Thank you Xhaka for telling Arsenal fans the truth

Going from previous history, don’t be surprised if Xhaka is the latest senior Arsenal player Arteta falls out with, as the 29-year-old broke ranks and gave his teammates some hard truths.

Arsenal were so bad on Monday that not even our manager with a straight face could try and blame officials for this defeat. You know, like he did last Thursday when he shamefully said he was ‘happy’ and ‘proud’ of our display in the NLD as he tried to suggest there was a referee conspiracy against the Gunners.

News flash Gooners – and this will hurt.

On and off the pitch, we are so irrelevant that there is zero reason for the FA to have any kind of agenda against us.

Knowing some of the fanbase share this theory, it was the Spaniard doing what he does best, telling people what they want to hear.

That’s how a rookie boss got Arsenal as his first ever job, a willingness to be a yes man, accept his employers’ limitations, for the sake of a high-profile post.

That’s earnt him a contract extension, again confirming the Kroenke family’s lack of ambition. If the owners are rewarding deals without knowing what European competition we are in, then by definition they don’t have zero tolerance in terms of their club needing to be in the Champions League.

Even some Gooners have accepted standards being lowered, hence the debate that 5th would be progress.

That’s why Xhaka’s post-match interview was so refreshing. Because it’s not as simple as wanting Arsenal to be the best and complaining if they are not.

It’s about Arsenal, once one the biggest institutions in the UK, simply trying to be the best versions of themselves.

In life as well as sport, isn’t that what we should all aspire to be, the best we can be?

Should you not accept anything else but the very best?

So, I needed to hear Xhaka’s words. Not because the midfielder is flawless because he’s not.

It’s because I needed to hear from anyone representing the club that they cared and recognised our current reality is not acceptable.

With our current managerial structure, and supporters who accept the bare minimum, I have genuine fear that our club is just being allowed to sit there and die.

A Tony Adams would be embarrassed of the last two displays.

A Vieira wouldn’t call 5th progress.

Henry wouldn’t view fixtures just to get in the top 4 as pressure.

These were legends who wore the shirt with pride, who understood what our badge represented and the values it held.

Xhaka’s not in that class, but at least as one of the few talents viewed as a leader, reassured me that someone in that dressing room understands there is a level Arsenal can’t be allowed to drop too.

The Swiss (unlike others) didn’t hide behind the excuse of injuries, nor dild he sympathise with how young the squad is.

Maybe because he’s intelligent enough to know that if Arsenal themselves made that choice they only have themselves to blame.

There are constant hints that certain individuals have been forced to play with serious fatigue.

Yet Edu, Arteta, Josh K…. they get a lot of money to manage.

Part of that criteria is getting the best out of the resources you have.

In theory, Torreira, Guendouzi, Saliba, Bellerin, Maitland Niles and Aubameyang all could have been options at Newcastle.

The majority of those names are still official employees. They play elsewhere (and some are challenging for trophies) not because we got crazy transfer fees but because the priority was to slash the wage bill.

Can you really cost cut in that manner, then cry you have a lack of cover and experience?

The company will try, because their customers have a habit of buying into their narrative.

Throughout the campaign I have been called negative, having an agenda and faced other personal abuse. Simply for being proven right.

In reality my stance has always been the following ……We are Arsenal?

5th is not okay …. playing for 4th is not okay.

Consecutive 8th place finishes is not progress and doesn’t then make 5th good!

Having Eddie Nketiah up front (a championship level player) is simply unacceptable when your giving Aubameyang away to Barcelona.

Letting players run down their contracts means we have been lied to, because we were promised after Aaron Ramsey it would never happen again.

So, when the custodians of your club are using January to make us weaker and rewarding their manager for throwing away top 4, when we are allowing Amazon to make us a laughingstock for a few million, I need to hear someone care.

Not when you want me to buy an Adidas shirt either because we know when it’s time to sell merchandise the club suddenly remind us of our history and culture.

I needed to hear raw emotion, someone recognising how far we have fallen and how it’s not okay.

Thank you Xhaka

Dan Smith

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  1. Four points ahead with just three games to go. That was what we had, and Arteta and his boys failed woefully.
    This is worse the Emery’s bottle job.
    I don’t think you understand it, 4 points advantage!! We had 4!!! And just needed to avoid losing 2.

    Xhaka couldn’t do enough, as Elneny and Ødegaard were both useless. We lack experienced leaders in this team. Someone who should’ve calmed the team and told the team to relax. I don’t think Xhaka was being pretentious when he said what he said, we all know he’s the first to always gives his all on the pitch.
    It’s just a huge shame Arteta and his boys failed.

    1. Also it wasn’t like we lost after giving hell of a fight. We lost like pathetic, spineless worms!

    2. They gave him a new lucrative contract. All we can do is wait and see. Yes 5th is a progress from his two consecutive 8ths.

      He managed to challenge for the top 4 with a thin squad so there is potential of what more he can do with quality additions.

      I would rather see him go today but they have decided to extended his stay. We can only hope for the best. We have been talking for the past 2.5 seasons but what has changed?

      He secured 4th and then let it go by himself. That is his inexperience staring us at our faces.

      If he fulfil his potential that will be great if he does not then we can continue to enjoy the circus and the creative excuses which comes with it, from the fans.

      1. But 5 th is only progress on 8th which is his own failure
        That’s like me managing a company that lose 5 grand a month and then for the next two years I lose 20 grand a month just to then still lose ,5 grand a month and call that progress
        He was brought in to bring us back to cl
        He’s failed

        1. It is a progress yes from his own failures. But still an improvement from 8th. His head is now out from the hole he dug for himself. We will see next season if he will get out completely or he will fall back in, hopefully never to get up again for us if that happens.

          I give him credit for really challenging for 4th. I expected another 8th or worse after January extraordinary mismanagement of players.

          So there is potential there. Not a sure thing as some fans propaganda trying to make it, but there is potential.

          1. Now you’re making sense, Arteta needs not be crucified with the meagre sums spent over the last decade

      2. A thin squad that he created for himself. What led to the sale of Auba? Why sending rugged players like Guand, Torreira on loan? Why refusing to keep Saliba? All these players are making marks in their various clubs. Saliba is celebrated as Best Young player of the year. So stop defending Arteta’s ineptitude.

    3. Well, Pepe, Tavares, Lokonga, Partey – all hailed the holy Grail – all are useless as were the others mentioned in the article – no team players but individual “stars” thinking they are better than the rest – dancing queens at best – with Partey so fit he can’t even play 4 games in a row – Arsenal fans do not deserve any better, for 5 years it was all Xhaka’ fault – and now we blame Arteta what he loaned or sold – they all were Primadonna’s, and instigators on the Team -hopefully Xhaka leaves at the end of the season for Roma, he deserves better. Laca is no better, wants to be a leader and key player and scores every 100 years – all leftovers of a failed Wenger dynasty. Give it another 2 years to rebuild.

  2. All valid points but we have to see that arteta can only work with the resources he is given, I suggest he would have not been happy with January cuts, these were forced by edu and k’s.

    Also, please, please supplement team with some senior players, you cannot do this with youngsters it simply asks too much.

    And finally, are partey and tierney really fit us, we only seem to get them for short periods, I do not believe they are up to the physical challenge of the pl


    1. This team is Arteta’s team, he has build it. He got rid of experience players. Now you can not shift the blame somewhere else. When he has experience players then you lot use to say its not his team & these players are toxic. Now he has his team you guys are still blaming the team for not having experience. One thing you guys don’t do is see the reality that Arteta is not good enough If he has not performed with any of the team he has had.

  3. God bless you
    I think someone is beginning to think and reason like few of us
    Arteta / Edu is the worst that has happened to arsenal and if we continue with them playing champions League games will be totally impossible
    I don’t wanna talk about the owners Because they are the most clueless football administrators I have ever seen.
    We must not keep quiet

    1. Most of us are missing the point. Not qualifying for Cl is not the problem but the approach to 90% of the game we played. Look at the way Arteta approached the match against Newcastle knowing full well that draw will put us at disadvantaged and yet he went conservative like he was playing against Liverpool or City. We are going to be disgraced in cl with those kind of football and knocked out by an inferior team in Europa league just like we were in both corabo cup, fa cup, last season europa league and when he took over. He is not upto it. I watched Burnley and Soton played liverpool and I asked if those players are better than ours. Arteta can’t motivate his team and not put fight in them and his team is full of everything he criticized Ozil for. I hardly saw our players win ball back from opponents or mark properly so what is he teaching them. If critically where we finished last season and this season points to point defeat to defeat and win to win we will see aside the top 2 clubs every other teams struggle this season and that is what give us the position we are now and not that Arteta is a genius.

      1. Tavares unsettles the entire Team, he has no tactical awareness, neither do Partey or Pepe or Lokonga, it’s not Arteta, it’s the spoiled brats in the Team

    2. I think that Emery was really underrated and he was not given such Chance to make things happen. Why on Earth will they have Torreira, Guendouzi, Saliba and Bellerin on loan when u have a team debt. I’m really tired of this arsenal ooh. You people will not kill me. Have been causing me series of sleepless nights. This guys on loan are very good players, can see mancity, Liverpool, and Chelsea. There second team is as good as their first team. Look at Newcastle beating arsenal 2:0 when it matters, Jesus Christ. I can’t take it ooo. If they can’t manage arsenal, let them lease it out or sell it to anyone who can. The coach shouldn’t allow what happened outside pitch to come inside the field of play. He did this against ozil, Guendouzi, and it cost us d top 4, pls let’s be business oriented, I truly miss Arsene Wenger. He is the best.

      1. Question is why has Arteta been given a new contract and Emery was sacked?
        Arsenal FC cannot claim fairness and equity. The “class” club is no more.

  4. Based on Xhaka’s and Saka’s comments after the game, we could conclude our main problem

    Xhaka said that if someone wasn’t ready for the game, he’d better stay home. Whereas Saka said they lost all duels and second balls

    The players had better train harder to win the duels in the summer and in pre-season, otherwise the rougher, braver, more aggressive and more brutal teams will always bully us next season. I think they lost the confidence after losing badly against Spuds and were badly affected by St James Park’s atmosphere

    1. Obviously Gai. Also think in buying players skills and physical strength should be considered important Take a clue from ManCity newly bought Striker his size would intimidate any defender and he will compete well physically. Next season will be tougher for Arsenal considering we are playing Europa on Thursday and many cops competition in the league. Other clubs also investing We need big squad. Arteta would need to up his ante as a coach, drill the players in training if he is to last in Arsenal.

      1. Yeah, Man City will be scarier next season with Haaland as their main CF. I’d be surprised if Arteta doesn’t follow Guardiola’s preference in signing a new CF

        We could still rely on Nketiah if most players are in-form. But when most Gunners are having bad days, we need a plan-B CF to win the ball possession in the opposition’s half

    2. It’s not so much about the physical side imo, we are capable of passing our way up the pitch, but we really struggled with their pressing – it’s simple passing and moving, but we froze up this time and didn’t have the confidence to do it. Bottled it, simple as that – it’s leadership and mental strength that was lacking

  5. I couldn’t agree more…Listening to Neville and Carragher slate Xhaka for his “statement of truth” annoyed me even more than the pair of them do usually.
    It’s a disgrace that Arteta has been rewarded with an extended contract when he’s been found completely wanting during this crucial end of season run-in….It’s galling to see a Spurs team that only has two players of real quality but managed by a proper coach outperform this Arsenal side and grab the all important top 4 place…It’s worrying to see a team like Newcastle who will be given greater monetary resources in future years outperforming this Arsenal team in every department in such an important game for us and one which should have meant far less for them.
    Unfortunately years of mismanagement continue to hamstring Arsenal on and off the pitch.We as supporters know that its going to be a slow process to get back to competing at the higher level.That said we should at least get able to seize upon real opportunities when they are presented to us.This was the season when two of our closest rivals had suffered massive meltdowns and seemingly allowed our young team to size fourth spot.But that’s as we now know was an opportunity wasted…and one that’s not going to be seized again by a Manager…. who’s coaching ability leaves much to be desired…who’s “in play” tactical decision making is poor…and who’s man management skills are frankly appalling.

    1. Believe you me JOEL. If Arteta still has players that will rather stay home or one the bench than on the field then the club, the coach and all the players have lied to the fans. Where is the togetherness and being happy as a team. The one fact in all these as evident by the way we lose and win is Arteta does not coach them well. In out last two matches it’s annoying to see us playing as if we are the leading team( playing with false arrogance) in the last 20 min of both matches when we were 2 goals down. No urgency or desire to reduce the deficit. We kept passing the ball back to the defense and keeper.

  6. As much as I agree with your analysis Dan, I can’t thank Xhaka for anything. Against Newcastle on Monday he could have taken the bull by the horns and shown the kids the way by doing what the great midfielders such as Viera, Gerrard, Keane, Scholes or Robson, even Gattuso have done over the years and drag their teammates out of mediocrity. Instead the Granite was a passive presence, a few niggling fouls, one dimensional passing, one tame shot on goal? No direct running to take it up to the opposition. Ineffective. More a less what we have been seeing from him over the past six years. If he had to vent his frustration it should have been directed at his manager for the lame tactical approach and not at his teammates.

    1. I like what Xhaka said. Xhaka knows exactly the issue inside Arsenal. It’s not about his weakness or limitations, but he’s opening your eyes. To the few who’ve been blinded. Edu and Arteta went for youth in the summer transfer window. Look how Lokonga ,Tavares have turned out to be. Thats what Xhaka alluded to by mentioning age. Tomiyasu injury problems were well documented when he was being signed . It has come to bite. The system is broken,expect the likes of Saka, Martinelli to jump ship soon.

      1. Xhaka is one of the many problems holding the team back. There is nothing wrong with a project youth if they are capably supported by the more experienced players. Xhaka is just whining, partly because the defeat hurt so much but also because he wanted to limit his own responsibility. Be interesting to see how Manure’s new manager incorporates their FA youth Cup winning players in with their stars. I am afraid that he will do a much better job.

        1. Xhaka is a senior Arsenal player, experirnced Swiss international captain. If he can’t be looked to to provide leadership, who can?

    2. Exactly, as Xhaka is one of the older experienced players surely if he thought teammates were not pulling their weight it was up to him to go around and gee them up., but he didn’t. We lack a captain in the McLintock/ Adams/ Viera mould who can do that.

  7. The worry for me is the players that Arteta as signed ,that are no better than what we have had over the last decade .
    Now I would imagine that will be repeated once again this summer ,an endless cycle of mediocrity ,IMO we have one world class player in partey but he is always injured and a couple of next tier down players with potential,that is not good enough for a club of our size ,how the club thought after backing him with 250 million for little to no progression over the last 2 years to then give him a new contract (3 games to go 😂)is a crime against this once great club .

  8. This is completely down to the management
    From day one they have been making amateur discussions that have cumulated to this.. priorities of area of strengthening has been the most annoying. Is longonga and Teveras better than Niles?
    Is Ben White that better than Saliba?
    Is torriera that bad not to keep for cover.
    So many errors of judgement a better investment could have immensely improved us, how many defensive signings have this regime made yet we conced goals for fun…
    All that had happened is down to mismanagement in all areas no other thing should be blamed

  9. Buy some strong midfielder to partner Thomas partey , since he is not always stay fit. all this problem is due to lack of strong midfilder

    1. You can give Arteta Liverpool and City then see them crumble. Spuds were in much worse situation then us look what conte did. That is mark of good manager, look what klopp did at Liverpool in same time period as Arteta. You will get the answer which is critical new players or new manager.

  10. Excellent article. I have a longtime friend who is a Spurs fan who told me 3 or 4 weeks ago that ‘Arsenal have 4th place in the bag.’ I begged to differ, stating that ‘while you have Roy Race* and Son up front you have every chance of pipping Arsenal.’ So I have been proved right, which gives me no pleasure and the fact that Arsenal had no other disruptions after exits from both Carabao and FA cup only adds salt in all Arsenal fans wounds.
    *This is my nickname for Harry Kane; Roy Race to the uninitiated was a comic book character from a comic back in the 50’s.

  11. We realistic Article I must say but it won’t be swallowed by some Arteta lovers who think FA is always conspiring against Arsenal like we are the Real Madrid of!

  12. I’m told it’s not a problem that we’ve bottled 4th place as weren’t expected to be anywhere near it at the beginning of the season! FFS, what is wrong with some people?? It’s not ok, it’s far from ok. Had we given everything against the Spuds and Barcodes I wouldn’t be as angry as I am now, still disappointed yes, but to witness those pathetic displays was really hard to take.
    Countless times I’ve mocked the Spuds for coming 3rd in a 2 horse race and for just being the Spuds, yet here we are – no better off.. possibly worse?!
    It’s a joke, an absolute joke. All that money spent and the defence is worse than last season!! The attack is still blunt.. I could carry on, but I don’t need to spell out our problems, they’re blatantly obvious!
    2.5 years later and we’re no better off….

    Arteta forever!

    1. Sad bit is these fans and board are on same page. That is why Arteta was giving a new contract because in board eyes he had met the season target and anything more would have been bonus. How the mighty have fallen. I am still waiting for John’s predication though that Areta will be a legend and one of the great manager lol!

      1. Praised and rewarded with a new deal for very little progress. According to reports he’s now on 8.3m, only Pep, Klopp, Conte and Rodgers are on more 😱
        This is a massive opportunity missed, Logic and I’ll just wait for the meltdown next season when we’re nowhere near top 4 because everyone else will have strengthened and we’ll do what we always do- dither and be left even further behind! He’s just another Ole..

        And did you realise we’ve not finished above the Spuds since 2015-16? 🤬

        1. £8.3 million?? Money for old rope from the Arsenal benevolent society. So much for performance based contracts, particularly if the criteria are set low.

    2. Not only those two pathetic performance you should reference. We have more than o dozen and half of those performance they were just dusted down because we earned few points from those. I can remember the one when our part time 72m man came on to handed us the maximum points and the points Lacazette rescued against Palace at home.

      1. We’ve seen some dreadful performances/results this season, Adiva. But for me, the last 2 take the biscuit. Lacklustre, dire, gutless and against the Spuds of all people! They should all be docked a fortnight’s wages, at least. The most important week of our season and they all go missing in action. Disgraceful
        I honestly cannot comprehend how people find this acceptable..

        1. Sue, and they still put their hands out to take the money. They have no shame, let alone the pride to play for the badge.

    3. You’re right, Sue. Our defense is worse off!

      We paid £50m for Ben White 😣. He’s worth around £10m at best. Holding, Soares and to an extent, Gabriel are no more than average players most of the time. This defense shakes like a leaf under the slightest pressure. I’m not sure what this team works on in training because it’s not football!! 🤨

      1. If I didn’t laugh I’d cry, GunneRay!
        Don’t forget though, Auston Trusty is coming in the summer – to save us 😄

    4. The clubs problems are many and have been obvious for nearly 2 decades; everything has become mediocre, from ownership, management, players and even fans. Fans keep paying expensively to watch mediocrity, instrad of boycoting. Relegation would do us good

  13. The time and money given to Arteta should have been given to a more experienced and a better man -manager ( Unai). With the current persons navigating our ship,just hope we’re not headed for( Bermuda)

  14. Well said Dan Smith.
    I have already given my comments on Xhaka on a previous article and so do not want to repeat or copy & paste.
    Just a realist hoping I was going to be wrong on Conte being the one giving Spurs an edge.
    The worst thing about this is: I am not angry. Just becoming a fatalist and my expectations & ambitions are dropping to the level of the manager, players with a few exceptions and the owners.

  15. Dan Smith is spot on; Xhaka is spot on. Mikel Arteta? He’s handsome, articulate, telegenic -certainly can talk the talk- BUT has been shown time and time again to be out of his depth. Speak about leading a charmed life – would love to know what our Mika sprinkles on his breakfast cereal!

    As for the Spurs and Newcastle matches they were our cup finals and we couldn’t be arsed. Imagine, we had not one but two cup finals in a week and yet, let me repeat in upper case, WE COULDN’T BE ARSED

    Fatigue? No FA or League cups, no Europe and we’re knackered? Too young? Didn’t Manu win the treble with kids? Too spoilt more like.

    If our “kids” want to earn “adult” wages, want the recognition, want the status of being first team players, want the lifestyle, want to be courted by journalists for their opinion as if they were sage teachers then may I politely suggest to Shearer, Carragher, Neville, and our own Ian Wright that our players face up to their responsibilities: to the shirt, the fans, the institution that is (or was) Arsenal. Not showing up when so much was at stake was abdicating responsibility.

    “Resilience” is the latest buzz word in the caring community a quality that is required for success I am told by the well-being cognoscenti. I’m old-fashioned and not educated and so will reference “cojones” or Xhaka’s “balls” as the missing je ne se quoi in our last 2 defeats.

    Finally on the limitations of our squad referenced by Dan. Recruitment at AFC is shocking (especially loans and player sales) and has proven to be hugely damaging over the last 5 years. That is down to management and the coach. In any normal organisation, heads would roll but both Arteta and Edu can lose the club HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS (do the sums) and yet they get new contracts. Patent the stuff on the breakfast cereal Mika cos it’s magic (proceeds to our next 30 goal a season monster)!

    Dan Smith, I don’t always agree with you mate, but you (and Xhaka) have nailed it.

    p.s. (in order from lowest to highest):
    Qatar (Paris SG) GDP: $147 billion
    UAE (Man City) GDP: $420 billion
    Walmart (Arsenal) Sales: $555 billion
    Saudi Arabia (Newcastle) GDP: $740 billion

  16. A culture of failure is what Arteta has been trying to change. Not even Emery could do it, and he’s a much better, and vastly more experienced manager.

    Prior to Emery’s appointment, failing in every competition bar the FA Cup for over a decade, wasn’t just the norm, but actually accepted as our peak level from those running the club, and many in the fanbase.

    We were even handed PL title on a platter in 15/16 when EVERYONE of our rivals stepped aside, allowing us to finish above them, and we still couldn’t even win the title, and worse, we didn’t even challenge for it that season despite finished 2nd!

    We didn’t win the league that year, because we didn’t know how to. It had been so long since we were competitive that everyone within the club was clueless as to how to get over the line. The same in 13/14 as well.

    I’ve talked about this a lot. The club was rotten from top to bottom when Wenger and Gazidis left, and that it would take years and a monumental effort to change a culture.

    So even though, maybe the results could have been better under Arteta, I am glad he’s been trying to change the club’s culture. Emery failed, Arteta for me is doing ok, although I am not saying he is the one, and if he does go within the next 6 months or so, maybe our next manager will be a success given the foundations put in place by Arteta. Foundations that unfortunately, Emery didn’t have.

    1. Nice to hear someone on the inside of Arsenal speak the truth. Seems we have deadwood at the club still who should have stayed home.

      Perhaps having real competition for starts rather than automatic selections would reduce the limp displays and lack of effort.

      Start with Saliba, rather than automatically choosing White or Gabriel. 2 midfielders to challenge for starts, just saying.

      Glad to see so many fans upset with our avoidable collapse in the final 3 games. Seize the opportunity, and demand better.

      Drop underperforming players like he did to Pepe, have REAL competition for starts. Make public expectations for Arteta like club did for Wenger and Emery.

      Sick of these players and manager being coddled for 2 1/2 years and going. This is the result you get, failure and excuses and rosey speeches about “proud of the boys.”

      Expect more FFS, Arsenal FC has choked away CL and too many cheer our Europa league finish.

      Why are you cheering for Arteta if you wanted Wenger and Emery sacked? We were 5th 2 1/2 years ago, and continue to play some of the most unsightly football I have seen at Arsenal.

      5th is not progress when you allow 4th to slip from your fingers.

      1. I’m not cheering on 5th or Arteta, I am simply pointing out that too many years of cheering on 4th is why we are where we are.

        We accepted mediocrity, then complain that Arteta is delivering mediocrity! I am baffled!

        1. I agree with you. Too easily we settled for 4th in a 4 horse race in the PL. Club lacked the ambition to push on for the final couple players required for the next level.

          That festered into what we are witnessing now. From the “New stadium let’s us compete with the top clubs” speech from Gazidis, to the “project” and “process” they are selling now.

          Meanwhile, over a decade has passed, and we are no closer now than we were then.

          Just expect more from a big club, not the ambition of midtable clubs happy to be in the PL. It starts at the top, and this was permitted by ownership and the board.

          1. I am glad you agree on that point of lack of ambition. Would you not agree though, that it would take years to fix that problem?

            Would you also agree that unlike Emery, Arteta has actually tried to change the culture? E.g. taking on player power being one key element he’s been successful in. Emery didn’t do that, and he had lost the dressing before he’d even completed his first season.

            I am not saying Arteta is the man to deliver the results on the pitch we want, but at least fixed a lot of other big problems at the club. Just look Utd now as a great example of what Arteta has done, because that was us, and worse, when Arteta took over.

            1. Also, would you not agree that the club is finally showing some ambition? We spent more than other club in the world last summer. We have been ruthless with the squad, even big names like Auba have been culled.

              1. From what I can gather, the board made all the decisions regarding new players, so I think that’s a little harsh on UE. He was a coach, not a manager and you expected him to change the culture?

                1. What a sensible reply.
                  You really think emery had the same power in a year like Arteta in 2 and half year??
                  If I remember very well same toxic players where used when arteta arrived, and to make it worse, he retrained some of those players after their contract or loan ended.
                  The likes of Luiz was offered another year by Arteta, ceballos was loaned again by Arteta.

                  And if there’s anything Arteta has had more issues with players puplicly than emery even did. Despite the whole losing the dressing room chant, but never has anyone come to say Arteta has lost the dressing room.
                  Auba, saliba, guenzo, Niles, and papa who just spoke up recently had called Arteta out directly or indirectly, but nobody is saying he lost the dressing room. And the list could be more but we never can tell.
                  But apparently, it’s emery who lost the dressing room.

                  1. @ Kaay

                    Emery had way more problems than Arteta in regards to the dressing room, and that’s why he lost the dressing in his first season.

                    Of course Arteta hasn’t got everything right, but overall, it’s been a massive improvement, because the mess at Utd was what it was like at Arsenal when Arteta joined, and it just isn’t like that anymore at Arsenal when looking at a comparison.

                    In regards to “publicly”, that is just a different style to Emery. Emery likes to keep everything private, and Arteta doesn’t mind calling out the ill-discipline. Personally, I like that he sometimes calls out the players that keep breaking the rules.

                2. @Sue

                  I agree that Emery wasn’t supported by the new board, because he was a Gazidis appointment, and I also agree with you about him being there simply as a coach.

                  Like 99% of managers in a new job, Emery was solely focused on results, and there is nothing wrong with that. But in the context of what we needed at Arsenal, at that specific time, it was a culture change first and foremost that was needed.

                  Because Emery didn’t fix things like player power, we all saw how it blew up in his face before his first season had even finished. We saw what a huge mistake it was bringing Ozil back in for example.

                  I really rate Emery, and yes it’s not his job to fix all problems running throughout the club, but by not doing so, cost his job very quickly.

                  1. I think this highlights the incompetence of the board; taking it upon themselves to make every decision, undermining Emery along the way. I’m sorry but what the hell could he have done?
                    Maybe with more faith in him things would’ve been different, but we’ll never know…

                    1. Like I said, Emery didn’t have the full backing of the board, so even if he wanted to make cultural changes, it would have been tough.

                      But he still made key mistakes with the squad, and bringing Ozil back in wasn’t a good move at all! We’ve seen how much trouble he caused, and still is!

            2. At least Arteta has been given the power and supported by the Board to “change the culture”. Emery was not.

    2. What cultural change are you talking about or seen. Well I can’t remember us losing 13 matches in a season in the Last 2 decades and our players still stroll, can’t tackle, mark or defend, still conceding goals like fans lives depend on it, and gives players away for free. And we have taken our bottle jobs to new level. Please tell me the cultural change you have seen

      1. Well said Adiva! The “culture of failure” has not been arrested by Arteta – if anything we have become worse, a basket case, under his watch. If S*prs were “spursy” in their time, we’ve become “arsy” in our time.

        Apparently, Arteta “takes the blame” for Spurs and Newcastle. Well Mr Arteta you have cost the club £50million missing out on the CL (not to mention the scandulous losses in player sales under your watch). At most well-run clubs, you would be sacked, yet you state “I take the blame” knowing that you – and Edu – are miraculously allowed to blunder your way to next season.

        Mr Arteta, if you are sincere about taking the blame, then do the honourable thing and RESIGN.

      2. We lost 13 league games in the 17/18 season. Wenger’s final season, and they were ALL his signings as well!

          1. I will go an look that up and if you are right then tHanks for reminding me. Than that is once in 20 years and Arteta has manage to do that twice in in his two and half years reign as our manage. That is a failure in my view with all the support he has been given.

            1. Adiva, that stat is correct.
              What is also correct?

              In UE’s only full season, we lost ten games.

              In UE /MA joint season we lost 13 games.

              In MA’s first full season we lost 13 games.

              In MA’s second full season we have lost 13 games, with one to go.

              On average, during AW ‘s reign of twenty years in the top four, we lost, as an average, 7.65 games per season –
              Goonster, see what I mean?

    3. The Board failed Emery by not supporting him with status (coach only), transfer input and budget (expected to coach players bought in by others, wanted Partey and Zaha, got Pepe) and discipline (dropped Ozil and Board forced to reinstate).
      Kroenkes and the Board have backed the wrong horse, but have got the “yes man” they crave, who being an ex Arsenal player, will take longer to fall foul of supporters.

  17. A great article by Dan Smith – regardless of individual like or dislike of Xhaka, so refreshing to hear a player at last speaking their mind and largely echoing our own opinions.
    My own view mirrors Dan Kit’s in that this team will never be world beaters even as they evolve as players. The constant over-hyping of individual players – I reluctantly include our Academy products at the top of the list – by both fans and media has made players, fans and board believe we are way better than we actually are. This has made our players over-confident. When we meet teams who roll over, it sometimes produces some great, showboating football, but the negatives are far greater.
    Individuals believing their own hype think they only have to turn up to win. Previously humble players stop learning, lose discipline and structure against any adversity because they are shocked that presumed lesser teams are better than them.
    I am not calling for character assassinations of our players as this is detrimental to their development and form and therefore our club’s results. Contrary to comments our board will not provide funds to replace every player either fans or Arteta choose to discard. We have what we have, we can dream of better but it doesn’t serve our cause to criticise our own players too cruelly whilst they are Arsenal players.
    But we DO need to recognise that: Saka is a good not a great player – for whatever reason he is far too inconsistent to be great. ESR has had a very poor end to the season. Martinelli is STILL raw, selfish with poor decision making. Our kids are not the answer, so let’s not be deluded and think they are. There are zero guarantees that they will improve from where they are now. Odegaard is currently a flat track bully who can totally disappear in too many games. He can drive a team playing well superbly but cannot lift a poor side. He is similar to Ozil, albeit with a far better personality and team attitude.
    Others such as Partey and Tierney although we see them as quality players will never be great as they are too often absent, and Ramsdale seems to be now proving us right when we were shocked at his purchase. I could go on.
    Let’s be honest with each other. This is a mediocre team led by a manager playing a reasonable theoretical game, but unable to recognise that football is primarily not about theory and playing by numbers. It’s about emotion, determination, evolution… and people.

  18. We have a good young squad and quality managers available so all is not lost for next season only if we act…change the manager n few signing a striker, a left back, a deep playmaker. We should be good to go. People are not going to like this but I think we should bring Saliba n Guendozi back in. I am not confident of Gabriel/white partnership and I will take guendozi over xhaka n elneny any day.

  19. No doubt Logic, but unfortunately it’s called standing still, because we have been three top,top,top quality players from being a force ever since the Kroenkes took over.

  20. Great write up Dan. Though it seems like you missed the part where Xhaka insinuated that the team did not play to the coach’s instruction.

  21. We have to admit that we lack quality players to make top 4. Player like Xhaka should have been on the bench for a top quality player, Torreira, Maitland Niles, Nketiah, Holding, Cedric, Pepe, Eleney are not good for Arsenal if we’re to progress. Players like Tavares, should go out on loan, call back Saliva to the team, we need minimum of 6 quality players to challenge next season, quality L/R back, two quality midfielders and two quality strikers. The management have to get quality players first before someone can blame manager.Partey is the only quality midfielder we have and he can not give 25 matches without injury. The board should invest money look at Man United check how much they have spent for the past 4 season, so buying one or two quality players only next season will not help .

  22. Well that’s a point of view Dan that you have written about extensively in relation to Arteta. The yes man.

    We are owned by a man who you rightly point out cares about Arsenal as a business but not with a passion. Whatever Xkaka says or doesn’t say, the fact remains Kroenke pulls the strings. If Arteta gets sacked next season because we slip up then what next? Will Kroenke be looking for another yes man? Will he see the error of his ways by not going for the proven best and appoint a stellar man to show he is serious about winning the league? I doubt it. Can’t remember who posted but I agreed that Arteta has done well. The players have done well, but should this path have been taken? Has this been good for Arsenal who needed a swift return to CL competition? I think not as there is no patience from football fans who want an immediate high and not allowing Arteta to grow into his role is proof. He should not have been offered the job until he had proved himself elsewhere- usually in the lower leagues. Even then, there is no guarantee of success
    I would be a very odd supporter if I didn’t want a successful Arsenal. I am sanguine enough to know that wanting something and getting it is entirely different.

    1. I strongly disagree with two of your points SueP, our fans have shown enough patience with regards to an inexperience manager, second if 2.5 years is not enough to grow into a role then I don’t know what is. We don’t expect miracles and ask Arteta turn us into title contenders but to get rid of experience players, spent big in his 2.5 years, build team in his own image and have less games to play in season because of not being in Europe then knocked of other local competitions early. Requirement should surely be to make champions league spot. I mean if we can not make champions league spot when we saw other teams like spuds, Man united and Chelsea struggle badly in league then what chance do we have next season with more matches to play and other teams being stronger more stable? Arsenal had it wrong way around in UE & Arteta case. The support, freedom and money provided to Arteta should have been provided to a proven manager like UE. Also enough of this Brazilian flops we are buying left right and centre because of edu. Only Marrinelli is one success story rest have failed even Gabriel he is not to the level to be our main CB. Most of the time our defence is struggling because of his poor positioning aur rash tackilng. He is making life hell for Ben White as well.

      1. Hang on a sec, Logic
        You criticise Arteta for not doing better but the mighty Conte is only just going to pip us and can you name me another PL manager apart from him and the other 3 top men who are any higher up the league? Do you not ask why these teamsare not doing any better? Is it because those managers with oodles of experience haven’t exactly been mustard themselves? I don’t live my life with a sense of entitlement so I can see progress even if you can’t. That doesn’t deny that almost certainly missing top4 isn’t painful but our club is not being run at the very top in the same way that ManC and until recently, Chelsea have been. I can accept that reality because it is not in my power to change it. The idea that you can regularly expect or demand CL football is only fooling yourself. When we were guaranteed top4 it was a 4 horse race

  23. When this season began, nobody gave this team a chance to be in the top six nevermind battling for top four and coming within reach of third place. With all the challenges Arteta has had, Getting rid of players and Covid pandemic, I think he has done a remarkable job. He deserves his two year contract. By the way, do you think that the board did not set out clear objectives from the beginning of the season? It must be that those objectives has been met otherwise they would not give him an extension. Well done MA. Upward and Onward from here!! COYG!!

    1. I bet for you everything Arteta dose is an achievement, even If we narrowly escape relegation next season you will say the same with this squad no one expected us to survive lol! So in Arteta I believe, upwards and onwards 🤣😅😂

    2. I agree with Dboy’s main point. However, there is no doubt that it is disappointing to get so far and then falter so spectacularly.

  24. Why do you take things to personal level. It’s just an article. He expressed his views and they are logical questions. I hope when Arteta leaves we see the end of fans like you who are the reason why we are a mid table team with no Ambition. You guys have used almost all the excuse in the world to justify Arteta’s failure. What next we did not make champions league as players n Arteta were unsettled due to Ukraine Russia conflict ??

    1. Because he’s been proven wrong mate and when people are proven wrong they get personal because he can’t make a footballing argument.
      Feel sorry for him

  25. Not many have mentioned what seems obvious to me. After losing Partey, Tierney and Tomi to injury we have been left threadbare. So the same few players have become exhausted over the last few weeks. Who sanctioned getting rid of so many without replacements? Did any of you really expect the team to last the distance when the youngster# on the bench are not yet up to it?

    1. Who’s fault is that then Peter ,plenty of fans expressed that said concern in January ,and the only players we went after was a CF that we had no chance of getting and some plum from Brazil that looks a carbon copy of Arteta in his playing days .

    2. Playing once a week! We are all aware of KT’s injury record. Since TP stepped off that plane from Madrid – where he was seldom injured – he’s been on the treatment table more often than not and what the hell is it with Tomi and his calves?
      Not bringing anyone in in the window was crazy and we all saw this coming a mile off – except Mikel…

      1. There’s me being told it was only AW who bought players who were injured more than they played.

        There’s me being told AW’s players had no fight, guts, were mentally frail, overpaid and bleeding the club dry by not giving 100%.

        There’s me being told AW never had a defence since 2008 and yet JONBO TMJW reels of his last season as proof that things have improved…. in fact, with one game to go, that’s the ONLY SEASON MA’s new defence has bettered our defensive record since 2008 and at what cost?

        There’s me being told that, because we point our MA’s failures, we are not supporting the club…. by some of those same fans who, from 2008, decried 4th place, CL and FA cup wins.

        Just as it was said there were only two teams in it, when we went head to head with manure, its now being said that there were only four teams in it when we finished in the top four!!!!
        So does that mean there were only eight teams in it for the last two seasons and, by some miracle, there are only five teams in it this season?

        The grass will always be greener, as those who claimed MA would make it into the CL are finding out today and make no mistake, next season, wherever we finish, that will be how many teams are in it 😂😂

        1. @Ken
          Here we go with your tires Daily Wenger dose.
          He is gone and
          Wenger had about 25 years at Arsenal. Did well for the first 10 years winning 3 EPL titles and then for the next 15 years lowered our expectations by telling us that 4th place is like a Trophy.

          You continually going on about wenger will never get anyone to change their minds on him regarding his later years. He is our legend but contributed to the club stagnating for 15 years.. You are always complaining when anyone brings up wenger but you are the biggest culprit in always introducing wenger into most of your comments when not even warranted. But when people go ahead to criticise wenger you get all emotional and into your feelings..

          Wenger had his time, he over stayed, was okay with underachieving (4th place target each season) for 15 years.. But you never want to give the likes of Emery, Arteta as much time to self indulge in their fantasies as you afforded wenger for 15 years of just about sneaking into 4th place the majority of that time..

          1. No Goonster, go back and actually read how many times Wenger’s name was mentioned as a comparison to Arteta.
            I’m more than happy to judge Mikel on his time as our coach / manager, but when comparisons are made, they should be examined shouldn’t they?

            Has Mikel signed players who are injured on a regular basis?
            Did we see players not giving 100% against Brighton, Southampton, Palace, spuds and Newcastle? Did they show fight and guts?

            Was it pointed out above, that Wenger’s defence was rubbish and Arteta had fixed it, only fair to point out that MA’s expensively put together defence are just 4 goals away from equalling Wenger’s worst GA in his time at the club?

            Have those of us who have pointed out that MA has been making mistakes, been told we are not supporting the club?

            Hasn’t it been said that there was only two teams in the PL, then four teams in order to explain Wenger’s successes?
            So, following the same warped scenario, isn’t it right that MA only had seven other PL teams to beat when he finished 8th and only four teams to beat when he finishes fifth?

            It amazes me, Goonster, that you criticise me for bringing AW up, when I only reply to those who hide behind him, in order to try and explain away the issues we have today.

            By the way, it was Wenger who recommended Arteta to the club, so is that a plus or a minus in your book and would you rather have those “15 years of underachieving” top four finishes, or three years of 8th – 8th and 5th underachieving?

  26. Before everyone jumps on another opportunity to slate arteta what I noted that was key in this interview of xhakas was that he said the team didn’t follow the gameplan yes you could say arteta has the job to make sure they do but what do they not understand or can’t be bothered or are just playing knackered?
    Anyway he does need to look at himself but I personally loved his interview love it when people tell it like it is.

  27. The fact you are threatening Dan with violence simply for expressing his opinion is not nice; that you then demonise those who agree with him -the massive majority it seems- as “immature ilk” is also not nice. “Ilk”? What are we exactly, subhuman or worse, simply because you do not like our views?

    The Arsenal family like any family is a rainbow of different opinions. Please show more respect.

  28. @John Fox. You sir are a disgrace. This is just an article, why make it personal? You are so smug and superior, I suspect you love the sight of yourself in the mirror.

  29. The only solution is to by cut all the matches next season xhaka maybe right and all of us know Arteta is a baby coach

  30. regardless of what some might suggest this was another gutless, entitled moment by a player who should have been ushered out of town several years prior…this suggests a couple rather disconcerting things, (1) that this thirsty wantaway bang average player will likely be back again and in the regular starting lineup next season, which is a disturbing notion, and (2) this clown doesn’t want to wear the armband, yet clearly feels he’s the “true” captain of this squad, which is another cake and eat it scenario that’s a exceedingly bad look for both our club and our manager

  31. A frank, honest and comprehensive assessment of where we are today. Well done Dan Smith. The best medicine is not always easy to swallow. But who really cares, as long as it works. It’s all about enduring the pain before the gain.

  32. I think we should cut Arteta some slack. He is building a young team from scratch and that’s not an easy project. It requires time and patience. If you look at this team you would see we’ve got no squad dept, no super subs no game-changers, and certainly no reliable subs. It just took an injury to Party to pull us back. And Arteta knowing this recruited some backups. Lokonga was meant to be the backup for Party, and Teveres a backup for Tierney. But the two didn’t turn up just like he wanted. Even Eleny has proved to be Eleny, the inconsistent one. And remember, we don’t have a solid number nine besides Lacazeth who is so not top team material. With some additions, Arteta will do well, let’s just trust him.

  33. Everyone is blaming the midfield and the defense but if you look further forward it is obvious that all three of Saka, Smith-Rowe and Odegaard have lost form over the last two months. Only Martinelli looks like he wants to win the game! Why is he not playing up front??
    Also no leaders, no leaders no leaders

  34. Reality is the current squad is not good enough for. champions league. They are too soft.
    There is a need for at least 4 stronger more mature leaders in the team. The likes of a Viera, Bergkamp, Pires etc who can mix it with the best.
    The current guys are still too young. Europa league is a good achievement considering the start and the absolute ridiculous results they had against some of the weaker teams.
    Sadly though, trying to convince the better player to join the club to play Europa league is a challenge.
    I didn’t read all of the comments but imo Ramsdale also seem to lose focus and Leno must have wondered what he needs to do to get a recall.
    Personally I’m not convinced they will beat Everton but at least they can’t get worse than 5th.
    It is what it is ! Not totally convinced about Arteta. Seems to be a bit of an egotistical chap. If you piss him off or question him ,you are gone, whether you are good for the team or not.
    Let’s see what the transfer window brings.
    This season is done , no point in crying about it.
    ps – seriously don’t believe Nketia is the solution to the problem up front. As someone said, championship player at best ! Let him go as he is just a wagebill liability.

  35. The above is the most unpatriotic write up I ever read in a long time. Imagine saying that 5th position is not better than 8th consecutive finishes. It is clear for every sound follower of Arsenal situation to see that change occured the day Wenger left the club. An era died and enter a new one. A new era of transition began with Freddie then Unai then Arteta and all of them had one contribution or the other they made. Arteta is handling his own part mow and doing well at the pace he’s going. Whatever problem any fan has with that please hold your peace. We only need to be resolute behind the team because when things will turn around you may have your tail between your legs with your heads bowed

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