Arteta calls on Laca and Auba to lead youngsters


Mikel Arteta is pleased he can now call on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette and says he’s relying on Arsenal’s senior players to take his young squad to another level.

Both strikers were ruled out of the Gunners’ opening game of the season at Brentford after testing positive for Covid-19 and while Aubameyang returned to feature briefly against Chelsea, Lacazette has only just been cleared for a return to training.

It’s unclear at this point whether the duo will be included in the squad to face West Brom in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday but it might not be a bad idea for them to blow off the cobwebs before a daunting trip to Manchester City on Saturday. So far this season, Arsenal have failed to score in back-to-back league defeats.

“That’s really good news because we really need them,” said Arteta of the pair’s return to fitness.

“We know that a big part of what we want to do, as I’ve mentioned before, is going to be determined in the boxes and these are the two players that have the biggest goal threat in the team.

“They are both so important to us as they are able to put that ball in the net. We need them firing, we need them at their best and the team has to help them to deliver that.

“I think we sometimes get really carried away because of the youth, the quality and the talent and the potential that we have through the squad.

“But the ones that are going to determine our success and who have to lead our success are the senior players.

“These are the ones who have to drive everybody else and then our young players and our development players, they have to be adding to that.

“The base and the foundation should be giving them that. They have that responsibility and hopefully, when we have all the players back fit and healthy, they will be the drivers of that and the leaders of that.”

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Hank Scorpio

That’s great in principle and hopefully they can uplift the general mood and support and drive the youngsters but the biggest issue is because of the way we play we can’t get them involved enough. It makes things more difficult when you’re often on the periphery. WBA Wednesday. Hopefully they’re involved and we can start to turn this season around.


Exactly — it’s a completely detrimental thing to say because it’s the system we’re playing is the reason why those guys are basically completely pacified and anonymous during games. I think Lacazette has around 2 or 3 touches inside the opposition’s box in a whole 90. Whereas someone like Salah has as many as 10 to 12. So basically Liverpool are able to get their wide forward into the box more often then we are able to get our actual striker.. As for Pierre… the guy is our most dangerous goal scorer who thrives on playing on the shoulder, and… Read more »

Man Manny

Ødegaard’s presence will benefit the team in many ways, one of which is ensuring Laca, and especially Auba, are not in the periphery.
Arsenal’s first 11 is not that bad; I am persuaded this team:
Leno, Chambers, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Partey, Ødegaard, ESR, Pepe and Auba, would not lose to Chelsea.
You could put Saka and Laca in place of Pepe and Auba there.


And u leave sambi who has been carrying THE team in midfield?

Man Manny

I think it is either him or Partey.




My best XI:

Chambers, White, Gabriel, Tierney
Lokonga, Partey
Saka, Odegaard, ESR

Bleeding gums murphy

The brightest spark (alongside Lokonga) has been Smith Rowe in the ten. With the right system, tactics and players around him we have the makings of a superstar. I don’t always agree with Merson as he is very extreme with his opinion but he has point saying signing odegarrd means pushing smith Rowe to the wing. It’s mental.


We saw last season how well they were functioning together, and this pre-season how ESR can’t shoulder the creative burden alone.

Given their respective footballing intelligence, I’m very confident about their association on the pitch.


Merson is a flipping moron. If we don’t have a proper #9 who can hold up the play and get on the end of crossed we need to create a different link between midfield and our direct forwards. The way to do that is using two technical attackers – ESR and Odegaard. And with ESR on the left that gives Tierney more space to bomb into and better creators to arm those bombs (if you will) as well as feeding the direct runs of Auba/Pepe and Saka. Without those dual connecting pieces the strikers and direct wingers are too isolated… Read more »

Baseer Zuberi

Looking forward to having these 2 back.



I agree. Though it’s all well and good Arteta saying the issue is in both boxes. But how often do we actually get the ball in the opponents’ box? For me, and millions watching, the issue not where he claims but entirely in centre midfield, and it has been for 5 years. We have no screen from the defence and no pressure into the attack. Why the hell he has gone into this season only making one u21 signing there is astonishing. It’s a complete joke. We bought the wrong Brighton player. They would have accepted 40mil for Bissouma and… Read more »


Arteta is a bugger sometimes because he says such obvious and convincing things then the team flatter to deceive.
I couldn’t agree more with this point though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lacazete leave as we’ve given Auba the contract but all the while they’re here their success is fundamental to Arsenal’s.
You get Auba firing or Laca linking play in front of a dynamic 3 attackers then suddenly this team moves up a couple of pegs.

Hank Scorpio

The problem has been getting this to happen with any consistency. To me it was so damning to see Lukaku integrate seamlessly with his teammates after barely a week with them yet we still lack attacking cohesion after 20 months of Arteta. Some will argue about player availability and quality but this has been a persistent issue under Arteta regardless of personnel. We just don’t play to the strengths of these guys.


To be fair, “pass it to the giant” is the simplest tactic possible to understand. Integrating a basic target man like Lukaku is pretty easy.

As hamfisted as it is, we could really use a target man option. The number of wasted crosses put in is just silly, and that’s from counting Tierney alone.


Knowing Arsenal, we would buy Lukaku and then have problems getting the ball to him. Remember when we never cross the ball with Giroud up front? And then we sell him and suddenly become a crossing merchant?

Granit(e) hard!

Lol, despite the gloom, couldn’t help but have a good chuckle at this, yeah, tongue in cheek, but true. it really is bizarre, even Leno, short of confidence, just lumps ball forward plenty of times these days, instead of trying to play out from the back, and since we dont have a target man any where up front, it just goes straight back to the opposition, Arsene must be scratching his head, wondering what the heck is going on, with the one-dimensional, boring style of football Arteta is serving up these days


That’ll be HFB who has already smacked in FOUR for Milan…

1 million would have brought him back. Hmmm…

Hank Scorpio

I think that’s an oversimplification of how Chelsea completely won the tactical battle. The recent tactics column shows how easily Chelsea created space to service Lukaku. They didn’t just hoof it to the big man. But yes the tactics that we are utilising would suit a target man, which begs the questions – why did we not buy a target man? and also, why are we using these tactics when they do not suit the players we have?


Look at Chelsea’s bench, then look at ours…..that’s how far we have to go.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

Liverpool’s bench has been weaker than Chelsea’s since Klopp took over yet they’ve managed to finish above Chelsea in 5 out of the last 6 seasons.

United are arguably in the same boat too but they’ve finished above Chelsea in 4 out of the last 6 seasons.


I agree with you Hank… we need to use a system that gets the best out of these players and as much as I hate it, I think most of the squad suits a back 3 more than a back 4. It is clear that Auba/Pepe/Martinelli struggle as out and out wingers and also none of them are comfortable as a lone striker but they’d all suit that inside forward role that a 3-4-3 allows quite well. Xhaka always plays better with 3 defenders behind him and Tierney would be great either as a left sided CB or a LWB.… Read more »

Hank Scorpio

Agreed. Ben White would have been roadkill against Lukaku. He often had the benefit of 2 stronger CBs to support him. As for the central midfield role, ESR can play that too and we can rotate him, Lokonga and Partey through there. The only real issue with that formation is that the only decent RWB we have is AMN but he’s done his best to deny himself of that opportunity. It feels like sometimes the problems and the solutions are staring Arteta in the face but he just can’t see them. Not saying we ould have won on the weekend… Read more »


A back 3 of Saliba/White/Gabriel looks decent for NEXT season


Seriously this arteta and edu guy’s are daft, mavropanos is better than mari, yet they sent him on loan and signed mari for fees totalling 16m euros, saliba and white, are almost on par football wise, yet they threw saliba out due to his age and signed white for 50m, what was the need to bring in soares when AMN and Chambers could cover at right back? These money’s would have purchased us a zaha and a very good Central midfielders….. Wastage wastage wastage, stockpiling average players with long contract and heavy wages, which club will like to buy mari… Read more »


Then we need a new boss ( 2 actually) who can persuade Saliba to return, no chance with Arteta.
Is there any decent French coaches free, looking for a job?


Yep – it’s very difficult to rationalise the complete lack of cover on our left flank vs Chelsk? Mik knows James as shit-quick, he knows Lukaku is a beast on any half-decent cross (or holding up the long ball and spreading it to the afore-mentioned shit-quick James)… and yet there was no plan until we were 2-0 down – both resulting from that very problem!

Ghost of Fabregas

It’s not ham fisted at all. Not at all. Football isn’t (or doesn’t have to be) that complicated. Last week 4 out 5 goals in the City game were scored by getting to the byline and cutting back for a scorer. Genius? I don’t think so. Lukaku’s opener was the same. Pace and physical strength are big assets in sport and especially in football. If your wingers are faster than their defenders they have a problem. Walcott with his imperfections made £100k per week proving this point. Nevertheless John Terry once said he would rather play against that type of… Read more »


And we could have had HFB back for a million quid. How badly could we use the FOUR goals he’s already smacked in for Milan, right now!!!


Good point(s) – Laca, whatever you feel about him, has always been a warrior for us: puts in a proper shift and remains the only thing approaching a ‘hold-up man’ that we have. Would that he and Pepe had been played repeatedly into a rhythm where they could riff off one another – Laca’s bull-terrier persistence and Pepe’s dazzle. Other than (some) injury periods, this has never been allowed to grow – Mik only knows why? That said, it’s why I’d sell Auba before Laca, assuming offers do indeed come in for both or either. In our current team, Auba… Read more »


He talks a good game, I’ll say that for him.

The trouble is, if you’re tactical system is flawed and your players haven’t got the foggiest idea of what they’re supposed to be doing, both individually and collectively, then all the clever public talk in the world ain’t gonna get you results.


Agreed, trying to play the Man Citeh way without the quality of Man Citeh players ain’t gonna work….therefore Arteta needs a plan B & C, unfortunately I ain’t seen either. At the mo I’d take top 10 this year…


This is a sincere question, why can’t we play a 4-4-2 system with Auba and Laca on top? Laca likes to play deep and Auba can run behind the defense – a bit like Kane and Son.

Wenger if I remember correctly, attempted the same when he had Auba playing inside more than as a wide forward.


So they’re staying?


He’s talking about willian




When he returns our sun is shining again.


We’ll beat West Brom and all of a sudden everything will be great again – except it won’t be.

We’re going nowhere under this manager and owner and the League Cup won’t make any difference.

I expect Arteta to limp on until Christmas, then he’ll be sacked. And Sam Allardyce will take over.

Bob's Mexican Cousin

You almost made me cry


You had me until the final sentence.

I think Arteta may be gone before Christmas. And I think you’ll see Conte installed as the experienced hand to get us out of this mess and playing positive attacking football again.


I think Campos or Overmars will replace Edu before Arteta goes… just a gut feel.

Ex gooner

My bet is on Edu pushing for Kia Joorabchian.


He’ll be fine – Kia will find him a juicy new gig.

Naked Cygan

You really think we can beat west brom? Idk will not be easy


If Brentford was the banana skin, WB is the entire fuggin’ fruit salad: nothing to lose; underdogs; playing great football; and coming to kick the wounded red dog…
Could go horribly wrong tonight – though I desperately hope it doesn’t.

Arteta is not the answer

Blah blah blah. He talks a good talk but so far we haven’t seen it translate to anything near a decent set of performances.


Who leads Auba and Laca?


Nobody. They do what they want. Same with Xhaka and Pepe. Only the kids listen, and even some of them like AMN and Saliba are fed up.


AMN made a poor career decision in scoffing at his RB opportunity. Saliba hasn’t earned his place yet. When he decided to whine publicly about not going right into the first team he set himself back. That was the wrong way to go about it, because Mikel don’t take no shit.


But he is shit.

Hank Scorpio

He didn’t whine about not going straight into the first team. He did say that he felt he wasn’t given enough time to impress. Hardly the same thing. This was around the same time if you can recall that we had 2 central defenders out until December. Both of whom made the squad ahead of him despite not being available. One of them was Mustafi, who’d also knocked back a contract extension.


Your whining is very spoiled-childlike. We suck atm. It’s part of rebuilding. Get used to it. Or at least stop throwing your toys out of your cot, e v e r y d a y!



There’s no leadership from this manager. He dictates. He doesn’t lead. Two entirely different things.


We’ve tried the Auba Laca partnership. Been there done that. And results have not been up to par, our goalscoring record is abysmal. We need a striker to replace one of them, or for the manager to change our system. Yet it’s a new season and we’re seeing nothing new.


Arteta’s quotes become readable if you imagine a laugh track after each sentence.

Hank Scorpio

A bit like how canned laughter is used for sitcoms


I can see this ‘All or Nothing’ documentary, (whatever the fuck it’s called) becoming the Football equivalent of ‘This is Spinal Tap.’

James Sudbury

I’d sell Aubameyang. Yes, need a target man. He is not and will never be that. 5 years ago he was v quick. Lost that extra yard. Weak when shoulder to shoulder with an opponent. For his height, his aerial ability is close to nonexistent. Headed goals?….I remember the misses more. Arsenal have ended up paying top dollar (wages) for a striker who is towards the end of his top-class career. He is not the type of player that the new’ish manager needs in that position. The c.400k p/w striker is also captain and is made out to be some… Read more »


Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be good


I don’t know that many clubs would take him on those wages at his age… We need to incorporate him the best we can and at the moment thay may mean switching back to a back 3.


Good point(s) – Laca, whatever you feel about him, has always been a warrior for us: puts in a proper shift and remains the only thing approaching a ‘hold-up man’ that we have. Would that he and Pepe had been played repeatedly into a rhythm where they could riff off one another – Laca’s bull-terrier persistence and Pepe’s dazzle. Other than (some) injury periods, this has never been allowed to grow – Mik only knows why? That said, it’s why I’d sell Auba before Laca, assuming offers do indeed come in for both or either. In our current team, Auba… Read more »

Mlog oghale

He is just deflecting, he is now naming his ‘scapegoats’ for the season.

A Voice in the Noise

He isn’t really naming anyone though, just pointing out that we shouldn´t put all our expectations solely on the youth in this side (Saka, ESR, Tierney), because the senior players should be the one’s setting the example for the rest of the team to follow. “But the ones that are going to determine our success and who have to lead our success are the senior players. It means Auba, Laca, Xhaka, Partey and Bellerin and Leno to some extent as well. We need them to show they care, show they are angry at our current position in the table and… Read more »


Put your finger on it – there’s a point of seniority where, whilst the Manager is always ultimately responsible, you gotta look at those players as having the maturity and experience to make on-field decisions and lift those around them.

Love your nick, btw.

Brady’s bunch

Bit like Tony adams telling the lads that’s it no goals going in today


Spot on.

He is deflecting. He’s trying to move the topic of conversation on to anything other than the current shit show of his own making.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Talk is cheap and repetition is bargain basement. We’re playing West Brom, just win the game and don’t play Xhaka.


In my opinion, this is another attempt to deflect attention to senior players as the main reason for lack of goals. We have had players like Bendtner, Chamakh, Gervinho playing key roles in our attack and we didn’t play this dreadful. The issue is the system set up by the manager doesn’t get the most out of the players. For example: Aubameyang as a winger is failed experiment, pace is not the only requirement for a winger. Xhaka might have 90-100% completed passes but he won’t create much and he can only protect the backline as quick as he legs… Read more »


So because we made the conscious decision to have several young players make up the squad there is extra pressure on the young players AND senior players. Well done Edu, signing Soares, Luiz and Willian but they cost us points or we are actively trying to move them on. Not exactly the experience we want to share with our youngsters. Now it sounds like we are having our striker run down his final year of contract because he is the only senior player having a positive effect on the youngsters but yet again his future is in limbo. You can’t… Read more »


I’m so angry at the owners and directors right now…


Given a chance some Arsenal fans will actually give Sam Alladyce a chance to manage the team