Arsenal 2019-2020 - Because Thursday Games are the Best Way to Start the Weekend

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Yesssssss!

Getting the next hire right is the hard part though.

Among the realistic candidates, I’d be very pleased with Allegri, Poch (don’t see it though), or Arteta.

I’d be much more lukewarm about Rafa, Nuno, or Ancelotti.
 
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fletcherpost

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As a neutral I'd say this is the time for Arsenal to take the long view and find someone who can be their Pep or their Klopp. Easier said than done of course, but Arsenal are a huge club...huge i tell thee. It's a fantastic job for the right person.

I don't think it's a job for Arteta...way too big a job for your first managerial position.
 

DJnVa

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Report on Sky that Arsenal wanted Mourinho, but didn't pull the trigger quick enough on Emery.
 

shaggydog2000

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Report on Sky that Arsenal wanted Mourinho, but didn't pull the trigger quick enough on Emery.
Well that doesn't make me feel confident about the people in charge. Missing out on the guy you wanted because of inaction, and wanting a shit show of a manager. It's like a double whammy.

I do look forward to the Freddie era, however short it has to be.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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I'm fairly sure he can only be temporary for 3 months because he doesn't have the proper badges
Pretty sure this isn't the case. Article I read this morning said that he's got the full FIFA license and is a candidate for the permanent job.
 

bosox4283

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I have no idea where Emery will end up but he’s definitely lost nearly all credibility after failing at PSG and Arsenal. Maybe he’ll settle in at Getafe or Real Oviedo and have a nice career there. The dude is a dud on the biggest stages, though.
 

mikeford

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I have no idea where Emery will end up but he’s definitely lost nearly all credibility after failing at PSG and Arsenal. Maybe he’ll settle in at Getafe or Real Oviedo and have a nice career there. The dude is a dud on the biggest stages, though.
For sure. Nice guy, put out a classy statement today. All the best to him but he's not up to Arsenal's standards.

Definitely should go rebuild his career at some midtable Spanish side. Good luck and good ebening to him.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I like this quote from Ljungberg. It hints at what seemed obvious in recent times: Emery had the team playing very reactive and almost scared football, and Freddie knows that this set of players could use some freedom to play a more offensive brand of football. Unleash Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe, and Ozil.


For me, happy footballers play the best football. That’s a part I learnt as a player, there is a time to work hard but at the same time we need to enjoy what we’re doing.

Often the players we have enjoy playing offensive football which makes them happy.

I hope I have the values of the club, I understand the club, I think from the inside.
 

lars10

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I like this quote from Ljungberg. It hints at what seemed obvious in recent times: Emery had the team playing very reactive and almost scared football, and Freddie knows that this set of players could use some freedom to play a more offensive brand of football. Unleash Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe, and Ozil.
Yeah... that's been my feeling as well. Emery has had them playing the ball around the back for no clear reason... seemingly sitting players for not coming back on D or hustling... playing certain players because they're known as defensive players (Xhaka, Luis) even though they've not performed well (I know their replacements have also been injured) etc.

The team has more or less everyone back now and hopefully Lundberg finds the right mix of players to play the attacking style he's talking about. I do also agree with him that Arsenal with Emery were seeming to try and respond to each opponent... regardless of their level. It makes sense with top teams, but he was doing it every week. It would be nice to have an Arsenal coach that looked more to impose their will on the other team.
 

mikeford

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Still utter shit.

Should be down 2-0 if not for a bogus penalty retake.

Freddie starting our worst possible backline not helping.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I was hoping a new manager would put Torreira at defensive midfield, start Aubaumayeng, Lacazette, and Pepe together upfront and play Holding at CB. Freddie has done none of those, and brought back Mustafi and Xhaka instead. Yikes.

To be fair, Bellerin is injured, Emery played Tierney the full 90 on Thursday so he probably needs a game off, and Holding isn't even on the bench, so he's probably hurt too.

Still, this is one of the worst possible back fours we could play.

Ljungberg has been working with the club all season and apparently he decided that what they needed was Mustafi and Xhaka. Disturbing.

At least Leno was able to steal a point from Norwich. Worst start to a season since 1975.
 
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Tuff Ghost

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This team is not going to have a chance at getting back to being a top 4 contender until they get some strong centre-backs. Maybe Saliba will be part of the answer next year. He's looked strong when he has played, but has also been injured twice already this year, which makes me nervous.

Perhaps they'll find a way to finally pry Upamecano from RB Leipzig, but he'll be expensive and has had his own injury issues. A Saliba and Upamecano partnership could completely change the make-up of this team. I'll save my day-dreaming of a new manager for day-dreaming about Upamecano now, I suppose.

With Pepe not even playing at this point (Ljungberg had a quote that implied he has not been performing well in training), it makes the splashy summer look to have been a bit foolish. The need for Pepe versus the need for strong centre-backs is not comparable. I was excited as anyone else about the signing and maybe there were no CBs available (RB Leipzig certainly had no real intention of giving away Upamecano), but the decision making up top is something to question.

Yesterday, they had moments on the attack, particularly in the first half, when they looked pretty good, but when Chambers got way up on the Norwich side and none of the mid-fielders seemed interesting in staying back, it made the counter against Mustafi and Luiz too easy. Those two are leaky defensively and mistake prone, but when they are getting no help from the midfield or full-backs, it is not fair to place the blame squarely on their shoulders.

Another disturbing this I noticed is how little Lacazette was running around the pitch. Lacazette is a great finisher, but when he is not involved in play like this (seems to be a trend on the road), it makes me wonder if we could put out a better lineup with Aubameyang in the middle (I don't love him out wide) and maybe one of the younger guys on the wing (Martinelli or Saka) or Pepe when he finally shows up.

At least Leno had a heck of a game. He's been pretty solid in net this year.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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This team is not going to have a chance at getting back to being a top 4 contender until they get some strong centre-backs. Maybe Saliba will be part of the answer next year. He's looked strong when he has played, but has also been injured twice already this year, which makes me nervous.

Perhaps they'll find a way to finally pry Upamecano from RB Leipzig, but he'll be expensive and has had his own injury issues. A Saliba and Upamecano partnership could completely change the make-up of this team. I'll save my day-dreaming of a new manager for day-dreaming about Upamecano now, I suppose.

With Pepe not even playing at this point (Ljungberg had a quote that implied he has not been performing well in training), it makes the splashy summer look to have been a bit foolish. The need for Pepe versus the need for strong centre-backs is not comparable. I was excited as anyone else about the signing and maybe there were no CBs available (RB Leipzig certainly had no real intention of giving away Upamecano), but the decision making up top is something to question.

Yesterday, they had moments on the attack, particularly in the first half, when they looked pretty good, but when Chambers got way up on the Norwich side and none of the mid-fielders seemed interesting in staying back, it made the counter against Mustafi and Luiz too easy. Those two are leaky defensively and mistake prone, but when they are getting no help from the midfield or full-backs, it is not fair to place the blame squarely on their shoulders.

Another disturbing this I noticed is how little Lacazette was running around the pitch. Lacazette is a great finisher, but when he is not involved in play like this (seems to be a trend on the road), it makes me wonder if we could put out a better lineup with Aubameyang in the middle (I don't love him out wide) and maybe one of the younger guys on the wing (Martinelli or Saka) or Pepe when he finally shows up.

At least Leno had a heck of a game. He's been pretty solid in net this year.
They'll have the money fro Upamecano when they sell both Aubamayeng and Lacazette next summer, which is why they signed a 24 year old winger and 18 year old forward as replacements.
 

Tuff Ghost

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They'll have the money fro Upamecano when they sell both Aubamayeng and Lacazette next summer, which is why they signed a 24 year old winger and 18 year old forward as replacements.
It does seem inevitable at this point, doesn't it? Aubameyang deserves to be playing Champions League football. I'm not ready for the post-Aubameyang years. For me, he's the most enjoyable part of this current squad. They are both getting older, so it will be a smart bit of business by Arsenal if they can get good fees, I suppose, but still it will hurt to see Aubameyang gone.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Most of the talk around Arsenal for a while now has been about the defensive problems, but Arseblog had a post focused on the deficiencies in the attack today.

It raises a point about how there is a whole lot of talented players on the attack, but they do not seem to fit together in a way that takes advantage of their skills.

Particularly, playing Aubameyang and Lacazette together does not seem to maximize Aubameyang's talent.

Aubameyang is an elite goalscorer and the one member of the quartet [Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe, Ozil] whose place should be considered non-negotiable. Even when played in a slightly less than optimal wide role, he shits goals. However, the vast majority of his good work is executed in the final 20 yards of the pitch. When he plays without Lacazette, there is a risk of him becoming isolated.

Auba really needs two wide players and / or a number 10 to take care of the water carrying for him. Lacazette is much more of a 9.5 and he creates a link between midfield and attack. However, away from home, his end-product is verging on miserable.
Trying to spark a partnership between Pepe and Aubameyang strikes me as a potentially productive avenue. Getting them nice and close together and interchanging on and off the ball could be mutually beneficial. That may mean that Alex Lacazette has to take a seat in the dugout, but the reality is that significant heads are probably going to have to roll in this uncomfortable menagerie.
The options for the left are developing younglets like Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Reiss Nelson. Iwobi was not a world class left-winger, but he did act as a technical counter-balance for the attack. Arsenal’s last well-balanced attack saw Alex Iwobi as a technical counter-balance on the left-hand side to Theo Walcott on the right and Alexis Sanchez upfront, with Özil tucked in behind them pulling the strings.
(Time to reunite Ozil with Iwobi and Walcott at Everton? Heh.)

They have 20 goals through 14 games in the Premier League, which is 9th best at the moment. Compared to the other big-6 and Leicester City, they are at the bottom. (Man City: 43, Leicester City: 33, Liverpool: 32, Chelsea: 28, Tottenham: 24, Man U: 21)

I think playing with Aubameyang as a striker, Pepe wide on the right, and some combination of Martinelli/Lacazette/Saka/Nelson out left, with Ozil playing a 10 behind them would make for a more balanced attack, but it may be too much to give up defensively.

Certainly, there are no easy decisions at Arsenal right now.
 

fletcherpost

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I still love Freddie...but that might change if he continues as the interim manager and the results keep going the way they've started for him.
If Freddie stays in the job for two months he'll age ten years. None of us want to see that. I was looking at him during the post match interview and I could see the strain beneath that beautiful face of his. I think the job has been foisted on him by people who should but don't know any better. He took the Calvin Klein dough to stand in his briefs, so he's got a bit of vanity, but he's a good bloke, loves the club etc and maybe got blnded in the headlights a bit

I hope he's had some of his ex team mates on the phone telling him to tell the board to get someone in, and it wouldn't be a knock on him at all. This is not the start to management he needs.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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I'll be honest, I definitely expected at least one win out of the first two matches. Especially given who the competition was.

I've long been an Ozil supporter, but has he created an opportunity in the last twelve months? He's back getting fairly regular playing time, and what made him special before just seems to be missing. He's not seeing the passing lanes to lead a striker or winger. The pretty one touches to open up the box appear to be gone. I'm not sure he's up to the quality of being a premier league starter at least for a team with top 4 ambitions. He's 31, so he's certainly past his peak and unfortunately looks it.
 

Tuff Ghost

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We are now at the point where I would gladly take this club qualifying for Europa League again, but it's getting harder to see that by the fixture.

The defense is clearly terrible and we need legitimate centre-backs badly. Maybe Saliba will help next year, but this year we need to see what Holding can offer if he is fit. Sokratis and Luiz are known quantities and will not be a part of the next good Arsenal team.

The mid-field is not helping at all. Xhaka is too slow. I think we need to see if Guendouzi and Torreira can work together as a double pivot at this point. Torreira may be on the way out next summer based on his comments and his agent's comments, but we need to see if he can perform.

As a result of a slow mid-field (Xhaka) and one that gets caught too far up and has to run around like a mad man to fill gaps (Guendouzi), playing in front of technically sub-par centre-backs, we have the following to show for the year in the Premier League:

Shots Allowed/Game: 16.9 (18th in league)
Interceptions/Game: 8.3 (20th in league)

The fact that they give up that many shots/game while having 54.2% possession (5th) shows how bad they are defending the counter where their pace and technique are poor. (Sidenote: Chambers at full-back is not working, so he should only be considered for CB duties at this point.)

Meanwhile, they are not doing enough with their possession. The shot totals are mediocre, while the passing % is high (safe passes back and forth) and not enough key passes to generate chances:

Shots/Game: 12.7 (9th)
Passing %: 83.6% (3rd)
Key Passes/Game: 9.5 (10th)
Long Key Passes/Game: 1.1 (17th)
Open Play Goals: 11 (11th)

The only ideas that I have at this point, with thoughts towards next year, are:
  • Stop playing Aubameyang and Lacazette together. Make Aubameyang the primary striker. Aubameyang out-wide making crosses is terrible use of his skills.
  • Get Martinelli as much playing time as possible to develop, perhaps on the left wing
  • Let Pepe play. He's here and needs to get acclimated to the Premier League whether he's been impressing in training or not
  • Recall Nketiah from his Leeds loan where his not playing, then find him a spot where he can actually play. Watching Bamford from the bench is not helping him.
  • Get ready to sell big names that will hurt next summer, but hopefully get some decent fees (Aubameyang, Lacazette) and also find ways to unload dead-weight (Xhaka, all CBs except Holding perhaps, and I hate to say it, but Ozil).
  • Focus the rest of the year on the attack. Stop trying to help a bad defense. Get ready to lose some high scoring games, but getting the young players on the attack feeling more confident and padding the stats of Aubameyang and Lacazette (with transfers in mind) will help.
  • Devote majority of transfer/scouting resources to finding help at centre-back. I like Upamecano, but regardless, there has to be something better out there for next year.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Yes, but in a season where the stated goal was to get back in the top 4, to fall out of Europa would be pretty disappointing. The big-six is not generally in such danger of not making Europa.

Just as an example, here are the seasons in which big-6 clubs did not finish in the top six of the table over the past decade (note: this does not mean they did or did not qualify for Europa that year):

18/19: none
17/18: none
16/17: none
15/16: Liverpool (8th) and Chelsea (10th)
14/15: none
13/14: Manchester United (7th)
12/13: Liverpool (7th)
11/12: Liverpool (8th)
10/11: none

Yes, it is hard to get there, but it has not been much of a problem over the past decade for Manchester City (0 times outside top 6), Manchester United (1), Tottenham (0), Liverpool (3), Chelsea (1), and Arsenal (0).
 

BostonJack42

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Stop playing Aubameyang and Lacazette together. Make Aubameyang the primary striker. Aubameyang out-wide making crosses is terrible use of his skills.
Absolutely.

It's obvious to anyone with eyes that the formation, personnel and tactics are not working at all. Try something new.
 

lars10

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Absolutely.

It's obvious to anyone with eyes that the formation, personnel and tactics are not working at all. Try something new.
I also don't know why Auba has to defer to Lacazette.. if you have to play them together why isn't Auba in the middle? He's almost single-handedly kept Arsenal relevant by scoring goals out of nowhere.

I've also seen enough of David Luiz and Xhaka... but I suppose you have to keep playing at least one of them.
 

mikeford

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I'll be honest, I definitely expected at least one win out of the first two matches. Especially given who the competition was.

I've long been an Ozil supporter, but has he created an opportunity in the last twelve months? He's back getting fairly regular playing time, and what made him special before just seems to be missing. He's not seeing the passing lanes to lead a striker or winger. The pretty one touches to open up the box appear to be gone. I'm not sure he's up to the quality of being a premier league starter at least for a team with top 4 ambitions. He's 31, so he's certainly past his peak and unfortunately looks it.
He's done. All the crowing by his cultists completely ignored this because there was a significant faction of Arsenal fans who hated him always and pretended he was never good.

He was good. He's not anymore.
 

shaggydog2000

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Martinelli had a great game. Encouraging to see him driving into openings and getting rewarded for it. Chambers looked decent at center half. Maybe he and Holding (when healthy) are the answer in the middle?
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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I'm really glad we have Martinelli. We're going to lose one or both of Lacazette and Aubamayeng this summer, and he seems like he's going to be able to jump right in as a primary starter next season as a 19 year old. He just has a nose for putting the ball in the net like I haven't seen from an Arsenal youngster in probably forever (I only started watching European soccer in 2007).

Still seeing nothing from Ozil. As soon as he's fit, I really want to go back to Ceballos in the middle of the midfield.

Really disappointing that Bellerin was scratched just before the start with an injury and then to have Tierney come out with one. Two years ago I would have sworn Maitland Niles was going to be at Arsenal for a long time, but it seems he hasn't developed at all over the last year and a half. Not sure if that's just his talent level or Emery.
 

mikeford

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Two years ago I would have sworn Maitland Niles was going to be at Arsenal for a long time, but it seems he hasn't developed at all over the last year and a half. Not sure if that's just his talent level or Emery.
i mean, AMN is not a full back and Emery played him at full back almost exclusively so I think that is the problem.
 

wonderland

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i mean, AMN is not a full back and Emery played him at full back almost exclusively so I think that is the problem.
Yeah I thought he looked good in the midfield role.

I’m not sure if Pepe will be a great player or not but he strikes the ball like few I’ve seen.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Saka playing really well at wing-back and left-back yesterday was a pretty nice thing to see. I do not think he should be expected to play those positions in the Premier League regularly, but with Tierney out for an expected 3 months (dislocated shoulder), it's nice to have him as an option. Kolasinac is not going to be able to play every game and I think Chambers is best at centre-back (and probably is going to be spending time at right-back, too, due to injuries). Apparently, Saka does not love the idea of playing wing-back/left-back (according to Ljungberg), but it might be his best way to get some more playing time at this point.

The injuries might force them to have to do a little business in January, which is not ideal.

I am worried about the future of Holding, Bellerin, and Tierney who just seem incapable of staying healthy right now. Add Saliba to that list and there is a lot of talent that is missing significant time due to injuries this year and last. Hopefully just some bad luck and not a future indicator of their health.

And to be honest, there was a moment yesterday when Eintracht Frankfurt was winning and Arsenal were down 2-0 and I thought that there was a legitimate chance they were going to give up 3 more goals and get eliminated from Europa. That's what the last year or so has done to me, haha.

I loved Freddie substituting off Sokratis for Martinelli. Emery would not have made that move while trailing. Martinelli is a bright spot on the team this year. He just injects a lot of life on the attack and worked really well with Saka on the left. Martinelli is actually looking he may be the best signing of the summer, which I did not expect. He was overshadowed by Pepe and Tierney (and even the Ceballos loan), but I think he definitely has a bright future here.
 

lars10

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i'm not gonna turn this into V&N but Mr. "Erdogan was at my wedding" should probably not wade into political waters.
It’s funny how you contradict yourself in less than one sentence.

Edit: not defending Özil.. just thought your turn of phrase was amusing.
 

Reverend

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i mean, i could write more about ozils bad politics but ill spare us all the screed.
That was the part that he meant when he said you were contradicting yourself.

The ancient Romans called to “praeteritio”; the Greeks “apophasis.”
 

Tuff Ghost

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The Arteta as next head coach possibility had some more weight added to it as Arsenal executives were seen leaving his house last night.

Arsenal executives were pictured leaving Mikel Arteta’s house early on Monday morning in a sign that their quest to fill the vacant head coach role is gathering speed.

The club’s chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham, and director of football operations, Huss Fahmy, were seen getting into a car outside Arteta’s Manchester home at around 1.20am on Monday, in a strong indication that Arsenal are stepping up their pursuit of the former Gunners captain.
-The Guardian

Freddie is being quite clear that the club needs to do something because him working without a full coaching staff is not helping the situation.

“I’ve said to them [the board] they need to make a decision,” Ljungberg told Sky Sports after the 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City.

“We are here to help and the staff are trying to chip in but a decision has to be made so we can have the same resources as other clubs. When I say that they that say I have to wait and see.”
-Arseblog News
 

mikeford

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The alleged reason they passed on Arteta the first time was the level of control he wanted.

One wonders if Arsenal will acquiesce now that they've thoroughly fucked themselves in hiring Emery instead.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'd be excited about Arteta as the new appointment. Its obviously high risk, but its potentially high reward. And I think Arsenal is in a place where things can't get much worse so there is a lot of value in a high variance choice. The last thing I want is a veteran manager whose remit is just to steady the ship and try to guide the club back into the top four: We could have kept Wenger if that's what we wanted.

All that said, Arteta will need time to get adjusted to the role, to evaluate the players, and then to shift out those who don't fit his preferred style, which I imagine will involve a lot more possession, ball domination, and directed build up play. I can see the results this year being pretty rough but I won't care as long as there are some signs that he is developing our younger players and starting to implant a playing style that might be successful in the long run.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Multiple outlets reporting Arteta will be named manager the next few days. I like the idea of Arteta, but didn't think he was ready a year and a half ago when they hired Emery. May still be a bit early, but I think he may be the best option available and certainly has some of the highest upside.