Freddie admits Arsenal missed the first half again, but finally came good in the second

Arsenal went in to last night’s game at West Ham with confidence at an all-time low after going nine whole games without winning, and there was not much surprise when we were playing listlessly from the start, and even less surprise that we fell behind to a scrappy goal from Ogbonna before half-time.

It looked like we were set for yet another disastrous night for the Gunners and to continue our plummet towards the relegation zone, but it seems that Freddie’s half-time chat galvanised the shuffled team into action and our rising young star Martinelli popped up with an excellent equaliser.

This was the boost we needed as West Ham’s heads dropped and we quickly went into an unassailable lead through Pepe and Aubameyang.

At last we had three points in the bag, but Freddie admitted that we only really started playing in the second half. He told “The players did amazingly. We had a gameplan and we wanted to move the ball a lot. First half we were slow, we were a bit lethargic, we didn’t move, we didn’t run. But that in my opinion comes when players are low and have no confidence. You don’t do it at the speed you need to and it’s been hard on the players, but I felt like we gave it a go in the second half and we did that.

“It was amazing to see, for me. And you saw West Ham getting a bit tired and a bit low around the 60th minute and we sliced them open and played some really good football, in my opinion. That’s how we want to play and we were keeping the ball well. But of course, we don’t get carried away. We have a lot of work to do on things but all credit to the players for how they did in the second half.”

He was then asked if this has lifted the atmosphere in the team. “I hope so!” he replied. “They looked happy in the dressing room, but I don’t think any of us can imagine, in my opinion at least… Arsenal is a big football club. We are demanded to win football games and they haven’t won for a long time. I at least have been able to feel or sense the pressure they’ve been under and you can always say ‘well they’re professional football players, they should deal with it’ but it’s been tough for them and you’ve felt it and seen it in games. Today, in the last 30 minutes, that lifted a bit and we started to play some good football and slice them open like I said. We’ve got a lot of things to work on but it felt nice with a win.”

With games coming thick and fast, Freddie was asked if he had had much time to actually train with the squad, and he admitted that he would like to: “It would be nice to have a few days so I can actually practise with them. Before the game is almost like a walkthrough, slowly, of what we need to do and maybe that’s why we start a bit too slowly all the time! Because you can’t really have the tempo in training, but it’s a lot of video and trying to show sequences that we can do better because we can’t really do it on the field. That’s not ideal, but that’s December and the situation I’m in with the players. We do the best we can.”

So, is one win enough to get the team back on track? “Of course you always hope.” Freddie concluded. “But I try to not get carried away because I can still feel that there are things we need to work on and we’re not near to where I want us to be. But of course, I hope that the happiness the players could feel, and that spirit and hopefully the belief in themselves, that they could pass the ball with a higher tempo and they could do one and two touches and they could do things a lot quicker, that they will have some positive effect on them.”

So, the run has been broken and we have moved up to 9th in the table, but we are amazingly only one point behind Spurs and 2 points behind Man United in 5th, so if we can get a run going we can easily move back into the top 6. There is just the small matter of facing Manchester City next week…



  1. Good away win to lift the team’s spirit up before the big match

    I’m sure the players would be pumped up when they play against Man City, because they’d need to promote themselves

    I hope Martinelli and Tierney are fit before the big game. For the right wing, we still have Nelson and Maitland-Niles if Pepe and Bellerin are unfit

    1. I doubt that Tierney shoulder band bellerin hamstring will be fits,also why pepe wouldn’t be fit,the only thing is that Pepe was knackered hence the substitution unless I missed something!

    2. @gotanidea
      I wished our 90% of our Frontline could play Europa on Thursday to keep them in shape for City game. Though I concede that will be tiring for most of them.

    3. @gotanidea
      I wished our 90% of our Frontline could play Europa on Thursday to keep them in shape for City game. Though I concede that will be tiring for most of them.

  2. Off topic.
    Previous thread was already done so I’ll post mine here.
    First, in defense of Xhaka. I’ll start by castigating him for his half hearted challenges in the air in our box. I know I’d have probably ducked myself, and probably the entire arsenal team would have ducked as well, it’s less the fear of getting rammed and more the fear of giving away a penalty. For proof, just go back about 2 seconds before the header. 3 arsenal players had a better opportunity than him to clear the ball, and immediately after the header another two turned their backs, when if they had made themselves big, maybe they’d have blocked the shot. But guess what? They are not xhaka, so they get no blame.

    Secondly, I saw (he consistently gave the ball away) I only saw him loose the ball in a dangerous position once, and even then, he was attempting to play a pass that if not for very good West Ham pressing, would have taken pressure off the defense. He was surrounded by 3 pressing West Ham players and playing the ball to Torreira, Chambers, AMN or Ozil would have mounted more pressure. What he tried was a good option, only that since it didn’t work, xhaka xhaka xhaka. We won’t even consider every other time he tried it and it worked. Just for comparison, Lucas Torreira received a ball right in front of our goal and lost it attempting to flick the ball on. It didn’t even dent his rating, bias.

    I haven’t looked at the stats, but I’m sure xhaka must have played more final third entry passes than both Ozil and Torreira. Those asking for Guendouzi should remember that in games without Xhaka, we seldom get the ball into the opponents final third. I actually feel like the threaded passes we praise Ozil for, are what Xhaka does the most.

    And before we go to the he’s supposed to defend role, it is Torreira’s (8) role to chase and tackle ,just like Vieira, then it’s Xhaka’s (6) role to pick up the ball from him and initiate attacks (like Gilberto)

    Let’s fairly judge performance and not just blame everything on people because of their name.

    Guendouzi is probably our best ball carrier in the middle. I’d probably replace ozil with him for city. Considering how hard they press, we’ll definitely need someone to drive us forward

    1. He should have put his body on the line and gone for the header to stop the ball. Look at what Chambers did in the 90th minute, literally dived for a header to clear the ball and almost got kicked in the head

    2. Oh BTW. On the previous thread, someone mentioned Guendouzi spending too much time spinning around with the ball, that’s called game management. With 5 minutes to go, why attempt a risky pass if you can just spend two minutes on the ball draw a foul and just keep the lead you already have?

      1. Spot on!game management,how many times ,trying when we drew was because players trying to be to smart,losing possession,when all they had to see the game out,very good point one of our problems was never been able to see the games out,when we should have drawn and we lost we should have drawn….use our brains and cut silly mistakes,;playing further up the field,more direct play rather lose possession in the opposite teams sides and fight for 2nd balls Leno in these cases should kick the ball as far as our defense simple as that!

    3. It’s probably because Xhaka mistake-> goal conceded.

      Xhaka also did an idiotic challenge on Felipe Anderson inside the box. Very defining mistake for him. If you watch it in slow motion, it was a clear foul. Luckily Dean didn’t bother to check it.

      And if Xhaka’s only job is to pick up the ball and initiate attacks, then we are definitely playing with 10 men with him on. He’s a midfielder, he’s supposed to either A) help out defense or B) be MORE involved in goal scoring. That means scoring and assisting, or C) both of them. Not just doing forward passes.

    4. At least Torreira got back into our box and cleared the cross that came from his mistake. Xhaka always acts like he us too far back to affect the next phase of play and is never added to get back and fix his mess.

  3. Transfers I would make for the summer
    -If the rumours of Real Madrid wanting Auba for Jovic & cash we must take it. Or try to get Jovic and Cellabos (no cash)
    -Sell Laca for $50+m to fund a Zaha transfer.
    -Sell Xhaka (& Torreira if he wants to leave) to anyone to fund a Partey transfer.
    -Buy Upamencano.

    Bellerin Upamencano Salilba Tierney
    Partey Guendozi
    Zaha Cellabos Pepe

      1. Zaha would probably be the least priority out of the 3 as Martinelli/Saka can play the other wing.
        Partey and Upemancano should be priority

  4. Good one Joe,in this site name matters more than ability,ghendouzi has no business in our team as presently constituted,our 2 goals came from quick transition from midfield to attack,couldn’t have bn possible with ghendouzi in the team, the truth is that their confidence was flat under emery,they r beginning to play with smiles again, we need a defensive partner to chambers,he did well beside mavropanos in Wenger’s last few matches for us, could have love the coach to try them together after we r out of this mess, sure xhaka misplaced some passes trying to move the ball forward its still better than giving backward and sideways passes! We r close to having a stable starting 11,

  5. I have always said we should play players who are in form and I was happy to see Gabriel. Now the coach has to be ruthless in team selection. Pepe should play behind auba, Gabriel and laca. Laca has a very good hold up play and can score goals as well. Gabriel will help us press from the front and score goals too. Lucas and Luiz should hold the mildfield and the back should take care of itself. Trust me, this is our best team selection currently, we will win more games with those front three and pepe behind. Ozil doesn’t give us more when we are not with the ball. If Luiz can play our holding mildfield and lucas little freedom of box to box, then top four isn’t going to be a problem.

    1. I like the idea of Luiz playing in front of the back three,he did it few times at Chelsea and worked well! he also has a decent passing range which is useful,if not him someone else,we need one proper DM whose job is solely to protect the defence,break/slow down counters attacks when we lose the ball in order to give other players time to track back and reorganize!

  6. I loved the first half.It was cat and mouse.
    Both sides were desperate not to give away a soft goal just like
    Joshua – Luiz first 4 rounds both boxers being ultra careful not
    to make a mistake and get floored.
    I could see what we were trying to do which was to go down the flanks
    and get in behind with our pace but WH kept sinking deep and trying to
    catch us on the break.
    But I could see that the game was slowly loosening up.
    I actually posted a comment on Just Arsenal at the time saying
    that the game would open up and get wild.
    And I was exactly right…as usual 🙂
    MOM? The whole team deserve 7 minimum.
    Freddie has an exciting brand of footy and I would love to see him stay on till May.
    Our game v City should be cagey at first and then explode with goals.
    It is a step up in class v City but we are at home.
    Any one know if Xhaka is on concussion stand down.
    Team v Standard Liege
    AMN Holding Mustafi Bola
    Luiz Willock Smith-Rowe
    Nelson Lacazette Saka

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