Report: Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal (inc. goals)

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Result: Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal
Competition: Europa League
Date: 29 April 2021
Venue: Estadio de la Cerámica

Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka, Partey, Ceballos, Saka, Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Pepe

Subs: Ryan, Okonkwo, Bellerin, Gabriel, Cedric, Luiz, Elneny, Willian, Nelson, Nketiah, Martinelli, Aubameyang


Nicolas Pepe’s penalty ensures Arsenal are still in with a chance of making the Europa League final after we escaped Villarreal with a 2-1 defeat.

The home side were well in charge by the half-hour mark when Raul Albiol added to Manu Tigueros’ early opener but Unai Emery’s side failed to take advantage of Dani Ceballos’ second half red card before being reduced to ten men themselves when Etienne Capoue was booked twice in quick succession. Sandwiched between the sendings off, Pepe kept his cool from 12-yards after Saka had won a spot-kick.

It’s all to play for at the Emirates next week. The prize looks likely to be a showdown with Manchester United who beat Roma 6-2 at Old Trafford.

Pre-game 

Mikel Arteta’s declaration that Kieran Tierney, Alex Lacazette, David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were all fit proved to be mind games. While the latter pair made the bench none were included in the starting lineup. When the lineup was announced our lack of a proper striker was the main talking point. Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka were the most advanced players in attack but with Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe buzzing around them, it was a fluid setup. At the back, Granit Xhaka started at left-back, Calum Chambers at right-back and Pablo Mari partnered Rob Holding. Dani Ceballos and Thomas Partey anchored the midfield.

First Half

The game still seemed to be settling into its rhythm when Villarreal caught us out with an early punch in the gut. With a couple of quick passes, they sprung our midfield allowing right-back Juan Foyth to burst forward and find Samu Chukwueze. The winger, who once upon a time nearly signed for us, came off the right flank to nip inside a back-peddling Xhaka and when the ball fell kindly to Manu Tigueros he drilled a low shot first time under Leno. The goal was met by a roar of approval from Unai Emery who was full of his usual greasy energy. Not a good start. (1-0)

Villarreal are a tight, organised unit but they also seemed happy to cede control of the ball and bit-by-bit we started to pen them in. Twice we found Pepe in dangerous positions against Foyth, twice he failed to deliver meaningful end product. But it was promising. 

Dani Ceballos was doing alright in midfield. Until he wasn’t. For a while, he was composed on the ball in tight spaces and kept us moving, but when he lost the ball on 28 minutes, we were immediately on the back foot. Villarreal won a corner and when the ball was whipped in, Moreno flicked a header to the back post where veteran centre-back Raul Albiol, completely unmarked, volleyed into the top corner from close range. It was disastrous defending. (2-0)

We thought we had a route back into the game within a couple of minutes when Pepe was tripped in the box by Foyth. The penalty was given but VAR overruled for a handball in the buildup. There could be no complaints, accidental or not, he clearly controlled the ball with his arm. 

Foyth was Villarreal’s worst and best player simultaneously. He looked very vulnerable at the back but on the ball, he was a key outlet. We repeatedly let him charge up the pitch and it kept taking us by surprise. In the closing stages of the half, Ceballos, who has the pace of a snail, had little choice but to make a cynical foul on the Argentinean as he threatened to shoot from outside the box. He went in the book. Thankfully, Leno made light work of claiming Paco Alcacer’s free-kick. 

Second Half

With a two-goal lead to protect, Emery sent on ex-Gunner Francis Coquelin to sure up his midfield. It was a conservative moe. Arteta probably should have made a change of his own but he left Ceballos on and promptly watched his compatriot make another clumsy challenge. The midfielder was walking a tightrope with the referee. 

We certainly played with a bit more zip following the half time team talk – Pepe had a half chance blocked – but it was glaringly obvious that we’d benefit from an actual striker in the box. Our attackers were hardly aerial monsters. 

On 58 minutes, Ceballos got the red card that had been coming. To be fair, he was pretty unlucky as he tried to steal the ball deep in the Villarreal half but the referee had no qualms reaching for his pocket. The Arsenal players complained in numbers, Partey earned a booking of his own for dissent, but it made no difference. Arteta was furious, probably with himself as much as Ceballos. This was very much on the manager. 

With a man advantage, Villarreal tried to kill the game on the counter-attack. Leno denied Chukwueze and twice stopped Moreno. The first of those was a fantastic fingertip save to tip over the bar; it turned out to be tie-changing. 

In search of a goal, Arteta sent Martinelli on for Odegaard but clear cut chances continued to evade us. That was until Saka made a dart into the box, hung out a leg, made contact with Trigueros and won a penalty. Was it soft? Absolutely. Did we care? Not one jot. Nicolas Pepe was made to wait by the referee but he found the net by going straight down the middle. Better. (2-1)

Things went from bad to worse for the home side. Etienne Capoue, already booked, charged in on Saka, injured himself and earned a deserved second yellow. He suffered the ignominy of being presented with the red while on a stretcher. You could tell both sides had Arsenal managers in charge. 

Could we grab an unlikely equaliser? Aubameyang was sent on for the final five minutes but it was the home side who looked more likely to score. If anything, having wrestled our way back into contention we seemed happy to settle with a one-goal losing margin and our away goal. 

Deep into stoppage time, Auba got the chance he’d been sent on to convert. Played in by a fine Partey ball, he spun and shot but keeper Geronimo Rulli made the save.

After a terrible first hour, it was a gutsy performance from the guys who stayed on the pitch. They deserve credit for keeping themselves in the tie when it looked all but lost. That said, we can’t afford to make such a sluggish start next week.

“We’re still alive,” said Arteta afterwards. More by luck than judgment.

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Bob's Mexican Cousin

another heroic poor result #artetaout

C.B.

Could have been a lot worse given 2 down and playing with 10 men. Hope we can do better in the second leg.

Maniac

Considering how truly, utterly garbage we played this match, I will gladly take that 2-1 scoreline back to the Emirates. Live to fight another day is pretty much as positive as I can be after that performance.

goongot

Do we really want to blow our summer transfer (if any) for arteta or should we sack him ? I dont see an improvement, emery team was better and some1 pls xplain 93rd minute substitute when we are trailing and both team are 10 men. We always concede at emirates btw.

Kaj

Arteta was killing time, clearly everyone was settling for 2-1 at that point, even Leno was time wasting on his goalkick.

askblorg

form since Christmas, we are 2 points off of 4th and still in contention to get through to EPL final. but obviously we also had the form before Christmas, and just got outplayed in the first leg of the semi. I really like Arteta and would prefer we stuck with him. I think he’s been a little unlucky and also has some learning to do, but I think he’s worth risking another season for. If we get soundly beaten in the second leg, I won’t be defending him though.

Bleeding gums murphy

Xhaka cost us all momentum in last ten minutes.

magirlyeyes

Defended quite well in the end, but Cedric against their left-footed winger would surely have made more sense.

Henkamp

Nope, the stupidity of the decision-makers at this football club in not signing a backup for Tierney, cost us.

It’s because Tierney is injured that Arteta started to play Xhaka at LB. That allowed Ceballos to get a starting berth. And in order to make up for Xhaka’s weaknesses in LB, Arteta pushes Ceballos to the left and has only Partey playing in midfield.

I can only hope we will have Luiz (needed for his big-game experience), Tierney, and Laca fit for the second leg. Tonight’s performance was utter dog shit; especially in the first half.

Martin R

Quite the contrary. After Ceballos was sent off he played more in midfield and as usual was excellent. You must have an agenda against him.

Bleeding gums murphy

You are joking right, he lost the ball a number of times in last ten minutes. Played a pass straight across the goal which was unbelievably risky, could’ve give penalty away if forward had put his head in. There’s no agenda just he is shut left back 😂

filsuf

Dunno what game you watched but i’m pretty sure he remained at left back. He was good though. I thought Holding and Mari were poor as a partnership today.

FMT

Sadly, Holding’s limitations were too evident in that game

Ealing

He’s slow, can’t pass forward, can’t receive ball if playing from back, doesn’t command our 6 yard box. Has the occasional good game when marking a proven centre forward

Runcorn Gooner

Good news is that Ceballos is not available next week. We didn’t play well but are in with a great chance still.

Bergkamp2wright

Sadly it probably not the last time we’ll see him in an arsenal shirt.

filsuf

What happened to the Ceballos who got MOTM on his debut.

Petit's Handbag

He got Arsenalised, see Partey, Arshavin, Pepe…..this is a long list

Nketibag

I’m going to have to disagree. He was slightly less headless chicken tonight. Unlike many others who were playing it safe and hiding, he was making things happen and looking forward.

karl

I think you’re right about him being brave, but he doesn’t have the talent to back it up. Also he always takes a touch too much.

Mick Malthouse

We are not a good team. In fact, we’re shit.

karl

This should really be the last of Ceballos and the team struggle without Xhaka in midfield.

Oh, and Partey should be banned from shooting for the stars!

Jack

It was one great pass by Partey at the end for Auba, but as well as his shooting man needs to work on doing simple 5 yard passes

Jules

The partey we first saw and the partey we have now seem almost like 2 diff players, when he first played it almost seemed like he’d never lose the ball. Dunno what’s happened, confidence or form, but for every great thing he does in a match he messes up 2-3 basics. Really strange.

karl

Yes, it’s worrying. We didn’t get a lot outside of Old Trafford from him this year.

Remember when Pepe first arrived. He was flying past defenders like they weren’t there. Now he doesn’t really seem to beat his opponents much any more.

Hopefully we’re can get a coach that gives players more confidence rather than draining them of it.

Timorous Me

That at least feels like a classic story of opposing coaches and players figuring out how to negate some of his best attributes. This…I don’t know. It’s not down to defenders, though. Really feels like Partey just hasn’t been right since he returned from his latest injury, and it’s getting on a while now.

goonshow

He’s defs better at beating players when he’s cutting in from the right. Doesn’t have the space to step off his right onto stronger left when he’s pushed up against the left side.

assistantref

He joined Arsenal. It takes a couple weeks for the effects to start to show, but once they do, it’s often terminal.

Ealing

Partey misplaced a lot of passes

Shaolin

Was screaming at Partey to stop shooting for a while now.

myrtle

Too many midfielders not enough pace. That’s the game right there.

goonshow

And none (other than Thomas – who didn’t get the ball very deep on enough occasions last night) who will drive forward and pick out a decent through – the stop, stand, reverse/square pass malaise is only getting worse, it seems.
It is extremely frustrating! Numerous times last night, we had VR backpedalling after losing possession to us in our back 1/3, only to stop a fluid move, usually 10m either side of halfway – and pass it backwards!

efeli

Ceballos embodies everything that I hate about the current state of Arsenal.

magirlyeyes

Not

Henkamp

Very inconsistent. Man said the La Liga suits him the most and struggled against the 7th best team from that league. He can fuck right off!

TommyGun

Given how shambolic we were in the first half it could have been a lot worse. At least we are still in the tie.

Ceballos should never have been sent off but on the plus side it rules him out of the next game.

Arteta should have made changes sooner. They looked leggy and ran out of steam.

Johnny 4 Hats

Three things I never want to see again after tonight: Conceding in the first 5 mins Setting up with a false nine Dani Ceballos Second best all night against a team with two Spud rejects and Coq in. One guy was on loan at Leeds. Fuck me. They made us look poor. People will say we played better second half but that was only because they welcomed us onto them. We’re super lucky to still be in this. Were it not for a really dumb penalty, we wouldn’t be. Respect to Unai. He out managed Arteta with a much worse… Read more »

atom

That’s kind of the story of the season though isn’t it? This team has looked like less than the sum of its parts for the vast majority of this year. We’re floundering in the PL in a season when 4th very much was in reach if we simply could put together any consistency. Our EL knock outs have required us to go put in terrific performances to make up for the 1st leg against pretty average opposition. There’s a real decision to be made on Arteta/Edu no matter how the EL turns out this year – we can’t afford another… Read more »

Ealing

If we go through this round, and we should, it’s all on a final and if we win you can’t knock down a manager with three trophies in 1 snd half seasons.
If we lose it’s all on Arteta’s team selection on first leg. He had martinelli available and decide to gamble on an experiment for the biggest game of our season

Hank Scorpio

No need for respect. There’s a long line of managers who’ve ‘out-managed’ Arteta with much worse sides. It is evidently not a difficult thing to do.

Johnny 4 Hats

One thing I will say about Unai. After seeing him put together a really well organised team tonight and hearing about his conversation he had with Arteta, I feel guilty and wrong for giving him so much grief when he was at Arsenal. We need to respect and stand behind our managers. If we can’t show the manager of the club we love that we respect and support him, then who can we respect? It was impressive seeing Unai’s team tonight and no more than he deserves after the shit he got at PSG and then Arsenal. Fair play to… Read more »

Thessaloniki

Emery had us on the ropes and brought in Coq for a striker. Shows why he wasn’t the answer either.

Mentalista

Arteta with the false 9s. Emery with Torreira as false 10. Can we get a manager who doesn’t suck at maths? Maybe one with an engineering or economics degree…

unai

good ebening johnny. Thanks for the compliments but I couldn’t communicate well with my players and subsequently lost the dressing room.

Henkamp

Whatever made him decide to play with a false nine? And then refuse to make changes at halftime? It’s just crazy

unai

Pep.

Goodly morning

Poundshop Pep.

unai

Pep also tells him what to wear every day.

Goodly morning

Primark Pep.

European Pooper League

TK Max Pep. Seriously though, think he does need more time, experience, a couple of transfer windows, a non-crazy COVID season maybe, and clearing out the deadwood. Or we could always take Mourinho. He’s available lol. Maybe Hansi Flick.

Bort

Not sure about much worse side. Torres, Parejo, Chukwueze, Moreno are actually pretty good, and Pedraza, Trigueros, Alcacer are not bad at all.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, you’re probably right. I don’t know much about them as a team. I just looked at Capoue and Coq and remembered neither of them being great in the prem. I would say neither of them would get in this Arsenal team. I would say that…

goonshow

I can tell that they have the most effective strike partnership in La Liga this season – bar none.

unai

they aren’t bad but nothing like the 50m-75m signings on our squad.

Ordnance Dave

I dunno Johnny. These players are massively overpriced frauds. Emery wasn’t exactly pulling up trees with these “superstars” either.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I wondered when somebody would mention that false 9

Arteta is no Pep, and Arsenal are definitely no Man City or Spain. Who does he think he is trying that in a Europa League semi final, away from home? He’s trying to be too clever for his own good, and that might just be his downfall

Atom

Almost wonder if Arteta really needs Pep level players to succeed. The issue is there aren’t a lot of managers who walk into Real or Barca in their first job….

Comedian

Behind the scenes is no excuse for Arteta. How he still doesnt know his best 11 is kinda making me doubt him? Just glad we still in the tie thanks individual brilliance than tactics. I was very critical of emery for this very reason, but Arteta system aint there yet…..he just has to get us over the line now.

bob

Can’t really talk about best 11 when we have so many players out/barely returning from injury. We have Xhaka at LB ffs.

In that respect, todays result is fine. We will bring them back to London and have Tierney back, and Xhaka in midfield instead of Ceballos. Plus Auba back up top!

Today we just had to not completely lose the whole tie. We did that, it’s halfway, and we can still easily go through. Everything to play for!

Timorous Me

I’m not about to defend the false nine–it didn’t work and I was skeptical when we first saw it–but I think it’s important to appreciate what Arteta is dealing with in terms of the selection headaches right now due to injury/illness. In terms of his best XI, I think we do know who he would choose (with maybe a toss up or two, like Mari vs. Gabriel or Auba vs. Laca) if he had everyone available.

Ealing

The choice is Between a false 9 team and Martinelli in the squad which gives you threat of running at players

SB Still

We have a huge mountain to climb, typical Arsenal, never take the easy way.

SB Still

Now let’s hear Arteta’s excuse

filsuf

easy. he just blames himself. everything else is non-negotiable.

Jac

A 1-0 win at home is not a huge mountain to climb

Jack

I don’t know what’s worse – not bringing on any subs at half time despite having 5 available and being 2-0 down with Ceballos on a yellow, or using 2 of those subs at 94 minutes bringing on Willian and Elneny to ‘see out the game’ for 15 seconds

Jules

Arteta has never been great with subs, but even for him this was dreadful.

Eyob

Are you saying there some things Arteta is good at?

Lucas

he talks good in press conferences

Bort

Good hairline as well

Okemeister

There has to be some kind of appearance clause in Williams contract, otherwise why the fuck does he keep getting on the pitch. I assume he got an appearance bonus for his 30 seconds on the pitch.

truj

Hopefully there’s a disappearance clause too.

Tommmy

I Actually laughed at the elneny/willian 94:40 subs. The worst and most pointless double sub I’ve ever seen.

myrtle

Willian has an appearance bonus though

B JACK

He drew that one up on his clipboard before he sent them in… Willian corner… headed clear… Elneny touch to settle and whoa a bullet into the top corner from 20 yds out.

goonshow

Time killing.

Bergkamp2wright

If the Emirates was full we’d be singing “you don’t know what your doing”

Bergkamp2wright

*you’re

Mentalista

…and nobody at the Madrigal would’ve heard?

Bergkamp2Wright

Spanish people have very good hearing.

HenryKamp

Or you’re getting sacked in the morning!

Henkamp

I screamed at the TV when I saw him making those last couple of changes. We were essentially killing time while losing.

Red Arrow

With 30 secs to go we have a corner. We have 2 great headers of the ball on the bench – Gabriel and Luiz but………..what do I know! I don’t have a coaching badge.

Thessaloniki

Where to start. Experimental line up/tactics, we don’t trouble the opposition AT ALL for most of the match. We all knew Ceballos was going to get sent off.  Decision to leave him on was complacency and/or stubbornness at best. My trust in the process has been foundationally shaken today.

Bort

Same, I was on the ‘lets give him another season to really settle’ wagon, but I think the Elneny/Willian sub at 94′ was the last blow to my faith. We’re going nowhere with that kind of mentality/game plan (if you can even call it a plan)

Jac

I’d love to see some of these people who knew Ceballos was going to get sent off know it *before* he got sent off.

Blob

Disappointing to watch this team of snails. Martinelli should’ve started.

myrtle

I agree blob.
I called for Pepe Martinelli and Saka two days ago. He changed the game.

bored

I think there were a couple of times when Leno went long and was able to find Martinelli and/or Pepe down the left, and that’s good to see. I am not advocating route one football, but it is important to vary the attack to keep the opponent guessing.

goonshow

Problem is still Leno’s distribution though – SEVEN (yes, I counted) long/medium-long out-balls either into touch or straight to opposition without even a 50/50 challenge.
That is just not good enough.

Sean

As disappointing as the entire first hour of this game was, that final 15 minutes (up until the Auba chance at least) had me shouting at the screen. Never mind creating a chance, from the moment they went down to ten men, we barely even put a decent passage of play together. As unlikely as it was, there was a genuine chance to take a positive result back to the Emirates. And trust us in the state we’re in at the moment to do absolutely sweet f*ck all with that opportunity.

Public Elneny

Thank god Villarreal are almost as self destructive as we are

Baichung Bhutia

Exactly. We have met our true match in Emery’s Villarreal.

Bergkamp2wright

They are shit.

Emery DNA.

Thessaloniki

Capoue/Foyth have Spursy DNA.

Jake Flavell

That’s what gives me a bit of hope – Emery definitely has the pedigree for throwing it all away in second legs…

filsuf

what happened to the unai emery sides that would allow 20-30 shots on goal per game. we only managed a penalty and auba’s shot in the dying minutes.

yen

I am what some might call an ‘Arteta backer’ but he got it terribly wrong tonight. The writing has been on the wall early on: moving Xhaka back to midfield and switching Cedric for Ceballos was the move to be made at HT even if it wasn’t for his yellow. The fact he got sent off was of zero surprise to me.

Anyway, it’s still on.

Tommmy

Arteta got it all wrong tonight. Saka saved the day and a stupid spuds players helped too.

Thessaloniki

I’m in the same camp, but I don’t get his decisions tonight at all. All of sudden we absolutely must have Xhaka at LB? We lose midfield control, it’s not like he’s overlapping, maybe playing out of the back better? But even then when they pressed us in the first half we couldn’t pass through them. Can anyone think why he is so wedded to this idea?

Jules

Maybe next week we’ll have Tierney and I don’t think even Arteta would play xhaka at left back instead of him.

Once a gunner

Hundred percent with you

Jules

Not the kind of performance expected from a semi final. However, we got the away goal, onwards and forwards, let’s beat them at home and salvage something from this shitshow of a season.

truj

At least that useless clown won’t play the next game.

Walter White

As Justin Bieber says: “never say never”

Sean

Jesus, not the sort of throwback I was expecting to see on here 😅

Who?

Truther

Ceballos, stay out there please.

Gunner08

Ok it wasn’t the best result. Should we freak out yet? No, we’ve fallen apart every leg and still somehow advanced. I’m beginning to think this is arteta master plan. To just make every gunner fan absolutely freak out

A very disorganised game. I don’t know what Mikel was thinking with this starting line-up. He’s not Guardiola nor does he have Objectively speaking. I think both Emery and Arteta managed this match poorly. Unai made changes to his side far too early and Mikel far too late. Looks like whoever wins on aggregate next week will be facing Manchester United in the final. It’s been downhill for both Ceballos and Arteta since the FA Cup win. Hopefully both of them won’t be here come the start of next season. Only positive was seeing the Spud lads Foyth and Capoue… Read more »

atom

We don’t make things easy do we? The false 9 largely has worked for Pep b/c those Messi & Debruyne fellows are pretty good. ESR doesn’t really carry the same threat. At least we have a chance with the away goal but going to need to play far better than this to have any chance of winning the EL

Jules

ESR struggled in the false 9 for sure, but he certainly wasn’t helped by our complete lack of midfield – no one was feeding him, at times it felt like we couldn’t string three passes together that first half. Xhaka has done a decent shift at left back but surely he needs to come back next to partey next game. Hopefully Tierney is fit by then!

Bort

And if he isn’t, I hope we go with cedric/chambers lb instead of Xhaka at lb and Elneny in midfield. Sadly I think Artrta will go for the latter

Tomaury Bischfeld

That wasn’t as bad as it could have been and that’s the best there is to say about it.

Maybe the Ceballos sending off will mean Arteta is forced to play his best central midfield pairing.

Capoue getting red carded on the stretcher was funny.

Jules

Capoue getting red carded on the stretcher made me laugh out loud, surely that’s a meme begging to happen. Best moment of the night.

Zenithreptile

In what way was it funny? What’s funny about a professional footballer having to be taken off a pitch on a stretcher?

I get he was a Spud, but stupid comment.

Jimbo

As if he was really hurt. Embarrassed, perhaps

Zenithreptile

OK Doctor

Jimbo

No problem. Next!

filsuf

i laughed therefore its funny

Tomaury Bischfeld

Youre right theres nothing funny about him being injured. It was just the referee hovering around someone in great pain itching to do it and then pointlessly brandishing it as he was going off anyway. That was absurd. Thats where the humour was, not the injury.

Zenithreptile

OK I get it. Yeah it was mad, as if showing a red card was a really exciting special-treat-kind-of-a-thing to get to do..

Tomaury Bischfeld

If you find it funny yourself, best have a think with the old noggin before you say someone has made a stupid comment then.

Javoroncov

Arteta needs to be sacked. End of.

Bergkamp2wright

If we don’t win the the Europa then yes I agree.

Lanre

We ain’t winning shit. What a joke!

Bergkamp2wright

Certainly a big if.

Even if we miraculously win the Europa League. He still needs to go imo.

Our main priority was to improve on our league position since Arsene Wenger’s departure and he’s actually worsened our standing. The man can’t even manage 4 league wins in a row. That’s downright disgraceful.

filsuf

arteta has a good record against Man Utd though. Let him win the trophy then sack him.

Qwaliteee

He hasn’t got a clue. The longer he stays the worse things will get. Ditto Kroenke.

Jay

Arteta is just not a very good manager, to state the obvious. And unlike what many here seem to think, I don’t think he’s particularly likeable either. He acts like a know-it-all and has an unfounded arrogance despite having very little to show for it. That same arrogance leads to him refusing to change anything whatsoever during a game despite everybody else seeing the obvious. To make no subs at HT.. Had enough of him. But of course, only a club like Arsenal would give a newbie trainee coach tenure status. Shambles of a club. 10th in the league, will… Read more »

eternalflamini

I dont mind him being arrogant or amazing but I do mind this over coached pep-lite bollocks. So sick of it, results aside.

Jules

Let’s just say, Arsenal are probably the only “big” club that won’t sack a manager in 10th place with 5 games to go and our only shot at a trophy/champions league spot hanging by a thread.

Jay

Of course everyone with some sort of sense and zero bias will see there are many reasons Arteta is not going to work, but probably the most obvious one is that he NEVER learns. Any manager worth their salt will see an error they have made and act accordingly to rectify it. But this man has yet to learn from any of his mistakes, from what I can remember. Going back to 2019.

Absolute waste of a season and a half

Santori

Absolutely agree. The standards of this club should be higher. What we got when Wenger left was the Kroenkes took advantage, hollowed out the club. First they had Mslintat (not that he was great) taken out and self serving Sanlehi on reigns and then they degraded it further with Venkatashem (nothing against him but not a football man). Any challenge to them there neutralized with mediocrity in place. Then they put in Edu wholly inexperienced and beholden to them instead of spending money and getting in proper football people like Campos at Lille or Overmaars. Ambition. And of course add… Read more »

Javoroncov

In almost every line of work, being a novice + arrogance is a recipe for disaster

Ealing

You can cut out almost

Swifty

Cracking game of Kroenkeball for the neutrals.

The_Golden_Wrigglesworth

Mutually Assured Self-Destruction.

Goldfingered

A 2-1 defeat isn’t that bad but then you look at the home record…. Jesus what a mess this club is.

Badaab

The penalty saved arteta’s job, but for how long? Tactical ineptitude on full display tonight- everyone could see ceballos was off the pace after the booking, yet the manager did nothing.

Disarmed Gunner

I think Arteta has never heard the concept of being proactive.

Hank Scorpio

Barring a miracle or owner apathy, he’ll hopefully be out soon enough. It’s like that tv show where they place someone with no relevant skills in a job and see if they can fool people. Sorry Mikel but I think most people have spotted you as an imposter.

Tombo

Make some fucking subs!

Disarmed Gunner

Roger that. Elneny coming on with 10 seconds to go in 3,2,1…

Okemeister

He does – just more often than not, they’re for fucking Willian

RedandWhite

So lose to Villarreal or Man United in the final? We aren’t winning this competition, don’t get your hopes up. Would rather lose to Villarreal than to Man United tbh. Every time this team steps on a pitch they come up with new levels of fuckery to show how shit they are.

Wiltoooooooooord !!!

Most of our quick touches, one time passes and attempted through balls were seemed to be near our penalty area.

Years ago, I remember Mo said Arsene advised to control his shooting urges. Someone should pass that on to Partey.

Don’t want to be negative but we were so dull, if nothing else

Santori

You don’t score playing around your own box. OTOH you run the risk of a mistake. Slow build up and too many passes to get where we need to be is Arteta’s game. He’s inculcated more discipline but it can be over mechanical much of the time with too many players static waiting rather than pushing dynamically to open spaces or go forward in NUMBERS. Far too methodical and lacking the freedom higher up to go for jugular or handbrakes off with creativity. If this is the future of Arsenal…how people concluded so early on he was some sort of… Read more »

Bergkamp2wright

90 minutes to prove he’s the right manager IMO. Sick of these turgid below par performances.

Disarmed Gunner

Tonight wasn’t enough for you? He was saved by a penalty that never was. Villarreal sat back and let us back in. If they had continued as they were in the first half we would still be seeing Arteta scratching his chin. He got exposed massively and this isn’t even top level.

Man Manny

Considering how poor the team played, 1-2 is not a bad result. A better team would have blown us away. Misplaced passes all over the pitch.
If Tierney and Laca are fit for next week, we are in with a chance, but we need to raise our game big time. An early goal would help.
I expect Emery to pack the bus and seek to catch us on the break.

But how bad was the referee!
That Auba yellow was diabolical.
Did someone else notice how slippery the pitch was?

Torterrier

Tierney has to play next week, even if he’s got one working leg.

Glocken

We are still in the tie, no thanks to Arteta.

Terrible starting eleven.
Terrible tactics.
Terrible decision to play & keep on Ceballos, who shouldn’t play again for us.

We were very lucky. One of Arteta’s assistants needs to have a word in his ear, he’s not learning from his mistakes.

His assistant coaches are bang average too. I was hoping he’d replace them before this season started but true to his nature, Arteta will only make replacements when it’s too late.

Stuivenberg was Van Gaal’s assistant at Man Utd. Round was Moyes’ assistant at Man Utd & Everton. And we all know how it ended for LVG and Moyes at Utd.

Santori

He won’t. He’s too arrogant.

Shitbird

“You could tell both sides had Arsenal managers in charge.” 



Chipper 49

Another zinger from Blogs! 😁

Mentalista

Breaking news: Team with no strikers sets up to defend and creates zero chances.

On actual news: VAR errs in our favour. Poor dive from Saka. Meh. It’s hard to care about anything at this stage.

RockyRog58

Square pegs round holes = We got what we deserved Thanks Arteta !!! Btw Martinelli has to play every game now ! How do we keep Tierney at Arsenal ? Why oh why experiment in such a big game ? Perplexed & pi**ed off in equal measures !!!

Cannon Heart

Lucky result but we were due some of that given what transpired the last couple of games. Need a new manager for the next season though. One who will not play our second best midfielder as a left back or play a young midfielder great at driving runs and link-up play as a lone striker. A stinker from Arteta yet again

Fatgooner

We should be out. Pathetic performance with hopeless team selection and tactics by Arteta. How about subbing a rubbish player when he’s on a yellow, Arteta?

Maybe our name’s on the cup!

Bergkamp2wright

Bossed by emerY lolz.

Tombo

Keown looks ready to murder someone. If Tierney is fit I think we win next week. Xhaka has to play in the middle. Well played Pepe

Jean Ralphio

Artetas inexperience is no excuse for not taking off Ceballos. Everyone saw the red coming. I would pay Madrid to take Ceballos back. He has fucking cost us games and the pictures in the tunnel before the game really fucked me off. Get him out this club. Really poor. We desperately need Tierney back and Xhaka in midfield. Why not just put on Cedric? Xhaka sticking out a leg in a tackle is scary too. Holding didn’t do too bad but we really need Luiz back. He was too eager at times and can’t pick the right pass. After all… Read more »

GunnerASH79

This result and performance is all on Arteta. We were getting overrun in midfield in the first half and he dont bring Xhaka into midfield and everybody and his granny could see Ceballos was gonna get sent off after he already got away for a second yellow earlier. And somebody please tell Partey to stop shooting ffs. We are extremely lucky to still be in this.

Disarmed Gunner

Tonight we witnessed a man drown in front of us, but get thrown the mother of all lifelines. That wasn’t a penalty, but we will take it. So many areas where Arteta went wrong that you could write a dissertation on it. Arteta should ask Emery to give him a lesson about tactics. Awful performance, somehow still in it, but looking a million miles away from actually winning it.

Rich

If Arsenal fans were dogs, someone would just put us out of our misery, we’ve suffered enough

That performance summed up our season, it was absolutely dire

We’re so broken

Qwaliteee

Oh I dunno.

When I think about that lot up the Seven Sisters Road and how long it is since they won anything, I almost feel pity for them.

Almost. 🤣

Jimbo

What a weird game. looked like we were in for a drubbing after the second goal, then we looked loads better in the second half. The ref had an absolute shocker, no doubt about it. When will Arteta learn to use subs effectively? Villareal were there for the taking round the sixty minute mark, but waiting until the fourth minute of injury time to make two changes? Still, despite being outplayed we’re still in the competition, we’ll have them at the Emirates. Come on the Arsenal!!

Disarmed Gunner

Not sure what game you were watching but if we looked “loads better” (which I don’t think we did as a step up from shit is still pretty shit) then it would be because Villarreal decided to sit back and protect their lead. Then we got a penalty that never was. The end. We never looked threatening. If Emery didn’t get cold feet and pushed on he could have buried us there and then. We were beyond lucky

Jimbo

I thought we looked better in the second half. The pen might have been lucky, but I’m not complaining. They’re a good team, away from home, and we’re not out of it. Cry into your beer if you want but I reckon we’ll do them at home

Disarmed Gunner

No beer tonight as it’s 4 am here. And can’t say I’ve ever been brought to tears by this team. The brink of despair? Yes. Unshakeable depression? Sure. But never tears. You reckon we’ll do them at home but I reckon we’ll do the standard which is to do ourselves. One thing is for sure: Arteta has the devil’s luck.

Jimbo

I agree with you really. But you gotta have hope

Goonerink

Come off it guys, ceballos had a poor game after half decent showings in this system.
he was ridiculously unlucky with the second yellow.*

mikel got it wrong, but you can’t blame the players effort.

*the ref was really card happy, capoue and auba slipped, and partey got one for talking to the ref even though he was last to arrive?

Ealing

The first foul was cynical/ technical. Refs don’t like that. At the restart Ceballos was late and fouled the opponent. Villareal players asked for a second yellow. Ref said no, it’s just a foul and looked at Ceballos. The writing was on the wall for a second yellow. Arteta should have subbed him there and then.

Martin

That was utter garbage and somehow we’re still in this tie. A 1-0 win does it but the chances of keeping a clean sheet is minuscule so will probably need 3/4. The performance with 10 men was impressive but as soon as it went 10v10 we hid in our shell again. The mentality of this team so fragile and you do wonder if we have it in us next week, Fingers crossed we do although I’m not sure I fancy another European final spanking to an English side.

Ealing

I think we were being over-run

ArmsAndEther

LMAO: “…Unai Emery who was full of his usual greasy energy.”

Jimbo

That made me laugh too! Perfect

Praying for the return of Tierney for the second leg.

RockyRog58

How can we keep KT when big clubs come in after we produce dross like this ? I fear we lose him with Arteta in charge

truj

That mentality with the double change in the last minute when we had a little momentum is making me sick. Without passion.