Arteta’s Arsenal continually making me ask WHY?

Arsenal making me Why?

Overall, since Mikel Arteta took over I’ve been beyond excited. To the point where I’ve nailed a bold statement to the wall by telling my friends, “You’ll see. Arteta will be one of the best coaches in Europe in a short period of time.”

This may still happen as the list of impressive qualities is quite large.

I am not doubting Mikel Arteta and the Club but I’ve found myself recently asking ‘Why?’ on many occasions.

Here are my Why’s…..

  • Lacazette’s form is a continuation not a new discovery. Maybe we tried to sell him in the summer and weren’t able. What I’m struggling with is that one of Eddie Nketiah or Florian Balogun may leave because of Lacazette. The concept of Auba at CF is an obvious solution for many reasons. The one that I feel is being missed is that we instantly improve as soon as Lacazette is not playing. Hate to say it. At that point you can put Auba there or Eddie or Balogun. There is a knock on effect too. Benefit #1 No Lacazette. #2 Auba in position to get more chances. #3 A real winger in Saka/Nelson on the wing. #4 As Saka can play wide, Pepe can play inside. In my head this makes much more sense so….. Why are we persisting with Lacazette when it’s hurting all these other players and areas too? What would’ve made sense in the summer, if a long term solution wasn’t financially available, would be to rescue Giroud from the Chelsea bench. A short term fix that would be perfect for our system. Someone to hold the ball up as we frequently go long. A head on the end of Tierney’s excellent delivery. The best one touch CF around both with his back to goal and when finishing. He would’ve allowed us to still utilize the younger options too. We sold the wrong one.


  • I can make sense of Saliba not playing. Losing a parent must be awful. Losing a parent when you’ve barely left home must be even harder. Match this with the club not playing him in PL games, I can even give the club a round of applause as they are clearly looking after the human first, both his emotional well-being and saving him from the over hype that we are a part of. What I am wondering though is…. Why can’t he play in the EL group stages or the Carabao Cup when these games are so much less important and easier?


  • Normally when any new player arrives at a club you see a run of energetic performances at the least. You also get an impressive start as they want to prove why they are at the club. Willian’s power boost happened at Craven Cottage and lasted 90 minutes. Not only has he not played well the next group of games, he is hiding….. Why has his standard dropped so quickly? He doesn’t need adaptation time to the league and he’s not an intimidated youngster.


  • I understand buying Cedric. At the time our RB’s were struggling…. Why 4 years though?


  • I find myself waking up in the night in a cold sweat from nightmares of Leno getting hurt. Runarsson may be the answer in time. I have no darts to throw at him as I’ve never seen him play but….Why are we risking our only first choice GK by playing him in every game and why didn’t we secure ourselves by buying a number 2 that we trust?


  • It sure looks like we are not only buying better players but buying modern, athletic , PL competitive players. See Gabriel and Partey. The game is now demanding this. Refuse to do it and you come 8th, right? The midfield is the main area where these players are needed. This is exemplified when you see the athletic struggles of Xhaka and in particular the regularity with which opposing coaches are pressing him. A three man midfield needs a playmaker, a destroyer and a line breaker. We actually have these players in our squad. In fact we have all of these qualities in one player, but that’s another blog. Willock, ESR and in particular, Ainsley Maitlind-Niles, are standing outside the house waving through the window and saying, ‘We may not be better or more experienced than the players you select, but all three of us can break lines all day and the team is DESPERATE for this.’ I understand that Willock needs to be technically more secure and have final product and that ESR has been injured, but…. Why hasn’t AMN even been given the chance to prove whether he can play midfield beyond 3 opportunities in 3 years? Not even in the EL or CC. Again, he doesn’t need to be ‘better’ than MO/GX or DC. He might just be what we NEED though.


  • Is it just me that sees that Pepe struggles for consistency when he is given more than 3 seconds on the ball? I don’t see him as an orthodox winger. He attracts a crowd and takes too long to beat them. I see him as potentially top level if you got him within 25 yards of goal and as an inside forward and told to get it under control, shift it and shoot. This is his main threat. Again, when he came on vs Leicester he was trying to dribble around 3-4 players. His dribbling is good but… Why are we asking him or not stopping him from attempting ‘Goal of the Season’ every time he gets the ball? I wonder if he cares about being effective and is satisfied with having an astonishing 10 moment highlight reel at the end of the season.


  •  Not that I disagree with the decision in the main but it does promote the question…. Why has Joe Willock gone from being the player with the most starts last season to barely involved?


  •  I could never understand why Alex Iwobi got all the minutes and Reiss Nelson got none. I speculate that if it would’ve even been 50/50, then Reiss Nelson would be starting now. Why hasn’t he been trusted to play in a run of games in his Arsenal career? The one time he was (for Hoffenheim), he was tearing it up. We could play Saka as an attacking midfielder and have Reiss in his best position as inside left and solve our creative problem instantly. Maybe we wouldn’t though? Maybe he’s not good enough? Hard to know if you don’t try. Truth is the answer may not be in January. It might be at Colney but we aren’t willing to try it.


  • Why does our bench frequently have 2 similar players who play the same position sacrificing a spot for a position we need? Perfect example…. Nketiah AND Lacazette, but no winger (Nelson). Then 2 GK’s on the bench but no Centre Back. Strange.


  •  Is it just me or did you see a distinct lack of urgency and definitely a lack of courage when we were 0-1 down at both City and against Leicester. I’ve got a theory…. Of all the messages we’ve heard from Arteta, the one that sticks in my mind the most is ‘trust the process.‘ I agree with him. We should. The process is broadly speaking been very encouraging. Here is the thing though. I wonder if that same message is the reason that we don’t change our attacking plan if Plan A is not fruitful? There are certainly frequent changes in Arteta’s hybrid plan but they are organized pre-game. It seems that if the pre-game organization isn’t solving the problems that the game is throwing up, that the players are told to ‘trust the process’ and continue. Almost like Arteta thinks it’s a weakness to change. Why would a coach with so many modern ideas not utilize the creativity that he does have DURING the game rather than talk about it post-game?

Every club has fan’s asking, ‘Why?’ It just seems that our ‘Why’s?’ are very solvable or should never have happened in the first place.

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6 Responses to Arteta’s Arsenal continually making me ask WHY?

  1. earlset October 28, 2020 at 8:41 am #

    Your piece pretty much sums up my own thoughts on the current team selection.Both AMN and Reiss Nelson should be playing regularly.
    I’m not convinced that Pepe is the right player for the PL,however he should be given the opportunity to show what he can achieve in another role.I cannot watch those pointless dribbles that he makes on the right wing.
    Let’s hope that Martinelli returns ASAP and shows the same fighting spirit.

  2. TC October 28, 2020 at 9:19 am #

    Good article – interesting I had never considered Florian Balogun as I had thought Eddie was just the natural choice to use rather than Laca. The trouble with Eddie is that he appears to give you nothing outside the goal area so on days the team are stuggling which is becoming the norm its not a good situation. In some of the recent games our front 3 have been frankly useless. We are literally playing with an 8 man team.

  3. TJ October 28, 2020 at 9:40 am #

    Some interesting questions there. I liked the last one, trust the process, it reminded me of Arsene, when he used to throw the kitchen sink on and it would look glorious at times with all that attacking quality on the pitch. I disagree about Giroud, he wouldn’t fit this system but would be a useful alternative to when trust the process isn’t quite working. I’ve heard a few now speak about Xhaka being pressed but I feel fans are reading what they want into it. Xhaka has been one of the major reasons for our bit of end season success along with Auba and Tierney, it’s our strongest side of pitch. Teams now know this as they’ve been doing their homework each time we’ve played them. Xhaka esp gets targeted because of this not because he’s slow, he’s one of the quickest thinkers with the ball at his feet and teams are trying to disrupt any flow we try down his side. The biggest problem of late has been the amount of change to the side so early in the season, but when these players are more settled with one another and we have our backline settled, we’ll be a hard team to beat and this form of late will be seen for what it is.

  4. Paulo Castro October 28, 2020 at 10:19 am #

    Please tell me one game that Arsenal got better with no Laca … its not any of the strikers fault that we sit right in the bottom of chances created. You fail to comment that Laca was in form untill the Liverpool game . 6 goals out of 9 games . Crucial against City and Liverpool before we beat Chelsea FACup. Not to mention his beautiful goal against Spurs . So don’t blame Arteta for that although I do agree that we could try Auba in the middle with 2 real wingers . We need creativity and I Wonder why he hasnt used Smith-Rowe and Nelson yet. Please no Pepe , unfortunately he looks like a flop .

  5. Andy October 29, 2020 at 9:08 am #

    Perhaps lacazette is the only other outlet when our passing from the back goes up the inevitable blind alley. Am hoping Partey will ensure this isn’t necessary anymore. The Saliba affair has been one cockup after another. Not his fault but we have paid 30million for a player who is no use for two years. Trouble is if he suddenly comes good at 21 he has a year left on his contract and we are paying over the odds in wages for him. Arteta needs to learn to let the attackers play with freedom. Can’t remember whose autobiography I read it in, possibly Tony Adams but George Graham would let the attackers get on with the business of scoring without much interference. They still had to put a shift in but in his first couple of seasons as manager we scored a lot of goals. Imagine Pepe and Nelson given that freedom. It would scare the opposition to see them running at them. Would you consider Peep through the middle? He has speed, he is a good shot and wouldn’t run into defenders quite so easily.

    Arteta is a better coach than I thought possible. I think the next stage is to trust the players. This will give them confidence and they can start to play ‘without the handbrake on ‘.

  6. allezkev October 29, 2020 at 1:08 pm #

    Nice one Mike and a lot to comment on in one go, Folarin Balogun, he has the same agent as Reiss Nelson and it was a long drawn out affair before Reiss signed a new deal a couple of summers ago, he then went on loan to Hoffenheim.

    I’m not sure about Lacazette being the reason that Balogun might leave, it’s more likely the arrival of Gabriel Martinelli and the result of Flo getting shunted back another spot. Eddie won’t leave he’s too close to the promised land but he’s gotta take his chance before Gabby is 100% or else he’ll be back to where he is now.

    John Jules is a really interesting player but he keeps on getting injured which is bloody frustrating, Moller is a new signing and it’s early days for him but he’s something different to what we currently have in the attacking dept, a tall centre forward.

    As for William Saliba, I think omitting him from the EL squad was a mistake, but maybe that decision was made as much for his emotional and mental welfare as anything post his Mother’s untimely demise, also the medical outlooks on some of our other injured defenders were maybe a bit more positive than it turned out?

    I’m minded to recall how when Leicester signed the young Turkish defender Soyuncu they more or less kept him sidelined for a season while he adapted to a new culture, country, language and football and that’s paid off as he’s been quite impressive since coming into the 1st team. I know that Arteta didn’t sign Saliba but I’m sure that he can tell that that he’s a good player and that he’ll get his chance as and when.

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