Arsenal is BACK with a BANG.
I posted a pretty innocuous tweet about Matteo G being a problem child 1) because I know he is, as I’ve stated on here before 2) Arteta basically called out his attitude issues as the reason he didn’t make the squad.
My word, the uproar. The young Frenchman has a fan club like Mesut Ozil. They won’t even read the facts, which were further corroborated by The Telegraph who noted that he had a huge bust-up with Mikel and the staff over body language and attitude.
… if you can’t beat out Mesut for body language, what the hell is going on? This is what Arteta said after the game.
“The reason is that players who, in my opinion, are training better, behaving better and are more applied to deliver on the pitch what we want, are the players that are selected.”
Broader point here, if you cross the manager there are consequences. I have no idea why people thought Arteta would struggle on that front coming from Manchester City, but here we are. One of the best young talents in the bad books after 7 weeks under the new regime.
I know that Freddie also had issues with him during his short stint. It was a lack of respect thing. The player no doubt has the world at his feet, but at the highest level, you have to play the game and always work in the best interests of the club. Hopefully, he learns from his mistakes, bucks up his ideas and continues his path to the top.
I think one of the worst parts of the Emery regime was the lack of consistency from him. He didn’t hold people to account, which made him a walkover. Mesut Ozil knew he’d be back in the squad regardless of what happened because the manager was a wet lettuce. I don’t think we’ll have those issues with Mikel, regardless of who you are.
There was a lot of positivity around the game yesterday. I know it’s only Newcastle, but we’re at their level at the moment. We’re not sitting midtable because of bad luck, it’s because we’ve been absolute shit.
I liked this stat from Matt Scott.
A measure of just how well Arsenal pressed from the front today and how little time Newcastle were given on the ball is that they managed only their second-lowest total of long balls all season. The lowest was against notorious harriers Leicester, who won 5-0.
— Matt Scott (@Matt5cott) February 16, 2020
It’s only a small thing, but the strategy was built around nullifying their strength and it involved pressing… and the players did it. That says the players are behind the ideas, they understand them, and are willing to work hard to execute.
I also thought Matt’s point about Auba-left-wing-rage was pertinent. He’s great out on the left, he scores a lot of goals from that position, and if we’re honest, he’s not ideal through the middle because he doesn’t hold the ball up as well as Lacazette or Eddie. Still can’t believe how much work he does for the team, he made a vital interception in our box early on. Very sharp.
Hopefully, that result was a turning point. First time in over a year we’ve scored 4 in a game. We’re now unbeaten in 6 games in the league, that’s a real positive, it could extend further, our fixture list is fairly kind over the next 2 months.
People seem very keen to tell you that they don’t believe in the players that are now playing better, like there’s some chance that Mikel is going to keep them all this summer. It’s such a weird insecurity, maybe it’s because he played under Arsene and his squad turnover numbers were really low? It’s unfounded, regardless.
The plan, from where I’m watching, is to pump the value of decent players that have been cut adrift by the last 2 managers. You couldn’t move on certain names last year because their form was so bad, now, we’re seeing a turn out of most of them. Finish the year strong and they’ll all be getting better offers this summer. This May is hopefully going to be fast and furious.
The biggest story in European football is that finally, UEFA caught up with the cheating that Manchester City has been overseeing. They’ve just landed a 2 year ban from the Champions League. A beastly punishment and one you sense likely to end that squad. The manager says he’ll stay, even if they’re demoted to League 2, I’m not sure a lot of the players will… though the Fraudiola muppets will get to see their man in a lower division.
I wholeheartedly agree with the ban. The financial doping in football has been crazy over the past decade and we could all see it wasn’t fair. My hope is that the authorities move hard on other clubs, namely PSG, for offences that look very, very similar. We’ll see though. Football is a billionaire plaything, and they have a tendency to get away with what they want.
In the meantime, one would assume the top 4 trophy is now the top 5. Absolute crazy times if that’s the case. Arsenal are 7 points from 4th and 6 from 5th. Very doable if we can muster some form… though I do believe that’d be a massive stretch to expect after the season we’ve had.
My focus would be on the Europa League. I think we can take any team over two legs. The major worry would Inter Milan and United. Still, hardly Atletico, right?
Ok, lots to ponder today, fingers crossed for a United vs Chelsea draw a little later on!
P.S. I found this video from Portugal very hard to watch. Outside the grim racism, the reaction of his teammates looked really poor. I’m sure they were saying ‘don’t let them win’, but when they could see his head was gone, they should have let him go. European football is a disgrace. This racist behaviour is a cancer on our great game. UEFA should act with the same vigour they went at City with. Make a statement that this will not be tolerated.
— VSPORTS (@vsports_pt) February 16, 2020