25 Comments

Optimism Or Pessimism , It’s Your Choice Now.

Mikel-Arteta-2-1-1024x708

Good day everyone.

There is no getting away from it, that was a disappointing result and a disappointing performance, we can almost taste the collective disappointment in the air.

Since Mikel rocked up there has been a swell of optimism running  through the club, from management to players to fans. The results haven’t been great but most can see an improvement in performances both individually and collectively from the players. So we went to Burnley and we expected a win and a good performance. Our disappointment comes from the levels of expectation we ourselves created. Had Emery still been in charged we would not have had the same levels of expectation, so the disappointment would be less. As Andrey Arshavin once famously said “Your expectations are your problems”. 

The problem with putting forward excuses, is that people dismiss them even when they are valid mitigation.Well for me there were good excuses why we didn’t play very well.  I say”very well” because in fact we did not play badly, actually for periods we were reasonably good, given the conditions. So lets look at the conditions for a moment.

The pitch was left with the grass long which clearly favours a less technical team. Therefore immediately we have to accept the technical side of the game will take a knock. And before people start shouting “it’s the same for both” it’s not, the more technical side loses more advantage because they have more to lose.

I felt that Arteta picked Guendouzi over Torreira partly because of the conditions and that Burnley mostly bypass the midfield, so he wanted a ball carrier rather than a shield. Unfortunately young Matteo had a game that he didn’t carry the ball well or progress it well with his passing. The problem was then made worse when Xhaka had to move from midfield to leftback, leaving us with Guendouzi and Torreira in the centre, a combination that has never worked.

One of the tactics seemed to be for Aubameyang to move more central allowing space for Saka to run into, a tactic that was working well until Saka literally got smashed out of the game. We lost our best CM ,who moved to LB and our best wide attacking threat. A double whammy.

The loss of Xhaka in CM immediately means Ozil becomes less effective  because he doesn’t receive the ball as often and in as good positions. More on Ozil latter.

Move up front and we had Lacazette, badly out of form, Aubameyang not at his best on the day and Martinelli playing on the side that suits him less. Their collective hold up play was poor. Perhaps on reflection Mikel will feel he got the selection wrong, but no one was complaining when the team was announced, it looked to most that it was the right starting three.

There has been a lot of moaning about Ozil’s performance, something that I seriously can’t understand. “Mesut Özil made the most ball recoveries, created the most chances, completed the most final third passes, succeeded the most dribbles and made the most interceptions of any Arsenal player when he was on the pitch.” I don’t know what more people want from him, he can’t pass the ball to himself so he is relying on the other players to either give it  back to him or do something decent with it, well on the whole they didn’t. He doesn’t have a playstation controller so he can move the others into good space and he cant make them pass the ball better. Ozil is definitely not the problem in this team.

On the bright side we look much better defensively, Mustafi didn’t put a foot wrong and play really well, Luiz looks a good player again and Hector is looking better with every minute he gets under his belt.

I have always said that we need a balanced MF, and I feel that the best one is Xhaka, Torreira and Ozil, but if circumstanced dictate that this trio is unavailable we struggle. Well circumstances did just that yesterday.

Nothing is going to stop me from being optimistic about our future under Arteta, the only question is how distant is that future and what levels of performance are we going to be happy with, because for sure, there will not be the levels of investment that will make us contenders for the league. We simply have to curtail our expectations or else we will be in a constant state of disappointment and anger.

 

25 comments on “Optimism Or Pessimism , It’s Your Choice Now.

  1. Yesterday, a lot of things just didn’t happen for us. Strikers left shooting boots at home, a talented LB was neutralised early on,a vital position in Artetaball . Our excellent vision filled, and passing MF had to go to LB, as mentioned, really not helping our MF.
    had Saka not been taken out, we should have won that game, Auba would eventually have put one away, and they wouldn’t have had so much freedom to get at us.
    But, we didn’t lose, we would have under emery.
    I am also optimistic under Arteta, I believe results will soon improve.
    BUT, what really worries me, is how far we have been allowed to decline. This asks serious questions of those running the club, very serious questions. Do they give a shit….I am assuming of course they do. Do they have a clue…perhaps smart enough people but liable to be taken in by those who know more about the game than the owners?? I don’t know. I suspect they hoped they would find another Wenger to run all things for them, and that ain’t going to happen ever again. They need to be careful who they let in.
    Whatever the case, they need to look into things in a big review this summer, this decline has been shocking. And they really need to back Arteta, if he is as good as I for one think he is, he will soon have other suitors, but that’s for the future.
    Hope they comeback from Dubai refreshed and ready to right some wrongs

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’d be tremendously optimistic, and happy to wait patiently, if I believed we were on a relatively level playing field.

    Unfortunately, I’m a very long way gone into believing it is anything but that. I seem completely unable to make peace with it. Died down somewhat with what it now seems abundantly clear was the unimpressive management of Emery, but with Arteta I find it much more painful and aggravating again.

    I think he really has it, and is capable of great things, but that progress will be horribly curtailed by the bullshit that is pgmol, the media that enables it and made it possible, and what increasingly feels to me like an army of enemy scumbags, – Boo, Boo- of all stripes,the Great British football public, who believe the bullshit about us, and regard us as a special unique case in English football. Meanwhile, opposition players and managers either actually believe it, too, or are simply happy to take advantage of it to a degree equal to their ruthlessness. A perfect storm

    I know, I’ll get my coat, and take my hat with me, but sadly I’m convinced of it, and can neither make peace with it nor piss off elsewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. At least I have gained a better understanding of why Wenger opted for shock and awe in home games even though it seemed to carry unnecessary risk of getting caught on counters. Those early multi-goal salvos were invaluable in amassing points and meant opponents could not get in tune with refs, and find their fouling and spoiling rhythm in time.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Excellent stuff George, thanks.

    Based upon their record the big blaggers rely upon popping expectations that they themselves have inflated.
    Whilst even ignoring significant achievements such as the club’s 4th or 5th best post war spell (2014-17) even describing such a progressive period in the club’s history as a “decline” and I guess that inaccuracy or outright lie must be because they are snivelling reprobates desperate for the next click and nothing more then that.

    More power to your elbow.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Rich
    If I may say so, You’re in good company here.

    Young Pep only beat similar odds with richest squad in the history of the sport. Context for AW’s achievements.

    Both Pep and Arteta are on the record for acknowledging the “odds” that they were up against.

    Let’s not forget how Arteta was taken out Saka styleee in his last seasons to clear the way for other squads to be title favourites.

    Be in no doubt my friend,

    Arteta Knows

    COYG.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “At least I have gained a better understanding of why Wenger opted for shock and awe in home games even though it seemed to carry unnecessary risk of getting caught on counter”
    Perfectly put, those tactics could expose us, especially against certaintypes of teams and refs away, but I miss those multi goal salvos as Cazorla, Ramsey and Ozil, perhaps the wide players would combine to score themselves, or feed a striker.
    They say Ozil has declined, not sure I buy that one, but even if he has, so would most when compared to playing alongside Cazorla and Ramsey

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What I can’t quite understand is that almost all the match previews I read pointed to how difficult this one was going to be. Then afterwards, much of the reaction seems to be, “That shouldn’t have been so difficult.” It’s not just that the expectations are unreasonable; they’re forgotten.

    Thank you, George, for pointing out the reasons that the original expectations were borne out in the match. Some unexpected things did go against us, but I thought we coped admirably, especially defensively. If we had taken one of several chances to capitalize on our early dominance, the whole match–and the reaction–play out differently.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think I was disappointed because although I thought the game would be difficult beforehand once I started watching you could see how poor Burnley were. In the first ten minutes Saka, Auba and Matteo all put over excellent crosses that had them panicking but after a while we seemed to take an age getting it wide often including an extra player before it got there this meant Burnley could defend easier. The same thing for our counters they were so slow and allowed them time to get players back behind the ball. Matteo was chief culprit for this and was constantly carrying the ball to long or turning and going backwards towards the CBs. He was foulded once and I was so frustrated I wanted to kick him.
    If Auba doesn’t score he gives little to the team and I think he had a stinker.
    Lastly when the team can’t seem to get going the bench has to help them out and the subs came far to late.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Agree with Ian re Auba… both him and Lacazette had stinkers and that, with everything else going on, ultimately cost us the game. I guarantee had either of their names been spelled M U S T A F I, we knew who had been blamed today.

    I got one of my local Afrikaans papers in front of me and the headline on the Arsenal game is:

    “Hoe lank nog kan die Gunners aanploeter met duur Özil wat hulle al weer ‘n wen kos.”

    Basically scapegoating Özil as the sole player that’s costing us wins in recent games. Going on and on about him being an expensive luxury bringing nothing to the team.

    Seems whatever those crappy pundits are saying about the Arsenal are becoming conventional wisdom even back home.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. well if anyone did not see the game and read the match report on the BBC you would be led to believe that Burnely were robbed, that they had all the chances, and in fact had laid siege to our goal. There was not a mention of a single Arsenal attack.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Burnley should have been 2 or 3 down before they even got going, which in itself took an injury to Saka and all that entailed

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You know, despite our defensive injuries I do feel that we have turned a corner defensively, and inspite of Mustafi’s error vs Chelsea he had been our best defender since.

    It’s irritating how that get buried in mental gymnastics of people being reluctant to give Auba and Lacazette the sort of criticism they never spared Giroud.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Like

  14. Thanks George and thanks to all the other wise contributors. A question I have about Ozil is this: my memory of him from seemingly not so long ago was that he would often appear in goal scoring positions, which he normally seemed to convert. All those special chips over the goalkeeper when he was one on one, all those clever volleys. But now he hardly ever seems to be that far forward. Is that because he lacks the pace or will to do so these days? Or is it because he is instructed to play deeper? Or maybe because he no longer has the players around him that would enable him to do just that?
    And lest anyone think otherwise, I am a founder member of the Ozil fan club, so the question is not inspired by blame, just interest.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. foreverheady

    My memory is that on at least a few of those breaks it was Sanchez supplying the pass to him. Thought those two had some very good link ups, to extent that when each had ball the other would make runs in box they wouldn’t otherwise make, such was their belief in each other’s quality. They were runs and passes which had to be absolutely perfect to catch defender’s off guard

    Also recall Ramsey and Ozil linking well together, though I think that was at highest in first year or so together and didn’t involve final passes as much as Ozil and Sanchez.

    Also remember some lovely high inswinging crosses to Giroud, which of course has gone too.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Fallen at first hurdle today as I am again contemplating how I can change how I do/view football.

    Got into it a bit with ESPN’s resident VAR expert. Will try provide link to exchange. I am gobsmacked by his claim that the protocol says it was right to flag Laca, as it was not a clear chance due to presence of a defender. Eh?

    I think he’s being a proper c*** to be honest, maybe is trying to wind me up with it, or at the very least is being dishonest in pretending not to understand crux of my point : regardless of whether it was right under pgmol’s special rules (I’m sure it wasn’t even with them), with VAR, the flag should stay down on anything close.

    Like

  17. Like

  18. Well he looked clean through to me. Mind you, given Laca’s form he probably flagged to save some hapless fan in Row Z from getting sweded.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What bullshit, he was a good yard and a half clear of the player who tried to play him offside. Very late abuse assisted flag from the gutless linesman

    Like

  20. Mari, Soares, Nketiah and Azeez added to Arsenal’s Europa League squad; Chambers included, Lopez removed
    by Jeorge Bird

    Arsenal have submitted their updated Europa League squad for the knockout stages of the competition, with loan signings Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares both included along with Eddie Nketiah, who is back from his spell with Leeds United.

    Nketiah is named on the B-list for under-21 players, while Mari and Soares are on the A-list in place of Konstantinos Mavropanos (who was loaned out to Nuremberg) and Joel Lopez, who has been left out.

    In addition, youngsters Miguel Azeez and Tom Smith have been included on the B-list for the first time.

    Calum Chambers has been included despite being ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury.

    As well as Lopez, Sam Greenwood, Karl Hein and Catalin Cirjan have also been left out as there aren’t enough spaces on the A-list and they are ineligible for the B-list having not yet been at the club for two years.

    Despite being part of the first-team squad, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock join Nketiah on the B-list.

    Meanwhile, Matteo Guendouzi and Gabriel Martinelli are on the A-list along with goalkeeper James Hillson as they aren’t yet eligible for the B-list.

    Arsenal only have 24 players (as opposed to the usual 25) included on the A-list as they have only named seven homegrown players rather than eight – with Emiliano Martinez, Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Chambers, Matt Macey and Hillson all falling into that category.

    Arsenal’s Europa League squad:

    List A: 1. Bernd Leno, 2. Hector Bellerin, 3. Kieran Tierney, 5. Sokratis, 8. Dani Ceballos, 9. Alexandre Lacazette, 10. Mesut Ozil, 11. Lucas Torreira, 14. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 15. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 16. Rob Holding, 17. Cedric Soares, 19. Nicolas Pepe, 20. Shkodran Mustafi, 22. Pablo Mari, 23. David Luiz, 26. Emiliano Martinez, 29. Matteo Guendouzi, 31. Sead Kolasinac, 33. Matt Macey, 34. Granit Xhaka, 35. Gabriel Martinelli, 63. James Hillson

    List B: 24. Reiss Nelson, 28. Joe Willock, 30. Eddie Nketiah, 37. Daniel Ballard, 38. Folarin Balogun, 40. Tolaji Bola, 41. Robbie Burton, 42. Harry Clarke, 43. Trae Coyle, 47. Jordan McEneff, 48. Mark McGuinness, 49. Zech Medley, 53. Joseph Olowu, 54. Tobi Omole, 57. Matt Smith, 59. Zak Swanson, 61. Nathan Tormey, 69. Ben Cottrell, 76. Arthur Okonkwo, 77. Bukayo Saka, 78. Tom Smith, 79. Miguel Azeez

    Like

  21. Arsenal youngster Joseph Olowu is on the brink of a move to Cork City.

    The January transfer window may be over, but it looks like Arsenal are on the brink of some further work in the transfer market, albeit a pretty low-key one.

    According to a report from All Nigeria Soccer, young defender Joseph Olowu is closing in on a loan move to Cork City, with a deal agreed between both clubs.

    The report goes on to say that Olowu is preparing to fly out to Cork to put pen to paper on his deal, which will see him remain with the Irish club until the end of this season.

    The 20-year-old has long been regarded as a promising talent at Arsenal, though time may be running out for him to really stake his claim for a first-team breakthrough.

    Gooners will therefore hope that a loan move like this one can give Olowu the chance to play regularly at a higher level and show what he can do.

    At the very least, if Olowu can impress whilst out on loan it could bump up his value a little bit should we choose to sell him in the near future.

    Like

  22. The GA column after nine games under Arteta is 50% of what it was prior, 8 against compared to 16.

    And that’s with Luiz getting sent off, Chambers getting injured mid-game like Saka, plenty of Special Circumstances and some poor luck too.

    Would like to win every game, can appreciate that having Ozil as the only senior AM in the squad when playing 10 games in 45 days reflects not on Ozil’s age, fitness or motivation but upon Raul’s decimation of all the AMs from the squad, fraud that he is.

    Arteta is the coach and I’m as happy as Larry.

    COYG.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. the fact that we have only lost 6 games from 25 shows that we are not that far off, well at least not as far off as we may seem. We have drawn 13 games, that is what has killed us, even if by going for it a bit more we had lost 3 of those but won 5 more, we’d have gained 7pts more, which would have us sit 5th, just 3pts off 4th place.
    Only Liverpool, with 0 defeats, have lost less games than us, we sit joint 2nd on games lost, with Man City, Leicester, Wolves, on 6 losses.
    The down side is our 6 wins sees only Norwich and Watford having lost more, we are joint 3rd worst for wins with Brighton and West Ham.

    I feel that we have not lost that many games, just he six, suggests that we have less improvement to make than our league position would suggest.
    We have to get more goals in the team, turn half of our draws into wins and we would be right up the league.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sounds like LiVARpool getting their little favours again

    Liked by 2 people

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