Pablo Mari is just another example of Arsenal’s player mismanagement – not a flop at all

Arsenal send Pablo Mari to Monza on loan by Paul35mm

Another player bought by Arsenal, not offered even a passing opportunity to prove they can play, and sold at a loss. At about $12 million Mari is not breaking the bank, but this keeps happening.

Mari started the first two games, then never played again last season before his January move to Udinese. The previous season he played in 5 Europa League games, 3 wins, a draw, and one loss. He played 10 times in the league, with 6 wins and 2 draws against 2 losses. Objectively, claims that Mari’s performances “prove” he is not good enough do not ring true.

Regardless of whether Mari is good enough or not, the judgement of the club and manager has to be questioned when this sort of thing keeps happening.

Nicolas Pepe is a worse case of the same disease. He came in, was okay, had a good second season, scoring the same 10 goals as Bukayo Saka (he was labeled amazing) but Pepe was called a flop with the same output.

In Pepe’s third season, he played fewer than 1,000 minutes with hardly a start, and both fans and pundits keep harping on how he flopped. He did not flop. When he played, he was as good or better than any other Arsenal winger. It is in these situations that Mikel Arteta shows his weaknesses; he is unwilling to support his players and own his decisions. He could say, ‘Pepe is and excellent player. He is playing the role we are asking him to play and while he is not happy on the bench, right now, that is the role Arsenal need him to play.’ Pep Guardiola has made those kinds of statements about his players when he is questioned about why they are not in the squad.

Runar Runarsson is another one. He was signed on the cheap, played a total of 6 games for Arsenal, including a 15 minute substitute appearance against Wolves when the game was already lost. In 4 Europa League games, Runarsson was unbeaten. In his one EFL cup game against Man City, he was hammered 4-1.

There is no evidence that Runarsson is the second coming of David Seaman, but neither is there evidence that he is as useless as pundits and fans write. The issue is, there is no evidence, period. Player bought, player not used, player sold, player blamed.

Not every transfer works out and to every player bought becomes a star; but in these three players alone Arsenal have mismanaged $90 million in assets to generate a loss of at least $80 million. How is that ever okay?


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    1. Gabriel and Ramsdale are going to make many mistakes this season, just wait and see, they scaled too many times against Palace alone.

      We have new players but we still only manage to play 60 minutes in a game then lose energy. This is a repeat pattern. Unless you can kill games early by scoring a hateful you can’t keep papering over this crack of 60 minute matches.

  1. Sorry man, I think you’re wrong on all fronts here. The minutes that mari and runarsson played was enough to see they weren’t up to the standard. Pepe, while potentially at the level we need ability wise has shown he hasn’t got the attitude that Mikel demands from all players. It’s a shame cos pepe is clearly a special talent, but it is good that mikel is demanding of the players, its ultimately up to them.

  2. Mari is a ” useful” player but not really good enough to take Arsenal to the next level. At best he was an incremental improvement on those two nut jobs Mustafi and Socrates. Let’s just leave it at that and move on.

    1. Then why did we make his loan permanent. We keep blaming the players but not the coach that did not utilize, improve and purchase some of the them.

      1. Cos Mari isn’t good enough..his lack of pace is an issue.. Holding is a better squad player,and we already have Gabriel,Saliva and White….good riddance.

  3. he is not a flop at 7m but he his not a top 4 quality, too slow and mistake prone, and gives away easy penalties. he would probably find it difficult to be a starter in any EPL team, more suited to the Italian leauge.

    1. You’re wrong pal! The Italian league isn’t what it used to be its much faster paced now.. No more of deep defending

  4. Agree in the case of Pablo Marí, but Runarsson is nowhere near good enough for Arsenal. Did you watch the City game? Stunning recruitment. As for Pepe, he is a great footballer, but was bought by the previous manager and does not seem to fit in with Arteta. Just sad that he has not blossomed with us.

    All in all, I am happy that we have been able rid ourselves of the unwanted players, albeit for very low/no fees. Looks like we will have a trimmed, young squad with plenty of quality by 1 September.

  5. I agree 100% with your feelings about The mismanagement of players. I thought Mari played pretty well in the games he had, especially as he was new to the premier league. I saw him appear to be arguing with Arteta, on TV, in one match. He looked shocked at something Arteta said to him. I don’t think he played again.
    Runarsson did ok and Pepe was not as bad as made out. He knew where the goal was but the expectations were very high for a £72m player. More mazy dribbling was expected, I think.
    One other thing that is really bugging me. Is it really the case that Saliba could not have improved at Arsenal rather than in France? If so, what rubbish coaching do we have at Arsenal? I watched him play, a lot, at Marseilles and he was good from the get-go. We might have got those few extra points we needed if he had stayed here. I like Arteta but I think he might have a poor temperament when dealing with his players.

    1. You echo exactly my thoughts on Saliba and in my post where some fan credited Arteta for his amazing qualities and performance. The boy has been good since he was 18 years old. All a coach need is to just trust him like Wenger did with Cesc and Jack.

    2. Did you watch him play when we signed him? I did and he wasn’t ready for the PL. In addition, he lost both his parents after signing for us. Being 19 years old in a foreign country in such a situation is naturally challenging. The reason why Saliba has been playing in France is about much more than football. I’m sorry, but I don’t support your narrative 🔴⚪️

  6. I don’t believe that Mari and Runnarson are good enough. Mari got chances but he is too slow and too soft for the league. I also believe that he got more than enough games to prove that. I watched maybe one game of Runnarson and he made many mistakes and led easy goals. Now he is going to the 7th from the turkish league, I think this says enough for his class and if he deserved more games.

  7. The fans can only judge the players by watching the games and read the published statistics, but there must be unpublished facts we’ll never know

    The so-called unfit players or flops aren’t exclusive to Arsenal, if you remember about Mutu, Crespo, Shevchenko, Torres, Morata, Werner, Lukaku, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Ndombele, Lo Celso, Maguire, Sancho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita

    Pepe scored many goals in Ligue 1, but many of them were penalties and he was awful in AFCON before coming to the Emirates. He was also highly inconsistent during Emery’s tenure

    Mari had been given enough chance to compete with Magalhaes and he couldn’t outperform his colleague. As for Runarsson, he was really awful on his debut and I suspect he also didn’t meet the coaches’ expectations in his loan/ training periods

    1. N’Dombele can be directly compared to Pepe, a talented player who just doesn’t deliver. Spurs have maybe been a bit more ruthless with him than Arsenal were with Pepe, but it always ends in a big financial loss. Werner is a classic case of a player who is good in one league but not another. If he ends up back in Germany he will probably start scoring again. Every transfer is a risk, if you get too many wrong the scouting team need replacing.

    2. GM is overrated in my opinion.

      Did he not have the most errors concerted into goals last season in the entire league.

      Rose tinted glasses

      1. Magalhaes is kind of erratic, but he scored five EPL goals last season, his passes are mostly good and he’s faster than Mari

  8. How dare you criticize the club? Any good fan will support the management whatever decision they make, whether good or bad. If you do otherwise, you’re not a fan of AFC.

    Not my words though

    1. Lol, you’re not seeing what we all are seeing man. You need to reread the article for clear understanding

    2. Get over Urself…… His criticism is spot on and balance. No one will say such when u dnt go over board like u lots

  9. Dunno what you are on about. These players are just not good enough. You can’t ask for change and then moan when change happens. We’re doing it man get with the program.

  10. I somewhat agree wrt the poor assessment management, really a big problem under this regime.

    However, let’s not pretend that they are remotely good enough to see us challenge for top 4.

    Correct decision getting ridof them.
    Pooer decision getting them in the first place.

    I also dont like the word flop. By that logic id you are not the best employee at work you are flop as well.

  11. Awful article.

    These are mistakes made by previous executives who were just out to make cuts.

    And there is an eye test to the game, not out of context stats that make players seem better than they are

  12. As a player Mari never really stamped his authority on the game. This could be down to his lack of opportunity or the fact that he never appeared to look anything more than ordinary, whilst even struggling with ordinary at times. He may as suggested excel at his new club and hope he does !

    As for Pepe. You can count up all the goals he’s scored but the main stat should be he inconsistent, lacklustre and intermittent performances. Sometimes it looked as though he was trying too hard and over complicated things employing too many tricks to beat an opponent but not succeeding. Other times he looked like he couldn’t be bothered and ending up with the same outcome. In short, he hasn’t by his own actions, made his time at Arsenal an easy one!

  13. Nonsense, can’t believe a day would come where some article would be defending below average players like Mari and Runarsson. I have a problem with the management recruiting these piss poor players in the first place. Their abilities are so so way below us. I’m sure you’ve watched Mari played for us a few times and you know he’s too slow and his positioning is even worse, while GK, don’t even get me started.
    The author obviously knows these guys could never cut it with us, but anything to criticize and attack the management.
    Since it seems all is going well, let’s dig some silly stuff to question the management about.
    Getting these players in the first place is where the problem is and manager needs a kick up his Ahole. Great decision to get rid of them.
    Don’t even get me started on how Orlando tore Mari to pieces and how terrible he was during the preseason.

  14. The answer to ur daft question @paul35mm is that we are ringing in a new era containing dedicated and hardworking group of talented players whose positive quality will help propel us upward where we get way more than we’ve claimed to’s fine if you don’t get it but till then moan all you want.

    1. Y’all need to understand that we sees from different angels and let’s stop using foul or abusive words as a true Dan,how y’all just need to pour out your views on players mentioned in an article do not just use words that aren’t edible to mankind

      1. Good observation.
        I believe the admin will do something about the comment above once she come across it. She might not be aware yet.
        Names calling and disrespect shouldn’t be allowed here.
        All opinion should should and must be respected.

        1. I only explained what he failed to understand @kaay and not disresspect his opinion on what he’s moaning about and i only answered his question by clearly stating it’s fine if he’s yet to understand but till then can carry on critisizing,how does that warrant my post deleted? Maybe you can’t deal with someone giving you reasons not to be negative.

          1. Do you realize Mari was an arsenal player because Arteta wanted him. He, correct me if I’m wrong was Arteta first or second signing as an arsenal. The reason he signed was because he knew during his man city days and he was also the one that made his loan permanent. Saying someone is moaning because he stated his observation and calling his opinion daft is wrong. So explain why would Arteta bought a non hardworking and non dedicated player if that is the ethos of his team. If Mari is not good enough, Tavarez is not good enough and Sambi is not good enough then should Arteta not be criticized because he bought all the players.

            1. I think that Mari was signed originally only as a loan deal from January to the end of the season to help us through a tricky patch
              Sanhelli was best mates with Mari’s agent and got signed permanently

      1. Unfortunately we are not playing 442, and if we do play 442, Nketia is ahead of him atm in cf. why do we keep pretending as Pepe has given his all ? If Pepe is half dedicated as Xhaka, he would have somehow competed fairly with Saka, to me he just seems not interested and not ready to put up a fight for a place in the starting 11.
        Take Martinelli for example, when he wasn’t getting game time he practice like crazy and force his way in, just one injury to ESR and one opportunity and he took it.

      2. In pre-season against Orlando, MA gave all “deadwood “ that first half to prove why they should be in first team, Pepe was on all the way and was invincible, Saka came on and in lesssbthan 2min the opposition defenders already committed fowl and got booked. If you were the coach, would you choose Pepe or Saka to start next game .
        When was the last time Pepe played as striker, for club and country

        1. @Adajimi
          Besides preseason, when has Pepe played more than 15 mins? Exactly…So, unless he’s. going to be sold, he needs to play in order to help the team. IJS

  15. You clearly dónt know what you are talking about,every club has flops…take a cue from Pep…he brought players in at the the beginning of his tenure,and slowly cleared them out till he got his desired team…Pepe,Mari and Runnersson clearly have better and more determined players ahead of them.

  16. I am a football realist because I deal only in footballs realities. It IS reality that PEPE AND RUNARSSON are not picked for our first team.

    And why not? Obviously because they are not good enough.
    Now we all know there are those on here who blame MA for everything short of famine and flood and certainly blame him for everything Arsenal connected that they do not approve of. And all they do approve of is winning every game by many goals That sad state of mind is itself the reality of how SOME people are.

    Some do not do FAIRNESS or BALANCE. They make up their mind, wrongly, very early on and stick to it, come hell or high water.

    The overwhelming majority of Gooners are aware that the reason that neither are picked is simply because they are not good enough. And that reality is also why we are tying to move both of them to other clubs. ALL ARE REALITIES!

    But, some unreal types will not accept that reality and argue that MA has refused both of them a proper chance to play and to shine. Both have played and neither shone, which is -again in reality land- WHY THEY DO NOT PLAY.

    Either you do reality and are therefore a realist, or you do not and are therefore a non-realist. Paul, the article writer is plainly a non-realist! POOR SOUL!

    1. @jon fox- nice saying and pure logic.
      I red somewhere that Spanish people living in UK could be the main reason for the heat wave. They even says The British heat wave would have been “extremely unlikely” without human-caused climate change. Is it time to sack him now 🤣

  17. Mari is more like a victim of his own contract terms……..if the number of times you play counts for more money, only desperate coaches will play you, if there are other options. Hopefully he gets more playing time in his new club.

  18. Never before has a premier league manager done so such much damage to the reputation and career of so many players, wasted so much money – like a drunken sailor – in such a short period of time. The next amazon documentary should be titled : All for Nothing – all the outcast, deadwood and flop cleared out, including Pablo Mari, for essentially nothing.

  19. @adiva,you woefully failed to grab my point,never did i state he’s got a daft opinion neither did i call mari non hardworking and dedicated player, he’s obviously not good enough to displace gabriel at LCB plus he being injury prone.he was brought in as a stop gap on a cheap before bringing in a proper LCB in gabriel to compete with him the following the writer coming out to claim he was mismanaged and ask how is it okay to let obvious underperforming high earners leave for peanuts is what i replied to as i think it’s daft not to get what the club is up to,get it or not i’m done discussing.

  20. We need better players if we have top four ambitions. The fact that we struggle to sell them is often a reflection of perceived quality.

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