Should Arteta really be blamed for Arsenal’s strikers terrible finishing?

Are Arsenal’s players now more of problem than our manager? by ThirdManJW

Whatever the result for any club, it is achieved as a collective. Management, and the squad will all play a part, although not in equal measure. MA (Arteta) inherited an absolute mess of a club, from the short-lived Emery stint, coupled with far more deep-rooted cultural problems from over a decade of gross mismanagement during the Wenger/Gazidis reign.

That aside, MA has made mistakes himself, which was very evident from our league form pre-Christmas. I am a supporter of MA, but ultimately, I want what’s best for the club, and I was very close to giving up on him as Christmas approached. At the time MA was still dealing with major issues within the squad, but I feel that his tactics were a major problem when looking at our results/performances. Despite looking solid at the back, we were creating next to nothing in the final third, and for me, that was a tactical issue. More of an MA problem, than the squad.

Our league form pre-Christmas was very poor! From 14 games, we were down in 15th. However, in the post-Christmas table, from 17 league games, we’re 4th only 5pts off Man Utd in second spot, 2pts more than Leicester and Chelsea, 7pts more than Spurs, and a whopping 10pts more than Liverpool. MA could have been stubborn, not changing tactics (like so many managers), but he has transitioned us into a far more attacking side. Whilst criticism is fair, one should be judged on our overall position and not that of the last 17 league games, there is no doubt that we have massively improved post-Christmas.

Clearly, we’re now moving in the right direction in regards to form and tactics, but it’s now the players that are letting us down more than anything. MA has still made the odd mistake here and there, but it’s the players that are more responsible for us not winning more games. We are now creating a lot of clear-cut chances, but it’s woeful finishing that is costing us, and no manager can legislate for that, unless you buy better players when given the opportunity of course (although one would think the likes of: Auba, Laca, Saka, Pepe, Willian, etc, is enough quality to finish easy chances). So bad has our finishing become, we can’t even cope with one-on-ones. Even in games where we have performed badly, enough easy chances were created to finish teams off. Just think of recent winless fixtures against Slavia, and Olympiakos as good examples of this. Think of the Burnley game, where we could have easily had 5 or 6. Wolves, when we were battering them, but couldn’t get a second goal, before the red cards decided that game.

Of course, there still has been some awful performances from us post-Christmas, specifically in attack. Think of games against Villa, Liverpool, City, but on the whole, a massive improvement. If we could finish just half our easy chances, we’d easily be second in the form table post-Christmas. So, clearly MA is improving his tactics, and our form is way better. MA has got us creating, but I don’t see what he can do about the consistent poor finishing? These are not half chances we’re talking about. I find myself less frustrated with MA, and far more with the players at the moment, and that’s just focusing on their finishing, let alone their mentality issues as well.

If we crash out to Slavia, then MA will be under huge pressure, and rightly so. The buck stops with the manager. If we were to lose, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were to be down to terrible finishing, so then is that all Arteta’s fault? Like I said earlier, he will need to be judged on the season as a whole, not just the last 20 games or so. Although it would be hard to make a case for him to stay on, there’s no doubt on the improvement in the league looking at ourselves, and in comparison, to our rivals. But has that improvement come too late? Those first 14 games have been so costly. We all know big changes are still needed with this squad, so if we can sort out our finishing, and add more quality during the summer, I can see us continuing the improvement under MA… if given more time.

ThirdManJW

58 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Not just finishing, sometimes the attackers’ hold-up plays are horrible too. However, we can blame Arteta for the weird line-ups and his inability to motivate his players

    1. Pepe says:

      What a crap
      Show me a team that doesn’t miss chances even the best of team
      We are not playing well enough or creating well enough the players are not playing well to enjoy themselves and feel less pressure
      We had chamakh,welbeck,sanogo,giroud they are no where better than what we have today.
      Something is foundationally wrong dude
      No team puts all their chances away

  2. PJ-SA says:

    The odd bizarre miss in 1 or 2 games in a season, definitely not but…continuous, ongoing issue that should be worked on in training then yes. Team focus, also a manager’s responsibility .

    MA + his fans…look up:
    Internal locus of control

  3. Deidre Rachid says:

    The players were happy to take the glory for winning the FA Cup but apparently this season’s catastrophe is absolutely nothing to do with any of them !! It’s NOT on Ken

    1. PJ-SA says:

      In all fairness Mikel Arteta got the majority of the plaudits for the FA Cup win. Players too but most of the talk was about the new manager and his potential.

    2. Pepe says:

      Yes as well as the manager
      He takes gory for the fa too which upgraded his position so shouldn’t exempt blame overall he is the captain of the ship and more blame should be apportioned to him

  4. Wyoming says:

    1. Arsenal beat Slavia.
    “I have been saying all along Arteta is the right man for the job the board and the owner are all firing on all cylinders and the future6 looks great.
    All the players were superb and were a united group playing for the badge the club the manager and the supporters. We have clearly turned the corner and we can look forward to many titles and trophies under this brilliant manager.
    2. Arsenal lose to Skavia.
    I have said it for the last 6 years
    this club is a shambles.
    The blood sucking owner the incompetent board the clueless manager and the overpaid underperforming players should all be sacked.
    This club is at its lowest point for three decades and there needs to be a purge from top to bottom.

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      🤣🤣🤣

    2. Mark says:

      LOL.. the very definition of fickle

    3. Vinod says:

      🤐👍👍

  5. A J says:

    So GAI you have changed this articles point in your first 3 words.

    Sticking to the headline, and answering the specific question – in my opinion no.

    However, there are of course a whole host other issues need urgently addressing.

    I for one will be more than “disappointed” (to put it mildly) if the manager (which will be Arteta) and the clubs hierarchy don’t get to grips with the same issues plaguing us year on year.

    But again answering this articles question – no.

    And it’s not a case of the players (quality) in question as I believe the “misses” we are talking of are down to (in the main) Auba, Lacca & Saka.

  6. Dan says:

    Since Xmas
    Saints 1-0 Arsenal – FA Cup
    Wolves 2-1_Arsenal
    Villa 1-0 Arsenal
    Arsenal 0-1_City
    Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool
    Burnley 0-0 Arsenal
    West Ham 3-3 Arsenal
    So hardly a massive improvement!?

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      Knowing TMJW and his facts I was sure the stats would betray his claim as you have pointed out.

      1. Dan kit says:

        I’m surprised TMJW isnt blaming Wenger for Arsenals poor finishing ,i see he got his name in the Article and the normal dig at him though bless him .

        1. Highbury Hero says:

          🤣🤣🤣 there must be a traditional Wenger’s dig in TMJW articles no matter the topic. Usually when I see his articles I go automatically into disagreeable mode but today I think I am partially agreeing with him.

          It is strange business this season terrible finishing. Surely it won’t be fair to blame the manager if the players are missing clear chances. But then why are they missing clear chances when we know our attackers are very good finishers? There is something in the middle.

          1. ThirdManJW says:

            @HH

            It wasn’t a dig, I’m merely pointing out the fact that there are consequences to one’s actions. Unless you disagree, and believe Wenger left the club in a great position?

        2. siamois says:

          😂

    2. SueP says:

      Dan,
      you missed out:
      Arsenal 3 -0 Newcastle
      Leicester 0-3 Arsenal
      Sheffield 0-3 Arsenal
      Arsenal 2 – 1 Spuds
      Arsenal 4 – 2 Leeds
      Soton 1 – 3 Arsenal
      WBA 0 – 4 Arsenal

      The draws with West Ham and ManU were against teams higher in the league and we lost to the league champions and the league champions elect. An improvement has been made as we were 15th at one point. I am not saying that our position is fantastic – far from it, but you did rather cherry pick your results (:-)

      1. OnceGreat says:

        Thank you!
        I hate it when people start rating their own agenda more than the whole reality of the situation.

    3. ThirdManJW says:

      So I’ve got my facts wrong then? Arsenal are not currently 4th in league form post Christmas? What position are they in post Christmas then from the last 17 league games? If we haven’t improved, wouldn’t we still be 15th or lower?

      Cannot wait to see your reply!

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        In reply to Dan.

      2. Admin Pat says:

        Table cince Christmas Day….
        https://www.givemesport.com/1654887-premier-league-the-table-since-christmas-day-is-very-interesting

        Oops that ones old. This one is from yesterday…
        https://www.pinterest.es/pin/475692779372908421/
        If it DOESN’T include the Chelsea game on Boxing Day, we would be joint 5th…

  7. Eddie says:

    Okay I’ll clear one thing about my support for MA. Everyone here is aware my support for Arteta is very open and strong in and people actually think I don’t know he makes mistakes just because I don’t talk about them. Truth is I do know he’s had his own errors but to keep calling for his head when I’ve seen him learnt and he keeps growing from it is what I won’t do yet.

    Why am I giving MA a different treatment from the one I gave Emery?
    I supported Wenger for years and I was a big supporter of Emery till after 4 months into a full season. The difference y both is Emery was and is an experienced manager, very experienced manager..
    Now you expect me to treat a rookie in his second year the same way I treated Emery who had shît tons of years as experience.
    The board chose to go with the rookie, so it only means they’re ready to give him time to grow into and get his chance. That’s what I will do too.
    Yeah maybe if he never won the FA cup, my patience wouldn’t have lasted, but the fat remains he won the FA cup and it bought him time from me. His handling of the spoilt brats and player power in the club bought him additional time from me. IMHO getting rid of player power and getting rid of our Deadwoods is highly commendable ad respectable from me.
    All of this is what a rookie did.
    Now it’s not been easy for him or us fans this season no doubt, he’s had his own efforsy, but I’ll be spreading lied if I say I don’t see the difference between how we play now and how we played before, and like the article says, our players been very wasteful. I’ve read people even blaming MA for the failures of some of our players, talking about how players are struggling under him, how our world class players are struggling because of Arteta. Are they? Is the reason?
    It was still under Arteta that PEA was deadly and led us to the FA cup glory, it’s still the same Arteta that chose to stop ESR from going on a loan even though fitness issues meant he had to start playing ESR by Dec (Everyone likes to pretend ESR wasn’t having fitness issues and Injuries before Dec, but that’s okay).
    It’s still under the same Arteta Tierney’s been playing his best football for us, Same for Saka, same for Luiz, Same for Xhaka.. I can go on, so I don’t know how everyone suddenly starts blamiy lack of converting chances and players droppiy form on Arteta.
    Parteyy been ravaged with injury issues and has hardly played a long run of games, plus isy his first season here.
    Suddenly everyone forgot the excuses we use ever year for new players and that was used for Pepe. The fact that Partey’s in a new county and needs at least a year to adapt too. Everyone suddy ignores that excuse ad choose to say Arteta is the reason Partey’s been struggling just becay it suits agenda.

    I’ll support MA and give him the time he needs, after the FA cup triumph, everyone was calliy for patience and talking about how the club won’t get fixed in two years. I made up my mind last season that this season would just be a learning process for MA and I’m not gonna start judging him till next season.
    Now I’ll keep supporting him and my personal judgement will start next season. I have no issues with others wanting him gone. Some of us want him to stay and be given the chance.
    So if you think I’d sippoy this rookiy manager who’s struggling with the team right now, that I’ll support him even if he doesn’t win the Europa league, then you’re damn right I will support him

    1. jon fox says:

      Eddie, I much admire your stance, which I share for the very same reasons too. I’d love you to read my own long post on this thread,(about four posts below) if you will please.

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        Yes I really enjoyed your comment as well. The problem is that some honestly believe Arteta, like Emery, didnt inherit huge problems. You have identified some obvious problems that would hamper any manager.

        Now wait for the likes of Highbuy Hero, Dan Kit, and Phil to say you’re making it all up Haha!

        1. Phil says:

          Well he didn’t seem to let these problems cause too many issues when winning the FA Cup last season did he? He got the team playing to a tight ridged 3/5 system and we won games. We looked tighter and we looked like a team, which is more than we did under Emery. Very few dispute this. But now we are at the back end of Arteta’s first ( and likely last ) full season and you are trying to tell me we have progressed? Seriously?
          Arteta has brought in SEVEN players of his own choosing. He released a number of players that were obviously surplus to how he wanted to play. And we are, according to you, improving. The league position never lies PAL. We are where we are for a reason. That is solely on the number of points we have, which is far too few for a squad of players that should have at least been in and around the 4th to 7th positions. That is not unreasonable to expect is it? And where are we? NINTH. And although we could theoretically still get Seventh and a Europa Cup spot, would you wager any of your hard earned cash on this happening? Yet the reality is we should not be scampering around like we are. Players are the responsibility of the manager. Based on who he has kept, given new contracts to and actually brought to the club, would you seriously give Arteta more transfer windows?
          At the end of the 1995-96 season Bruce Ricoh got us a UEFA cup spot at the end of his first under achieving season. The club knew they had made a mistake. They sacked him and brought in Wenger. They identified their mistake and acted. I fully expect them to do the same at the end of this season if Arteta fails to get either a Europa Cup spot from a 7th place finish, or actually win the Europa Cup and get a Champions League position. In reality he should be on notice both of these are expected, and failure is not an option.
          If that upsets all you snowflakes then tough PAL. I obviously have a far higher expectation level of what this club should be achieving than you do

    2. guy says:

      Good post Eddie.

  8. A J says:

    Bumped this up from an earlier thread.

    Ornstein writes ;

    ” The Kroenkes remain fully behind their current boss and they are hoping to have him in charge over the years ahead.

    The Gunners’ owners want Arteta to turn things around in North London, and believe that giving him more transfers windows to build his squad is their best option.

    He is at the centre of a new era for Arsenal that they hope will come to fruition and improve over time,” the journalist said.

    They are building the project around him. The technical Edu and the owners, the Kroenkes, they hope that with time and with transfer markets – plural – that Arteta will prove to be the right man for them.

    He clearly needs different players and rejuvenated players. He needs to keep building that squad in a way that is moulded to his desire, otherwise it’s not going to work.

    He appears to be a really good coach, from people we speak to he is really highly rated, but I think Arsenal have a lot of work to do in the transfer market.

    “In terms of Arteta he is at the centre of what they are doing and their faith is follow behind him.”

    I would guess that the ownership have set their stall out in firmly STAYING with M A for at least the length of his current contract , arguing the job to hand (as described above) is definitely not short term given the mess inherited.

    In short “trust the process” looks long term, despite any kicking and screaming otherwise.

  9. Grandad says:

    We seem to have been distracted from the question posed in the article.The art of finishing is a skill which is very difficult to coach, unlike team shape,defensive organisation, set pieces etc.Basically, by the time your 18, you either have it, or you have not.The most important aspect in finishing, or it was when I played, is composure.How often do you see forwards snatching at the ball in one for one situations when good composure would slow down the art of shooting as happens when they practise their finishing routines in training.Of course the vital ingredient which is largely missing in training is pressure,the impact of which sorts out the men from the boys.The likes of Messi ,Pele , Maradonna and Greaves were natural finishers and would have required little in the way of actual “coaching”.I believe Ronaldo more than any has worked hard to cultivate his finishing skills and of course he was already a real athlete who was, and still is , great in the air.I liken shooting as a skill, to a golf swing. A smooth tempo ,back and forward usually results in a good shot, but if the swing is too quick trouble awaits.As to the Arsenal finishers, I think we are not too badly off in that area, and while Arteta has shown shortcomings in a number of areas, I think it’s unfair to blame him when Auba slides one past the post from 5 yards.

  10. Realjay says:

    I like mikel arteta alot, i like his tactics and formation, but sometimes am just sick of his line up, he keep using players that have and are failing him. And if he continue using this players, they will be cause of his demise.

  11. jon fox says:

    A marvellous and in particular a profoundly TRUE summation of this whole season by TMJW.
    As an MA supporter who has been actively combatting the unfair criticism of him by a deal of fans on JA, I am of course not blind to the fact that he has made MISTAKES. What separates me from those who can’t wait to see him sacked though, is that as a realist I always expected him, as arookie, to make mistakes and allowed for that fact.

    But more important than even that, I – again as a realist – fully understood the cesspit of a mess he had to inherit and I determined to give him a proper chance. Just as I did with UE and also with Wenger, who was making a pigs ear of things for many a year befor he became under rightful pressure.

    More important than even THIS though- again as arealist – I knew the extent of the problems that ALL our managers have had to wrestle with ever since David Dein was catastrophically ousted in a titanic style betrayal by the then existing directors, resulting in the DREADFUL KROENKE becoming owner. He first invaded our club in 2007 and ever since that awful day our remorseless slide into mid table mediocrity has accelerated. This is fact, not opinion, and 2007, my friends, is the fatal day this club sold its soul to the DEVIL

    ALL total realists know that unless and until we can force this SATAN OUT of our club, we will NEVER, repeat NEVER, AGAIN CHALLENGE AT THE VERY TOP LEVEL We are in a Formula one race, but with a car built with an engine fit only for an aged Mini, while our rivals have Aston Martins and Ferraris! REALITY!!!

    All the immense damage done by GAZIDIS and Sanllehi stem from the fact that our absent, “know nothing about football ” owner, cares nothing for greatness and glory, so has appointed and left in charge serial incompetent CEO’s whose immense damage we are still suffering from daily. If you disagree with this final line then you are not abreast of what has been going on at your club since 2007.
    Think, really THINK, about it!

    1. Dan kit says:

      New record jonny boy calling yourself a Realist 4 times in one post .🤦🏻

      1. jon fox says:

        DANNY BOY, unlike you I am not a “boy” or anywhere near being a mere boy, being a man of 70 with over 60 years of actively following our club. Your posts will only start concerning me when – which I doubt will EVER happen – they concur with mine.

      2. jon fox says:

        I note with no surprise but with a sigh, that once again your post attacked me personally, as usual, but ignored ALL the key points I made so painstakingly. Personal vendettas are way beyond real adults, Danny BOY!

        1. ThirdManJW says:

          I agree a lot with what you said Jon, and I wouldn’t converse with child like Dan kit, the hater of facts!

          1. Dan kit says:

            Haha cheers TMJWMRALWAYSRIGHT

        2. Dan kit says:

          No attack Jon just merely stating a fact you beat your record ,I thought you like facts jonny boy .

    2. Eddie says:

      Jon Fox I’m with you regarding everything you’ve written concerning SK and your views on Wenger/Gazidis.
      However I do think the biggest criminal is Raul Sanllehi who I used to call the fraud when fans started labelling him the Don.
      Kroenke should’ve known better but he’s just a businessman clueless about the sport who left it in charge of others.
      Raul was the worst to happen to us after David Dein. He was much more worse.
      I had my doubts and problem with everything he did from day 1 and I was always vocal about it here. Starting from making plans to build a Spanish dynasty or cult in the club, making decisions based in nepotism, cutting out Sven Mislintat who opposed some of his decisions.
      The man wasted money we could’ve used in rebuilding. Refused to give Emery Zaha, but went ahead to make a shady deal while pocketing money with his friends from the Pepe deal. The man was everything Wenger ever stood against. He ruined the club already before he was caught and sacked.

      Kroenke holds the blame also.
      I hope he’ll turn this around and his faith in Arteta is really strong that he’ll support him with enough funds.
      In the end, if we can get a new owner who’d be passionate about the club and will spend, I’ll be so glad

    3. guy says:

      No arguments from me Jon. As you know I echo your thoughts that the day they sold Dein down the river in favour of Kroenke for 30 pieces of silver was the start of our decline and the end of Arsenal as we knew it. And that, coupled with the new stadium debt, so hamstrung Wenger’s ability to bring in players that he could only keep the wheels on the wagon for so long.

  12. Bobs says:

    The problem I have with Arteta is having favourite issue, though i haven’t yet know his tactic cos we don’t play the same way in every game.
    Someone said, if not for Auba, Emery would have lose more game than Arteta but same person forgot that if not for Auba, Arteta would have get the sack also cos it means no FA Cup for him(a safing grace for Arteta). Doublestandard
    Now about his favourite… I remember when he came in and Martinelli was fit before his injury in July, Martinelli was ignored for Nketiah even though Mart perform more than Nketiah when given chance. The start of this season Laca scored 3 goals in 3 games but was benched more than 5 games before returning and then benched again even though Willian is not producing anything.
    Mid-season, Pepe was scoring and producing for 3 successive games but was returned back to the bench for his favourite players. Holding and Mari kept more clean sheet this season than any other pairing at CB but Holding and Mari was benched even after both were fit. Leno kept on playing even when we have Ryan on bench to challenge him, he only play bcuz of Leno’s red card and it was a very good performance. Why did we loan him if he won’t play?

    And I don’t buy what Eddie said about ESR injury just to defend Arteta cos ESR was back in training with the first team since September and has been playing for Under23 more than 2months before he was introduced in December.
    It means Arteta does not trust him at first but only use him against Chelsea cos he has no choice.
    You’re right about Xhaka, cos no matter what anybody says, He’s the best midfielder we’ve got presently at the club including Partey.

    And about the individual errors, I blame Arteta on this cos if your team is making individual error almost every time with no changes, it means something is wrong.
    It means either some players are too cautious to play Arteta tactic and stifled themselves in the process or the tactics is not right. Why not give them tactics and tell them to play with freedom.

    And on one v one, I can’t blame this on Arteta, I blame this on the players but if you create enough chances, missed chances is forgotten.
    I remember Adebayor and Walcott missing 2-3 one v one chances but still be the match winner. We can’t expect strikers to score every chances they get. If we expect that, it means Liverpool would have destroyed us instead of just 3-0 cos they created chances upon chances. So why are we not creating chances more.

    Slavia Prague has more shot on target, we only had 1 total shot than they do and don’t tell me they don’t deserve to score so many goals cos they wasted all there chances too.

    I remember Ronaldo losing 7 good chances against Derby county and he later scored the lone goal to win the game.

    So let Arteta bring back our beautiful football, creating chances upon chances and see who will blame him.

    Atleast when the player won the FA cup last year, he was credited for it than the players cos they believe the players are useless.
    Now that the players are not performing, let him take the fall than the players.

    1. Eddie says:

      Wait you said Smith Rowe was back in training since September??
      Do you mind please tell us how players immediately jump into starting lineup after resuming trainings from Injuries sustained.

      Bring out your facts and let me bring out facts too.

      1: The season started 12th of September 2020 with our game against Fulham.

      2: Prior to that Arsenal dot com posted that ESR will miss out opening game after sustaining a shoulder Injury in training and he wouldn’t be out of sling till around 18th.

      3:The update before the West Ham game, Arsenal update was
      “Now out of protective sling and aiming to return to full training within the next two weeks.”

      This is someone who’d just gotten out of sling and would resume training within 2 weeks,not even 1 week.

      According to transfermarket, he Was out from Sept 11th till October 24th. He spent 43 days out and between that,he missed 8 games.

      He was allowed to play with the U23 to regain his fitness.

      He missed 5 senior games (Leicester after the City game, Man Utd, Aston Villa,Leeds and Molde first leg)

      after he resumed training before
      Starting by Nov 26 against Molde a game we won 3-0. Smith Rowe came on in the second half he played 15 minutes.

      Then against Rapid Vienna played 27 minutes on the 3rd of Dec.

      Against Dundalk played for 77 minutes on the 10th of Dec.

      Here we saw his gametime increase since first match back from Injury.

      Then in the league against Manchester City, he played 24 minutes before starting the Chelsea game where he played 65 minutes and started games.

      So have some shame and stop your lies about him playing for the U23 for two months before Dec.
      Oh btw Smith Rowe only played 3 games for the U23 because of during the whole period of his fitness issue.
      The two months you said he was playy for the U23. He played just 3 games for them while he was getting gametime with the senior.
      Have some shame and stop spreading lied just to suit your agenda.

      1. Bobs says:

        I’m so sorry if the Smith Rowe line was out of the way for me. Cos I know he was back 2 months before we play Chelsea and if he wasn’t playing in the EPL, where else can he be playing?(my reason for saying he was playing for the under 23)
        I know he came back in Sept 11 but had a sling by Sept 18. Don’t know when he came back precisely but i’m so sure he was back 2months after we play Chelsea.
        But about you saying to prove my agenda…
        My point is he was fit for 2 months before he started the game against Chelsea which means he wasn’t trusted, I don’t see how that suit my agenda if not the fact he was fit for 2months and people has been calling for him to be used during those 2 months before he was finally used in Dec 26 against Chelsea because of no choice.

        If Saka, Xhaka etc were fit for a month after a dangerous injury, I believe Arteta we find a way back for them in the team, even current Smith won’t go 2 months now before Arteta return him back to the team. It shows you he trust him now than then.

        So my point his, Arteta should stop with is favouritism and start trusting some players and if they don’t perform, you turn to the next person.
        Not sticking to one player who can’t produce result.

        So how is that suiting my agenda?

  13. Phil says:

    TMJW- you say that, In your opinion we have been moving in the right direction since Xmas, and hope your point is proven solely on the points we have achieved. But have we closed the gap at all on the Clubs who are obviously ahead of us? Let’s just take the Liverpool game. A team out of form, beaten at Anfield by clubs including Brighton and Fulham, and we didn’t lay a glove on them.That’s where I am looking for the improvement,and if anything we are going backwards in these high profile games. Too many were celebrating a decent performance and 3points against Sheffield Utd, before realising that was aChampionship Team we were playing. You have, on many occasions, stayed Arteta’s tactical genius in improving our defence. Yet Sunday was the first game in FOURTEEN ATTEMPTS we were able to keep a clean sheet. Against the worst team in the Keague let’s not forget. It seems you are now attempting to shift everything into the players missed chances. Anything other than accept this novice manager is clearly out of his depth and will soon hopefully be out of a job

  14. Grandad says:

    So Phil, is Arteta to blame for the failure of our strikers to take their chances?A simple question which does not require A great deal of intellect to answer.

    1. Declan says:

      I sense a PAL moment coming soon….😊

      1. Phil says:

        @Declan- it was difficult to not include it, but I managed it. Thanks for the heads up PAL

    2. Phil says:

      @Grandad- at the end of the season we will be where we will be. Strikers who perform will be kept. Those that don’t will be off. This is no difference from defenders and midfielders who either perform or not. But ultimately the manager either keeps his job, or is sacked, as a collective of all parts. He picks them after coaching them, and instilling his tactics into them all week so he is ultimately responsible. And football has always been this way. It’s a results driven business.
      But Arteta does himself no favours continually picking out of form players and refusing to select obvious replacements. Willian and Martinelli being two obvious examples.

  15. Grandad says:

    Thank you Phil, but you have failed to answer the simple question.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Haha, I knew Phil wouldn’t be able to answer that one.

  16. Phil says:

    No Grandad, it’s not as simple to answer as a straight yes or no. Was Arteta to blame for Aubamayang missing a sitter last Thursday when he came on? No. Nor was he to blame for Lacazette missing a one-on-one, but his is the Job Thats on the line if we don’t qualify so he ultimately takes the blame for those mistakes. We miss far too many simple chances, and as we create far fewer than we used to then this is why games are so much tighter.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Actually you’re factually wrong Phil. We create far more now than we were earlier in the season, hence my point that Artera figured out his tactics to get us creating more. That was his job to fix that problem, which he did.

      His job is also to ensure our positioning and runs off the ball to ensure we maximize these glaring opportunities. Which he has also done. The one thing he cannot do anything about is players missing easy chances. I don’t expect us to convert 100% of our easy chances, but we’re missing so many, that’s it’s now costing us dear.

      Despite our poor first 14 league games, we should easily be in the top 6 now, possibly fighting for 4th, if the players could finish half their chances.

      1. Benjamin says:

        What if our opponents convert half their chance against us? What would be our league position.

        1. ThirdManJW says:

          True, it can be looked at both ways, although we do not give away that many clear cut chances.

          My overall point still stands though. Arteta has improved us greatly post-Christmas, and although there still many problems holding us back, it’s currently taking our chances, which is our main problem.

      2. Phil says:

        And how many chances do we create under Arteta compared to Emery PAL ? And Wenger ? So what’s the reason? Simple. It’s the over defence minded set up of Arteta. And bearing in mind the clean sheet against Sheffield United was the first for FOURTEEN GAMES it’s no wonder we are continually going backwards. Toothless in attack compared to Emery and Wenger, with a defence that still concedes far too easily. And you wonder why your article gets picked apart ?

        1. ThirdManJW says:

          But I am not comparing Arteta to them though am I? There was a demand on Arteta to improve things, which he has done, looking solely at this season.

          But if you want to do comparisons, then by all means. How many European trophies did Wenger win compared to Fergie, Klopp, Ancelotti, Mourinho, even Roberto Di Matteo? Did the likes of those managers go 14 years straight not winning a league title, or 9 years straight winning nothing?

          Maybe if we had sacked Wenger back in 2008, we would have a few league titles under our belts, maybe a European trophy, and we wouldn’t be talking about the mess that Emery and Arteta was left with.

          Be careful what you wish for I guess hahahaha!

  17. Grandad says:

    Thanks Phil.

  18. ozziegunner says:

    Talking about missing chances, how many did PSG and Liverpool miss in the Champions League? It happens to the best.

  19. JW says:

    When I was a youngster, I was taught how to shoot. I was taught the positions to adopt, for both my left foot and my right. The position was, head over the ball, knee over the ball, arms out for balance and hit thru the ball with the laces. We did this for an hour each session, to create muscle memory. If you watch Phil Foden’s goal against Dortmund, you will see what I mean. Another player who shoots correctly is United’s Greenwood. But so many players nowadays either lean back when the hit the ball, or try to bend it with their instep. The today’s ball appears to be lighter, and it tends to fly when hit, which is why the correct technique is even more important. As to it being Arteta’s fault, I always believe it is up to the player to hone his skills!!

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