Leeds v Arsenal Review – Are we any better than we were a year ago?

Arsenal picked up where they left off by Konstantin Mitov

Well lovely Arsenal people, we picked up from where we left off. We were poor. We tried to rotate the front players and nothing changed. Auba was in the middle, we had both Pepe and Willian and so what?

We haven’t scored from open play since we played Sheffield at home. Our record from the last 5 games is won 1 draw one, lost three, with only one goal scored from a penalty.

Our lack of ideas from midfield was apparent. Xhaka and Ceballos offer next to nothing. The dynamism we had with Partey and Elneny at OT seems like a one off.

The front three showed the usual lack of chemistry and to me it doesn’t seem like it matters who starts there. Arteta doesn’t know how to unlock something there and the question is if we should trust the youth instead?

We did try Willock, but in the league it hasn’t really worked out so far for him. Not that the players around him were great, and it’s not like we have a solid system and a game plan (A or B), but I wished that our players took this as an opportunity to inspire us and show the manager they deserve a place in the team.

Reiss Nelson and Saka created more after minute 51, although we played with 10 men. Saka should’ve scored his chance no doubt and this could’ve won us the game, but this was one of very few chances we created and that is where the real problem lies.

The huge contracts we’ve given to aging players up front is part of the problem. Auba has been terrible since his contract. Willian has been atrocious apart from day one.

And there’s Pepe. Why are you headbutting a player without the ball? His frustration should be a motivation on the training ground, instead such behaviour from a 72 million player signing shows why he doesn’t start every game.

Funnily enough, the red card actually made us better. It gave up the burden of needing to attack, because we were once a big club and of us still remember it and we suddenly started playing like a team.

But we just lack quality. I look at Bellerin dropping and dropping, afraid to make a tackle. Xhaka and his mistakes and sideways passes. The guy is depressingly slow for a dynamic league, but we know that already and Partey is supposed to help fix this.

Our best attacking player by a mile is Bukayo Saka and that says something. Only Wolves and the clubs in the bottom 3 have scored less than us. If there is one thing I always associated with this football club it was always goals.

Arteta has been here one year and our football is hardly pretty. I read a lot of things written about myself for criticizing Arteta but I was proven right again. Or maybe I am a fool for expecting to beat the likes of Leeds? I feel like the acceptance towards mediocrity at this club has hit a surprising new low.

Are you confident that’ll change by the time we play Tottenham? Do you think we’ll beat Wolves? Anyway, the Europa will be the competition to keep an eye on. It’s the league where I want to see us do something, but even with all the changes we’ve made on and off the pitch it feels like the puzzle is as far away from a solution as it was 12 months ago.

Konstantin

Tags Arteta Leeds Pepe

50 Comments

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  1. Reggie says:

    We are different than last year obviously but we are still the same in lots of ways. Still a cup team, still a EL team and still a mid table prem team. We do look better a defending, except villa showed not sorted just yet but attacking wise we are just not on it. We dont attack as a unit and we dont get enough players into the box and into the right places.

    1. Mobella says:

      Reggie let us stop lying to ourselves. We are not better at defending. We were saved yesterday by post and Leno. My issue with Emery when he was here was the inability of his team to win ball back through marking and tackling and the same is visible in Arteta team. All they do is getting behind balls and leave the rest to faith.

    2. Tommogun58 says:

      With you on that Reggie, we are a more solid unit on the defensive side and Arteta has improved us there,but we seem to be going backwards offensively,Pepe was a prat to get involved in that incident he should know better, Saka should have played from the off and Nelson lacked ideas along with others.

      1. Alanball08 says:

        I most agree with you
        Defensively we have progressed so much more
        We had our lucky moments and i dont think any of us could have argued that if Leeds did score then they deserved it. Offensively they were sharper and had more ideas.
        But a winning team is built from the back going forward. We have lost some thing going forward but in time we will regain that and start scoring again
        A season or two back if we went down to 10 men we would have caved in and probably took a spanking
        A good point had overall due to he circumstances.

        1. Reggie says:

          Funny thing is, i dont think any of us could complain if yesterday’s score was 4-0.

  2. Indeed says:

    I said it before the Leeds game that it will be about taking our chances… We keep saying we create few chances but such chances need to be taken to spark positivity in the team… They may be few but they are glaring one-on-one goal-gaping chances which should not be missed… Martinelli took his chance against Chelsea last season and today that match is recorded as a draw for Arsenal… Essentially, Auba, Laca, Saka, and our players must make every chance pay… Spurs are top due to brutal efficiency in front of goal…

    Finally, Arteta has pleased our all-knowing fan base, so I hope we will allow him do his job now… Or do we still have more advice for him… Maybe we will say the u23 players should take over… Now, I hope we can give him space with less criticism to do his job, a job that requires time to effect…

  3. Kev82 says:

    I never wanted Arteta, Vieira or Henry I’m not for this ex players becoming the manager because they know the club.. I like Arteta but I think this job is too big for him right now and especially with his lack of experience.. I would happily take Alegri or the Southampton manager! This season is starting to play out like Emery’s final months in charge.. it’s very worrying.

  4. ken1945 says:

    Well Konstantine, if you couldn’t see that Bellerin had an excellent game today (along with the rest of the back four and Leno) then I’m not sure what it is you do see?

    1. Top Gunner says:

      Those shoes are too big for Arteta to fill. The guy doesn’t have planB. Arteta should try Maitland-Niles in midfield and forget about Xhaka. Xhaka will never challenge his opponents, instead he’ll do either back pass or side pass.

    2. John Ibrahim says:

      he looks at the result, final score and media reports

      and not at individual player or overall game performance

  5. Declan says:

    A year ago we had a shit defence and a decent attack.
    This year is the complete opposite.
    A year ago the midfield was shît.
    This year the midfield is also shit.

    1. RSH says:

      Amazing we’ve had two windows to fix the midfield and we havent. Arsenal went into the season knowing there was no creative player on the squad. Or the one we did have was going to not make the squad. So what exactly did they expect? They willingly went into the season handicapped. Which isn’t surprising. We set ourselves up for failure essentailly every window by not being aggressive enough in the market.

  6. Adega Olatunji says:

    Arteta is bias and sentimental just like his boss Guardiola , and by this he’s beginning to destroy the good works he has done

    1. Phil says:

      Really? I’m not sure Mesut Ozil will agree with you PAL

    2. AB says:

      I know where you are coming from. Typical Nigerian mindset. This is football. This is not politics. Free your mind. arteta will play his worst enemy if he’s going to win the match for him.

  7. Ed says:

    We weren’t good enough. Leeds hit the post more than we had shots on target. Our £70 million signing stood out for all the wrong reasons. Fresh from signing a new contract our captain cant get a goal for the life of him. We have an owner who sees our club as a business venture…. Doom and gloom, feel completely rubbish, but then get real and get positive.
    Trouble is so much of what we have clamoured for Arteta to do in terms of selection, formation, sorting out the defence he seems to of done but we were second best to Villa and now Leeds. And we didn’t exactly destroy Dundalk!
    So is it Arteta? We said it was all Emery’s fault and he’s proving us wrong at Villarreal.

    The worst is that I no longer expect us to win. Or maybe that’s where we need to be. History is just that: history. Forget hindsight players we should have signed or wish-list players we should be signing. I think the individuals at Arsenal are actually a greater sum than the team. (If that makes sense!) We can win but we cant expect to. We need to fight with everything we’ve got whoever we are playing.

    Come Arsenal, learn, move on, find a way to get the best of people and give it 100%. The going is getting tough. Its time for the tough to get going!

  8. lcw says:

    No sugar coating MA deciding on the new formation killed the team and took away creativity from the players. You don’t go into a completely new style of play unless your players can execute. His statement ” I tried to help Ozil” shows over confidence. It turns out he did not help anybody.
    He build the team around himself instead of somebody like Ozil. Maybe the job got to his head and now he looks lost and out of options. I am sure deep inside he is a good person and we should all hope he turns this thing around, but It is hard to see the club giving him money for January. He dug himself into a hole and him alone can get out of it.

  9. Adajim says:

    I dont know why we are leaving out AUBA and our wastefulness in front of goal. How much clear chances do we need to waste? We are no more generous with creativity and the little we manage get squandered.
    2 things MA should do
    1. Create a system where we can hold line, our mf and attack kept running back when we are not with the ball giving too much space for the opposition to cross or shoot.
    2. We are to naive and left too much space between midfield and attack, our wingers are far too isolated.
    No one should blame the redcard for the draw, we were outran and outplayed. Leeds had 60% possession at HT.

    1. RSH says:

      Agree. And I think Auba should’ve put the “handball chance” away anyways. Auba has been awful this season. No other way aroudn taht fact.

    2. PJ-SA says:

      Agreed…

      This is Auba has never contributed much to games except the goals he scores. Luckily he’s always been scoring so no problem. Now that he’s not scoring, he brings nothing else to the team.

      Tell me how he is any different to Ozil but with assists/creating chances.

      Auba should be benched and brought on as a super sub for 20-30 mins, hopefully that helps him regain some sort of form

  10. Quantic Dream says:

    The way we take our set pieces is a joke and has been for a number of years. Free kicks and corners just don’t materialise into anything, heck, they don’t even make it past the first opponent. We need more training in that area.

  11. Neath Gunner says:

    We missed the man.
    Ancelotti.
    House in London he was gagging for our job.
    No goals in 5 games.
    Bar pen at theatre of shite.

  12. RSH says:

    He’s lost right now big time. Are we better than a year ago? It’s a no. We had a good period, and now we’re having a bad period. Really the same as Emery. Don’t see who improves this team rn. Arsenal have stuck by Mikel for the longterm and belief is still there it seems. So that’s just reality and we’ll have to hope he can start turning things around. I’m not convinced we are just “one player away” from everything going our way either and can’t rest all our laurels on the right Jan. transfer.

  13. Sue says:

    I’m so disappointed… how can we go from our performances en route to winning the cup, to this??
    Most teams are scoring for fun, playing exciting football, then there’s us… who are lucky to have 2 (yes, 2) shots on target!! You couldn’t make it up!

    1. PJ-SA says:

      I believe we need to bench Auba and use him as a sub for a couple games. Hopefullly coming on and giving his all for 20-30 mins might help him find his scoring boots again.

      Unfortunately as much as I love him if Auba doesn’t score, he brings almost nothing to a game.

      *Is he getting poor services – yes
      *Is the team poor overall – yes
      *Should he be able to create goals by himself every game or 2 on his wages – yes

      1. Sue says:

        Yeah Laca was dropped for his poor performances… even though he’s our top scorer (work that one out 🤪)
        I don’t know if MA will drop Auba, for his standards he has been poor, yes, but for soooo long he’s been our go-to man… he’s carried us and with this drought, we haven’t exactly got a back up plan!!
        I just hope he starts finding the back of the net and sharpish, as this drought is hard to watch!! So unlike him ☹

  14. jon fox says:

    I am sticking firmly to my well aired opinion that MA is a potentially genuius manager but that many far too impatient fans are not prepared to give him a chance. They are out of touch with all reality and many of them constantly hype our many moderate to poor players, most of them long term here, well before MAcame and some before Emery too.

    Until MA is able to shift our forest of deadwood he has no option but to pick many of of them He has brought in Partey and GABRIEL , BOTHTOP CLASS PLAYERS AND GIVEN TIME, WHICH I FOR ONE WILL GIVE HIM, WE WILL SEE WONDERS.
    But then I am a realist and do not hype poor players and give myself unrealistic expectations and then become angry and disappointed enough to vent my juvenile fury when my silly, unrealistic expectations do not happen.

    All managers need proper time and REAL fans will gladly help the club we love by removing unnecessary and harmful pressure on the manager by expecting him to be a miracle worker, when NO ONE can be such a thing. REALISM for me every time!

    1. RSH says:

      He’s also still a rookie manager though and needs to find out a way out of this bad period. Sometimes the trajectory is just downwards and I wouldn’t like to see that. It’s more than just the players. You dont go 400+ minutes with just a penalty and the fault just be the players.

  15. CFArsenal#10 says:

    This happens when the assistant gets a big time job and thinks he is as good as his master.
    Arteta is out of his depth. In addition to that he has
    no clear ideas as to how to create attacking fotball.At least Pep is still playing exciting football.

  16. speedy says:

    I think willock starting as a 10 while ozil is tweeting on his couch sums it all.Leaving Ozil out of the 25 man PL squad was a bigger mistake than giving him a 350kpw contract. I hope salzburg agrees to our offer for dominik szoboszlai. And saka should take his mask off we know it messi, the lad led all attacks in the little time he spent on the pitch.

  17. Davd ROWLANDS says:

    The club only has 5 maybe 7 players that are good enough in the Premier League.
    this squad is unacceptable and by far the worst in Premier League history.
    Not only is Arteta useless. Out owner Kronke does not care. He only cares about money.
    Not trophies.
    The performances are getting worse and worse each game that is played.

  18. Phil says:

    Jon- I agree with you. Let’s remember he has only half a season, in which he won us the FA Cup when relegation form was riddled through the Club, and only 9 games this season. We are far better defensively, which we needed to be, and if our purse strings had allowed us to buy a CAM we would be a better outfit now.
    We played a 433 today which was needed. and with Partey returning I see us in a 4231 or 4213 lineup.
    BUT. Ozil would immediately make us better going forward. The results when Arteta brought him back in his first game in charge up until lockdown in March proved this.
    That Jon is both fact and reality

    1. Mohsan says:

      Come one Phil we spent 60-70million even more in summer on players that too with out any interference from anyone else as it was only left in the hands of Arteta and Edu. You can not blame lack of financial support. Lampard spent nothing last year and finished in top 4 with Chelsea youngsters we are struggling to win with quality international squad. We have let in 10 goals in 9 matches by this ratio when season will finish we will end up with 30 odd goals conceded is that a very good defensive record? One FA cup win does not make you a world class manager it was a fluke…other wise De matio was better then MA should have signed him he won champions League with Chelsea and did ok in league as well actually better then what MA is doing with this team.

      1. Phil says:

        @Mohsan- may I suggest you read my post again. Read it and you will see I have not critisised anyone over anything.
        Try understanding things before replying PAL

  19. Mohsan says:

    Clearly the job is too big for Arteta to handle so time to move on before there is nothing left to salvage. Some one in Arsenal board needs to show balls n admit we made a mistake by signing Arteta like I did when I thought he is Wenger’s long term successor. He is nothing like Wenger or Pep he is just another David Moyes. Ask your self would any successful club in world would put up with this display of football and performance?? Then why should we. Spuds acted better then us last season in sacking Pocha n that yeilded better results for them. We reacted too late last season n I am afraid same thing we will do this season. To be successful you need to be ruthless like Chelsea…we have been ruthless in getting rid of players from team then it’s time we do same with manager. For all the people who think we should atleast give MA a full season they don’t understand it is a knock-on effect if we finish bottom mid table like last season we will have same problem again to attract world class players…every player wants to play at highest level also MA is not a big name that players will be willing to sacrifice their salary or champions League to play for us. Time to get a well know proven manager in. This team is not a mid table team, we have better quality then spuds, licester and Man United.

  20. Ayo says:

    Anyone noticed we only start defending when the opponents get to the final third. On a rare occasion, pepe pressed but nobody followed him.

    We lack creativity yet we don’t try to gain the ball in their half. As poor as Laca has been, he is only one that truly press and we have gotten a few goals from that.

    Again, Leno kept long ball to Leeds players all the time. Until things change, I think Arteta is losing touch with this team. Where is all the initial charisma, motivation, energy and confidence he once oozed from the touchline.

  21. Scubagooner says:

    What seems evident to me over the last few games and further is we look scared of our opposition. We play such negative football. When bellerin charged forward for saka’s chance that is the arsenal that I want to see, brave but it seldom happens these days.
    Villa showed us how fast and direct they could be up front. What has happened to our attack? Yet again Abu was often so deep defending when we did win the ball there was no chance of a fast attack. I think ma thinks he is coaching a basketball team. Just bring ozil back how much worse can it actually get?

  22. Sean Williams says:

    Anybody remember Santi Cazorla. A creative player. Not long ago we had Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil…such creative players. Under first Emery and now Arteta we are so BORING. It is boring watching Arsenal now. How have we become such a diluted team? The team are crippled with fear. Where is the spontaneity that made us great? We are a poor side.

  23. CFArsenal#10 says:

    @ayo
    It is noticeable we drop now behind mid to defend so the whole Ozil pressing theory does not hold water. Arteta better find a way to get a top notch
    midfield maestro in January or this looks like we are battling for point to stay up.
    He seems to have lost the players although they still stay organized defensively the group seems
    out of ideas to go forward
    Saka is the real deal. Best youngster from Arsenal in a while. Needs to play higher up and keep Willian on the dressing room.
    A line up with Partey/Ceb/Ozil and Saka/Pepe/Auba would produce chances in my opinion. But we are not Mikel.

  24. Joe. S says:

    Too right Sean and others. Only four years ago we had all the above mentioned players plus Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain.How can we even begin to make comparisons. It’s called Regression. What Arsenal badly needs now is for the fans to return. There’s a lot of pent up rage now brewing from the fans and it needs to be released,at the manager,players and owners. Can you imagine a full stadium tolerating this nonsense sideways / backwards passing without jeers and taunt which might even provoke the players into doing something spontaneously.

  25. Thabani says:

    Arteta is crap,ozil is not comparable to willock,guendouzi is way better than ceballos….he is imitating pep who froze toure out…. unfortunately,debryune, Silva and gundoguone are not comparable to what Arteta has…. arsenal’s midfielders are frozen out…the team is struggling

    1. Top Gunner says:

      They said that Arteta is the best thing that ever happened to Arsenal. What a waste of words. How can you have a manager who put grudges on his players? Maitland-Niles cannot start the games because of the grudges he has. Gouendouzi has to sent away because of the grudges. He leant this from Pep

      1. Sean Williams says:

        Top gunner
        You are being proven right. Arteta holds grudges. He is a bitter and twisted…..and worst…..a control freak.

  26. Jj says:

    Hi

    After looking at all yr comments. I do agree with most of u. All of u have valid points. Its great to have different opinions. Pardon me if my english is not strong.

    1. No doubt MA is a rookie manager. From the way he brought in 2 world class players. Rookie MA won 2 Cup Trophies. Even experienced well known managers took over some clubs will have problems n need time n cant even win a trophy in such a shot time. Although tactics wise n players at times may puzzle me. Give MA some time am sure he and the team will figure out. Remember he is rebuilding the team but he create miracles at times.lets hope he will create more.
    2. Board is not helping at all. After so many years if u compare other boards well known as wealthy as Arsenal. investment is still…….
    3. Captain Au is a world class player no doubt. U can say about his out of position and other reasons. But he is an experienced player. A Captain. But hes not doing much as a Captain for this season. Its easy to see from his body language. Normally in sports players who are in last year or 1 year contracts tend to play better.
    Being captain or leader must always be able to rise n fight. To lead the team.
    Change Captain if needed after some.time.
    4. Established players in EPL not performing to expected.
    Willian is a great example. Hes a seasoned player no excuses. Hes also a. Leader to us as it seems but again body language is not good. Does mot seem to habe yhe enthusiam.
    5. A team cant have many old seasomed players. Arsenal is rebuilding. Just because someone world class is available Atsenal has to go after it. The medias blogs speculate so much n most of them are nonsense just to get hits. Arsenal do not have a good budget. Arsenal cant pay much unless some players are sold.
    Needless say about Jack from Aston.
    Most of us will know who will be needed to be sold.
    6. Willian need to be bench. We really need to buy a pure stricker, a creative player. Someone class n made immediate impact. We have a genius rotational young Joe to use as sub or to start at times to gain more experiences.
    Arsenal have quite a skillful bunch of youth players to br use as rotational or sub.
    Thks

  27. RW1 says:

    Good post … The defence of bellerin on this site reminds me of that for Walcott and Ramsey in previous times … Fans have misplaced nostalgia for one or two good performances as a youngster but clearly hasn’t matured … He is now way out of his depth weak defensively and infertile offensiveley … Wasn’t the worst player yday he’s was just on average below average … Clearly the weak link in an improved defence should have been sold in the summer when there seemed to be interest

    1. Tommogun58 says:

      Agreed RW1, i am not a fan of Bellerin,he is poor defensively and very definitely a weak link,has his moments going forward but his defending has always worried me.

  28. Gily says:

    I love Arteta so much and I still do. But his greatest problem now is himself and that thing about absolute power tending to corrupt absolutely. He will bring about his own downfall by continuing to remain stubborn refusing to learn from his predecessor.

    He has decided to shut out certain important player(s) that can make a lot of difference in the team for some phantom reasons only him knows. For some time now Arsenal has been playing patternless boring football, and yet he is not affected at all.

    I know of a certain Emery who played great for a time. And then suddenly he began fighting his playmaker shutting him out. That resulted in his going from hero to zero, and the rest is now history as he left with a lot negative records in Arsenal’s book.

    Arteta came with little or nothing known about him, but soon won the hearts of the Emirates faithfuls worldwide. He played a defensive but beautiful brand of football and won real matches consistently. However as soon as he got more power, he decided he wants to repeat the same mistake of his predecessor and his games since are a testament to his gradual demise by degrees. I hope he changes just in time before nothing can be done to save him.

    It will be a curse for two managers to be outlived by the same player they fought to their own deaths. I love beautiful football but right now I don’t remember it anymore. Make it happen again. Even in defeats, we’ll still have something to be proud of. Stop all the needless meaningless infighting and bring everyone along and you will shine for all to see what a great manager you are.

  29. Declan says:

    I do not condone the headbutt Konstantin but you asked why he did it. Well, Sky showed exactly why with footage just before the incident with the Leeds player pushing, shoving and winding Pepé up. Wrong reaction but these things happen in the moment.

    1. Reggie says:

      He will probably end up at Hertha Berlin.

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