves in unfamiliar positions during the course of a game, yet that shouldn’t mean they cannot do the basics. I do have sympathy as a young player should be learning his trade in his natural position, but he’s making too many mistakes which are unrelated to his position.

    2 – Emery has been fantastic at identifying poor players, yet cannot when it comes to Xhaka? We can blame Xhaka all we want, but it’s Emery that keeps picking him.

    3 – Sokratis has been poor this season, although what Arsenal defender hasn’t, but I actually support, and encourage his play acting. We gradually became such a soft touch Wenger, we looked pathetic and weak in our opponents eyes, but Emery has got us playing a little more dirty again. It’s great to see us using any-which-way to win, like every other team does.

    4 – Pepe has been very poor so far, but it’s ridiculous to get on his back so early into his Arsenal career. He’s still adjusting, and he’s been unlucky to join at a very difficult time, with so many key players missing, and an under performing manager.

    5 – Emery has not been doing well this season, but we’re only 6 games into his tenure, if we’re giving him a free season last season (which most fans did), and I would never judge a manager/player after only 6 games. I would be a lot more worried if the results, and performances, were the same with a fully fit squad, but he’s had 4/5 key players missing EVERY game! So I do believe we’ll see an improvement once everyone is fit. The question is, will it be enough of an improvement?

    1. Viju Jacob says:

      Wenger wanted the game to be played in the true spirit of the game, which is football and not WWE.

      What good you see in Emery’s management of the team, I have no clue.

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        The same Wenger that had WWE players himself? Keown, Adams, Vieira, Lauren, Grimandi, etc. Ridiculous amount of sending offs.

        Have you also forgotten how much better we were back then with dirtier, aggressive players? ALL the best teams have a dark edge, why should Arsenal be any different? It weakened us so much down years, as Wenger wanted to do things differently from EVERY other team.

        1. Viju Jacob says:

          Doesn’t it grate on your nerves to see what Sokratis does on the pitch? I cringe.

          1. ThirdManJW says:

            Not in the slightest. What has been grating on my nerves is teams bullying us. I am glad Emery has got us fighting back!

  14. Henry says:

    I agree with you. Emery is the main negative here. You play Socratis with Luiz is negative upon negative. None of them is
    a calculative ball winner.None of them still has their best days ahead. They have nothing to aspire to. They have pass their prime.
    They have nothing to proof.
    Emery is the problem of team. These guys are average players even in their prime days.
    They cannot form a formidable defence. in fairness to them and for the experience we can only make due with one of them at a time while our young defenders should take the centre stage.
    Paying Luiz and Socratis cannot give Arsenal any result.

  15. Not a coach says:

    From what we’ve seen so far in 6 games, I think we can see that Emery prefered to pick 10 regular starters – Leno, Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kola, Xhaka, Guenduozy, Ceballos, Pepe, and Auba. However, I only see Leno and Auba as the ones deserved that, in terms of quality compared to the ones on the bench. Kola probably an exception as he’s the only available player in that position. Some other players showed a glimpse of quality but just like that. Guenduozy probably stole the show here and there but if I’m not mistaken, along with Torreira and Xhaka, their main responsibility is helping the defence, isn’t it? And it is there where he mostly produced errors. That’s why I don’t consider him deserve a regular starting berth.
    Last season, it’s understandable if Emery kept leaving Ozil, but not with the fact that he didn’t really trust Ramsey enough to be a regular starter either while we know that Ramsey almost always put a good game when played. This season we could see it even more clearly. Still no trust in Ozil. Some fans would say that Guenduozy put better performance than Ozil. Is he the one who should do that? What about Ceballos?
    What about Pepe? Is he really showing why Arsenal bought him?
    Why not giving the same chance to Willock, Nelson, Chambers, Torreira?
    I don’t know but I guess a true competition or rotation is needed so that we can have a clear picture which players deserve a regular starting XI.

  16. NY_Gunner says:

    @admin Martin
    You really need to get off of AMN’s jock dude. How do you feel your unnecessary abuse of him was vindicated, you because he got a red card, a so he should be sold? Wake up and take off your blinders and adress the fact that dude is never given any help on the right side. So he’s constantly compensating and of course is prone to error because… Get real

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