I started a Fat Chart in excel this year, where I’m looking fluctuations in weight against drinking and eating out… I have found a correlation, if you drink and eat out, you get fat. Game-changer. I can’t believe how easy it goes in these days, I literally have to starve myself to get back on track. Why is life so unfair?
Well, apparently it’s not unfair if you’re a mistake-ridden footballer under Saint Arteta. The Spaniard is more forgiving than Jesus himself, this time, he’s trying to bring Mustafi under his arm and rebirth his stale career.
“Yes he made a mistake, but it’s OK. I like more the reaction and I look more at the reaction.”
“I don’t believe that at 27 you cannot improve certain aspects of the game; I really believe you can,”
“I work with players like this and I have team-mates like this and there is always a moment where there is a click.
“I can accept a mistake, no problem. What I’m not going to accept is somebody makes a mistake and after he stops playing, and he doesn’t want the ball and doesn’t want to make decisions. That player is not acceptable for our team.”
I mean, we asked for a coach and that’s exactly what he’s bringing to the table, so we really shouldn’t moan. The point that he’s making is a fair one, we all gave massive praise to Xhaka for his performance when we went a goal down, but you’d be hard pushed and cruel to deny that Mustafi had a very strong game after the error. Also worth remembering we were burning Xhaka effigies in November now he’s seen as reliable.
My worry, as ever, is that we’ve been watching this episode of Mustafi on repeat for the last however many years and it’s tiring. That said, there’s a player there, he was great against Crystal Palace. His range of passing was solid and he gave us a great outlet, so if he can be coached back to World Cup winning levels, then I’m game for it.
One thing is for sure with Arteta, he doesn’t give a rats arse what we think as fans, and he’ll do as he pleases.
Another player who has been spending time in the Miki Confessional box is Nicolas Pepe. The £72m winger from Lille has had a very up and down season. He has an unorthodox approach to the game, it’s hit or miss, but there’s certainly no doubt there’s a real talent lying in wait. Nic had this to say of the godly work he’s doing behind the scenes.
“Things have been going positively so far, we’ve got some good results and have been playing good football,” the 24-year-old said. “There has certainly been some encouraging signs and we know that we do have quality and we have what it takes to do well on the pitch.
“Mikel Arteta has explained to me what he would like me to do on the pitch and he has shown me videos that have stressed the importance of my positioning. He has told me exactly what he would like me to do to help me progress as a player.
“We want to do well as an attacking force. We want to perform well on the pitch, score goals and get assists. As a team it doesn’t matter who’s getting the goals and who’s getting assists, but the important thing is we are playing well together and getting results.
“We support one another on the pitch and as an attacking player it’s always great to have someone like Mesut Ozil feeding passes into you so it’s enjoyable.”
I’m hoping we’re going to see some sort of Raheem Sterling project with some of our wide players. We simply don’t get enough end product out of our players in the final third. That needs to change as the team builds more stability from the back. One absolute basic I’d love Pepe to work on is his right foot. How you can make it to the top in football being one-footed in 2020 is a miracle. Also, note the comment about Mesut Ozil… the players like being around him.
One player who isn’t a rehab project is Gabriel. I liked these comments from Mikel about our superstar Brazilian.
“They said you’ll be surprised how prepared he is to compete with any other player in the squad. I always thought yeah ok but he’s 18. When you see in big games how he goes about everything it’s surprising.”
Big things expected of him for the backend of the season.
The Bournemouth game this evening will be interesting for us, it’s another chance to redeem an average result we had against them in Arteta’s first encounter. It’d be wonderful to progress further in a cup that has all the big boys still involved. The one thing we have to be sure to avoid is a replay. Spurs drew against Southampton and Liverpool slipped up against Shrewsbury… Klopp insisting he’ll not even manage the replay.
It’ll be interesting to see how we line up, we went all out against Leeds, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same again. Though I would imagine there will be an eye on a tough game this Sunday against a Burnley that appears to be slightly resurgent in the league (though they were beaten by Norwich in the cup at the weekend).
It’s a shame we’re likely too early for a Pablo Mari start, but maybe by the time I wake up, he’ll be confirmed as a signing. Was also sad to see Aaron Ramsey still benched for Juve… I’m not pining for an Arteta reunion, you are.
Before I go, some more sad news for the Arsenal blogosphere… Yogis Warrior from ACLF passed 3 weeks ago. I didn’t know him well, but he helped correct my Spanish to ‘Manos fuera Cesc’ back in 2011. I’ve always had huge admiration for his brilliant writing and his dedication to regular content for his community. He seemed like a top guy, our thoughts are with his family.
P.S. RIP Kobe. His career transcended sport. What a sad moment.