What Arsenal need to improve on this season to reach the next level

Areas where I would like the team to improve – By Ibrahim

Going by the comments on JA’s readers and contributors, there seems to be excitement in the air about the upcoming season.

The acquisition of the new players and the pre-season performances tops the list of reasons for optimism among the fans.

Personally, my excitement has gone a level down last season and as a football fan living in Seattle, Washington, I used to wake early in the mornings to watch matches involving Arsenal, however that changed sometimes last season where I started recording on DVR some matches for the 1st time especially the lunch kick-off. Waking up at 3AM only to get disappointed repeatedly has taken its toll. I hope the excitement of the new season materializes and takes us back to the glory years.

Now to the topic of the article. Mikel Arteta is now nearing to complete the 3rd year of his contract and having changed the personnel to his likings, there shouldn’t be any more excuses if the team fails to reach the target in the upcoming season. People have different expectations, personally I feel the bare minimum should be top four and win one the cup as an added bonus.

While getting players of his own might help MA achieve the set goals, I believe there are some areas that the team and the manager were lacking last season and need big improvements that will elevate the team to the next level.

Dull and Boring style – The past two seasons, most of the matches were dull, boring, rigid, and sore to the eyes to say the least. There was no identity in how they played, the pattern of plays was predictable, and there was no urgency most of the time. Personally, I enjoyed the 1st six month of MA’s era more than the last year and half.

When he arrived, he set the team to play counter attacking football to get the maximum out of them. By sitting back to limit the goals conceded and hitting back at the opponent with the use of Auba’s speed, it was a perfect setup for a rookie manager to get the results needed. And we knew what to expect from them, but the last 2 years were a roller coaster.

The attack stagnated, and the much-taunted improved defence conceded 48 goals in the premier league. The most difficult part was that we saw glimpses of what this team is capable of, as evidenced when they played Man City out of the park before the red card. Winning ugly here and there is fine as long as it is not their main default tactic. Maybe the new players will change that but if the continuation of last season happens, I doubt if this team will be able to achieve much the coming season.

Pressing – Whenever Arsenal players press, it’s always broken and feels half-hearted. You will see a couple of players pressing hard while others are just standing around, thereby allowing the opponent to bypass them with ease. Since Arsenal is now the youngest team in the league, I think this is one of the areas that they can easily improve on.

Lack of Plan B – it was clear that Arsenal didn’t have any other plans when plan A was not working. They keep on doubling down on dosage of more Plan A when it’s clear that another strategy is needed. I am not sure if the lack of enough players limited MA to implement other strategies, but plan A can only take you so far unless your plan A is really good and very reliable. Even the best teams like Liverpool and Man City have various ways to overcome the opponent when things are not going well.

Tactics and game flow – In recent times, the team start the matches either slow or on a back foot. I have yet to see more than a few games where Arsenal controlled the game from start to finish. Sometimes we see them playing well one half and bad the other half as if different players were playing either of the halves. Most of the time we are on the edge of our seat because the team is so unpredictable and never in full control of the game. To be in the big boy’s league, they would need to dominate more games and impose themselves on other teams.

Finally, Rotation, Rotation, Rotation – With additional players and more games I am hoping that Arteta will rotate the players as needed. Relying heavily on only 12-14 players like last season is not a winning strategy and can only cause more damage to the performance and confidence of the players, and above all cause long-time injury to crucial players. Last year, there was a time that players like Saka were not performing and needed a breather, but MA couldn’t rotate him due to the reasons only known to him.  Since this is a world cup year, rotation is more needed than ever, and all hands-on deck approaches should be used if they want to reach the next level.



CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

Mikel Arteta meets the press after incredible 4-0 destruction of Chelsea

Please enjoy, share, and subscribe to Just Arsenal Vids


  1. “The past two seasons, most of the matches were dull, boring, rigid, and sore to the eyes to say the least. There was no identity in how they played, the pattern of plays was predictable, and there was no urgency most of the time.”

    Not an insult directed towards you, but I find this delusional. The season before was boring, but say we played boring football last season and saying we had no identity screams delusion.
    It’s always be the Öuters with these views, now I don’t know if you’re one, but that’s not important. Any blind man could see our identity and gameplay last season. Hell after our first 3 loss, over 90% of all the games we lost were just by a goal, and the games we drew, we dominated mostly all through. If we had converted a few of those draws to winning and we got UCL. I bet you won’t be saying there was no identity, but because we lost out, you throwing away the one part the players deserve to be labeled with proudly. UCL, identity and we are back… No UCL, no identity and we are poor. You see the delusion?

    1. This was No Wenger ball we struggled to control games against week teams like Brighton Norwich and who ever else in the bottom those 1-0 bail out victories don’t mean identity. We starting to build something we one day might call identity but right now I agree with the writer

      1. I agree with Eddie.
        Where some may have a point is that the team was not consistent through the season and had some poor games. However, it is either dishonest or ignorant to suggest there was no identity. Unfortunately, far too many people throw around meaningless cliches to sound clever.
        Suggesting that Brighton is a “weak” team also shows a real lack of perspective and insight as far as PL football is concerned.

        1. Please explain the identity you saw.

          If there is an identity it is one of nervousness, lack of drive not knowing what to do.

          grinding results in almost every game we won or drew is not an identity but is a cause for concern.

          Only MA fan boys will say this is an identity.

    2. Wow…a true fan boy with more than Rose tinted glasses.
      What identity do we have, pray tell. Winning or losing by 1 goal is not an identity. Are we a counter attack team, a park the bus team? an attacking early Wenger team? I really don’t know. The author has nailed it, the team plays like a different team in many parts of the game AND not to the games tempo ie when we need to put the opponent away, we ease off and allow them to play themselves back. When we need to win, we start off slow or when a goal down, only show urgency in the last 10 mins. Is this your identity?

    3. Eddie, what was the game plan last season? Winning or losing by 1 goal is not an identity and whether they qualifying for UCL or not will not change what I have mentioned in the article. You said what if they have converted few of those draws into wins, well they didn’t and that had nothing to do with the identity and playing what ifs are for the delusional’s

  2. Your 3 factors will be improved upon this season, hence we have bought 5 players early so far.

    The attack won’t be boring again with the new additions Jesus, Fabio, Marquinhos, and Zinchenko.

    The other young attacking players last season have improved with age and experience, Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Smith.
    So I expect an improvement in the movement of the attacking play this season.

    With 5 substitutes now implemented, rotation is inevitable, with the almost like for replacement each position has.

    Jesus – Nketiah.

    Odegaard – Fabio.

    Martinelli – Smith.

    Saka – Marquinhos.

    Xhaka?? – Lokonga.

    Partey – Elneny.

    Zinchenko – Tierney.

    Gabriel – Holding.

    Saliba – White.

    Tomiyasu – Cedric.

    Ramsdale – Turner.

  3. I will always choose a high-ball-possession-based and positional-play football over any counter-attacking tactics

    Leicester City might have won EPL with their counter-attacking system, but I’d prefer to watch teams that dominate their oppositions

    1. I also prefer Possession football.. Wenger got me hooked in such..
      With that kind of football you are more likely to dominate and win games with a good competent team..

  4. I want to see the fight and never give up attitude especially when top 4 or cup trophies are at stake.

    I remember during the great Arsene years we will have bad results and below the table but when top 4 was at stake in the last games we will beat anyone even with few minutes left we always found a way to win.

    I would like to see that during Europa League run and top 4 challenging.

  5. At least Ibrahin gave full for his thoughts , so for that I give him SOME credit.

    Sadly though, as I disagre with much, not all but most of what he wrote, my credit awarding stops firmly at the length and not the content, of his piece.

    If he honestly thought last season “boring” and he admits to being less excited than he once was, then I am inclined to agree with Eddie(above) that he is “being delusional”.

    Personally, I am more excited a week before the new season than I have been since the AW first decade.

    1. That has nothing to do with the way the team plays and all to do with all the nee signings.

  6. As Eddie commented the part about being rigidly boring etc was a ridiculous assessment also you don’t rotate for the sake of it, you rotate when it’s necessary by closely monitoring player performance, injuries, the different opposition and lots more and ultimately where possible do not change a winning team.

    1. About the rotation u are right……
      Annoying thing is when u rotate and lose the fans will still critise the coach for changing a winning team. I remember we use to critise emery for not having first eleven

      1. Savage, damn u if u do, damn if u don’t.

        Of course we had games which we were poor and boring but we also had games that were entertaining and good on the eye esp against Spurs, Leeds, Norwich, Southampton etc…

        U make it as if we were the least performing/entertaining team if so the Eddie is right to call u delusional

  7. He was seen as too rigid in his tactics, with static possession and acrumbling defence.But quietly, beneath the surface, Arteta has always been building towards something.Now the pieces are falling into place, it is clear Arteta is very much a disciple.The basic idea is to work on passing neatly through the lines in build-up play, drawing the opposition forward and – evading the press – opening up the pitch for quick, vertical attacks into the final third.Arsenal are expected to press high and hard, to dominate possession, and to spread evenly horizontally and vertically across the pitch in Guardiola-esque demarcated zones, with plenty of positional rotation used to confound the opposition.

  8. Jesus – Nketiah. Good fit

    Odegaard – Fabio. Good fit

    Martinelli – Smith.?? If we get Gakpo or Sane

    Saka – Marquinhos.?? New winger Gakpo or Sane

    Xhaka?? – Lokonga.?? Tielmans is needed

    Partey – Elneny.?? Fair

    Zinchenko – Tierney. Best

    Gabriel – Holding. Fair

    Saliba – White. Very good

    Tomiyasu – Cedric.?? Not good enough

    Ramsdale – Turner. Not good enough

    1. Tomiyasu to Cedric is also fair because he is very good and also fast .he also have Avery good defensive impact . Tomiyasu is prone to injuries so the team do not have to depend on him , unlike Cedric he is good for the team.

  9. Boring.response from many of the above. If you don’t think last season’s version of Artetaball was mind numbing then you must be like the fans in that Simpson’s parody where the players were just passing the ball from side to side and there was more happening in the stands.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs