Sunday, October 2, 2022

“I made a mistake” – Lokonga keen to make amends quickly

As Sambi Lokonga hit the turf under pressure from Conor Gallagher in the 72nd minute, he immediately knew he was in big trouble. Losing the ball with most of his teammates in the final third had left Arsenal exposed in defence. The 21-year-old picked himself up and chased play but within 13 seconds, Palace were ahead; Odsonne Edouard ruthlessly smashing home off the bar.

Sambi’s head dropped immediately before he trudged back to the halfway line. It’s a mistake he won’t forget and one he’s desperate to put right immediately.

While a late Alex Lacazette equaliser took some of the heat off the young summer signing, he was quick to front up to the media after the game.

“I want to play the next game as quick as possible,” he told reporters. “When you play a game like this, you are hungry inside because I made a mistake.

“I want to play the next game as quick as possible to change everything. It is difficult because we have to analyse them. I think they (the goals) are from two mistakes, one of them mine as well.

“It is an area where I cannot lose the ball, so it is difficult to speak about the goals when I made a mistake.”

Luckily for Sambi, with the next game coming on Friday against Aston Villa and Bukayo Saka, the man he replaced at half time a doubt after a heavy kick from James McArthur, he may get his wish.

Like everyone at the Emirates last night, he knows that the Gunners need to produce a better performance. After a slick goal-scoring start, Mikel Arteta’s side quickly pulled up the handbrake and ceded control to the Eagles.

“I think apart from the goal we didn’t do well in terms of quality, simple things,” said Lokonga.

“So it is difficult to say that we started the game well because we only had the goal. I think after the [opening] goal we relaxed too much because we had to look for the second goal, we had to put more pressure on them and we didn’t.”

If there was one positive on the night, it was the energy brought by Lacazette. The Frenchman scored his first league goal of the campaign with nearly the last touch of the game having been a constant menace since coming on with 23 minutes remaining.

“I think Lacazette did well today,” said Lokonga. “He backed me, he backed the team. I think when we come on we have to bring this mentality that Lacazette did. I think he brought fire when he came on and that’s what we need to try to do every time somebody comes on.”

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I really like him, hopefully he will learn from his mistake.

And it was a team problem for most of the match, not just him. We didn’t even deserve a draw.

Johnny 4 Hats

What kind of amazed me was that both Partey and Lokonga’s mistakes led to simple and immediate 1 on 1’s. I know that there are certain places you just don’t want to lose the ball but we were so unbelievably exposed the minute the mistake was made. I feel like Arteta is almost repeating Wenger’s Xhaka situation by leaving our deepest midfielder both stranded for a pass and the last line of midfield. Partey can’t run this midfield alone. Even peak Yaya couldn’t do that. We need a coherent midfield, not a floaty DM and two ACM’s. I know it… Read more »


It works for City but they have better players and are better coached. No other team in the league tries to play that way. The closest is Liverpool but their midfield is more disciplined, mostly leaving the creativity to their front line and fullbacks.


Yup, the high press has really exposed the 4-1-2-2-1 system with a DM and 2 AMs. City just about get away with it because of pure quality of their AMs, but don’t forget they concede a lot of goals and drop a lot of points to well disciplined teams that sweat on exposing that exact weakness – isolated midfields via a well orchestrated and disciplined and well timed high press. You can definitely still see Arteta as a Pep-lite – he really bought into those philosophies.


…and more of a worry, we failed to defend each 1v1. The agile and nimble Benteke ghosted passed Gabriel with ease. White would have walked backwards into our own goal if edouard had just kept jogging forward. That’s 80million pounds worth of CBs.


Yeah me too, got the character to own it and determination to immediately try and make amends, better than the typical finger pointing we’ve seen over the years after many conceded goals. We’ve still got a ways to go though. I really hope he starts next game, I feel like playing odegaard in “midfield” (if you call it that) is really just a way to have more bodies in the forward 1/3 without it actually affecting things. Partey was very isolated. Odegaard didn’t play well again either, just not sure he’s suited to that role, feels just a bit like… Read more »

Brady’s bunch

I think the whole front line struggled with Pepe in there, Saka moved to the left not sure where Emilles position was but he tried while odegaard gets bumped into a position that doesn’t suit his game you could see he was frustrated with it meanwhile Auba tries to play with Pepe which doesn’t really work either and I thought Auba looked up for it from the start. Poor game from partey, Tommie and white but you’d give Tommie a pass as he’s only finding his feet

Bleeding gums murphy

My son sent me a heat map of tierney position and passing. It’s unbelievable. Only once did he play a pass/cross into box. It’s was all backwards and sideways, mostly backwards. What on earth is going on.


This, as well as the performance in general, is squarely on the manager.

Brady’s bunch

Blame the system not the individual


Potentially we could play him a bit more like a traditional LB. He can get forward to support some attacks, instead of every attack. It was a unique outlet last season, now it’s just predictable and teams are sweating on it. We will also see teams attack the space in behind Tierney too more and more if we just stick to that plan. I see it a bit like the way teams play Pepe, they send one defender to close him down immediately and the other comes across to close down his cut back inside on his left. Once that… Read more »

Brady’s bunch

I hear what you’re saying regarding Pepe but I don’t think his thought process i quick enough for he centre but anything is worth a try with him at this stage. What’s left on his contract under three years maybe 🤔 so this time next year a decision will need to be made with wether he’s moved on or extended . I thought Gabi was lively last night I’d prefer to see him given a shot on the left to see if him and Kt can forge something but ultimately Arteta is not going to cut it at this level,… Read more »

Bleeding gums murphy

I am


For Months now Tierney has been underperforming but no one wants to talk about it.


Keown waxing lyrical last night of how great he is was embarrassing, a young player with potential to be a top player maybe but far from it, yes he has pace but he needs to be a lot more composed rather than smashing it in and hoping for the best, defensively he gets caught out of position aswell, needs to do a lot more..


Teams have worked out that he’s one of our only attacking threats so they’ve marked him out of the game. We’re too predictable.


And who’s fault is that……?

Can you guess…? 🤣



That’s what’s going on.

Alan Sunderland

Pepe and partey have run out of excuses for me. They’ve played with different players, in different systems same results. With the amount of money involved they might be the 2 worst transfers we’ve made.

Brady’s bunch

If only there was a newly rich club in the north east looking for a fantastic French winger and a midfield destroyer with an eye for goal (or reasonably close to goal) 🤔can’t think of any offhand

Alan Sunderland

We don’t seem to be that lucky, it would be interesting to see what another team would pay for them.


They will buy Saka for £90m and we will accept. Get real.


Well said.

Unless we get rid of Arteta, then Saka and ESR are nailed on departure lounge fodder.


Mate, it’s not Pepe. Don’t fall into that trap.

These performances are on the manager and his relentlessly negative tactics.

Brady’s bunch

Yes I’m aware the manager hasn’t got the skill set to bring this team forward but Pepe has been Shite from day one and that was before Arteta was anywhere near the club

Mikels Arteta

I don’t think odegaard is good enough to be a 10
Whenever he picks up the ball in a tight area, his first instinct is to play backwards, dribble away into space to then turn and face the goal
Arteta has him in the right position atm. ESR and Saka are more effective and the 10 role

Teryima Adi

We deserved the draw based on McArthur’s reckless challenge on Saka and Dean’s ineptitude.


All very noble, but Football doesn’t work like that mate.

The trick is to stick the leather spherical thing between the two posts and the crossbar. As many times as you can.

You make your own luck in this world.

Bleeding gums murphy

It’s as clear as day for me that he has to start alongside partey. We have to at least give a try (not one game) to see if they can get hold of midfield. Odegaard does not work in there. He takes way to long on the ball with his twisting and turning and going nowhere. He needs to be benched. Arteta will start him though, fairly sure about that. It’s time to give martinelli a run out in place of saka (if injured) drop pepe as well please. After the scum game I got a little hopeful, after Brighton… Read more »


I agree with the first part, but it Saka can’t go I would play Pepe on the right, I feel like with Pepe-Auba-Saka-ESR and Odegaard all starting it just clogs things up and we lack connection to the forward third (I mean look how much we went back to the doughnut football yesterday – sigh), if Saka can’t go, start Sambi-Partey, ESR LW, Odergaard #10, Pepe RW, Auba up top. The balance across the pitch is more effective, ESR/Ode help relieve Auba or too much build-up play, Pepe/Auba can play more direct and get in behind, and the double pivot… Read more »


He seems like the kind of player who learns from his mistakes. I’ve got high hopes for him. There have been players and still are players at Arsenal who don’t seem to learn from their mistakes or won’t even admit they made a mistake, so I am confident Lokonga will do well.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

“He seems like the kind of player who learns from his mistakes”.

One player in particular comes to mind


Don’t worry about it.
You are at a club that makes nothing but mistakes from the top down..


He’s very young and I thought he was fouled before the goal. White was more to blame for backing off and backing off. I like him, he just needs a bit of time to get used to the speed of the league.


Fair play to any player–especially a young, recent signing–that freely admits a mistake. That’s how you get better.

Teryima Adi

Yeah, Sambi, I loved the fact Lacazette brought fire when he came on. We need that kind of fire in this team. We can’t just watch while the opposition dictates the tempo of the game at 1-0 up. That’s not the Arsenal standard, Arteta.

A Different George

I guess he doesn’t think he was fouled. I thought it was a clear foul when I saw it live, and in the immediate replays. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to make excuses.


His dispossession was partially responsible, but Palace still had a lot to do between that and scoring, and there was a lot we could have done better as a team to stop that happening. We’re bottom half of the table for both passes and tackles, meaning we’re poor at keeping and regaining possession. Seriously worrying that after 2 years in charge, we don’t seem to have improved in these areas.


We’re also bottom half of the table for points.


Even after the Partey mistake the defense by both Gabriel and White (Gabriel in particular) was not good. I remember another Benteke chance in the first half they just gave him WAY WAY too much space at the top of the box only at the last minute both jumped to try and (ineffectively) block the shot. I feel like we’ve been riding our luck a bit so far with conceding goals, it could be worse than it has been, yesterday was a bit of a sign of that. We need to get stuck in a bit more. Compounding that we… Read more »


Definitely agree on riding our luck, Brighton was a good example of that. As for our DM, when Man City play a 4-3-3, they normally pull in their full backs close to the DM. For Liverpool, their 3 midfielders tend to make it quite tight in the middle. But for us, it looks relatively loose in the middle of the park, with little support from the CMs or the fullbacks. Not sure if that’s by design but it doesn’t really work, especially with only sporadic pressure on the ball when compared with City and Liverpool. I think it has less… Read more »


Great point about the fullbacks, ours are by default wide and Tierney forward and wide. We really do expose ourselves a lot to the press. I liked when White stepped forward with the ball like Vermaelen and Koscienly used to do, but he stopped yesterday. Would have love to see him continue forward and have someone else cover him. But I think using the Centre-halves as the only real support to the lone DM may add even more risk against the high press as it potentially takes away our defensive line behind.


This is the challenge of going with a youth project. He’ll get grace from us though.


Well it’s not like a “experienced” project produced error-free football…


God, I love this kid already.

See, Granit? This is what a real leader does – when they make a mistake, they own it.


NOthing wrong with this chap. He’s a developing player. What’s wrong is the Midfield neglect courtesy of Edu (and Arteta) Glaring obvious (SHOULD BE) to many that Midfield has been a problem where adding more Cbacks (50m at it) won’t solve. Control of game is key. We instead thru a mixture of incompetence and inexperience the owners prefer to indulge in – 1) Do Arsenal the ludicrous selling on Willock for 20m and bringing in someone equally semi-baked for 18m, effectively minting a massive 2m 2)Did not bring in someone like Ruben of Neves (then available before Newcastle now throwing… Read more »


Lokonga should stop trying to be Partey. If only he played it safe the mistake could have been avoided. Only players like Partey and Yaya Toure could try such plays and come of it. What he was trying to do requires physical strength and toughness but he doesn’t have the legs yet and so he was pushed aside.


He did make a mistake but I never gave it a second thought as it didn’t take away from the fact that we were shite, Ben White should have done better but that’s also besides the point……we play slow boring football and point was more than we deserved. Arteta is out of his depth

Baichung Bhutia

Phew. I thought he was going to say made a mistake in joining Arsenal.


Every player who joins us gets worse, so he probably did


Under the circumstances, I give Laca a 9 for a sub’s performance.

I had the feeling Sambi was fouled – contact made with his foot, not the ball – when he was dispossessed which I haven’t been able to check. I’m not excusing the “action,” he made himself vulnerable and didn’t control the situation, but as a point of record I’d like to know.

Mathew Lionnet

I feel like a good team would have fouled the runner with the ball as soon as they recognise the danger. Rugby tackle him if you have too, take the yellow…

Inspector norse

No mistake, just an obvious foul and a clueless mike dean.


He’s done it again! Mavropanos opened the scoring for Stuttgart at the weekend, just a low thunderbolt from 25 yards into the corner of the net this time. Man of the match too, that’s goal number 4 this term!
Saliba doing well at Marseille, what will become of these 2?


We’re “obliged” to sell him for 3.5M quid…
No idea why the door was just shut on him after the way he performed last season. It’s like they just decided he wasn’t good enough a few years ago and figured they just loan out his contract until they could scrounge whatever pennies they could for him without fully assessing that he might be developing into a gem. We’re still making a bollocksing of the transfer market.

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