Well HOWDY GOOD MORNING TO YOU all.
This week is a bit of a lol right? It’s like a typical February post-2007. We’d be in every competition, performances might be creeking, but you’d be confident that THIS was the year. Then three games would creep up on us and we’d be out the league, Champions League and FA Cup in one week.
Arteta looks like he’s picking up a bit of that magic from his old boss. We lost the North London Derby, we’re about to get a light/heavy spanking from Liverpool, then we go to Wembley for an improbable semi-final.
It is what it is.
He seemed pretty upbeat in the press conference. Maybe he’s not reading the NO IMPROVEMENT merchants and he saw this comment from CC in the comments.
Here’s a a quick snippet of goals FOR and AGAINST we’ve seen throughout the season at different points….
Week 13 – Emery’s last game: 18, 19
Week 18 – Freddie’s last game: 24, 27
Week 35 – now: 51, 44
Which breaks down as…
Emery: 18, 19 (-1)
Freddie: 6, 8 (-2)
Arteta: 27, 17 (+7)
Emery: 1.38 goals per game, 1.46 goals against per game
Freddie: 1.2 goals per game, 1.6 goals against per game
Arteta: 1.59 goals per game, 1 goal against per game.
It’s late so sue me for any inaccuracies, but its pretty evident we’re scoring more and conceding less PER GAME with Arteta. Otherwise coined as ‘no improvement’.
Core themes in the presser remained that we played well but allowed mistakes to kill us. I think the fact we didn’t get battered and largely controlled the game is his solace, though tactically, it’s hard not to think that Mourinho giving you ball and waiting for mistakes is him controlling the game.
His other theme was about progressing the club forward. He’s very careful with his words, but he keeps reminding everyone that the reason Liverpool are where they are is they made consistently good decisions on players. They were strategic, smart, and they pushed the club forward.
‘Yeah. What they have done is phenomenal, obviously the first two years it took them some time to rebuild the squad and to create a new culture, a new philosophy and a game model that suited the coach. Then they started to recruit every single player in relation to what they needed and that’s where I think they were really smart. They bought with specificity for every position that was required. Financially they had a big backing and made some big signings which completely changed the club in my opinion.’
I think it’s fair to say that the first transfer window can be written off as a hangover from yesteryear. David Luiz and Cedric Soares weren’t my kind of deals, but you can rationalise why they happened because of the state of the squad and the lack of options. Moving into this summer, we can’t be topping up our squad with more players like that. We have to be strategic about who we sign and what the path forward is.
We don’t just want Champions League qualification, we want a squad that can grow into that competition and win it. I know that sounds mad, but you have to shoot for the stars. That means signing players that ‘might’ drag you over the top 4 line is a losing game (it’s also a game we’ve played for 3 years and it hasn’t worked). If this current squad gets us into the top 4 next season with the addition of Willian and some other players looking for a retirement fund, what happens next? They can’t sustain it. We can’t sell them. Our squad is worse off for it. That’s why the better bet would be to sign up players that have the pedigree to make Champions League, but could grow when we make it there.
The big dollars, if we have any, must go on the core this summer. We need a ball-playing centre-back, we need a #6 like Partey, and we need an #8 that is ready to roll. Then we need to upgrade with players that fit the Arteta mold.
We’re being linked with Marc Roca, I’m not shocked. Technical, creative and quick thinker. Our midfield doesn’t create without players like that. We don’t just need one player like that, we need to start building a conveyor belt of them.
Supporting Emery came at a great cost. We brought in someone without understanding what he wanted to do on the pitch, and because his hire wasn’t on merit, no one paid attention to what he wanted. Now we have a coach with a much clearer articulation of what he wants to do. I suspect he has more sway with the staff. He’s Edu’s hire. Hopefully that means something because another incoherent summer and we’re in big trouble. This is more on Klopp.
I know how many decisions have to be right and how much support you need from the club and the people around, and how much connection you to have to generate from your fans to have the full package, and afterwards it’s football. The context right now is different to what it was as well four years ago and the abilities for a club to rebuild something is more limited, but it’s certainly something we have to look at and how they did it because it’s a great example. But we have to know that we have to do it our way with our resources and have it in mind that the content right now is different, but we are heading to be the best and this is my only objective with this club. We have to find a way to do it.
The ambition is to be the best. Not Europa League winners. Not top 4. To get back to the very top. It’s an ambition right for Arsenal, the question is, can it be supported? We’ll find out.
To start, we have to navigate Liverpool at home who are on the charge for the Premier League points record. He was asked if he’d rest players so we had a better chance at the weekend.
I believe that it’s very important to have energy and momentum going into important matches, and in order to do that you have to go game by game. Today and tomorrow we will asses the players and how they are, and obviously they’ve been hit and a lot of them have played some crazy minutes up until now and again we’re going to have games every two and a half days. We will try to put the strongest team out as possible here and as well on Saturday, and to do that we need to know how everyone recovers from the game.
I think he’s desperate to turnover Liverpool. He needs a restart statement win and I’m not sure Wolves quite counts in his mind. I think the idea of Arsenal keeping their concentration for 90 minutes is quite hard to fathom, but we’ve seen crazier things. The weekend game is where it’s at, City have had plenty of bad days this season and their away record isn’t great. Making an FA Cup final would be a different kind of statement.
Let’s see what happens, have a great day.
P.S. Arteta’s opinions on City and FFP were factual but missed the point. City are where they are because they pump a nation’s cash into the project. That result was the final nail in the coffin for Fairplay in football. It also makes a mockery of Ivan G and Wenger telling us for 10 years that when the rules kicked in, we’d be positioned to take advantage.
Now it’s clear. You either have a sugar daddy, or you don’t. I think it’s bad for the game. Bayern don’t have a sugar daddy, but they are financially dominant and just won the league for the 8th year in a row. The Spanish League is fairly locked. Juventus always win in Italy. Paris will always win unless they rehire Emery. The only saving grace our league has is it’s basically 8 mega-rich owners slugging it out. Football isn’t fair and it’s getting more and more unfair. In the end, people will get bored if there isn’t a competition. We’re a way off that but it isn’t beyond the realms that people could lose interest.