I moan about this every year, but seriously, who in their right mind thinks an international break three games into a season is acceptable in any way, shape or form? Firstly, 90% of football fans don’t care about international friendlies. Secondly, we’ve over indulged in low quality international tournaments already. The Olympics and the Euros hardly blew me away. Thirdly, give us a damn chance to get into our club game rhythmn before we start throwing national games into the melting pot.
… and fourthly, what the f*ck am I supposed to write about for the next two weeks?
Well, firstly, I had a text from Geoff this morning saying that the Spanish tax rate was just put up to 52%. As he pointed out in a blog post, Spain are bankrupt… they’ll need to recoup some money… and they’ll come for the foreigners first. The Government has closed the loop hole on the so called ‘Beckham Law’ allowing the Treasury to claim an additional 28% tax from players like Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Modric.
That’s going to put the Spanish Champions in a bit of a situation. The same for Barcelona. How will they afford to up those players salaries? In short… they won’t be able to. So they’ll have a whole host of players thinking about leaving I’d imagine. Which to be honest, is totally hilarious. Christiano ‘I want a life contract’ Ronaldo is only in it for the money, which does make me feel slightly better about all the money grabbing monsters we’ve had at Arsenal over the past few years.
In Arsenal news, where are we at now the transfer window has shut?
Well, right at this very moment, we’re in a pretty good position. I think if we’d conceded a few more goals this season, we’d have had the ready made excuse of not having 3 of our back 5 playing. So far, we’ve conceded a total of zero. That’s a big, big positive for the side. Especially as we have Koscielny and Sagna coming back after the break and hopefully Chezzer (who seems to be missing games in the same way Diaby used to before we were told he was out for the foreseeable).
The first two games of the season were geared around defensive solidity. We lost some of our attacking flair as a result of this. However, it was clear that much of the attacking prowess we lacked was probably down to a lack of familiarity the midfield forward had with each other. The Liverpool game opened gave us the first glimpse into how this new team can play and I’m pleased to see that there seems to be a whole variety of attacking shapes opening up.
With Giroud up top, we can play in a very direct way. He wins almost everything in the air and he’s a tall striker who is comfortable with the ball at his feet and he has the ability to play with his back to goal. We’ve also got a suitable amount of pace in the side to break at speak. That was demonstrated with the first goal we scored against Liverpool. Then there is the sort of goal every Arsenal team of the last 15 years has had the ability to nail… the pass and move. The fact this is all underpinned by discipline and accountability is the reason I think we’ll have a good season.
We’re only a few games in, so we can’t get too carried away, but the signs are positive. A team built with the collective ideal of not conceding goals is always going to fair better in the league. 49 goals was a massive failure last year.
31 -37 – 41 – 43 – 49
The fact that it had got progressively worse over 5 years was the really worrying trait. It meant no one at the club was paying attention to the issue. We were trying to solve our defensive inability by becoming better at possession football. That was an insane way to approach the problem. Defence is an absolute art and it needs to be taught with the respect it deserves. It looks like we’re on track with that. If we want to win the league again, we’ll have to be sub 30. Too much of an ask this year I appreciate, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was the famous back four.
In midfield, the praise Abou Diaby has been receiving has been quite incredible. Fully deserved after the performance against Liverpool. It’s amazing how players who have been out of the game for so long can develop without training. How did Robin go from a good striker to a great striker without having the game time to match it? Abou Diaby might do the same this season if he can string 10 games together. That’s a massive if, and sadly, our season depends on that happening. His ability to turn defence into attack in a split second is a joy to watch. When those long rangy legs pull of a Kanu-esque piece of skill it’s an absolute pleasure… we need to see it across 40 games though.
It was interesting to read him compare himself to Yaya Toure in terms of role…
“In our teams, Yaya Toure and me have very similar roles,” he said.
“I am not like Alex Song. We have many players who can take his place like Francis Coquelin or Mikel Arteta, who likes to play deep. I want to get forward – that’s me.
“I have defensive duties as well so I need to have a good shape defensively and, as soon as we get the ball, go forward.”
What I like about that comment is firstly he respects that he has defensive duties. You can make that sort of mindset a part of the culture in the same way Newcastle used to have the culture of ‘we’ll score one more’. The other interesting comment is that he says Arteta likes playing the anchor role and that Coquelin can play there too. I mentioned earlier in the summer that the young Frenchman was 1 year younger than M’Vila. That’ll be a huge litmus test for us… what happens when Arteta picks up a knock? If he can fill in an play with the same discipline, we’ll be in a good position. We’re basically taking a massive punt on his development, but I have to be honest, I’m more comfortable about that than I was when we took a punt on Denilson. At least he’s talented!
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Anyway, that’s 1000 words which isn’t usually part of the Tuesday deal. Enjoy and hey, maybe let me know your thoughts in the comments?