Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Saka urges Arsenal to stay positive, points to last season

Bukayo Saka says Arsenal can bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Aston Villa and pointed to the club’s recent FA Cup success as evidence of their ability to rally in the face of disappointment.

Beaten 3-0 on Sunday night, the performance has been widely described as the worst of Mikel Arteta’s 11 months in charge. While the Spaniard is stuck at London Colney stewing over the situation, most of his players immediately dispersed across the globe for another Interlull.

Called up by England for the second successive month, Saka revealed that boss Gareth Southgate has told him to use the time away from London Colney to clear his head of the result.

“He just asked me how the (Villa) game was, how I was feeling about it,” Saka told beIN Sports.

“I just told him how I was disappointed that the result wasn’t so good and that we will bounce back after.

“But he told me it was an opportunity for me to focus here, get that out of the way, clear my head and just have a positive week here with England.

“After the game, the boss (Arteta) did say to us that this is the beauty of this sport, that we will experience many highs and lows.

“Last season when we came back from lockdown we lost two games in a row and things were looking really difficult for us.

“But if you look at how we finished the season we won the FA Cup so we went from low to high really quick, we just have to keep going, keep our heads down.

“I’m here with England now so just want to focus on that and we will take the games in our stride when we get back with Arsenal – I’m sure we will do, 100 per cent.”

England face the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on Thursday 12 November, before travelling to Belgium on Sunday 15 November.

It remains to be seen whether a third fixture – against Iceland in the Uefa Nations League – takes place. Iceland is due to play Denmark on Sunday and all arrivals from the Scandinavian country are subject to a travel ban due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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Advice to Saka – please smile sometimes


I bet you’re the type to also tell women to “smile more”

Johnny 4 Hats

Can’t help but feel there’s a better arrangement of words than “stay positive” during a pandemic..!

C.B. is him smiling.

Though it wasn’t after a three nil loss and an own goal vs Villa…


Honestly, this has been the reason for our downfall during the past decade or so. I remember Cech saying how the locker room would be crest fallen if they lost in Chelsea as against a casual approach to losses in Arsenal. This was the difference between Arsene and SAF too. Arsene loved his players too much and gave them way too much leeway, whereas SAF was ruthless and wouldn’t mind giving them a mouthful if they deserved it. Looking at how ruthless Arteta was with certain players I thought he would apply it uniformly but him consoling the players after… Read more »


saf didnt make players better,
saf made players make themselves better..

he cant utilize his youth and relatively recent playing days if he is barking orders like a bully… it just doesnt work.

we also dont know what happens behind closed doors.
did they do an extra session of running after? did he bollock willian in private? we just dont know


I doubt he’s stupid enough to single out any one player for a bollocking.

Tony 2

Reminds me of the guy who lost his d*** went home and gave his wife a right bollicking lol


What’s wrong with speculating and making assumptions with minimal information?! Why can’t people just believe any horseshit that fits their agenda?!


You have no idea, whatsoever, whether or not Arsene Wenger gave his players a mouthful (apart from that one occasion when Fabregas let the cat out of the bag about the half-time bollocking at Anfield), so you have no right to an opinion on the matter. The difference between Arsene and Fergie was that Fergie had referees and the authorities in his pocket. He even had some opposition managers in his pocket – Allardyce and Pulis, along with all his former players who had gone into management – whose teams would always lay down when Man United really needed the… Read more »


A lot of great points here.

Top post.

Anders Limpar

The optimism of youth. There is a lot to be hopeful about wit this young man, Nelson, Willock, Martinelli ESR etc + the addition of Gabriel and Partey.

I can’t help feel something is slowly rotting in our dressing room, with at least more one or two of the “senior” players and while the future is bright the immediate is challenging.


Did anyone notice Bellerin console Aubameyang just before a Villa corner in the second half. I had been wondering from the start if something had happened behind the scenes for them all to play like shit. I’m only commenting now because I took the dog out after the third goal.


Play like shit only a few days removed from beating United away in a dominating performance?

Timorous Me

Sometimes teams come out flat, especially after a big win. Happens in all sports and seemingly defies logic. So maybe it’s simple as that.

Of course that’s not to deny there are problems that need to be worked out, but maybe, hopefully, it’s nothing more than that. Not to mention the fact that it was a dour Sunday night right before many were set to leave for international duty.

Anders Limpar

Yeah it’s all a bit odd, I have no evidence at all but it feels like something isn’t right in the dressing room. They are all playing with heads down as soon as we kick off + their is zero on field leadership.


I have no idea what it could be either, but it would be disastrous if the guys are already disappointed with Arteta’s conservative tactics against a team like Villa as it reeks of Emery-era Arsenal. I know I’d need consoling as captain of the team if my job is to score goals and heading on to the pitch I knew, knew that I’d get but 1 or 2 chances to do that in 90 minutes.

Joseph Kawooya

No, the rains were over the normal, we couldn’t play the Arteta ground ball thus generally restricted our capacity. How come less people see this about Arsenal teams.

Pete Plum

Lack of communication on the pitch mirrored by micromanagement on the sidelines…

Pete Plum

That was a criticism of Arteta but just for the record I still have a lot of hope for him. From afar it looked like Emery was the only one at the club who truly believed in his own plans, don’t want that to happen with Arteta

Naked Cygan

Under Emery we finished the 5th. We had 4th in the bag, just needed to beat palace at home and somehow finished 5th. Let’s see where we finish under Arteta in his full season. I know we won the FA cup which was great, and we are beating some big 6 teams, but overall looking at our performancess so far under Arteta we have been boring as fk. We don’t take enough shots, players are under performing, and we are dominated by Villa. Things need to change and change fast or we will have to look for a new manager… Read more »


Terrible comparison for so many reasons.

Covid, no fans, packed schedule, inherited dissenting/low moral players, first job etc. I could go on, but the point should be clear enough.


Fair point, but having no fans is not an excuse for any Arsenal manager these days; it’s a massive advantage. Our fans can’t destroy the players’ moral like they have done pretty much ever since that Eboue substitution twelve years ago.

Naked Cygan

1. There are 19 other clubs with no fans in the leauge.
2. There are 19 other clubs impacted by covid.
3.There are many other teams struggling with packed schedules.
4. There are many teams having issues with players with low moral.
5. Most of our players were rested for the Villa game.
6. There is no excuse see Villa dominate us 3-0 at home. It could have been worse.
7. Your lack of excuses are Terrible.
8. I suggest you watch some games.


I really like Arteta and think he’s going to be a good manager, but you are right that this is a real test of his ability at this point. He has more or less fixed the defense, but has done so by setting the team up so defensively that we rarely create changes – we’re averaging 3 shots on target per game. The cup run was brilliant but we also were converting almost 50% of our shots during those games – we only had 4 shots against Chelsea for instance and scored 2. That simply doesn’t work long run. You’re… Read more »


Yes. MA is going to have to find some offense somewhere, as now the all important balance has moved too far to the defense. One thing he could do immediately is up tempo on transitions. At least three times on Sunday, we got a turnover and immediately passed sideways or backwards (back into their press at least once)to wait for our defense to come into the play. But to make that work he will need to have a couple of decent passers on the wings and Auba through the middle. For me that would be Pepe and Saka, as both… Read more »


Exactly, the speed of our transitions are the key to our success. The players in the current ‘first team’ have been slow or negative when we turn the ball over. Funnily enough the ‘second team’ playing in the Europa league have been better on the transition, moving forward quicker, getting the ball up the pitch rather than turning and passing back.
Both teams are playing with the same tactics, so this makes me feel its a player issue. You need runners who can travel with the ball like Willock, Nelson and Pepe.

Pete Plum

I’m not even sure he’s fixed the defence given all 3 goals, in particular the first and 3rd, could have been prevented by Sunday League standard marking. To be fair theres been a lot of churn with the players so hopefully we will get that solid defensive unit, and free up the rest of the team a little, but we sure aren’t there yet..


You’re right. It’s a results business. Arteta is very well media-trained and the platitudes roll off his tongue, but in the cold light of day the results haven’t been there. At the end of the season we need to closely at whether the improvement on Emery is evident.


The problem with Arteta is that he had a total lack of experience in charge of a club, any club, before joining us. He never had to deal with the problems he’s got at Arsenal while he was assistant to Pep at City. So who/what does he draw on? I doubt Edu can be of that much help as his experience is mainly with national teams – a very different proposition. For me, that is a worry in these difficult times.


This is how coaches and managers learn — on the job. That is how they grow; with trial and error. It is crucial that we are patient enough to allow him his fair share of failures as he rebuilds this club. He’s shown he has what it takes, and we shouldn’t forget that after a massive disappointment. Imagine if we had two weeks to soak in the United victory rather than the Villa loss… Arteta played enough football himself and worked with some outstanding footballing minds (Wenger, Pep) to know what comes next. I think Arteta was hoping that another… Read more »


Arsene Wenger is probably only a phone call away. He advised Arteta – publicly – to include Mesut Özil in his Premiership Squad and Arteta ignored that advice.

I like Arteta, but at the moment, he is learning the hard way – and we’ve lost four Premiership games in the first eight game weeks.

That’s relegation form.

Cranky Colin

Reading Arseblog this morning, regarding the Willian/ Pepe situation, I was saddened that what has been looming was mentioned In the article……….. is “favouritism “ in play here?
I have huge faith in Mikel ( it’s taken a battering however recently) and am horrified that his integrity is now being full on questioned.


Playing Lacazette as a midfield destroyer, fullbacks as wingers and then sending in midfielders to cover those fullbacks might be part of what is wrong. Couple that with our best goalscorer on the wing and it is most players in their unflavoured position.

Maybe it is all a bit too clever.


Although I clearly favour Pepe over Willian, I would not be too hard on Laca just yet. Laca is deployed in a role similar to Firmino at Liverpool. Despite the fact that Liverpool is a vastly superior attacking team, they both have similar goal/assist stats since last season. Laca was also key to the victory at Old Trafford. I do worry deeply about the state of our attacking play. However, I also believe people despair a bit too much. The current mood would have been a lot different if we had taken 2 points from Liverpool, City and Leicester games-Three… Read more »


Also to be fair- Guardiola’s first season was shite even with superior players at his disposal, then he went on and spent nearly 300 million in his second season. Mourinho’s first stint at Chelsea was also built on heavy spending in a league which was far less competitive in comparison to these days.

Heavenly Chapecoense

22 unbeaten run is a rock-solid performance whether it is under Emery or not.


I wasn’t trying to be hard on Lacazette. Deploying him as a midfielder is leaving him exhausted by the time a chance comes and now confidence has completely gone.

I also think Aubameyang on the wing has two downsides. Firstly our best striker is never there when a chance comes and then he is blocking players with far more creativity from the left.

Merlin’s Panini

If it’s not working it’s not clever.


Agreed mate, isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome??!!

Now Arteta is presumably a clever chap, and needs to realise quickly that the system isn’t working and change it. If that means changing formation and personnel so be it. We need to get service to Auba, he will score..


I don’t think that’s a really pointer for this season as it’s very different from the last one. First, expectation is (or was, anyway) far higher for this season than it was when Arteta took over partially because of that cup win and also because of the money spent in the transfer market. Unfortunately, that potential double boost has largely dissolved now in light of the poor overall performance so far. Let’s not forget that, last season, we had the lowest finish in the PL for many seasons and were only 90 minutes away from no European football also for… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Our net spend was actually down from previous years.

2020 – £60m
2019 – £95m
2018 – £65m
2017 – £90m

I’m not sure that expectations were raised due to transfer activity. I think they were raised because for the first time in over a decade, we seemed to have a direction and some stability.

Obviously things haven’t gone great but I still see our issues as teething problems as apposed to gaping systemic issues.

Saka is right, in my opinion, to call for positivity. A lot of clubs will lose a lot of games this season.


I’m not sure you understand the definition of the word “stability” if you think we are more stable now than we were at any point in the last decade. Look at our league positions every year. These post-Wenger years have been the most unstable since George Graham was taking bungs whilst overseeing a mild relegation battle.


Sake’s a very young player with an experienced head on his shoulders. huge potential – and he appears not to get too down. I think it’s time to give Pepe and Reiss a run of games – could it be any worse? MA8 and most bloggers agreed with him that it would take a couple years minimum to get the players he needs and change the way we play. One (bad) loss shouldn’t cause so much criticism. He’s improved the defence – everything can’t be done overnight. I think the attack will improve once Martinelli comes back. Hugely disappointed with… Read more »

Man Manny

It’d be easier to stay positive if Arteta picked the team on merit.
How Lacazette and Willian still make the first 11 week in, week out is baffling.
Lacazette could be understood…at least he tries; but Willian is indefensible at the moment.
I’d play Pepe all day.
Joe Willock deserves a look in too.


The weird thing is Lacazette has a goal every 2nd game in the league this season. He looks very poor because he is playing out of position really. I guess the front 3 is a V shape and most of the time there is nobody in the box.


Bad form is not just Laca. Auba is not scoring either. He scored from left side last season so this is a lame excuse frankly that he is not played in the middle. Very convenient to highlight surreptitiously certain players and ignore others. So we have Magalhaes and Holding (Plus Tierney not Kolasinac), no Mustafi, no Xhaka and we go down 3 goals without reply Instead some people prefer to highlight scoring end only (which is a problem) Last season, Unai Emery wasn’t doing any worse than this season Arteta. Some how with Arteta, these same people will keep crying… Read more »

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