Self-Sabotaging Arsenal Scramble to Draw.

It’s late on Friday night and I have no idea where to begin. So I’ll just start with Ramsdale passing it to Alcaraz with 20 seconds on the clock. Now, if you’ve watched Arsenal at all this season you’ll know that Ramsdale is good for a flub like this. 

It doesn’t make him unique as a Premier League goalkeeper, but he has passed it straight to opposing attackers several times this season.

Tonight, Alcaraz took the gift in his stride and got his shot away faster than other attackers have done in this situation. From my perspective, Ramsdale could also have made a better fist of saving the shot, which came at a decent height. 

Before long, we were two down. My thinking on this goal is that because we like to play with a lot of men ahead of the ball, moments of sloppiness early in the build up can unbalance us catastrophically. Even more if we’re chasing the game. 

Here Saka played a loose pass infield to our No. 5, who lunged to control it. Odegaard charged in to rescue things, but made them worse by passing straight to an SFC shirt. All three midfielders were now wrong side with Southampton breaking. 

Even deep into his 30s, Walcott lives for scenarios like this, and was able to isolate Gabriel, receiving a neat pass from Alcaraz and slotting into the corner with sangfroid. 

One of the players caught high up the pitch was Fabio Vieira. He wasn’t at fault for the goal, but had little impact on the game, and was hooked early in the second half. We’ll see what he looks like in the summer with a preseason behind him, but, to play manager, I think I’d have gone with Jorginho in midfield for this one. 

At 2-0 down we finally started playing. First, Zinchenko zipped a low ball across the six-yard box, with nobody able to react. 

Then the Ukrainian picked it up in midfield for what felt like the first time. He played one of those signature incisive passes to Odegaard, who bent the ball inside their left-back to Saka on the move. When we do manage to get Saka one-on-one, defenders are screwed either way.

Here Saka opted for the byline, and cut it back for Martinelli, who adjusted his feet beautifully to whack a low volley beyond Bazunu. If you had to pick an archetypal 22-23 Arsenal goal it would surely look a lot like this. 

Our first goal came on the 20th minute, and the first half didn’t end until the 53rd. But in that time we didn’t exactly pepper their goal. Odegaard headed over from a Martinelli cross, and a flicked header by White was cleared off the line, and that was it for the rest of the first period. 

The game seemed to drift, and it wasn’t helped by a lengthy stoppage for Bednarek’s awkward fall. Thankfully he appeared to be OK, though it was alarming to see him trying to fight his way back onto the pitch having clearly been unconscious. 

For a game that will be remembered for its drama, it’s no stretch to say that the middle third was uneventful. Aside from half-chances in our favour, and a curious, negative half-time switch by Southampton to a back 5, nothing much happened until we gifted them their third and most frustrating goal. 

I don’t even want to go back and relive it, but as far as I recall our No.5 gave the ball away cheaply and we conceded a corner. Then our marking was all over the place as we allowed an SFC player to win his header in the middle of the six yard box. The ball looped to Ćaleta-Car who eluded Zinchenko and stepped in for an easy finish. 

The stadium was crestfallen. With 20 minutes still to go, the crowd thinned out, no doubt discouraged by Jesus skying a presentable chance on the volley and then straight-up missing a header at the back post.

Arsenal were doing many of the right things, but appeared to have set themselves an impossible target. Every time an attack broke down we had to wait for up to a minute for the game to restart, and it’s a mystery how Bazunu managed to get through the match without a booking. Ederson dallied on a single goal kick on Wednesday night and was carded instantly.

Once again, we were squeezing SFC without cutting through them, and the goal to make it 3-2 was a moment of solo inspiration from Odegaard. A nifty one-two with White forced a narrow opening, and he seized upon it with panache, arcing the ball into the bottom corner. 

Two minutes later, Trossard managed to find the gap between a Southampton defender’s legs—Nelson forced a save from Bazunu and Saka was there to equalise on the rebound. 

Southampton were now ragged, and when our third goal went in, eight minutes of injury time seemed like it might be enough for us to get the winner. Nelson came agonizingly close when his effort was deflected wide, and then Trossard clattered a shot off the top of the bar. 

And with time almost up, when we needed to keep an unsteady Southampton under the cosh, our No. 5 elected to shoot from 35 yards when it was the last thing he should have done. He blasted it over the bar, bringing this nauseating roller coaster ride to an appropriate end. 

The stats show that Southampton were implausibly clinical in punishing our mistakes. But who’s to say we wouldn’t have offered up even more clear-cut opportunities had they missed the ones we gave them?

Full time left us with many contrasting emotions to process. Some of those are positive for sure, but it’s not easy to take heart from a desperate draw against the league’s bottom team.

Still, while I think we’re under no illusions about the magnitude of the challenge ahead next week, you never know. So let’s go with that. 


35 comments on “Self-Sabotaging Arsenal Scramble to Draw.

  1. Great summary of a poor game Birdkamp, shame it isn’t the other way around. We can package it any way we like, but the reality is we have squandered 4 points against 2 of the worst teams in the league. Heads have gone and composure and patterns of play have followed the composure. It’s been a great season , if you ignore this collapse and all the cup competitions. Still, we can hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Can you please tweet the blg if you have a twitter account, as mine has been suspended. Apparently calling a black player “a donkey” is racist. Who fucking knew that?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Morning Bird, thanks again, Im really glad you did this otherwise we would have been sitting in the darker energy of last night until the City game, so at the least it gives us a fresh start.

    Its odd again I found myself pre-game caught between thinking this could “be a tough game” and “we might win 5-0 etc”. Friday night footballs often been an oddball for the Arsenal?

    For City I would like to see Trossard and J20 starting, but I don’t think Arteta will do it.It seems a waste of those players, but Arteta thought we had enough to beat Southampton, which we didn’t, every time he does it this season we just aren’t good enough.

    I don’t expect Sheffield U to do the biz today, but I suppose you never know…

    Shame that we made so many mistakes, including poor defending for goal three. The only thing we can really take is the come back at the end, which Im glad happened, as a loss really would have closed the lid.But nobody’s won anything yet.

    So we go to City the start of four games, the Everest of our season. Frag that!
    I expect to get thrashed by City, but you really don’t know what will be thrown up in a game, we are hurt and angry and know we’ve made a mess, so who knows what might happen…(got to love hope and its delusional qualities that sometimes pull it out of the hat?)


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Arsenal’s very own Eeyore calling a player a donkey… surely that’s a compliment.
    We played a good hour of Emeryball last night. Cutbacks and crosses. They soaked it up with relative ease. Would have liked to have seen Smith Rowe come on and run at the defence. Perhaps he’s still not ready.
    After two games of blaming the players, little Mikey now ‘loves them even more’. More self-aggrandising drivel.


  5. Thank you BK.
    Sadly, some of Arsenals play is built on very fine margins, especially they playing out from the back and other intricate moves, when it works, it works well, when it doesn’t, well, we let in three goals from the bottom of the leagues first three attacks.
    Losing Saliba and Tomi haven’t helped , I like Holding, but he is an older school defender, doesn’t look suited to this way of playing. Partey looked lost with Xhaka around. As for team selections, some seem strange, but we do not know the state of readiness or fitness.
    Very unlikely we beat City, they will ruthlessly target defensive weaknesses shown in recent weeks.
    We will finish second, at the moment, might feel like a failure, but in the context, it shouldn’t when you look at City, their funding model, the fact their key players rarely get injured so they have continuity on their side, and their squad age is older and more experienced that ours.they also have the best manager in the game, Arteta is in what, his 3rd or 4th year?
    Work to do over the summer, Arsenal over the last 20 plus years have suffered disproportionately with injuries to key players usually around Jan/ Feb, Arteta will have to make some decisions if he wants to take on the best quality and one of the best funded teams in the world. We can’t be allowed to collapse on losing a 21 year old defender in his first full season with us. And some experienced players need a bit of a bollocking after yesterday, whatever Arteta says in public, the misses of Jesus defied logic, as did some of the choices of Partey. Zinchenko didn’t look at the races, wonder if he was fully fit. Vieira May have qualities, but he isn’t ready for such games yet. Ramsdale is just high risk, often, high reward.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Positively Granit (Blackburn George)
    I got suspended last night for suggesting that Partey plays like a donkey under pressure. Presumably it must be racist or some such twitter violation? Who knew that?
    Apr 22, 2023, 10:30 AM


  7. The above tweet also got me suspended. Twitter is fucked if you can report an opinion you don’t like and get it suspended.


  8. It was certainly the least festive St. Totteringham’s Day I can recall. In the game itself, Xhaka’s absence once again led to a lack of control, amidst other negative factors. In the longer arc of the season, we have had to be close to perfect and extremely fortunate to compete with the jacked-up club City. Very difficult and probably not reasonable. Saliba’s and Toni’s injuries for the run-in have pushed us further away from perfect and fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The appeal to Arteta to not start a league game without Xhaka or Jorginho failed. Jorghino has not made the impact in some big games, in some cup finals, but Xhaka was playing opposite on those occasions. Think we can also count those recent victories at SB too.

    I tried.

    JJ who says he reads the comments must have missed that one hehe. ‘We got ourselves a reader’ to quote the Reverend Hicks.

    Partey made some great passes early on against Liverpool but a team is probably better off playing Partey at FB with J in the middle when trying to control a game after taking a lead.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think last night confirmed alot of what we already knew.
    Xhaka is a hugely influential player and is missed for his presence and control as much when we haven’t got the ball as when we have. He would of fouled the saints player in the middle for the second goal to stop the move.
    By the same token Vieira is still very lightweight and clearly not ready for the premier league.
    Odegaard is a classy player but plays in patches sometimes very good and sometimes very bad in the same game. He cannot tackle and needs a strong midfield around him to create space. He is lightyears away from an Mezut or a Bergkamp.
    Similarly Partey is strong and weak in the same game and the decision to try and turn on the edge of his own box rather than give a 5 yard pass to a player he was looking at and was facing forward was criminal.
    Jesus is another class player but is not what you would call an onion bag striker and when things are going wrong comes far to deep and upsets the balance of the side.
    Finally Mikel is a very good coach but if plan A isn’t working he struggles to do anything apart from straight swaps with players. Amazingly he still sits and watches until the end of the game until he makes changes. In the last three games we have struggled going into half time and the response at the start of the second half has been poor.
    Whoever told our players to keep putting high slow crosses into huge CBs against both the hammers and the saints should retake their badges. This must have been from the coaches as all the players were doing it. Apart from being ineffective this wastes so much time and momentum and the average CB loves it.
    We obviously have a very talented coaching staff and squad but he are still along way off being a really top side.
    Strangely enough football is weird and we win our remaining six games, however unlikely, and we’ve won the league.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The incredible thing is we go to city with the pressure off pull a performance out of the bag, which our team is perfectly capable of, and it’s up for grabs.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Why do you refer to “our no 5” 3 times and don’t mention his name once?

    Is it because you regard Partey with such regard and esteem that you think it would be blasphemous to mention his name when he does something wrong?

    I did not see the match, being on Friday night, so cannot comment on it, but as I have been saying for ages, Partey is nowhere near the great player so many contributors like to have us think.

    Whenever I watch a game he plays in, the number of misplaced passes belies his supposed greatness status.

    The fact that Arteta chooses to play Vieira rather than Jorginho is a clear indication that he did not want him to be bought in the first place.

    Ignoring payers that he does not want is something that we have seen him do all along.

    Does ESR exist or is he a figment of our imaginations?

    He was continually ignored until that game against Chel$ki when Arteta had not choice but to play him and he was great. Since then his playing time has diminished exponentially. Even though he was injured a few months ago, he has been fit for ages and seems to have disappeared into the mist of time.

    Did I see someone say that Arteta is “a great coach”? You must be joking.


  13. Actually I said Mikel is a very good coach, but the difference between a very good coach and a very good manager is chalk and cheese.
    I did list (as many on here have done) the continual mistakes he keeps making when he has to make decisions about the squad and in game management.
    I do think, as a young manager in his first job, he will get better and learn from his mistakes but only time will tell how long that takes.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Many fans have turned into Rocky in the original film, no expectations to win, just want to go the distance. The problem is, just like the last line of Rocky, I think “There ain’t going to be no rematch” next season.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jjgsol, thanks for reading! I’ve been wondering how to address the player in question. Mostly I’ve been trying to avoid talking about him, good or bad. It’s not football related.

    Problem is he’s made some goofs that have been punished in the last couple of games, so there’s no getting around it.

    “No. 5” feels like a good compromise. It’s a small gesture, but it feels right to me. We’ll see what happens in the summer.


    I think he’s a good coach with some big glitches. I have loved the football this season, and even in the last three games there have been awesome moves. Between the boxes it’s especially satisfying to watch, to the point where I get impatient when I watch most other teams.

    Bad coaches don’t produce that sense of association between players, or the kind of consistency we’ve shown over 8 months, which IMO is the big test for any manager.

    Good football and league consistency—it’s what I loved about those first ten Emirates years under AW.

    This is a hypothetical league over 100 games. https://thefishy.co.uk/tontable.php?table=1

    It’s essentially meaningless, but it suggests IMO that this season might not be a flash in the pan.

    Fair to say he’s got a LOT of kinks to work out. I listen to a tactics podcast (yeah, yeah, I know), and in amongst all the dry analysis the presenter said something about managers transmitting emotions to players, in the same way a puppy will take cues from an owner, good or bad.

    That rang true to me with this current run. Something about Arteta is filtering through to the team and making them do stupid sh*t.

    The good (and bad) news is he’s still a rookie—he’s literally never been in this situation before. Unless things go down the pan dramatically next season he’s bought himself a lot of time with this campaign.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. There have been signs of incremental progress from Arteta.
    Last season we saw a spell of attacking football which made me stop pining for the defensive shapes of Rafa Benitez (JJ must have missed the text whilst spotting everything else both here and on the pitch).
    After experiencing the Emery Duck & Cover method after his team’s scores a goal (or not) I was getting desperate no offence to Rafa who is a great coach but I always found his style too boring.

    Hopefully Arteta doesn’t Mourinho it all up as the only way Maureen could get around his big flaws was with a tank firing fifty pound notes upon the FAs manicured lawn, like the spoilt kid up at City who dropped Rodri for a CL final, lost, and spent another billion the next season. Unbelievable Jeff. You can bet yer bottom dollar Rodri starts on Wednesday.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Liverpool need to rebuild not just their midfield but maybe their back line if the big Dutch dude has been taken down by injury. They need a good summer to realign their squad.

    Tottenham, we can be thankful that you the owner we were told we need to follow has made that club toxic to any good coach. after Conte’s delicious outburst they’ll be lucky if Gunnersauros takes the job ( tbf i don’t think the Arsenal owners have rolled back on their own idiocy on scouts and mascots)
    Newcastle are indeed scary. I think we can safely put the footballing wisdom of those who celebrated the sale of Willock whilst constantly attacking say Xhaka where it belongs: in the bin. (we do have some clickbaiting Arsenal holes who polluted the fan base & social media with their stupid opinions). Willock would have been more useful for this squad this season then Viera. No brainier.


  18. So if not Arteta, Who?


  19. I hope the Seaweed do the biz today!


  20. CL semi-Arsenal Women draw 2-2 with Wolfsburg,the second leg has 46,000 tickets sold already. COYG!


  21. Very valid point Bradybunches.
    Of course there are differing opinions out there, but I would be wary of changing what Arteta, his coaches as well as Edu , Per and even JK are doing at the moment.
    I do not know anyone who predicted this team would finish in the top 2 or even three this season, most I remember thought 4th at very best, 6th more likely.
    I know some do not like Arteta, whether it be his character, decisions, or whatever and I am sure they would eloquently articulate their reasons but I am struggling to think of another coaching team who would match, let alone better what they have done this year with this young squad , and considering what they are up against.
    If not Arteta, who else got me thinking – I used to rate Potter, maybe still do, but he has done nothing to convince me recently .A chequebook manager, erm, no, as Tottenham keep finding out. A European wildcard, might work but unlikely. Another Wenger? -There isn’t one. Kompany- might do ok, but would be a big gamble. Rafa, no. Howe, good manager, but wouldn’t be available.
    Paddy, Thierry, Sol, have done nothing to merit ranking above Arteta.
    An overpriced ex international manager , no thanks.
    Anyone called Carlo is a no goer.
    Who else if not Arteta, you got me . ( but I know others on here are well capable of some viable options, but I just can’t think of any that would likely match what Arteta has done lately)

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Fins, those early mistakes while changing the squad are still hurting.
    Martinez probably the best keeper in the league this season and Willock getting better and better not just better than Vieira but more ingrained into the club than the players brought in.
    Leno and Pepe were commanding much greater fees at time than our lads and although Aaron and Trossard have been fantastic imagine the players we could of brought if we had the money from the sales of the bigger names and the money saved on replacing the failed players we decided to keep.
    Everyone kept going on about how brilliant the wage restructuring was but in actual fact it was a massive failure.
    The improvement by the team has been truly amazing but it has cost the club a small fortune along the way.


  23. If you want to give Arteta more time, on the grounds that he is a “rookie” or because no one else comes to mind, then that would be fine, provided that you do not overgild the lilly by describing him as anything other than a coach who is learning and who has a lot of learning to do.

    Perhaps he has to learn to trust players that have been at the club longer than he has been manager, or who were developed in the academy system that he has, so far, chosen to ignore or those bought by the club without his prior approval.

    Perhaps he may wish to start training his players to play for the full 90 minutes, not the first 30 and then again during the last 10.

    Contributions week in week out point out various aspects of his management and coaching style that the contributors feel need improvement, eg better use of substitutes, playing players in their normal positions and many others I cannot think of.

    So to describe him as even a good coach belies the myriad of shortcomings that contributors point out week in, week out.

    This season has been fortunate for reasons that I have postulated in the past.

    Whilst at the beginning of the season we were able to steamroller all over the weaker teams, we now struggle against even the weakest, or manage last-minute goals to win or draw.

    We cannot expect Liverpool, Chel$ki Manure or even the scum to be as poor next season as this and with Newca$tle now flexing their muscles, without a substantial improvement and that means in coaching and management more than anything else, then we may find ourselves very disappointed.

    Undoubtedly Arteta is here to stay for the moment, so give him your support, subject to him listening to the criticism and acting on it, but do not flatter him with praise that he does not deserve for what he has done until now.


  24. I made the point of the difference between a coach and a manager and that’s the point you seem to be missing Jig,
    I think Mikel has the knowledge to set up training sessions and bring the team together as a good coach but his match day management is where he is weak in other he is struggling as a manager.
    However the advantages have fallen this season the team has still done well and so Mikel has to receive some credit no one can be amazed about that.
    I do agree those who believe he is the new Messiah or Arsene are way off the mark however it has been our best season for a while.


  25. “more ingrained into the club than the players brought in.“

    Who did not enjoy Nelson’s celebration when fellow graduate Saka followed up his shot for the late equaliser?

    Correction: who apart from JJ did not enjoy that celebration? I’ve been a critic of Arteta in spite of the un-Reading of this blog by one or two but even I could not deny that he’s shown interest in Nelson since the beginning. I’ll leave that shame for others. Shame about Nelson’s injuries this year yes of course he should’ve played a little more of late after that late goal.


  26. Sorry, I did not see the goal or the celebration.

    Are you seriously suggesting that Arteta has any interest in Nelson?

    He plays him now as a late sub, when he has no one else, but please do not try to persuade me that he is a player that Arteta has any confidence in or future plans for.

    I dare say that Nelson is happy for the morsels that he gets if only because that is better than twiddling his thumbs on the bench or in the stands.

    He will never be a first-choice player, because he was not chosen by Arteta.

    Can you not see that?

    Saka, he has no choice with.

    Martinelli will be replaced by Trossard as time goes on. The former was not his choice, but the latter was.

    Tierney, a player everyone was raving about last year, is now a bit player and will be sold soon.

    As far as his coaching abilities, have we not seen many times this season how the players are incapable of playing an entire match? 30 minutes maximum, before they retreat back into parking the bus and hoping for a counterattack.

    Is that good coaching?

    For how long have we been seeing repeated crosses from the wings with no central striker or anyone in the middle to receive them?

    Is that good coaching?

    Just because Saliba, another one of Arteta’s non-choices, is injured, why is it that our defence has suddenly become so porous?

    Is that good coaching?

    I know that I am preaching to the non-converted, but why is it so hard to get my point through?

    Wishful thinking has become the priority.


  27. Martinelli replaced by Trossard over time, now I know you’re not for real!


  28. on Emile Smith-rowe, I just seen that he has only played 116 minutes of EPL football this season, I know he was injured for a while, but he has been an unused sub in lots of games, but less than a game and a half’s worth of game time is unbelievable


  29. Saka was dropped for the cup winning SF & Final.

    The above comment is wrong, incorrect, mistaken or an untruthful statement.

    Along with the rest of the razor sharp analysis of the Football.

    No central striker
    Henry is a left whinger
    Same old same old.

    I know that you did not see the goal.
    I hope you saw the hilarious events up in N17.
    Proper comedy. Might have made you smile?
    Levy is as strange as the weird ones who invented the WOB vs AKB meme in order to gild their gaslighting. No wonder they admired him.


  30. One/My constant criticism/plea on the blog this season of arteta has been Arteta not “resting” Saka for Nelson when he can, especially with other first team players in the Europa.

    although we can appreciate that the injuries obviously had an impact on squad rotations.

    JJ must’ve missed this. Along with the goals.


  31. Henry was a winger when he was bought and AW developed him into one of the most potent strikers ever, anywhere.

    The comment on Saka was not from me, so I fail to see the significance.

    Mandy Dodd, I know that you will disagree with everything I say, so I will simply ignore what you say. and suggest that we wait and see.

    I think I will keep my own counsel for the time being, just enjoying some of the unrealistic and imaginative comments on this site.

    Enjoy the rest of the season.

    Please be rest assured, that should we win the league my views will not change.


  32. With a fair few injuries around the squad or players returning it’s not easy to critique arteta for not rotating GJ and starting all the games shortly after his return as Nketiah is only just back himself.
    It was not playing his own signings that was a shame this last fixture such an easy criticism no need to go off. Trossard was the option that could have been used to rotate. Never mind ESR there was a former balon nominated playmaker kicking his heels on the bench. Who banished the ghost of Chelsea signings past when he played in February.
    On fitness for myself I’d only expect such astute fitness management from an older experienced coach. Took the old gaffer a while to master such challenging stuff, most coaches and players just ignore most physios, but everyone saw the club hit AC Milan levels.
    Down from there in recent times.
    I enjoyed the rumour of Cazorla returning as a coach. BFG Cazorla & Arteta as coaches? I don’t expect a return for Gunnersauros but it’s not all bad. Want to see something ugly go see Chelsea & the history of the Tottenham. Drogba complaining about a lack of class was almost beautiful.


  33. Jjgsol, I don’t happen to disagree with everything you say, but I don’t think you are objective about a coach who won a trophy very early in his Arsenal career, and has guided them to a likely second place this season, a significant and unpredicted improvement on last season BTW, isn’t that part of a coaches job to improve things over time?
    You clearly have knowledge of the game , but your outlook, your lack of taking any iota of pleasure in the team or anything it does, a failure to recognise a coach who has achieved measurable success in his relatively short time in the club, being fed up with blogging etc reminds me a bit of that Pyles Malmer character who used to write on Arsenal News Review.
    If I didn’t follow Arsenals results , I could tell them by your appearance or non appearance on this site.
    I know you have followed this club for a long time, surely you have seen far, far worse than the current side and manager?
    There are only two coaches in this league one could argue are better than Arteta, both are vastly more experienced, one massively and possibly FFP illegally funded , the other has been blown away by Arteta this season in terms of league position. If that makes Arteta a crap coach / manager, just go with it , it’s a free country, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. It is always frustrating as a supporter to see players sitting on the bench that you feel could contribute.
    I have always said and had it confirmed after watching the Amazon documentary that it isn’t always as simple as fans, pundits think.
    There are a myriad of reasons why a particular player isn’t picked and unless you have the full inside story it is impossible to know thinking behind the decision.
    All is not perfect at Arsenal but I fail to see how this particular point in time isn’t seen as an upgrade on last season.
    I am happy to take that for now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: