Brighton Review: Wasteful Arsenal Throw Points Away

Brighton 1 – 1 Arsenal

The extent of Unai Emery’s rebuilding task became fully evident yesterday as we contrived to throw away three points from a dominant position. It isn’t just the players with questions to answer, the coach has some as well. After weeks of a patched-up back three, he went with a flat back-four which left our top four aspirations punctured.

Injuries forced his hand but the question is why not continue the mix ‘n’ match approach? His thinking was obviously scarred by the defeat at Southampton and Koscielny’s lack of fitness. He missed the Burnley win through being tired and withdrew on 70 minutes yesterday. By then, the damage was done; Arsenal were shot and happy to hang on for a point.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang became the chief culprit. An opportunistic strike early on brought a good save out of Ryan; it was the Gabon international getting his eye in. Minutes later, Brighton couldn’t clear the ball and PEA, lurking on the left side of the penalty area unmarked, curled home after seizing on a loose clearance.

Later in the half, with just a one goal advantage, Aubameyang spurned a glorious opportunity. Ryan made a good save, there’s no denying that, but for a striker of PEA’s quality, you expect him to score at those moments.

It proved decisive. The closest we went to winning the game was a miscued clearance which hit Iwobi’s heel and span past the far post. The remainder of the match, in an attacking sense, was non-descript. Withdrawing Lacazette because Ramsey “deserved to play” felt like the wrong player leaving the pitch. The Frenchman works hard for the team and has the explosive finish we need late in the game.

Hindsight is something Unai Emery can only dream in the thick of the action.

Call The Keystone Kops

He won’t want to dream of the Brighton equaliser. The Seagulls claimed a goal earlier but it was rightly chalked off as Leno had both hands on the ball. However, the manner in which we eventually conceded defies belief.

From a Brighton perspective, they exploited a weakness they spotted before the game: we’re vulnerable to the counter-attack from corners. A long pass was misjudged by Lichtsteiner and his wayward header fed Locadia who scored as Leno charged out to meet him.

I absolve Leno in those circumstances. Had he stayed in his area, he was left facing two strikers on his own and a goal was inevitable. However, he’s the only one who gets a free pass. Aside from Locadia, of course.

The real problem was the tracking back. If anyone wants to know why Mesut Özil doesn’t fit with Emery’s thinking, this was the moment. Faced with a chase back, he didn’t; it’s not his game. Neither were the preceding 35 minutes and he only had ten more left before being unceremoniously hooked.

Guendouzi failed to react quick enough as well. He trailed in the strikers’ wake, never close enough to foul or tackle the man until he was about to shoot. Was it worth a professional foul to stop that happening? That early in the game, no. With 10 minutes to go, definitely. Sokratis levels of ‘sh*thousery’ demand it.

From therein, we did little. Possession became king; square, back, sideways but never meaningfully forward. Bereft of confidence, we bedded down for a draw. A deeply disappointing attitude and overall performance. On this showing, we remain some considerable distance from the top four.

Raul Sanllehi may not like the January window but we have a busy winter ahead if we’re to get anywhere close to the Champions League places.

Here Comes The Tinkerman

The match left Unai Emery being questioned. Some wondered what his underlying football philosophy was, others just baffled by the Spaniard. I think his team selection yesterday was questionable. Three at the back is something the XI is founded on, with a high-pressing game.

While the available personnel colours his thinking in terms of the eleven players on the pitch, dropping to a back four was a mistake. We lacked width on the right but that was it.

Özil’s inclusion from the start was baffling. The German doesn’t press – it isn’t his game – so is the weak link for opponents to exploit. This season, his ‘pre-assists’ are being hyped up, a sure sign that the ‘assist’ count is nowhere near the level it has been.

He’s trading on reputation and wage bill but whichever way you cut it, he doesn’t fit Emery’s philosophy and never will. No-one will be surprised if and when he is moved on.

But what is Emery’s philosophy? The suggestion is that the constant tinkering undermines the message he’s trying to get across. I don’t believe that is the case. A high-pressing game in a 3-4-3 variant is the over-arching belief. The problem is the quality of players to carry that out. Some are adapting quickly, others taking more time.

Hector Bellerin struggled to begin with but is now in tune with Emery’s demands. I don’t think Mustafi is nor Koscielny. The latter I understand through his time out injured. The former is the former; an expensive indulgence.

However, we must return to the fundamentals, the basics, just as we did after back-to-back defeats at the start of the season. Until then, we’re lurching from mediocrity to ineptitude, picking up points along the way. But not enough to make inroads on those above us.

’til Tomorrow.

57 thoughts on “Brighton Review: Wasteful Arsenal Throw Points Away

  1. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Any two of the following please in January Raul/Sanllehi:

    Maximilian Wober at Ajax
    Nick Viergever at PSV
    Djene at Getafe
    Cabrera at Getafe

    We need some pace in our defense.

    Unfortunately we won’t be able to move Ozil on in January. A summer sale is more likely.

  2. MikeSA says:

    I don’t agree with the 3 at the back at all.

    We look just as vulnerable with 3 CBs as we do with 2, and it kills our creative play – we are beyond toothless with 3 at the back.

    His starting formation was actually right for a change, unfortunately he didn’t have the right personnel at the back available to play it, but that could be said of any formation he cared to put out.

    I see you’ve fallen for the beyond bizarre drivel about their goal being Ozil’s fault.

    Emery was bulleted from PSG because he couldn’t cope with Neymar.

    He seems to be bringing that baggage across to Arsenal and trying to take it out on Ozil, which is not very intelligent.

    We have three world class players, and yesterday they started up front in a triangle a la Ajax in the 70’s and 80’s.

    That’s the formation that’s needed up front, not the piss in the wind shit we’re starting to see far to often now.

    Headless chicken stuff doesn’t get goals, simple, no matter how many hardons the idiots in the commentary box get over them (it’d also be nice if they had a faint idea on the rules of the game as well, but that’s another discussion for another time).

    Emery started well but seems to have hit the buffers and isn’t learning from his mistakes.

    This started becoming apparent around halfway through the unbeaten run and when we started drawing when we should have won.

    This could go south very quickly if he doesn’t realize that he needs to sort out the defense and that no creativity = no chances = no goals = no wins.

    Simple really, but it seems to escape so many for some absurd reason.

    its beyond idiotic that people want the most talented player we have to leave.

    If Emery continues screwing the cat like this it might well be him leaving before Ozil.

  3. Wavey says:

    Happy Christmas to everyone.

    A bit of a disappointment that we have decided to be so giving over the Xmas period.

    Emery has only been papering over the cracks in defence and we really haven’t improved that much at the back, even with his 3-4-3 formation. Conceding 25 goals in 19 games is pretty poor for a team with any real aspirations.

    The forwards have been making the difference and saving our arses in so many games, but the supply lines to them require too many inconsistent players to be in form. Players like Ozil, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi and Miki are either up for it, or pretty much missing from games. There is no halfway house with them. And when more than one of them is not on their game the front line is completely isolatedl.

    The most immediate band aid required for the January transfer window is the defence, but there are several of our playmakers who need to be shipped out and I’m not convinced that we will get much for them. So will Emery actually get the green light to do what needs to be done in January or the summer, have a proper overhaul of the first XI?

  4. andy1886 says:


    Mike, I’ll acknowledge that I’m not a big fan of Ozil but to suggest that Emery is ‘taking it out’ on him following his experience with Neymar at PSG is to use your own word ‘bizzare’.

    I wouldn’t blame him for the goal yesterday, it was pretty much down to an error by Lichtsteiner, but on the other hand he really didn’t pull up any trees before getting hooked and overall this season (and for much longer than that) he hasn’t performed any where near the level you might expect. He’s certainly been nowhere near good enough for Emery to build a team around or to make him want to rethink his methods.

    He may well be the most talented player we have but sometimes it takes more than that (if you’ve read many top player autobiographies they pretty much all say that there were more talented players who didn’t achieve as much as they did). I do expect that player and club will part ways within the next window or two, and it may well be in the interests of both sides for that to happen. If Ozil fits in better at another club then good luck to him. Perhaps Ivan would be interested (given that he sanctioned that crazy contract he certainly owes us a favor or two).

  5. Exit the Lemming says:

    Despite our positive start Brighton created all the best chances in the 2nd half and we dodged a couple of bullets just to salvage a point. I’d give Ramsay the dosh he wants by selling Ozil to Chelsea or Man Utd (Spurs wouldn’t pay his salary) This will ensure one of them finishes outside the top four (if they’re mad enough to play him,,,,). There are mountain ranges younger (and faster) than Lichsteiner. Maitland-Niles has the touch of a concrete block and his confidence appears to be completely shot. Koscielny either has to be lifted or use a trampoline to make an aerial challenge.
    Need to buy a defender in Jan but even with 60k ticket sales every home game: where did the all the money go Ivan?

  6. Jonnygunner says:

    Morning JG

    How’s the hols going?
    Magnificent thanks YW…..I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly well travelled fella-for the past 20 years its been the SW of France-probably 20 times….all driven !
    However,after a visit to Normandy in September we felt we were all Franced out for a while.
    I first(and last) came to the Highlands in 1992 and I’d forgotten just how stunning it is here.
    I brought my spanner though….so that I could get a fifty pence piece out of a locals palm…..drum roll please.
    I would say ‘I’m here all week’ but we leave fir Northumberland in the morning.
    I’ve missed watching our team play on the box,but after our recent results it appears I’ve not missed much.It all seems to have gone very Wengerish doesn’t it?

  7. victor Fenech says:

    So, after our euphoric 22-game unbeaten run, we’ve returned to normal mode with disappointing consecutive results (against a Mourino-style Man U, S’ampton, andBHA). Yesterday, save for Auba”s goal and uncharacteristic miss soon after, we were never really in it. No plan and no fight. Plus a stupid goal for their equaliser. But then what do you expect with no proper defensive strategy?
    When Arsenal were winning important honours we always had a cast iron defence dominated by a leader-captain at CB (recent ones: Adams, Campbell). Our current ones are amateurs by comparison. Of course, now that Wenger has left, we’re still saddled with an owner to whom Arsenal are just a property to be sold at his convenient market price, with no real love for the game we all love. Which for me means that a player like Koulhibaly of Napoli is out of bounds. Nor can we go for Zaha to provide some old fashioned wing wizardry to supply our front duo (Auba & Lacazette) with the chances we know they can convert. Perhaps if we can get rid of some our of our useless players (like (Mustafi, Leinstiener, Mikki and Ozil for different reasons) we can strike a more profitable deal in January. I sincerely think that Jan is the season to buy in preparation for next year, when we should have a settled side from the word go. Lastly, can we rise to the occasion against my second favourite team next Saturday?

  8. Pete the Thirst says:

    Merry Xmas from sunny Tenerife 😎

    I saw the PEA goal, but looked at the team with Ozil & Kos in and knew it was going to be a struggle.

    Emery has been unfortunate with injuries. Holding in particular will be a massive loss.

    The game against the Scallywags could be a ‘hide behind the sofa’ special.

  9. Paulie Walnnuts says:

    Emery has a huge task rebuilding this squad. He’s done well so far but there are more holes in it than are played at The Masters.

    The defence can only be coached up to a point. If you don’t have the physical capability you’re going to get found out. Lichsteiner & Koscielny have both been fine players but should not be playing at this level regularly. I never thought I’d utter the words ‘we’re missing Rob Holding’ , but we clearly do. The same goes for Bellerin . AMN form is almost Gus Caesar esque.

    The new lads in midfield have been a breath of fresh air but they’re unlikely to keep going for the whole season & Ozil should only play at home against teams in the bottom half of the table , otherwise he’s a liability.

    On the plus side , we have a couple of red hot strikers who can win games from nothing. With them around you always have a chance…..but this isn’t redeemable in a couple of transfer windows.

  10. Bill says:

    Accurate review yogi.

    The real problem is not Emery but instead the lack of depth of talent in the squad that Arsene left for him. Emery can only do so much and he has done very well to keep us in the hunt fir 4th place so far. Imagine where we would be right now if arsene was still managed. However, even when Arsène was manager we always had an annual 1/2 season false dawn and I think we played above our talent level during the unbeaten run and a some regression to the norm was probably unavoidable.

    If you look at the squad we have a patchwork defense even when everyone is healthy. Guendouzi may be a nice player someday but how many teenagers from Ligue 2 are really ready for as many high leverage minutes. Xhaka is always a potential liability. In Ozil Mkhitaryan and Ramsey we have a trio of high profile heavily hyped attacking midfielders but I think all 3 are significantly over rated and ozil is clearly on the downward side of his career arc. None of the 3 is the long term answer. Iwobe is a nice player but he has never brought any end product. Lacazette is a good player but he has stopped scoring and we need more firepower to compensate for our defensive weakness. PEA is a world class striker and deserves full credit and I think Torreira is a going to be solid and some would argue Bellerin is good although I think he is over rated. Other then those 3 we need a significant talent upgrade if we hope to be more then a team who struggles to compete for the top 4.

  11. C says:

    Have to disagree with you Yogi about Ozil being at fault for their goal, Lichtsteiner and Guendouzi were tasked being the last men back; Lichtsteiner is an experienced international who has played at the highest of levels, he should have know better while Guendouzi has actually been caught out a couple of times in that scenario this season.

    I also tend to disagree that Mustafi hasn’t fully conformed, just he is inconsistent but we have seen the good and the bad of Mustafi but that has been seen by the whole team. Yesterday’s match showed both the progress and the cracks that we still have. Defensively, we struggled to deal with route one futbol and that included Sokaritis. The other thing for me, is just how important Bellerin has become to this side and how much we miss him both attacking wise and defensively. His runs up and down the flank forces the oppositions winger and FB to have to track back to account for him and while Lichtsteiner can do it, he is also on the downside of his career.

    Attacking wise, Emery is asking players to do certain things and some are capable and some aren’t. You speak about Ozil and his ‘pre-assist’ this season but its part of the way that we are playing; bombing FB’s providing the width and exploiting the space left by our front 4 playing a bit more narrow. Ozil this season under Emery, is being used similiar to the way that Emery used Banega at Sevilla: less about him being the central creative hub but instead being that player who can exploit the space in the final third to link things together and sit on the oppositions DM in the pressing game.

  12. C says:


    Lacazette has stopped scoring partly because he isn’t starting many games recently and when he has started he has not only offered an goal scoring threat but he has been pivotal to Aubameyang scoring. You ALWAYS bang on about Liverpool’s front 3, well think of Lacazette in the mold of Firmino: doing all the dirty work for the front 3 but also his link up and build up play is exceptional not to mention he leads the high pressing while still providing that goal threat and creating for his striker partner(s). 6 goals 5 assists is nothing to be scoffed at especially when you consider there have been a couple of matches that he has either started and been subbed off(like yesterday) or he has come on as a sub.

  13. Bill says:

    I think Lacazette is good. He started well but it’s little disappointing that he seems to have stopped scoring. He is currently on pace to score only 12 league goals. We desperately need a second goal threat to compliment PEA and Lacazette is the only legitimate option on the squad.

  14. C says:


    If you think Lacazette isn’t a goal threat or is key to the present and future Arsenal, then I’m sorry mate but your delusional. You do realize there have been AGAIN, a number of matches he has either been subbed off early or brought on late. Again, he provides so much more than just a goal threat but is key to what we do.

    We are a better side with Lacazette and Aubameyang in the team and not only that but Lacazette has shown, SINCE HIS ARRIVAL, that he can and will score goals in big matches: Citeh, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manure.

  15. Bill says:


    Even during our unbeaten run we conceded more goals then our rivals for 4th place and I doubt that will stop. If we hope to finish 4th we will need to score. PEA has continued to do his part but he can’t do it by himself. Lacazette has done well as a provider but he has to score goals if we want to have any chance to finish 4th. There is no one else in our squad who can be that 2nd scorer

  16. Bill says:

    Long term I think Lacazette is part of our future and I would put him on the list with PEA Torreira and Hector as players with adequate talent. That said he has to score regularly.

    We need at least 1 CB, an attacking midfielder, a wide forward who can provide end product and score double digit goals, and a LB to replace Nacho as the start of our rebuilding

  17. Noon Gunner says:


    For me the biggest puzzle in Emery’s subbing of late has been his hooking of Lacazette. The guy is a 5-star nuisance to defences, chasing them down when they have the ball and fighting ferociously at close quarters in the box when the ball’s pinging around. As a CB I would be super wary of him. He’s missed a few sitters this season, yes, but my sense is that he’s psychologically quite mature and extremely focused, so will get on and improve his form – provided he’s allowed to by a manager who has confidence in him.

  18. C says:


    I’m not saying Lacazette doesn’t need to score goals, but your acting like he is just some nice little player who hasn’t and doesn’t score goals. Aubameyang is on pace for 20+ goals with Lacazette set to score around 15 goals, that is the standard that all clubs in the top four and Champions of the past have had. You talk about having 3 players scoring in double figures and all of that without actually realizing how often that DOESN’T happen. We are scoring goals and Aubameyang is main goal threat but Lacazette, in order for Arsenal to be at their best needs to be our main CF because of not only the goal threat that he provides but EVERYTHING else including being the igniter of our press with

  19. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    I wonder if you all would agree with me or not!? But since losing Danny and Holding to injury, has coincided with the end of our purple patch!? Say what you will about Welbz but having him behind Auba and Laca meant they had to bring their ‘A’ game. Also he provided us something different when things weren’t going our way (more physical, direct approach). Holding was that missing bit of pace in the defence. He also wasn’t a bad reader of the game.

  20. consolsbob says:

    I think Lacazette is a terrific footballer. I’d play him every match and he is very much a keeper for us. Top class.

  21. Bill says:


    Lacazette is a good player and I don’t understand why Emery seems to sub him out. He should be playing 90 minutes. Last year he scored 14 and this season he is only on pace to score 12 league goals so it’s unlikely he will be the high scoring, one of the best in Europe CF’s that you expected. Your comparison to Firmino makes sense. He is a good complimentary piece to have in the squad but not someone you build the team around.

    The defensive injuries have hurt and we have not been getting much creativity from our attacking midfielder all season but when both PEA and Lacazette were scoring goals during the unbeaten run we were able to compensate for our defensive problems. The single biggest difference between the unbeaten run and now is no one who isnt named PEA is scoring regularly and we don’t the firepower to outscore our defensive mistakes.

  22. Bill says:

    For a while during the unbeaten run we were second in the table in goals scored. In the last month PEA has picked up his scoring pace and leads the league in scoring but as a team we have dropped to 5th in the league in goals scored. The rest of the team including Lacazette have fallen of the pace and it’s not a surprise that we are struggling to get results.

  23. Bill says:

    We are 5th in table in goals scored and 7th in goals conceded. The face that we are this close to 4th place at the half way point of the season is a testament to what Emery has done with the squad that arsene left for him. However if we want to stay in the fight for 4th we need to somehow significantly improve the defense or buy some more firepower or preferably both

  24. Dalm says:

    agree with many of the previous comments – added to which

    I thought Kalasinac looked off the pace yesterday – timid as well as lacking a first touch/control.

    Xhaka way too slow and lateral – like a latter day butch wilkins.

    when AMN came on no one was helping him – making runs for him-showing where they wanted it – I didn’t blame him but he seemed out of sorts/position.

    we could/should have been 3 to the good but then faded badly.

    I’d GUESS if you had offered us this start to the season, results wise, we’d have been pleased, after what has gone on for the last few years of AWs reign.

    Given the paucity of what we have available – not sanguine about Saturday.

    and, yuck, the spuds seem to be on a roll

  25. LSG says:

    We have a lot of work to do to get into 4th which is a vital goal for this season. If we don’t claw our way into CL, our standing as a club will continue to decline. And frankly I think our chances are low without some good reinforcements in January. 2 good players. CB and either a midfielder to take over the minutes Guendouzi has been getting or a wide forward to replace Welbeck and Mkh. As important is a successful strategy for the Ozil situation: sell, loan, or get some effective working relationship between Emery and Ozil—it seems there is some genuine dysfunction here.

  26. C says:


    Exactly mate, he is a fantastic futboler and when you watch him, he literally has it all as a striker and in modern futbol he can play anywhere in that front 4. The thing he needs though is a player like Aubameyang that loves to make runs and take advantage of the space he creates and a player like Ozil to create for him so he doesn’t have to drop deep.

  27. Jonnygunner says:


    Exactly mate, he is a fantastic futboler and when you watch him, he literally has it all as a striker and in modern futbol he can play anywhere in that front 4. The thing he needs though is a player like Aubameyang that loves to make runs and take advantage of the space he creates and a player like Ozil to create for him so he doesn’t have to drop deep.

    He is Wilford to Auba’s Henry

  28. C says:


    Lacazette is exactly the type of striker you build around because he is a COMPLETE striker who can literally play in any style and in any era.

    The route of our problems start with our defenders because, quite simply, they haven’t been allowed to form those partnerships that is needed to build that trust. Sure it would be great to have a vanDijk paired with some quality FB’s but we can also form a CB partnership that is, if nothing else trusting and solid. Mustafi has shown in big matches he is capable but he needs a Sokaritis or Holding style to compliment his aggressive style and sure they have all shown but they have also been inconsistent as they adapt to each other, the GK and Emery’a style. At FB, honestly Bellerin has it all and has taken the next step in becoming the RB his talent offers but he is injurer now and we have suffered. At LB, well Sead has shown capable but defensively he needs to grow. Against Liverpool he was brilliant in containing Salah while still showing the talent to be the best attacking LB in the PL.

    We have the makings but getting in a commanding CB would not be a bad thing.

  29. C says:


    Exactly with the only addition that both Lacazette and Aubameyang are born wingers who still possess all their winger qualities and ABSOLUTELY love playing together and you see their levels raised when they do.

  30. consolsbob says:


    I knew some bugger would try to be smart about that!

  31. VaMugariwa says:

    Guys there are players who can help Arsenal:
    1. Navas ftom Real Madrid, release Cech
    2. Chilwell from Leicester, release Monreal
    3. Zaha from Palace, release Ozil
    4. Lascelles from Newcastle, release Kolscieny and Lichtsteiner
    5. Giroud from Chelsea, release Welbeck
    6. Fabregas from Chelsea, release Niles on loan

  32. Blue Yonder says:


    Good point about the false dawn and subsequent regression. I think that’s the hardest part of the way Arsenal are currently performing – we’ve seen it all before and it’s dispiriting to see it again.
    Fortunately, there is change going on and I believe Emery will right the ship. How and with what result, I don’t know, but I believe he will.

  33. Blue Yonder says:

    Very few players escaping stick these days, and Emery no exception. And there aren’t many that aren’t deserving of the stick, although I’m still cutting Emery some slack. Not many positives and Liverpool coming up. And MU seem to be turning things around.
    (Emery must be dreaming of a winter break.)

    Next week being January, can’t wait to see what moves are made: one big player or a few role players? Some addition by subtraction?
    All provided Uncle Ebenezer provides a few shekels, of course.

  34. Bill says:


    I am certainly not disputing the fact that Lacazette is a quality player but he has been with us for 1 1/2 years and at his current pace he will finish this season averaging 13 goals/season and needs to score more if we want to have any chance to finish 4th this season.

    With regard to Ozil and Emery’s relationship. The reason Emery dropped him was Mesut has not been productive and he has not really been productive for 2 1/2 seasons. The manager can’t get turn back the clock and the only way to repair the relationship is for ozil to somehow play like he did when he was in his early to mid 20’s which is very unlikely to happen

  35. Bill says:

    None of us are in Emery’s mind so we can’t really know the truth. I think the idea that Emery has issues with Ozil because of what happened with Neymar or they don’t have a good relationship is probably over thinking. Ozil has never been someone who looks like he is working hard or tracking back to stop a counter attack etc etc. No one really cared about how languid he looked as long as he was producing and creating and assists and providing that marvelous flair on the attacking end. However now that he is no longer productive on the attacking end there is no good reason to have him on the pitch since he does not do any of those other things. We don’t need to postulate some problem with personalities or Emery feeling hurt by the Neymar situation. We have a logical explanation for why Emery is leaving him out for tactical reasons and if we apply the principle of Occam’s razor we are more likely to get the wrong answers if we search for other complex explanations.

  36. Omon says:

    I knew early on that we would struggle when Xhaka and Guendozi kept making backward and side passes. No invention. No creativity to move the ball forward. Nobody was making dangerous forward runs from the back. We need a strong and dynamic midfielder to support Torreira. Xhaka is a cheap knockoff of Matic. At least Matic can defend.

  37. Pete the Thirst says:

    Very sharp Bill…

    if we apply the principle of Occam’s razor we are more likely to get the wrong answers

  38. Bill says:


    I fits very well with the sharp point I was trying to make. 😉

  39. LSG says:


    I put more of the onus on Ozil as the highly paid star who has been underperforming but I also think perhaps Emery’s man management could be improved. It worked initially to establish his authority but now seems not to be very clear tactically about how best to use him. And it is becoming something of a distracting saga we could do without.

    Re Laca, he seems to be playing very well. He’s not as clinical as Auba but he still scores and creates at a solid rate. We could use a bit more for sure but I like his game, his aggression. We need that.

  40. LSG says:


    I actually have been talking about getting Lascelles since last January. He seems like a good young CB with some leadership qualities. If we can’t get Koulibaly…

  41. Arsetralian says:

    Someone used the word sanguine.

    Give the manager time. We have started well considering expectations.

    Torr, Leno, Sok settled in well now

    Matteo should not be playing so much but his energy is fantastic with no little skill.

    Leech has been awful. Pension him off now. He offers nothing going forward and has actually been poor defensively. Maybe AMN is regressing because of him. We miss Bell creatively and Kol with back 3 ideal if numbers allow.

    Structuring defence takes time and we keep losing players to injury. Klopp took 3 years to get it right – albeit with massive spending which is what we will need to do. But we have good team judges by those 4 above.

    Don’t blame Ozil for everything. He is still our most consistent creative player but he needs a firm foundation.

    Back 3 kos/must/sok and our 2 fine Wing backs
    Pea Lac

    That still competes IF available

  42. Bill says:


    I am not sure what Emery could do differently in terms of ozil. Ozil is our most recognizable player with the biggest reputation and biggest wage so Emery was almost obligated to give him a chance. He gave him about 1/3 of the season to see if he could perform but it has not worked so he dropped him down the pecking order. Mkhitaryan has not been much more effective as a creator then ozil but if you have 2 players that are equally ineffective on the attacking end then you play the one who works harder so that made sense. Ozil has been back in the lineup recently because Mkhitaryan got hurt. That all seems reasonably straight forward

  43. Bill says:

    No doubt Emery watched a lot of film of us playing before he started this season and he almost certainly would have had the same concerns we have been having regarding Ozil’s productivity and frequent invisibility based on what he saw. I don’t think a manager can really motivate a player like Ozil but Emery had to give him a chance with the hope that Mesut could reenergize himself and turn back the clock to when he was still effective on a somewhat consistent basis.

  44. YW says:

    > Don’t blame Ozil for everything. He is still our most consistent creative player

    It’s a low bar and not something Ozil has achieved this season. One word I wouldn’t use about him is “consistent” because he plainly isn’t. He wasn’t under Wenger and less so under Emery. He doesn’t get the blame for everything but at £350k per week, he certainly *isn’t* worth the money.

    Anyway, I’m off to pen today’s diatribe…

  45. andy1886 says:

    I see that Peter Hill-Wood (“Thank you for your interest in our affairs”) has died aged 82. Last of the Hill-Wood dynasty at Arsenal although he was merely a figure head towards the end (even before Stan).

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