I didn’t realise the Leicester game was on so late in the day. I feel conned. I woke up early, worked out, dressed up to go to a pals house… then realised the error of my ways.
So I thought, fuck it, I’ll write a post.
Today is a huge game for Arsenal because part of the narrative is going to be about the lack of creativity, with Mesut Ozil sitting at home trying to run the social media manager at Arsenal out of a job. Before we get into the creativity piece, it’s worth highlighting the Rodgers comments before the game.
“The team have to operate with one brain. They have to function and work together.
“There will be teams where there is more freedom, but less structure.
“Ozil’s a wonderful talent and very creative, absolutely. He can make the last pass, but it’s about the team. It’s about marrying the individual qualities of the player into the team and if you feel that player can’t press the game or doesn’t want to press the game, it has an effect on your attacking structure and your defensive structure.
“If one person doesn’t do their job, then you can suffer.
“He’s a talent, but, as always with talent, you have to be a working talent.”
He’s basically said what Arteta won’t. What you’re reading above is one part of why the German isn’t in the squad. The second part is covered nicely in the tweet below.
This is fascinating from @TheAthleticUK. They’ve taken a look at what Özil will be going through after he was left out of the registered squad. Here’s what a manager, speaking anonymously, has to say about these situations. It’s illuminating… pic.twitter.com/SuqiwgKERv
— Matt Scott (@Matt5cott) October 25, 2020
The above excerpt from The Athletic is what you hear when you recieve leaks from Arsenal. The most important part outside ‘they don’t give a fuck’ is the bit where the source says ‘the players are watching.’ Wenger indulged the behaviour, remember Aaron Ramsey saying on Sky that Ozil gets special treatment? Not a good look in a failing team. Emery tried to impose discipline, then gave up, which sends an even worse message… ‘I am subservient.’ Arteta could not afford to have the biggest name at the club not giving a fuck. It’d ruin him. So he acted in a way that sends the strongest of message.
‘No one is bigger than the club’
Back to creativity…
Now, it’s tempting to say that Arteta MUST solve the issue right now. I don’t think that’s the case. I think he has to keep winning. People complaining about style and shots on target don’t have much of an argument if he continues to roll with 10 wins in 12 games streaks. We really do have to brace for the reality that this season might just be a year of foundation laying. Defending like kings (trying) and nicking goals could be the way.
It feels grim that we could be ‘that’ team, but if it’s effective, then it’s hard to complain. If Arteta doesn’t think he has the players to move the football forward into a ‘progressive’ world, then I’d prefer he does what works, versus placating fans with something we’ve seen fail quite a lot over the last decade. What I do find quite amusing is that I was SLATED for wanting a hipster manager that played progressive football, now the same people that wanted Nuno or Jose are complaining that the football isn’t hipster enough.
It’s also interesting that for all the ‘we’re shit’ chat that goes around, Sheffield United gave Liverpool a big scare yesterday, and West Ham took points from Manchester City. Complainers are in a bind on this one… was it good to get 6 points from those two, or was it poor that we didn’t do more against Liverpool and City? Probably that latter… maybe a little too much respect for two sides that look lost (City) or severely hungover (Liverpool).
Also, while we’re on the topic of average teams… United vs Chelsea, what a bore-fest. Both teams looked a mess. Chelsea, having spent £250m on talent, couldn’t muster more than 1 shot on target. Everton is currently losing 2-0 to Southampton (who have been excellent).
Back to Arsenal.
My main hope today is that Thomas Partey can show some class against a proper team. If he can control the midfield with the calmness he did in the week, we’ll be in good shape. I’m also praying for Gabriel. There are NOT many tests in the Premier League tougher than Jamie Vardy. He’ll do nothing for 70 minutes, then he’ll destroy you with a hattrick off 15 touches. This game is huge for the Brazilian’s concentration.
This 90 will also test Bernd Leno. He was a shambles the other night. Most notably with the ball at his feet. Now, we know that part of our game isn’t going anywhere, we know that Brendan Rodgers will have spotted what happened, and we know that Leicester will pressure Bernd really hard to make more errors like that. He has to clear his mind and put on the keeping equivalent of an early 2000s Iniesta performance. He also needs to dominate his box, teams put defenders on his from corners, that sort of shit only stops when you win all your battles.
We also need to cause problems going forward today. We need to start the game fast, we need to move the ball with purpose, and we need to make sure the ball sticks with our front three. I think this is going to be a good game. Two fairly evenly matched teams that both have plenty to worry about. Hopefully, we win, because we need it after the City game. We also need some form going away to Old Trafford next week.