34 Comments

Arsenal Must Stand Up And Be Counted Tonight

Xhaka_1045x658_0 (1)
Following back-to-back defeats Arsenal will be anxious to get on the board when they visit St Mary’s Stadium for a Premier League clash against Southampton. Whereas the hosts come into this match on the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 win away at Norwich.
Good day one and all
Mikel Arteta had a relatively good start to his tenure as Gunners boss and then came the lockdown. Since the restart we went from a team on an unbeaten league run in 2020 and without defeat on our travels since the 9th November to one that has gone astray. To compound matters even further we also lost a few key players to injury.
Needless to say, criticism has been swift with the same old questions being asked about our “mental strength”, sloppiness in defence and whatnot. So if Mikel wants to salvage this season, well, a serious rethink is required.
In our 180 minutes of football  post-lockdown we scored just one goal, but it’s not as if we didn’t had chances. However, in both games we lost our way after half time as those chances were in short supply with us forced on the backfoot. Ergo we need the guile and creativity that both Granit Xhaka and one Mesut Özil brings to our midfield.
In our last game we also lost our heads a bit. We can’t be heading into the final stretch of this campaign getting distracted so easily, because we simply cannot afford anymore slip-ups.
Wouldn’t Southampton just love to pile on the misery.
When we played the Saints back in November they were bottom of the table and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job as head-coach appeared to be on line, but his bosses stuck by him and they have seen a turnaround since. To put this in perspective, a win for them tonight will move them level on points with the Gunners. And they certainly will go for it, especially after the rampant mood they were in last Friday at Norwich.
The hosts tend to do well in this fixture at St Mary’s, losing just once when we travelled their the last five times. This is something that Mikel would want to change and tonight will be a good start.
Team News
Bernd Leno’s injury is not as severe as initially feared but he will miss the rest of the season. Also Gabriel Martinelli who suffered a knee injury in training.
Granit Xhaka and Sokratis are back in full training but their availability would be determined by late fitness tests.
With David Luiz suspended and others still in the treatment room, Mikel has little room to manoeuvre in terms of selection, however, Özil should come back into the side.
Prediction
This game could be lot closer than one would like with Mikel expecting a very physical encounter. That said, I wouldn’t bet against the Gunners’ determination to pull this one over the line. COYG!
— Labo

34 comments on “Arsenal Must Stand Up And Be Counted Tonight

  1. looking forward to a victory as per usual. Its y way with arsenal matches regardless of past results.. 5-0 to the arsenal even cos i am also looking at our goal diff which needs lots of work..
    hat trick for Auba takes him top of the pile…
    these are my few but weighty expectations. lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What do you think has gone wrong at Arsenal? Arteta seemed to have you going in the right direction before the break…

    Couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw David Luiz had signed a contract extension – Surely wait for the announcement after his dismal display vs City!

    Looking forward to reading your future articles 🙂

    Like

  3. I think Granit Xhaka and Mesut Özil set of skills are key to Arsenal’s gameplan under Arteta. Play without both, we lost GX within minutes against City, and it’s always going to be struggle.

    Hopefully we have both available tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw some stats on previous posts re Arsenal with and without Xhaka. It would be interesting to see how we have performed the last 2 seasons with/without both him and Özil in the starting line up.

    For me Arsenal’s dip started when Özil’s back problems started to flare up during the latter part of Wenger’s reign. It didn’t help when Emery deliberately picked a fight with him for “friction”. Auba got robbed of his services under Emery, we couldve finished last season in third.

    Like

  5. Yes, really hope those two are playing.
    Our players are going to take another kicking, unpunished of course, yet the smallest infringement by an arsenal player will result in a card or worse. I saw the home fixture against Soton, very physical, and the ref that day did all he could to encourage them
    Really need a result in this game, think we might get a draw.
    Just hope Artetas luck changes, I have seen a lot bad luck with this team, compounded by cloggers and bent officials, but hard to remember a worse spell of fate than directed at Arteta since he joined.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Night and day difference in the officiating so far – people who can’t comment on the variable pgMOB code so far can’t be taken seriously.

    Auba off the bar, ball has been in the net albeit offside.

    The Arsenal are being allowed to play association football so far, let’s hope they can make it count

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  7. That’s my boy…

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  8. What has gone wrong?

    People could choose to listen to people who know about football and are associated with the club or worked for the club, like Sven.

    As opposed to the bloggers who have interests with the agents who hounded AW out the club so Raul could spend 75M on Pepe and 25M on Luiz. Lol. You literally couldn’t make it up.
    The silence of the bloggers (in spite of Sven publicly calling out the Vampires)

    The scouts who signed up the likes of Saka and Nketiah are worth their weight in gold!

    Like

  9. Also:

    Guendouzi out the team for Xhaka means:

    That there is a midfield.

    Which is kind of important in the old Footy.

    You have to question the blaggers & you tubers who attacked AW so their agent mates could get stuck in, who this season were asking for Xhaka to be sold?

    Evidentially: They know fuck all about the football. but, sure, they know plenty of agents. Lucky for them I guess. Not so good for the Arsenal.

    Like

  10. Unfortunately, Arsenal look like a mid-table outfit

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  11. Arteta (When asked about Matteo exclusion) says he “put the best players on the football pitch that are 100% focused to win the game.”

    Like

  12. a good 2-0 away win for Arsenal, Nketiah and Willock with the goals.

    Like

  13. A welcome win but an awful performance.

    No midfield to speak of and hardly put more that 33 passes together.

    Maybe that we be enough to spark something but frankly without ozil our attack is feeble.

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  14. What was that about win percentages when Xhaka plays?
    A very decent result, and shows some character after what this team and coach have been through. Hope we have seen some components of what could be a bright future on the pitch today, and scoring goals.
    As remarked earlier, a difference in refereeing to the trio the PGMOL seem to like sending us.
    Another positive from what has been a very difficult season, looks like we are pretty much safe from relegation, though not mathematically of course.

    Like

  15. Nathan Tormey leaves Arsenal after turning down three-year deal

    Tobi Omole leaves Arsenal as Matthew Dennis’ departure is confirmed

    Arsenal youngster Tobi Omole has become the latest academy player to leave the club.

    A Hale End product, Omole featured for the U18s in the 2014/15 campaign when he was an U15 player and he progressed to sign scholarship terms and subsequently a professional contract.

    Omole is capable of playing at left-back, centre-back or in midfield, but failed to get close to the first-team setup.

    The youngster played 20 times in total for the U23s.

    Arsenal have also confirmed the departure of Matthew Dennis.

    Another versatile player, the second year scholar can play as a winger, a full-back or in midfield

    Like

  16. Young Dennis looked a talent when I’ve caught glimpses of him. Will be interesting to see where he ends up.

    Like

  17. Let us see where they all are in 2 years time.

    Chances are in the Danish 3rd division with all the other impatient and greedy youngsters are.

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  18. Barring something unexpected, prepare for the media wankfest to end all media wankfests .
    Not that they were really needed with Liverpool being so far ahead, but the PGMOL and notably VAR should be mentioned in the credits

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mike Riley can enjoy a drink and cigar, before plotting His next job, how to get Utd competing with Liverpool next season

    Like

  20. Orbinho
    @Orbinho
    ·
    2h
    Minutes played all competitions under Mikel Arteta

    1336 Saka
    1301 Xhaka
    1251 Luiz
    1240 Leno
    1177 Aubameyang
    1055 Mustafi
    1037 Lacazette
    1028 Pepe
    976 Ozil
    805 Bellerin

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  21. Transcript: Arteta on Saka, Guendouzi and more
    25 Jun 2020

    Mikel Arteta was a happy man following Thursday’s win at Southampton.

    We returned to winning ways on the south coast, thanks to goals either side of half-time from Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock.

    Arteta was asked about our performance, Matteo Guendouzi’s absence and more after the game. This is what he said:

    on how relieved he was to get the win…
    We had two very difficult weeks with a lot of things that happened to us. I was concerned because after the defeat at Brighton where we threw the game away, it really touched the team. Confidence is everything in this game and we have to lift them up, but I could see yesterday that the reaction was really positive and they were really at it. We just demanded for them to play together, to enjoy competing with each other and defending each other as much as possible – then we would be fine. It was an important win for us.

    on Granit Xhaka’s importance…
    He’s a big presence. He’s someone who doesn’t hide. He has very clear principles and values, and he puts that on the pitch every time he’s there. His commitment is excellent and he’s a really good example for the rest. But I don’t like to focus on any individual. Today the starters, the subs and the players that I didn’t use all had the right energy, with the right commitment and the right intention every time they jumped into the pitch.

    on Matteo Guendouzi’s absence…
    No [it wasn’t punishment for Brighton]. It was squad management.

    on whether European football can be attained this season…
    I don’t know. I said that I don’t want to talk about what’s going to happen on the table, but I’m concerned about what we do every day in training and how we prepare and compete in the games. We had two very different games against City and Brighton. Against City we lost two players in 20 minutes and we played 45 minutes with 10 men, and we gave them two goals. Against Brighton we had total control of the game and we threw the game away in seven minutes. I know what this team can do but only when we are 100 per cent focused and we are 100 per cent committed to competing. If not, we are at the moment average. Today we showed that when we do it, we are difficult to beat and we can win at any ground.

    on why our game management has improved in just four days…
    We have to develop and we have to evolve as a team. There are a lot of things that we have to improve, we have to recognise and we have to probably go through in a negative way to learn. But they are so willing. They want to do it and the way they follow us is incredible. I never criticise the effort or how much they want it. I was a little bit critical about how we competed and how we gave the opponent points. That’s a disappointment. There are small details and I know we are a very, very young team with a lot of inexperience but in the Premier League we have to manage these moments. We cannot play the same way for 100 minutes, it’s not possible.

    on the back three…
    We will change the game plan in relation to what we want to generate attacking-wise and as well how we can constrain the opponent and how we can better control their strengths. As well, with the players we had available it was the best fit for everybody to play in their position and be more comfortable, more secure about their jobs. We don’t have the flexibility that I would like right now to change more things, but it’s part of the process.

    on the Sheffield United game…
    It’s very important because confidence is everything in sport in general. When you play team sports it’s even better because you have to share that chemistry, those feelings, that energy. The win will be really good for the squad, for the belief, to keep going in the process that we have set and as well because of all the injuries and things that are happening. The team has suffered a little bit and it’s a lot to take in a very short space of time, but they are so willing.

    on whether Guendouzi’s absence was linked to the incident at Brighton…
    No. Whatever issue we have internally, I will resolve it in a private way. I explained that I cannot explain and that’s it.

    on whether our players are getting more used to the standards he expects…
    I don’t like to make any decisions to send messages. The messages that I send to the team or individually are very open and I’m clear with how I feel. Winning is the most important thing and when you win, everything is fine.

    on Eddie Nketiah…
    Eddie, since I joined, the maturity and the personality that he plays every game with is incredible. I demand a lot of our forward players to put the opponent under pressure and they’ve done it. A lot of the goals we score are because of the errors that we force on the opponent. In that heat, to keep chasing players and putting them under pressure, sometimes it’s not a really nice thing to do. But obviously when you get a goal from the mistakes they’ve made – which could have caused a few more goals – it’s really important. It generates belief in what they do and it pays the price for the effort. I am happy with Eddie, the way he’s played again today, but I’m happy in general with the team. I’m really happy with the subs, the way they came in and helped the team together with the result and the attitude that they showed.

    on Bukayo Saka…
    It’s in his hands. He has a manager that has total belief in him, he has a club that really supports him and he has team-mates who adore him for who he is. He’s such a nice boy, he’s very intelligent and he’s so willing to learn. He’s eager to be the best, he tries to be the best every day, and you can put him in different positions and he picks it up really quickly. Every decision he makes, he takes risks. I think he could have produced three goals today. The maturity he shows on the pitch is really good.

    Copyright 2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Like

  22. All this ’30 years of hurt’ nonsense is sickening.

    It is 30 years of simply not being good enough.

    Now they are, either in their own merit or because everyone else is so bad.

    Yes they are the best, best attack, best midfield, best defence, best divers and the endorsement of the refs.

    I see in the Times today that Klopp spent £420m on players to reach this level.

    In contrast our team is mediocre in all departments.

    I had great difficulty and finding a reason to continue watching.

    Southampton were better at all departments, other than goalkeeper.

    Their passing, tackling and ball retention were better and can count themselves unlucky to lose.

    I hope that we have not used up our full allocation of luck for the season as we have had precious little until now

    Like

  23. Arsenal have offered youngster Ryan Alebiosu a professional contract ahead of next season.
    by jeorge bird

    Alebiosu, who can play as a right-back or a right winger, broke into the U23s towards the end of last season and sees his scholarship deal expire at the end of June.

    Meanwhile, forward Alfie Matthews, who has also reached the end of his scholarship, has been granted an ‘excess period’ by the club, which presumably means that he will continue to train and be affiliated with Arsenal beyond June 30th but not with a professional deal.

    Like

  24. reports from France suggest that Guendouzi has told Arsenal that he wants to leave this summer, with his reps having contacted the likes of PSG, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus in an attempt to get them to sign him for €40M. Well God love his self confidence, if only he had the talent to match it.

    Wait for it, his reason for wanting to leave

    “he has regressed under Mikel Arteta”

    it that what we now call being dropped.

    Like

  25. last night while watching MOTD, the thought came to me when I seen James Milner on the screen, that when Arsene Wenger tried to sign him on a Bosman in 2015, with Milner aged 29, so many Arsenal fans reacted exactly how they have at Arteta signing Cedric Soares on a Bosman now aged 28. Yet Milner in his five years at Liverpool has

    Premier League: 2019–20[169]
    UEFA Champions League: 2018–19;[170] runner-up: 2017–18[171]
    UEFA Super Cup: 2019[172]
    FIFA Club World Cup: 2019[173]
    Football League Cup runner-up: 2015–16[174]
    UEFA Europa League runner-up: 2015–16[98]

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  26. Seems Arteta is full of praise for Xhaka. Curious it is, how many people who genuinely know the game, who have coached him, and have no media agendas rate our MF so highly.
    Wouldn’t want to put pressure on Xhaka, but if Auba really is leaving,Arteta has a chance to right Emery’s wrong over the captaincy. Made even worse by the fact Emery rated Xhaka as well, but in his weakness, bowed to pressure from above, from the stands, the media, or all three

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  27. oddly enough Mandy, you will still find loads of Arsenal fans who will tell you Guendouzi is a better player than Xhaka

    I’ve seen one today claim Guendouzi will be world class within 4 years. I doubt he will even reach the heights of Ray Parlour, let alone world class midfielders we’ve had in recent times like Vieira and Cesc

    a funny thing I see regarding Guendouzi is how so many fans seem to be of the misconception that he is still 19, while he is in fact 21. Remember what a 21 year old Brady, Vieira or Cesc used to do in our midfield, week in week out. Yet for some odd reason this lad his talked up like he is a world beater. Is it the hair.

    Like

  28. Jeorge Bird
    @jeorgebird
    ·
    3h
    Omole was the only player with a professional deal that Arsenal released. Likes of Balogun, Bola and Olowu still under contract.

    Like

  29. Love to see their evidence that Guen is a better player than Xhaka!
    Guen was indulged by Emery, I have seen him play well, but he has a long way to go and a lot to prove before he can be mentioned with Xhaka.
    If he has some attitude issue (I am pretty sure the France manager hinted similar when he was called up to their full squad, but failed to debut), then I suppose he is finding Arteta has finite patience. Arteta will have seen things with his own eyes, and received intelligence on arrival from Freddie.
    Guen should have taken on Maupay with a crafty tackle, rather than that silly throat grab, I am pretty surprised he got away with that. Arteta will be aware how the PGMOL treat his team, the last thing he needs is incidents like that
    sounds like he is going to have to shape up in artetas eyes

    Like

  30. I thought we played well and although they had lots of possession in the second half Southampton were certainly not better in all departments than us. Tactically, after going one up we sat back and let them have the ball and for all their time on the ball they only managed to Emile once. They certainly hadxa couple of good “situations” but then so did we and we actually scored our second from one of those.
    As for luck, has the last two games been struck from memory. Actually if you watch the game again the ref allowed the saints players to deliberately foul us when we were breaking and go through to he back of us without bookings and yet Saka got booked straight away, so I’m not having any of that luck nonsense.
    Hector and Ceballos struggled down the right but I wonder if that’s partly because it’s difficult to read where Pepe wants the ball and definitely doesn’t make himself available if someone’s in trouble.
    All in all it was a good win at difficult time for us so well done the lads.

    Like

  31. Please forgive me for thinking that the rose-tinted glasses are out in force today.

    A win is a win and 3 points are 3 points, but please, our performance took tedium to a new low level.

    Southampton had lost 9 home games before yesterday and it showed.

    Yesterday was pure emeryball, although, thankfully, without Guendouzi, who gives new meaning to the word “over-rated”.

    If he wants to leave, I would be happy to take him to the airport.

    Another performance without a scintilla of creativity.

    YOu may think that I am being overly critical. Maybe I am. I think I am being realistic I have seen worse, and not only last season and this.

    Like

  32. A win at Southampton. Not often achieved in recent years. A good result. If we can get a winning run going then we may make fifth.

    Well done Liverpool. Deserved to win the league with some very entertaining football. As I said before we should have had Klopp in charge some years back.

    Like

  33. mandy its something about Guendouzi having high ceilings in his house, or some such, well they keep saying Guendouzi has a high ceiling

    Like

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