Where We Are.

Our twenty first game of the PL season saw us play one of the top sides in the division and perform very well. It left us ninth with 31 points however all the teams above us have played less games apart from Manure and the three teams immediately below us could go above us with wins from their games in hand which would leave us in 12th. Not all teams will win games in hand of course and in an extremely game packed season points in the bag and being out the F.A. cup could work in our favour.

So, what should we asking ourselves and speculating on for the remaining 17 games? Well, the biggest question is does Mikel now know what type of football to play to get us both results and performance after his piece of luck against Chelsi saw his fortunes change and poor old fat Frank fail as he could have got his cards had he carried on playing the same tired team in the same tired style.

Who is our best eleven and does Mikel know? For me its Leno, Hector, Bob, Mari, Kieran, Granit, Partey, Saka, ESR, Joe and Laca. Obviously form changes and Martinelli and a few others will be seriously challenging that line up especially our new number ten who may turn out ok. There will be many who question my view that Joe should be in there, but football is a team game and I believe he gives more stability and balance to the side defensively and will chip in with goals more than the so-called flair players that are supposed to be in front of him in the pecking order(Willock is now on loan and so can’t be considered). The next big omission in that eleven is Aubameyang, well I have always thought he gives very little to the team apart from goals and as time has gone on that has become more and more apparent. Now he is not scoring he should be an impact player for the rest of the season with Laca and Eddie sharing the starting birth. I think most people know my views on Pepe, he is a day dreamer which makes him a liability and does not produce enough at the other end to warrant a gamble with his defensive frailties.

How will Mikel manage the battle of the number tens? From what I have read Odegaard wants to play for Real Madrid and there is little chance signing him on a permanent basis especially as we will not be in the Champions league next season unless we win the Europa Cup. While the emergence of Emile has shown how much we needed such a player, and he could not do it every game for the rest of the season pissing him off in his breakthrough season could prove disastrous for ARSENAL long term.  If Mikel goes with Martin more often and then he goes back to RM or another CL side next season and Emile thinks he hasn’t been trusted, we could lose the pair of them and then we would be back to pre-chelski.

What should we do about the set piece coach? Defensively we do not seem bad although I did notice yesterday that the player, we have been leaving on the edge of the box at corners to chase down the second ball was missing sometimes. At the other end we have no potency, our free kicks are rarely on target and so we should be using a bit of imagination to get the best out of free kicks in dangerous positions and corners have got to be more varied to produce goals. The pile a million players round the keeper to give him COVID-19 ploy has never worked and should never be seen again. If the Set piece coach is not working, then they should get rid of him and reemploy Audrey the tea lady.

What do we do with the ex-Academy players for the rest of the season? So, its January the 31st and most of the players who have been in the squad are still here which is what I had hoped. As I alluded to at the start of this piece this is an incredibly competitive league this season and because of our bad start top six is probably beyond us in which case the use of the youngsters and the progression of the squad is vitally important for next season and beyond. I think the manager must make sure that players get game time with each other and not 100 miles away playing for cold balls utd. Obviously below that Edu must make sure the younger players loans are at the correct clubs to develop them in the way we want, and which will maximise the chance of the players integrate into our first team squad.   

How good are we? Even after the performance yesterday and the run of the last seven PL games it is still difficult to tell how good we are. We seem to have improved defensively despite having to change personnel to often however going forward scoring does seem a problem with defenders, midfielders, and forwards all under scoring for their respective sections. I believe selection based on cohesion rather than individuals will cure this although I do have a nagging doubt that Mikel does like a “Name”.

All in all, although there are still some worries especially politically at the club there are also some cracks of optimism starting to appear so start thinking and enjoy the rest of the season.

(ed. This was written by seebs @arse_or_brain before transfer deadline day, thanks Ian)

123 comments on “Where We Are.

  1. I’d be quite interested to see the betting patterns across the world on tonight’s game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well Moutinho smile with red at end of game says it all!


  3. ref!


  4. Orbinho
    Arsenal have lost their last four Premier League games with Craig Pawson in charge.


  5. Pawson on the pitch and Moss in the VAR booth, and we wonder how we lost


  6. Arteta when asked if Tierney was close to being able to play tonight, said he was not close at all, also said Matt Ryan has missed the last few training sessions.


  7. Unfortunately seems Arteta predicated complaint on whether or not there was contact- he thinks not- instead of absurdity of that being considered deliberate by the two Var officials who have full benefit of replays.

    Although indeed hard to make out contact, fact Luiz stumbles at precisely moment leg and knee appear as though may touch pretty much confirms they did in fact touch, though, obviously, ludicrous to claim deliberate contact.


  8. xhaka has deleted a post that suggested pawson to blame for the defeat, will not be surprised if he gets a ban, a fine at the very least


  9. yeah rich just seen his comments and its a cop out, by all means he should question if there is contact, but also have brought up if any said contact should have been a red. It has to be a deliberate act for it to be Red, I really don’t know how anyone can claim that deliberate, all this “it was David Luiz and he has previous” is just bullshit.


  10. just a reminder that Pawson was the ref who sent off Nketiah v Leicester and the guy who disallowed our winning goal v crystal palace when he somehow deemed Chambers had committed a foul


  11. Clattenburg says the officials got the David luiz red card decision wrong


  12. Heard it was Moss VAR as well…


  13. Mikel Arteta faced the media shortly after our 2-1 defeat at Wolves on Tuesday.

    The manager was asked about our dominant first-half display and the red cards that transformed the game. Here’s what he said:

    on the result…
    First of all I have to say that I am extremely proud of our team and the way we played, the way we dominated the first half. We should have been three or four-nil up. We didn’t do that and we put ourselves in a really difficult position after conceding the goal and going a man down. If you want to talk about the decision, I’ve just seen the replay 10 times in five different angles. I’m sitting here with you guys and I cannot see any contact. I would like to see if VAR has a different angle.

    on whether the decision was made based on David Luiz’s reputation…
    I don’t want to think that. I’m sure that they made the decision based on them seeing something. Unfortunately I’m sitting here expecting to see something and I’m not seeing anything.

    on whether that moment changed the game…
    Of course it changed the game. If you play with 10 men for 45 minutes in the Premier League without a central defender against this opposition, of course it changes the game. We tried. We were really animated at half-time because we wanted to win the game. The boys were so convinced about going out there and giving it a real go. We didn’t concede any chances but Moutinho scored a worldie. It’s 2-1 and then when Bernd comes out and hits the ball with his hands, it’s a second red card, we’re down to nine players and it’s almost impossible to win the game.

    on whether he’s spoken to Bernd Leno about it…
    No but I imagine he’s made the decision in a split-second, he needs to make the action and he reacted naturally to try to stop the ball. There’s nothing they can do.

    on our unbeaten Premier League run being ended by red cards…
    The way we lost the game is where it really hurts and it’s painful. I have to take the positives as well in the way the team is evolving, the way the team played against this opponent, which is really difficult to attack, the amount of chances we created. We leave the ground, we have zero points and we lost two important players.

    on David Luiz accidentally making contact for the penalty…
    If there’s any contact, it’s him [Willian Jose] with David. That’s what I’ve seen, but I don’t know if they have a different angle of what I have or maybe what you have. That’s where the disappointment is coming from. It’s hard enough to win football matches in the league and those big decisions are like that, but there’s nothing we can change at the moment.

    on whether VAR let him down…
    Well, it was a big decision and if they make and justify that they got it right, I will put my hands up and apologise, but the only thing I’m seeing is that I’m sitting here and I cannot see any contact, and that’s really, really frustrating because it was a big, big moment in the game.

    on whether he can still take positives from the first half…
    Absolutely, and to play three days later after the game we played against United and how demanding it was mentally and physically, and the way they started the game straight away. The way the boys have trained, in the second half they came out and wanted to play the game with 10 men and that was the spirit of the dressing room. With nine players, I saw players pushing to chase the goalkeeper, it’s incredible, I’m so proud of them. It’s a shame we can’t leave the ground today with three points.

    on Mat Ryan…
    He had a muscular issue and in the last two days he hasn’t been able to train. Hopefully we can get him back in the next few days.

    on whether he plans to appeal David Luiz’s red card…
    Well, on my understanding here I wouldn’t say ‘yes, let’s go straight away because I think we have a big chance’. But I don’t know, I will speak to legal and the club and make the best decision of what to do.

    on whether Kieran Tierney could have played tonight…
    He wasn’t close at all. Hopefully in the next few days he feels much better and he can come in the team and help us in this moment where we have so many games.

    Copyright 2021 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.


  14. Us up to ten reds now in just over season and a half. Utd none last year, one this (can’t remember it but I’d guess not first half, probably very late).

    Incredibly hard to take when they are the dirtier team by such a distance, especially with the extra pain of being gaslit by entire football world that this isn’t the case.


  15. Genuine question, is Moss fit enough to sit in a VAR booth?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. was it Peter Walton who said tonight that the job of VAR is not to get the right decision, but make sure the ref did not make a clear and obvious error, that right there is the whole problem with how the PGMOL are applying VAR, they don’t want the right decision, they want to back their pal on the pitch up in his wrong decision


  17. Hector now tweeted photo of red again. I say good if we get in trouble/attention for it. Other way doesn’t work so why the fuck not.

    Still seems only two possibilities for change are if whole regime at top of pgmol eventually replaced somehow (extremely unlikely), or if we play very very dirty, making a fuss at any opportunity, ie exactly like sort of thing Solskjaer pulled this week, Mourinho in past.

    Bleak picture, as it would take a Mou character to do it properly, and very uncertain what short and medium consequences would be, only that it would be difficult to be much worse and, I think, eventually if keep at it long enough with dirty tricks, should make breakthrough.


  18. FT: Man UTd 9-0 Southamptom

    southampton went down to ten men after 2 minutes, and when 6-0 down with four minutes left went down to 9 men, and let in 3 more.


  19. by the way Mike Dean was ref in that game


  20. Still think this needs the owners/ execs with balls, with their lawyers to act. But cant see it at this club, and you realise how ripe we are for picking by corrupt refs. We do nothing about it. I am not sure what the club can do, but I suspect it is more than they do.
    Hope Arteta does appeal this, and question Pawsons performances when refereeing AFC.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. That said, Perhaps the club stay quiet because they want to be in a Euro Super League, and maybe know things we don’t

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ‘Since Arteta’s first game in charge of Arsenal on 26 December 2019, the Gunners have been shown nine Premier League red cards, six more than any other side.’

    Was going to say reckon they have 100% strike rate, giving red every time they can conceivably do so, but then remembered Luiz shirt pull one game. Boy were pundits et al unhappy about that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. so rich we have got reds at 3 times the rate of all other clubs since Arteta took over


  24. Arteta needs to develop the team to do what Wenger did, hit teams with goal blitzes to render cheating refs irrelevant.
    Of course it didn’t always work, not easy to blitz the better teams, the protected teams, and even when we did blitz them,some refs pulled the opponents back eg 4-4 Newcastle

    Liked by 1 person

  25. there is a report that Reiss Nelson did not get a loan move cos Arsenal were not only demanding a large loan fee but also that at least half his wages be paid by the loan club too. Its madness that we would scupper a badly needed loan deal for him by making such demands, as it now stands we pay his full wages and he is unlikely to get any game time. What sense is there in that.


  26. Great article Serbs, nicely done.

    And many excellent comments that followed after a scandalously frustrating night for The Arse.


  27. Seebs (bloody spill chick).

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Ole Solskjaer (United manager) “I had a discussion with the referees before the game (Southampton) and just asked them about the David Luiz sending off, because I didn’t think he should’ve been sent off and Bednarek (Southampton player) definitely shouldn’t have been sent off “


  29. Ed. Maths not my forte so – 10; 4, double and a half?- I’ll take your word for it.

    Swing with pens between us and Utd 18 since start of last season, red cards 9, so it’s an absolutely gigantic handicap for us against them, whether you believe that difference is legitimate and reflects reality of action or not.

    The impact, in goals and points, can’t be quantified but it extends well beyond bare facts of being awarded or conceding a pen. Often they will come at crucial times, eg breaking a teams resistance, forcing them to come forward more and leave gaps.


  30. Reds, especially early, an even bigger game changer. Leaving aside Leno’s, think all the other four have come with plenty of time left and dramatically altered the games.

    One stat I can’t find anywhere is reds against opponents- ie how often opposition have had player sent off and at what time. Surely safest of bets though Utd beat us there also.


  31. You are right Rich, that is a huge handicap, and not one I would expect any other club to put up with week on week. But they do.
    I honestly think we need a sports lawyer on this , on the phone to the PGMOL / FA or whoever the morning after these events harassing them, demanding explanations. Might even make things worse for a while, but think it would be worth it in the long run.
    I would like to say those running the club know better than we do on these matters, and their is a good reason for their apparent passivity ( they even effectively silenced Wengers) but looking at some of the decisions the owners/ board have made in recent years, I suspect I am vastly over rating their knowledge on the game.
    Would be interested to see how the Fenway Group, or RA would react to this treatment. In fact, would be interesting to see how a league 2 side would react to this treatment.
    All the evidence I see is a group of bodies ensuring Utd are protected and sent as high as possible up the league , minimum top four. This will cost other teams a lot of money.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Mandy. What makes timing of it even more painful is that this week bloody Solskjaer is basically doing what I suspect we need to do in terms of shaping narrative and exerting pressure on them.

    This week he has : stated false narratives about Utd getting favourable decisions have gone on too long ; claimed team are too nice and need to make more fuss over bad decisions ; dropped that he has seen delegate report stating both decisions wrong in Sheff Utd game and that those lost points have altered championship race.

    That’s Solsjkaer, Utd, receiver of all the decisions they get, fantastic pen and red record. Also went on the attack repeatedly over that pen record, pushing out all sorts of stuff about why it’s legitimate, only mentioned because of anti-Utd sentiment etc etc.


  33. Won’t work for us as it does Utd, in any respect, but it’s better than nothing.

    With us, for instance, reporters won’t just blankly report it, which basically amounts to agreeing, or even agree with points, as I’m sure many do when Utd use press like that.

    With us, they will find analytical and even research skills to try dismiss the points as incorrect.

    Needs to be sneakier than anything Wenger ever did. Always felt he simply spoke from the heart, spontaneously, whereas when likes of Utd, Jose, Chelsea etc do it there’s a sense they’ve actually been strategising thoroughly beforehand.

    Small example is this idea of Utd seeing delegate report. Is that normal? If so, use info from some of ours to put awkward questions out there. If not, even better- bring up how we’d like to comment on delegate or match report but were refused access to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Just to underline how tough it will be for anything to work, look at this headline and subsequent Mail article.

    Headline states Arteta claims Luiz was FOULED (their caps) by the Wolves player. I thought ‘oh no, why did he say that. Not a good phrase to use. Easy to dismiss and ridicule’. Then article shows his comments and, nope, he never made that claim at all. That’s their own foolish interpretation of his comments, or, rather, it’s almost certainly their deliberate choice to weaken his argument.


    Liked by 1 person

  35. The Stockholm Syndrome exhibited by Arsenal supporters towards the pgmob is properly funny.

    “The refs hate us but they are not biased”

    This beautiful gibberish is right up there with see you next Tuesday super agent PR consultants pumping out their “ Ramsey and Ozil can’t play together” nonsense after we’d all seen them three cups in four years.

    You have got to laugh at the mental gymnastics on display here.

    Match rigging usually only occurs in poor countries.
    Where you have black and brown people. Muslims. Even though there have been cases in lower leagues here in the UK and everywhere else at all levels.

    This is the logic on display from the Arsenal elite blaggers. And it is Priceless!


  36. yeah fins so many of the fans are going with the line – ref was probably wrong but its our own fault for having David Luiz at the club – then there is the other usual one – we only have ourselves to blame cos if we had taken our chances we would have been 3 or 4 up and ref would not have bothered to fuck us over – and you can see from both of those that the fans can see we are being screwed by the PGMOL but point blank refuse to blame them. I think a lot of this stems from the Wenger out brigade, as they got so entrenched in blaming him for any pts lost, that they twisted themselves into knots so as to not blame the PGMOL’s awful decision against us for the defeats they caused. They have done it for so long it has become their go to point.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. It all evens out in the end dunnit. AAAAAAARRRGGGG. Getting to the point that a combo of arsehole pundits and commentators and actions and justifications of Ref game tilting makes it totally unwatchable for me

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Arsenal have left Runarsson out of our EL squad for the rest of the season, the 3 changes allowed see Ødegaard, Ryan and Martinelli added to the squad, replacing Runarsson, Mustafi and Kolasinac


  39. Arsenal have appealed David Luiz’s Red Card,

    I see many of the PGMOL men are saying it was a correct Red Card, the latest reason I’ve seen them give is that he

    “acted without precaution”

    I swear to God they make it up as the go along, anything to justify their bias decisions

    Liked by 1 person

  40. afcstuff
    Arsenal in the Premier League this season (league rank):

    9.2 average fouls per 90 (20th)
    32 yellow cards (8th)
    5 red cards (1st – next highest 3 red cards)

    ] #afc


  41. Mustafi’s goodbye message to Arsenal fans

    Hi Gunners,
    after four years, 151 matches and two FA Cup trophies, I just wanted to say thank you to the Arsenal community, our great staff, the fans and of course my teammates. Together we went through good and not so good times but we stood together.

    Arsenal is a fantastic club with a great tradition and I always felt that it was a pleasure and honour to wear the AFC jersey.

    “My family and I will always remember the time we had in London and with Arsenal. Gooners, I wish you all the best! Thank you!


  42. One of the joys of the latter Wenger years was the tension between knowing that games would be tilted, and the justified anticipation that most of the time his sides would overcome that. Victories all the sweeter for seeing and hearing the disappointment from punidts etc. So far this season it is clear that Arteta is struggling to overcome the bias. I am aware there are many here who do not care for him, but it seems to me unfair to expect him to immediately.

    But on that sort of note, I wonder how many truly top class managers were interested in taking over from either Arsene or Emery. If you can accept that Arsenal are one of the top clubs in the world (in terms of History, location , facilities, following etc) then it does seem slightly strange to me that Emery and Arteta were seen as Number One choices. Could it be that it is a well-known secret in the game that the PGMOL have it in for the Gunners?

    Liked by 1 person

  43. with Runarsson being left out of our EL squad, it means one of our younger keepers, Hillson, Okonkwo, or Hein, will have to be included in our match day squads in our remaining EL games, as under the rules a club must name 2 keepers in the subs


  44. Do you all recall the first CL knockout tie with Munich back in I think 2014?

    Arsenal almost turned the tie around in that second away leg and a panicked uefa official titled the pitch to protect Munchen’s slender lead.
    and I have never seen a player rage on the pitch during a match against a tilting referee as much as Arteta in the last few minutes of that match. By the end Arteta was so mad with the tilting ref with every touch he just fouled another munchen player. Pure. Rage! His anger told us that he really wanted to win the CL!

    At the least Arteta knows what tilting refs do, (we all do by now!) and he knew the score with the Gunners there.


  45. Sendings of aside, as we all know we were doing to well for the Pigmol and they needed to bring us down a peg or two, I thought we played well.
    Our main problem, as it has been many times before, was game management. With the 45 minutes gone and only two minutes of injury time to be played it should of been easy to see out the time to half time. The Luiz incident happened at about the 47 minute mark and so it was criminal we let them in at that time.
    Although we were down to ten men the first 15 minutes of the second half was vital and you have to make the side with 11 men work to capitalise on their advantage unfortunately the amount of space we afforded them so early in the half meant that we would struggle from then on.


  46. The timing was unfortunate, but the ref was desperate to do something, you could see it in him, nice little shot of him and Moutinho at the end of the game as well, very telling.
    But yes, this team are naive at times.
    I used to think the PGMOL had an agenda against Wenger, but now firmly believe Wenger was stopping it somehow being even worse.
    My own belief has always been that Fergie started it, the club suits did nothing , the cheats, match fixers, biased , illegal betters saw how easy it was to get away with it, especially when Wenger left. If you don’t nip lucrative crime in the bud , it gets worse. I believe our owners and execs have done absolutely nothing about what this team face. Nine red cards since Arteta arrived a year ago, must be close to a record


  47. Out of curiosity regarding the Arsenal Twitterati’s weird projections on the PGMO I Googled:

    “can you have hate without bias”

    Immediate/first replies were about Hate Crime:

    A Hate Crime is also classed as a “Bias Crime”, on the Gospel of Wiki.


    It is annoying that the league is as it is ( I’d like to see the national team win some more stuff!) I recommend ignoring or switching the plundits and laughing at people twisting themselves into smelly intensities whilst they fail to excuse the “hate”.
    Small mercies!


  48. Mandy
    My own speculation is that the people running the club haven’t a clue. If they were convinced an orange was a football* then you have to be grateful for the previous owners.

    *i believe Pepe will become more consistent, stronger. If he’s lucky with injuries etc. A simple speculation given his age and growing experience.
    I accept that not all signings under previous owners were great but Gervinho didn’t die for Willian to walk about the pitch for half the season. i hope he improves only because he’ll continue to be picked and Saka will need rest if arteta allows it.
    We will all get the opportunity to observe the management of the goalkeeping part of the squad in the next game!

    I speculate a more experienced coach would’ve given Luiz a breather in that fixture and rotated. And give Saka some rest going forwards.


  49. jesse lingard with 2 goals v aston villa on his west ham debut, 3-1 up with a few mintues to go


  50. FT: Liverpool 0-1 Brighton


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