MAGA: Make Arsenal Great Again

*Note all of this based on my personal opinion, just saying* A wise man once said:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Being a fan of Arsenal, I would have to reword this expression to:

“Rome has been trying to rebuild for long long time.” From winning the league at Anfield in

1989, Old Trafford in 2002, and Shite Hart Lane (Twice in 1971 and 2004) to having the only

undefeated season in Premier League History (which also includes a 49 game unbeaten run)

Arsenal are a giant of English Football. But, hard times have struck North London with more

impact than getting hit in the face with a 90mph fastball. The Scum finishing above us the past 3

years, no Champions League football since the 2016/2017 season, and one of the most

incompetent owners in the Premier League it does not look pretty from where Arsenal are

standing. As a diehard Arsenal fan who only wants to see his club compete for the Premier

League title again and make a run in the UCL; I can only hope everything falls into place and it

happens. But if supporting this club for the past 9 years has taught me anything: “It’s the hope

that kills ya.” So; this my plan that I have devised to Make Arsenal Great Again.

Step One: Defense wins Championships

If last season and the start of this season has proven anything to me it’s that Arsenal

cannot defend for shit. Sokratis is an old school CB who isn’t afraid to go into a tackle and be an

asshole when he has to, which is good and bad. The good side is he is elite in shithousery and

literally does give a crap. The bad side is when he is out of position and has to attempt to make a

recovery run he looks just god awful. One massive problem with Sokrais is; he shows his age

when he plays. At 31, Sokratis looks like he has no gas left some matches. However, he can be a

great mentor to the likes of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, and William Saliba (when he comes

over from St. Etienne after this season). Then, there’s good ol’ Mustafi: need I say more? The

strange part about him is that his numbers aren’t bad. For the 18/19 seasons his averages for 31

EPL games were: 2 tackles, 1.9 interceptions, 5.2 clearances, and .5 blocks per 90 mins. Not bad

numbers eh? Too bad his blunders have caused Arsenal to drop points where they were needed.

My first Arsenal match in London was the infamous 3-2 Loss to Palace at the Emirates where I

saw Mesut Ozil score using his weird bounce technique 40 feet from my face and Mustafi getting

twisted into pretzel by Wilfred Zaha all from the North Bank. £35m for a World Cup winning

CB looked good when we first signed him, now; not so much. I give Mutsi one last season to

show he can be solid (which will be hard) before he is binned. Stuff you hate to see. Last but not

least in the shitstorm aka Arsenal’s CB choices is Sideshow Bob look a like David Luiz. When

this deal happened on deadline day, I was intrigued to say the least. An injury riddled Chelsea

defense with a new inexperienced manager sold one of their teams experienced ball playing CBs

to an inner-city rival for £8million. Brazy. However, so far Luiz has given me very mixed

emotions. In 160 PL matches for Chelsea he conceded 3 penalties, For Arsenal he has conceded

2 penalties in 4 matches one of which caused Arsenal to drop points against 20 th placed Watford.

When he’s playing well he’s not so bad, but once shit hits the fan he looks like a headless

chicken. Now on to the fullbacks. Kolsinac at wingback in a back 3 or 5 is great. He bombs

down the flanks and looks comfortable in attack, defensive wise: not so much. Watching him

play in a flatback 4 he does not look good at all in defense. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a great

young player. At only 22 he has the potential to be a great player for Arsenal and England.

Biggest problem: he is not a natural RB. Ever since Bellerin got injured against Chelsea last

January AMN has filled in at RB and has done a meh job. I give him mad props because he has

been playing out of position for the past 8 months. My solution for this: Let the spring chickens

take over. Rob Holding has been getting reps with the U23s and has returned to first team

training along with Dinos Mavropanos, Hector Bellerin, and newboy Kieran Tierney. Once all 4

of these players have match fitness, Emery will have options for who play in the heart of defense

with Tierney on the left and Bellerin on the right. As a result, AMN can provide midfield cover

for Guendouzi, Willock, and Ceballos. Also, give Calum a chance. Chambers is only 24 and

would inject some youth into the defense. The icing on the cake is when 18 year old French stud

William Saliba comes to the Emirates after this season. Saliba will add youth and athleticism to a

struggling defense. Defense wins you championships and fixing Arsenal’s is the first step in

making this sleeping giant wake up from its slumber.

Step 2: Dear Unai, stop tinkering

If you are familiar with the hit FX Show, The League, you will know Ruxin is a solid

fantasy football player. However, he has one problem that keeps him from winning the Shiva

Bowl and Unai shares essentially the problem; too much tinkering. One massive problem

towards the end of the Wenger Era was predictability. The opposition were able to easily find all

the cracks in Arsenals game due to how Wegner put his teams out. With Unai Emery, it is the

total opposite. I seriously wonder how many hours a day this man spends playing around with

formations. In his first season in charge at The Arsenal, Emery used God knows how many

formations. From a 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-3 to a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2, a lot of changes happened. One thing

I did notice with Emery which worked was his substitutions. Take the 4-2 win the North London

Derby in December of 2018 as an example. Arsenal were down 2-1 going into the second half

and at the half Emery subbed on Ramsey and Lacazette to pull off a 4-2 against that small team

from North London. The thing with Emery is that man is a whore for tactics and film analysis.

Former players of his have come out and said their teammates have fallen asleep during film

because of how mind numbing it has been. If Emery wants to steady the ship and sign an

extension, he has to stick to a max of 2 formations he can use with the players at his disposal.

Another massive problem with Arsenal is trying to watch them play out of the back. Oh my god

that game vs. Watford was miserable. Watching Arsenal trying to play out of the back would be

like me trying to beat LeBron in a game of 1v1, there is no good outcome. We are not Barcelona

or City or any team that can play out of the back and build from that. Just use long goal kicks to

get the ball to Auba or Laca and build from there. Once Senor Emery figures out his definite

tactics and stops micromanaging, there will be clearly skies ahead.

Step 3: Unleash the Beast.

Last year in the Premier League, Arsenal had the third best offence only behind Man City

and Liverpool. This year we have seen the arrival, and Arsenal record signing, of Ivorian winger

Nicolas Pepe. Pepe has shown massive glimpses (putting Andy Robertson and VVD in a blender

in the 3-1 loss to Liverpool) since his arrival and I give him props. He didn’t have a preseason

and needs to be eased into the style and intensity of the Premier League. But because he costs

£72million and was one of the hottest wingers in Europe he will be under scrutiny. But this is

what Arsenal fans (myself included) have been crying about; getting an actual winger. Mhki was

underwhelming and why I did like Iwobi, his product in the final third was awful. He did not

know when to shoot, pass, or dribble more. He did those things, but not in the right moment.

Arguably the best strike duo and bromance in the Prem have a beast of a winger to play along

side them and I am excited to watch. Once Pepe is in full form and firing alongside Laca and

Auba, oh baby it will be goals galore. This also plays into Emery’s tinker, he needs to find a

formation that suits the attacking trident of Auba, Laca, and Pepe. This is kind of hard when you

have two strikers and a winger. Auba can play out wide, but against Watford showed how lethal

he is down the middle. Add Auba who can hold up play and distribute and Pepe who can dance

around defenders to create space on the flaks; Mamma Mia. Only time will tell if we see this

three headed beast unleashed and wreaking havoc on the Prem.

Step 4: We’ve Got Özil?

Mesut Özil is arguably the best passing midfielder of his generation. From beautiful

through balls to precise passes and assists on assists, he is a playmaker and a half. BUT, ever

since he inked his £350k a week extension Mesut has been chilling. With a tendency to go

missing in big games to looking lazy on the pitch this is a travesty. In the 2015/2016 season, Özil

was one assist away from equaling Henry’s assist record of 20. When I think of him the only

phrase that comes to mind is: form is temporary, class is forever. This now pegs the question:

What does Arsenal do with him? There is clearly beef between him and Emery. One match last

season, after he was subbed off you can clearly see Özil looking in Emery’s direction and calling

him a pussy. Now that is something you shouldn’t do if you want more game time. In the match

against Watford he started and that ball to Maitland-Niles to set up Auba was a beauty. At 31

years old and on his wages, it makes sense why he would want to stay. A late rumored move to

DC United did not materialize and no team in Europe would want to pay an aging Özil £350k a

week. It pains me to say this, but I think it may be time to move on. Ceballos (if we can sign him

on a permanent deal) and Willock are not only younger, but can easily play the #10 as well. If

Arsenal manage to get him off the wage bill that would be massive to getting some quality

players in. This will 100% piss off the Özil Fan Boys, but I am sorry. In the words of Claude

from ArsenalFanTV: “It’s time to go!” I will never forget on deadline day for the 2013/2014

season when it was announced Özil would be an Arsenal player. But now it is time for total

change; after this window where most of the deadwood was shifted out, it is the dawn of a new

era (hopefully).

Step 5: Midfield Masterpiece

With the arrival of Spanish Don Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, Emery needs

to figure out who is going to play in the midfield. So lets go over our options: Ceballos, Xhaka,

Willock, Guendouzi, Özil, Torreira, David Luiz (can play CDM), Maitland-Niles once Bellerin

comes back, and Emile Smith-Rowe. Attacking midfield is not a priority due to depth and quality

of the position currently. Defensive midfield on the other hand, not so much. Xhaka is one of

those players who stat wise is fine, but he fails the eye test. He’s slow, does not react fast, and

likes to go into a challenge which usually ends up with him being booked or a pen. In the past

he’s shown he can ping a 40 yard long ball like it’s nothing or hit absolute thundercunt of a shot.

The biggest mistake I remember was the draw against Brighton towards the end of the

2018/2019 season. An attacker beats Xhaka on the wing and to stop the attack he pulled the

opposing player’s shirt in the box which resulted with a penalty and dashed Arsenal’s hopes for

UCL qualification. What makes this even more interesting is he is now Arsenal’s captain. Emery

loves him and will play him any chance he gets. So, it’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario:

Which Xhaka is going to show up and play? Torreira is a player which Arsenal fans have been

crying for since Vieria left. A pitbull in the midfield who can stop opposing attacks and get the

attack started. Torreira has to be the glue and play defensive midfield in front of the backline. In

this case, a midfield 3 of: Torreira, Willock/Ceballos, and Xhaka is ideal. Xhaka can set the

tempo and distribute to the wings or center, Torreira can break up opposing attacks and get the

Arsenal counter going, and then Willock or Ceballos in the #10 can create space and find the

channels for Auba, Laca, and Pepe. If Xhaka gets benched, seeing David Luiz in the midfield

wouldn’t be terrible. He can go up to help attacks, distribute, try hitting a long freekick like in

the 2014 World Cup against Colombia, and make stupider tackles not inside of the box. At one

point I would love to see Maitland-Niles play in his natural position as a box to box midfielder

that will only add another dynamic and engine to the machine.

This is my personal take on how Arsenal can become Great Again. Only time will tell to

see any of these things actually happen. If not and the season really goes to shit, we may have to

bank on a Europa League win to get back into the UCL. If that doesn’t happen and Arsenal finish

outside the top 4, then #EmeryOut? xoxo

- Neel Ghose