Three factors that stopped Arsenal winning the title and need to change next season

What Arsenal should be considering this summer ahead of next season: by

The Gunners have had a magnificent season even if their title ambitions crumbled when they went winless in April, drawing against Liverpool, Southampton, and West Ham and losing to Manchester City.

Arsenal’s poor form in the final phase of this season can be attributed to these three factors that need to be corrected before next season.

1. Arteta not having the guts to tweak his formation time and again

2. Lack of squad depth

3. Inexperience

Arteta’s tactics became predictable. In the earlier part of the season, teams were still getting to understand Arsenal’s game. Almost all Premier League teams were caught off guard, and Arsenal punished them. Arteta mastered the 4-3-3 formation and also became rigid with his lineup. In several games, Arsenal played the same way with the same players except for one or two changes. Entering the second part of the season, teams understood and forged ways to contain Arteta and his boys.

Unsurprisingly, in April, teams that have struggled all season, like Liverpool, West Ham, and even Southampton, found a way to outsmart the Gunners. The predictability of Saka saw him unable to help the team, with the overdependence of some players like Partey (who’s been out of form) and Saliba (who’s been injured) affecting them. Next season, Arteta needs to find a way to be unpredictable, tweak formations, and rotate players.

For squad rotation, a strong bench is needed. Bringing on board a top defender, midfielder, and striker could make it easier for Arteta to rotate his team and keep his squad fresh, like Man City, who are juggling between different competitions but don’t seem tired at all, as Pep Guardiola’s rotation sees his players always fresh.

Honestly, of the many players the Arsenal boss has signed; only Oleksander Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus have added experience to his squad. Most of the players Arteta has signed only come with the promise that they have potential. In the summer, Arteta needs to look at players with experience to add to his project. We’ve talked of Gundogan, Declan Rice, Mason Mount, and even Wilfred Zaha; these are players with Premier League experience that Arteta’s project may need. Losing Xhaka’s experience will be a blow.

What else does Arteta need to change ahead of next season?

Daniel O

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Tags changes experience Squad depth


  1. Southampton is not really a good example because they also stopped us back in October. In fact we were hanging on by the end of that game.
    Do you keep bringing up Zaha just to irk me ?
    Xhaka was decent this season, but remember he has been a constant in a period of League failure. So maybe it is alright for him to be gone now. He was given a reprieve by Arteta and did quite reasonably. So I say “thanks for your service Xhaka but it’s now a brand new day”. We must move on.

    1. Evgunner its always a pleasure to see you here, did you see my response to you on the squad depth page?

      Wanted to ask you if Zaha is that bad but change my mind.

      1. Gunsmoke, I saw your post and I sent a rather long reply back to you, but I have a feeling you didn’t see it. I think it’s been lost now because the squad depth page has elapsed. It’s a shame because I went into more detail about what I wasn’t comfortable with. Anyway, maybe the baby in me likes to cry too much at times.
        I don’t know Zaha personally, I’m just going by how he comes across to me. I have always had a soft spot for Palace because I grew up in that area, so when I see Wilf missing pens when the team are desperate for goals, then when he rolls around on the ground and other such antics, I get quite irritated with him.
        Whether we believe in “taking the knee” or not, Wilf decided he would stand despite players of all races having the dignity to perform the gesture. To me that confirmed he just wants to be in the spotlight and controversial. His ego seems to be massive.

        1. What a big shame, certainly didn’t see your response and after going through a few other pages and saw no sign of you the feeling wasn’t good.

          Hopefully you will find away to resend or by getting it out in stages as that rather long response has only makes me curious.

          Oh yes that knee thing at the time by Zaha made me sick, had totally forgot he was that player and that whole epistle.

          Think the mentality is the main factor why we lost that big jug, no lock of squad depth, inexperienced or tweaking in the formation.

          There was a time when Arsenal use to finish the campaign like a runaway train.

    2. Two of the main reasons are:

      1 – We were up against ManC
      2 – Injuries. We had Nketiah for a large chunk of the season, whilst City had Haaland. Then for the title run in, we lose our best player and the best CB in the league.

  2. Guardiola have been successfully using the same 3-2-4-1 formation throughout the season, so Arteta should not need to change his formation that has successfully make us lead EPL for many weeks

    We managed to dominate the team who dominated Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu. The only difference was their CF handled the likes of De Ligt and Upamecano easily

    If you watched Man City’s games against Real Madrid, you would’ve seen how the CFs of both teams handled their markers differently. He didn’t have to score, but acted as a pivot and aerial ball winner for his teammates

  3. Daniel, Experience is one thing. Buying players who are over thirty for REAL money and high wages, esp when such as ZAHA ARE INJURY PRONE and his body is steadily letting him down, are plainly foolishness.

    Experience I SUPPORT, but energy and full fitness, while still well in their prime with many years ahead still in their prime, are VITAL. This last sentence is one reason WHY we WILL imo, sell PARTEY and Tomiyasu, as well as Xhaka this summer.

  4. I second that. However, Zaha is not just injury prone, he is massively ego-prone, dive-prone, nonesense-prone, penalty-missing prone, and other things prone which may well be worth not mentioning.
    Please, please, please do not mention the aforementioned again. (That will no doubt mean he will be brought up again, just for spite)

    1. Ev Gunner We do in general think alike I notice. I live wthin two miles of Palaces ground and drive past their training ground on most days. I have many friends who support PALACE and who, unlike me , have lived in this borough all their lives.

      I know for a fact many undeniable truths about ZAHA and how he behaves as a person.

      And I would not want such a person, even were he many years younger and not injury prone, nor nearing his last brief time at top level, anywhere near our club. I know too much about him, my friend
      Apologies for again “mentioning him”. Forgive me!

      1. Jon, my post was aimed at Daniel O. & Co as the dreaded Wilf has been mentioned by them at least three times now.
        You mention Palace’s training ground which reminds me of when Ian Wright used to get on a 185 with me, on his way to training with Palace way back in the 80s. I could tell you more about Ian one day. I know it’s called name dropping !

        1. EvGunner, Its interesting and I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW MORE. Whenever you care to tell us!

  5. This is very crucial message. however, we need not to buy player like wilfred Zaha but only people like Mason Mount, Declan Rice and Gundogan shall be a perfect signing. And then keeping players like Xhaka and Trossard will be an important idea.

  6. I thought you’d never ask ! It’s only bits and bobs really. I played against Ian three times before he became a professional. He used to have a bit of a bad attitude at one time, probably because he was young and still trying to find himself. Anyway the first two occasions I marked him out of the game !! How’s about that then ? I enjoyed doing that very much because he always looked so angry back then. Unfortunately for me, the last time I played against him he fairly ran rings around me and probably just made me look silly. After this momentous occurence, he addressed me for the very first time and after that he was always affable and amiable. He had just signed for Palace and it seemed incredible to me that he went from zero to brilliant seemingly overnight. He gave me a nice compliment and asked me to play for a local team he was managing, I declined as I was getting on a bit. He would always offer me tickets for Palace games but I think he just wanted me in his little entourage. Now I have nothing against Ian although sometimes he’s a bit silly on TV, he’s just not my kind of person. That probably sounds like snobbery, but it is what it is.
    Incidentally for a short period of time I played badminton with his then brother-in-law. There are many name drops I could do due to having dabbled in the music biz and football.
    I imagine so could you, having been a singer and actor. Anything within reason you wish to divulge ? Remember the world may be agog.

    1. EvGunner,A fascinating post. I envy the younger you. For myself, I have always adored Wrighty and more than ever now he has matured. I love his infectious enthusiasm, his honesty and even his laugh Of course I am massively biased , being a Gooner. I even love the fact he was once something of a hothead, at times but has always given his utmost inour shirt, a qualirty I admie immensely.


      In my view such lazy types cheat the club, we fans, and their profession!

      As for my own stage career, there are some on here who I would not wish to know too much DETAIL about me. I am sure you will understand!
      I will say though that I have in my time done a wide variety of things on stage, from singing opera, show songs, to acting including Shakespeare , directing, reviewing (which I still do) and many, many plays, musicals and pantos, (plus music hall and variety, though mainly in amateur productions).

      And I HAVE LOVED IT ALL and even now still perform concerts and give theatre themed talks, though for relative pin money.

      1. Jon, you must have lived a very interesting life. You never know we may have met one or two people who are mutually known to us. I had a long time on/off relationship with a reasonably well known stage manager in the early part of this century. There have been some remarkable coincidences for us, what with Croydon, Pickles, All Saints Church, the Arts, Arsenal, possibly temperament etc etc.
        There are certain things we probably wouldn’t do in the same way though, but thanks for your nice post. Shakespeare to Widow Twanky eh ?
        Shakespeare to Widow Twanky eh ?

      2. Jon, one other thing re: Ozil. Yes complete agreement about that character. I was sitting in a barber’s chair one day and happened to mention to my Turkish/Cypriot barber that imo Ozil is one of the worst cads of all time in that he is an ungrateful lazy so and so. To that suggestion the ertswhile placid barber, nearly slit my throat and suggested that I was being totally unfair about the player. Needless to say I survived the “hairy” moment !

        1. Hi EG, Hope you are cool with initials, as I am too.

          I found your barber experience amusing but hardly surprising, given the normal Turkish keen identity with other Turks, even those who attained German nationality , as Ozil did. What i always found puzzling and distasteful was the general “love affair” with this idler that so many on JA had and some still have.
          To me, that is unthinking and putting love of player before love of club He did IMO actively HARM Arsenal over a number of years.

          Always happy to hear from you again, my friend.

          1. Jon thankyou for your response. I know you’ve been busy constructing your very good posts to Admin. There is something I want to say to you and I’m hoping that you will not be offended when I do. It’s nothing terrble just a thought I have that I’d like you to hear.

              1. I’m telling you this not as a criticism but just as a thought I have.
                Jon I can see that inside you lurks a very kind and decent man. However, sometimes I feel that you can be a little unneccessarily caustic and overly critical, not with me but with others.
                Something happened on Sunday that made me feel a bit sad. You replied to a guy who brought up an issue that HE thought was worth mentioning (betting companies). He wasn’t very articulate about it, certainly not as articulate as you are. He probably didn’t know what hit him by the time you’d finished with him. For all we know, he may never again venture onto JA. Who knows ?
                In my short time on this site, I have noticed that some people try to quickly express themselves without putting much thought into what they are saying. That’s OK with me. It’s probably treated as a bit of fluff to them. They are having their say the best way the are able to.
                Also it’s very evident that English may well not be the first language of many, and this can be taken into consideration.
                Jon you are one of the people I have the most rapport with on JA, so I’m only telling you this as a fellow mate on this site. I have absolutely no right to be addressing this, and you may feel I’m doing so above my station. However, I
                sincerely hope you do not feel negatively about this.
                There is much fun to be had on JA with people who are genuine Arsenal fans. Life in the “real world” is serious enough. You may well not agree with any of what I’m saying and if you don’t please let me know where I’ve gone wrong.

                1. EG, thank you for being honest with your thoughts. I do think there is MUCH in what you say and I recognise that I am indeed very far from being perfect. I do though have a very keen conscience which I have had all my life, being a committed Christian, though a rather poor one, overall.
                  In my defence, I DO try hard to address those whose first langauge is NOT English, more sympathetically.

                  In person, I am zany much of the time, I laugh a lot and use humour,often absurd humour too, which I LOVE, constantly.

                  But on this site I am considered by many, with good reason too, scary and combative.

                  My next defence is that all my long life I have opposed laziness – which explains my antipathy to OZIL- in action, in thought and in not coming forward to challenge wrongs.

                  I freely admit to being combative in trying to get folk to THINK properly, as not thinking is generally speaking , more down to sheer laziness of mind, than to actual ignorance.
                  Like I reckon most humans, I am a muddled mix of basically good,though with many faults. For what its worth EG, I have never met a perfect human and would not want to, even if one existed. It would be too intimidating and Im glad, in an odd way, that I am SO imperfect. It makes me feel in common with my fellow creatures. To finish, I do not personly know a bad or wicked person now, though I have met several in my past. I HOLD OUT HUGE HOPE FOR MANKINDS STEADY PROGrESS TOWARDS A MORE PEACEFUL, LOVING, AND COMPASSIONATE WORLD.

                  Sorry to be profound, don’t know what came over me! But you are plainly amature and deep thinker and that attracts me to you.

                  1. Amature, is that a typo ? Did you mean amateur ? haha
                    I would have loved to meet a perfect person actually. I would follow her/him to the end of the world in gratitude for their existence. Unfortunately there is no such person. Do you know what, do any of us really exist ? Are we even really here ? Is this some sort of nightmare even ? One from which we will never wake up. It certainly seems that way when Arsenal never get to win the PL ? Just joking.
                    Jon there is not much hope for Mankind. I am just so grateful that my love of music is such a dependable and best friend. I hope no one else can be bothered to read this drivel.

                    1. EG, I am seriously concerned that you think “there is no hope for mankind”!

                      I think our human race has a great future ahead and, though we will always have problems to solve, the sheer abundance of LOVE within a huge majority of all of us, will ensure love conquers hate.
                      BTW, what you wrote was certainly NOT “drivel” but of far more importance than anyones mere football opinion.

                      I AM a believer in God and retain huge faith in his love for us all.

                      Although I would be intimidated, if ever I met a hypothetical(though non existent) perfect person. Seriously!

  7. We just capitulated like we did last season when the pressure was really on..

    Arteta has got to sort this as it’s becoming some pattern. 8 games to go and we capitulate. Meltdown.

    He needs to fix it. And he also struggles to manage 2 games a week. We do so poorly in cup games.. Those are some of areas he seems to struggle with.

    Lets hope next season we can do even better than we did this season..

  8. Man City is the main reason for us not winning the title this season (miracles aside). After the way they destroyed RM I just cannot see us winning the EPL next season with our current squad. MA has done a great job in getting us to a clear 2nd place but it will be harder next season. Expect Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea under Pochettino to up their game. Spurs? not bothered, they’re a basket case!!
    Realistically a top 4 next season would be a good result.

  9. You identify squad depth (or lack of it) as a reason for our failure to win the PL. At the same time you accuse the coach of lacking the balls to tweak his formations. That’s a contradiction in terms imo. You cannot vary your formations and tactics if you don’t have the players.
    Arsenal basically have a good first eleven and that’s it. And that’s why the team virtually picks itself every week. Getting an Arsenal predicted team for every game is the easiest thing to do. The few times the coach tried to rotate, the team came unstuck as in the Europa games against Sporting.
    Three to four quality signings to join the existing spine of the team would do a whole lot of good

  10. Strange article. The last two points shows the first point invalid. With lack of depth and experience, how on earth can any manager take the risk of changing formations? Especially with young squad challenging for the title. Lack of depth is understated. Man City’s wingers and fullbacks are fresh all season because of quantity of quality players in Man City books in those positions. Our team performance dipped once White, Zinchenko, Saka and Martinelli injured, lost form or overused. The young squad also lacks experience thus decision making is not good enough to cater those ambitions. Case in point. The only reason why the previously bored Man City players went god level after the World Cup is because of Arsenal’s young guns courage to challenge them. And they have reached CL final with that level.

  11. I don’t buy the inexperience excuse. There were enough four to five season veterans in our squad to support the younger players and as some pointed out Brighton tore us apart with a younger team than ours. I think our squad was poorly balanced. Had we had a proper wing back Ben White for example would have provided decent cover for. Saliba. Also our transfer policy also needs to be reviewed. In my eyes it has at best had a 50% success rate. How else would you account for the wastage that has been Lokonga, Tavarez and Viera. Like all bargain shopping you are going to get some duds. I do agree however that Arteta needs to also review his game plan. At this stage it is too high risk, making it easier for teams to penetrate us with a couple of long passes, which then leave the centre backs exposed.

    1. I think the inexperience was chasing the PL title, the first time in years we have been involved in it so that hindered us as none of our players except Jesus, Tierney, and Zinchenko have any experience in winning titles, but I do believe just like last year missing out on CL, this season will be a massive learning curve for everyone involved. We need to do our transfers quickly so we can be ready for next season.

    2. Joe S, I don’t buy the “inexperience”, “youngest team”, suggestions either.
      There is a breakthrough first-time title for every champion in any sport. It should have been us this season. Also I don’t agree that Arteta is that inexperienced as he’s been here awhile now, and must have learned alot from his mentors (Guardiola/Wenger) over the years.
      ManCHEATER City were there for the taking and we just didn’t quite get over the line. We should have done.

        1. Arteta may be considered one of the most inexperienced. This however is simply based on the length of time he has been in the role. He is arguably one of the best managers in the PL.

  12. I think one additional factor for our downturn in results was the injury forced absence of Saliba. His presence in our central defence was a strong component of our success. That said, I agree on the 3 factors and Arsenal have to make good experienced signings this summer, Rice and Gundogan being prime examples. Also I would like to add a strong and reliable defender and a striker. Also Arteta must realise he has to change formation, tactics and personnel as the situation demands and cannot be rigid with a particular structure and tactics. Still, I feel we have had a great season and hopefully we finish the season strongly by winning our last 2 matches. This will carry a great momentum going into the next season.

    1. My opinion had always been that, we lost the title because of Arteta. Arteta is rigid, inexperienced and biases.
      He is rigid in his tactical approach to games. This made some teams after the first round of the league, they mastered us and outsmarted us..
      He is so inexperienced that once he’s loosing a game, he lost in ideas. His substitutions in most of the games attest to this. Sometimes, he doesn’t know changes to make in order to get results from loosing position or to kill off a game from winning position. He will allow a player to remain on the pitch even when it’s obvious such player has no business remaining there.
      This point brings me to his biases. Like I said earlier, Arteta has preferred players. Whether they are fit or not, he will continue to play them. He will allow them on the pitch even if they are liability on the pitch. This attitude of his cost us good points. There is no need having the bench when you don’t trust them. When a player is given opportunity to play, he will get confidence and experience. But when left unused, they rot away. Tierney is a case in point. No team can win league title with it’s first eleven. Arteta should learn and learn fast. Even if we bought De Bruene, Halland, Vinicius, Rodrigo, Sallah et al and the coach cannot manage them well, we will still not win the trophy.
      So, Edu should buy players Arteta will have enough trust to play.

  13. Arteta did not leave Tierney on the bench because he did not trust him. He left him on the bench because he wanted to play his left back in midfield, which is why he brought Zinc in.

    Tierney is a better defender, but Arteta persisted with Zinc, despite Zinc’s often leaving the left side of our defence wide open when the opposition quickly counter attacked.
    This forced Gabriel to cover for him, leaving a gap in the middle.

    This wrinkle might work for Man City, but other managers sussed us out, and we often got caught towards the end of the season.

    PS:, I read on this site that Arsenal were going to announce Saka’s new contract soon.

    This a recording!!!!!!

  14. I’d like it if Arteta came up with an extra system to have in his locker, a 343 would be good as it worked out for City pretty darn well. He can then switch when needing change and subs are not doing it


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