Well, the Premier League really is turning out some batshit crazy results.
I’m currently watching a very lost Manchester City lose 5-2 to Jamie Vardy’s Leicester AT HOME. West Brom went 3 up against Chelsea before bottling it and drawing the game, Frank Lampard is no longer the plucky upstart, he’s a greedy chequebook manager getting called a fraud after 3 games. Jose Mourinho was joy suckered by Newcastle United, cancelling out the ‘will Spurs actually be amazing this season’ vibe I had after they turned over the Saints last week. Son also picked up an injury.
United were bang average, having to earn a penalty AFTER the game finished to beat the ever-improving Brighton (told you Potter was good). The OGS miracle of spending a shit ton of money last season to give United the lowest points 3rd place in EPL history might be landing for some now as, you know, not a miracle. Still, I’ll take the MSM propping him up like the only thing stopping his genius flowering is the wicked United board that won’t sanction another £150m worth of talent on his ‘vision.’
Everton also won again, keeping them top of the league. Carlo has some saucy players, I’m not sure he’ll have enough all season, but they’ll certainly be better.
So what have we learned? Well, the Premier League is going to very tough this season. The top 6 is probably going to look like more of a top 8 for quite a bit. I think Liverpool, as things stand, look like the most obvious standout (only the hottest takes here). But 2nd to 8th looks like it will be very unpredictable. Hey, who knows, we might see a SHOCK winner like in 2016 this season? Could it… no… but?
Arsenal really needs to add to their squad if we’re to play in the upper echelons of that top 8 scenario. We’re well-coached, young players are improving, and the senior players left are a lot more accountable. We still need to add a bit of depth if we’re going to be a force for the full season.
The wheels of speculation have gone into overdrive over the past few days. We’ve bid for Houssem Aouar. The Lyon top dog, Aulas, is telling the world the player will stay (standard practice from him), and the top french pubs are saying we’re about to go back in with a bigger bid. Creativity is the absolute #1 requirement from this window. Even Auba agrees.
“Of course we are in favor, I will not hide it. Even if he is a Lyonnais”
I appreciate a lot of people are worried that Houssem doesn’t have 19 assists to his name, but I think his play is about more than hardcore assists (and Lyon were shite last season). He’s a vertical mover of the ball, something we only really have with Xhaka and Ozil. More than that, he can move with the ball at his feet, and he’s great in tight areas. We don’t have many tricky fast players that can open up the field in a split second. Aouar can do that. Add to that we’ve seen him put in dominant performances against dominant teams in the Champions League… well, he just makes a lot of sense. Also worth noting that he’s only 22. The perfect signing as we move to a model that supports resale value and the circle of transfers in and out. Player was also non-committal on his future after the game today.
“We’ll see what will happen in the future”
I think we’ll also continue to pursue Thomas Partey until the death. I suspect he’s more of a ‘if these 4 things happen’ type reach, but he’s another one that gives us elements we don’t have currently. Firstly, the biggest thing Partey gives us is elite level experience at the very highest level. He’s played in huge games and come out on top. He’s an ultimate competitor playing for a monster of a manager. He also gives us the mobility we desperately lack in midfield. He’s aggressive and rapid over short distances. His height, weight and overall frame also makes us more imposing. We’ve been weak from setpieces, he adds something. We’ve had to build out a very body heavy structure when out of possession, he gives us options to change that. Partey also comes from one of the most rigidly defensive systems in football, firstly, give me some of that, secondly, he might have more attacking inclinations that could come to bear fruit in a more progressive system.
Sign those two, we are being more than realistic when we hope for top 4 this season.
We still might see some other signings. If Lacazette leaves, we might be a little short in attack. I still worry that we’re a bit light in the keeping area. But overall, we have created a pretty decent squad without going too crazy. Elneny looks like he could be a really decent squad player this year. Reiss is doing his best to make a statement that he’s ready for us this season. We have a whole group of young players that are really hungry.
Still, as Mike Tyson says, everyone has a plan until that get smacked in the mouth. Liverpool, tomorrow night, is Mike Tyson. They are a team of brutal warriors. We’ve had two really decent games against them. Last season, we turned them over in the league, despite being totally mauled by them. We then used that confidence to win the FA Cup. This season, we were much more structured against them and we were more than equal to the 1-1 draw.
We’re now into the season. Liverpool will be fitter, sharper, and they have buried a couple of teams. The game to look at from a tactical perspective might be the Leeds opener where they were run very close. Leeds kept on getting in behind their defenders with quick counter attacks and long balls in behind their defence. Arsenal has to work out a way of dealing with their waves of pressure and there can be no West Ham like lapses.
My hope, as always in these games, is that we’re at least competitive. That means everyone showing up to execute a good game plan. The interesting thing to watch out for this season is how coaches approach us now they know we’re not going to be the same old Arsenal. There’s a body of Arteta work to look at. I don’t for a minute think we’ll ever be predictable, but I also think there will be more answers to what we’re doing. Everyone knows about the overload to Auba switch. They all know that we play out of the back like demons. They’ll know we are pressuring for turnovers in their area. It’s all very exciting knowing that we have these clever ways of playing in different parts of the game.
I am very much looking forward to this game. Let’s see what Arteta has planned! See you in the comments. x