Who cares if Arsenal are boring while Arteta rebuilds?

Who cares if Arsenal are boring? by ThirdManJW

For the majority, last season was far too early to be making any judgements on Arteta, but despite that, there were some murmurings about the entertainment side of things. Those murmurings have now started to gather a little pace this season, given what we continue to see. Is it fair though?

Whether we are entertained or not, it shouldn’t even be up for discussion right now! Most importantly, was having a manager come in, and focus on our main problems. Which was: Improving our defending, off the ball movement, discipline, and competitiveness. One doesn’t need attractive football to be successful, although it is far better to watch. Arteta has improved all of these things, with fairly boring football at present.

In an ideal world, of course I want to be entertained when watching Arsenal, but firstly, I wanted to see us competing again. Because we have been so poor, for so long. I am trusting the process under Arteta, because we have been progressing, and now that Partey has signed, it seems likely Arteta will start working more with a back four. In turn, we’ll hopefully be a little more balanced, see more attacking football, which will naturally be more entertaining. Arteta is still very new to management and has rightly been extremely focused on the defence. So, we need a little more patience to see if he can develop his attacking tactical abilities, especially now that Partey gives him different options.

Arsenal fans also need to remember that Wenger spoilt us rotten when it came to entertaining football. We have to accept that we may never see football that good again at Arsenal in our lifetimes. Given that Wenger was on a different level when it came to entertainment, I feel fans have been too harsh on Emery, and Arteta, comparing them to Wenger. Wenger was a genius in this area!

I should add, defensive football can be very entertaining as well. Seeing everyone behind the ball, defending for their lives, putting their bodies on the line, and fighting for each other, is a lot of fun. One of my most enjoyable games to watch was when Mourinho’s Inter got past Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Champions League Final. A man down, a goal down, in the Camp Nou, up against Messi, in front of 90,000…it was sheer drama! I really enjoyed watching similar football from us against City in the FA Cup Semi, and Liverpool in the Community Shield. Defensive football doesn’t automatically mean boring football.

Given our long regression pre-Arteta, entertainment should be at the bottom of the list of priorities. So, we do need to be a little patient! However, when looking at Arteta in the medium/long term, he will need to be more entertaining. As managers at other clubs have proven, if your football is boring, fans will eventually have enough of it, even if it’s successful football. Ultimately, football is entertainment.



  1. With the squad we have, we shouldn’t be ‘boring’..

    I look at the players on paper and they should do better..

    Bellerin and Tierney can both be good as attacking fullbacks, Partey can dictate the midfield. Our wingers are scarce..

    Just play Saka – Auba- Pepe and see where that leads us.

    Or change midfield to 2-1, and use Partey/Xhaka combo with Willian/Ceballos as CAM.

  2. Arteta is the right man for the club.He has to continue his ruthlessness and he will eventually be a success.

    The team must believe they can beat any team in the world.

  3. It’s one thing to have a brand of football that is boring because its a defensive setup, But then, would you need a £72m winger like Pepe and two strikers in Auba and Laca? The problem with this team is that there is no creation or inventiveness. That is what is boring. Under George Graham, it was 1 – 0 to the Arsenal. It wasn’t great to watch but the results got points. Now, it’s 0 – 1 to the opponent and it’s definitely not great to watch!

    There’s boring and then there’s just plain bad football. I’m not even sure why we play out from the back the way we do. Although it’s not boring and generally entertaining, It has some heart pumping moments! From that point forward it all gets a bit laboured. Not boring..

  4. On my observations from various defeated matches arsenal are in need to also build an attitude of fighting against big teams l.ike Manchester City , Liverpool and others looking to win against them, you could simply refer to the last premier league game against Liverpool that players were may be coward or given complicated instructions over that match. unless players are given freedom to exercise goal scoring, Arsenal may at any time surprise every one in the world as they are young and talented youth. therefore, Mikel Arteta is still an alternative for the GUNNERS

  5. We definitely need to be patient but we should be able to voice out our displeasure when necessary. What i haven’t liked with Arteta’s tactics is the lack of advanced midfielders, his choice of wing overloads is become unbearable to watch and it’s not effective. Xhaka, Partey and ceballos mostly played in a line of three without any of them venturing forward into the hole to provide options for the attackers, it’s not working. This was why i was desperate for another advanced playmaker alongside the partey signing. We need to give Arteta time i agree but he needs to fix up soon or this will be another year in the europa league and if he doesn’t change this tactics and provide creativity for the forwards, it’s going to be a reality. Please please play Auba in the centre and let the midfield be fluid, enough of Lacazette dropping into midfield and missing chances upfront.

  6. One big problem Arsenal has, and why even the likes of Leeds, Aston Villa and Everton players seem to perform better, is the fact that Arsenal players have a very bad 1st touch on the ball,. Average at best.
    Only Saka, Partey and Ceballos are technically gifted to an extent, have a good first touch and can move with the ball.
    In football, your 1st touch determines how you flow with the ball.. Once you have a poor first touch, there’s nothing positive you can do with the ball other than giving it away cheaply almost all the time.
    Auba, Laca, Xhaka, Nketiah have very poor first touches, and being that they play mostly in congested areas, they tend to lose the ball easily and affect our play.
    Compare them with our opponent players and you’ll see how far behind.
    That’s the reason why even when we manage to get the ball from pressing, we can’t seem to string 3 to 5 passes together before losing in. In other to avoid this, the defenders keep playing sideways and backwards for fear of losing the ball.

    Another problem is our attackers these days are too flatfooted or always ball watching.
    They don’t seem to make runs in behind the defenders. Like the type of runs that gave Leicester their goal on Sunday.
    Defenders hate those type of runs and we fail to capitalize.
    Auba, Laca, Willian and Pepe need to step up. Cos Luiz, Gabriel and Ceballos keep looking for those runs in behind but it doesn’t happen, and then the best outlet is the full backs. Yet even at that Laca can’t be found at the end of a decent cross.

    These are things to be worked on in training, but they keep laughing and playing on the training ground.

  7. If by boring Arsenal can win games,who cares. Wenger played entertaining only to get beaten.
    Winning is what matters.
    You may have so many shots but Vardys one header wins the game.
    Who is laughing?

  8. The only thing i disappointed with arteta is he rarely give reiss nelson minutes. Willian signing make its more difficult to reiss. I hope he doesn’t want to leave just like balogun.

  9. Football is all about entertainment, unless you are a shareholder. In Africa, its very difficult to pay for the channels that you’ll watch EPL, Serie A, or La Liga teams playing live.
    Most of our youngsters cannot make it because they’ve been tought entertaining football, but after graduating, they are supposed to play a different brand. We’ll have to bring back either Vieira or Bergkamp to coach Arsenal senior team. Arteta is just a waste of time and resources

  10. I may be in the minority here but as a supporter I just want to see my team win. During our double win in 1970-71 we won a lot of games 1-0 not by playing particularly boring football but efficient football. It was enough that we won. Yes, we all like to see shed loads of goals but what supporter can honestly say they would rather see our team lose 5-4 than win 1-0……

    1. Spot on.

      Good article. I think what some folks see as settling for mediocrity is what other people are as building a house from the foundation up. I’m confident that Arteta can give us exciting football – that importantly is also winning football – once the foundation is solid (right players, right culture)

  11. Deluded article in my opinion…. Everything echoed acceptance of mediocrity…. You can do better with your articles bro third man… The fact that you trust the process doesn’t mean you trust blindly giving way to articles like this….it was like you weren’t reading what you were typing….. Even the likes of Atalanta liepzig Ajax win with ease playing good football… Are you saying those clubs have better players than us….bro you don’t need to support blindly…. Sit back till the season is well spent before coming out to defend the process.. that’s what am doing…. But as it is now it looks all messy ….3 losses in 4 pl games with potential to turn 4 losses in 5 isn’t something to wax lyrically about….I just hope things turn around coz if not…. Like I said before I will support Arteta OUT coz as far as am concerned his tactics are too defensive….we all were happy when we saw 433 last week…. Thinking it’s going to be attacking but what we saw was 3 midfielders playing on a straight line…. Nobody was advancing of the 3…. They were all more like deep lying playmaker and our attackers had to drop really deep to collect the ball hoping to feed WHO? (our full backs) I suppose when they bomb forward or just lose possession when they are over crowded by the opponent….tell me how do we score with such poor tactics when non of our midfielders through out the Leicester game got into the Leicester penalty box….our attackers are having to do much….our creativity comes from DL at the back with long balls…. our midfielders are only there to pass sideways and block counter attacks …. Because of this we concede less goals but it takes a lot away from our attack and yet we blame our attackers…keep blaming auba and laca and even pepe and Willian…. But it only takes someone who sees the game tactically to know what’s actually wrong…. Put those players in other systems and see how they will flourish…. That’s when you will know something is wrong with our system…. Arteta needs to ditch this too much conservative approach if we are to move forward…. We now have a strong DM who can help the defence, he should stop living in the past…. He should focus more on outscoring the opponent…. And let the likes of partey and the CB concentrate on defending…. With little front line pressure that we apply from attack, its going to be hard for team to get to our defence except when we playing top teams we can device a little more conservative defensive approach…. But when we are home against teams like Leicester without Vardy and key players we should be risking more on frontline pressure and attacking tactics….case in point Bayern…. Check Bayern game and you will see where there defenders are when building play… That is the same place our own 3 midfielders are always at when attacking and building play…… With our defenders behind them…. Now tell me how it’s going to be easy to break a team of at least 10players defending with our only 3 players attacking and occasionally 5players when our full back joins the attack…. It’s always going to be hard breaking teams down except on one or two occasions when individual brilliance comes up…. When was the last time we saw a real team movement goal from Arsenal except from long balls from DL to the full backs and attackers…. The elneny pass rarely happens with our mode of Play…. Think about this guys and for those who blindly support the process i.e the manager while slating the players always THINK…… Thank you….

  12. Arsenal were admired by even their fiercest rivals for their beautiful attacking flowing football style. This is how they attracted fans across the globe. Obviously we don’t expect the same style Wenger crafted in his teams but we expect a mentality that is focused on winning and doing so with discipline tactical balance and a game based on seizing opportunities to beat opponents when they are struggling with form or injuries to key players. Arteta is just playing tentative and negative football at this point. 3 Midfielders in our last game and none of them had an advanced attacking role

  13. Another dose of welcome realism from TMJW. So many fans are living in fairy land with absurd and hasty expectations that fail to notice or even mention the enormous and thrilling new solidity and warrior attitude across the team for the first time in about a decade at least!


    We still have deadwood and he still has no choice than to pick them – bearing in mind the need to give all a rest after the long, busy and short, almost non -existent, pre season we had, which so may CHOOSE to forget, unfairly – and I ALLOW FOR THAT, WHICH IS THE FAULT OF PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS, NOT MA!
    This sensible, balanced article, full of wisdom and truth gets my applause !

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors