Late post today, things are a touch quiet in the world of elite-level soccerball.
The theme we’re going to touch on is the chase for a higher league position.
The Premier League gods were kind to us today, after treating us very shabbily over the past month with injuries and some horrendous luck, they opened the gates of the Top 4 to us once more.
Manchester United drew against Wolves.
Chelsea drew against Leicester.
Spurs have to play a wounded City tomorrow with a side in such bad shape, they tried to loan Olivier Giroud.
This season for me is still very much a write-off, but I doubt it will be for Mikel who seems to be very aggressive with his timeline. He wants to win a cup this year and he wants us to challenge the top 4 this season.
The Burnley game presents itself as an opportunity to see what we’re made of when chances are presented to us. 3 points takes us to 9th. Assuming Spurs lose, that’d have us 1 point behind Jose Mourinho’s sinking ship. 2 behind OGS. 8 behind Chelsea.
Making top 4 is a massive stretch goal regardless of how inconsistent Chelsea have been. We’d be expecting Arsenal to turn a huge corner inside a month and have consistency of results, something this squad hasn’t managed since the 22 game unbeaten run in 2018.
Stranger things have happened though. We are defensively far better than we’ve been in years, there are sputtering signs that the team is responding to the attacking demands Arteta is placing on them, and we’ve added a bit more depth to the squad that could help reshape how we play by opening up other areas of the pitch.
Also worth noting that Chelsea plays United, Spurs, Everton and Bournemouth in their next 4 games. Only one banker there. United, amirite?
Unai Bummery has been reimagining his tenure at Arsenal.
“The process was good. When we played possession, we did it; when we had to press, we did it. And we were competitive, playing as the game required. With moments of possession game and moments of three quick touches.
“This second year, we have not played well; we have not defended well; We have not been competitive; We did not transmit. And I told the players myself. There were several problems: four captains; the Ozil-Kolasinac case; Pepe’s signing, which needs time to be that of France. We didn’t play well, that’s for sure.
“That brought us bad results, there was no improvement, the fans focused on me and they threw me out.”
The process wasn’t good. Let’s clear that up right away. Players found the video analysis dull, no one knew what they were doing, and no one could be bothered with pressing. Then let’s land on the last bit, there was no improvement in the first season, statistically we regressed everywhere on the pitch, then the fans turned in the second season when their continued to be no improvement. What a joker. We didn’t run him out of the club, his shocking tenure did that all by itself.
There’s another piece where he basically says Arteta is doing the same thing as him. True, similar setup, similar starting line-up… the difference is Arteta leads, communicates and implements strategies on a different level.
Mesut Ozil sums is up nicely.
“He’s doing a good job. He’s hungry for success. Everything about him is positive.
“Arteta’s story is a bit different because I don’t remember when he quit football, but it hasn’t been over that long. In this way, players can understand more easily.”
Connection. It’s so important. Emery didn’t have that with the players. That’s one of the ingredients in the special sauce. Still baffles me that there was an actual debate about that for so long, but here we are, half the internet still thinks Pep Guardiola is a fraud because he hasn’t won a Champions League with Preston.
Staying on Ozil, we apparently turned down a bid from Qatar for the player. Rumour has it the player and the coach were interested in the deal. I’m struggling to fathom that. We have very few players that can move that ball through the line, so the idea we’d stifle our attack at the last minute seems a bit absurd for me. Ozil is important to the manager, hopefully we see a return on that faith with some assists and goals over the next 3 months.
Read some sad news that Jack Wilshere is broken once again. He really has had the roughest of 10 years. I mean, not by normal human standards of disability, but I feel for the guy regardless. Could have been a generational talent if he’d stayed fit. That Barca game he dominated was one of the most special performances I’ve ever seen from a teenager.
Anyway, I hope everyone in the UK is having a banger of a Brexit party this evening, let’s hope the Tories make it easier for us to sign players from South America in this new era. Next Messi needs to be at The Arsenal.
Right, see you in the comments. x