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Trusting Arteta’s Process. Good Luck With That!

I remember Tiger Woods when interviewed after a round where he two-putted every Green, saying he was really pleased with the way he’d putted. This seemed strange, especially as he’d gone round in par without recording a single birdie: when asked about this he replied that his putting stroke felt really fluid and it was only a matter of time before the putts dropped, and pars became birdies. In much the same way, you will hear cricketers these days talking about the importance of bowlers getting it into the right areas, and this football season has seen more and more reference to the expected goals statistic. Get the process right, success will follow.

These days the concept of ‘life coaching’ is increasingly prevalent, emphasising as it does the importance of process-driven growth, rather than a goal-oriented approach. The idea being that rather than setting your sights on short-term peaks of success, a longer lasting value-driven approach will lead to greater happiness: this also finds its way into sports coaching (or was it the other way round?) and most young athletes these days are exhorted to find, and then trust, the process that is best suited to them. Going back to golf for a moment, the thinking is best described like this: if the player thinks ‘if I hole this putt I will win the tournament’, the putt is literally make or break, tension creeps in and disaster beckons. Current coaching philosophy says ‘forget about the outcome, trust the process that has seen you hole thousands of such putts, go into auto-pilot, and the likeliest result will be the successful one’. I find as I write this not golf springing to mind, but rather Steve Davis’s missed Black in that epic encounter back in the 70s. He would have done well to put outcome out of his mind at that moment.

But what of The Arsenal amongst all this? As the signs began to emerge this season that Mikel Arteta was not necessarily the answer to The Arsenal’s on-field issues, fans were either quick to call for his head or offer support by suggesting he needed time to get the players he wanted, and then more time to get them playing his preferred style. ‘Trust the Process’ became the cry, the implication being that at long last the club was going about its business in the right way and that once the non-negotiables were no longer being negotiated, success would surely follow. After all, he had been Arsene’s on-field general and knew the Arsenal way, while many Manchester City watchers were also quick to suggest that he was the real brains behind Guardiola’s success. Well maybe, but it’s worth remembering that not many monkeys make it to organ grinder.

And trusting the process surely became the mantra for the players too. Keep believing, keep doing the right thing; keep creating triangles, keep seeking overloads; keep executing the training ground plan, keep finding the final pass and as night follows day expected goals will become actual ones. What could possibly go wrong? Theoretically very little, but there’s many a slip between theory and practice, as this season has so eloquently demonstrated. While it is right and proper to go into a game with a plan, most managers would have a couple of other plans up their sleeve should the preferred option prove unsuccessful – and one of the main frustrations for Arsenal fans of late has been laboured sideways and back passing repeated ad infinitum, with seemingly little real intent to quicken the pace and go for the jugular. Even some of the great Wenger sides would occasionally lump it long, and they certainly knew when an injection of intent was needed.

But watching the so-called season-defining game last week against Villareal I realised two things. The first was that if a single game is season-defining then you have the exact opposite of trusting the process: the single match has become too important, the players too fixated on the outcome to play with any natural fluidity. And the other thing (which is no doubt why we ended up in such a situation) is that the players do not seem technically good enough to play the way the manager expects them to. Too many passes are hit fractionally behind players, causing a breakdown of momentum, too many passes needlessly gift up the ball, too many passes when received are mis-controlled. Playing out from the back becomes an open invitation for the other side, attacks (when they finally come) are telegraphed so long in advance that any defence worth its salt can snuff out danger whilst also having time for a cup of tea and a read of the paper. Midfield control is out of the question, especially when the only midfielder worth his salt is played out of position. And, most damning of all, the moments of individual and unchoreographed brilliance needed to take charge of a game have long since been either coached out of the players, hampered by chronic uncertainty or are simply not available to players who seem at best just a little bit better than average in Premier League terms.

Trusting the process needs a process worth trusting in, but it also needs players with enough ability to make it work. If we are to stay with the players we currently have then I think a different playing style is needed, a process that is more robust defensively and less complicated in attack. The sort of approach adopted by the Leicester title-winning side maybe, which once in a blue moon may see outrageous success but is more likely to consistently see a placing between 4th and 8th. It would need to see a different manager and would likely be the cheapest and swiftest way to see progress from the shambles of 20/21. If the club decides to stick with Mikel Arteta, and if he continues with his process, then he is going to need much better players to make it work. It will take time, a lot more money, and far greater ambition than I suspect the club is willing to invest in. It is also worth wondering if Arteta has the confidence to coach players more talented and successful than himself: past experience does not necessarily seem to say so.

My guess is that the club will end up falling between the two stools: Arteta will stay, there will be a few arrivals and even more departures, a lot of money (but not enough) will be spent and this money will be largely wasted because the new players will not be quite good enough and the manager will not be pragmatic enough to ditch his Pep inspired tactical dreams and settle for something that might actually work. I can’t see next season being much different to this one, I’m afraid. It’s all rather sad, to be honest, but with mainly Saturday afternoon non-televised games, and no European matches to look forward to, I will at least save on Sky and BT subscriptions, which is certainly a process that will go down well with the rest of the family.

Tim Head @foreverheady

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58 comments on “Trusting Arteta’s Process. Good Luck With That!

  1. A lovely thoughtful peice Mr Head, full of sharp observations (q is why are these passes being hit behind, surely that shows no understanding between the players, or a massive lack of confidence in the players themselves?) and analysis. Many thanks.
    Ive wondered for a long time if Arsenal has fallen between two stools? Time for a flush and something to diffuse the odour?But where theres muck theres brass?The Waugh death position is one to avoid, even for the sake of dignity, seems the great Arsenal we suport is in that place?

    I sent it to Le Bas and he also gave it a 10 out of 10.

    More soon, please!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arteta is no coach/ manager. He have no experience, no merits, no knowledge. He was Pep Guardiolas handyman, for piet sake. How that could make him qualified for managing AFC is a mystery. To let this middleaged wannabe keep ruin Arsenal is completly insane. The campaign of 2021-22 will be as miserable as this one, who, thank Gee, soon is over. Stop this fool from doing more harm and damage to our club! Get a real coach/ manager. Get Ralf Rangnick or Alex Allegri, Diego Simeone or – why not – Graham Potter. A fine dark horse for the job. There are no such thing in sports as “great by association. Pep is great, his former errand boy is not!

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  3. Mills, the reason passes are slightly behind, is that that is normally a safe pass with less risk, as in the modern game there is usually a player in front or breaking their neck to get there, the right pass demands that the receiver can control it and pass again almost instantly. As City players can. At least that’s what I think.

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  4. hasse. I wouldn’t normally approve such a totally negative post, but I wanted the opportunity to reply.
    ” no experience, no merits, no knowledge. ”
    He has not experience as a manage/head coach, this is undeniable .
    No merits? Well of course he has. He knows what it takes to be a top technical player and articulates well.
    no knowledge? This is just not true, he can improve individual players technically and has had direct access to Wenger and Pep.
    I believe he is deeply flawed as a manager, but your assessment is reactionary and emotional.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Btw, this article is marvelously well thought , structured and interesting. Tim should take a bow.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mills maybe the reason why the passes are that fraction off, is cos the look to see who and where to pass to, then they, while in the motion of passing, hear their manager shouting instructions to them, this pauses the pass motion, and when they do complete the pass it has been delayed that little bit to see it slightly off.
    there is the simpler explanation that the football they are playing is not being played freely, not free of mind, not what they feel they should be playing but its just what they are being told to do. So there is that moments delays in it all. I have played many sports over the years, coached to a high level in one sport, and the hardest thing to get players to do was integrate new skills or tactics to the point they did it naturally. Till that point is reached the level of performance drops badly sometimes, as there is that fraction delay that sees even lesser opponents take advantage of. Both as a coach and as a player I was and still am, a big believer that players have to have freedom to play instinctively at times no matter what the tactical plan set out is. A player has to feel empowered enough to actually change the tactical plan when they see an opening, after all the whole point in tactical plans is that the outcome will see you win, so no matter how good the tactical plan is, a player has to have the freedom to deviate from that plan if they see a situation that can be exploited to help win by doing so. For me the problem with Arteta’s tactical plan is that the players do not feel empowered to deviated from it. They see any player who disobeys Arteta’s instructions get at the very least a demonstration of the managers displeasure on the sideline, and at worst their game time disappears totally.
    As I said the other day, look at how inactive Arteta is on the sideline when we are passing around at the back, or even when we go all the way back to our keeper from having possession in good attacking positions, and compare this with his displays of arm waving, angst, and discussions with his coaches when one of our attackers, such as Pepe, loses the ball trying to beat an opponent, trying to do something off the cuff. This is why Arteta is not actually lying when after we fall to a sterile draw or narrow defeat playing dull paint by numbers football he says he is pleased at our performance and we did all we could, and everything asked off them. He is stuck in the tactical plan is everything mode, there is no room for free thinkers in his way of playing. for me its why he was happy to fuck over Ozil, its why he is happy with Willian, the free thinker had to go, the paint by numbers footballer gets picked.

    Yes with better players, or should I say players better suited to playing paint by numbers football, the results will improve for Arteta’s Arsenal side, just not sure how much though. Maybe enough to get top 4, but just can’t see how without freedom of play we ever get to the very top.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Arsenal release winger Aaron Benn the day after his brace against Reading U18s
    by jeorge bird

    Arsenal informed winger Aaron Benn that he had been released just a day after he scored a brace on his debut for the U18s.

    Benn was one of a host of debutants at that level as a young Arsenal U18 side thrashed Reading 6-1.

    The youngster scored twice and produced an impressive display but was subsequently told that he would be let go.

    Benn has struggled with injuries this season and is now set to continue his development elsewhere.

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  8. good post but disagree with

    “If the club decides to stick with Mikel Arteta, and if he continues with his process, then he is going to need much better players to make it work.”

    That is debatable he will –

    1, be able to select the better players. (cedric , Willian ,Gabriel ,runnarson )can’t seem to get in the team and are his picks

    2, get the best out of them (Willock, Nelson, Ainsley – Willock and Ainsley playing better away from the club) Partey has been below par

    3. spurs, Everton, West-ham, Leicester are all above us and it is debatable that they have better squads.

    He has proved to me that he cannot get the best of what he got. and if he was such a good coach who has significantly improved under him?

    Ljundberg always believed in Saka and emery brought Martinelli through.

    if arteta was such a good midfielder, why is midfield shit. i could go on but you get my drift.

    just think he is out of his depth and really needs to learn at youth team level or reserves at Arsenal and lower down the league somewhere else because he did not get the job on merit and ability.

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  9. Mikel Arteta faced the media over Zoom on Tuesday as he previewed our next Premier League match, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

    Our manager discussed the improvements we need to make, what he hopes to to the squad over the summer, and more.

    Read on for a full transcript:

    on whether the win against West Brom has helped morale…
    Obviously winning helps and it was our duty to get the points that we needed at home, and to try to finish the season as strong as possible after the disappointment that we had.

    on what changes are needed…
    We have already had an incredible amount of changes at the club over the past year or so, more than ever. We are looking to improve and be much closer than where we are at the moment. In order to do that there are certain things that we have to improve.

    on what the next step is…
    Now it is how we evolve, there are a lot of things that had to be done and they have been done, a lot of changes to make and a lot of them have been made. Now it is time to evolve. To evolve you to have to take things so that when they are a little more settled and established, take them to the next level.

    on whether the team has progressed this season…
    We have made progress in many areas, I would say performance included, and that is supported by many factors that we have looked at. Results-wise, to be where we want to be, it has to be improved.

    on Chelsea being the biggest test out there…
    Well probably they’ve been the best team in the league in the last few months, what Thomas has been able to do since he arrived has been exceptional. He put the team in two finals, the way the team is looking, how solid they are defensively as well, how composed and regular they have been in their performance has been excellent.

    on the latest team news…
    We have to see today, there were some issues over the weekend again. We are playing every three days and there is no time to train yet, today is the first day so we will have to wait and see. Yes [there were] some injuries, yes.

    on whether anyone is ruled out…
    Well the situation with David [Luiz] is that he is not yet recovered, we will see how he does in the next few weeks. The rest are still in contention but we will have to see today how they come.

    on what he wants from the team in the final three games…
    I think it is the pride in the shirt that we wear, and that we want to win. Winning is going to put us in a much better position in the table, which is going to make us… the chance to finish where is mathematically possible, but it doesn’t depend on us at the moment.

    on the way he wants to evolve the side…
    That we have to do better, we have to be much more consistent, we have to win more games. In order to do that there are certain things that have to improve.

    on what would be top of the list…
    We will see what happens in the summer.

    on whether we’ll see big improvements next season due to having more time to train and be coached between matches…
    I think that having a pre-season is going to be really helpful because we haven’t had any time to work together yet, since we arrived. But after that, let’s see where we finish next season and the amount of games that we have to play. But obviously, in terms of game preparation and time to coach them, it’s much better to be in that position rather than not having any time to prepare between games.

    on if he expects a lot of players to leave this summer and when he starts to plan for next season…
    There are so many things to do because we already have a lot of players on loan and a lot of players with contracts still that we need to sort. It will depend what happens with a lot of those players and what we are able to recruit to improve the team, that is going to determine where we are.

    on whether he sits down at the end of the season to make plans or if that is already underway…
    We’ve been sitting down the whole year. We’ve been in constant communication and things will change, some things will stick to the plan that we already had and some other things will come out. But we sit down very, very regularly to talk about those things.

    on just needing to implement this summer’s plan to get Arsenal back to where it needs to be…
    Yes.

    on whether he’s upset with the criticism from former players over the past week…
    I think everybody is entitled to give their opinions and when they have the chance to do that, they have to say what they feel.

    on if it upsets him…
    Again, it’s nothing for me to say. I cannot control that. If you ask me what I would like to have around the team and around everything that is related to the football club, is that we have the unity and stability to work. But if it’s not the case, it’s nothing that I can do.

    on there being vocal criticism of him from fans and what his response is for those who are doubting him after this season…
    They are entitled to their opinions. The only way I can prove that is by having a team that performs on the pitch and makes them proud. That’s the only thing that I can do. The only thing I can be judged on is do I create the necessary environment for a top, elite team to compete at the higher level and get everybody in the condition to do their best? And after that, do I get the best out of the players that I have? The maximum, whatever the level is, do I get the best out of that? This is how I judge myself and at the end, in the outside world, how I am going to be judged is just with results, nothing else. What we’ve done good before, in the past, in the process… it’s irrelevant. It’s only what you get from that result when you are on that pitch.

    on whether there’s a lot of optimism that a good team can be built around the young players…
    Absolutely. There’s great potential with them, they’ve shown that this season. They are ready to take responsibility in important moments. They have the level to do it, they have the hunger to do it and they have the right senior players around them to help them as well. It’s about how we click and how we are consistent. Because we’ve shown that on the day we can compete and beat the top teams but through 38 games, we haven’t done it. Through the Europa League, we have done it to the point that we are so close to getting to that final, but in 38 games that’s the duty that we have and the challenge ahead of us: to compete with the big teams in this league.

    on his message to the fans for when they return to Emirates Stadium…
    That we can’t wait to have them back in the stadium, with the whole stadium or whatever the capacity that we’re allowed to have in the stadium for the last game. It’s something that we’ve missed in this process to have them together, to feel what the team wants to do and create that chemistry and get them closer to what we’re trying to do.

    on his plans for pre-season…
    We are trying to finalise everything, with the Covid world, it’s been a real challenge to get any games or pre-season tour sorted out, but hopefully in the next week that will be confirmed and we can announce that, but this is what we’re trying to do. Obviously the Euros is going to condition the return dates of the players in relation to what they do in the tournament, so there’s still some question marks.

    on Jack Wilshere’s comment that the club needs more Arsenal people…
    I think it’s very important to have people who have been here and have experience here and are well respected here. We have a lot of them as well around the training ground, at the stadium, so I don’t know if Jack is referring more to the type of people or players, or just people that recognise the identity of the club.

    on whether we may have to pay off some more contracts in the summer…
    I don’t know where the summer will take us. I think every situation will be different and hopefully we are not in that position anymore.

    on whether players will have to leave before we can sign players…
    I don’t think it’s completely like that, but it will restrict and alter some plans in relation to what happens with one or two.

    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.

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  10. George and Ed, good points, adding to Tims piece, as always some fine analysis on PA.

    It just worries me to see an attack as the ball is swung in and it goes behind the target man and he then has to naff about with it and cant get ahead of the defender.Even attacks go backwards as he then has to get out of trouble, and the opposition defence is solid again. As you say Ed, the moments delay makes a mess of it all.

    I recall doing it sometimes as a player and got enough bollockings to stop it, but also got pretty irritated when it was done to me too. Mind you it tough to get sides when the whole lot is working in order, to me thats the big Wengs greatest achievement that often goes unmentioned.

    The safe pass, the lack of ability to create by instinct without the manager breathing down your neck, I agree, thwarting all ability to know one another. The public shaming of players and taking little responsiblity yourself is also a bit under the belt for me.
    No wonder the lads seem to have little confidence?

    Did everyone see that Arteta had blamed upstairs for the “situation” with Ö?

    Anyway, its a crying shame to see this happening.It reminds me of that brilliant joke at the start of Annie Hall:

    “the food here is so terrible”
    “yes and such small portions!”

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  11. Top-class piece, Tim. I learned a lot from it.

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  12. mills where did Arteta blame upstairs for Ozil situation, I know Emery did in his time here, but can’t recall seeing Mikel say it too

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  13. Wasnt there a vid where he says upstairs said (something like) Ö is not available, to which Arteta said ” I dont undertand” and the reply was ” its not for you to understand”?
    I’ll try and locate it..

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  14. Just seen it was a bs vid, and I fell for it as did a few other tools. Oh well. At the time I thought htf is he getting away with that.

    “Those that weareth not the bullshite detctor of life shall vote leave”

    Sorry Ed for spreading fakey news…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Arsenal’s new director of football operations Richard Garlick will begin his role with the club from Monday

    Like

  16. Dan Critchlow
    @afcDW
    ·
    3h
    By my count, we have 21 non-homegrown players including players currently on loan (limit is 17).

    Most likely, you can remove Ceballos and Odegaard to make it 19. Ryan and Luiz would make it 17. But even then, we have to sell/loan a non-HG player for every non-HG player we buy.

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  17. lots of reports that Arsenal are in talks with Ryan Bertrand who is a free agent this summer once his contract at Southampton runs out.

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  18. Rekik, Azeez, Balogun, Bola, Taylor-Hart and Oyegoke train with Arsenal first-team ahead of Chelsea clash

    Six youngsters were selected to train with the Arsenal first-team today ahead of tomorrow’s game away to Chelsea.

    Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez, Tolaji Bola, Omar Rekik, Kido Taylor-Hart and Daniel Oyegoke were all called upon.

    Goalkeeper Mat Ryan is back in training after illness

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  19. Thank you Tim.

    Due to contracts there’ll be huge turnover in the squad to come. Willian. Shotta asks the Q and I am positively scared.

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  20. It’s hard to have much confidence in a club that dumps a scout that finds you a Fabregas & Martinelli with a consultant to find a scout but there it is.
    It’s the change in model that is the concern.

    Progress through process. Yes indeedy.

    It’s not the style that is too big a concern, Leeds have an attacking style and the same points as Arsenal, give Biesla this squad and. It would be entertaining. But it won’t happen.

    It should be added as a note that the Kronke’s denied us Biesla vs Wenger in the PL.

    This was one of their crimes.

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  21. I see Steven Morrow who AFC sacked was hired by the FA for a big role for them.

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  22. seems Leno has come out and said that the rumors about him saying he wants to leave this summer are not true, he said he nor anyone belonging to him have said he wants to move.

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  23. Gurjit
    @GurjitAFC
    According to @ChrisWheatley_
    #Arsenal goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo is in positive talks over a new contract extension with the club amid interest from several European teams.

    Like

  24. Brilliant job Heady. Very insightful.

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  25. Superb article.
    Very hard to know what the process actually is.
    Arteta will be given time next season, but still think it will be hard For him to recover from this.
    But Then, there is the way the club is structured, who on earth would have the experience to get his replacement? Just seems an experiment in the I experienced at the moment, crazy at this level. I fear this club could easily lurch back to the super agents if they are not very careful, or they don’t appoint someone to stop such nonsense
    Hoping there will be crowds to drown out MAs constant, probably confusing instructions next season

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  26. The nail well and truly hit on the head. A very considered piece of writing. Contracts,appointments, tactics it appears totally experimental. We are suffering more because we had a long term manager who ran and controlled most areas of the club. In Wengers latter years this was increasingly difficult with the changes and demands of modern football. Now we have increased staff levels, constant comings and going’s and absolutely no faith in who is making these crucial decisions.
    ‘You don’t know what your doing’ somehow manages to resound around an empty stadium.

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  27. you’re!

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  28. Mandy by the evidence working with super agents was the long ambition of the owners.

    Everything that has happened since 2015 supports this understanding.

    They haven’t stopped working with the super agents since 2018.

    They sacked off all the scouts!

    Big Don Daddy Raul has been replaced after a job well done and a slap on the back by Grand Moff Edu and Genralisimo Darth Arteta.

    No amount of PR perfume from the shovelling blaggers can cover up this stinking jamboree for the frauds who do not consider what they have done to be a failure.

    Get these absurdists off the stage!

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  29. Report – Miguel Azeez scores in final U18 game as Arsenal beat Chelsea
    by jeorge bird

    U18 Premier League

    Chelsea 1 (Haigh 68) Arsenal 2 (Azeez 16, Henry-Francis 43)

    Miguel Azeez was on the scoresheet as Arsenal U18s beat Chelsea 2-1 away today in his final appearance at U18 level.

    The midfielder, who now mainly plays for the U23s, was one of a host of players playing his last game for the U18s, with Daniel Oyegoke, Mazeed Ogungbo, Alex Kirk, Joel Ideho, Kido Taylor-Hart and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji also falling in that category.

    Arsenal were still without Omari Hutchinson and Khayon Edwards because of injury, with Luigi Gaspar and goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk joining them on the sidelines.

    Taylor Foran was also absent in addition to longer term absentees Catalin Cirjan Mauro Bandeira, James Sweet, Billy Vigar and Jason Sraha.

    Remy Mitchell, who is set to be the first-choice shot stopper at this level next season, was given an opportunity in goal.

    Mitchell

    Oyegoke-Kirk-Monlouis-Ogungbo

    Azeez-Henry Francis

    Ideho-Flores-Taylor Hart

    Butler Oyedeji

    Subs: Richards (for Ideho, 71), Awe (for Butler-Oyedeji, 87). Not used: Kovacevic, Jeffcott, Sagoe Jr.

    There has been clamour for Azeez to become more involved in the first-team, and he showed his credentials again on this occasion as he opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

    It was the midfielder’s 32nd appearance for the U18s, with his first having come against Leicester City in October 2017 when he was 15 years old.

    Ideho, who has made a significant impact of late in terms of goals and assists, set up Azeez’s goal.

    Arsenal managed to make it 2-0 before half-time, with Jack Henry-Francis scoring his first goal for the U18s having been teed up by Marcelo Flores.

    Henry-Francis has made a significant amount of progress this season, so this was a fitting way for him to end the campaign.

    Victory wasn’t quite secure, however, as Chelsea got a goal back in the second half through Joe Haigh.

    Arsenal made two changes towards the end of the game, with schoolboy Amani Richards coming on against his former club, while Zach Awe added extra defensive solidity late on.

    The young Gunners managed to hold on to take all three points and have moved up to fourth place, although Tottenham Hotspur still have a game left to play and could overtake them.

    Overall, this was a positive manner in which to finish the season and the side that takes to the field for the first game of the new campaign will look considerably different, with many of the players involved today pushing on to feature more prominently for the U23s and in Azeez’s case perhaps an even higher level.

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  30. the Athletic is reporting that AFC are considering appointing David O’Leary to the Board, this was something that was ruled out a year ago, and cost us our Chairman Sir Chips Keswick, who had proposed it as he wanted someone on the board with football knowledge who could have some oversight on those running the football side of things at the club.
    Its seems that they can’t make up their mind about anything, as soon as they get a player to sign a new contract they do everything to get them to leave, the sack the scouts and then hire a firm to find us scouts, they refuse to appoint oleary and now are looking to add him in

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  31. not sure of the formation but here is the line up for the game tonight

    Leno, Gabriel, Mari, Holding, Tierney, Partey, Elneny, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang.

    Subs: Ryan, Bellerin, Ceballos, Lacazette, Willian, Cedric, Pepe, Chambers, Martinelli.

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  32. Kepa, James, Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell, Jorginho, Gilmour, Pulisic, Mount, Havertz.

    Subs: Mendy, Alonso, Werner, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Emerson, Anjorin, Livramento

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  33. Bellerin, Chambers and Cedric on the bench in case at some point we want to field a right-back

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  34. COYG.

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  35. Giroud will come on and score.

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  36. Well, if Pep can play without a striker we can surely manage without a right back.

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  37. the Athletic report that David Court has left his job at the Academy, he has been with the Academy since 1996

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  38. has to be a 3-4-3 formation, with Saka at right wing back, Tierney left wing back

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  39. smith-roweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 1-0 to the Arsenal, a real cock up by jorginho with an awful back pass with the keeper not there, and pea sets up ESR to score

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  40. HT: Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal

    we created nothing at all in that half, but somehow are winning, a big blunder by CFC and Smith-Rowe scored, but its been 11 men behind the ball for nearly all of that half.

    Like

  41. I’m reading that kepa should be off for handling that to prevent a goal. Oliver and VAR obviously not enforcing that. Methinks Leno may have faired differently

    Like

  42. A good performance from Jorginho or George is probably only ever equivalent to a standard or average game from Xhaka midfield.

    No doubt Arsenal would have some more quality in this match if their best CM was available. Partey looks knackered will Arteta think of playing Chambers in there?
    Gabriel poor on the ball today but ok when

    Will the scuffed finish from ESR for his well deserved second goal of the week be enough? Chelsea have some options on the bench and they put on a forward at HT.

    Like

  43. bellerin came on for Saka earlier, and now lacazette is on for aubameyang

    Like

  44. bellerin injured making a clearance, landed badly, seemed to twist his knee, but is playing on after treatment,

    Like

  45. Bellerin looks injured, he really should be taken off, about 4 minutes plus stoppage time to go

    Like

  46. Chambers on for Bellerin

    Like

  47. CFC hit the woodwork twice in the same attack

    6 minutes of stoppage time to be played

    Like

  48. Partey booked for a dive

    Like

  49. FT: Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal

    Smith-Rowe with the goal, in a game where we created nothing at all, but took advantage of a massive CFC mistake to score and win. AFC now up to 8th and just the one point behind spurs

    Like

  50. A type of performance and score line from Arsenal past.
    ESR could become a very impressive player

    Like

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