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

veritas

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As a Spurs fan, I hate this. The upside is tremendous.

My only hope is that he's too young/inexperienced for the job at the moment and/or too inflexible to play a style that suits Arsenal's squad. Because they're going to need to be completely different than City tactically to succeed.
 

mikeford

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They need to give him money to actually buy a midfield. I think holding and sokratis could at least be a stable cb pairing and we have 3 guys who can, in theory, play cdm. (Hopefully Xhaka is binned off but still)

But we have no #10 and not B2B mids outside of 20 year old Sideshow Cecil
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Rumors are that with Arteta signing there's gonna be a big veteran exodus this transfer window of Lacazette, Ozil, Xhaka, Luiz, Mustafi and Aubamayeng.

It would be so sad to see Aubamayeng leave as he's a very lone bright spot on this club tight now. To me it also signals giving up on the season and a rebuild. I had been holding out hope that with a new manager the team could get their shit together and compete for the Europa league, which is weaker than last year. I don't think they can make that run without PEA.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I think the general bad vibes around the team are making these mass exodus rumors more talked about, but I do not think they'll actually be making 5-6 outward transfers in the January window. I could see a couple based on input from Arteta, but I doubt they plan to spend much in January, so they do not have the ability to replace a mass exodus.

Some of the rumors seem a little more likely (Xhaka) than others (Aubameyang), but I could definitely see massive changes next summer. The Aubameyang rumors were not helped by the fact that his brother was tweeting about how the team needs a more experienced manager than Arteta.

Torreira and his agent have also been making it pretty clear that Torreira is interested in exploring new teams, but there is nothing concrete.

Aubameyang rumor from the Guardian a couple weeks ago:
Real Madrid and Inter have hovered into view and are ready to swoop for red-hot Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. His 10 Premier League goals this season have caught the eye of Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte but the Gunners are likely to slap a £70m price tag on the 30-year-old in an attempt to keep hold of their leading marksman.

Xhaka rumor to return to Bundesliga (via Arseblog News):
According to a report in German publication Bild, Granit Xhaka has informed his Arsenal teammates that he’ll be leaving the club in January.

They claim that Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin are willing to smash their transfer record to sign the Switzerland international by offering the Gunners €45 million.

As Arseblog columnist Lewis Ambrose says, it seems unlikely, but not impossible.
“Hertha got a new ambitious investor in the summer, so it’s not impossible. It seems a weird one though – their transfer record (set in the summer) is €20m and that’s the only time they’ve ever spent more than €10m on someone.”

Ozil rumor to Fenerbahce (via Arseblog News):
According to Turkish publication Fotomac, Mesut Ozil is close to agreeing a January move to Fenerbahce.

Before we go any further, we’ll add our usual disclaimer that most reports out of Istanbul turn out to be nonsense.

Mavropanos rumor to Nottingham Forest (via Arseblog News):
Via Sport Witness come reports from Greece linking Dinos Mavropanos with a move to Championship side Nottingham Forest.

There’s also interest from Olympiacos apparently, and while the Greek side are prepared to take the 22 year old loan, there’s no specific information on whether Forest are prepared to do likewise.

Torreira rumor to Napoli (via Arseblog News):
According to this morning’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli have submitted an offer to Arsenal for Lucas Torreira.

The Italian side are looking to rebuild following the departure of Carlo Ancelotti, and have identified a defensive midfielder as a key recruit for new boss Gennaro Gattuso.
However, they don’t appear to be that serious about it, as their offer consists of a €3m down-payment for an 18 month loan, with an obligatory €27m final payment at the end of that term.
 
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Tuff Ghost

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Arteta is finally officially announced as the new head coach with a 3 1/2 year contract. It also sounds like Ljungberg may possibly be heading to Sweden to coach Malmo.

Arsenal.com:
Mikel, a former club captain, played for us for five seasons from 2011 to 2016 and has signed a three-and-a-half year contract.

Mikel said: “This is a huge honour. Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world. We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with Stan and Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.

“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”

Mikel’s coaching team will be announced as soon as possible.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Can you be more specific about where these rumors are coming from? I've seen Özil being linked with a move to Turkey, but not anything reputable about the others yet.
Tuff Ghost got a bunch of them.

But a few others:

Xhaka told his teammates he'll be leaving reported by Bild, confirmed by another German Reporter on Twitter.

In addition to Aubameyang's brother's twitter post, The Independent says they've been told he wants out and that Lacazette and Xhaka are looking as well.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Auba should and almost certainly will stay until summer. He wants out, but they should tell him to keep quiet, play hard for the rest of the season, and they will move him in the summer. They need him to try to make a run in the Europa league. He'll almost certainly leave in the summer. It's a shame, but he is 30 already and has one year left on his contract, so moving him this summer makes sense.

Lacazette surely wants out, as he hasn't been starting lately for a team that is having a disastrous season. I doubt he would be sold in January.
Maybe Lacazette will stay if he gets more playing time under Arteta and Aubameyang leaves in the summer.

When either or both leaves, their value needs to be maximized and they need to be replaced with younger strikers.

Hopefully Arteta will play Torreira as a defensive midfielder, his actual position. If so, he is much more likely to stay.

Ozil, Xhaka, Luiz and Mustafi leaving would be basically addition by subtraction. Probably can't move them all in January. Won't get much for any of them, but again, addition by subtraction. They also will need to be replaced by younger players.

Would be really nice to see Arsenal finally value things like mental toughness, winning mentality, aggressiveness, physicality and composure under pressure in the players they bring in. But they haven't seemed to for a really long time.
 

mikeford

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The only guy on that entire list anyone should care about leaving is Auba

Arteta is official.

Takes over on Sunday so it's Freddie's last stand against Everton.
 

shaggydog2000

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Auba should and almost certainly will stay until summer. He wants out, but they should tell him to keep quiet, play hard for the rest of the season, and they will move him in the summer. They need him to try to make a run in the Europa league. He'll almost certainly leave in the summer. It's a shame, but he is 30 already and has one year left on his contract, so moving him this summer makes sense.

Lacazette surely wants out, as he hasn't been starting lately for a team that is having a disastrous season. I doubt he would be sold in January.
Maybe Lacazette will stay if he gets more playing time under Arteta and Aubameyang leaves in the summer.

When either or both leaves, their value needs to be maximized and they need to be replaced with younger strikers.

Hopefully Arteta will play Torreira as a defensive midfielder, his actual position. If so, he is much more likely to stay.

Ozil, Xhaka, Luiz and Mustafi leaving would be basically addition by subtraction. Probably can't move them all in January. Won't get much for any of them, but again, addition by subtraction. They also will need to be replaced by younger players.

Would be really nice to see Arsenal finally value things like mental toughness, winning mentality, aggressiveness, physicality and composure under pressure in the players they bring in. But they haven't seemed to for a really long time.
Yeah, Auba and Lacazette being played together has never made sense or really worked properly. One of them is leaving, at the least. The other 4 players are guys that everybody can see are not good enough or not working out here. But there is no way they're moving out 6 players from this squad, the logistics for that would be incredibly hard over the winter window, and would leave the team very short-handed. Xhaka has value and I think there is mutual interest there in him going, so that seems likely to happen. I don't know that anyone would be interested in Luiz or Mustafi, but you never know. Ozil still has a big name, and would put up good numbers in a lesser league or slower paced one, so maybe he will move one, even with his big salary.
 

ifmanis5

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Finally some good news. Well past time to turn this over.
Hopefully he can create a good enough culture quickly enough to keep Auba but this is a long term rebuild.
 

shaggydog2000

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There is one thing that confuses me about Arteta. Underneath that hair, is there just more hair? There seems to be no scalp anywhere, no matter how much he sweats.
 

lars10

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Yeah, Auba and Lacazette being played together has never made sense or really worked properly. One of them is leaving, at the least. The other 4 players are guys that everybody can see are not good enough or not working out here. But there is no way they're moving out 6 players from this squad, the logistics for that would be incredibly hard over the winter window, and would leave the team very short-handed. Xhaka has value and I think there is mutual interest there in him going, so that seems likely to happen. I don't know that anyone would be interested in Luiz or Mustafi, but you never know. Ozil still has a big name, and would put up good numbers in a lesser league or slower paced one, so maybe he will move one, even with his big salary.
The two of them playing together has stopped working.. Martinelli is showing more hustle than both of them combined.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I know a 0-0 draw against a struggling Everton is not exactly a classic match, but I think it was definitely something upon which they can build. Prior to Saturday, their last clean sheet was 10/6 vs. Bournemouth, and perhaps more importantly, their last road clean sheet was 8/11 at Newcastle (first week of Premier League this year).

They gave up 0 shots on target, which seems like a minor miracle and a deserved break for Leno who has been quite busy, as evidenced by the fact he leads the Premier League with 73 saves.

Everton may be down, but they still have had some decent underlying numbers and have been the victims of a little bad luck (expected points on the year of 25.65 vs actual points of 19). They've averaged 12.9 shots/game and 4.3 shots on target/game, so for an Arsenal team struggling defensively to hold them to 9 shots and 0 on target is a minor win (baby steps here).

To me, it looked like everyone was working hard and focused on maintaining a decent shape defensively. Chambers was excellent (except for one late careless foul in a dangerous area) and I think has laid claim to a starting center back role at this point. Enough cannot be said about Saka. He's 18 years old and playing out of position to fill in at left back due to all of the injuries and he's done an admiral job. I think his future is certainly more likely to be as a winger, but for now, as a 3rd string left back (behind Tierney & Kolasinac), you couldn't ask for more.

One thing I've been thinking about a bit is the substitution of Aubameyang for Lacazette. The NBC Sports commentary was pretty negative on the move (i.e. you can't take out your leading goal scorer when desperate for a goal), but I am kind of okay with it. It reminded me of the way that Borussia Dortmund has used Paco Alcacer at times, particularly last year. He'd come on late, full of energy, and put one in the net. If Arsenal want to press, then letting Aubameyang go hard for 75 minutes, followed by bringing on a fresh Lacazette for the final quarter hour is not the worst idea in the world. I've also heard some talk about trying Lacazette behind Aubameyang as more of a 10, but I am not sure if he has that in him.

They certainly fielded a young team, so again, there is a small light of hope for better times to come:
  • Martinelli, 18 y/o
  • Smith-Rowe, 19 y/o
  • Nelson, 20 y/o
  • Saka, 18 y/o
  • Willock (substituted on), 20 y/o
  • Torreira, 23 y/o
  • Maitland-Niles, 22 y/o
Finally, I think Bernd Leno described the positive side of the match very clearly:
“It was completely different to other games, but you can see only with intensity, with mentality, we didn’t concede a goal,” he said.

“We didn’t let them have chances, like Freddie said and the new manager. I think the lineup was very good because everybody was fighting for the team and we showed great mentality. Unfortunately, we didn’t score, but I think at the end of the day we can be happy with our performance and especially with our mentality.

We didn’t let them have any transitions like in the other games. The distances [between our defenders and their attackers] were much closer and I think this is the only way you can play, because the Premier League is too strong to have one, two or three players that don’t defend. This is the only way we can play and we can be successful.”
-via Arseblog News
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Arteta announced that Freddie is staying at Arsenal, though they have not announced his new role yet. I think this is very good news, but think he will be getting his own shot in the next two years. Steve Round will also be joining the staff.
 

shaggydog2000

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Arteta announced that Freddie is staying at Arsenal, though they have not announced his new role yet. I think this is very good news, but think he will be getting his own shot in the next two years. Steve Round will also be joining the staff.
That is good news. Freddie can certainly help with information about the players, especially the younger ones, and it's not like he was an "Emery guy" when he was brought on the staff, so that usual issue isn't there.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think the results haven't reflected the change in quality of play, but over the last three games the team has been tighter and much better defensively. They're not getting stretched and then giving up long bombing runs through the middle any more. The central defenders aren't getting as exposed and have looked better. Except for Mustafi falling right on his ass in the face of any attacking move. Some people just can't be helped.

Offensively they have to figure out how they're going to build attack now. Ozil looked good in the first 30 minutes but then was taken out of the game rather easily by Jorginho and nobody else was able to step up.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Chambers apparently injured (tore?) his ACL and will not the rest of the season. Arsenal is looking into recalling Saliva from loan in addition to signing Upamecano to fix their CB situation.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I would love to see a Saliba - Upamecano partnership. I don’t think recalling Saliba would help much this year as he has missed two months with a broken metatarsal and only recently started training again, but maybe getting acclimated with the team would help for next year. Things are getting pretty desperate with all of the injuries to the back 4, so it is worth exploring.

Upamecano would be expensive and may not want to leave the Champions League for Arsenal, so I am not holding out too much hope there.

It sounds as if Ceballos is a possibility for today. It would be nice to see him back out there and get a feel for what he is capable of in Arteta’s system.

If Arsenal lose today, it would be the first time in club history that they’ve lost 5 consecutive home games (in all competitions). Three points would be amazing to lift morale.
 

shaggydog2000

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I would love to see a Saliba - Upamecano partnership. I don’t think recalling Saliba would help much this year as he has missed two months with a broken metatarsal and only recently started training again, but maybe getting acclimated with the team would help for next year. Things are getting pretty desperate with all of the injuries to the back 4, so it is worth exploring.

Upamecano would be expensive and may not want to leave the Champions League for Arsenal, so I am not holding out too much hope there.

It sounds as if Ceballos is a possibility for today. It would be nice to see him back out there and get a feel for what he is capable of in Arteta’s system.

If Arsenal lose today, it would be the first time in club history that they’ve lost 5 consecutive home games (in all competitions). Three points would be amazing to lift morale.
I don't see them recalling Saliba with his injury issues this year. Coming back from injury while adapting to the EPL would be a lot to ask from an 18 year old.

Asenal don't have the best defensive talent overall (especially in central defense), but they've really been killed by injuries at those positions the last two years.
 

Tuff Ghost

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The Athletic had a nice article about some of the changes that Arteta has already made with the team. One example is how on the attack, they are more of a 5-man attack with Kolasinac focused on pushing up and Xhaka dropping deep to cover him. A nice quote:

Without the ball, they line up in something akin to the 4-2-3-1 the pre-match television graphics suggest. With it, they are transformed: Xhaka drops deep, Kolasinac pushes on, Ozil is freed to join up with the strikers.

In doing so, Arsenal’s strengths are emphasised, their weaknesses disguised. Arteta doesn’t fixate on his team’s problems — he focuses instead on the problems he can create for the opponent.

Kolasinac is not a particularly good defender, but release him in attacking areas and he’s transformed from liability to threat. Xhaka struggles in the melee of the midfield, so Arteta has allowed him to drop deep enough to avoid it, covering Kolasinac in the process.
This approach seems to be the polar opposite of Emery's focus on covering up weaknesses.

All of a sudden, Torreira looks like an exciting talent again. The Athletic notes that he has recovered possession 27 times in Arteta's 3 games in which he has again been deployed as a defensive midfielder.

My favorite stat of the game is that Ozil led the team in distance covered. He ran 11.54 km (Torreira was second on the team with 11.41 km). A re-energized Ozil is a beautiful sight.

There was also talk of the drills that they did before the game, which ties into Arteta's philosophy:
As Arteta put it during his time at Manchester City: “Football is about habit and angles. It’s much more simple for a player if you can process the image of where your team-mate will be before receiving the ball.” Those images were drummed into this Arsenal team in the moments before kick-off.
Link to the article (behind paywall):
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I would love to see a Saliba - Upamecano partnership. I don’t think recalling Saliba would help much this year as he has missed two months with a broken metatarsal and only recently started training again, but maybe getting acclimated with the team would help for next year. Things are getting pretty desperate with all of the injuries to the back 4, so it is worth exploring.

Upamecano would be expensive and may not want to leave the Champions League for Arsenal, so I am not holding out too much hope there.

It sounds as if Ceballos is a possibility for today. It would be nice to see him back out there and get a feel for what he is capable of in Arteta’s system.

If Arsenal lose today, it would be the first time in club history that they’ve lost 5 consecutive home games (in all competitions). Three points would be amazing to lift morale.
Upamecano has started every match in every competition for RBL since returning from injury and they are still contending in three competitions. We may buy him in the summer but there is zero chance they sell him in January. This is the football press just taking known names and throwing shit at the wall for clicks.

The Athletic had a nice article about some of the changes that Arteta has already made with the team. One example is how on the attack, they are more of a 5-man attack with Kolasinac focused on pushing up and Xhaka dropping deep to cover him. A nice quote:
Good post. This 2-3-3-2 shape in possession also makes more efficient use of AMN's skillset, slotting him in as the right sided defensive midfielder rather than forcing him high up the pitch as a traditional RB/winger. As a player that was developed as a central midfielder, AMN's two main issues as a RB have been that (a) he isn't really a dynamic dribbler or particularly accomplished crosser of the ball and (b) he has trouble with defensive positioning, especially getting caught too high up the pitch. This usage helps him with both because now his responsibilities in possession - move the ball from deep, rather than serve as a winger - are much more familiar and its a lot easier for him to get back into position defensively during transitions because he doesn't push so high when we have the ball.
 

Tuff Ghost

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It's been a great couple of days of articles if you're a fan of tactics and Arsenal. The Athletic had an even better one today going through the tactics under Arteta, including many screenshots. Again, it is behind a paywall, but if you are interested in Arsenal's tactics, I'd recommend at least trying a 7-day free-trial to check it out.


Arseblog had a decent tactics column, also. Not as good as the one in the Athletic, but there's no paywall on this one.


Some of the main points from the various articles:

Front-5 on the Attack:
  • Arsenal are ending up in a 2-3-5 formation when in possession.
  • The left-back (Saka/Kolasinac) make runs up the left and are covered defensively by Xhaka (and a mid-field three). Luiz and Xhaka are making some nice passes on the runs made by the left backs. When in possession, the left backs are often finding four players (Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, and Nelson/Pepe) pushed forward and available in the box.
  • Aubameyang is playing inside-left and making some runs inside and behind the center-backs, as well as having some nice interplays with the left back.
  • Lacazette sometimes drops deep to take a pass, but also is making runs behind the stretched center-backs. Arteta has found a way to effectively play Aubameyang and Lacazette together after Emery made it look like a lost cause. Lacazette is also running like a mad man on the press. He needs to find his finishing-form again and nab a goal or two, though.
  • Ozil is drifting into open spaces on the inside-right. The wide attacking-5 is leading to him having some of the most open space he's had in a while. He's working well with the right winger (Nelson or Pepe) to advance the ball into the final third.
  • The right winger (Nelson/Pepe) is often starting near the touchline on the right to open up central space for Ozil and Lacazette. Maitland-Niles (right back) sometimes comes up for an overlap, but is more often playing further back in a midfield 3.
Midfield 3 on the Attack:
  • Xhaka is finally getting more protection by having a midfield 3 that results in him having to cover less space (hiding some of his problems with pace). He is on the left and has been taking advantage of his passing ability by making some nice passes down the left flank to Saka/Kolasinac.
  • Torreira is central in the midfield three and sometimes comes up towards the edge of the box (as seen on his narrowly missed shot against United). He is doing a great job getting out quick passes to Ozil, breaking the lines.
  • Maitland-Niles is playing as an inverted-fullback and drifting inside to play as a right midfielder in line with Xhaka and Torreira. He came up as a central midfielder, so this is a role that he feels very comfortable with. There are times he may make a run up the right flank and in those situations, I imagine it is expected that the left back (Saka/Kolasinac) should drift into the midfield, as to not become overexposed on the counter.
Center-backs on the Attack:
  • Luiz has been displaying his greatest strength by making some nice 30-40 yard passes either to a left back making a run or to Lacazette (or Aubameyang) drifting in behind the stretched center-backs on the opposition. They've been also successfully playing out the back via passes to Xhaka (then often continuing up the left) or to Torreira (often breaking the lines onto Ozil on the inside-right).
  • Chambers will be missed (out for about 9 months with a torn ACL), but Sokratis has also looked pretty solid from the back and they are not asking too much from him, instead building up play via Luiz/Xhaka/Torreira.

Defending- Pressing and dropping into in a 4-4-2:
  • While the opposition are in possession, they are dropping back into a more standard 4-4-2. They are not fit enough to press for 90 minutes, so once they got the lead against United, they were content to press at times, but also sit in a stable 4-4-2.
  • Everybody is running and working together on the press. Under Emery, you'd sometimes see one guy (often Aubameyang) running after the ball, but no coordinated efforts like this.
Set Pieces:
  • Two of their four goals under Arteta have come on corners. Both corners were near-post flick-ons, with the initial header going across towards the far-post and leading to a goal.
  • Arteta was reportedly responsible for tactics on set-pieces at City, so this probably something that he has brought to the team with a lot of thought behind it and hopefully will continue to be a positive.
 

shaggydog2000

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It just feels reassuring to see guys deployed in ways that minimize their weaknesses and harnesses their strengths. Guys like Xhaka and Luiz looked completely useless in stretches, but Arteta is getting quite a bit of value out of them.

Mustafi is still useless though.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'm interested to see how Arteta works Dani Ceballos into this mix. Having hooked Ozil up to the rejuvenation machine, he isn't likely to be dropped until his performances tail off first. The two possibilities for Ceballos playing in the same side as Ozil are as a (a) replacement for Xhaka in central midfield and as the left sided midfielder in posses or (b) as a replacement for the left winger (currently Auba) who plays an inside left in possession and a wide left front bank defender in the 4-4-2 shape when out of possession. The former sounds pretty sexy if we're chasing a match or looking to break down teams, as we could use a really creative player in the three man midfield. The latter sounds pretty attractive in tough games where we need more control and we might not be able to win the midfield battle (I'm thinking about the upcoming match with Chelsea here, as that match really turned when Jorginho came on and they turned the tables in midfield).
 

mikeford

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For sure, I'm not saying bin him off straight away. I'm just saying temper your enthusiasm because he's had these couple game rebirths several times before and always returns to mopey loafer who can't play.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Arsenal really could use a win today. Six wins out of 23 is getting pretty ugly. Watch out, Invincibles, though; this year's team are surely going to exceed that teams' total of 12 draws (11 on the year).

I think there have been many positive signs under Arteta already. He's certainly using players in positions that make use of their skills realistically and contribute to the team being more a sum of its parts. While forced to play Mustafi this weekend, he helped out the center-backs by often having Xhaka essentially drop back as a third center-back to the left of Luiz. This also accommodated Saka at left-back, who looked great working in tandem with Martinelli in the Sheffield United half of the field, but needs some coverage defensively.

Arsenal are no longer giving up an endless onslaught of shots and look pretty stable defensively. The days of giving up 30 shots to Watford are hopefully over.

Via @Orbinho:
Emery shots allowed/game: 15.8
Arteta shots allowed/game: 11.8

Emery goals allowed/game: 1.5
Arteta goals allowed/game: 0.8

I know people like to give David Luiz a hard time, but I think he's been playing pretty well and doing a wonderful job passing the ball. Arteta has obviously encouraged him to make more long passes, which has been positive because (1.) he's a great passer, and (2.) when he's making a long pass, if it is intercepted, Arsenal still have most of the team behind the ball defensively, so they are not exposed on the counter-attack.

The Athletic had a nice piece about him today, obviously with the minor intrigue of going back to Stamford Bridge.

Luiz has the requisite technique and intelligence to engage in this game of cat and mouse. He has made more than 1,000 passes this season, the highest of any player at Arsenal. Intriguingly, he is making over 20 more passes per game under Arteta (72) than he did under Emery (49). His ball retention skills are, by and large, outstanding. There is, however, another valuable weapon in his armoury: the capacity to penetrate.

The ultimate aim of those sideways passes and shuffling movement is to create a channel to advance the ball up the field. This is where the Brazilian excels. Only three centre-backs in the Premier League have managed more passes into the final third than Luiz’s 148: Virgil van Dijk (151), Toby Alderweireld (171) and Lewis Dunk (178).
Luiz finished Arsenal’s recent match against Crystal Palace with 13 passes into the final third — not even Mesut Ozil could match that tally. The goal Arsenal scored was a perfect example of what Luiz’s central role in Arteta’s plan: an incisive pass from the halfway line into the feet of Ozil, creating an overload in an attacking area from which Arsenal profited.

It has quickly become a cornerstone of Arsenal’s play. Luiz is averaging 15 long passes per game under Arteta, a significantly higher number than under any other of his 10 Premier League managers. It takes a certain type of player to shoulder that kind of playmaking responsibility. The ability is only part of it — it has to be married with vision and confidence, and Luiz has both in spades.
We all know the counter-points about his defensive short-comings, but since Arsenal have built a more compact unit under Arteta, he has looked better there, too. I hope he heads in the winner today.
 

67YAZ

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.

The Athletic had a nice piece about him today, obviously with the minor intrigue of going back to Stamford Bridge.





We all know the counter-points about his defensive short-comings, but since Arsenal have built a more compact unit under Arteta, he has looked better there, too. I hope he heads in the winner today.
Good stuff Re: Luiz’s passing. Have to think that opponents will adjust and those numbers will roughly fall in half, similar to VVD, Alderwiereld, Dunk. The interesting part will be to see how Arteta adapts. City’s semi-automated passing sequences can be a thing of beauty, passes pinging around at headspinning pace. Liverpool’s sequences are very different and include a lot of those fullback-to-fullback passes that defenses can’t shift fast enough to cover. But having Ozil there to quarterback things is an enticing proposition.

That Luiz stat makes the Jerome Boateng loan rumors make a lot of sense. Boateng is one of the best passing CBs of the last decade, and Pep used him to great effect. Opposing squads would face a tough problem having to close down two CBs who can provide a killer ball. In the other hand, does Boateng still have the legs to cover for Luiz’s defensive lapses?
 

shaggydog2000

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Best line of the game, after Mustafi went down injured, one of the commentators said under his breath "right in the Shkrodan."

Not so funny that much later when he showed why he is Mustafi. But the team rallied, and Martinelli, Pepe, and Saka were great in the second half. They showed a lot of guts after the red card, and I appreciate that.
 

Tuff Ghost

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It's quite fitting that a season filled with draws (12 out of 24 now) would have a signature moment be securing a draw while down to 10 men at Stamford Bridge.

During Arteta's first press conference, he talked about changing the culture, the negativity, and the energy around the team. I think he has clearly had a positive effect on this already. If this same match was played under Emery, I have to believe we'd have lost 3-0 and it would have ended with Xhaka fist-fighting a couple thousand fans in the away supporters section for the last 30 minutes.

The game started with Chelsea pressing very effectively. They were all over Luiz each time he had the ball and basically letting Mustafi have the ball, daring him to make a pass, knowing he was one slip up away from creating an easy counter-attack from Arsenal's half. The tactic couldn't have worked better. Mustafi made multiple terrible passes, with one sad backpass eventually leading to the red card and PK goal. I honestly felt a bit bad for Luiz there with the home crowd laughing and jeering him off the pitch. Mustafi made a mess, but Luiz still should have known better to make that kind of obvious red card foul; just do your best and let Abraham have the goal if needed, but don't get sent off, too.

With 10 men, the energy level and focus of Arsenal noticeably increased. Among the 10 men, they had an 18-year old winger playing left-back (Saka), a recently maligned mid-fielder playing center-back (Xhaka), an 18 year old (Martinelli) trying to fill the shoes of Aubameyang, a right-back struggling for fitness after major injury (Bellerin), and, of course, the most mistake-prone center-back in the Premier League (Mustafi), yet they battled to secure a point.

Xhaka should be commended for an outstanding performance in dire circumstances, but I don't think he is an answer at center-back (more of a break-glass in case of emergency center-back). His lack of pace and mobility could expose him in a more open game. He also is the one who played Azpilicueta on-side for the second Chelsea goal.

It's really starting to look like they might have something special with Martinelli. To come from Brazil without any experience at this type of level and already score 10 goals for Arsenal is amazing. His work-rate is phenomenal and he has a knack for finding the back of the net, which is much needed on this team that is so reliant on Aubameyang for goals.

For Bellerin to score with his left foot that late into a game where he had to be struggling was special.

Yes, they're 6-12-6 with 30 points after 24 games, but I'm still feeling positive with these incremental signs of progress under Arteta. This is like the world's longest pre-season for next year and the positive signs have been rewarding to watch as a fan.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Good post Tuff Ghost.

I think process is more important than results at this point, especially since Top 4 hasn't been in the cards since Arteta took over anyway. With Emery I never felt like there was an underlying system being developed - he was just cycling through tactics and formations, but no foundation was ever being laid and eventually the players just got tired of it and stopped buying in. With Arteta not only is the energy and commitment much better, but you can pretty clearly see the style of play that he is trying to implement. And you can see the benefits as well: We are much more secure defensively and we don't lose control of matches to the same shocking degree we did under Emery. The biggest issue is that we just don't quite have the combination of quality and cohesion in our buildup and final third play to make the system pay off consistently in terms of offensive output. But you can imagine it clicking in the future.

I think we really need a bit more quality and creativity in central areas. We end up playing this 2-3-5 style in possession but between the three in midfield (Xhaka, Torreira, and either AMN/Bellerin) and the attacking players who most typically drop between the lines (Ozil, Pepe, and Lacazette) just aren't quite good enough in terms of combination play. Some of that is getting used to this style but we really need a couple better players as well, at least one CM who can give us more creativity and forward thrust than Xkaka or Torreira and one attacking midfielder who can take Ozil's place. For whatever reason, Arteta clearly doesn't seem to think Dani Ceballos is the answer to either problem.
 

shaggydog2000

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Good post Tuff Ghost.

I think process is more important than results at this point, especially since Top 4 hasn't been in the cards since Arteta took over anyway. With Emery I never felt like there was an underlying system being developed - he was just cycling through tactics and formations, but no foundation was ever being laid and eventually the players just got tired of it and stopped buying in. With Arteta not only is the energy and commitment much better, but you can pretty clearly see the style of play that he is trying to implement. And you can see the benefits as well: We are much more secure defensively and we don't lose control of matches to the same shocking degree we did under Emery. The biggest issue is that we just don't quite have the combination of quality and cohesion in our buildup and final third play to make the system pay off consistently in terms of offensive output. But you can imagine it clicking in the future.

I think we really need a bit more quality and creativity in central areas. We end up playing this 2-3-5 style in possession but between the three in midfield (Xhaka, Torreira, and either AMN/Bellerin) and the attacking players who most typically drop between the lines (Ozil, Pepe, and Lacazette) just aren't quite good enough in terms of combination play. Some of that is getting used to this style but we really need a couple better players as well, at least one CM who can give us more creativity and forward thrust than Xkaka or Torreira and one attacking midfielder who can take Ozil's place. For whatever reason, Arteta clearly doesn't seem to think Dani Ceballos is the answer to either problem.
I'm not 100% sure Ceballos has been fully healthy. They're definitely missing a creative spark in the middle of the field. The majority of the offense seems to be coming off the wings.
 
I think process is more important than results at this point, especially since Top 4 hasn't been in the cards since Arteta took over anyway.
Agree with this. Definitely seems to me as though Arsenal needs to focus on the FA Cup and (especially) the Europa League and use the Premiership as the laboratory for developing the squad, rather than the other way around. Best case, they win a trophy (and maybe sneak into the Champions League); worst case, they clear the decks for next year and get out of the Thursday-Sunday cycle which does nobody any favors.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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I'm not 100% sure Ceballos has been fully healthy. They're definitely missing a creative spark in the middle of the field. The majority of the offense seems to be coming off the wings.
I thought this was the case as well, but apparently he's back from his hamstring injury and still not seeing any playing time. He has reportedly told Real Madrid he wants them to terminate his Arsenal loan(Nketiah style) and loan him to another team. Specifically he's trying to make Spain's 2020 Eurocup team, so he wants to get enough playing time to show off his talent before that.

I was impressed by him with his play early in the season and thought he might have a chance to be a young Ozil or perhaps move back within the midfield for a Santi Cazorla type role. His form went to shit, but so did everyone else's under Emery, so it's hard to determine what to make of that.
 

shaggydog2000

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I thought this was the case as well, but apparently he's back from his hamstring injury and still not seeing any playing time. He has reportedly told Real Madrid he wants them to terminate his Arsenal loan(Nketiah style) and loan him to another team. Specifically he's trying to make Spain's 2020 Eurocup team, so he wants to get enough playing time to show off his talent before that.

I was impressed by him with his play early in the season and thought he might have a chance to be a young Ozil or perhaps move back within the midfield for a Santi Cazorla type role. His form went to shit, but so did everyone else's under Emery, so it's hard to determine what to make of that.
Yeah, I saw those stories about half an hour after I posted that. Not sure if that is going to happen or not, but it would be a shame to never get a look at him under Arteta. He hasn't been in full training for more than a few weeks though, so it's possible he's only really been an option for the last few games.