Tuesday, January 18, 2022

“So many unforced errors” – Arteta left to rue Arsenal sloppiness

Mikel Arteta identified sloppiness on the ball and failings in defence as key reasons for Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat at Manchester United.

The Gunners may have broken the deadlock in controversial circumstances – Emile Smith Rowe burying the ball in the net while David de Gea lay on the turf holding his ankle – but we were good value for the lead after a bright start at Old Trafford.

Unfortunately, despite promising opportunities to extend the advantage, we allowed the home side came back into things before the break when Bruno Fernandes swept home. Similar strikes by Ronaldo and Martin Odegaard saw the scoreline swing both ways in the second half before the Norwegian’s costly challenge on Fred gave Ronaldo a chance to seal the points from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining.

Of our five Premier League defeats, this one particularly grated.

“I think we were sloppy in possession,” was Arteta’s assessment in his post-game press conference.

“We gave the ball away to the opponent, and we had no pressure there. That created strong momentum that allowed them to run, and they had the structure to play – and suddenly we started to give the ball away.

“So many unforced errors that led to them having belief that they could do something in the game. I didn’t see a team with the handbrake, I saw a team that wanted to impose (themselves) here.

“They were dominant, we played with the right structure and the right freedom at the same time. But we didn’t defend our box well enough well, and manage some situations well enough to concede the way did.”

While there are many positives to take from the game, the fact we continued a recent trend of dominating long spells in games before slowly retreating into ourselves is a clear issue.

Asked how he stops his players dropping off, Arteta said: “Well I don’t know, it’s very difficult because when you are in [possession of] the ball, you have to make decisions – and I want to encourage them to do what they feel.

“But you know against those teams you get punished immediately, with the quality and amount of players that they can play (against) you straight away.”

Speaking to Arsenal.com, the boss underlined the need to learn from the game, especially with more stern tests ahead.

“We are here to win football matches and I’m disappointed because I have the feeling that we deserved more,” he said.

“But again, we have to be realistic that if we do what we did in certain moments, defend in our box against probably one of the best squads in the world, they’re going to punish you because they have so many goals and quality to define those moments and that’s the curve and hopefully the lesson that we have to take from today.”

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Henkamp

I’m going to have to learn to temper my expectations. This team is REALLY young. A lot of inexperienced players, and they still have a lot to learn.

If only the really experienced teammates could show some form of leadership and up their game, the learning curve would accelerate for our young ones.

JBF

Bang on. The more senior players have to step up in matches like this, but unfortunately ours seem to shrink. One positive is I see some of the younger guys not only leading the way in the way they play but now developing into leaders on the pitch in the way they act.

The Arsenal

We must have the worst senior/leader players in the league.

Filpo

And top of that, we also have an inexperienced manager as well.

goongot

2 years now.

Filpo

As you said 2 years it’s pretty much [email protected] all.

Alex

How was messi after 2 years?

Irrelevant

Rich

2 years is still very experienced at this level. Compare this with how many years Klopp, Guardiola or Tuchel have been managing at top level clubs. This is Arteta’s first role in management.

Fabulous

Missing the point altogether there. Klopp created wonders with that Dortmund team, which may have even won the UCL had Lewandowski not been poached by Bayern.

Arteta “won” EPL as assistant to Pep, who lets remind ourselves already won another EPL without Arteta and is on cue for another title challenge. Me thinks Arteta may not have much to do with them winning as much as people like to report.

Jo Jeffery

Yep if we weren’t delivering after two years we wouldn’t have a job.

Comedian

I have no problem if we sit back after taking the lead and win on the defensive performance, but this team rather seem confused what they have to do after taking a lead. They need to clear their doubts so we can see less of this. This same fixture last time at old trafford had the partnership of Partey and Elneny, Partey really tore United apart that day, but there has been a sloppiness to his game of late, Arteta might have to drop him so he gets back to his best but then we dont have the options in… Read more »

Safe Hands

We have to learn how to manage games. There are some decent things about this squad. For the first 30 mins of most games this season we’ve pretty much matched or outplayed most opponents. For me, in order to improve, we’ve got to kill more games off after we scored. Utd were there for the taking yesterday but after we scored we just backed off, sat deeper and their goal was inevitable. These things will improve as we have a young squad, but we desperately need a world class clinical goalscorer to start helping us win games like this. With… Read more »

The Arsenal

TWO strikers needed. A wide player because Pepe isn’t it. Two midfielders. A dictator like Santi and another that actially contributes goals.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Arteta probably knows what we need. The truth is, he’s improved the squad in the last window, but the team needed more than a window to be complete

Goonshow

Was thinking/dreaming watching us sit back vs Manure:
imagine Santi sitting just in front of what is growing into a solid defensive line… NEVER loses it in possession; drives forward in a second; draws 2 markers every time (coz he’ll skin the first!); picks a bullet pass 9/10 times; and oh yes… cannot absolutely bury most set-pieces within 25 yards of goal!

Never mind the fact that we’d have given him the swansong he so richly deserved and never got! CR7 to UTD… fuck that, we needed our Santi back!

Goonshow

Here’s a thought: for a TOTAL of less than 60m quid, our strikers’ bench could easily have been – Abraham; Edouard; HFB (32m, 19m, 1m). We could also have gotten 10m for Eddie and a half-decent sum for Auba and/or Laca.

But Edu/Mik didn’t feel we needed a striker!

Safe Hands

I get what you’re saying but if it was as easy as that then they’d do it. No one will take Auba or Laca for a fee because of their age and wages. Also do the players you mention necessarily present an upgrade? I’m not so sure. Though I’m not optimistic I really hope the board keep on backing Arteta, because his signings have definitely improved the team and will continue to do so. Chuck a really good striker and quality CM in that mix and then I think we’ll be back somewhere close to where we belong

Announce Bendtner

For me the issue was after we took the lead the split second decisions weren’t correct. E.g Elneny / Partey not releasing the ball a split second earlier to attacking players, instead turning or in or backwards. Same with the press, split seconds of indecisiveness and the pressing system doesn’t work as effectively as it should. Hopefully they find the confidence to drive forward and press better.

I guess this game was a learning opportunity for this team.

Fabulous

Which points to what most people are saying, it seems on the overall the team decided to sit back and absorb pressure. And for me that’s mostly on the manager. Sure you need senior players stepping up but the daily trainings and preparations should already give you a template, and an identity on how to play. Look at Sp*rs even, not even a couple weeks in and sorry a** players from a few days ago suddenly seem world class again – Reguillon, Dier, Moura, Royal. At this day and age a top notch coach can really make or break a… Read more »

Hank Scorpio

This result was far more disappointing than the Liverpool game for me. 3 goals from individual errors (White even managed to make a meal of things twice for the first goal) and failure to take our chances. It was like we were asked to make a 90 minute instructional video to demonstrate what shooting yourself in the foot looks like. Here’s hoping for a good response and 3 points against Everton.

MojoWillneny

All true. Was disappointed (again) in Partey. Feel like he is one of the few guys with the ability to bring calm and purpose to the team with the quality of his play. But he just hasn’t shown it much this season. I believe he can be world class but he seems permanently rusty…maddening.

Wrighty’s hats

Stick with him – I think he’s going to keep improving over the coming games barring further injuries

Man Manny

Well, Mr. Arteta, the “unforced errors” began with your selection, and later on, your inexplicable substitutions.
Over-thinking again.

DPK

Yeah, I don’t know if it’s over thinking or panic but his selections in big games are just baffling. The bizarre Europa semi line ups last season, Kola suddenly brought back in from the cold v Man City…(and out again straight afterwards !) Elneny starting v Man Utd despite clearly being behind Lokonga & AMN in Arteta’s thoughts all season to date…..and then when it is more or less confirmed Eddie is leaving on a free he gets thrown on when we desperately need a goal, not having played a minute (league) this season…..

DPK

And please Mikel, can you just put our best LB back in the team please.

Wrighty’s hats

Lots of games this month, he’ll be starting some of them at least.

DPK

Yeah, I get that……but is that enough ? For me, Tavares has been a breath of fresh air but making him first choice ahead of KT just seems mad to me. That ‘Lots of games this month, he’ll be starting some of them at least’ comment should apply to him, not KT.

Wrighty’s hats

At KT’s best I would agree with you but I guess before his most recent injury he was kind of far from his best, so it made sense to let Tavares have a run while he was playing well and not giving KT priority straight away when he was fit again. Agree with you in the sense that the scales are probably tipping back in KT’s favour so I’m sure he’ll be starting at least some of the coming games – lots of games though so no doubt they’ll be shared between them – happy that we have a pretty… Read more »

DPK

I would argue that view is skewed by the first 3 games of the season when KT was playing in a team that was an absolute shambles. We were 5 games unbeaten after that when the team & KT were finding their form & then Tavares came in and has played all 6 games in a Tomi / White / Gabriel back four.

Wrighty’s hats

You might be right but from memory he didn’t look as sharp as his usual self and looked a little jaded even after the first 3 of the season, which I attributed to a big year and summer, similar to Saka (though Saka seems to have recovered from that in recent weeks thankfully). As you say it might have been just him adjusting to new teammates and the developing playing style of the team. Hope he plays so well that he’s hard to drop. Would be very happy to see him start against Everton.

Jo Jeffery

Wasn’t he really good playing for Scotland?

Wrighty’s hats

Yup since he’s recovered from his injury so I suspect he’ll be raring to go as soon as he gets the chance

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

To be fair, apart from the teams 3 game shit show to start the season, KT has been poor

Fabulous

If you haven’t already realized, you can’t say any bad words about the manager. Some deluded fan base around these parts ain’t having none of that.
2 years in and Arsenal being the biggest spenders under his tenure yet Arsenal fans tell you “we should manage expectations.”

Pastor Simon

Why can’t Arteta converts or mould Pepe into Van Persie’s type of striker.
Give him the videos let him go and study them. I believe there is an untapped greatness in that guy

Man Manny

Does Arteta know he could do that?
He had zero experience in management before he took this job, remember?
Arsene had done it several times before, the most memorable one being Thierry Henry, before Van Persie.
Arteta is still finding his feet.

bob

Both of you are hugely missing the point. You “reckon” Pepe will be great as a striker and think he should just watch some videos then he will be there. That’s so so unbelievably naive. Arteta has been a manager for only a short while, but he has been around football for decades. And he sees Pepe every single day, what he’s good at beyond how he plays in games. Now he might well make a good striker, given a few seasons to learn the role, but Arteta not doing so is really not an indication of his inexperience. There… Read more »

Alan Sunderland

Think arteta has given up on him after the palace game. To be fair to arteta, pepe was absolutely pathetic that game. If he’s putting the same effort into training as he did that night he could be sitting on the bench for a while.

DialSquare

I’m Sorry but Pépé has nowhere near the technical quality (especially first touch and execution of finesse passing) that RvP had.

DPK

100% DialSquare. This Pepe at centre forward argument is baffling to me. The weaknesses in his game that we are all aware of will only be more exposed playing there.

Joy

He couldn’t be any worse than Auba at the moment. At least he’s able to strike a ball with confidence from 4 yards.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

You can’t mould Pepe into an RVP type of striker. Some players are just blessed with everything needed to succeed. Pepe isn’t

El Mintero

Pepe blows hot and cold but when’s he’s on, he’s on and should have started both the Liverpool and utd games on the wing. The one criticism I have of Arteta is that against big teams he massively overthinks with his tactics and team selection. Starting el neney made no sense. Leaving Laca on the bench made no sense. Leaving KT out no sense etc etc.

jon

They have become better at making themselves playable, but they still put team mates in awkward positions, leaving them boxed in with no-one to play the ball to. Hence, we too often lose the ball after 3-4 passes. The other problem is in the engine room going forward. I watched Smith-Rowe and Ødegaard carefully, and they both seemed to work hard to make themselves visible and playable. But Thomas, Elneny and Tavares normally chose a defensive passing option, if they had one. When they felt the time eventually had come to play Smith-Rowe or Ødegaard, the other team was established… Read more »

Wrighty’s hats

Ideally we retain possession and also complete positive passes – I think that’s what MA is trying to instil, but it takes time for it to develop as instinct across the squad (ESR is especially skilled at this, bless – some players are naturally better at it but it can be learned also) and for them to sustain it over 90 minutes. Agree with you that we’ve improved and that we also have a lot of work still to do. Encouraging signs though

Thierry Hank

Sitting behind the goal, it was frustrating to see Partey eschew vertical passes into Aubameyang and Martinelli who were gesturing for them frequently, in favour of a dull lateral pass to Elneny/Tavares/Tomiyasu

loose_cannon

Don’t you mean “in favour of a dull lateral pass to Fred/Fernandes/Sancho”?

Thierry Hank

Yes. Yes I do.

Mpls

I think those errant passes killed his passing confidence and led him to playing it safe. ManU focused a lot of energy on stifling ESR and Odegaard. If I recall correctly a lot of Partey’s failed passes were cut out on their way to one of those two. Part of that is picking the pass and zipping it in properly, the lesser part is whether or not the receiver can protect the passing lane or come to the ball quicker. We really need to figure out how to get ESR and Odegaard on the ball quicker in transition. If we… Read more »

Francesc

We looked really good in the first half. We have to learn to maintain it over the entire game. We need absolutely more from Partey or we should sign someone. We have pretty much sorted out our defence. We need couple of big additions in the midfield and one proper hungry striker.

MojoWillneny

White was poor for the first goal and the timing was not good right at halftime. Tavares and ESR got signals a bit crossed which left Nuno out of position for the second. Odegaard’s foul on Fred was mindless and lost us the match.
Great opportunity to beat United, but we’re still 5th with top four very much a reality. This team is extremely young and will occasionally deliver exasperating results like this one until they fully mature. But the talent is there, now has to be matched by experience and guile of more mature pros.

Čenda

Right, Mikel. You did a lot of them. Before and during the match as well. Poor.

loose_cannon

Individual errors at the back were borne out of a lack of midfield composure and control, and an inability to hold the ball up in attack. Before the game I hoped Aubameyang didn’t start but Partey was just as disappointing on the day. If they can’t perform, our young defenders have no chance against the best sides.

Once a gunner

Auba made us loose this match with his missed chances, how can we win a football match when your main striker keeps missing begging chances?

PTAFC

Why do you always drop off after taking the lead Mikel – because I’m a boring coach who loves slow football and play not to win but not to lose – poor job then buddy

jon

Maybe Arteta focuses too much on defensive errors. I missed the forward initiatives and creativity more.

Donkeson

Was it not last week that Ødegaard escaped committing a penalty and I remember reading someone say he will do it again because he was not spotted. Fast forward to the next game and he commits a penalty with a another daft challenge in the box. Only Arsenal would sell Ozil to buy Ødegaard. Which shows Ozil situation was just about money since he’s almost same player as Ødegaard. Again, last season we endured Willian being consistently in the team even when everyone knows it he’s not contributing nothing. This season, we have to endure Aubameyang cos the coach is… Read more »

Icy

This is a painful defeat, UTD are poor at the moment and we made them look better. I love Auba, but playing with a striker who seems so unconvincing is highly detrimental to the confidence of the entire team. Partey has been underperforming for some time now and, in my opinion, Odegaard also needs to step up. He is feeble in almost every duel and looses the ball easily. And finally, yes Elneny didn’t make any mistakes but his mediocrity does not add anything to our game, I don’t see any arguments why he should start ahead of AMN.

The Arsenal

Need Better Centre mids to actually control possession and forwards that can actually relive pressure.

Costa Gooner

At the beginning of the season, we all accepted this was going to be a season , when the youthfulness of the team was going to mean inconsistency & errors. 1/3 of the way through the season we are challenging for 4th place. This is above expectation, Although frustrating, it is going to be a fact all season. Especially if Auba doesn’t hit form. My only gripe is Tierney not being in from the start.Tavares has great pace down the flank. But until we were throwing everything at United for an equaliser, every time he turned back instead of puting… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I agree with Mikel.
We lost to a team we shouldn’t have. They’re a squad of big name players, but an average team. No Cavani and Pogba too.
If Arsenal were playing your team, who would you be worried about being a goal threat against you (creating/scoring)? I can think of at least 8 from Liverpool, 8 from City, 7 from Chelsea.
We have ESR, Saka, Martinelli if he keeps his place, maybe Odegaard if he keeps his place. That’s not enough, that’s the problem. We could/should have killed the game at 1-0, 2-2.

RockyRog58

Dear Mikel … You never win anything trying not to lose !

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