What do you think is “missing” from Arsenal?

All Arsenal fans are well aware that we are going through a very unconfident and fruitless patch of form and it is very difficult to see where our next goal is going to come from.

Last week against Leeds, Arteta may have bowed to pressure to ‘try something different’ and he moved Aubameyang into the centre-forward position. We still didn’t score but the Gabon hitman actually had three attempts at goal, which is the most he has had in a single League game all season.

But somehow, despite our awful run, we are still only 8 points behind Liverpool at the top of the League, and Mikel Arteta thinks we should be closer than that except for the “fine margins” that have seen us lose games. Arteta told SkySports: “The position probably that I believe we should have been in and where we are at the moment, it is two games (difference),”

“That’s four to six points and it makes the whole difference and the small margins where we lose the game or win the game, it is incredibly narrow.

“But this is the reality of this league and where we are at the moment. We don’t have big margins at the moment so we have to be really good at everything we do because at the moment, something is missing.

“We are on the edge of winning or losing a football match and we again are humble and conscious of that and at the moment we don’t have to steal those margins and any game is going to be really difficult.”

Okay we could blame Aubameyang for our lack of goals, but surely for him to have so few chances we could surmise he is being given many chances from the midfielders or the wingers.

We certainly can’t say the Arsenal defence is too bad (except against Aston Villa) for a change, so what do you think is the missing link that Arteta is looking for?


  1. We are missing a midfielder in the mould of Santi Carzola to partner Partey. That is the only spark lacking. Is there still any of the kind out there?

  2. The missing link is the the creative attacking midfielder; to link the attacking play well in the opposition half. I.e feeder of the main strikers is the missing link.

  3. What’s missing? A forward thinking midfield player able to carry the ball and pass it accurately at speed. The whole team though is missing a sense of urgency, we have some skilful players but they seem to have either forgotten how to do quick short passes in triangles, or are being coached to do something else. Even Burnley yesterday were playing quicker football than we do.

    1. Declan…

      I totally agree with you on the aspect of quick short passes and the ability to control in tight spaces, the ability to turn on the ball and attack free spaces quickly. These are the ingredients of creativity.

      I have long observed that such dynamism is needed in order to stir the creative power of the team. Many folks think it’s about acquiring a creative midfielder, which to some extent will be a plus, but more important is the lack of such innate skills in the fabric of the team.

      I reiterate again that such qualities cannot be imparted by a coach to experienced players except such players are ready to apply themselves to learning alongside belief. Arteta is definitely the right man because I get more convinced, despite the gloomy message being preached, that his processes are right. The change in attitude and culture is paramount and these are the foundation for progress.

      Alex Ferguson seemed to have been under performing in his first three years of his early career and he was almost sacked, however, the board stuck with him knowing that he was changing a culture at the club. We cannot be carried away by immediate and fleeting short-paced success in place of long-lasting principles geared towards lasting success.

      All great coaches began by changing attitude and culture, and likewise in life, these are the ingredients of success. It is thus essential that we see the vision and belief, even though present observations may say otherwise. We need a supportive fan base, and I hope we will deliver such a support.


      1. Yes Fire
        There was a lot more wrong at the club than just the EPL squad and each aspect needs time to rectify. Unfortunately for Emery he only exacerbated the problems and CL football got even further away, to the point that relegation looked more likely. ManU post Ferguson tried quick fixes with a succession of managers and with lots of money spent.

        There is no quick fix

        1. SueP…

          Your words are totally spot on!

          There are no quick fixes! I guess many do not know or remember how deep rooted the problems were/are at Arsenal across the entire framework of the club… And the quest for immediate success has consumed a large percentage of the fanbase.

          I feel for Arteta because apart from the lack of creativity and goals, the story might truly have been different if we were clinical in front of goal. I emphasise that Mourinho is at the top because his attackers are absolutely clinical (one-chance, one-goal).

          But I am positive about today’s game, are you? *smiles*


          1. I’m by nature a glass half full person, especially when it comes to Arsenal. I just can’t help fearing the worst! I’m expecting a much better performance from them today and a win. That’s what I predicted on Dan’s article and I need the points on the predictor almost as much as Arsenal need the points 😄

            1. SueP…

              I can really understand your fears and worries about the Arsenal! *smiles*

              I believe in science, but many at times I am forced to be prognostic! 😁

              So SueP… Your predictions will be!!! Remember I said so!!! Stay safe!


        2. SueP We have to stick with M A and get shot of the players he don’t want give him the players he does want and see where we go then But moaning is no good give him his chance

      2. Fire, it is such a joy to have someone of your rich intellect and fine humanity on this site. You constantly write such considered,well thought out first sense and never write the nonsense that we have so sadly been accustomed to by a dismal few regular names on this site. Most of those names constantly call for us to sack Arteta and have not your rich thinking powers , poor souls.
        I have been so depressed at realising Arsenal has “fans” of that unthinking type that I have been seriously considering for some time now of leaving this site, entirely out of frustration.

        It is only the draw of being able to read such sound human sense from you, Ken , Sue P, Durand and a handful of other fine minds-including Ad PAT himself- that has kept me on this site at all.
        I just want to say a big thanks therefore! Bless you!

        1. Jon…

          It is such a great privilege to read these words of yours, particularly coming from you, I am greatly honoured!

          Jon, whether you are liked or not, which I sense may mean little to you, you are a significant figure especially to the blogosphere around JA!! Many may not tell you, but they long to hear Mr Fox’s viewpoint! It may come brash at times, but in the end, you are able to keep the balance! I am sure many would feel your absence if you leave JA because you bring something often fiery, but pleasantly interesting to JA! I particularly look forward to your comment, which often forces me to even think deeper than I would, simply because Jon has spoken! *smiles*

          Please stay up the spirit Jon, and don’t be discouraged by the many inflamed minds, because in the end, you may not agree, but they all want Arsenal to succeed, albeit being unable to determine the best methods to express themselves.

          I align with Ken a lot and I long to have discussions with him because I cherish his sense of reasoning, control, and decorum, same with many others including SueP, Sue, Durand…

          We are different but I am convinced, just like you, that if we always seek to arrive at the truth, then in the end, we become one!

          Jon, what are your “feelings” about today’s game?

          Please do stay safe!! Thanks again for your kind words!! I appreciate!


          1. Fire, you praise others on this forum, but your humility, thoughtfulness, and level-headed comments are a welcomed addition to this forum.
            You contribute without insulting, express your thoughts with a passion and articulation that that is most welcome.
            You inspire a deeper level of thought; an intellectual re-evaluation which engages the mind rather than the temporarily enflamed passions of the heart.
            Your tact and reasoned approach is appreciated and why I read your posts.

            1. Durand…

              Again, I am truly humbled by your very kind words! Thank you! Thank you so much! I guess we need more positivity in our present realm, particularly noting the veracity with which a lot negativity and vile is spilled.

              I hope we will return to celebrate a win today, nevertheless, we could always return to seek out where the truth resides!

              I drop my pen saying “thank you so much” once again for your kinds! I deeply appreciate!

              Please do stay safe and remain blessed!


          2. Fire, such a heartwarming post which has cheered me up, during this awful time that we are all having to suffer with this ghastly pandemic. I am so truly humbled by your far too kind words.
            On todays game, I just do not know , as Wolves have almost exactly the same problems with scoring as we do and a similarly mean defence. More with heart than head, which is unusual for me, I am going to predict a one nil victory for us. What do you think though?

            1. Jon…

              I am glad my words cheered you up! They were sincere and wholeheartedly written.

              With the gruelling effects of the pandemic, I guess the world would do with more positivity, which is acutely lacking worldwide, especially around the Arsenal clime.

              I cannot differ on your views concerning today’s game. Your analysis is spot on! I can only wait for kickoff to sense the passion, belief, commitment, and accuracy in the players. In my opinion, I would go for a 2 – 1 win to Arsenal, hoping Traore can be tamed.

              Once again, Jon, please do keep safe and the family! And I hope to interact again after the game.

              Kind regards!

        2. Thank you very much for the kind words and high praise Jon. I hope you saw my comments to you in response to a comment to Ken. I would like to meet you when I cross the pond after the pandemic and travel restrictions subside.
          Your passion and knowledge of Arsenal, combined with your rich life history, make you an interesting man that I would enjoy meeting.
          After seeing a match at the Emirates nothing would be more pleasing than to conversate with Ken, Sue, and yourself.

          1. Durand, that would be my privilege and honour dear fellow! Let us all pray for better times VERY soon. God bless you !

      3. While I agree with you and Declan about quick passing and ball control, I think we’re not short of midfielders with that quality. Partey and Ceballos definitely can operate in tight spaces while Saka and Willock were brought up in our academy that is known to produce technical players.

        So, in my opinion it comes down to the system. With a 3-4-3 formation we’re currently using, the players’ starting positions are too deep and we are often outnumbered in the midfield area. I think the passes would be better and quicker once Arteta revert to 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 while ensuring that the team is defensively solid. If we assume that Arteta tries to emulate Pep, then Partey would be essential for his plan, like Fernandinho who brought balance to Manchester City team seasons ago.

        1. 350oz…

          Your opinion is indeed a worthy observation! In my view, I do not think there is a single most important problem in Arsenal, but there are many, which are deeply rooted, as noted by SueP earlier on.

          And these are the problems Arteta, or any other coach, must contend with in the Arsenal. One reason I admire Arteta is that, unlike Unai, he came to solve the most fundamental problem, which was attitude! Players must be committed to the vision! Then, he moved unto solving the defensive problems, then the midfield, and now he is battling with the attack.

          In every upward trend, there are always blips, often many blips, but if you look deeper into the process, you would see the reality, that the trend remains upward always! Many will not agree because they prefer to dwell on the obvious observations, but in the end, it is the process that determines the outcomes.

          Different to you, I don’t know why I prefer the classic 4-4-2; I know it’s been outdated by more versatile thinking patterns, but when a team seems to be struggling, I always prescribe returning to the basics.

          I am keen to see if Arteta buys my view or not, but whichever way, I deeply wish for him to succeed, and he will!


          1. I definitely agree with you about Arteta. His leadership has been excellent and I also wish for him along with Edu to succeed. I appreciate your thoughtful post and again find myself in agreement with your other points.

            Regarding formation, if I recall correctly Pep and Klopp both used 4-4-2 in their last meeting so I won’t rule out the possibility of that formation making a comeback. I only made a prediction based on how Arteta used to work with Pep, but maybe he would come up with an entirely different formation and suprise us. It’s just really exciting to see coaches experimenting with different systems in this wonderful league.

            May Arsenal win tonight, cheers.

  4. Midfield is the thing lacking. We need a creative midfielder. Arteta needs to field youngster who are hungry for regular football

  5. Creative midfield needed , needs to be defensive and offensive ,support the forwards and defend the defenders. Xhaka ,Elnenny needs to be moved on.
    The older players struggle against faster and aggressive teams despite their obvious tallent.

  6. All we need is more hungry teenagers mixed with the senior experienced players, that would add some level of urgency, strength, zeal and determination to the team

  7. Why people keep rooting for Osil beats me ,lack of match fitness ,too slow at 32 for the UK game ,great for continental play where time on the ball is allowed. Reminds me of Beckham ,set pieces , not enough time in the game, not enough stamina to defend when needed.gbh

    1. Because he is the last creative midfielder we have. If we have recruited his replacement, nobody will root for him.

      In fact, we used to have a creative core comprising of more than one player, now we have none.

      Something is wrong at strategic level.

    2. Both Ozil and Beckham were fantastic in their times. Let’s start with the latter, Beckham was often thought to be more of a celebrity than a footballer. But professional players and coaches were lavish in their praise and one player (whom I forget the name) even said that it was really hard to stop him because he could cross the ball from basically anywhere! But the thing is football continues to evolve. The 4-4-2 formation that used to be the norm was replaced by 4-2-3-1 and traditional wingers like Beckham struggled. As the consequence, he had to adapt and was used as a holding midfielder in Madrid, suffice to say many people were displeased by his slump. But I watched his last match as a loan player in AC Milan and he played like Pirlo, it was crazy how he distributed the ball accross the field. My point is, players could be insanely good in one system and worst in another system.

      The same could be said about Ozil. Once topped the assist chart in Europe, dubbed the next Zidane, and won the World Cup. He’s doomed to be extinct when coaches came to PL and revolutionized the game. For instance, Pep and Klopp introduced the 4-3-3 system and they clearly demand their midfielders to be both technical and industrial. Conte ommited a number 10 in his trademark 3-4-3 and Raineri used one that had a really high work rate (Okazaki).

      It was not only Ozil who became the victim though, he’s like the tip of the iceberg. Oscar, Juan Mata, Sigurdson, all number tens struggled because of this change. So, I think Ozil is still a fantastic player but unfortunately he has no place in the Premier League’s current era.

      Sorry for the long post 🙁

  8. I think we lack runners who will get behind teams.
    We play in front which makes it harder for us and easy for them.
    I do be watching the space behind shouting for someone to make the move but 8 out of 10 times we turn back and the space is gone.

  9. By far the most important thing missing at Arsenal is an OWNER WHO CARES AND LOVES OUR CLUB AND WHO WILL INVEST HIS OWN TIME , ENERGY AND MONEY ON HIS LOVE.
    Compared to that vital need, EVERYTHING else is secondary. THIS NEEDS TO BE IN THE FOREFRONT OF ALL OUR MINDS AT ALL TIMES.

  10. The missing link could well be Partey when he is up and running to bring real energy and drive to our midfield.As a blueprint for future success we need to take a leaf out of the tactics employed by Leeds Utd which is based on an attacking philosophy, starting with a high line back four.To bring about the significant improvements needed all our players should buy into the importance of running off the ball, to create space, which in turn produces chances.Neither Liverpool nor Leeds have particularly creative midfielders but they never stop running to open up lines for their front three.I’m afraid the likes of Laca and Willian are no longer able to run the channels to create space and like Pepe they are looking for the ball to their feet, which makes life easier for defenders.Willock is the only midfielder we have who runs beyond the ball and he is still learning his trade in other aspects of the game.As far as the front three is concerned I am very optimistic for the future with talented quick players such as Saka, Nelson, Martinelli and Balogun.Given the opportunity they can save us a lot of cash and prove themselves in a very demanding League.To me a midfield hub of Xhaka and Ceballos simply does not have the pace and mobility to worry the opposition and unless they are replaced I think we will continue to struggle.

  11. Before one makes a position/person redundant, one must surely have performed due diligence and ensured the smooth continuity of what remained?

    As we can see from our style of play, lack of goals and players way off their previous forms, this wasn’t done.

    I have no doubt MA will rectify this, but the situation should never have occurred in the first place.

    As for the game, I hate predicting scores, so I hope I’m just happy at the end of the game!!!!

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