Perhaps the Liverpool humiliation could be a valuable lesson for our youngsters

You cannot achieve success without the risk of failure. If you fear failure, you will not reach that success.

If you can learn from your failures, then you have a chance ….

It was fascinating to see how some of Arsenal’s youngsters coped with the experience of Anfield.

Beating Watford and being told how good you are is one thing. It’s not when things are going well that you learn about a person, it’s when they have to deal with adversity that defines you.

Who responds?

Who fights?

Who gives up?

More experienced Gunners squad than this version has gone to the red half of Merseyside and melted the moment Liverpool scored.

It’s our yearly tradition.

Lokonga was taken off straight after the score went to 2-0.

Partly due to being booked but mainly the number of times he was giving the ball away (although not the only guilty party).

Tavares as the evening progressed could no longer make the basic of passes.

It was like the 1st Space Jam Movie where the Aliens steal the Basketball players talent, suddenly quality individuals not able to do the fundamentals.

Both were part of our transfer policy of signings being under the age of 23.

That’s means inconsistencies are natural, mistakes are to be expected and given they played in Belgium and Portugal respectively, they are still learning Football at this level.

So, Saturday might help them in the long term. It could be the experience needed that motivates them next time.

Mr Wenger once said the best sports people don’t remember the wins, but can’t forget the losses.

Simply because it’s the losses that educate you.

In a strange way our youngsters ‘could’ learn as much from being humiliated 4-0 as they would have had if they had got a result.

I say ‘could’ because that will come down to the coaching they receive.

Arteta’s track record is not consistent when it comes to his man management.

There are players that the moment Arteta felt they didn’t suit his ethos he paid them to sit at home (Ozil, Sokratis).

There are those currently on loan for not being able to follow instructions (Guendouzi).

There are other youngsters who he seems to have given up on (Martinelli, Nketiah, etc).

With Tierney fit again, Tavares can be taken out of the firing line against Newcastle, while Maitland Niles might now deserve a chance to partner Partey.

They need an arm around the shoulder though.

My fear is though that it’s easier to focus on the youth who made errors instead of our senior players looking in a mirror (including our boss).

As much as Tavares is aware that he played his peers into trouble, are Aubameyang or Lacazette looking at their leadership skills?

Is anyone asking them why they were not ordering their teammates to try something new, when it was clear that we couldn’t beat Liverpool’s press?

I hope Arteta doesn’t just put his energy into the errors made but takes accountability for tactics that involved parking the bus and not having a plan B once we conceded, with all subs being like for like.

The trick in life is to not get carried away when people are praising you, but equally not to get too low when things go not so well.

Our youngsters have had a lot praise in our 10-game unbeaten run.

The weekend was a reality check.

They go into training battered, humbled and not as confident.

Yet they might be wiser and mentally stronger for the experience…


Be Kind in The Comments

Dan Smith

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  1. I only hope Arteta learns from the experience and realises that you must play three recognised midfielders against the likes of Liverpool and City who both play a 4-3-3 system with a DM and two box to box operators.A top quality DM should imo be our top priority as this position is absolutely pivotal to the success enjoyed by the top sides.Much has been said concerning the poor performances of youngsters, namely Tavares and Lokonga, but even more disappointing to me was the lack of impact from our Captain and Lacca who were simply not at the races against quality opposition.

  2. There was no reality check against Liverpool.
    Everyone expected us to lose at Anfield.
    Results have nothing to do with player selection tactics or performance but everything to do with the strength of the opposition faced.
    6 Wins
    Norwich 19th Burnley 18th
    Villa 15th Watford 16th
    Leicester 12th Tottenham 7th
    4 losses to teams in 1st 2nd and 3rd and
    Brentford when Arsenal was ravaged by injury illness and Covid.
    2 Draws
    Brighton 9th (Away) Palace (Home) 10th.
    The home draw with Palace was our only reality check this season.
    An away loss to Man Utd, Everton or Leeds is quite possible and not unexpected.
    If we lose to Newcastle or Southampton at home then that would be a reality check.
    My Prediction.
    32 points by the turn. 4th place.
    64 points in May.
    Projected finish 5th or 6th

    1. FAIRFAN you do, at times, make some astonishing howlers!”

      To claim that “Results have nothing to do with player selection , tactics or performance but only strength of opposition” is obviously nonsense and false.

      That sort of comment much lets you down. I like much of what you generally write.

      But you must stop saying ridiculous falsehoods, unless you wish to be considered a naive fool, my friend!

  3. As a diehard fan for over 60 years now, I fear our current problems cannot simply be explained by the inexeperience of our talented youngsters…Where I ask you are the goals to come from? Primarily AUBA…Alas for me he’s a spent force and his continued presence needs questioning…Perhaps he should be moved on and a more dynamic centre-forward recruited during the next transfer window…As to the midfield, surely MAITLAND deserves an extended run alongside PARTEY. That roasting by Lpool must serve as a ralllying call for our Gunners or else ARTETA might endure a similar fate to SOLJSKAER. At ANfield, changes should have been introduced much much earlier! bUT will ARTETA learn?????

  4. Just think of the difference between Aubameyang as Arsenal Captain and Tony Adams. Aubameyang cannot Captain anything….he is not a Captain. This is down to Arteta, nobody else. Make Ramsdale of Tierney captain. and tell them to holler to our capitulators. It looks bad and is bad. C’mon we a need a Captain, who is a frigging Captain. As much as we big up Auba and Laca they don’t have what we need any more. Time to give Martinelli a chance to get a run of games and get his confidence.

  5. With the exception of Ramsdale, Not one player or the manager came out very well from the game. Its easy to blame Lakonga and Tavares who gave the ball away but the performances of White, Gabriel and Tomiasu were full of schoolboy errors. Including the manager, nobody was focused properly and the shape of the team and lack of movement led to increased errors, forcing us to LUMP it forwards to nobody but waiting Liverpool players to come back at us time after time.

  6. The article is perfect. The point though is before the match I had suggested aline up consisting of AMN along with TP and ASL and Tierney instead of Tavares. The reason being we should have packed our midfield to thwart the marauding Liverpool attack and AMN is better physically and more adept at blocks than ASL. Secondly, Tierney has more big match experience and better defensively than Tavares and also Tierney is a leader on the pitch. Finally, I hope Arteta gives the captaincy to either Ramsdale or Tierney, because Auba seems to be out of his depths. Both Auba and Laca did not offer anything as senior players when the team needed them the most. The end line is that I hope Arteta and the team learn a thing or two from this defeat and had it not been for Ramsdales heroics the defeat would have been larger.

    1. Tierney got absolutely roasted by salah in the same match last season ,Tavares made one mistake which jota still had to get around 3 players who just stood and watched him ,and TBF Tavares as deserved that start anyway.

      1. It was the right decision to stick with tavares – you’ve got to reward good performances, and NT earned the right to keep his place, whoever the opposition.
        I think KT will come back in now, but that’s as much to protect the younger player as anything else. Tierney has to show her deserves to keep that place now.

      2. Tavares went awol on at least 4 occasions apart from making three errant passes in the space of 10 mins.These are the facts.That is not to say that Tavares did not warrant a start.He did, and he ought to have been given a man marking role on Alexander Arnold as he has the pace and physical presence to make life difficult for him.Arteta erred in playing Auba and Lacca in a 4-4-2 system which relinquished control of the midfield.No wonder Partey and Lokonga struggled.In my opinion, Arteta took the easy way out by fielding an unchanged team against a side which does not change tactically week in ,week out.He failed tactically and individual errors were made as frustrations grew as Liverpool turned the screw.Tavares and Lokonga are talented young players who will learn more in defeat than they will from winning against lessor sides.They have both got great careers ahead of them.

        1. Whatever happened, it was the right decision playing Tavares, he was one of ten who failed to perform, He deservedly kept Tierney out of the team. Tierney may well come back next game but if everyone who did badly was dropped, then 10 players and the manager deserve dropping as well, poor from all. Dont single him out!!!!!

  7. It was definitely a good lesson for our youngsters

    The park-the-bus was really disappointing, because we kept using it at the big three teams’ turfs despite the failures this season. If I were Arteta, I’d have gambled and taken a much higher risk at the big oppositions’ stadiums

    I guess Moyes’ and Wenger’s big losses there have instilled fear into Arteta’s mind when he was still playing for them. Or maybe he simply doesn’t trust Aubameyang to do constant high pressing

    1. Not just a lesson for our young players but has Arteta learnt his own lessons? Most likely the players played to his instructions. A coach is only as good as his last game. Liverpool is beatable or otherwise a draw if the coach had employed the right tactics. If Westaham could beat Liverpool and Brighton got a draw, Arteta should have watched the video of this games and take a clue from the tactics their coach used. Arteta is an inexperienced rukie coach we have now. Hope he learns. But I think he won’t last long in Arsenal. P. Viera in a short time is already shaping Chrystal Palace into a difficult team to beat.

  8. The players follow the managers instructions. Repeated park the bus tactics yielded repeated results against top teams.

    Having young players constantly absorbing their attack led to cracks and capitulation.

    Arteta has to learn and adjust tactics, we have been DOMINATED by the top 3 this year. Wins were not likely, but we didn’t even have a good showing in any of those 3 matches.

    Still blaming players (who carry out Arteta’s instructions), blame refs, blame opposition players, time to look inside.

    Auba and Laca offered little, but how much service did they get? Our midfield isn’t creating or assisting; both with and without Xhaka. A golden boot contender is flat a toothless.

    Arteta deserves equal if not more blame than the players.

    Poor preparation, poor tactics, poor substitutions, no plan B.

  9. No argument with any of the points raised.
    I’ll mention something else; the Liverpool pressing game was a joy to watch from a purist point of view. They gave no time to any Arsenal player on the ball, hunting down in packs of two or three…. Closing off passes, and going in to take the ball off defenders who were rabbits caught in headlights.
    By contrast Arsenal’s press was low key – one on one with focus on blocking passes out. Others held back to better help when, as happened so often, our press was beaten.
    That to me looks like a tactical error born of one who wasn’t quite brave enough.
    I think all of Liverpool goals were preventable from Auba’s “forward’s tackle” and subsequent defence of the free kick.. to the hapless Tavares AWOL on the 4th.
    I hope that the players can learn from this; it is a wake up call in terms of knowing how far there is still to travel on this journey. On the plus side I would say that we are definitely in the fight for 4th place (can’t see any team getting above Chelsea, City and ‘pool) and as a young team, bumps in the road are to be expected

  10. Humiliation.Really? Over the top reaction if I ever heard one.Yes,Liverpool were superior.No question.Actually thought the scoreline flattered them somewhat.Lots of sly digs at Arteta.But what did they expect.There will be plenty of sides who’ll go to Anfield & get a battering.So no disgrace whatsoever for this young side at this stage of their development .As for kloppy & his histrionics.That was to deflect from the dirty,sly,fouling Mane ( aided & abetted by a useless ref)constantly gets away with.Particularly at Anfield.Arteta was right to call it out.

  11. The Brentford humiliation should have been a lesson to the whole team. Most of all to the manager. Three losses later, he still hasn’t copped on…IJS 🤔

  12. by “youngsters” were you referring to the manager or the players?? the lesson learned was the same one we should have gleaned some time ago, our manager is simply not ready for primetime…the question now is can we really afford to wait for him to figure things out or should we simply move on…let’s face it, we already failed to heed the post-Fergie lessons, when replacing Wenger, so we can’t do likewise when it comes to our OGS doppelganger

  13. Arsenal have alot of problems that u can easily document a book on…

    But there’s something I don’t quite understand here
    Why is Arteta’s team so bad at marking and pressing despite working under one of the best Coaches in the world when it comes to pressing the opposition in form of Guadiola?

    1. Because it is Pep who is clear with his tactics and what he wants players to do individually and together as a team.

      Pep has a system and style of play he has perfected over his many years managing. Compared to Arteta who is a new coach still, and is still trying to create his system and style of play.

      Young players need an experienced manager to mold and guide them. Unfortunately we have a young manager trying to lead, but hasn’t developed a system or style yet; hence negative tactics and parking the bus against better teams.

      1. not to mention Durand, not a single one of Pep’s assistants has ever come good when they have been offered a managerial/head coaching position…so when people kept suggesting that it was a foregone conclusion that Arteta would emerge as a world-class manager simply by osmosis, due to his Pep mentorship, in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth…likewise, I agree with your managerial views, meaning that if we were going with a predominantly youthful squad someone like ten Hag or Naglesmann would have made infinitely more sense, whereas if we were going to have a more balanced mix of youth and experienced players, someone like Gasperini would have fit that organizational approach perfectly…I chose those specific managers due to their overwhelming propensity to play attractive football and to get the best out of their players

  14. I expected Arteta to play partey, ASL and AMN in a 3man midfield…
    We lost the match due to lack of protection from the midfield for the left back and right back.
    We would have forced them to go through the middle where there would have been less effective considering the absence of firmino

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