Good morning Grovers! So that was exciting news yesterday… It was like Ivan read my first post headline and sorted everything out. Steve Bould becoming our assistant manager is an absolutely great piece of news. He’s younger, hungrier and will no doubt carry more of an presence than Pat Rice has over the last 3-4 years.
People keep saying he won’t have an influence, but I couldn’t disagree more. He has it all to prove. Whilst I don’t think he’ll be disruptive or a dissenter, I think he’ll be more enthusiastic about addressing the basic issues. As I’ve said on here for years, we need to utilise the tools Championship clubs are doing a better job with. Let’s get Bould sitting the defence down and telling Vermaelen shouldn’t be bombing forward when we’re 3-2 up with 15 to go. Let’s have a better squad rotation system built around GPS so we don’t look dead in January. Let’s force players to run through the video analysis so they know what’s coming each game.
Let’s build next seasons success around preparation.
I also think he’ll force more accountability. Could Pat Rice, at his age, really demand 100% commitment in the same way a much bigger, stronger man 25 years his youth could? I don’t think so. Steve Bould is a living memory player for all Arsenal players. I’m 27, though I have huge respect for what Pat Rice did in the game, it wouldn’t come close to the respect I’d have for Steve Bould. He’s living memory for me, Pat Rice isn’t. Personally, I think it’s a great move, he has an amazing chance to take us to the next level. Wenger has an amazing chance to freshen his ways up. It’ll be mutually beneficial.
On the transfer front, things are also hotting up. Yann M’Vila, the defensive midfielder from France we bid for last August seems to be the major signing from Ligue One we’ve been talking about since February. I was told back then we were out there working on a deal, it’s great if that’s coming to fruition now. He’s a top player who has superb discipline unless you’re a 17 year old who has messed with his Facebook profile. He’s exactly what we need.
I’ve questioned the signing of M’Vila for a while. If he comes in for £20million. What does that mean for Alex Song… who you know I’ve had question marks over for a while? Well, that might mean he is shipped off to Madrid. Like Flamini, I think he’ll get found out if he goes elsewhere. The fact these stories are cropping up now plays right into what I’ve suspected for a while… that he’s looking for the next big move. Having Darren Dein as your rep is a pretty big statement these days. For me, as good as some of his passes have been this year, we could be doing better. He’s too slow, he still totally lacks discipline, he seems to have very little passion and he’s never going to be the Gilberto or Emmanuel Petit we need.
God help me if Arsene Wenger decides he’ll be our creative force next season!
An interesting thing I’ve noted is how many of the pro-Arsene types seem to hate the fact we’re signing big. They’ve generally been the people saying we’re wasting £20mill on M’Vila and that Podolski is average. Jeez… lighten up. The same people said that about Arteta and Yossi in the summer.
There’s still an interest in Jan Vertonghen of Ajax. There’s also interest from Spurs. As I understand it, he’s probably not going to end up with the chaps down the road. I think the appeal of playing with Vermaelen will sway things if we do go for him (which is far from certain), plus the fact we have a long term future as a club. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at a club like City or United.
We’ll also be looking to move on the deadwood / wage collectors this summer. Bendtner, Vela, Chamakh, Park, Denilson, Almunia, Djourrou and Squillaci are all likely to be on the exit list… that said, I was told the exact same thing last year but we struggled to find buyers. This year already feels different though. We’re doing our business now because we know Robin won’t stay otherwise. That’s the type of player power I can deal with. The club seem to be responding, but truth be told, we were responding from February. We haven’t just suddenly become swift negotiators…
We’re still not finished for the season. We have a tricky game to deal with at West Brom. We conceded two goals early on there last year… a shocker of a game from Almunia from what I remember. We went on to batter them from there. This year, we need to go up there and play them off the park from the off. We need to go at them like we went at Norwich in the second half of the game. If we play 90minutes like that… we’ll win. Spurs don’t have an easy game against Fulham, so their 3 points are in no way guaranteed… but we need to make sure. Another draw will be hugely disappointing. I want to enjoy the Champions League final this year, not bit my nails in a juddering wreck for 90minutes.
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Anyway… that’s your lot. Let us know your thoughts on the rumours and the new assistant.