Well good morning my darlings – football is coming home. 10 games in 36 days. It’s going to be pure joy. I’ll be going to a few of them as well. They’ll yell ‘PEDRO, YOU’RE A TOURIST’ and I’ll show them I’m not by flashing an Arsenal vs West Ham half-and-half scarf. I won’t be beaten when it comes to superfandom.
Who might not be there by the end of this run?
Aaron Ramsdale. I made a shocking error in the podcast suggesting Brentford was s BIG game for Raya. It’s not. He can’t play because he’s on loan from Brentford. So that means maybe one final game for Aaron before he’s jettisoned in January.
Fabrizio Romano was given the news that Arsenal will be signing Raya on a perm deal. This should come as no surprise to people, especially if you’ve been reading this blog. I don’t know who leaked to Fabrizio or why they did it… but the message to Aaron will be clear.
You’re leaving in January, so get your agent working on a deal.
A few fans have suggested that telegraphing our intentions to sell means we’ll get less money. I’m not sure it makes much difference, the fact he’s been benched since September is a pretty strong sign he’s not rated by Arteta. Key for Arsenal is he’s on a long-term deal, so if clubs come knocking with £5m offers, we can pass. I don’t really buy that there was a strategy for keeping his value high. If you play him and he keeps costing you goals, he’s costing you points, and he’s devaluing his own price tag. He hasn’t worked out, we probably overpaid for him in the first place, so I’m not sure I’d be banking on getting a big fee for him anyway. Other clubs can access the data – his poor shot-stopping ability is going to be a problem at £40m.
Still, Aaron is 24 years old, he has loads of experience, and he can play out the back like the best of them. He’d be better for Chelsea than Sanchez, but outside that, it’s hard to see who has a keeper problem they’d like to solve this January. Maybe he gets a move to the continent? More likely… a loan.
Mikel Arteta gave us the good news ahead of the Brentford game – Ben White will be back in training, but it’s not certain he’ll be available. Martin Odegaard is back and Gabi J should get minutes.
Those three players totally change the dynamic of Arsenal. It’s amazing we didn’t really notice their absence over the break. The main frustration injury-wise continues to be Thomas Partey. He’s a Diaby-like enigma these days and it doesn’t seem like it’ll ever get better. We need to have someone in our midfield for the long term who can step in and do things like he can.
The great thing about this weekend is there are a couple of games of interest in the top 4. The biggest is City vs Liverpool. This is the game we’re all waiting for because we’re all dying to know if Liverpool is actually going to be good this season. Has Klopp rebuilt a masterpiece? Or is it a cheap knock-off? I have a sexy feeling Pep G might get his arse handed to him.
Newcastle vs Chelsea will be interesting as well, I’m hoping Eddie Howe drops points in this one – Newcastle worries me. They are the stalking horses of the league and they haven’t had much luck this season (bar the game against us). Spurs also have a rough game against Aston Villa. Don Unai will rip apart a highline with average players – and there aren’t many good defensive options Big Ange can face up this weekend.
There’s been a lot of noise coming out of Germany regarding Tomiyasu. Bayern likes him, they see him as a player of interest because he can play across the backline. Arteta doesn’t normally comment on transfers, but he stepped into this one.
‘I really want him to stay. I value the player a lot, I really like him. I think he’s loved and respected by everybody at the club. He’s getting a lot of minutes now, he’s getting his availability to the level that we need for him to make an impact in the team and I think he will continue to be with us.’
The key word in that sentence is ‘availability’ because Tomi hasn’t had a lot of it. I don’t have any inside information, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see us sell him if a chonky bid came our way. His injury problems aren’t going to get any better and I don’t think he’s the long-term solution to any of our positions. So if you can get £40m for him, you could find someone younger with less wear and tear. But we’ll see… I’m loving what he’s doing for us right now.
Arteta is going to find out his punishment for being a bad bitch when talking about referees. He had an interesting point on the subject.
‘I think it’s good that we are communicating. We want to improve the game, all of us, referees, managers, officials, owners, sporting directors, you guys, we all want a better game, that’s it. To have a better game we have to have freedom of speech, respectfully, in a constructive way, but we have to promote that. If not, you don’t get better. That’s for sure. It’s good that they are talking in front of the media and explaining the situation because it brings clarity.’
I kind of agree… if no one ever speaks out, nothing ever changes. We can’t live in a world where refs are beyond reproach. Gary Neville and his gang telling the fans they have to get on with it doesn’t move the needle in the game. Telling managers to suck it up also doesn’t work. Managers would prefer points over private apologies. If behind-the-scenes conversations aren’t getting the action clubs need, they have to use the bully pulpit to maximum effect.
… but know this, Arteta is gonng get smacked with a big wet fish over his outburst. The combo of the aggression and the club statement is a massive thread to PGMOL, so he’ll get the big sentence to make sure revolt is not seen as an option in the future.
Ok, that’s me done. See you in the comments!