Sheff Utd Review – At last Arteta used players that care

Playing players that care, produced a better Arsenal performance by Konstantin Mitov

Welcome lovely Arsenal people. We beat a pretty poor Sheffield side, by playing some better football. You can spend weeks talking about tactics, formations and ‘little moments’ like Arteta likes to call them, but there are some pretty basic things you can’t go without – like putting in the care and the effort.

Yesterday we finally started Martinelli and the guy showed the kind of passion we’ve been missing. He was chasing down, making runs, being active. He capped off a fine performance with a tap-in goal, that was again a result of being active, being in the danger area and taking advantage.

A major bullet Arteta has been continuously shooting in his own foot is player favouritism. We of course introduced Willian, and at around minute 80, you can see him strolling around the pitch, while Gabi M is busting his gut to make a run back and help out in defence. This is the kind of attitude that Arteta has been tolerating from certain players that will be his ultimate downfall.

We shouldn’t be making serious conclusions from a game against a team as bad as Sheffield has been this season, but when I see players willing to put the same effort against Sheffield and Tottenham, I want them playing.

There were a few other good performances starting with Pepe, who’s been pretty good in the limited time he’s been given. He is a player that can take someone on 1 on 1, a rare quality in our squad. Again, it’s scandalous how he’s been relegated to the bench so much in favour of Willian and Aubameyang.

Calum Chambers also had another solid game. His crosses have been hot toast on butter! Lacazette was again superb. Can’t question his work rate, if only his finishing was a little more consistent. Today when he was slipped by an outrageous pass from Partey, 1 on 1 with the keeper, he banged it in. On Thursday we really need that to repeat.

If you believe the rumours he’s one player to be sold this summer and the fact we haven’t talked about a new deal, could confirm this. Which again falls into player favouritism. In my opinion Arteta’s job is firmly on the line on Thursday. If we don’t progress he’s out. Our jump to 9th in the league hardly inspires anyone.

Trying to look at it from a positive point of view, that late equaliser we conceded makes our job clear. We need to go there and score. We won 3-1 in Greece and that left a shit performance for the second leg. Now we’ll hopefully go there trying to impose our style and dominate a team that isn’t that great. If we can’t go there and win, we need a massive change.

The starting line up will be massive. If we play Willian instead of Martinelli I’ll be furious, but I can see it happening. Our only decent run of form in Artetas entire tenure started with that win against Chelsea when we played Gabi M, Smith Rowe and Saka behind Lacca. We recently reverted to pre-christmas line ups and produced similar results.

Rumours fly that players are unhappy, because they are mostly blamed for the result and while they are at fault as well, I must say the constant rotations haven’t helped, nor the player favouritism I’ve mentioned here. This comes from the “senior players”. Same players that threw Emery and even Wenger under the bus.

You see, our “senior” players are here either because they aren’t good enough for a top club, like Xhaka and Ceballos, or we paid them incredible cash like Auba. Willian came here because we offered him 200k and 3 years, a deal Chelsea weren’t willing to do. If we want to progress forward, we need players who care about the club. We cannot afford to buy 5 players for 250 mills this summer to improve the squad like it needs to, so everyone at the club from players, manager, technical staff and the board better realise that we must give our best or we will all suffer.

Let’s put it plain simple, we need to win on Thursday.

Tags Sheffield United


  1. At last, players actually managed to finish their chances!

    If they could have scored easy chances more often (not half chances), we’d easily be in the top 6. Created plenty clear cut chances post x-mas, but shocking finishing is costing us. Even one-on-ones we can’t cope with anymore!

    1. Agree. And they actually put shots on target too. Lacazette has been very guilty of fluffing big chances this season and needs to be more consistent in his finishing. Seems we got a confidence boost because we knew we were playing the worst side in the league that was already doomed to be relegated.

    2. Aside from favouring some mediocre players, Arteta is too cautious ,this is the reason players are not playing with freedom and those who like to express themselves are always benched to give way to players who run backwards with the ball in the name of defensive solidity.

    3. At last we finally kept a clean sheet. It only took FOURTEEN GAMES. So much for Arteta working miracles on our defence. Still, it was only Sheffield United so let’s not get too carried away

      1. Our defense is way better under Arteta in general. We’re not conceding 20 plus shots at our goal consistently like under Emery, or lots of thrashings conceding the likes of 4, 5, 6, or even 8 in one game if you can believe that, like under Wenger!

        But as I said, if we could just finish easy chances, we wouldn’t even need to be talking about our defending, as we’d be winning way more matches.

    4. Yes, our attackers’ awful finishing and their inabilities to keep the ball have cost us a lot. Hopefully Odegaard, Martinelli and Saka will be fit for the game in Prague

  2. I’ve always been a fan of Laca, but he’s never been the consistent goalscorer we need. I’d rather be stayed than some of the others, but the time is right to sell and freshen up the squad as much as we can.

    1. Davi, how many centre forwards for a mid table club have scored 15 goals or above? Particularly after they are dropped to the bench, when on a scoring run?

  3. Brilliant performance by the whole team. 7th place in the league is still a real possibility.

  4. Look at the commitment Lacazette puts in versus Aubameyang in every game.
    Look at the misses Lacazette has versus Aubameyang in every game.
    Look at the salary Lacazette has versus Aubemeyang.

    Now someone PLEASE explain why the club has not offered Lacazette a new deal… even if it’s a yearly rolling contract… if Willian and Aubemeyang are considered to be worth a three year deal, then surely Lacazette is?!?!

    1. Well I think he turns 30 next month and is on 180k so likely he would demand even more.

      Do we really want to have 2 +30year olds on long, fat contracts?

      1. McLovin – Well, it doesn’t seem to have been an issue with Aubemayang and Willian for MA and Edu – who, out of the three is contributing to the team more at the moment?

        The rule that the club adopted, regarding only offering one year contracts to anyone (Bergkamp!!) over 30, was scrapped under gazidis and further implemented by our current manager – that’s why I said a rollling one year contract would be a sensible solution and stop this thought that players only plaay for a new long term contract.

        Sue, let’s hope the club are sensible in their negotiations…once bitten twice shy, doesn’t seem to work with The Arsenal does it?

        1. Yes, 1 extensions would be great. Looking at how well Mkhitaryan plays for Roma when he’s not guaranteed a fat, retirement check.

          Giving Auba and especially Willian long contracts were a mistake. I prefer Laca all over them.

          We can still get rid of Willian at least. I think he still has some pull in Europe and doesn’t strike me as a player who’s happy to sit out his long, productive contract.

          1. 👍 👍 👍 👍 Lacazette has always been under valued at Arsenal from Wenger on down.

  5. I know that our finishing has cost us some points but there are teams like brighton whose XG sgouldve got them easily into top 6.Fulham as well create good chances.I can see teams being in the relegation battle because of poor finishing.I do agree that finishing was a part of the problem but it is not the only problem.My point is its not fair to say we are where we are just because of poor finishing or inability to take chances.

    Yesterdays game showed that Arsenal players have all they need to to be in top 4 atleast.They have git technique,eneergy,football intelligence,game reading all they need but i cant figure out why we are not being consistent.
    We had great results this season like winning at old trafford,boxing day against chelsea,beating leicester and then Villa,burnley,wolves did the double over us.There is something seriously wrong and i dont know what it is but i hope MA figures it out.

  6. Great Post. Absolutely spot on tbh. Too much player biases. Arteta needs to take a look at fergie and do what he done. Get everyone wanting to play and make sure youbare only playing if u produce results.

  7. Of course none of us would know what’s on Arteta’s mind and why he keeps selecting some of the players we, fans, think aren’t doing enough for the team and yet he leaves the hard working ones on the bench. This is a weakness of many managers including Arteta. Arsene Wenger too was accused of favouring certain players like Aaron Ramsey. Perhaps I dare say that every human being has some biases but when people become influenced by these biases in their decision making then they become failures! I will need enough evidence to accuse Arteta of being biased in favour of some players. We need to know why he makes some of his decisions the way he does. None of us can ever know that. That is why we should trust in his good will and objective judgement.

  8. Some very bold statements Konstantin. though not backed up by any evidence and only your personal opinion. But written as though what you say will definitely come true.

    Firstly, “Arteta is out if we fail to win the Europa”. I am prepared to have a bet with you that you are wrong. I do not expect us to win the cup and am certain MA WILL BE HERE NEXT SEASON.
    Unlike Abramovitch and his classless bunch, we do not have a sacking culture. So unless you have evidence – which you do not, since there is none to have – then you are clearly wrong.

    Secondly, I do not agree that Pepe is anywhere near the quality of dribbler and beats opponents as we were led to expect when he first signed. Usually he loses the ball and I thought he was at best in and out last night and overall flatters to deceive more often than not. Certainly not value for the huge fee paid.

    I agree on Willians laziness and I’d like him booted out asap. I cannot abide ANY lazy players and that includes Auba this season. Agree also on Martinelli WHO HAS DISGRACEFULLY BEEN SO UNDERUSED but that will now change, I truly believe.


    I admire your passion and urge to write but do wish you would give more thought to SOME of your comments!

    1. Can you provide evidence to back up your comment on Pepe, point 2?

      Can you provide evidence Arteta will be here next season if he fails to win Europa?

      I like your comments, but also urge you to give more thought on your posts as well.

      All I see is opinion with no substance to back that up, pretty much the same as you write about Konstantin.

  9. Arteta seems to want hard working players on both sides of the ball over technique and flair.

    I like the young hard workers like Martinelli, Saka, ESR, Tierney, even Odegaard plays defense.

    Just don’t get what Willian offers us now. He’s nothing like the dribbler, creator, scoring threat he was sold to be.

    Immediate drop off when he came on, lagged and uninterested in defensive work. Super sub at best, but complete passenger on the defensive side.

    Chelsea spot on with 2 year deal while we got hosed on extra year. Swap him if at all possible, otherwise money wasted.

  10. It is a terrible, if not tragic state of affairs, when the effort, commitment and downright professional integrity of some Arsenal players are rightly questioned, as Konstantin has done.
    Win, lose or draw and regardless of the quality, the one thing you could count on with an Arsenal team was that they would give their best for the Club, the strip and the badge. Unfortunately now, I do not know which Arsenal will turn up on any given matchday!

  11. Totally agree based on attitude, industry and performance and watching, weak, strolling Willian showed a player who leaves us with approx 10.5 players. Welcome Gabriel Martinelli, a great attitude and industry possible. I would give Willian 0.7 of a player. Martinelli. 1.1, Laca 1.1. if we judge a normal team as average 11…1 per player, you can see if you have a whole functioning team if they are over 11. We must have at least 1.00 per player. At the moment Auba is 0.8 of a player. Odegaard was functioning at 1.1, Saka 1.2, Pepe 0.9, ESR 1.1, Gabriel 1.00, Tierney 1.2, Cedric 1.0, Willian 0.7. Leno 0.9. Ceballos 0.8, Bellerin 0.9, Xhaka 0.9, Party 0.9., all measured of a fully performing player. It’s easy to see if there is a whole functioning team out there. More often than not we don’t bear up to many teams.

    1. Sean
      All I want to see is players playing for the badge and there place in the team.
      For far to long and I don’t just mean the last season and half when only 5 or 6 playing and we have to carry the rest.
      I said it before and set off a chain reaction but winning Sunday was great, no matter who we played. Winning breeds confidence and boy are we miss that at times.
      Pressing, tracking back and commitment and leavingeverything they have on the pitch. If we lose and doing these thing then we can all except it a bit better. Losing and not trying is a sin.
      I don’t know if MA is nieve, stubborn or damn right crazy on his selection sometimes. If he continue with this he will be the architect of his won down fall.
      Not sure if Mr fox has called it right when he said if we lose then he will be gone?
      Losing Thursday hasn’t even been entertained by me and looking forward to progressing to the next stage
      Onwards and upwards

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