Morning Grovers, despite us having a game this evening, there's really not too much to talk about. Reading are going to be a tough game, because we make them a tough game and we're out of form. Arsenal.com have rehashed the 'We're a f*cking serious team, yeah?' story with an even more serious picture of Arsene Wenger. When you read stories about how top dictators rule their domestic media, then you watch Arsenal.com pushing certain words over and over, it does make you wonder...
'Boys, the fans don't think the players are taking things seriously. What are we going to do about this?'
'Errr, why don't we just keep using the word serious? You know, so people come away from the site sure that we're serious?'
'Genius... throw in a story about Rambo being the control master as well. Compare his concentration to Bergkamp's'
So we know the team is serious. We know that Diaby is crocked for forever and 3 weeks away. Theo, well, the boss is unsure about and Laruent is also on the 'unsure' pile. I like to think Arsene does know, he's just bang up for surprising us this evening.
Regardless of who is playing, we need to play like this evening is a Champions League final. Things could get nasty if we don't. A negative attitude to the club is contagious with big groups of supporters. I don't think I've ever seen the press round on Arsene in quite the way they are at the moment. I spoke to LBC at the weekend about the situation, and to my surprise, after giving my view of Wenger and his days being numbered, Patrick Barclay weighed in with some managerial replacement suggestions. When he's talking like that, you know things are bad. He suggested Martinez. I'm not so keen... but the way he deals with budgets and his philosophy to the game... well, he certainly has credentials. I'd prefer to aim quite a bit higher though. If we were going for a young manager from the Premiership, there are a few other names I'd prefer.
Back to the game. We need to own the ball. We need to press and the front three need to move for the midfield. There seems to be a real team brain freeze that happens when we get into the final third. No one wants the ball, if they do want the ball, they're so petrified of losing it, they don't take a risk. 99% pass completion is no good if that means you don't ever take a risk. The season Andrey Arshavin landed 18+ assists his pass completion was terrible. Why? Because he was always taking risks. He's an extreme example, but for me, I'd prefer that over Arteta who rarely passes outside a 10 yard circle.
This is Reading this evening. We need to start to dominate teams that are below our quality level. If we don't, this season will continue to go down the toilet pan at the pace it currently is.
A few other points I want to take on are as followed.
The first is the idea that because Stewart Robson was sacked by Arsenal, all his points were invalid. I can tell you they weren't. They were all bang on. Some say he has an agenda, maybe he does, but that doesn't mean he was telling lies. He has an inside line at the club and he was pretty much on point with everything he said. That might hurt some to admit it, but we've shared a lot of what he said over the past two year on here. The fact no one seems to be able to pin point what was a lie says it all. What is really concerning is that some of our other explayers are so off when they talk about the club. They're just as agenda led as Robson. Keeping quiet to curry favour with the manager and the club is just as bad as going after it with relish for being sacked.
The other story I wanted to take on was the one about Robin telling the club he wanted to stay on after Cologne game. I'd heard differently. I'm not sure which game it was, or whether it was in training, but I was told Arteta pulled him up about his intentions in front of the dressing room, telling him to make up his mind one way or the other. The idea that Robin was sold against his will is fanciful. As I've been saying over the last month or so, the guy is cold and calculating. There is no way, after releasing that statement about the club, after taking on Arsene and Ivan in that infamous meeting, after nailing a £200k week contract with United... he'd turn around and say he'd be ok to stay for a year.
1) He's was an injury prone 28 year old in the form of his life. An extra year could mean a serious injury and a serious devaluation in earnings potential
2) He knew there was no way back after that press release
3) He'd made up his mind where he wanted to go in January
4) He wanted to win trophies
5) If he'd told the club he wanted to stay and they'd said no... his team would have plastered that all over the press
Robin left because he made it that way. From a business point of view, it would have made more financial sense to keep him, scoring his goals and playing for the deal of his life, than to keep Theo. Instead, we're losing a 23 years old who'd be worth £20m this summer and could go on to have 7 more years banging in 15+ goals a season. Over a player who'd have us contending this year. It wouldn't have been such bad business if we'd replaced him with Cavani... but we didn't and we are where we are.
Anyway, a striker on the move is Balottelli. I know he's a nutter, but he's a seriously talented boy. It's such a shame no one seems to be able to control him. He's always worked under strict tacticians. I wonder if the more liberal Arsene could work with him?
Anyway, enjoy the game this evening!
This part of the post is sponsored, so suck it up people and get purchasing from the good people of JD.
I was asked to write a little piece around trainers for the JD Heroes Campaign. I'm no fashion blogger so I wasn't really sure how to tackle this, but this is a trainer hero campaign. I picked a Nike Air Max. Because I love the trainer? In part. But the reason I picked the Nike trainer is for me, Nike are synonymous with Arsenal coming out of the doldrums and into the light. Nike were a sparkling brand way beyond the reach of a young Arsenal fan way back in the day.
When they dropped their first kit, I was hooked. They, along with Arsene and his stylish brand of football kicked us onto the next level. I don't mean to go all poncy here, but even though it's not something we openly talk about because we're mostly focused on the football, Arsenal and style go hand in hand, there's a real creative following and the difference in how we look is pretty apparent when you wander around the bars in North London. I'm not saying we're a cut above, all I'm saying is if a Spurs fan was asked to pick a trainer brand that epitomised their club, I have a feeling it'd be a Reebok classic covered in dogs mess.
Is that inflammatory? Who cares. It came from the heart.
Anyway, the below trainers are collectibles put out for the 125th anniversary of the club. They're going for a £1000 on eBay. Some serious collectibility there.
Hey Nike, what the frick happened to my pair?
Anyway... do me a favour, click the video below and buy all of your trainer gifts through this link. If you don't, I'll find out who your friends are and tell them about those Reebok Classics you have at home.