Happy good morning to you today!
It’s a double day today, not only do I head a year further into the twilight of Premier League football careers. It’s also father’s day!
Father’s Day is that time of year when you thank your Dad for making you support Arsenal as a kid. Your Mum might have hooked you into football, and if she did, that’s marvellous, but she had her day like, a month ago or something.
Anyway, my old man helped me make the right choices as a child.
I dabbled with other sides. I considered Glasgow Rangers because I wasn’t very bright, then I thought about Nottingham Forest. This didn’t go down well, and I certainly didn’t live in a home that you could call a democracy… I was soon given the ultimatum and being 4-5, I accepted that Christmas was not something I was prepared to give up in the name of a football club… I was also lucky that my birthday, today, generally coincided with a kit launch.
I remember the excitement of heading down to Finsbury Park to pick up one of our old Adidas away shirts back in the day… so excited I changed on the platform. You could be a full kit wanker as a child, it was acceptable back then.
I also remember my brother telling my dad he wanted Seaman all over his back.
What a pig, pretty sure Jens Lehmann was the #1 at the time.
That was a pretty sick joke, but it’s staying in.
I’d imagine for many of the people reading this based in the UK, dads and Arsenal go hand in hand. That’s how it is for me and I’m thankful everyday for that. All the best times revolved around Arsenal. Lucky I was raised through the incredible years!
I don’t really have much in the way of transfer gossip. We’re apparently going to offer Petr Cech £100k a week to join us. Big deal. Could we just make it happen and bring him into the squad on the ASAP.
Ivan and co ran a supporters Q&A on Friday. I read the write up here and it sounded pretty good to me (read here).
The club are progressing. I’ve had a few people jibing me out for being positive of late, but look, like I’ve always said, when the situation changes, your opinion should follow suit, if you think what’s changed is important and not an accident.
Pretty much everything I’ve banged to drum for over the years is starting to happen or is well under way.
Tactics: We’re approaching each game with a fairly individual plan. We’re playing to our strengths, working on nullifying our opponents best parts and we’re making it work. Behind the scenes, we’re using video analysis, we’re working on how play under certain scenarios in small packs in training and we’re seeing the benefits. We’ve only been doing this since November. Imagine how good we’ll be with a full preseason under our belts?
Squad: We’re starting to make an impact on having a decent squad. Last summer, we brought in pace. During the season, we managed to bolster that as a few players upped their game. We now have the makings of a genuinely exciting squad. Pace, power and a great mix of young and experienced. 2-3 serious additions this summer and we’ll be competing. No doubt in my damn mind ya hear?
Backroom team: We brought in a new youth team coach, we brought in a new scout, we’re utilising the methodology of Shad Forsythe and now we’re bringing in a new keeping coach who is world class. The infrastructure in the backroom team isn’t perfect but it’s improved and it looks like more responsibility and trust is being placed in it.
Analytics: We’re clearly using more data. When I talk about data, specifically, the data we use to keep players fresh. I know there are a lot of people out there who truly believe what’s happened this season has been a result of Wenger not changing and his vision of football coming to fruition, but don’t listen to them, if you think it was a coincidence that our squad was nearly completely fit for the first time in 10 years, then you’re mental. Wenger is listening to the data, taking notice of a fitness coach who knows what he’s doing and we’re reaping the rewards. Big challenge is whether he can do that for a whole season.
Big Games: We’re starting to win them. We beat United and City away. Major points. We were unlucky against Chelsea but we earned a point. These are game we don’t normally do well in. Sure, we ballsed up against Monaco, but in the second half of the season, that was certainly a blip over the norm. This is where we’ll really see next year… if we continue to win the big games and take care of the little ones, we’ll make a big move on the league.
This summer is essential. If we bring in the right defensive midfielder, finish the deal for the keeper and potentially bring in a striker of quality, we’re pretty much there.
A big ask, but you can’t knock the last year. We’re slowly being dragged into the modern era and that’s special.
Next season could be immense. Keep em’ crossed and make sure you thank your dad today for letting you support the mighty Arsenal!