Be Like Leo: Arsenal’s cheat code to become Champions [Positives Needs & Hopes]

Leo Trossard


Be like Leo

An Arsenal blog from a coach’s perspective

The game was, yet again, too emotional for me to be able to analyze with clarity.
So, I paused and re-watched.
I didn’t realize quite a few things that I now know.

After giving them some quality time, a cuddle and tucking my emotions into bed, I was able to come to this slightly concerning short term conclusion.
We have a little bit of a half and half issue.

Half of our team is consistently producing. The attack. Even in the last 3 disappointing games, it is hard to say that seven goals just wasn’t enough. It will be hard to expect more than two goals at Anfield, and two goals at West Ham against a team who have struggled to score most of the season should be enough. Three goals at home against anybody should always win you the game, especially against the team bottom of the league.

The defence however, seems to have the jitters. I have to be fair and note that if any area of your team at this point of the season, and in the position that we are in, is going to get nervous, it’s unlikely to be the attack and far more likely to be the defence.

The fear of making a mistake especially with the team that doesn’t just launch the ball forward is higher than the emotion of finishing which happens quicker. It seems like the back five seem to be taking turns in making mistakes.
Personally, I think that Saliba being absent is subconsciously affecting the team.

As I often say, the way players feel before a game and during the game has such a large effect on performance. Saliba is not only talented, but has been highly consistent. Beyond that he is a safety net. Rob Holding is the same when there are 10 minutes left and the other team start launching missiles into our box but Saliba can handle that also.

I see all of our defensive issues being wrapped in our need to drop off 10 yards.

We can squeeze up as we normally do but then they are exclusively going to pick on Rob Holding. When we drop off, we are no longer compact and able to press in all areas. If you rewind all of our seven goals we have conceded recently much of it would’ve been averted if we could’ve played a higher line. Theo Walcott’s goal wouldn’t have happened as Alcaraz would’ve been swallowed up by Saliba rather than having a small ocean of space to thread it to Theo.

The other half and half issue that we have is the form of our players
It’s incredible how form can swing so quickly. It was only a couple of weeks ago when we had every single one of the starting 11 in form. Top form.

We now have Saka and Martinelli closely followed by Zinchenko, Partey and Odegaard.
Beyond that, we are struggling a little.

Not everyone has jumped on to the jitter bus though. Arsenal actually have a joker right now. A really quite fascinating Belgian player who is either going prematurely grey or I’m not up with the cool kids and their latest hairstyle fashions.
No other player at Arsenal right now is giving me hope more so than Leo Trossard. Maybe it’s because he’s a shiny new toy? Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have any razzle-dazzle yet seems to somehow find a way of being highly effective, which is significantly more important anyway. I think where I sit with him is that he doesn’t seem to have the same psychological issues that some are getting. Maybe he’s got a therapist and if he does, I’d say that Martinelli is a client at the same office. He seems too busy being busy and just getting on with being brave. he stood out also because the guy that he replaced was largely hiding. The fact that he was playing out of position makes it even more admirable.

These players in their interviews all seem to talk in clichés or very simply. It’s as if Leo Trossard not only says.” I want to win the league, and that’s it.,” but he plays the same way. Most players say the right things but lack follow through. Some players have the joyful simplicity in the mentality of being able to turn the channel when the negativity tries to seep in, and they have the psychological skill of focusing on one simple thought.

I would like to think that if I was playing for Arsenal I would adopt this mentality. That simple thought of ‘I want to win the league,’ covers everything. Your effort, your bravery, your desire, and so on…. Nothing more motivating.

I can find hope in more than just him of course, but there’s something about him. The fact that he arrived in January and statistically has been so very successful. The fact that whether he starts or not doesn’t seem to affect his mood or affect his effectiveness. There’s just something about him that makes me think that we might just win this league and if we do, we might be pointing at him more than anybody else. Maybe it’s just a hunch? Maybe I’m just being an optimistic fan? Either way, I wish we had more players who in the final straight are able to play with their mental freedom that he seems to.

For what it’s worth, I also have a hunch that we might’ve found our first choice left eight for next season. For right now though, Arteta needs to find a way of getting him in the team and this looks like the most obvious route.


One thing that very few who talk or write about football ever do is see the actual reality of a players performance. I suppose it’s the age that we live in. Like I said in the last blog, extremism. Brilliant or rubbish. Take Gabriel Jesus, for example. He wasn’t even close to his best against Southampton. Watch his performance again and you see that there were more than a handful of potential game changing moments that he was involved in, in a positive way. It’s just not what we do though. Brilliant or rubbish, right? There were others, also. Gabriel, Zinchenko and Odegaard. Martin Ødegaard in particular alongside Belgian Leo, rescued a point for us. Even though he waited until the last quarter of the game it cannot be forgotten and yet again when the team needs a goal he is the one that revs his engine loudest. A refusal to lose. We don’t spot it as much as we should because he has a low-key demeanor. Not a chest thumper.

Even though momentum certainly looks heavily in City’s favour every time I look at the Premier League table, I swear I see Arsenal at the top. I swear I have been supporting a team this season that have been largely incredible. I swear I’ve seen Arsenal play Manchester City and be the better team on the last two or three occasions. I’m also pretty sure that I read this quote from Theo Walcott yesterday. “ I’ve played Manchester City and Arsenal over the last few weeks and Arsenal were much better..” The big positive in Arsenal‘s favor and what I would be saying to the players if I was Mikel is that we have a nasty habit of starting fast. Don’t tell me that if we can score first against Manchester City that there will be at least five more players who get the confidence injection. The injection that has an instant impact. If this happens, it will feel like a triple dose as it’s not any other game but it’s the big one. I will also be honest and say that if City score first, I doubt we will win even though we are capable. I think there’s been too much emotion recently for the players to shake that off. I’m just not even close to giving up like some people are though. Think about this…… What happens to the players mentality if we play below mediocre yet somehow win at City? I’d say that they wouldn’t care less about their performance and neither would Arteta. The confidence injection would be huge. That’s possible in football. Then there’s the possibility of us playing really well and winning. What would that do to our mentality? Just don’t forget that these are all possibilities and the pendulum could swing very quickly back in our favour.


Is it just me or do Arsenal do better when they don’t have a week to prepare for one game? It seems like this pattern has happened before. Maybe too much focus on one thing is making them nervous?

I think Aaron Ramsdale needs to work on his hands. Not the cleanness of his technique, but literally his hands. I don’t know if his wrists are not locked firmly enough or there is an issue with strength in his fingers, but they seem to be loose often when he extends and dives.

I hope not, but I wonder if Vieira has gone from being given a chance that he probably didn’t deserve and thrilled about it, to ruining his Arsenal career. I doubt Vieira will play much in the run in now and then in the summer it looks like we are going to get somebody else for his position anyway. I do wonder if Arteta will see an international player who could break through in his second season as most of them do or a player who is just too flaky and in and out of games when his talent was capable of being dominant. I do wonder if Vieira will be moved on because of his mentality.

I’m still struggling to believe that we will score when low crosses are coming in. Martinelli tore a very good full back apart for most of the game and got to the byline on a handful of occasions, yet never really seemed to have an obvious target. There really is no excuse for this. It takes him a good five seconds to get to this area and in those good few seconds there should be at least one or two players offering a simple tap in opportunity. At the same time, we are weirdly more dangerous from Saka and Martinelli‘s back post whipped crosses. We shouldn’t be because we don’t have a target man or an aggressive midfielder in the air, but this is where we are. The first player that has to be looked at is Gabriel Jesus. He is very good in the air and most certainly could offer more dynamic movement in the 6 yard box and more determination and aggressiveness not just with his back to goal, but when he’s facing it.


This might sound like clutching at straws, but I think there is some value to clarity rearing its head in advance of the trip up north. Often in retrospect, we look back on games and say that our team couldn’t make its mind up if they wanted to attack or defend. A draw at the Etihad would still leave us alive, but with City in their current form it would be too much of a risk. Arteta will go all or nothing now and the players have clarity which could be a brilliant accident.

Romeo Lavia is bloody good. You might’ve known this beforehand also, but that man right there is the archetypal, modern, athletic central midfielder. He seems so unafraid in an area where most players play with safety only in mind. He seems capable of everything too. Quick passing, long passing, quick feet and particularly an outstanding ability to accelerate between the lines. A natural ability to tackle and such impressive confidence. I wonder if Arsenal may look his way if they cannot get Moises Caicedo who I think is being looked at as a left eight. I think Lavia could do this too.


I’m currently on a road trip with my high school soccer team. These boys are naturally hilarious. Last year I took them to an Atlanta United home game at the highly impressive Mercedes-Benz Stadium and they entertained themselves by going to Walmart before the game and buying muscle T-shirts with personal messages to players on the Atlanta United team scribbled on them. They then buy some fluke managed to locate the players coming off the team bus and showed them their T-shirts. Brad Guzan, who you might remember, was most entertained by one of the boys who had a ‘Brad is my Dad’ on his T-shirt.

This year they searched the ladies clothing department in Walmart and bought $10 summer dresses to wear to the game tomorrow. We are also going to church before the game tomorrow and I think the plan is for them to either wear their summer dresses underneath their church outfit or get changed in the church restrooms. I’m really not sure what’s going to happen if they walk out of the church looking like this….


I just hope that Arsenal has the same balls on Wednesday as these teenagers do.

If we get arrested and you see our images in the Atlanta Constitution then it’s been nice writing this blog. I think it’s pretty decent and I want to be remembered for my analytical mind rather than allowing 19 teenagers from Tennessee to wear summer dresses to a football match.

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5 Responses to Be Like Leo: Arsenal’s cheat code to become Champions [Positives Needs & Hopes]

  1. Francis Redheart April 23, 2023 at 11:02 am #

    Hello Mikey,

    Nice post again. I feel so down about what we have done in the last 3 matches. A draw after going 2 up at Anfield and then another draw after going 2 up against West Ham. The draw at home against Southampton was very unexpected and Ramsdale giving up a goal seconds into the match shows a weak mentality.

    We have secured Champions League football and maybe that’s our aim but being at the top for so long to eventually lose would bring back vibes about last season.

    Crashing out of the Europa would give us the chance to concentrate in the league they said. Last season, not being in any European competition would enable us get Champions League qualification they said.

    All in all, I had us for a Champions League qualification and we have achieved that. Anything on top would be huge bonus.

    Let’s see how it goes. The impossible can still happen.

  2. Andy April 23, 2023 at 1:48 pm #

    Bless you Mike. Hope the kids enjoy themselves. It’s good to remember that this is entertainment and have we not been entertained?

    Whatever happens this season i have enjoyed it and believe we would already be crowned champions if it weren’t for a team that have been expensively and possibly illegally out together.

    We should all be proud of our team.

  3. Boff April 24, 2023 at 2:23 pm #

    As much as I like Zinney; he makes too many mistakes. We need Tierney in to contain the on fire Mahrez Leo to take Granit’s spot. As you point out – he’s so much more reliable and versatile. I’d also consider wholesale halftime changes to keep Citeh guessing
    Good luck with chaperoning the ‘girls’!

    • Dave Seager April 28, 2023 at 7:02 am #

      Thanks for reading.

    • Dave Seager April 28, 2023 at 7:02 am #

      Over confident at times.

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