Who is our scapegoat du jour: Nketiah, Havertz, Jorginho…Arteta?


There’s plenty of blame and disappointment to go around after we stumbled to a draw at home to Tottenham, and it’s only natural to seek out one particular individual on whom to pin the blame. The glaring mistakes from this and that individual may beguile us, though. It’s easy enough to blame Jorginho for coughing it up to Maddison to set up Son for the equaliser. Havertz blazed one gilt-edged chance over. Nketiah…well, the less said about him the better. Still, we need a scapeboat, so who’s it going to be?

Jesus…or Nketiah?
Injuries to Trossard and Martinelli forced Arteta into an odd selection dilemma. Nketiah, for as limited he is through the middle, is even more limited played wide. Hence, it’s Jesus on the wing and Nketiah as striker. If either one of them finished any of the innumerable chances they had, we’d have claimed three points. Nketiah pounced on Udogie’s careless back-pass only to shoot straight at Vicario from a tight angle; Jesus dispossessed Maddison from 14 yards out only to sky his shot when a simple tap might have done the trick. Each moment was emblematic of each man’s efforts.

There. I said it. While it’s true that our starboy scored both goals (I’m counting Romero’s own-goal as Saka’s actual goal), we would be remiss in overlooking his role in Tottenham’s first goal. After taunting Maddison by imitating his dart-throwing goal celebration, Saka was woefully remiss (yes, that’s twice) in allowing Maddison to slip past him along the endline to feed Son. His defending was so slack that toreadors were taking notes. Yes, he should perhaps be credited with a brace—but he should perhaps also be saddled with an error leading to a goal.

Low-hanging fruit here. Yes, he dithered with the ball at his feet and Maddison and Son looking to pounce. There’s no way around that. HIs only option was to turn to his right to find White on the touchline, but it’s unclear whether he knew White was there or whether White made his presence known. Jorginho still struggles to shake off the shackles of being just another Chelsea reject, so any mistake he makes gets magnified. One would expect a seasoned, experienced, savvy player to demonstrate better decision-making, and one would be right.

Let’s all hate on Havertz
Speaking of Chelea’s “rejects”, Havertz had a moment when he might have slayed his demons. After coming on at halftime for an effective if not effervescent Vieira, he found himself with a free shot on goal only to blaze it high and wide. Had he found the back of the net—hell, had he kept it on frame—he might have exorcised three years’ worth of those demons. Instead, cognitive dissonance did what it does, and too many of us focused on the evidence that confirms our preconceived notions and ignored any evient that contradicts those notions. We didn’t drop points because of Havertz. Full stop.

As alluded to before, he had selection dilemmas. Shorn the services of Trossard, Martinelli, and Partey to start, Arteta also had to contend with the injury to Rice. For as much as we’d strengthened over the summer, those injuries would challenge any manager. I might have liked to see Smith Rowe start on the left in order to play Jesus through the middle, but I don’t see what Arteta sees in training. It’s entirely possible that our Croydon De Bruyne lolly-gags. Arteta shuffled the deck in ways that I disagree with it, but there are reasons that I’m an amateur blogger and he’s a Prem manager. That’s not carte blanche to let him do whatever he wants, but there’s just enough in that to suggest that might just know a touch more than I (or his critics) know.

In the end, we were undone by our own mistakes. Only the most delusional Spurs fans (redundant phrase, I know…) would claim that they outplayed us. Yes, they were brave and aggressive, but they were luckier than they were good. Had Saka closed down Maddison, had Nketiah or Jesus finished just one of the many chances they had, had Raya done better on that cross that he tipped raither than claimed…

Two mistakes, two goals.

We’re still far from our fluid best, but we’re still undefeated. That has to count for something. We win as a squad; we lose as a squad. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming any one individual player. “Victoria Concordia Crescit” is more than some fancy Latin on a crest. Those of you lucky enough to attend matches home or away, remember that you represent countless legions of fans. It’s up to you to shout and chant and cheer your support for our lads. Drown out the nay-sayers and the malcontents and the nihilists. Inspire Havertz and Nketiah and Jorginho and anyone else wearing the shirt.

We’re counting on you. Represent.

Average rating 4.6 / 5. Vote count: 22

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

8 thoughts on “Who is our scapegoat du jour: Nketiah, Havertz, Jorginho…Arteta?

  1. Palladio43

    Arteta and Edu are most at fault for not opting for a true striker and imagining that, after Balogun was sent packing(he of missed penalties), Eddie could do the job. Granted nobody expected as many injuries to the wingers, nor it would seem to both Thomas and Rice, but that is what these two are paid big bucks ( or Euros and pounds) to do and do well.
    Not using ESR was another mistake or even planning on his use so far this season. As to the rest of the cast of characters, the Jesus miss may have been offset by Richardson missing near the end, although that shot was more the equal of the Havertz shot. Saka may have taunted, but that is not why Madison deked him, although Eddie did fail to be at the post on another wasted effort. Jorghino was careless and it is inexcusable for an experienced player. What you fail to mention today, is why Arteta too Jesus out at all?
    Now the fingers shoot point to Arteta and Edu as to what they will do in January. We will know by then what else we need and, even if expensive, what we can buy. Hopefully many of the injured will be back except for Timber, and hopefully, there will be no new ones. Can we get Toney? He will have many suitors, of course and his price will go up. Will Ramsdale be used to finance him and others? It may be too early to sell Harvetz, hopefully not this year’s Pepe, and I hope Jon is right about him. As of now, however, he is the poster child for where and how our management screwed up this summer. Will he remain so?

  2. jw1

    That things aren’t clicking, isn’t down to much more than teams now know what to expect from us– as well as new players still seeking chemistry with one another. We certainly weren’t at our best after the first 30-35 minutes on Sunday– but in that initial segment of the match we created opportunities to go up 2-0 or 3-0. Had we converted, we’d all be having a better week.

    The idea that we’ve somehow started slowly this season (4-2-0)– while still being undefeated, isn’t just contradictory, it’s also wrong. Compared to our flying start last season (5-0-1) we are one point off that pace (14 to 15pts). With the same record as ourselves– Sp*rs are somehow greatly improved this season under their new man– yet at this juncture last season– the neighbors were also on 14pts.

    That City has run off six straight to open isn’t Arsenal’s ‘fault’– and TBH I’d rather see them have a streak of wins early, rather than the business end of the season. They’re looking thinner squad-wise than they have in some time– and have a notion their season is going to play out differently than expected.

    It’s a long haul yet.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I agree that it’s a long haul, but it’s also only part of the picture to compare our record to last year’s at this point. We haven’t looked convincing in any match for longer than 20-30 minutes and didn’t really show up for the NLD. We can point to this or that moment, the absence of Partey, the withdrawal of Rice, etc. but I do hope thinks start to click sooner rather than later. Liverpool are back to their old ways, and it’s possible that Tottenham may be for real (I still have my doubts). You know me to be an eternal optimist; maybe this post is my nadir…

  3. A Simple Truth

    “scapegoat”—all of the above

    the following info was published by the BBC:

    Big Chances created-13-PL rank-12th
    Big Chances scored-5-PL rank-8th
    Big Chances missed-8-PL rank 9th
    Expected goals-11.4-PL rank 8th
    Shot Conversion Rate-12%-PL rank-8th

    hardly the kind of numbers one might logically expect on the heels of our unprecedented summer spending spree…of course, it certainly doesn’t help that we didn’t acquire a single, solitary player with even a modicum of clinical finishing on their respective CVs…frankly I was surprised the rankings weren’t lower, but, in the end, you reap what you sow

  4. Welsh Corgi

    Morning, I think people are bit harsh on Eddie. When midfield isnt working, Oddegards marked out of the game. What is Eddie gonna do. He can make 50 runs but if the passes arent coming he´ll look bad.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Fair point, but he also has to work harder to make himself available. He had only 23 touches against Tottenham, and that’s just not enough for a CF. He doesn’t offer enough aerial threat to justify crosses into the box, so he has to split the lines and find open spaces if he’s going to develop into anything more than a poacher who scores tap-ins from six yards away.

  5. patrik.bergstedt Bergstedt

    True, he could have done better. But hes not, as of yet, a player who can take a game by the scruff of the neck and make things happen. Maybe he will be?

    When we play to his strengths he looks good. Now he had an off day (as many others as well).

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      true, even Odegaard was kept quiet, and if he’s not creating, a poacher like Nketiah is going to struggle. While he may never become the kind of player who take a game by the scruff, I do hope he can expand on his skillset and become the kind of player who can deliver 12-15 goals per season. We don’t need a Golden Boot level player (although it would be nice…); our more-democratic approach was very effective last season–adding one more double-digits goalscorer would make it even more effective.


Leave a Reply