Managing A Used Battery (Positives Needs & Hopes) [TOT 2-3 ARS]

‘Managing a used battery’

An Arsenal blog from a coach’s perspective

I thought that there was one big difference on Sunday that has been overlooked.

Mikel Arteta out-coached Angie Pastacheesesauce.

That’s made me hungry. My wife makes a wicked alfredo. I might host an Arsenal event and we can all swim in the deliciousness. My event would of course be better than the Arseblog/Arsenal Vision event upcoming or Wrightie’s House event. They have no plans for chicken alfredo and could not possibly supply the beef jerky that I have access to here in cowboy country.

Back to Arsenal.

The way the fixture fell gave Spurs a 15 day break beforehand. A chance to have their own Dubai experience. They think weird over there as I’ll explain later so they probably went to Slough instead. We had 15 minutes in comparison. So one team showed up with fully charged batteries and Arsenal were running on used batteries. That’s fine as long as you have a smart coach who lives in reality. Thankfully, this is what Arsenal have. A rare breed of coach that is like Bendy Man. You may not have had Bendy Man when you were young and he may have gone by another name. To me he was Bendy Man. This rubber bendy person that was a fidget toy. You could bend and mold him into any shape. Most coaches are more like Stick Man. Rigid and if they try to bend, they break. Arteta can coach multiple formations strategies and changes fluidly during game as well as game to game.

Arteta was very smart. He looked at his team as a used battery knowing that they couldn’t be expected to compete physically for 96 minutes and so came up with a system that suited. We didn’t press like we normally do. He knew that Spurs would as their batteries were full. He clearly practiced one touch so as not to lose the ball to an energetic team. Playing Partey was part of this as he excels in moving the ball quickly and sitting weak players like Maddison down with his no touch control. He had us sit off in a compact mid block and nullified Bentancur and Maddison’s ability to quarterback the team. He also worked on speed in transition. We are normally good in transition but not electric. We moved the ball quicker and ran quicker on and off it not allowing them to have time to double team our wingers. Saka’s goal was evidence of this. Sometimes he will slow down when presented with a chance to run at them. Sunday he was direct. A delightful first touch that sped him up rather than giving the other Spurs defenders time to help Davies. Davies was criticized for allowing Saka to come on to his left foot but that same flexible coach has insisted that Saka work on his right foot and so Davies knew that he could easily roof one on Vicario as he’s done on many occasions. Some goals are not possible to stop and this is where Arsenal need to improve long term, but that goal was flowers to Arsenal and Havertz and Saka rather than our opponent’s fault.

Specifically, what won Arsenal the game was revealed afterwards. Pastacheesesauce revealed that he doesn’t have a set piece specialist because “that’s not where we are.” That’s weird because unless you erect a wall up on the byline that you are defending, then the law of averages says that you can’t really stop a team having corners. Any game cannot be predicted as to what is going to occur but there are a handful of things that will always occur. You aren’t going to not give away free kicks so you need to be prepared as to how you defend them. You aren’t going to have the ball on the grass all game so you better have a plan for second balls. Some teams don’t have many if any corner kicks but that isn’t Arsenal. I’d say we average 8-10 every game If we’ve scored far more than anybody in the league from corners then you aren’t alfredo but you are that ‘cheese sauce substitute’ in the can on the bottom shelf of PoundLand/Dollar Store. Pastacheesesauce made a massive mistake. He didn’t prepare his team fully and somehow 15 days wasn’t enough to cover Arsenal’s set plays. Ben White in particular was running rampant until Sarr came on. Then we see that Mikel ‘Mr Details’ Arteta and Nicholas ‘you can’t guess what we are doing today’ Jover had a plan for when Ben White couldn’t impact the GK. He then started moving their players out of the way.

The teams that win stuff have coaches that respect all aspects of the game. Especially in the PL where you could have a situation where a team with only 1 loss, 1 draw and 17 wins doesn’t win the league. You better appreciate the details because they are what’s going to separate in mid-May.

Used batteries offer the same energy as fully charged batteries, but only if you are clever.


Partey and Tomi:

As imperfect as they were we have to be ok with that. We have to be understanding of rhythm. It’s the same when we play a sport. If you’ve ever being blamed for something knowing that you are simply rusty, it is rough. Some say that we can’t afford to have the rusty patch. Well, almost nobody can be out for months and not have to go through this patch. If we want to see prime Tomi and Partey then we have no choice. Partey is getting close. He is more serene than Tomi. Maybe the most serene of footballers. You can tell when he is interviewed. He makes me want to go to Montego Bay.

I thought that he was very good. His defensive positioning and exit passing were impressive. His ability to chip the defence and penetrate with one touch are his superpowers. I don’t see Arteta keeping him, but I wish he would.

Tomi almost looks too enthusiastic and is making the odd mistake because of it. Again, nothing weird, just normal behaviour for a returning player. His one on one ability is levels better than Kiwior and Zinchenko and Arteta will be keenly aware that Bournemouth’s wingers are flying and that they have caught many teams out. Beyond that the ‘best’ and ‘most dangerous’ players on almost every team are the wingers so your full backs have to be one on one specialists. If you want to find out who we might sign to play LB in the summer look for defenders that are strong in this area.

Now that Tomi isn’t as rusty he will be more ready for AFCB and then the devastating thought of marking the fidget spinner on Utd’s right wing.


I’ve been wondering why David Raya is so mentally strong. His mistake was certainly unnecessary as it was a risk. Keepers should NEVER take a risk because the results are often conceding.

I started to look at his life. What adversity he had suffered, especially in his goalkeeping life. I had no idea that a) he had played at Blackburn as a young keeper and b) he had suffered a traumatic injury to the point where it changed his appearance.

Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 3.00.07 PM

You will see the difference in this picture.

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I know this was 6 years ago but he looks like a different guy. I’d say that his mentality to bounce back from adversity is directly related to this incident. Gives him perspective and an appreciation for the fact that he is still playing.


With football being such a mental battle and the mental side of the game being the hardest, it is actually important that we have a player that can get into the heads of opponents.

His general play has been of the top level all season and with him moving into one of the attacking lanes he is expanding his game.


I am guilty of not praising Saka enough. It reminds me of coaching a young man called Adam Rhodes. He is the best player I’ve ever coached. Could’ve played professionally but decided to go another way. I realized part way through his youth career that I was only praising him once in a while when he was the best player in almost every game. He never asked for praise. A humble guy who I think preferred praise to be private. Regardless, I could’ve recognized this and done more. This reminds me of Saka. He isn’t the best player every week but most of that is either because we have lots of top players and because we want to find other stars. Of the players who win the MOTM awards, Saka along with Rice is the most frequent pick.

I noticed on Sunday that his defensive contribution was pivotal. Especially when you compare him to Spurs wingers. He seems more lively too. I’m starting to pay attention to his details. I’ve noticed the speed that he shifts the ball to his left foot. Always gives himself a quick gap for a shot, cross or a chance to accelerate. Watch for it yourself.

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Jared makes my point very well here.


Havertz had flu. Are the government lying to us about yet another thing? Is flu good for you? Does it make you better at football? I blame Trudeau, Sunak, Biden Macron. All of them.

The biggest compliments that I can pay Kai Havertz are that you can tell he has even more to give statistically and that Arsenal had their number one summer target as a striker and may now have shifted that. Not only has it been pushed down the list but it may well be a striker that is half the price of their original target. Someone that can play back up to Havertz.

Having both Kai and Bukayo in this chart makes me proud….

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Something else that has been lost or that opinion totally differs on is one of the ‘mistakes’ on Sunday. What did we want Declan Rice to do with that clearance? Take a touch? Doubt it. Do a tiny volley where he doesn’t swing his leg but volleys it 3 yards?

He did exactly what he was supposed to do and he was simply unfortunate that Johnson jumped in front of him. If there always has to be someone to blame it is the idiot that designed the penalty kick rules. That EVERY foul in the box no matter whether it’s denying a shot or trying to get volleyed in the goolies, is rewarded by an 80% chance to score. When else do you get an 80% chance to score? Probably once every 3 games. Get kicked in the box whilst trying to leave it, dribbling around a defender whilst kicking it out of bounds or having the space between your toes and the end of your boot stood on, somehow all deserve this opportunity that isn’t available but once or twice a month.

I’ve spoken about Raya’s mistake which was a true mistake but it has occurred to me that Spurs only scored via gifts. Even with us backing off the last 20 minutes, they still didn’t actually create anything. Much like our away game in Munich, I’d be very upset with my team if that was me.


I’m sure that you’ve noticed that Richarlison has a face that people just want to punch. Firstly, here is my top 5 ‘Faces that need punching’….

Coming in at Number 5….. Bruno Guimaeres

Not far behind at Number 4…. Harry Kane

Easy Number 3…. Neil Maupay

Ugly Number 2 ….. Bruno Fernandez

Naturally, Number One…. Richarlison

Richarlison is a new entry at Number One because he has decided to quit football and just be a pillock. A pillock who is used by Angie Pastacheesesauce as a wrecking ball. “Just run about whack people, Richarlison.” “Ok Cheesesauce, I got ya” He then jogs on the field and crashes into Gabriel, Rice, Saliba, Tomi but stays away from White because he’s petrified of the potential fallout.

Just to prove his ability to pillock he decides that he’s not done after the game. He finds numerous Arsenal players to try and wind up who all laugh in his face. Then he gets his phone out on Saturday night and decides to pillock again. Look at this comment…

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International duty is coming, big nose. I’d watch my back.

I would love to use a naughtier word than ‘pillock’ but my kids might read this and I gave up swearing in 1999 and not even Richarlison’s pillockyness, Bruno’s ability to throw his arms up in frustration 8 times a game, Guimaraes’s desire to hurt people, Kane’s lack of skill in closing his mouth and not diving and Maupay’s desire to be relevant, will return me to days gone by.


Apparently, he was brilliant. I saw a player that was playing for himself and leaving Spurs exposed. He is actually Number 6.



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I don’t see Rashford at Arsenal at all. Wages higher than everybody else without being deserving. Utd lad who would likely want to go abroad rather than get dogs abuse in England. Most importantly, Arteta won’t be impressed with his lack of effort. Only second to Alexander-Arnold who is in a league of his own.


Don’t underestimate the importance of Mikel intentionally taking the wives and girlfriends to Dubai. Players are more likely to stay if their partner is happy and they will be happier themselves as they will feel respected.

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This isn’t a big surprise. He is well deserving and it would’ve probably been foolish to get rid of such an influential player both on and off the field.

Summer Academy buys:

There will be a handful of talented young players signed this summer Preparing at the right time for another wave of talented players who can grow up together at a similar age so we can repeat what we are currently doing. I’m all for starting that process at La Masia…

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Player of the month:

We have really corrected our April jitters. Evidenced by how hard it is to choose who wins this….

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New away kit:

I’m ok with the green and red idea. I think. Did they get bored when they designed this though? So bored that they couldn’t just leave it classic and plain without putting some utterly bizarre white and black design on a jersey that never asked for it and it doesn’t match either. Odd.

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Sesko and Zirkzee:

It looks most likely that it will be one of these two at Arsenal next season. Both young, skillful, quick, 6 ft 4 in and probably willing to sit down and be developed. I’d take Zirkzee. Looks like he could be ‘special’ one day.

Cozier Duberry:

Is he going to be given a chance in pre season. Similar stature to Saka. Similar choices. Not too far off in ability either. Will be interesting to watch as those going to the Euro’s, Saka included, will not play until late July/early August.


By the time you read this, he may well have won the Austrian cup. Another successful season for him. If Arsenal don’t keep ACD, Patino, Norton Cuffy, Okonkwo and Bierith, they could fund one of their summer signings or all of their new Academy players.


No recommendations this week as the poor kid is still lowering his blood pressure from this moment…

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Spurs have a genuine problem. Not only have their fanbase been saying the most embarrassing stuff since Sunday but they have an obsession with Arsenal. There is a difference between hating a team and obsession. So many of them seem to want to allow City the points when they play rather than focus on the fact that they need to get CL football. This fan says it best….

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They are probably all reading this. Consuming Arsenal content so as to distract from their mediocrity. I’ll just finish with this then….

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7 Responses to Managing A Used Battery (Positives Needs & Hopes) [TOT 2-3 ARS]

  1. RedSky May 1, 2024 at 8:54 am #

    I suspect that if Jorginho does sign a contract extension, then Partey won’t be retained. So unless Timber is fit to play in any one of our remaining three games, we may never see the ‘dream team’ that was envisaged by Mikel at the start of this season, with Timber at LB, Partey as DM and Declan as ‘left 8’. How disappointing is that? Partey and Timber’s absences had a big impact on the season I think.

  2. Norman May 1, 2024 at 10:28 am #

    Rarely do I read something with which I agree 100% but boy this one

  3. allezkev May 1, 2024 at 10:53 am #

    Richarlison is the epitome of the angry young man, he’s always angry, even when he scores ( a rare event ) he looks angry. I guess if you have to look into the mirror every day to comb your hair ( a rare event for him) and sees a face that only a mother could love, you know a face like a smacked ass, then you too would be angry. I wonder what big nose is in Portuguese?

    Great post Mike, my only regret, is that before the Raya incident we were looking as if we could do a 4 or 5 nil on them. Such is life…

  4. Bob May 1, 2024 at 2:27 pm #

    Mike, thanks for your cannon of thought.

    However, as you mentioned, other than City still has one game left, we play Tottenham as a ‘used battery’. I wonder if we still have gasoline in our tank left for the last games. They wont be in attacking mode as Tottenham who needs to pull Villa down. We need the “pressing Arsenal” for the remaining games.

    I truly appreciate our boys. We know. they give their best, they have been moving forward on an upward trajectory. We experienced CL again along with PL campaign and start to adapt. If we dont win it this season, we will gunning next season. With a sturdier canon.

    But deep inside, I know, we know, Arsenal deserve it this season. We just need luck to agree with us.

  5. Leonardo May 1, 2024 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi, Mike.
    Excellent column as usual. I love how we have improved in the adapt-to-the-situation-acccordingly department and in the deal-with-the-sucker-punch department. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.

  6. Andy May 1, 2024 at 4:52 pm #

    Cheers Mike. I know exactly how Max felt. The last ten minutes felt a bit like the last hour of the cup winners cup final in 94. Think I chewed the arm of my sofa in that one.

    Having watched the CL semi last night, I was struck by how fast skilful wingers rather than strikers made the difference. I reckon Arteta will buy at least one to supplement Martinez and saka.

    Oh and Put me aside a ticket for your Mrs Alfredo event

  7. francisredemi May 2, 2024 at 1:10 pm #

    Hello Mikey,

    What a win! A(nother) incredible derby win after dismantling Chelsea.

    A rare mistake from Raya that threatened our victory but it’s the points that count at this point in the season.

    Let’s continue to challenge and see what happens.

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