Let’s discuss the reasons for Arsenal’s recent misfortunes, shall we?

I will blame our recent misfortune on the naivety of the manager, complacency of the recruitment team and lack of ambition of the owners.

Arteta is naive to think he can win the league with one tactic and 11 players. Certainly not with the quality of players we currently have. No adequate preparation was made in the event of injuries to key players. Some of the things happening now, like teams parking the bus against us and doubling up on certain players, even loss of form of players, are what should have been envisaged.

I mean if amateur tacticians on social media have been making posts/threads on how to stop Arsenal and most agreed it is by looking for ways to neutralize our wingers, why can’t the manager prepare for this?

Arsenal have one of the best defences and some of the fastest attackers in the league but we hardly try to sometimes absorb pressure and then use counter attack. There is a way that counterattack serves as a deterrence against mass attack that is underestimated.

We are so fixated on possession football and inverted fullback thing that our wingers and fullbacks have now lost the ability to properly overlap. I noticed several misplaced passes yesterday on the wings because the 2 players were just not in tune on what they wanted to do — the winger expecting the fullback to overlap (probably because they were instructed) and the fullback wanting to invert.

It has become so noticeable that other teams are not afraid to massively attack us knowing that our players are very slow and hesitant on transition and this gives them time to quickly  restructure their defence.

I was not surprised yesterday when Tierney didn’t play because he had been one of the players with the least minutes played this season so, you can’t expect to start such a match rusty player in an important match where you can be severely punished for mistakes. But Tierney is a player that can give us another tactical dimension but Arteta’s tactics is “invert or nothing”.

I really commend Arteta for being successful with the inverted tactics but there are many great managers who don’t believe in it and have won many titles, and the fact that we have succeeded with it should be giving Arteta a tactical edge and flexibility if only he could also play the regular fullbacks.

Another issue I have with Arteta’s management is lack of game time for fringe players. Certainly, there are matches we could still have won with some of these fringe players starting, without injuries to the first 11. This could have provided rest for some players and also keep others sharp and prepared for when they will be needed. I really like Arteta and I appreciate the great work he’s done so far, but it is hard not to notice his naivety in terms of management of the squad available to him.

On Edu and his recruitment team. My God, what were they thinking? Partey has been an injury-prone player since he joined us, but we never went all out to get a proper replacement in the summer and winter, when it was obvious we could fight for the title. Say what you will, our January window was a failure.

If we had such window in January 2022, it could have been enough because we were fighting for top 4, but this year it was not enough. We never got any of our main targets in a year we are so close to the title. This reeks of the Wenger years and it’s such a shame that we never learnt from the experience.

We got Trossard because Brighton wanted to offload him, and Jorginho because he would have become redundant with their new midfielder, plus he has not really been impacting games for a while. Yet we still got another Chelsea reject for the umpteenth time.

This is not disrespect to his achievement and experience but come on, Chelsea that fought tooth and nail to prevent us from getting Mudryk would never turn around to do us a favour with Jorginho.

What about Xhaka’s replacement even when his limitation is so obvious. Let no one say Vieira. Xhaka is supposed to be the box to box and that role demands a lot of physicality, strength and defensive ability and, with the way Arteta likes to play, a lot of technical ability, too.

We never attempted to get in important players until very late in the window when selling clubs wouldn’t have time to buy replacements. Or, were all these a decoy to give impression to fans that they were trying to sign players?

We could all blame Arteta and Edu but they will still have to work within the resources made available to them by the owners. Why wouldn’t Arteta want the best players to win the title, or, Edu be the architect of the biggest deals in the world? Who wouldn’t want all that!

I am still pro-Arteta and I really hope we win the league but top 4, to me, is still a good achievement this season.



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  1. Meedo

    you seem to follow others like a lost sheep.
    all of sudden we have a bad manager and have no recruitment plan.
    the owners who i was totally critical off in the past have dug deep and enable us to buy decent players to add to the squad
    Jan is never a good time to blow the pot. over inflated prices for average players.
    these same players and the manager have got us to the summit and are we still in contention to hold a top 4 place which may you have forgotten was the primary objective at the start of the season.
    maybe you have been watching the wrong team and turning up and watching the spuds but to my eyes we have been playing the best stuff the league has seen this season.
    it really has got boring reading inadequate posts such as yours. lets talk positive if you are going to get people on here to read or at least have some substance to your argument. apologises if that sounded rude which it wasn’t meant to be but we want positivity around here and not negativity
    onwards and upwards

  2. This is the moment that we have been nervous about all season.
    We are clearly having our bad patch. But can we get out of it quickly?

    The last 4 games have not been very encouraging.

    We still have a game in hand. Let’s calm down and go again.


  3. And one more thing.
    Arteta and the team should get sole criticism at the moment, it is warranted.
    We have lost 3 out of the last 4 games. We have gained 1 point out of a possible 9 points in the last 3 PL games.

    It is not a good feeling. The good start to the season had made me forget how it felt dropping that points.

  4. Excellent analysis, Meedo, one hopes that lessons have been learned and the rot stops at Villa Park. Even with our skimpy squad Arteta can turn it around. He needs to be brave.

  5. Let’s just calm down and look at where we are failing and try to correct them. This is where the psychological and mental strength of the team comes to play.

  6. In my opinion, the inverted LB tactic is still fine, but it requires a minor adjustment. Man City have been using a similar tactic when they have the ball in the games, yet they did it better than us because they utilized the half-spaces and their inverted LB very well

    Making Tierney overlap, dribble and cross through our left wing is like reverting to Wenger’s old tactic with Sanchez/ Monreal on that side of pitch. I’d prefer to exploit the half-spaces with our attacking midfielders and instruct our inverted LB to make late runs

    Pay attention to the tactical similarities between Man City’s and ours. I wouldn’t be surprised if we win against Aston Villa with the same formation and Zinchenko in the same role

  7. I am very sceptical about our owner but he has supported Edu and Arteta as much as anyone. The players we have bought in and the style and way we use them fall to Edu and Arteta. The backing they have had, is fantastic. It is now is down to those two to get the success. End of!!!!!

  8. Yes, there are signs that some players are starting to show fatigue due to high minutes played and there have been injuries to key players; however Arsenal does have 51 points with a game in hand, with a lot of points still to play for and the Club currently in the hunt.
    With the youngest squad in the EPL, this situation is beyond most supporters’ expectations at the start of the season. Surely negativity (rather than constructive criticism) is unfair until the result/position at the end of the season can be assessed.

    1. Let’s hope this dip does not go on for far too long. I hope we can get all 3 points for that game in hand. After calming down a bit came back to reality. We are joint 1st with a game in hand on 51 points. Had an amazing start, now is when Arteta has to show that he has matured and to lead his young exciting team in this tough period. This period was always going to come around, we all knew it but let’s see how Arteta can navigate it. It will show how far he has come..

  9. Yes Arteta should be a little more flexible about changing his tactics. Our attack was so predictable that teams double up on our wingers and force us to play through the middle which is not effective, specially our LCM could be seen out of sort in helping out the attack

  10. Rinse and repeat tactics combined with out of form players, and lacking rotation led us here.

    Zinchenko terrible again but continues to start.
    Tomiyasu didn’t start against Brentford, but with limited game time starts against City? What did anyone expect?

    Same old tactics recycled, and Nketiah is a passenger if he’s not scoring.

    After getting through this dip, it should serve as reasoning to upgrade certain positions in the Summer, and have a plan B FFS.

    1. The Tomi situation was totally baffling and totally unacceptable the way as you say came about. Throwing a player into a game with our direct rival with hardly a start for months was baffling. But so is the Tierney situation.

      1. Can’t explain it Reggie, who knows what the thought process is behind it. Zinchenko’s form is off, the inverted tactic is found out, (especially since City use it better than us), yet he gets another start and displays poor passing, poor decision making, and not helping his winger.

        Tomiyasu and Tierney would have been great to start against Brentford. Get game time, check their form, and see if they could replace Zinchenko and White who’s forms have both dipped.

        Nketiah, well it’s there for everyone to see isn’t it? Can’t rely on him for an extended period. He has one gear, poacher, and can’t interchange, drop back as false 9 or midfield, and opponents don’t bother to double him around the box.

        1. City started practicing 3 man defense weeks back to prepare an overload in midfield against us. Nketiah has played 90mins(he wasn’t subed once) since boxing day, and you expecting him not to wear out when he has never played 5 games in a row. To be sincere, Arteta is asking too much from those guys. He will make the change everyone has been asking for today after we’ve lost points. If we loose this league, it’s because we shot ourselves, not lack of squad depth cos we’ve depth

  11. So, before the Everton game we had a five point lead over city, with a game in hand.
    How did we do that?
    It seems, from the comments lately, that we have no plan B, the players are showing fatigue symptoms and our play is too predictable.

    Let’s remember a few things here – first of all, MA has not needed a plan B, at least up and until the Everton result.
    We had spanked our noisy neighbours twice, finally beaten Liverpool at The Emirates, beaten Chelsea once again and hadn’t lost a home game until city beat us.

    We have the second best GD in the PL… the hardest league in the world we are told.

    One of the best value for money January signings came with Trossard and we brought in experience with Jorginho.

    The fates have not been kind – ESR and Jesus out with long term injuries, while Partey gets injured just before the crucial city game.
    On top of that Lee Mason decided to knock off two legitimate goals (both against manchester opponents) and has, at last, been shown the door for his incompetence.

    Now this time last season, I was one of the supporters who was not on board with MA’s tactics, both on and off the pitch and criticised his team’s lack of consistency.
    With the help of the owner, new blood has been brought in and the difference this season to last, is quite remarkable.
    We are actually being seen as rivals of city for THE PL.

    So we’ve got a problem at the moment and this is when we will see just how far the club has come.

    Of course MA is still making errors, so does every manager, just listen to Pep admitting that of himself.

    Should have got cover for Partey? Absolutely, but let’s just remind ourselves how long it took to replace the likes of Vieria – some fans think it’s as easy as plucking an apple from a tree and, of course, as it’s not their money, expect kronkie to spend even more with no thought about the consequences.

    Did any sensible fan, at the start of the season, think we would be where we are today? Of course they didn’t (though some will claim otherwise) yet here we are having a go at the manager and the players after three bad results.

    If MA doesn’t get CL qualification at the end of the season, then l will be calling for his head, because that was my expectation. Everything else will be a bonus.

    1. I think ken many of the comments and opinions of what has gone on and is going on are justified and insightful. Whatever our expectations were, we came out and spurted to the top of the league. So the ingredients are there for the manager to work with for a successful attempt at competing for the league. I think what is evident, is that February is always the start of the run in, teams make their move. April is another time when things are won and lost. We have gone into a massive blip and again people are trying to use the excuse, we are missing players. That is not an excuse it is a smoke screen. No team has their first choice players all season, it is upto the manager to have things in place to cope with all things. If we drop our standard because we are missing one or two players, there is something wrong. I am hopeful that this is just a blip and we can reset. But it is worrying that the same mistakes and problems rear their ugly heads, especially when we have a very strong squad now and made a massive investment in the club. I dont think it is a bad thing that people worry about what they are seeing but i do think it is a bad thing we are trying to find lame excuses. Against city, it wasnt the defeat but the manner of the defeat but against Everton it was a worrying defeat, that seems to have derailed us. Lets hipe Villa is the start of the reset because Whatever team we put out, it will be a more expensive assembled team than them. The squad has the ability to get to the top of the league, it needs managing to stay there. I didn’t and don’t expect to win the league but from where we were, i dont expect a collapse either. There is no excuse why from Saturday we cant go on a run, where we can keep a challenge up. The signs look ominus to some and that isn’t being negative. Its under pressure when the top teams perform, we have come under pressure and need to show we can perform. We were 5 points clear in 4th last season and flopped against mid tabled teams. We were top this season 8 points clear at one point and another poor sequence of games have alarm bells ringing. We need to show this season is different to last.

      1. Many of the comments are over the top, unjustified and lack perspective and balance.
        The fact that we have had a bad run by no means justifies the nonsense being written by several authors and commentators on the site.
        Despite our recent form we are currently second in the league with a game in hand. Although, our performances have not been at the same level as earlier in the season there is sufficient time and enough games to get back in contention.
        Every team needs to make adjustments during the course of a season and almost every team has setbacks. The near relentless runs of the last few seasons which have seen Liverpool and MC challenge for the PL are fairly unusual and extremely difficult to replicate.
        People like ken1945 here have provided a fairly balanced perspective on our situation.
        Given how well the team have done up till now one would have expected to see more of these types of posts. Unfortunately, far too many have suddenly become disgruntled and discouraged. It is shameful.
        As for Meedo’s article itself, the less said the better. Insightful? Really.

  12. Shocking. Such an emotional and irrational writing with no in-depth analysis. It’s a classic case of ‘to be or not to be’. Arsenal FC and Arteta are following the football and financial profile set by our greatest manager, Arsene Wenger. If it’s that easy to follow the evil, greedy and ruthless sugar daddy style, then why a lot of clubs now following Arsenal’s blueprint? Complaining about players’ absence while not putting faith on backup players is somewhat confusing. Players are not robots or bots in Fantasy Football. I know why Arteta is keep playing the same players. Because he needs to create this cohesive tactical unit with limited amount of committed players at the moment. Once the imprint is set, only then you can buy certain players to improve the squad. Fatigue and mental tiredness are to be expected already. What the team needs now is fans’ undying support. If we think we are entitled to demand the wholesome club, then we should take responsibility and do our part as well. If not, we are another fat lazy boozo at McD demanding breakfast at 12noon.

  13. As much as we support arteta and arsenal, I don’t think anyone can deny the fact that Martinelli & white were obviously jaded weeks back, but Arteta chose to continually field them even though we had good covers in Troasad & Tomi. Nketiah started brightly but has faded of because he had 90mins in every game since Christmas.
    It’s foolishness to think team talk will recharge a tired body. They are called ‘managers not coaches’ they meant to manage all areas. Arteta as succeeded as a coach so far but as a manager, NO. He got the credit for his successes, he should also be criticized for his failure

  14. David, you agree with ken and not with meedo, that is fine but that is your opinion. The fact he has an opinion and puts it out there is his or their opinion. You may think kens post is balanced (im not saying it isnt) and you may say meedos post is not insightful ( i m not saying it is) but its their opinion. Meedos post may turn out to be very insightful but that doesn’t matter, it his opinion. Because you prefer one to the other, is your opinion, only.

  15. You are obviously an intelligent observer.
    I practically pointed all that you said here out yesterday. Especially the Manager’s one way tactics, failure to get a good replacement for Partey and xhaka and the consistent use of one set of players without giving others gametime to grow their confidence.

    Like you posited, I don’t think we can win the league but a top 3 finish is most likely this time.
    Maybe next season we give it a better try with lessons properly learnt this time around.

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