Watching the Arsenal game as we speak. Really difficult to take too much from the game. The weather looked wonderfully sweltering, we had a distinctly weak team out and we had a bunch of the same issues we had last year (and years before, if you any horror in Drogba STILL haunting us).
The tempo of the game was nice, Chamberlain looks fit and sharpish, Rob Holding looked pretty decent. Theo looked clueless. I mean, hard to take anything from preseason games.
The only thing you could really draw from it was that our squad looks woefully short. Wenger came out after the game and said that he was looking for one player. Then said somewhere else that he was looking for two players. Basically, a striker and centre-back cover.
He also got on track with the company messaging…
on if a top-four finish this season would be enough…
It’s never enough. I personally believe that no matter what you do, it’s never enough. You have to give absolutely everything to take the best out of the team. I believe that we know what we have to do, because we were second last year, we had 18 teams behind us. It’s a big ask, because when you look at the Premier League, every club is hugely ambitious. You look at the cheques that everybody signs and it’s quite scary. That’s what the Premier League is about at the moment.
Reading that, crying into my coffee. It’s like giving your grandma an iPad for Christmas and telling her you’ve pre-installed 1000 books.
‘It’s scary Pete, it’s scary. 1000?’
Yes Grandma, it is scary.
It’s scary that we’re heading into a season where Klopp, Pep, Jose and Conte have all added players to very good squads. It’s scary that you’re scared of writing big cheques. It’s scary that we’ve gone from Vardy and Mikki, to Lacazette and some two-bob centre back that’s been offered to you at the local meat market.
Interesting though, because like in the real world, you have the informed and the uninformed. The vast majority of Arsenal fans are uninformed. They get their news from The Sun or Sky Sports news. It’s news light. So when Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger trot out the, ‘we just canna compete lads’, durge to the masses, the masses believe it.
I was on the train with my old man last night, a train friend dropped by smashed, politely giving his assessment of Wenger. Two of the points he made for keeping him onboard were,
‘We can’t compete’
‘At the end of the day, he hasn’t spent much money’
Those two lines perfectly encapsulate the malaise and the reasoning.
We can’t compete, because Ivan is pulling the wool over the eyes of the misinformed.
Wenger not spending money, in the eyes of most fans, is a get out of jail free card. Wenger won’t spend £100m on players, because he knows that if he fails this year on a budget, there’s always ‘well, imagine what he could do if he DID spend cash’…
It’s really tough to watch it play out. You have to say, taking this summer at face value, we’re being taken for a ride again.
Only Wenger and Ivan could say Arsenal will make an impact on the league this season by basically adding one decent player. Only Arsene and Ivan could look at the competition, bemoan it and not try and do anything to counter it.
What must the players think? The same as you and me…
They’ll know we’re unprepared. Per Mertesacker mentioned the other week that other teams appear to by signing good players (he couldn’t add, ‘why aren’t we?’). They feel the same things we do. They’re even more expertly aware of the issues. They’ll be flat looking at the better coaches and the heightened ambition. Because players want to work with great people.
Same way business works, right? If you work in advertising, you wanna know you’re going to partner with people who make great work. You work in banking, you wanna know your team are capable of making great decisions that reap great rewards, you work in First Sport selling trainers, you wanna know you’re going to get out early.
Arsenal players already knew they weren’t good enough. They’ll be pleased with Xhaka, but they’ll know we’re still a long way off what United and City have been doing. They’ll be affected by the negative messaging from Ivan. They’ll be affected by the whimpering comments of Wenger. They’ll not be turbo-charged by an immense preseason that has rectified the problems of last year.
It’s quite incredible.
Also amazing the PR Rob Holding is getting on the main site and that Arsenal are showing off about beating a MLS All Star team, because Bayern lost to them.
Teeing you up for successful failure again this year… what a shit show.