Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Arteta eager for Arsenal to dominate games but…

Mikel Arteta says he’s keen for Arsenal to dominate possession, press higher, create more chances and concede fewer goals but for the time being he’s happy setting up his side in a way that suits the players he has at his disposal.

In games against high-calibre opposition – this week, that took the form of two games with Premier League champions Liverpool – the Gunners have been happy to sit in a low-block, to cede control of the ball and to spring fast-counter attacks in the hope of grabbing goals.

The tactics have brought a new solidity at the back and led to some eye-catching goals but have also hinted at limitations on the creative front.

Has Arteta moved away from the principles of Johan Cruyff on a permanent basis or is this a practical deviation while he gets to grips with his Arsenal personnel.

“I think it is a mix of both,” he told his pre-Sheffield United press conference.

“I think the game about innovation, that you have to be able to adapt, most importantly, I have to be able to adapt to the players that I have.

“To try and to give them maximum security, comfort, and ask everything they are able to do at the moment.

“And obviously, when you play against that type of opponent [Liverpool] at the moment, which is probably the most dominant team or one of the three most dominant teams in Europe, you have to know and be realistic and play the game that you are able to play against them.

“Not the game that you want to put in the magnets or in the video. It’s actually the game that we have to play against them.

“If we are able, we will compete against them and we will give our ourselves a big chance to win that game. And this is why we have to go game by game, don’t forget where we want to go and how are we going to make that process and evolution.”

Keen to stress that he has a bigger vision for his side, Arteta added: “I want to become more dominant. I want to press even higher than we do. Like you could see on Thursday night how aggressive the team is, I want to have 55 shots on targets. And I want to concede zero goals every game. This is the aim of where we want to get and how we’re going to evolve.

“And in relation to against who do we play, we will adapt to make it difficult for them and give ourselves the best possible chance. But we cannot deny as well, the way we try to play, the goals that we score making 40 passes using the goalkeeper doing the build up from goal kick and scoring some great goals again, some of the best opponents in the country as well.

“But at the moment, we need that mix. We need that adaptability and then unpredictability to attack and defend teams.”

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We have some good young players coming along, if we can make our defence more reliable we can compete with the best.


Good young players will only thrive wth good experienced players around them.

Sac, Lac & Craic

Can’t help but feel that this is a massive chance lost. The irony of it all, chronically underfund Wenger (a top coach) then absolutely splurge for emery (awful) only to underfund Arteta (hopefully a top coach) a year later.



And to be fair to Emery, spend lavishly on who he didn’t need at the time. Wanted Zaha on the left, got a prospect on the right and another exciting one in CB loaned out

Bai Blagoi

Fortunately, we corrected that mistake next year, by signing… another right winger


To be fair I doubt Emery would’ve done any better even if he’d gotten the players he wanted

Tanned arse

I find the words ‘adaptability’ and ‘unpredictablility’ somewhat ironic. I think we’re very predictable now but also I feel he’s adapted mostly to the weaknesses of our players (which for sure is important) but increasingly ignoring the strengths of some of our creative talents in order to support the weak links and also to primarily support the use of auba on that left striker position. I’m sure it’ll all come together in the end


The old adage about a chain and its weakest link springs to mind.

Steve Morrow’s fractured ulnar

I’ll come out and say it, I have a full blooded 24 seven posters on the wall man crush on Arteta. I believe in him, the things he says and visible energy I’m seeing on the pitch. So much do I love this guy as arsenal manager I’m able to ignore with ease the little voice in my head that keeps saying “but what about…” Surely this is part of the process. There was so much to fix at Arsenal when he took over, from morale, to recruitment, to the system, to contracts, to a god awful defence. You can’t… Read more »

Steve Morrow’s fractured ulnar

*if not dead then at least back to constantly putting bad ideas in my head such as, you should definitely sleep with your boss


My biggest issue with this discourse on Arteta having to play busparking football is when I look over to sides like Leeds who with far fewer resources and quality of players than we even currently have (and I agree as much as anyone our midfield is weak), they are still able to play expansive brave football and compete against Liverpool, City, etc etc…Leeds should have at least gotten a draw playing with no inferiority complex and Liverpool, and last night the had more posession that City for crying out loud…should have won that game too…this is why although I like… Read more »

Arson Wengerer

For me, Arsenal’s targets are way different tjan Leeds. They can finish 15th. Arsenal can’t even be 15th. Arsenal can’t be letting in 3 goals per match like Leeds.


Then tell Kroenke to buy you some players or you’ll walk. Arteta doesn’t deserve this, we don’t deserve this as fans. The players who care (Auba) don’t deserve this either.


I’m not sure why this comment is getting downvoted.
He’s right, we have a coach on our hands who has a chance to become a top manager and the ownership just doesn’t provide any funds. We don’t have a consistent, thorough recruitment strategy either the would enable us to “outsmart” the market.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he walked after a year or two. This mediocrity without any sign of ambitions is infuriating and there seems to be no end to it.
We are really f*cked with Kroenke.


Auba, Saka, Tierney, Martinelli, Gabriel, Leno. Maybe Pepe.

Only players good enough for the first team.

How are Leeds giving Liverpool the toughest match of their season and scaring City into defensive subs to avoid losing? We had 20% possession and looked like cowards against Liverpool.

Naked Cygan

Leeds play with no fear, give 200%, and fight like animals. We give teams too much respect, play with fear, do great in some games, and play like below average I’m other games. I think with what we have Arteta has done a great job, but going forwad, we have to buy players that fight like animals and give 200%.


I don’t think you can fault the effort of the team anymore, Arteta has got them working their bollocks off. The problem is that too many of our players simply are not good enough (especially in the final third), and also lack the physicality and dynamism to run other teams ragged. We must have on the slowest set of central midfielders in the league.


Yep this

Naked Cygan

I agree with you, they are working their bollocks off, but if you remember the west ham game, or last time we played spurs are the examples how we switch off. Luckily the west ham game we won, but we kept giving the ball away with zero pressure, poor passing, and switching off. Then other games we play great. The key is to get the consistency going and not allowing players to switch off.


Leeds do this as well though. It’s a thing.

Toure Motors

Spot on with this. Taking jorginho on loan will not sort dynamism or creativity issues out


so Leed has better players than us?


It is funny when you look players like Doucoure (everton) and Klich (leeds) and then you see Xhaka and Elneny. Are these players out of our financial calibre?


If we play as open as Leeds in these games we lose

Frank Bascombe

Looked like cowards? Nice fella.


Which Leeds players would you suggest we should have bought then? I think they are a team with a good manager who have had to fight to get out of the Championship (after a lot of failed attempts). They are used to having to run run run. Liverpool underestimated them. Every year there is one promoted team which starts well only to fall away later. I love what Mikel is saying about playing to the best ability of the players he has whilst having a vision of where he wants to be. We have beaten all the recent PL champions… Read more »




Phillips too


I don’t see Leeds dropping away


I’m not sure we should be buying Leeds players, we are aiming for the top of the table they are not.

But some of their players are better suited to what we want to do than the ones we have.


Well said GraeB. Bielsa has had time with his team. And he didn’t get promotion without failing previously. He’s a great coach and has the players he wants who play the way he wants. Our lot are still learning Arteta’s methods and there are certainly deficiencies in there. He needs more time and he’ll need a couple more transfer windows to get close to competing. We have had patchy recruitment and Raúl’s wheeler dealing on the Pepe deal has scuppered us for this window. Did we need Cedric?? Mari?? You can wish the Kroenke’s would put their hands into their… Read more »


All the players dont have to be world class. A few steady if unspectacular players are part of most good teams. The problem is the lack of real quality players we have to make a difference in games. Only Auba at the moment. And a good team needs 3 miniumum


Back our manager with $ arghghghghghghg


Money isn’t the issue. It’s management and structure.

Arsenal and United spend money, but they have no idea how to manage a club. Overpay for big names and hope for top 4 to make money back until they sell the club for a massive profit.

Dave cee

Money is the issue for THIS transfer window. Although as the whole season could be cancelled at any moment it is easy to understand why Arsenal don’t want to take too much financial risk. Whole Juve squad is in lockdown reportedly, could happen to multiple teams and the league season is over.
Whilst I obviously want to see us invest in better players I don’t want to see us go bankrupt either. At this time it feels like sales might actually be more important than new signings 🙁

Dr. kNOw

This is simply not going to change until the midfield is overhauled. I wasn’t happy with Xhaka following the Crystal Palace debacle, but I’m over that and happy with his redemption. However, it doesn’t change the fact that since he turned up in 2016 and was given the keys to the midfield, the team has looked increasingly stretched – increased chances conceded and decreased chance creation – and has not qualified for the Champions League since. The midfield axis of Xhaka-Ramsey-Ozil fell out at the bottom and almost everyone in the unit has suffered, and struggled with him at the… Read more »


Man city ship 5 goals then 2 days later spend 80 million on a new defender.

We need 2 midfielders and a winger and we do nothing. Even Everton are getting class in the market.

Artetas ambitions are higher than kroenke. We will probably lose arteta to city when pep leaves.


Take a look at Everton’s opponents so far. Come back on this when they’ve played some top opposition.


Do you think we will beat Brighton the way Everton beat them. They also beat Spurs at home . Everton midfield is class above Arsenal midfield and that’s our greatest problem.


We don’t look that much improved at the moment. We are still handicap by the assets at disposal and lack of others we need particularly in midfield. Tifo did a thing about us but missed the point when it came to tactics. You adopt certain tactical set ups bc you have weaknesses and strengths depending on players on hand. Currently we have to set up in back 3 with less recourse to a back 4 bc of lack of trust in Cbacks. But also midfield is not strong enough. We may eventually be able to go to a 4-2-3-1 but… Read more »


As things stand, without strong midfield reinforcement, I just can’t see us finishing above 6th. And 6th won’t be easy by any means.


I doubt we could match the 8th place we finished last season let alone the FA cup. We are going on a downward spiral each year under KSE.

Amanuel Sisay

I feel sad with mikel arteta he has not playing good football and not properly engaged in transfer windows I hope we will finish below last season with less points and I am tired of supporting arsenal

Bai Blagoi

The most click-friendly headline:

“Arteta: I want to have 55 shots on target”


“Not the game that you want to put in the magnets or in the video. It’s actually the game that we have to play against them.

Anyone got a clue what this means?


No reason keeping Ozil and Guendouzi out in the cold in the present scenario. We don’t have enough options and they both can offer something different.
Our present financial reality doesn’t give us much wiggle room so let’s make the best of what we have presently. With both we can do better on the domination and creativity bit.
I still expect to see one more midfield signing by tomorrow though.


My biggest issue with this discourse on Arteta having to play busparking football is when I look over to sides like Leeds who with far fewer resources and quality of players than we even currently have (and I agree as much as anyone our midfield is weak), they are still able to play expansive brave football and compete against Liverpool, City, etc etc…Leeds should have at least gotten a draw playing with no inferiority complex at Liverpool, and last night they had more possession than City for crying out loud…should have won that game too…this is why although I like… Read more »


I think there is so much talent in the squad already, that if you found a way to liberate it, Arsenal already have a world class team. There is a tendency for Arsenal players not to evolve much after the age of 20. Maybe it is the tight schedule, but when players are accepted into the first team, whether from the outside or from out own junior team, they tend to progress only for a few months, then stay at the level they are. Iwobi, Guendouzi, Chambers.. they all faded quickly. They should look into this. Maybe Arteta should be… Read more »


Unless we integrate Saka into a more permanent role, I can’t see any other creativity bar Ceballos.

It is also time to start taking a chance on Pepe like the end of last season. Willian had one good game, but is way too passive and doesn’t even do his defensive work rliably.


I recall that in “the old days” we often used to dominate games, possession-wise, under Wenger but far too often we didn’t get the result. Likewise, although having a lot of the ball, we achieved very few shots on target – shades of the recent game against West Ham when I think we had three (or possibly four) shots in the entire second half, at home.

The end product – winning, sometimes against the run of play or possession, is usually the sign of a good/great side so let’s hope Arteta can achieve that.

John C

I think we’ll regret not selling Maitland-Niles earlier in the summer if we don’t improve our midfield.

Whilst AMN does a job in the current defensive formation we’re playing, he just isn’t near the standard of a top 4 team.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come back to bite us in the arse because if those funds are the difference between having Aouar or Partey in our midfield or not it really isn’t worth keeping him.


We need to sell two of our non-homegrown players before we have a squad place for one. The last thing we should be doing is selling our homegrown players, and Ainsley is improving all the time.

John C

I disagree, we have to sell the players other clubs are willing to buy, of which Ainsley was one. I also disagree he’s improving, i don’t think he’s improved at all. I think he a beneficiary of the system, a system this article highlights the manager doesn’t want to stick with and i feel is starting to be worked out by the opposition. Liverpool’s first 2 goals at least originated on his side. He also has a passing accuracy of 71%, which is not exactly the level required for a dominate possession based side. So as i said, if that… Read more »

Teryima Adi

Cut your cloth according to your cloth you would say.

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