You Make It Easy: an Arsenal revolution is quietly underway. [BOU 0-3 ARS]

You make it easy


You might say that the reason that yesterday‘s game looked easy was the because of the gulf in quality. 

I think you would be right to a certain extent. 

There is however the thought that quality is on paper and not necessarily what happens on the field. That’s the way I go. Just because Gabriel Jesus has more quality than Kieffer Moore it doesn’t mean that he will fulfill it when they play each other. One of the truest coaching quotes is ‘you have to earn the right to play’ or ‘when you’ve earned the right to play your quality will show.’ 

If you are superior on paper then you have the advantage at minute zero. That’s it.

I’ve always believed in the first 20 minutes. The other team is waiting to see not so much how good you are, because they know that, but how interested you are in competing. What you are going to do ‘today.’ One of the best habits that the new Arsenal have is valuing this first quarter of the game. You can see on the documentary that Arteta clearly wants a fast start. He said it repeatedly before many games. More than that though he has the motivational trick of raising the tone of his voice gradually to the point of intensity at the end of his speech. This will help the hype he’s trying to generate.

Beyond how you start the game, yesterday was the result of over two years of learning a new way of playing. 

Arsenal have started a new revolution in world football. A revolution of intelligence and patience. 

Like many teams in sports they tried to go with a short term fix for many years until somebody made the decision to stop that. The true rebirth of Arsenal was the decision to change the age profile of the squad. To start again. To do it the right way. Most coaches in most sports cannot do this because their owners do not have the patience and neither do the fans. 

The revolution has a foundation of steadfastness. 

When the decision was made to start again the owners clearly made a decision to not waver. To be patient. To trust a coach that they trusted. Too many owners trust a coach until they don’t. They waver based on headlines and fan reaction. Perhaps it’s easier for the Kroenke family because they chose a coach who is worth believing in. My best guess is that there will become a new trend of patience which I thought I would never say. We have been in the trend of impatience for about 20 years but Arsenal’s success should encourage other owners to start again and find a coach you truly believe in. Have patience with him as he learns and makes mistakes knowing that if your squad build is as intelligent as your patience then happiness is just over the horizon.

You can now see that Arsenal are in the penultimate chapter of the new textbook that Arteta has been teaching them. They have conquered the understanding of pressing, positioning, compactness and much more. We now play quicker as they know where their teammates will be. The penultimate chapter is adding appropriate risk, flair and unpredictability in the final third. A clear problem last season but now we clearly weren’t ready for this chapter as we were still part way through the previous chapter and didn’t have the personnel to conquer or the trust in each other to risk taking risks.

Jesus celebrates

So from my vantage point that game is only easy because of the above. Not because we have better players than Bournemouth, put in a ‘better shift’ than Bournemouth or were more accurate with our shooting than Bournemouth.

Arsenal have started a footballing revolution and in time they should get appropriate recognition for it.

Oh, and the final chapter is consistent ruthlessness and the team playing with ‘one brain.’


I’m rewatching the game now and previously I hadn’t made any notes about Ben White’s positive performance. Probably because he is an all-round footballer sometimes I don’t recognize his level of consistency. He certainly needs a round of applause because he’s doing a brand new job and doing it rather well. Although Tomiyasu has been injured he was still one of our best players last season and been available for a fortnight. Last season if I remember we put Tomi back in when he wasn’t ready because there was such a discrepancy in talent. Credit Ben White.

  • The same goes for Zinchenko. He wasn’t in my notes either. Such technical confidence such a tactical brain and seems so at ease on the pitch because of these two qualities.
  • My last rewatch observation is that Saka was more effective than I thought initially. He could’ve had a hat-trick of assists with his top quality delivery but the positioning of others was off.
  • We are starting to get consistent dominant performances from Thomas Partey. He’s playing like a boss. He lost the ball in the last 15 minutes of the game and I really noticed. I suppose that was because he hadn’t lost it previously which is rather impressive for a single pivot.
  • Not only has Odegaard been told to get into the box more but he has developed that important pause that opens up clear passing lanes as defenders keep running.
  • There were a couple of moments in the game that I particularly loved. I’m a huge proponent of deception in the final third. Credit to Xhaka who sold Bournemouth’s entire defense on Saliba’s goal.  He then repeated the same trick when slotting in Jesus in the 86 minute. His game is certainly growing which I never thought would happen. I noticed that Arteta celebrated with Nicholas Jover on Saliba’s goal. Likely because Xhaka backing off to the back post was a Jover plan. I also loved Jesus’ touch inside before he reversed it to Martinelli on the first goal. Most players would not have taken that extra touch as it wasn’t needed. The difference is though that if you don’t move the ball away from Martinelli before you pass it to him then he has less time to shoot as the defenders would be closer to block it.Arteta and Jover
  • Did I love that we controlled the game rather than killed it? I don’t know if I’m being immature in my view.  I wish we would’ve pushed on at 2-0. I know there is great value in recycling and resting in possession but I also know the value of scoring when you are clearly on top. There is also the fact that anybody in the Premier League can beat anybody from any position as has been proved many times over the years. Games are rarely over and done.
  • Martinelli will score plenty this season with that outside to in run. Another passing pattern and part of the muscle memory of the team.
  • Although this will sound like something that Spurs would make a DVD about, Arsenal are actually on an eight game winning run. We won all 5 official pre season games you might remember.


  • Smelling fear. Smelling defeat. Smelling opportunity.

I don’t want to elaborate too much because I will do so in my podcast below but ruthlessness and the ability to kill teams were certain common threads on the documentary. It wasn’t necessarily vital yesterday but there will be games where our opponents will have far more opportunities to come back so we need to take full advantage of periods of dominance.

  • Saka wasn’t playing as wide as previously. There were times in the game where he got back into the crowd scene that he lived in far too often last season.
  • Even though Ramsdale‘s distribution is ultimately very good and better than most, he sure makes me nervous. Often waits till the last minute before distributing. That is likely a tactic as it takes a player out of the game but it can sometimes seem a little too high risk.
  • Not sure that this is really an issue but we didn’t make the keeper work too hard. The majority of our shooting was directly at him especially the last four opportunities which all went straight at him. They say that you are more likely to shoot the way you look. That small detail might help the Arsenal players when wanting to hit the corners.


  • So the rumours will be stronger for the last 10 days of the transfer window. I expect us to sign Tielemans. I think we have been waiting for his price to drop. Also, safe in the knowledge that we don’t need him at the start of the season as we are currently all fit and fairly well stocked. The rumour that has excited me the most is the current one about Mykhaylo Mudryk. Beyond the fact that I think that our fans would call him Ricky, he looks like he could add something that we don’t have. All three of our winger options are quick players but not necessarily with the ball at their feet. I also see that he has a consistently good weight of pass. That is a little rare also. I think we have the luxury of taking a bit of a chance on a player as we seem to be threatening goals from a variety of areas compared to previous seasons. Signing a player like Zaha would be great but also could hinder the development of the other three as there would be pressure to play a reputation like his. I also think that if we bring in a player that can do something eye catching that gets the crowd off their feet, that it will inadvertently challenge the other three to step their game up. Here is his video. Worth a look…


  • You may be the same as me in regards to worrying about the current players that we love. I worry about them losing their places to players that don’t currently play for Arsenal. Seems wrong and sometimes that’s hard to look forward to. I am fully aware however that the single best way to get a player to play to their personal potential is to give them stiff competition. They will either raise their game or get mad. If they get upset then you don’t have the character that you want anyway.
  • I mentioned in a previous post the importance to players that they have a player song. I almost feel bad for Tomiyasu, Gabriel and Ben White who have been solid for Arsenal for longer than Saliba but I think the Arsenal fans recognize a potentially elite player. We had many 20 years ago and the vast majority of away fans are of that generation.

Saliba and Odegaard


I’m feeling pretty smart right now. I predicted that we will come second and after three games we certainly look like we have that opportunity. Arsenal are in a really good place. The first real test though will be when we go behind or lose a game. That’ll obviously happen at some point but if we can rebound quickly then we will feel somewhat invincible. I shouldn’t have said that word.

In today’s podcast I give my reflections on the ‘All or Nothing’ documentary. 

Thanks so much for reading or listening!

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5 Responses to You Make It Easy: an Arsenal revolution is quietly underway. [BOU 0-3 ARS]

  1. Paul (Countryman100) August 21, 2022 at 10:31 am #

    Mike. Both Tomi and Ben White have their own songs, often sung.

  2. akb4ever August 21, 2022 at 3:31 pm #

    Great read, Mike. Thanks. I always backed Arteta (the A in my username stands for Mikel, cheeky) because of his clarity of thought and communication, and the fact that we beat Chelsea & City to win the FA Cup in his first season. We showed great tactical nous in those games: little possession, but razor sharp counter-attack patterns.

    As our league position continued to meander, negative voices got louder, and your piece(s) on JDP helped me understand why it was taking longer than expected to get the consistent, fluid football we all wanted to see. All in all, its very refreshing to read your very intelligent analyses.

  3. Andy August 21, 2022 at 9:08 pm #

    Excellent thoughts as ever. I thought zinchenko stood out for me. So composed and assured. I also thought that xhaka must be looking over his shoulder and thinking I don’t have to get sent off making last ditch tackle because the players behind me are solid.

    First arsenal team for decades that has no weaknesses. Not only that but our youngsters are coming of age and our second string is of a much higher standard. We can afford not to overplay everyone. It may be crucial come the weeks after the world cup.

    I am excited about this team. And I’m going to say it. We can and should compete for the title. I remember Adams saying you can’t afford to write off a season as a transitional year. We should aim high.

  4. Francis Redheart August 21, 2022 at 9:22 pm #

    Hello Mikey,

    Another 3 points and the development of the team is now obvious for the whole of the PL to see. We are the only team to win 100% of their matches so far. That is a very good position to find ourselves in.

    It is unreal the level of adaptability Jesus, Zinchenko and Saliba have made in the short time they have been with us. Ben White has also been very exceptional as a RB so much so Tomiyasu has to remain on the bench.

    What a year it has been for Arteta’s Arsenal. We may not win the league but we have given ourselves a good start and a good platform to build on.

    These are exciting teams and a word to the owners.

  5. Boff August 22, 2022 at 4:32 am #

    Excellent observations. We are going places. The interestIng thing is how we will
    react after a bad game or defeat. If we can brush it off and learn from it (if it actually happens!) – we are certainly champion material. Key is – we are devastating going forward; do not sit back and defend a lead!

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