Well good morning, apologies it’s been low key week. I’ve been in Texas, land of the mask-free. It’s wonderful to be living in actual normality. I sat in a restaurant, had a frozen marg at a bar, sneezed at someone and it was all just very cool.
But onto more serious chat…
This chat with Steve Round that Arseblog News uncovered whet my appetite no end.
“One, what a magnificent club Arsenal are…it’s just a great, great football club. It’s a massive club.
“The other thing [that attracted me], was to work with him [Mikel]. I knew he’d need a bit of experience and some knowledge from the domestic game. I think he’s got a real chance to become one of the best coaches in the world, let alone the UK. I didn’t hesitate to join.
I just like putting things like this in the blog, because that opinion Steve Round has is not rare in the game. I think we have an extremely exciting setup and though Steve Round isn’t the sexiest of names in the game, his expertise is deep and his experience is going to be hugely valuable to the club over the next 3 years.
The most fascinating part, outside how they use data, is how dedicated the new team are to culture.
“We’re continually working on emotional intelligence and leadership styles within the group, whether that’s the head coach, the two assistant head coaches or even the captains’ group within the team. How you formulate that is bringing togetherness, spirit. Humour is always a very good energy developer. You’re forever trying to build a resonant environment and take it away from dissonance. Discipline, self-discipline and making sure that our behaviour, positive behaviours are continually reinforced. Negative behaviours are pulled up, there are certain things we will not accept.
“If a teammate is showing disrespect to another teammate, perhaps the ball hasn’t come to him and he’s thrown his arms up. That’s telling the world this guy has made a mistake. We don’t blame like that. We don’t do that. If the guy has made a mistake our responsibility is to help him overcome that mistake. Our responsibility, me personally, is to try and make sure the next time he doesn’t make the same mistake again.
This is how big businesses, particularly with creative outputs, think about culture. It’s such a mature vision of how things should be. It’s been sorely missed over the last few years.
Arsene Wenger built an incredible environment for the players, but he didn’t build one that focused on winning. Also, contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t a big one-on-one guy. It was a culture of comfort that lacked direction and vision. That was his undoing.
Unai Emery just wasn’t a good people person. If the guy running the show is a bit on the spectrum, it’s going to be next to impossible for him to cultivate a culture built on empathy and strong communications lines.
Arteta is hopefully going to bring back the good bits from Wenger. Pride about the badge, a great environment, and the love the players didn’t get from Emery… but he’ll combine it with early years Wenger ruthlessness. We need a bit of winnertivity back at the club, we need updated standards, and we need the players to know that their job is more than turning up every day. I loved reading Martinelli talk about how Mikel asked him to assess his own movement so they could discuss. It’s a basic, but it’s a level of intimacy a lot of managers struggle with. The key to it all is this manager makes learning interesting. Engaging 21-year-olds who play football in education is no easy task, but it seems to be getting a good reaction.
To make all this fancy new thinking, you still need to have elite players coming through the door. There are major question marks over whether Edu has it in him to make that happen. Seeing us linked to players outside the coterie of agents we lean on would be a nice start. We’ve tried to bandage the squad with top 4-ish players and it didn’t work. We now need to focus on a sharper vision with youth, power, pace and high level thinking at the core.
The good news is we’re in Month 6 of Arteta and the good news is still flowing through. Let’s hope we can make some moves on the table when the game resumes. It’d be great to finish this never-ending season on a high!
Though losing 3-2 to Brentford isn’t exactly promising. Tears Emoji x3
Right, I’m off, see you in the comments x