Opinion – Arteta has worked wonders with our decimated defence

I read an interesting article on JustArsenal yesterday about whether we would ever sort our defence out, but already have…haven’t we? I think Arteta has done a remarkable job with our defence so far.

He’s had limited time on the training ground, given the congested fixture list since he’s joined. Not one of the players is an Arteta signing; He’s inherited the worst Arsenal squad I’ve ever seen and has lots of injuries, specifically in defence. The whole team were clueless at defending when Arteta joined.

Our defending has been apocalyptic for over a decade now, but Arteta has got the team, and the defensive unit, performing better than I have ever seen within this period. We’re really constricting our opponents to hardly any chances, especially clear-cut opportunities. Even more impressive when one considers what Arteta is having to work with. Every game he’s forced to use a patched up defence. Another way to tell how well we’ve improved in this area, is by looking at Leno. He isn’t having a lot to do now, which means he finally has some protection.

Apart from the Leeds game, our defending has been our strongest point. Our weakest area is midfield, and wide attack, because we’re struggling to create chances. Maybe Ozil’s fan club can FINALLY see how ineffective he is. He’s been starting all the time under Arteta, and has been used centrally, yet what is he creating? That’s his sole purpose isn’t it?

He’s one of the highest, if not, the highest paid playmaker in our solar system, yet a League 2 player would give us more productivity. Not all of this is his fault of course. Auba is a striker having to play LW, so that’s another area we lack creativity, although he has a good goal return. Pepe on the other wing has been a disappointment so far. Martinelli is like Auba, a striker playing wide. Nelson doesn’t offer a lot, Saka is decent, and Ceballos has been poor. So not a lot of options for Arteta.

Areta is still learning the ropes as a manager, and so it’ll take time for him to get things right. I am sure we’ll look a lot better once he can dump the majority of this squad, and get some of his own players in. We will look a lot better next season. I have accepted that this season is just a write-off.



  1. Arsenal is going to struggle this season. Even a win against Chelsea will enable them climb just one position above in the table due to their negative goal difference. Arsenal are held by most of the EPL teams. How are they going to improve their position? Fans couldn’t wait for one or two years for Wenger to take back the team to top 4. But now it seems decades required…

  2. Most of us on here – myself included – said that even Pep could come in and would fail to sort out our team! So I applaud Arteta for what he has done in such a short space of time!
    The board need to back him, so we can buy a midfielder that actually scores goals 😂 I’m looking forward to next season and like you TMJW, I’d written this season off ages ago!
    I have to say, I’m loving Arteta more as our coach, than as our player!

    1. Spot on sue. It’s up to the board now will they give him that support? It’s a wait and see. And again if it doesn’t happen then all our fury to Board and the IDC kroenkes

    2. Yes Sue I couldn’t agree more.
      Arteta has done well so far to make the players look like a team without having funds at his disposal to improve the squad.
      Let’s hope that the board back him in the summer and that the likes of Tierney get back to full fitness and stay fit.
      Getting into Europe next season may well be beyond us and those that think a top 4 place is possible need a dose of reality. However, I really do believe that MA will do well.

    3. Arteta has been doing a good job on the team. Our problem now is no more defending but goal scoring. Arteta need to ensure that our midfielders starts scoring goals to ease the scoring problem of the team. Infact I expect a purchase of real box to box midfielders in the mood of Ramsey. We miss that guy scoring boots

  3. So then time to try ceballos out Right? He did say a clean slate for everyone. It’s ceballos time now

  4. Glad someone actually sees the truth and brought it out. Our defense actually ain’t bad anymore. Even when we lost against Chelsea, it was unfortunate as everyone ran out of gas. Take a look at all our performances and we’ve improved a lot defensively.
    The problem comes from the forward, I dont really think the midfield is that weak.
    Torreira has been superb, Xhaka has been doing a solid job even if 95% on here won’t admit it.
    He’s been protecting the defense more and is the reason Saka confidently bombs forward.
    Xhaka might not be a Pirlo but he’s actually doing what Deep Lying playmaker is actually meant to. Assist your BWM midfielder in protecting the defense and dictate play from deep, it doesn’t mean we can’t get a better player though.
    Now the only midfield problem I see is Ozil ain’t consistent still, he tries but not actually enough. The biggest problem right now lies in the attack.
    With how solid we’ve been defensively, if only our attackers take their chances and score goals, you’ll see the opponents having no single reason to come at us.
    Let’s put sentiments aside, our biggest problem right now is the attack, we’ve known that because a lot of us were questioning what would happen if the goal dries up for PEA.
    Every other part seems to be doing well, we’re yet to see Ceballos.
    We need to score more now

    1. Agree with you absolutely Eddie, the defence isn’t the problem, it’s midfield where the problems are. Torriera is doing a good job but Xhaka alongside him is next to useless in that position. I’d try Ceballos with Torriera but we also need a dominant central midfielder who can drive forward with the ball to speed up the transition from defence to attack.

    2. Your analyses are correct. Defensively and midfield wise, we’re relatively better, but our attack is limited. Only Auba is scoring. We’re not capitalizing on the many chances we create, by scoring. We need as many goals as possible. Scoring one goal and going to sleep is no longer acceptable in football. The players should go in for suicide attacking that would lead to goals, if not, at least a penalty.

    3. You are right. Our forwards are disappointing.
      Against Crystal palace, we had chances to have scored more than 3 but some of our forwards have forgotten how to score.
      When Auba comes back, pair hi with Martinelli if Lacca can’t still score.

      1. So something is dreadfully wrong somewhere then, our money has been spent on our strikers big style. We have scrimped on defence and midfield spending, with the exception of the wasted money spent on xhaka and mustaffi. Something is wrong if people think our midfield and defence are sorted or better. I just think it isn’t quite that simple.

  5. That game reminded me a bit of our older Arsenal, like we wanted to see if we could beat them without bringing intensity and aggression, trying to see if we could beat them in second gear. Not every player was like that but just enough of them for Sheff utd to get on top of us from the start. I don’t think it’s a lack of respect, because look where we are, and they’re above us.

    Luiz wasn’t the same player we’ve seen under Arteta, I could name more. This made a big difference. Our shape at the back was still good and most players were still getting back. It’s just that intensity.

    Sheff’s man marking was spot on and when they doubled up on Pepe we couldn’t exploit that, Pepe was earmarked as the biggest threat but he got no help. They are a solid hard working team, but if we had of brought the game to them and played higher up, like we have been doing, matched their aggression, I think our quality would have told and our home advantage would have counted.

    1. Problem is midfield & full backs.
      They need more energy and skills in those areas to play modern pressing games. Co incidently, Arsenal’s decline started after carzol’s injury along with Alex Sanchez departing.even with Ramsey alone the team looked different most of the time.

  6. This idea of pepe who uses left foot playing as right winger is not working , it is very difficult for him to send more crosses to the CF and most defenders understand this abt him. Second point, we should decide who should top strike among our strikers, no doubt Auba should be our CF, Lacazette is been disappointing. Lastly, Ozil is not giving us what we need and I don’t think any player can replace him in the team that means we need a new no 10, loan or signing, old or young.

    1. Alright… If we need a good no10 that we can’t mould Ceballos into since his still young; AFC should go out there and enroll Ziyech” into the team ASAP.!


      We can use Luiz in DM role with Ceballos and Torriera in front then, include Ozil up top.
      A… 4 1 2 1 3 formation.
      Auba as CF, Martinelli as RWF then Pepe or SAKA as LWF then we’re good to go.

  7. Arsenal have two free kick men, Pepe really good, Ozil good placement with the ball. I feel we should grasp any opportunity given. More in house training for selected players we would score plwnty of points in Rugby!

  8. You can polish a piece of coal but it is still a piece of coal.
    Arteta has polished Arsenal to a degree yes but the results are no better.
    First 8 games under Emery. 15 points. 3rd place.
    Second 7 games under Emery. 3 points. 6th equal place.
    Under Freddie 4 points from four games. 10th place.
    Under Arteta 7 points from 5 games. 10th place.
    Its so hard to break out of mid table.
    10 teams out of 16 drew yesterday and three lost.
    So 13 teams gained one or no points.
    It gets no easier with Chelski on Tues.
    The EL really is our best hope of CL football right now.

  9. Arteta is eloquent, energetic and seems to be committed. He valued his time at the Emirates and is a Red at heart. After his time at Everton he could have been a Blue but he is in love with our historic club. The management and owners must support him. They must let go of seeing him as purely a coach who they feed players to, and instead let him build his chosen team. That will take funds….NOW and in the summer. If we fail it will be because of the Kroenkes and not Arteta. If you love somebody, or a club with millions of supporters you have to invest….constantly. Not just one summer. It’s non stop investment. Love is a non stop investment. The real big businesses brands spend fortunes keeping their brands on top. If the Kroenkes want Arsenal to be a big, big, big, brand, club, they will have to be constantly investing to do that. That’s how Proctor and Gamble and the real big boys work. Always investing.

    1. Sean If you don’t mind I want to pay you a compliment, though I see it not as a compliment but as the plain simple truth. I love reading your realistic posts and though no one ever agrees 100% with all anyone else ever writes, I am very much in tune with how you see things and your mature and truthful philosophy.

      This half way house title of head coach is meaningless surely. MA is our manager and has even called himself our manager in one interview I watched and liked. The huge ongoing handicap we labour under is not primarily Mustafi, Xhaka, Sokratis (add you own bette noire ) but the dread fact of KROENKE AND SON. Those who hope son is vastly different from father are off beam. He is a Kroenke and lives in USA and helps looks after his some of his Dads other interests. You CANNOT be a serious chairman and do that! NO WAY! IT WILL NOT AND DOES NOT WORK! You need to have Arsenal in your heart, as Abramovitch still does with Chelsea or you will never invest the vital funds. Both Kroenks are singing from entirely different hymn sheets than all us fans and from MA too. That is obvious and so is the ongoing chain around our neck that will always hold us back. Unless and until we can throw off that chain of Kroenke, as Scrooge did in the famous Dickens story, we will always struggle to play on an even playing field. We clearly do not. If we did, we would NEVER still have the deadwood players I mentioned above and the other bette noirs you might choose to add. Simple truth, unpleasant to hear but it must be faced and never ignored.

  10. what exactly is the function of VAR? I am part of the group that doesn’t blame ref as I believe they are human afterall, and there decision could work for or against you. However, I totally see VAR in EPL as BS, in fact it’s making me lose interest.
    As far as I know, VAR is established to check controversial topics but so far in less than 2weeks weeks I could point to the various bias ways VAR operates against Arsenal FC. If AUBA yellow card could be reviewed, Zaha yellow card dive in the first leg against us, why did VAR decided to be silent on Socratic 3rd goal against palace in the first leg, Joginho yellow card against city, and yesterday Pepe penalty, to name a few.
    Am not saying the decision was right /wrong but at least, I need an explanation from VAR, but to be silent in some cases and show up in other is a complete witch-hunt and follow a plan. Someone need to talk. MA is working, d players are doing there best but the saboteur are strong and powerful

    1. But against Sheff United both Mike Dean (has a history that should disqualify him from refereeing) and VAR worked against Pepe’s penalty. It was a penalty. Either way round there is room for bias (and dare I say it corruption). Wherever there are gigantic amounts of money involved expect anomalies.

      1. So why are we been deceived? Just like one of MA post match comment, ‘how many gadgets do we need to use in checking d penalty ‘.
        Most annoying VAR didn’t even bother checking, whereas we have seen VAR checking lot of noncontoversial issues but this controversial one, VAR turn mute, it shows there is conspiracy, even as bad as we are, with no hope of turn 4, there still exist conspiracies. It’s so unbelievable

        1. From 2005 Would you trust him?

          From the Guardian 2005

          Referee suspended over betting site

          Mike Dean has been stood down from controlling tomorrow’s match between Newcastle and Bolton at St James’ Park
          Press Association

          Sun 27 Feb 2005 00.12 GMTFirst published on Sun 27 Feb 2005 00.12 GMT
          Premiership referee Mike Dean has been suspended after officials were told of his involvement in a betting website.

          Dean – who had been due to referee tomorrow’s Premiership fixture between Newcastle and Bolton at St James’ Park – has been suspended indefinitely by the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, who provide all officials for top-flight fixtures.

          Officials have also launched an investigation after being alerted to Dean’s involvement with Arbitros Racing, a betting website where punters are given advice on how to bet on horses to win or lose.

          1. Unbelievable! How is he even still in a job??
            Makes me sick! The first thing I do is check to see who’s officiating – shouldn’t be like that, should it? – so then you get a rough idea if owt will go our way… needless to say, it didn’t, no surprise really!
            What a bell end….

          2. If you think Arteta is improving this team you are simply kidding yourself.We are still rubbish and the league position doesn’t lie.He plays Ozil ,god knows why who contributes nothing to the team and until he leaves nothing will change.We will finish this season mid table and probably for the next couple.We are miles behind Liverpool who will surely finish the league unbeaten and smash are 49 unbeaten run

  11. yea,I agree but arteta still is part of the problem. the past 3 game we have taken d lead but drop towards d end of the game mostly due to not killing of the game by scoring more goal. Arteta sud start making defensive sub towards d end of d game instead of like for like sub d same problem I had with emery. yesterday holding for laca @75min and guendouzi for ozil @80min play Gabriel as no9. this is were I will hv prefer ancelloti but over a long run I believe arteta will do ok with what I hv seen.

  12. I heartily applaud THIRD MAN JW as one of the realists on here and all the better for reading theplain truth in an article, without hype,without nonsense and without self fooling. As a truth lover I always lead my life by asking myself what is the reality of my current situation. I am talking far wider than mere football matters but the same principle should apply with sport, with football and with Arsenal. Otherwise we have not a hope in hell of putting problems right, if we fail to see them or choose, as children do, to deny they even exist. Always seek the truth and always speak it. Do not indulge yourself- assuming you are an adult- with childish fantasies that help no one. Not yourself and not the team either . FACE THE TRUTH HEAD ON AND THEN, ONLY THEN, HAVE YOU A HOPE TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Fantasy has its place and as a theatre person I know that better that most. But we are on a fansite, where surely we should try to seriously discuss our exact position and our future hopes. If we lie to ourselves, as so many choose to do, than this defeats the whole purpose of a proper fan discussion site. I have no time to waste, at my time in life, with foolish self fantasists. At least NOT on this valuable site. Let us all write and think like the adults that the majority of us are. Please!!!

  13. In midfield, we need a creative, technical box-to-box player and a creative, technical number 10 to help us create the chances to score more than one goal per match. Xhaka and Ozil are working hard but they are creative to help the strikers. Both of them are suppose to be shooting from outside the box but they seem to love the ineffective pass more.

    1. As far as am concern, our mf are creating enough goal scoring opportunities, attack need to buckle up and be prolific, during OG time we used to call him several names but Lacca is presently playing bad, he need to find his scoring boot soon or get benched, the only issue with our mf is that they are been relying too much on attackers for goals, Ozil should start shooting on goal

  14. ThirdManJW

    In the long term it will be speaking truthfully and honestly, like you have done, that may influence the Arsenal management/owners to really support Arteta.

    1. Hear hear to that. Without truth we have zero hope, We need to stop ignoring problems and pretending they don’t exist and load heaps more pressure on both Kroenkes to act. To act like proper and legitimate owners,( insert horse laugh here!!)!

      1. jon, the underlying issues which will face Arteta in the current and future transfer windows, are the same ones which faced Emery; the lack of quality and depth in the squad, the impact of injuries and having to coach the players scouted and recruited by others. Emery requested certain players like a CB and DM and was given other players instead.
        I can only hope that Arteta is supported more than Emery was in the transfer market, in getting the players Arteta wants to play the style and system he requires.
        The spotlight must now be on the Arsenal Owner and Board to provide Arteta as head coach, the players he requires to be successful. Arsenal can’t now enter a time of revolving door coaches, as a cheaper option than building an appropriate squad to succeed.

        1. Hello Ozzie Gunner

          The only football man that I can see at the top of the Arsenal hierarchy is Edu having played to a high level. Venkatesham was our Commerical director and Sanllehi I believe, is better known as a contracts man. This does not suggest to me a deep understanding of ‘being football men’ – just men working within the football environment.

          Couple this with the absentee owners who clearly see our great club as a business rather than a passion, it is no wonder that Arsenal are in difficulty. This worries me no end regarding players coming into the club in the future. Please, please may Arteta have a real say in who comes in.

  15. Clearly said SueP. Absentee owners are a hinderance. Imagine a child with absentee parents. The child would struggle to do well.

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