The big one tomorrow.
Well, not really. The big one is on Sunday.
I kind of feel like tomorrow should be treated like a Cup Final when half your team missed the plane.
Bayern are an incredible side. They’re gonna be angry we dicked on them in the first game. They’re going to have better players available because of our mini crisis.
If we win. It’ll be something to toast. If we draw, it’ll be equally toastable. If we lose, well, come on, it’s Bayern Munich.
The big one is on Sunday. It’s big for many reasons. Heritage, rivalry, hatred… but for me, the most important reason it’s big is that it closes off 13 days until our next game which is against West Brom on the 21st. You don’t want to go into the international break possibly losing back to back games.
You want to keep that momentum going into December.
So tomorrow night is important in the sense that we save face. It’s important that we don’t lose any more key players to injury. It’s important that we don’t let this dent our confidence.
The other bit of fabulous news is Spurs have to play Anderlecht on Thursday evening. That’s one less day of rest that counters the fact we have to play away in Bayern.
So no excuses of additional preparation. No freshness issues. Both teams will be in the same boat. Well, we’ll be chasing shadows all night… Spurs won’t.
Remi Garde (or Remy if you’re Aston Villa’s social media intern) has joined Aston Villa. It’s relevant to Arsenal for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s rumoured Wenger went in with the big recommendation (like that time he tried to recommend Flamini go to Birmingham). Secondly, Tom Fox and ex-right hand man of Ivan, Hendrick Almstadt, are both at Villa. You kind of feel this move reeks of Arsenal boardroom talk from the past.
Which does alarm me. I do hope this move was all of their own doing… and not an indicator of where we’re going in the future. Nothing against Remi Garde, he’s probably a very good manager, but I’m kind of hoping for a Pep Guardiola. Not future Sporting Director Arsene Wenger’s stooge.
I’m being unfair. Remi might take Aston Villa back to the top. I was hoping that when Wenger left, we didn’t keep his fingers on the blueprints of the future… and that we learn from the mistakes made when Ferguson left United. Start a fresh or go internal if you want continuity.
Onto other clubs, it was interesting listening to Jurgen Klopp post Chelsea win. He’s incredibly charismatic and fun to watch… he’s ADHD for sure. He was talking about Mourinho and he basically said, with what he’s done at the club, there should be no question about his future. He also said, ‘look, it’s happened to me.’
Bringing this back to Arsene, what you have to commend is that in 20 years, he’s never had an absolute shocker. He’s always kept us consistent and stable. It also has to be said, that Mourinho isn’t out of top four contention yet. Wenger has been just as far back with worse squads and still made good on the season.
Another point that was mentioned in an Arsenal group chat was that we’d never gone through this. Firstly, I’d disagree, we had a pretty terrible start last season. The worst ever post war start I think? But anyway, ask yourself this. What would you prefer for Arsenal… the success Chelsea have had over the last ten years + 11 points from 11 games in 2015-16. Or the stability of Arsene and two FA Cups?
I mean, even Barcelona have had bad seasons. Same for Madrid. Same for United. Same for Juventus.
It’s part of the game.
So whilst you can celebrate stability… what would you really want? What do the history books look at? When a new manager comes in and wins 2 Champions League trophies and back to back Premier Leagues, will we still talk about the stability? Maybe. We’ll always look back at Wenger transitioning the club. But I have a feeling that period will be talked about with less enthusiasm than trophies. Because football clubs are built on trophies. The rest is just commentary.
Hopefully this is the season we pop back onto the big stage with a major trophy. It’s all there. Ours to throw away.
A big, big season for Arsene. A big season for the players. A big season for the future of the club.
… but first, let’s just take care of Bayern.