View from the stands – An honest assessment of Arsenal’ negatives before our amazing comeback

Reflecting on the Bournemouth game. by Ken 1945
Having been at The Emirates to witness our incredible comeback win, I waited until after Match of the Day showed the highlights and also read the hundreds of comments, before I made the decision to write this article.
Now, before I get shot down and accused of not supporting the club (owner, manager and players), that would be completely wrong, but I want to highlight out a few points.
1. First of all, we were playing a team in the bottom three of the PL, who hadn’t won a game in their last nine tries.
2. We could have been four goals down by half time – it was only the brilliance of Ramsdale and poor finishing that this wasn’t the case.
3. It is obvious that certain players are becoming “ring rusty” through lack of playing time and to expect them to just return to the way they were playing in the PL is not possible.
4. I cannot recall a game, where there were so many sideways, backwards or meaningless passes that led to nothing.
5. This was the first game that I saw our defence undone so many times by a simple ball through the middle.
6. Teams are nullifying both Zaka and Martinelli, by ensuring that at least three men are always a surrounding them and we haven’t yet overcome this tactic.
Now I didn’t see or hear any of the above being discussed by MOTD, the media or any other supporter and it should be.
Having watched Liverpool humiliate Man United, I hate to think what the score would have been if it had been them, rather than Bournemouth, we had faced on Saturday. We would definitely have been 4-0 down at half time.
Of course it was a wonderful fightback and result for us and the PL title is still in our hands, but on Saturday’s showing, MA still has a lot of work to do, if we are to actually go on and win it.
Just trying to put some honest perspective into the JA arena for discussion, while supporting the club 100% and singing my heart out all through the game!!
Congratulations to our women’s squad for the first silverware of the season and, hopefully, there’s more to come.
Our support at The Emirates is unbelievable and we really are the 12th man, making said Emirates seem like a fortress for The Arsenal.
Your views and comments on the above would be appreciated.

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Tags Arsenal v Bournemouth


  1. Well thought out article and correct analysis too. We should not get carried away by the comeback to forget our frailties. Bournemouth only showed us we need to improve to win the league.
    A straight win against Bournemouth could have made the team think it has arrived and get shocked by Fulham. Now we will approach the Fulham game with more caution and better attitude .

  2. The Bournemouth game showed us that we need to defend better and be more clinical when we have chances. If we do these in every game, we wouldn’t need a last second goal to win games.

    1. Exactly, Aterta should require the players to polish up on their finishing. They must be more clinical. You may have only a few chances against tougher opponents.

      1. How refreshing to hear from a true supporter who relates facts rather than perception.I’m afraid many fans and pundits have overhyped certain players and the team in general, when ,in truth , we still have a long way to go to become a top quality side.Much has been written in praise of our centre back pairing this season, but to me they are both vulnerable in one for one situations and their positional play leaves much to be desired.At a time when we are riding high it would be inappropriate to highlight weaknesses in players who are talented professionals , but clearly we cannot play with two attacking midfielders and only one DM as we did on Saturday .To do so would be a big risk and one which I hope Arteta will not repeat in any of our remaining League matches.

  3. For Ken
    At last a sensible article about our performance and not letting the euphoric emotion after the amazing comeback rule over practical deficiencies. I do not think any of our players deserved more than a 6 in terms of quality which is why Reiss Nelson coming on was such a difference to what I saw before he got on the pitch. Although you can give a 7 to a select few for the spirit. So my mark would be 6.5 to those.

    Criticizing a performance does not make you any less of a supporter. It opens up a debate on aspects of our game.
    Keep the good work on being a balanced writer.

  4. I can’t really comment on the game as I only saw the highlights on MoTD. What I did see reminded me of our game against Aston Villa in the 01/02 season when we came back from being 2-0 down to win 3-2. Iirc, a sub came on in that game, Wiltord, and changed the outcome.

  5. Yes, we still have difficulties at breaking highly defensive oppositions. We’re also still vulnerable against direct balls and in defending set-pieces

    Sometimes, our passes are too intricate, to compensate for the lack of pivot point in our front-line. This makes us prone to counter-attack and would hopefully change when Jesus returns

    1. GAI, not sure where you get your stats from, but it would be interesting to see how much ground Martinelli covered versus the other players and, in particular Zaka.
      The former never stopped running, while the latter doesn’t seem able to get himself out of the position of having three players surrounding him.

      1. Ken, Martinelli is like an Energizer bunny, but I bet he’s been trained for the LW role. Based on his performance against Bournemouth, he still can’t play well in the CF position, as our pivot

        If Jesus, Nketiah and Trossard are still injured, I hope Smith-Rowe can be tried in that position

        1. Martinelli was Ok as a Striker
          The Energizer Bunny thing u mentioned made him a trouble for the defenders

          But he was blasting his shots wide
          We watched Nketiah against a crowded Everton defense – He was swallowed-up, lost-in-their-crowded-defense, well-pocketed

          Energizer bunny would still be causing them troubles here & there

          I think he was very fine in the Striker role
          Imagine u suggesting Smith-Rowe
          GAI Common !

  6. For God’s sake, Arsenal played very poorly. If the team they faced were Liverpool, they would have been hammered 0-10. I lost count of the number of shots they had ballooned in the last few matches. Many of their crosses were too close to the goalkeeper of Bournemouth.

    If they continue to have so many shots off target, they can forget about winning the title. Don’t the players know the basics of shooting? It has been do frustrating to watch them play at times!

  7. I think it was just a case of under rating Bournemouth, there’s no way we would hav prepare for a Liverpool game like that and with changes made that weaken d left side of our team. Arteta prepared for team differently, his mistakes is he under rated Bournemouth.

    For the doubling up on Saka and Martinelli or teams who park d bus I hav said it b4, we have won 20 games now and out of those games 15 or 14 of them park the bus and we still beat them. I think we are not that bad their.

    Also teams in the bottom 3 are more dangerous for the same reason u mention. Like I said most of the game we lost point are teams in the bottom 3 bcos we under rate them

    We are also not 4 goals by half time for the same reason u mentioned. Bcos we hav one of the best goal keeper in the league and we’ll Bournemouth is Bournemouth

    I agree with 3, 4 and 5.

  8. The boys were able to raise the level in the second half and get 3 points from a miraculous shot by Nelson.

    We lacked that urgency throughout the first half, and hopefully can change this in future games.

    Vieira isn’t a CM, it’s been tried and failed several times now. He is a backup 10 behind Odegaard, and I would agree even behind ESR.

    He was a passenger, and I thought Zinchenko at CM and Tierney as LB was a more solid squad.

    Not surprised Vieira and Tomiyasu were rusty, what do you expect from so much time on the bench? ESR coming back from injury and playing out of position as well.

    Nelson was a real bright spot, and has earned more game time by his productivity. He’s looking like a good player to have in depth, so don’t need to buy another winger in Summer.

    Add Balogun returning and we have some good attacking options if we rest Saka and Martinelli

  9. Ken
    I do agree with you on your assessment on certain parts but and this is the biggest but
    Wind the clock back 10 months and we would have lost the game or best got a draw. We can’t keep giving the other team a leg up start but our mental belief has grown
    I said it last season that next season our very young team will grow even stronger and next season this very young team will get even more better
    Gaining experience
    Getting more seasoned

    As for Bournemouth who did take a pounding from city last week but again they had there chances at the start but didn’t take them and it would have been interesting to see how city would have coped.
    We do need to be tighter at the back and we can’t keep clawing goals back but on the other side the thing what I love about the team and ethos is that we play on the front foot and go for it…may be we need a happy compromise between attack and attend.
    Whilst I would like to be critical about our display I am happy to live and enjoy the moment and may it long continue for the next 12 league games. Will our inexperience, naivety or not following the plan get the better of us and we fall short … not sure and hope we don’t but it’s been a long time since we have had our team contesting the biggest prize and being in the mix come march
    Normally we are done by December
    Loving ❤️ evey minute of this season

    Onwards and upwards

    1. Oh I’m also enjoying the season AB, as I thought I’d made clear, lbut the game made it obvious that we need to be aware of out shortcomings as fans.
      I’m not sure that our corners were highlighted, but the only two effective ones, were the final two.
      What Odegaard is playing at, I have no idea and Bournemouth’s second goal was the result of a “proper”!! corner… just my own observation and opinion of course!!

      1. Ken, Great article but i didn’t totally agree with what you said on number 3, Yes players need playing time to stay fit and fresh, But let’s be honest Tomi has been given some minutes lately but for me he is one of the poorest player on the pitch on Saturday. You can argue about Viera not having enough minutes but ain’t Saturday game suppose to be the chance and minutes he has been craving? If Arteta didn’t change our starting eleven lot of people on JA will complain about lack of rotation and when he does we still seem to find a way to blame him for their poor performances. Remember Nelson just came back from injury and haven’t play competitive game in months and see the performance he came up with? The players on the bench have to be ready and take the chance when it arrive no excuses.

        1. Banking, thanks for your comments.
          As for Point 3, my thoughts are that we should bring on the likes of Tomi, as a sub, rather than starting him from the off.

          There was such a difference when White came on yet, before Tomi’s injury, they were both doing the same kind of performances.
          I expect MA to select both Tomi and Tierney for the start of our game game against S. Lisbon, along with Gabriel and Holding at the centre of defence and ESR alongside Vieria… and that would be unfair on all the four players who have not been playing on a regular basis.
          I might be wrong, but there has to be a way to get our full squad up to speed and ready to play, without compromising results.

          1. I am also totally surprise with Tomi performances lately,Maybe it’s down to been rusty like you suggested or maybe it’s something going on in his personal life because at the end of the day these players are human being like us. I expect Arteta to give Kiwior his debut so i think it might be Kiwior and Saliba at the back for the sporting lisbon game. I think we should take the Europa League very serious so i agree with you that Arteta need to find a way to rotate effectively without compromising the results.

            1. Kudus to Nelson, he’s trying & hungry to impress

              But 90% of the time, players need consistency to get up to speed

              Arteta has not been good on that front.
              For the last 10 or 5 minutes of every match there can be 2 substitutions that are not tactical but just to give a certain 2 players game time

              When u’ve brought these 2 certain players consistently & consecutively for the last 5/10minutes of about 5matches then those two will be ready to start shuffling starting roles with the main 11

              Then u can pick another certain 2 for the next 5 matches

              Before the Man City match we hadn’t seen Tomiyasu at-all (not even as substitute) in like 3/4 matches – then u go start him…NO

              They need consistent substituting without in-between breaks for like 3/4/5 times before they start

              Wenger was good at this
              There was a time Ramsey was always a sure substitute before he could start taking starting roles.

  10. Finally, a true supporter willing to tell it like it is. Trust me if your pals/friends never tell you the uncomfortable truths (even in your Ws) and are always looking for every opportunity to praise you, then you have no friends but hangers-on who WILL talk crap when you’re struggling. I was actually pissed off by hypocritical comments on here after the game when we all KNOW how nasty it would’ve been if the result was different ’cause the comments were already coming in before Nelson’s goal. There were major weaknesses that need to be addressed. TBH you don’t even need top class opposition to completely dismantle us you only need clinical attackers who take their chances and we’ll be talking about basketball scores at half time. This is a glaring weakness that continues to persist. It’s only a matter of time before reality hits home.

  11. I agree with you Ken. First, you don’t expect a player to come back firing in all cylinders after a long lay off in the bench. Again, criticizing the team does not and can not make one a less supporter. Infact, they are realistic supporters. Having said that, it’s high time Arteta stopped experimenting with Viera in CM position. No player should be untouchable. Lately, Odegaard has been off form. Arteta should be told that no team in EPL is a push over. It is unprofessional of him to underrate any team.
    Finally, our team may after all win the EPL. A bit of luck that goes with champion’s has located them. If they can over come Fulham and win our winnable games then, we can for sure bring back the trophy to Emirates. Congratulations boys!

  12. It is all about perspective.
    I haven’t seen any saying it was a great performance from start to finish. Only people saying, we had a great second half, and rightly so.

    But there is a problem in the perspective and the “yardstick”, if you like.
    If you measure us as title favourites, then our performance was surely not good, but we got the win.
    If you measure as, a young team expected to get into top 4 this season, then the performance was pretty good.
    It is as if some now demand Arteta and the team to play like title winners every week. Not realistic, IMO.

  13. Our weaknesses were clearly exposed. We lacked width out wide and are expecting Saka and Martinellii to pull off miracles week after week. Proper wing backs would have helped. Viera is not up to the job, Xhaka is not good enough to do it on his own regarding creativity and a decent striker was badly missed. Fortunately the players self belief was there for all to see and they pulled off a win against the odds. Arteta has ESR Nelson and Tierney to provide an effective Plan B. Also we shouldn’t be afraid of Liverpool. Against United they were as good as they’ll ever be. Everything that could possibly go o right for them did. It won’t happen again this season.

  14. First of all I wish more writers would do the same as that I mean not write an article straight after the game when emotions are high.they need to take a step back,blow some steam off,watch the game or highlights again. Having said that, I partially disagree with his point that our attacking had become too predictable (actually it did for few games).I remember some fans blaming Martinelli’s drop off in form on Zinchenko and KT not playing.that teams had found the way to neutralise us by doubling on Saka/Martinelli.defending in a low block.i disagreed.i put it on the fact that despite scoring goals and pressing Nketiah was spending all his time in the middle.take the Bournemouth game which Eddie didn’t start.Trossard played on the LW but was moving to the middle as a CF.both Martinelli/Saka were swapping places,even Nelson who had a real impact when coming on, something ESR didn’t do, that’s why you had Zinchenko on his “case”,even Zinch found himself on the right side.all this movements,swapping stretched,confused their defense.on top of that,we had Saliba/White pushing forward.we looked like when Jesus was for the “fringe” players,we can’t expect them to perform on demand.that’s the problem,it is difficult to give them more playing time when we are competing for the title. lastly, I’m delighted to be back on JA after being hospitalized for few weeks and having microsurgery(temporary VAD installed).luckily,I collapsed in a shopping center.i was not allowed to watch Arsenal games (seriously),not good for my heart.anyway,good to be back even though not everyone will be!!😉

  15. Sorry to learn of your health problem Siamois.Hope you recover fully and good to see you back on JA.Take it easy.

      1. Same from me Siamois, take care and I’ve missed your sensible comments – even when you don’t agree with me. 😊👍

  16. I am also totally surprise with Tomi performances lately,Maybe it’s down to been rusty like you suggested or maybe it’s something going on in his personal life because at the end of the day these players are human being like us. I expect Arteta to give Kiwior his debut so i think it might be Kiwior and Saliba at the back for the sporting lisbon game. I think we should take the Europa League very serious so i agree with you that Arteta need to find a way to rotate effectively without compromising the results.

    1. To say that Tomi was rusty is an understatement however he was not responsible for the two goals. Ben White has been a bit sharper and is now a hero because of his crucial goal. The differences between the two are marginal because they make similar errors with misdirected passes and are centre halves playing out of position, thus not natural attackers . With Tomiyasu I think that his confidence is shot. By his own admission he believes he let his country down in the World Cup and his error against City probably cost Arsenal points. However he needs to play his way out of this funk if he wants to remain in Arteta’s good books. The manager was clearly not at all impressed with Tomiyasu’s miscued cross and not surprisingly turfed him off at half time. Also glad to hear you are back on your feet Siamois.

  17. There is a noticeable difference on the comments made by the ponticaters whenthey observe the likes of Man U and other football team wonders who have a a poor game and yet win,

    They reliably inform us that their poor game and winning is the character of champions.

    But when it is Arsenal who have a bad day at the office it is because the players are ‘2nd rate losers.

    So what, through sheer grit and determination we won.

    It is not the first time we have won in the last minute of the game although to believe the pontifcaters you would think it was.

    I dare say will we have some more last ” minute games”, bring them on.

    A good read Ken thanks.

  18. Well though out article. The defending was alarming and yes, had we been playing Liverpool we would’ve gotten a hiding. Partey was at least partly to blame for both goals and had a shocking performance, despite his goal. Possession without end product is pointless. Just ask Graham Potter and Brighton and Chelsea fans.

  19. If we’d have played City, Liverpool, United or “even” Spuds, we wouldn’t have faced 9 across the back in a 4/5. It’s hard to break down and in order to do so, you need to commit men forward. Had we not been 0-1 down in the first minute, we may have played a little differently knowing one goal would change the way Bournemouth played instead of needing two to achieve the same thing, which would have been to get them to come out a little more. I don’t really think the “if we’d been playing someone else” argument. If we’d been playing someone else, we might have started White and Xhaka, so how can you compare. It’s true Arteta tried to rotate. I think it didn’t work. But that’s how you learn in your first job as a manager. The team (and Arteta) responded in an unbelievable way and you can only give credit for that.
    Nice article but I can’t agree with the premise that it was only Bournemouth and “if we’d played Liverpool” analyses. Yes Arteta got it wrong tactically but the goal after 9 seconds changes everything.
    Just my opinion.

  20. Man City lost to Brentford at Etihad and the same team trashed Man Utd 6-3 at Etihad. Leeds beat Liverpool at Anfield and same team trashed Man Utd 7-0 at Anfield. The same Brentford team
    beat Man Utd 4-0 at GTech while the same Man Utd beat Leeds 2-0 at Elland Road. That’s the craziness of EPL. Last season, Man City lost at home to Totty and Palace but still won the league. Every teams including the eventual champions tend to drop unnecessary points during the long marathon. So far, Arsenal lost Man City, drew unfairly with Newcastle and Brentford (no thanks to VAR) at home this season. Against Bournemouth, the boys made mistakes but made amends at the same time. It was a necessary lesson for a young team. Arsenal are not lucky as some pundits claimed. They made 30 shots at goal and made their own luck.

    1. Mike, I’m not saying we were lucky per sa – what I’m trying to point out is the weaknesses that Bournemouth exposed and, if they had taken their chances before half time, we would not have been able to make a comeback.

  21. Following the game on Saturday no-one picked out the fact the kick off started with two Bournemouth players in our half. No VAR, no referee, no printed UK press. It took German media to point this out. What is going on here? Is it simply because Arsenal won?

  22. People are just congratulating Ken because it’s ken who has written this article, if this same article was to be written by Dan, I tell you he’d rebelled as a negative guy.

    1. What are you on about?I indeed congratulated @Ken1945 but in the same post,I also partially disagreed with him too.i guess you cannot accuse me of bias,can you?

    2. What is your evidence for your claim? As you well know with out evidence your claim carries no weight, whatsoever.

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