Never learnt to kill – how Arsenal Past is crippling Arsenal Future (Positive Needs & Hopes)

Never learnt to kill


I was watching the game yesterday and wondering if there were 3 teams out there.

‘Arsenal current’, Fulham and ‘Arsenal past’.

We started the game with energy and intent. We didn’t get the goal but I enjoyed the desire to do so as it’s been a rare sight this season. On Thursday we found the ruthlessness, scoring 3 in 6 minutes. We looked like we were inspired by that.

There was something different going on though. We had Martinelli, ESR and Saka buzzing around representing ‘Arsenal current.’ A new team that wear capes. A team that the fans love as they give them hope.

The second team on the field, Fulham, weren’t possessing the ball but they were denying much of what ‘Arsenal current‘ were attempting.

Then there was a third team, ‘Arsenal past.

This team had no capes on. They were led by Bellerin and Elneny. They didn’t seem to be buying into the energy and intent of ‘Arsenal current.‘ They were out there energy zapping. Like the bad guys in the cartoon. ‘Arsenal current‘ had capes on and were running around with balloons. ‘Arsenal past’ had no capes and zap guns, shooting small darts into the balloons of ‘Arsenal current,‘ and deflating the balloons. Like two teams on one team working against each other.

Check out this image. You’ll see this superhero called Emile Smith Rowe. He plays for ‘Arsenal current.‘ You will also see this bad guy called Mo Elneny. He plays for ‘Arsenal past.‘ ESR has a potential goalscoring opportunity as he frequently makes dynamic forward runs off the ball like this, cape swaying in the breeze. As you can see, the bad man from ‘Arsenal past’ has a different instinct. He wears a T-shirt that he is hiding from you that says, ‘SAFETY FIRST, SAFETY ALWAYS.’ He passes the ball backwards. Yes, backwards.

The balloon deflates.


Elneny (the bad man) has a friend. A sidekick perhaps. He is also a bad man. His name is Hector and his job was to repeatedly give the ball away and also to make sure that he assisted bad man Elneny in deflating the balloon of Smith Rowe. Hector is not doing what he looks like he’s about to do in the image below, but he turns and passes it 30 yards backwards to his centre back.


After this moment the superhero Smith Rowe still had his cape on. It wasn’t flapping so freely in the breeze and his balloon was somewhat shriveled.

‘Arsenal current’ don’t always have to play two opponents as ‘Arsenal past’ only show up every once in a while. I’d imagine that they are busy in some disused building downtown hatching their next evil plan.

‘Arsenal past’ used to be a larger evil empire but The GodFather of ‘Arsenal current,’ Mikelio Artetio, has recruited new henchmen. Some are youngsters from the streets and others from out of town. He is not far away from totally destroying ‘Arsenal past‘ but there has been talk in the neighbourhood of bad man Elneny getting another zap gun. A new model.

‘Arsenal past’ used to wear capes at the beginning of the 21st century. The bad man didn’t even have a zap gun. Actually, he didn’t exist. As the streets have become a place riddled with fear, ‘Arsenal past’ changed.

The hope lies in the fact that ‘Arsenal current’ is growing. I see a ruthlessness in them bubbling under the surface. They will have weapons that kill like their predecessors in the early 21st century had. They will only have one opponent, not two. The sooner ‘Arsenal past’ disappear the better.

A group of bad men that were taught to deflate but never learnt to kill.



-The hi-press was very well organized and gave us a good basis of repeated possession to work with.

-Again, I feel that Arteta set us up for success. The fast start was much needed but the execution let him down.

-Yet another very good performance from Xhaka. A mixture of defensive solidity and delicious passes to split lines and split defenders.

-I felt that Ceballos has been working on his tempo and energy. He buzzed around all game trying to be the catalyst for change.



-Beyond the comedy in the opening piece I am so enthused at our future. Smith Rowe, Saka and Martinelli aren’t just good players and potential elite ones, but they are built for modern pressing football. Many clubs must be jealous of our future. I’ve thought for a while that Liverpool will likely bid for Gabriel Martinelli as the long tern replacement for Mane. He has the intense  ‘thunder style’ that Klopp likes.

-Nketiah made a number of very good diagonal runs into the box in the last 10 minutes. A shame his touch was heavy.

-Pepe’s game has finally become one of consistent threat. He has ditched the concept of delaying too long and giving 50% of his opportunities back to the opponent and is becoming a regular threat. His balls into the box from the right were very dangerous yesterday.



-I’m not a fan of the part of Arteta’s style that prefers controlling attacks and setting the play over taking advantage of fast break countering opportunities. It’s as if Arteta’s worst nightmare is lack of control, end to end unstructured football where players are king. I see great value in the structure he has put in place as it’s his greatest achievement to date. I just see that Arsenal rarely score easy goals. Why is that? I think it’s because we chuck away fast break opportunities when the opponent is unstructured so that we can gain a structure that was unnecessary.

-Is there more to the Maty Ryan inclusion than just ‘giving him a game.’ I’ve got a feeling that Arteta didn’t like the interview that Leno gave and the feeling that the grass may be greener elsewhere. Watch this space….



-In retrospect the game needed Pepe’s left foot and quicker crosses than Martinelli’s delayed efforts. Martinelli was good, sometimes very good but Fulham would’ve panicked if the ball was sent in earlier.

-Speaking of Martinelli, he was one intelligent moment away from two penalty kicks today. His electric speed will get him in the box in front of his opponent but he needs to value cutting them off and slowing down.

-Part of me sees Gabriel as rash in the box and part of me sympathizes. The box is like an ice rink and the most minute mistake leads to an 80% shot on goal. The bigger criticism is that he tackled with the wrong leg and got himself twisted up.

-I truly don’t care what Roy Keane or the vast majority of pundits say. Punditry is generally archaic and needed revolutionizing a long time ago. I don’t know who ever thought that ex-players can be the only ones that bring value. The fact that the pundit that many think is the top sausage massively failed as a coach when he was given a chance at Valencia.

Roy Keane has six buttons. I think someone is sitting behind him operating him. “He should be ashamed of himself” is one button. “They were poor” is another and I’m already bored thinking of the other four. Top players rarely make top managers and top players don’t necessarily make top pundits.

Why not have a former professional coach on who can give tactical and dressing room insight? Why not have someone who maybe hasn’t played or coached at the top level but has a deep understanding of modern football? The best pundit I’ve ever seen was Bobby McMahon on Fox Soccer. Intelligent, relevant and unafraid. Ex footballers have to guard what they say as they don’t want to offend mates or burn bridges. Most of you will know Clive Palmer. He would be my choice. Clever, reasoned, detached from over emotion and far more educated on what is happening in 2021 than a 90’s footballer commentating on what is essentially a different sport.



-I had a close eye on Anguissa yesterday. I love his game. He was ok, seemed to play within himself. Would love to see him be more expressive on a better team. Easy replacement for Elneny, especially if they are relegated.



-I still have big hope for the rest of the season. Arsenal weren’t bad yesterday. They did much of it right. If Martinelli would’ve left that chance for Ceballos then it’s a different game entirely.



I predict that at some point Arsenal’s owners will attempt to excuse their greed in chasing the Super League dream by telling us that we were going to have to sell some of our young heroes due to the pandemic and that they ‘had no choice.’

This collection of greedy men are so out of touch with reality and how the vast percentage of us live. It’s as if they don’t understand that people have a breaking point. They live around people that have to say ‘yes.’ It reminds me of a spouse that thinks that their partner will never divorce them as love has them committed no matter what comes. Everybody has a breaking point and we know that. I’m not sure that the super wealthy live in a world where they experience this or if it does happen to them, it’s really not so bad as money and power is the security blanket that they can always fall on as they’ll never not have these two material things.

It’s as if football without fans has made the super wealthy think that fans aren’t needed. What they fail to realize is that the rights to watch this competition will only be big numbers if fans tune in. Many, many won’t. Football is becoming harder to watch anyway as it’s sucking the flair out by becoming a coaches game and the VAR sham will also have a breaking point unless they bin it or make it instantaneous.

It’s honestly as if they are ok with football losing its current fanbase and think they can create a new type of fan.

The threat given of not allowing Super League players to play for their national teams or in the World Cup is one that I hope is real. I do not see players wanting to forego this honour. For many it is their favourite of all experiences in the sport.

The Super League needs the fans and needs the best players. Let’s see….

Check out ‘PNH expanded’ here for my 15 minute thoughts to expand on what you’ve read.

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2 Responses to Never learnt to kill – how Arsenal Past is crippling Arsenal Future (Positive Needs & Hopes)

  1. earlset April 19, 2021 at 5:52 pm #

    I thought last night’s news was a hoax until I read the reactions to it and saw the posting on the Arsenal web site.It’s therefore difficult to comment on the game and also to assess the manager and the team performance at this shameful time.
    However the younger players give us cause for optimism if we can continue to use them wisely.My only additional comment is on Pepe.I know he has his advocates but he is not a long term solution.He had a golden chance to score with a simple header but fluffed it.We know his unpredictability sometimes pays dividends but that is not enough to compensate his annoying ability to lose possession.In the meantime Reiss Nelson does not get any opportunity to demonstrate his more direct skills.

  2. Brandon B April 20, 2021 at 12:29 am #

    Great stuff as usual Mike.

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