Morning all.

I think trips to places like Anfield highlight many things and not just that there’s still a long way to go before Arsenal can truly compete for the Premier League title again. If we ever do of course. The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City are way ahead of us as far as their squad depth and strength go and with the financial clout two of the club’s have, employing the best manager out there at their time of need is easy because they can pay whatever it takes to get them. As much as I might detest Klopp and Guardiola for their arrogant and self-righteous attitude, they are both masters of the game. Arsene Wenger was similar in a way because he thought he always knew better than others. At least that’s how he came across after a few years in England. In comparison, Mikel Arteta is still a boy in short trousers really and I hope he stays that way regardless of what he does or doesn’t win at the club, or however long he stays. He talks well but at the same time, he’s happy to be honest about where Arsenal are right now.

I think we all acknowledge the squad is still lacking in certain areas. Our midfield needs a reinforcement or two and up front, despite scoring a few more goals of late, we’re toothless. When an opponent pressing aggressively from the from, Arsenal seem to go to pieces.

I think Mikel Arteta tried to go toe to toe with Liverpool which in hindsight, was the wrong thing to do. Again, Arsene Wenger did the same during the second half of his reign and it seldom worked for him either. His early squads would certainly coped, with ease I imagine but it wasn’t until he decided to don his pragmatic hat in a kind of ‘for one night only’ show, he got the better of Guardiola’s Man City. Sometimes, just sometimes, a manager has forget all he’s trying to do long term and think about the here and now. If he wants to take something from the game of course.

We’re yet to go to Stamford Bridge, The London Stadium, Toots place, Selhurst Park, Villa Park and Old Trafford. Obviously other grounds too against sides who’ll be hard to beat but I think the above away fixtures will be the toughest because we’ll face a similar kind of aggressive press to Liverpool’s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more bully boy tactics thrown into the mix either.

All the away fixtures listed above take place in 2022, barring the Utd game which is on the 2nd December. Chelsea, Wolves, Toots and Norwich are the away fixtures taking place at the same time we’ll be without Partey,  Aubameyang, Pepe and Elneny. A fit, competitive and firing Aubameyang will be missed but the one who played at Anfield won’t be. Not by me anyway. A fully fit and in form Partey will be missed, even a slightly off form Partey will be missed but only because there is no one within the squad to replace him. Xhaka might be back but even the best of him isn’t the strong and mobile midfielder Arsenal need to take the team to the next level. He was great against Toots, however, look what a mess they were in.

Despite Arsenal’s extremely busy and positive summer transfer window, there’s still something missing. Strength and leadership on the pitch. An old wise head to calm things down when things aren’t going to plan. Someone who’s cunning enough to stay on the ground longer than he needs to, or boot the ball into row z etc, just to give his teammates time to catch breath and regroup. Row z is better than handing possession right back to the opposition. We lack a striker who Is strong, athletic and clinical and a midfielder who is equally as strong and mobile. Both in my opinion, need to have experience. Adding more youth to youth would be a recipe for disaster I think, especially as we already have a number of younger players coming through.

Then there’s the changes Mikel Arteta could make to try and stem the flow of pressure which is a topic discussed here before. Odegaard for Lokonga isn’t going to help the team defensively, saying that, neither did AMN much when he came on but by then it was perhaps too late. Aubameyang was clearly struggling to make an impact in any sense of the word. I’m amazed he lasted the 90 minutes. Hindsight is easy I know but where does Martinelli fit in if he can’t replace a player who was pretty much anonymous? The Brazilian would certainly have offered more support for Tavares.

I’m not trying to be hard on Mikel Arteta, certainly not after one defeat to a well established Klopp team, absolutely not but I do think that if he wants to try and take something from games against the top teams, he needs to be more pragmatic and think about the changes he makes during a game. Because as good as he’s been or as good as he will hopefully become as a manager, the boy in short trousers is still apparent.

See you in the comments.